Your guide to An Eco-friendly Christmas – Part 3

Your guide to An Eco-friendly Christmas – Part 3
This week the focus is on Gift Wrapping and Cards.

When we think of Christmas, visions of Christmas Trees with beautifully wrapped gifts, tables full of food and households full of happy family gathered, all come to mind.

Cards hung from string, bows and taffeta, glitter and sparkles are all part of what we now know as Christmas.

I am a sucker for a nicely wrapped gift! Although I’m not very good at creative wrapping myself, I do always appreciate it when others go to the efforts. I always used to have co-ordinated paper (for example all of my presents would be wrapped in gold and white or green and red).

Christmas Wrapping

Now whilst there is nothing wrong with these ways of wrapping, they’re not entirely eco-friendly. A lot of paper is unrecyclable, due to plastic coating and glitter, and unless you’re going to sit and pick the sticky tape off, even the recyclable stuff becomes not so great. There has been quite a big movement in the last few years for retailers and consumers to move away from non-recyclable gift wrapping, which is fantastic, but what people seem to fail to realise is that choosing materials which can be recycled still has a negative impact.

I sound like a bit of a Grinch and for that I apologise, but let me explain. To make a roll of wrapping paper a tree needs to be cut down (harming wildlife). It then needs to be transported and processed (using fuel to do so). It is then made in to an end product which is quite often wrapped in plastic film (single use) and then shipped further to our stores (more fuel). IF it is then recycled properly, that also takes transportation and resources to process again.

See where I’m coming from?

So now you may be asking, what are wrapping paper alternatives?

You could consider some of the following options:

Reusable Gift Bags
  • Reusing gift bags from previous years.
  • Reusable Fabric gift bags (these are my preference because they make wrapping so easy and quick and take up very little storage space).
  • Furoshiki (a Japanese way of wrapping with fabric).
  • Scarfs.
  • Newspaper.
  • OS Maps.
  • Tea towels.

There are some great tutorials on YouTube for wrapping with fabric and of course Pinterest has some lovely ideas to help make things pretty.

Next up – cards!

Pretty much the same as wrapping, many are non-recyclable due to added embellishments but things are moving in the right direction with more and more natural cards coming on to the market.

Christmas cards are a wonderful way of letting friends and family know you are thinking of them at Christmas time. They are great for sending vouchers or family photos in and often make people smile and a house seem more cheery. Some ways of reducing the impact these cards have are:

  • Buy “naked” Christmas cards – make sure there is no glitter, embellishment or plastic wrap.
  • Try to buy cards made on recycled card/paper rather than new.
  • Make your own cards! This is especially great if you have small children as they are a gift as well then.
  • Send fewer cards – no need to send one to every child in the class! Just do one big one to go on the classroom wall!
  • Use cards received this year to make gift tags for next year.
  • Recycle properly! If they do have non-recyclable elements then remove them and put as much into the recycling bin as possible.

Have I missed anything? I’d love to hear your ideas on things you have done to reduce waste from wrapping and cards. Let me know in the comments.

Want to read some of my other Eco Christmas Guides? Check out part 2 here.

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