Skip the wrapping paper — use bags and boxes instead

Published 8:52 am Monday, November 28, 2016

With Thanksgiving behind us, Christmas is now on the horizon. Along with decking the halls comes lots of gift buying and then gift wrapping. When it comes to gift wrapping options there are some environmentally friendly choices you can consider this holiday season:

• Use a cloth gift bag. Cloth holds up better than paper bags and can be reused over and over again, so the bags can be passed around from family member to family member for special occasions for years to come. These bags can also be washed if needed. It’s a great option because you can purchase them online or you can make your own. You could even make your own bags out of leftover pieces of cloth or repurpose some clothing items, giving your gift an extra special something.

• If you don’t have any or many cloth bags, paper bags can be a wonderful alternative. If you are like me, you have a closet full already. I never throw away gift bags, unless they are in really bad condition. Since I always collect them and reuse them, I always have some on hand. I never run into those awkward situations where you need to wrap a gift but don’t have anything to wrap it in. It also helps my wallet because I don’t have to purchase bags. And it helps the environment because I am giving these bags more than one time and keeping them out of the landfill.

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• Opt for thicker more durable tissue paper options. I like to save tissue paper and reuse it, but it can only be used a few times before it starts looking pretty bad. I don’t really want to give someone a gift that doesn’t look nice. There are lots of fabrics that you can tuck into a gift bag that can be durable and pretty. I personally like sheer fabrics and burlap.

• Use boxes to give gifts. Boxes, like bags, can be given over and over again. Boxes often hold up much better than paper bags for regifting. In my family, we actually have several cardboard boxes that have been given over and over again. It’s a really fun tradition because every time the box is used to give a gift, we write the date, occasion and who it was given to in the lid of the box. That means that we can look back over the years and see where the box has been and when it was used. It’s really fun and helps the environment at the same time.

• If you must wrap a gift, reuse something. I really like wrapping gifts in boxes and bags — it’s pretty easy and looks great. If you need to actually wrap a gift, there are some environmentally friendly options. You can wrap it in newspaper, which is a great way to give the paper a second life before going to the recycle bin. Sometimes we get free maps in the mail and I save them to wrap a gift in. If you are going to buy wrapping paper, make sure that it’s made with recycled paper.

About Amanda Wheeler

Amanda Wheeler is the children and teen services librarian at the Lincoln County Public Library. She has a master's in zoology education from the University of Miami and has taught as an educator at the Cincinnati Zoo.

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