By Manuela Perez Guzman
This year, package your gifts with eco-conscious intentions for a healthier, happier environment.
The holiday season is fast approaching, and retailers are putting out seasonal items. Along with traditional decorations, stores have started advertising colourful wrapping papers, gift bags, ribbons, and tape — everything needed to wrap your presents.
While many holiday traditions originate in celebrating community, friendship, and family, the modern view of the season is more tangible. Gift -giving has become the focal point of holiday marketing strategies, leading to staggering amounts of waste.
American consumers spend approximately US$2.6 billion on gift wrap annually, and the gift-wrapping product industry is estimated to be worth US$15.1 billion globally. Yet, most of this packaging ends up in the garbage, as it is usually contaminated with glitter, plastics, foil, stickers and confetti — items that are not recyclable.
In 2017, Zero Waste Canada estimated that Canadians throw away 545,000 tonnes of wrapping paper — 4.2 times the weight of the CN Tower — each holiday season. Wow!
Want to keep your hard-earned dollars out of the trash while respecting the Earth? Embrace more sentimental, sustainable approaches to wrapping gifts, but with a modern twist.
This holiday season, try one of the following eco-conscious wrapping options:
Each of these gift-wrapping alternatives will save you money while reducing the amount of waste in landfills. They also provide an opportunity to express yourself creatively and leave an impression by mixing and matching textures and materials.
Changing our behaviour is hard to do, but making a public promise to a small group of people can help us stay committed to making those changes. This holiday season, join us in committing to a shared gift: lessening waste production by changing our gift-wrapping habits.
Will you have excess or unwanted post-holiday goods? Donate them to our next REmarket, on January 25–26, 2023. For more information, email firstname.lastname@example.org.
(This article was originally published in the November 2022 issue of The Bridge.)
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