Christmas is finally here! After the hard year everyone has had, it is an exciting time to show our appreciation for our loved ones: during this time in particular, through gift giving!
Whether it's by giving the perfect present to a family member, or through secret Santa with friends, it is still important to be aware of the waste created during the Christmas period through gift giving.
How much waste is created at Christmas?
According to House Beautiful, UK households last year discarded 277,000 miles of wrapping paper. That is a huge amount of paper, and they argue this is enough paper to get all the way to the moon!
Wrag Wrap has highlighted that we use approximately 8,250 tonnes of wrapping paper at Christmas, which equates to 50,000 trees.
These figures are particularly concerning given that most wrapping paper is only used once before being discarded.
We've put together a list of ideas to help you wrap your gifts more sustainable!
Avoid laminated, dyed, glittery or plastic wrapping
This will not be accepted by many recycling companies and so creates a lot of waste. Also some thin wrapping paper has no quality fibres and so can’t be recycled.
Use recyclable alternatives
Some of these alternatives include brown paper, old newspapers and old maps. These tend to be cheaper and also won’t produce long term waste, and it's also a great way to extend the usable life of paper that's already been produced.
Consider re-usable alternatives
Scarves and fabric make excellent wrapping paper alternatives, and they can also give your presents a very pretty, personal touch.
There are also a number of companies who specialise in selling re-usable and recyclable gift wrap. Wrag Wrap pride themselves for their reusable gift bags and bottle bags, which are made from 45 % traceable recycled plastic bottles and are long lasting. They also produce 100% recyclable and reversible fabric wrap, a great alternative to traditional wrapping paper with the dual design. And for oddly shaped presents, their stretch wrap also expands!
Reuse old cards to make new ones
Don’t throw out last year's Christmas cards, instead reuse them!
This is a fun way to have a family arts and crafts session, selecting old elements of cards such as photos and glittery fonts and creating your own.
What if I've already bought wrapping paper?
If you have purchased wrapping paper already, there are still ways you can try to be more sustainable with it.
- Recycle it! Recycle Now recommends removing any sellotape before recycling wrapping paper, as this cannot be recycled. Instead of sellotape this year, using biodegradable tape or paper tape will be more sustainable. (check out Naturally Wrapt's selection). Recycle Now also recommends putting wrapping paper through the scrunch test - this shows that simple wrapping paper can be recycled whereas glitter or foil wrapping paper should not be.
- Save it! If you wrap and unwrap carefully, you may be able to salvage some wrapping paper, which then can be used again in the future.
Merry Christmas from the team at Y.O.U Underwear! If you're struggling with gift ideas, you may be interested to hear why our undies make the perfect gift. As well as being luxuriously soft, they're packaged in our exclusive (and re-usable!) organic cotton bag, so you won't even need to worry about wrapping them up!
By Natasha Astley.