Did you Know that Giving Gifts can Damage the Environment?

Giving gifts is an integral part of our lives. We celebrate birthdays, anniversaries, graduations, promotions, weddings, and religious holidays with gifts.

However, consider all the giftwrap, plastic packaging in which it is merchandised, cardboard tubes, ribbons, and ribbon spools that end up in landfill. Although some communities have recycle depots that will reprocess this garbage, many do not. Here are some eco-friendly tips for wrapping gifts.

You do not have to purchase fancy gift boxes. Instead, scrutinize your home for items that are usually trashed or recycled. You can turn things like paper towel tubes, coffee tins, DVD jewel cases, shoeboxes, and even old hardcover books into great containers for presents.

Save advertising flyers and the colored pages of your daily newspaper. They make interesting giftwrap.

Wrap with brightly colored beach towels. Your gift recipient gets two gifts!

You can decorate brown paper bags or black-and-white newspaper pages with potato stamps to create unique giftwrap. The stamps are easy to make. Cut large potatoes into halves and carve designs into the cut surfaces. When finished, dip the designs into food-safe water-based paint or food coloring and stamp them onto the paper. When you are finished, be sure to put the potatoes in your compost bin. This is a fun activity that can involve the entire family.

You can also decorate brown paper bags and newspaper pages with spatter painting. Cut shapes out of newspaper and place in a pattern on the page you wish to decorate. Dip an old toothbrush into food-safe paints or food coloring, then scrape across a small piece of screen to create paint spatter. The color will speckle all areas of the paper except those that you protected with decorative shapes. You can let everything dry, and spatter more than once to create interesting effects.

Search the local department store or Internet to locate food-safe or biodegradable transparent tape and glue. Use them for wrapping instead of regular tape.

You can make ribbon out of 100% wool, 100% cotton, or strips of old clothing cut on the bias. If you know how, try to knit, crochet, or tat decorative ribbon. Alternatively, plaiting several color-coordinated strands together produces a nice effect.

You can decorate the outsides of packages with decorative buttons, shapes cut out of egg cartons, or other items that might be destined for the recycle bin or trash. You can also crochet little snowflakes or flowers from 100% crochet cotton. The recipient can use them as Christmas tree ornaments, coasters, or window hangings.

You can turn old DVDs or CDs into large gift tags. Glue the printed sides together then decorate the shiny surfaces with whatever you can dream up. If you drill a small hole near the edge of each creation, your gift recipient can hang it as a Christmas tree ornament or sun catcher.

Be sure to include a little note with each gift. Let your recipient know that the giftwrap is something special just for him or her, and ask the person to recycle or reuse it.

(c) Copyright Kathy Steinemann: This article is free to publish only if this copyright notice, the byline, and the author's note below (with active links) are included.

Author's Note:

Kathy has posted more articles about the environment and global warming at 1st Rate Articles. She also writes articles for 111 Travel Directory and A Language Guide. In addition, she creates short stories and poetry in German-English parallel translation.