Did you know that Americans create 25% more waste over the holidays? Gift giving is a wonderful tradition, especially when the gifts are chosen with love and are meaningful to the receiver. Wrapping gifts with reused and recycable materials is one way to reduce holiday waste. Teton Valley Community Recycling hosted an eco-wrapping booth at CRAFT ATTACK, a Teton Arts Council sponsored craft fair, on December 8th. We offered free reusable shopping bags, a packaging exchange to encourage reuse of bubble wrap and boxes, and an eco-wrapping station where attendees could wrap presents with repurposed materials. Hopefully, the pictures, directions, and links below will give you ideas for ways that you can reduce holiday waste.
Reusable Cloth bags
These cloth gift bags were made from upholstery scraps from a furniture store that were destined for a landfill. With two simple, straight stitches and the addition of a ribbon, they are transformed into beautiful gift bags that can be used again and again. The bags scraps were then used, along with buttons, to dress up small boxes made from empty toilet paper rolls, the perfect box for a small gift!
Most foil chip bags go straight to the landfill, but if you wash them and turn them inside out, they look cute and festive. Cut strips off the top and curl with a scissors to make the ribbons.
The transfer station in Driggs is now accepting paperboard, like this Cheerios box, for a pilot recycling program. That doesn’t mean that you can’t reuse paperboard boxes before recycling them, though! There are a lot of cereal box projects online, but many of them took too much time to be worth it. This one is quick and simple if you download the pattern online.
It’s easy to make your own bows with magazine pages. The bow pictures was made following these directions. Simpler bows with only two loops per layer (put together in an “x”) looks just as nice and is much easier to make.
Reuse and recycle wrapping paper
Some wrapping paper can be recycled, but others don’t mix well with other kinds of paper. It is best to use paper that you know can be recycled, like newspaper or magazine pages. With a handmade bow or some foil ribbon from a bag of chips, even plain paper can be dressed up. The small box above is wrapped with a newspaper, and the larger box is wrapped in discarded book covers that were donated by the Valley of the Tetons Library.
Do you have old holiday cards laying around? Make them into gift tags and gift boxes! Making tags requires nothing more than a scissors and a hole punch. A simple stencil cut into a cereal box makes it even easier. To tranform cards into gift boxes, follow the instructions on Teton Valley resident Jonah Lisa Dyer’s blog.
For more ideas on repurposed wrapping and decorations, visit TVCR’s Pinterest site.