Friday, November 14, 2008

How to Make Sure Trash is NOT What's for Christmas This Year


This holiday season give our beautiful planet the gift of wrapping green - think recycle and reuse.

I love having amazingly wrapped presents under my Christmas tree, but cannot stand the thought of that same beautiful wrap still sitting in a landfill when my great-great grandchildren are opening their presents! Forty percent of our trash comes from paper products and over 900,000,000 trees are destroyed annually to provide the United States with this paper. When we send paper to a landfill it is typically compacted and sealed into an airtight hole in the ground where it is unable to decompose and becomes perfectly preserved. Decreasing the amount of trash we have this holiday season, even a little bit, can have a dramatic impact. It is always up to you if you want to add to the problem or add to the solution!

The most important thing you can do is to be conscious of what you are buying and its packaging. Purchase products with minimal packaging. When choosing between two similar items, go for the one with less packaging. Choose gifts that replace disposable products. Cloth napkins, .
crocheted dish scrubbers (Curly Girl Crochet) and electric razors all reduce the consumption of throwaway products. Use less wrapping paper. You can reuse old posters, maps and newspapers. Say no to the metallic paper that cannot be recycled- stick to recyclable paper. There are also sites that sell amazing hemp paper with soy based inks that decompose very quickly. A great idea for kids is to buy a large kraft paper roll at the office supply store and have them decorate it - I did this with my daughter a little bit each night between Thanksgiving and Christmas- then set the roll out for Santa to use on Christmas Eve (then toss the paper into the recycle bin instead of the garbage bin on Christmas morning). Give gift bags that can be used again and again. This year put your gift in one of those very inexpensive store brand shopping bags or canvas bags and nixing the tissue paper for recyclable comics give the gift they will use again and again. There is a talented seller on Etsy named ZJayne who makes reusable shopping bags out of t-shirts that would make amazing gift bags! You can make your own bags from your extra material and yarn just like Fisheye's! shown here. Her shop is filled with amazing upcycled handbags and more!

Also think reuse- and you will wrap green and save some green in your wallet at the same time. Why buy shirt boxes when your house is probably full of boxes right now. Cereal boxes are the perfect size to wrap lots of goodies. I like to use the boxes sans wrap, but if you must wrap the box think recyclable paper again. Mark all your gifts PLEASE RECYCLE ME (I print this on the back of my gift tag). You can get creative with this and use a cereal box for slippers, a dog food box for a dog sweater, etc, but the main idea is to reuse what we already have, so we are not wasting our planet's precious raw materials creating more throw away products.

Send out your holiday cards electronically (I can't bring myself to do this because I love to send and receive cards too much!). Use last year's holiday cards for this year's crafts including your gift tags, postcards throughout the year (cut off the backs), press them between 2 sheets of contact paper for holiday placemats or hang them on this year's tree. NestaUSA has some amazing cards this holiday season. I send my old cards to a wonderful St. Jude's program where children at St. Jude's Hospital earn money by creating new holiday cards from old cards. You mail your cards to St. Jude's Card Recycling, 100 St. Jude Street, P.O. Box 60100, Boulder City, NV 89006 - mail them USPS bound printed matter and they will be inexpensive to ship. And since it is the time of year when our mailboxes are stuffed with paper almost daily - get yourself taken off catalog mailing lists that you do not use. Call the Direct Marketing Association Mail Preference Service at 1-212-768-7277.

If we each make it our goal to eliminate that trash bag full of gift wrap this season - just imagine how this effect will snowball. Let's give the gift of an empty space in that landfill where our trash would have been!

1 comment:

Marci B. said...

Wow - I am so inspired. Thanks for so many great suggestions!