Eco-Friendly Ways To Decorate Packages


Lots of people talk about not polluting the environment unnecessarily at holiday time, with all the items that are given and disposed of almost as quickly as they are received. It’s easy to talk about it, but doing something is entirely different. The following people have put their money where their mouth is, as the saying goes, and took positive steps to stop the needless waste.

Tessy Krammer used to make wrapping paper with her kids every year. She’d organize a “painting party”, during which she and her children would use sponges, brushes, and their fingers to create beautiful wrapping paper from old newspaper. It was a great family tradition that encouraged her children’s creativity. It made her sons very proud to see their wrapping paper being used, and everyone in her family treasured the unique works of art that the gifts came wrapped in.

Linda Stephen, public relations director with IWPR Group’s Lincoln, Nebraska office, who runs a speakers bureau with national experts on sustainable living, offered the following ideas she and her family have used:

  • Use the Sunday Comics for colorful, big wrapping paper.
  • Wrap small children’s gifts that will be opened at home in a pillowcase. It covers an array of shapes, and it provides easy access.
  • Wrap friends’ gifts in ‘fabric bags’ – reusable bags sewn out of colorful fabric. They’re great for everything from books to wine bottles.

Mark Rywelski, Account Coordinator at public relations firm CJP Communications, provided his family’s favorite tips:

“My family has been using these techniques for years, not because it’s trendy, but because we love the look and idea of it. I’m always a huge fan of reused, brown paper bags, and twine. It’s a throwback to yesteryear, and you can use the extra twine to bind old newspapers, boxes, etc. Spruce it up with some fresh foliage, a small twig, something with berries. Also, I love to wrap things in additional gifts: make “instant” soup, that’s packaged in reusable ball jars, or a kitchen item wrapped in a hand towel, or an apron. Newspaper is also a viable option, but non-traditionally. Don’t use it as wrapping paper; fold or roll it into long strips and use it as “ribbon”. Imagine using the shoelaces of a new pair of sneakers, or roller blades as a ribbon! It’s just looking at the everyday items that are around you, and thinking about them in a new way.”

Cori Keeton Pope, owner of Keeton Public Relations, said, “We tear the drawn-on paper off of our 2-year-old daughter’s easel and use it to wrap gifts for friends and family. It’s a great way to recycle the paper and is a fun alternative to traditional wrapping paper.”

April Whitney, publicist for Chronicle Books, came up with this great idea for wrapping men’s gifts: “I used to work next to an architectural firm that would throw out tons of old plans. I took the plans, which are sizable, and wrapped gifts in them. I used twine or copper speaker wire as the ribbon and made cards out of sandpaper. It came out so cool that the guys were more interested in the wrap than the gift.”

Keith Rizzi, a partner and creative director at Rizco Design, a firm that creates green designs, offered these thoughts about gift wrap recycling:

  • When purchasing wrappings in a store, select papers that have a high recycled content or are printed on Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) Certified Paper. Things to avoid purchasing are wrappings with foil stamping, laminates, or adhesive backing, as they are hard to recycle.
  • The fiber in high-grade paper can be recycled up to seven times. Unfortunately, according to the Environmental Paper Network, “16 million tons of high grade fiber paper from offices and printers go into landfills annually that could be recovered.” The bottom line is that whatever you use, make sure it gets into the recycling bin.

When you’re wrapping gifts this holiday season, think outside the box, and remember that you might be providing a gift that keeps on giving by staying resident in landfills for years to come. Is that the present you really want to give your children and your grandchildren?

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