For most of us, the holidays are a great time of year. We get to spend time with friends and family and look back on what has hopefully been a year full of successful achievements. We also get the enjoyment of giving our loved ones gifts. However, most of those gifts are wrapped in paper or plastic than quickly take a toll on the environment if we’re not careful.
Many families go through the joyous act of exchanging gifts only to have created a giant mound of torn wrapping paper when everything is said and done. The world is currently in a crisis when it comes to recycling, so any chance to reduce packaging waste this season is one that shouldn’t be passed up.
Earlier this year, China announced that in less than a month it will no longer accept plastic waste products from other countries. Up to now, China has taken more than 70% of the waste created in the United States alone. Sadly, the U.S. hasn’t done much to increase the number of recycling centers or processes, despite knowing that this block from China has been coming for some time now.
It’s not too late to do something on the individual level, though. Here are some ways you can reduce packaging waste this holiday season.
First off, try to buy gifts that don’t have any packaging in the first place. It’s not always easy to accomplish, but picking up used items from second-hand stores or antique shops is one way of doing it. If you buy something new, refuse to take a bag or box from the store once you pay for it.
When it comes to wrapping your presents, consider using old wrapping paper, newspapers, or buying reusable cloth gift bags, just like you should be using when you go to the store. If you simply must wrap presents with fresh paper, consider just wrapping the kids’ gifts. Also, ensure you’re buying recyclable wrapping paper (not all paper is recyclable!).
Most importantly, talk to your family friends and see if you can get them on board with reducing packaging waste, too. You won’t be able to save the planet single-handedly, but if we all work together, we just might be able to put a dent in the recycling crisis.