Throughout history, Christmas gifts have been depicted in fancy wrapping paper and gorgeous ribbons. They’ve been portrayed in movies, magazines and advertisements to look extra alluring every Christmas. The image of pretty Christmas gifts has been ingrained in our heads so we really can’t blame ourselves for wanting our gifts to look attractive on the outside. First impressions count anyway, right? True BUT hey, let’s get with the times and be more critical about the wrapping paper we use.
Plastic, Films and Foils
Not all wrapping paper can be recycled. In fact, the majority of gift wrap contains plastic, films, and foils. Furthermore, after the paper gets dyed, it’s laminated and manufacturing companies may include other non-paper additives such as gold and silver shapes and glitter. Though these non-recyclable wrapping papers are pretty, they’re also pretty harmful to the environment.
Choose Recyclable Wrapping Paper
Because certain gift wrap cannot be recycled, they are left in landfills to decompose. This act of decomposition alone takes decades! Hence, it adds to the large pile of rubbish and more raw materials are taken from rainforests to recreate these non-recyclable items. Moreover, bits of it will creep into wildlife habitats and endanger the ecosystems. You wouldn’t want an animal to mistake this non-biodegradable material as food, right?
But if you REALLY must wrap your gifts, before you choose your wrapping paper, put it through the scrunch test!
- Scrunch up the paper in your hands and let go.
- If the paper stays scrunched up, it CAN be recycled.
- If the paper unfolds on its own, it most likely contains non-recyclable materials. Pick a better choice.
Burning Wrapping Paper Contributes to Global Warming
While fireplaces aren’t a familiar sight in Singapore, some homes overseas have working fireplaces. To fan the flame (pun intended), people would toss wrapping paper into the fireplace after opening their presents. You’d think that this is one way to solve the trash issue but no, it doesn’t work. It’s actually dangerous!
Because of the plastic and dyes found in wrapping paper, toxic gases are realised into the atmosphere. They’re not only non-recyclable, but they’re also toxic! So keep these embellished wrapping papers away from flames and you’ll keep your family and the environment safe!
Look for Eco-friendly Alternatives
As you brainstorm for eco alternatives to wrapping paper, we’ve got these suggestions:
- Switch to reusable gift bags. You can purchase some here.
- Try out the Japanese Furoshiki technique. Watch and learn how to wrap your gifts in fabric here.
- Reuse recycled paper. Reuse newspaper, old magazine pages and maybe even actual recycled paper to wrap your gifts. Draw on them to make it more personal!
As you dress up Christmas gifts for loved ones, always remember to think twice and ask yourself if your actions are heplful to the environment. Choose eco and go green!