Choking on Wrapping Paper
I’m in a stage of life where I have a slew of family members and friends who have birthdays, weddings, baby showers and anniversary celebrations, and they’re all happening one right after the other.
As I wrapped a present for a friend’s wedding shower a few weeks ago, I noticed just how much waste went into the presentation of the gift. There is the box for the gift with the packing peanuts inside, the wrapping paper, the tape, the ribbon, the gift tag, the card and the envelope. As I folded the edges over the box and stuck on the last piece of tape, I sighed. Once again, I am a student environmental reporter and can’t stop the madness of consumerism that is ruining our planet.
Besides the high volume of wrapping paper and paper products I had to use to present the gift, the gift itself was also (most likely) harming the planet in its production, delivery and storage. But how can this madness end?
More than half of the paper products that Americans use each year comes from wrapping and packaging use. Most of the time, the wrapping paper has products within it or large amounts of tape that make it so that it cannot be recycled.
So what’s a consumer like me with a million gifts to give this season to do?
One of the most important steps a consumer can take is to recycle their wrapping paper. Or, better yet, use newspaper or re-used paper bags to wrap the gift. It’s not as attractive, but with creativity, the gift can still look presentable.
Buy environmentally-friendly tissue paper and tape that can be recycled or is made from recycled products. Also, avoid bows and ribbon that can clutter the gift and the landfills.
But if just cutting back on your wrapping paper use or using recycled products isn’t enough for you, try to give environmentally-friendly gifts. Chances are, if there is a lot of packaging involved, the planet isn’t being helped by the gift. All of that plastic packaging will end up in landfills or the ocean.
So when the seasons of your life roll around with a lot of gifts to give, don’t forget to remember your planet. It will appreciate not being dumped into by huge amounts of wrapping paper, tape and packaging.