When it comes to green gift wrapping, some men know a thing or two.
“I don’t know if it’s because I’m environmentally friendly or because I’m just a guy, but I wrap a lot of presents in newspaper,” said Brad Reynolds, a lecturer on environmental science at the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga and faculty adviser for the student group EDGE (Ecological Decisions For a Global Environment).
Brown paper bags are another compostable choice, said EDGE president Elizabeth Southall, a 20-year-old environmental science junior at UTC. “You can decorate them yourself, and if you have kids it’s a good way to get them involved,” Ms. Southall said.
American’s trash pile typically increases during the holiday season. But if every United States family reused only two feet of holiday ribbon, 38,000 miles of ribbon could be saved. Each family wrapping three gifts each in re-used materials would save enough paper to cover 45,000 football fields, the Use Less Stuff nonprofit anti-waste group reports.
Gifts can be wrapped in comics, maps, thrift store fabrics, silk scarves, children’s drawings or artwork from old calendars, suggests the Center for a New American Dream, a Takoma Park, Md. responsible consumption nonprofit.
In a classic thrifty move, gift bags, boxes, bows and ribbons could be carefully saved for future years. The Reynolds house boasts a closet full of reusable bags and bows. But don’t just recycle paper, Mr. Reynolds said. Try to reuse it first. Each trip to the landfill avoided helps the environment. A perfectly wrapped gift would require no wrapping at all.
“Any time you reduce or reuse, it cuts down on the need to produce and buy new items, which cuts down on the amount of recycling you do,” Mr. Reynolds said.