Christmas waste is a problem.
It’s Christmas morning, everyone’s unwrapped their presents, and there is a veritable mountain of wrapping paper and plastic packaging to get rid of. As you stuff it all into a giant trash bag and put it out with all the other bags of holiday waste, now’s the time you’re probably thinking about how much waste we accumulate during the merry season.
And what an incredible amount it is! According to Zero Waste Canada, Canadians only use about 1 percent of the gifts they buy within 6 months of Christmas. All those joke socks and empty chocolate boxes have to go somewhere, which is most often the landfill. Now we know Northerners are great at repurposing diamond-in-the-rough dump finds, but our waste habits have not been improving over the years.
So, how to avoid adding to this garbage monster without nixing presents altogether? One easy way to not only reduce the waste we produce, but also save you money is by changing the way we think about packaging and gift wrapping. See just a few ideas we have below!
1: Spend a little time researching the materials your gift is shipped in.
Our gift wrapping and shopping bags alone generate about 545,000 tonnes of waste each year. Add shipping packaging to that and we shudder to think of all the plastics and non-refundable items that end up in landfills, the ocean, and our food chain, taking hundreds of years or never to break down.
As part of our mission to offer you a more sustainable option (both environmentally and socially), the Yukon Soaps Company uses the Better Packaging Co. We love these folks’ commitment to closing the loop and offering creative, compostable alternatives to your usual bubble mailers and plastic bags. Plus, their dirt bags go hand in hand with our dirty girls. ;)
2: Choose gifts that don’t have all the extra fuss.
Some good questions to ask yourself:
- Is the product itself wrapped in plastic?
- What kind of plastic--single use, biodegradable, or recyclable?
- If it uses recyclable material, is that material recyclable in your town?
- Is it a material that you can reuse in your own home?
Glass jars and little cloth bags are useful for SO many things and can be used for future gifts too. We suggest any of our soaps, which come in mini cloth bags that can be repurposed for storing jewellery and bits and bobs, herb sachets. [a]
Or, try a gift that’s already wrapped itself! New to our store are felted soap kits with all the tools you need. Each kit comes with two soaps, enough wool to felt them both and instructions. They’re a great gift for anyone crafty, or you can use it yourself to make personalized presents for your pals.
3: Wrap it with some creative flair!
Ditch the wrapping paper this year and opt for useful and reusable materials like a pretty hanky that reminds you of someone. Hint: if you’re getting soap, a soft washcloth would be a handy wrapper and addition to the gift. Check out this furoshiki gift wrapping tutorial by Badges for All.