Gift-giving advice: Avoid unnecessary wrapping to reduce trash


As shopping for gift items hits frenzy level as Christmas nears, a waste and pollution watch group urged the public not to make the cheerful tradition of gift-giving a sad one for environment due to the thoughtless use and disposal of gift wrappers.

“Gift-giving can generate a lot of discards that, more often than not, go straight to the bin. Instead of keeping them for the next gift-giving, we find gift boxes, wrappers, and accessories habitually tossed into the dump,” said Daniel Alejandre, Zero Waste Campaigner, EcoWaste Coalition.

“Gift-giving need not dirty and pollute our environment with more garbage. With a little creativity, we can make our gift-giving tradition less wasteful and less stressful for Mother Earth,” he pointed out.

To conserve resources and cut on gift wrap waste, the EcoWaste Coalition has come up with some suggestions to avoid the purchase and ensuing disposal of gift wrappers and trimmings this merry season.

1. Choose gift items with less packaging or require no wrapping.

2. If wrapping is needed, opt for substitute wrappers such as magazine pages, Sunday comics, potato-chip packs, etc.

3. For tying, go for abaca and other native twine, strips of scrap fabric, etc.

4. To protect fragile items from breakage, try crunched or shredded paper in lieu of bubble wrap or foam peanuts.

5. Make use of brown grocery bags, shoe boxes, tin cans, empty jars, etc. as gift receptacles.

6. Upcycle old clothes, fabric scraps, spare scarves, orphaned socks, and old pillows into gift wraps.

7. To embellish recycled gift packs, use unwanted fashion accessories, old cards, magazine cutouts, dried leaves and twigs, etc.

8. Try Furoshiki, the Japanese art of wrapping, using vintage scarves or fabric scraps (check the Internet for free tutorials).

9. Put an unwrapped gift into a reusable cloth bag, which can be reused as a carry or shopping bag.

10. Refrain from putting wrapped gifts in plastic bags.

11. Cut and turn old Christmas cards into gift tags.

12. Carefully unwrap gifts and save the wrappers, ribbons and bows for the next gift-giving.

Another idea is to altogether drop gift wrapping and to just ask the recipient to close her or his eyes for a few seconds and then reveal the gift as it is.

The EcoWaste Coalition had earlier called for a plastic-less celebration of Christmas and New Year holidays, so as not to aggravate the country's ballooning waste production of over 40,000 tons per day.

For a plastic-less Christmas and New Year, the group offered the following tips: 1) bring reusable bags and containers on your trip to the wet market, tiangge, department store or shopping mall, 2) refrain from buying over packaged products, 3) avoid disposable cutlery (spoons, forks, knives) and crockery (dishes, plates, cups), 4) give plastic-free gifts, and 5) opt for home-made reusable holiday decorations.
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