18 December 2011

Step Down Sunday – Christmas Wrapping

Step Down Sunday This week’s Step Down Sunday was nearly late, as I was so wrapped up with presents last night! I adore Christmas, but you have only to see a bin bag full of torn wrapping paper on Christmas morning to realise it’s a bit wasteful.  But as always Step Down Sunday isn’t about giving up our well loved traditions; it’s about finding new sustainable ways to do them.

One big problem with wrapping paper is that there are several reasons it often can’t be recycled (recyclenow.com):
  • It often has metallic foil, glitter or added plastics
  • Some wrapping paper is very thin so doesn’t hold many good quality fibres
  • And then there is the all the sticky tape!
First we started looking for recycled gift wrap that didn’t include these additives...but we didn’t find much. The John Lewis website claimed to have some, but when we inspected the packaging in person there was no mention of it being recycled. We decided to go back to basics and buy plain kraft paper that could be recycled (and isn’t dyed). We found Flexocare Kraft Paper at The Range and our local post office. I was quite impressed, it’s made from 100% recycled material and just a £1 a roll. It comes in two widths, so we bought several rolls of the 500mm wide (6m long) and just a couple of 750mm wide rolls for those extra large presents (2.5m roll). I quite like it plain, but if you find it a bit drab you can always decorate the paper yourself.
Kraft Paper Christmas Wrapping
Unfortunately we have a huge supply of curling ribbon, so while it’s not eco-friendly we are going to use up the ribbon we already have. In the future we hope to switch to raffia ribbon or recycled string as a sustainable alternative.

It was only while I was searching for other eco-friendly craft supplies, that I discovered there is such a thing as eco-friendly sticky tape. Cellulose tape is made from a wood pulp, so it is bio-degradeable. Turns out that unlike the US, here in the UK we have easy access to eco-friendly sticky tape – Sellotape! They even get their wood pulp from suppliers with extensive reforestation programs. (Treehugger)
The pulp is made using a process, which is elemental chlorine free and does not harm the environment. At the Sellotape factory, the hot melt coating technology we employ minimises the use of solvents. Any solvents that are used are processed through our Thermal Oxidiser and recycled with the resultant heat being used in our drying ovens.
Recyclable Gift Bag
In The Range we also found recyclable gift bags! I’m not hugely fond of gift bags, but through our extended family they do get used over and over. So while made from virgin material, these pretty bags from Tom Smith can be used several times before being recycled.
Fabric Gift Bags
Finally I made some fabric gift wrappers. I found some old material in the loft I used to use as curtains way back in University.  With a couple of quick seams I made something like a pillowcase.  It's perfect for wrapping awkward things (in this case big pair of boot slippers), which would use an awful lot of paper. We don't intend to use these with our family and friends, but the Mr & I will use them for years to come.

So there we have several ways to reduce the environmental impact of Christmas morning!

Do you have any sustainable wrapping tricks?

If you'd like the code for the Step Down Sunday badge or to learn more about it, go to the Step Down Sunday page.