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Green Living Blog: Eco-friendly gifts and gift wrapping

Canadian Living
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Green Living Blog: Eco-friendly gifts and gift wrapping

Green Living Blog logo After reading this post, don't forget to enter our contest – you could win a new dishwasher. Plus, do you have your own story to tell? Send it to greenchallenge@canadianliving.com (no more than 300 words, please), and you could win one of 30 daily prizes. On any occasion with lots of gifts, I can't help cringing at the mountains of gift wrap and packaging left over, not to mention the cards, envelopes – and the gifts themselves. I'm a strong believer that gift-giving has gotten excessive in our society, and it's rarely eco-friendly. But there are a number of ways you can lessen the environmental impact of gift-giving at holidays and birthdays. Ask for less. People often bring gifts and cards to birthday parties or holiday events because they feel it's expected of them. Worse, these are the times when we buy gifts because we have to buy a gift, not because we come across something we think a friend or family member will really care for – resulting in extra "stuff" for the giftee that they may not want. Make it easy for people by making it clear when gift-giving – or even card-giving – is not necessary. • Provide alternatives. If you know people will be bringing you gifts, let them know that eco-friendly gifts (consumable items are always a good choice) will be appreciated. Or with close friends and family, suggest alternatives to traditional gift-giving, such as a group dinner at a nice restaurant, group-purchased larger gifts (that the recipient really wants), or a gift draw or secret Santa so that each person has only one gift to purchase. • When giving a gift that you're not sure about, provide the receipt. Then, if the recipient doesn't care for it, they can return it rather than having it follow the closet-storage-garage sale-landfill route. • Give homemade when you can. You'll avoid the environmental costs of packaging, manufacturing and shipping while giving a gift of yourself. • Give services rather than things. For your sister, how about a massage? For families with kids, gift cards to the movies or other events are a good pick. • Cut back on the wrapping. Reuse old paper. When you must buy new, try to find it recycled. Wrap gifts in reusable gift bags ( here's a pattern for some you can sew) or boxes ( try this origami gift box). Or get creative with ripped-out magazine pages, scraps of fabric or anything else you have around the house. • Buy eco-friendly. Support local businesses; choose gifts with little to no packaging. Buy presents made from recycled, reclaimed or sustainable materials, instead of plastic. What are some of your tips for cutting down on gifts, and choosing gifts that are eco-friendly? Today's code word: gifts. Read more: • 19 eco-friendly gift ideasWhy organic roses?Help the environment in just 10 minutes a day
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Green Living Blog: Eco-friendly gifts and gift wrapping

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