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Your Guide to Green Holiday Gifting

Does it seem like each holiday you can’t find the living room because of the piles of gift wrap, tissue paper, and gift boxes? But how much of that makes it into the recycling bin, or worse, the landfill?”

Our seasonal gifting advice will ensure your days are merry and your holidays green.

Whether it’s the holiday season or any other time of year, sustainability starts at the cart. When you’re searching for that perfect gift, please consider:

  • Encouraging minimal gift exchanges such as a secret Santa or white elephant gift experience.
  • Reducing waste by giving an e-gift card or reloading an existing gift card.
  • Gifting an experience versus a physical gift. These may include concert or event tickets, massages, spa packages, or entrance passes to parks or landmarks.
  • Getting crafty and creating do-it-yourself gifts such as centerpieces, apothecary containers, etc. These can also be personalized so that the recipient is incentivized to use the gift versus tossing it.
  • Select items with packaging that is recyclable.
  • Shopping with your reusable shopping bag.
  • Recycling boxes from online purchases as gift boxes.
  • Giving rechargeable batteries (with the charging station) for toys that require batteries.
  • Shopping sustainably – today, more brands than ever are using recycled materials to create their products. Look for items made with ocean plastic, reused fibers, or recycled paper.

Once you’ve made your list and checked it twice, it’s time to wrap that perfect gift. Please consider:

  • Purchasing wrapping paper made with recycled materials that will also be recyclable. Many cities and towns accept non-metallic/glitter wrapping paper. If your community does, toss that paper in the recycling cart after you open your gifts.
  • Reusing tissue and wrapping paper. If you elect to use tissue and wrapping paper, reuse it. While it may seem cheap or tacky, why waste paper that is perfectly salvageable? If you find that reusing the paper won’t work for gift wrap, consider using it for art projects (e.g. paper flowers, pressed paper on canvas) or table decorations for your holiday table.
  • Wrapping gifts in gift bags. These are the gifts that keep on giving. Simply place a “Green it Forward” note inside asking the recipient to keep and reuse the gift bag. Pass the bag and note along to the next recipient.
  • Giving existing materials a second life as gift wrap. These can include newspapers, magazines, and bags. Pro tip: The funny papers are terrific for children’s gifts.
  • Saying no to extras such as gift tags, tissue paper, and bows. Unfortunately, these items are not recyclable.
  • Decorating packages with fresh greenery or holly, which you can later compost.
  • Using cardboard shipping boxes as gift boxes. These can also be wrapped to use as faux gifts for added decor around your home.

The most wonderful time of the year is also the perfect time to recycle where you work, live, learn, and play. There’s no time like the present to recycle more, better.

For more holiday recycling tips, tricks, and year-round recycling resources, visit recyclingpartnership.org.