With all the gift buying, packaging, wrapping, shipping, greeting cards, and eating, it is not hard to see why our garbage volume increases by 25% over the holidays. Here are some other (frightening) gift-giving statistics (based on USA):

  • 4 million tonnes per year of wrapping paper and shopping bag waste (ULS)
  • An additional 1 million tonnes of waste per week generated during the holidays (EPA)
  • 2.6 billion greeting cards are bought each year (CalRecycle)
  • 33 million live Christmas trees are cut down each year (EPA)
My plastic Christmas Tree – going 10 years now

This was the first year I have ever really thought about holiday waste. I made an attempt to curb the waste I generated but this is definitely an area to improve upon in the future.

Here is what I did:

  1. I exclusively re-used gift-bags and tissue that I had saved from previous years. No new wrapping was bought. I also saved any bags from gifts I received to be used next year.
  2. Three of the gifts I gave were used (shh). Bonus was that I saved money too.
  3. I gave one ‘adventure’ instead of a material item.
  4. Two of the gifts I gave were homemade and therefore had zero packaging.
  5. I made sure all packaging from gifts received was properly recycled.
  6. Three gifts were purchased from local sources.

One issue I think I am going to have moving forward is that as much as I try to reduce waste on gifts that I am giving, it is much harder to control gifts that I (or especially my toddler) receive.

Am I going to be that awkward person who saves wrapping paper?