It’s the most wonderful time of the year according to many a Christmas carol and seasonal slogan, but it isn’t so for the environment. While we celebrate the festive season with gift-giving, grand family feasts and other jolly activities, the environment suffers at our hand, absorbing a huge influx of waste, both biodegradable and not.
New research from Australian bank ING has put a number on the waste produced by Christmas, and the results are shocking. One in five Australians leave gift-wrapping until the last minute, and 54 per cent admit to feeling disappointed when they received a gift they won’t use. An interesting insight consider 75 per cent of Australia admit they don’t use the gift they receive for Christmas.
We’ve been taught to reduce our use of single-use plastics as much as possible, so why aren’t we reducing the single-use Christmas gifts we’re giving?
According to the research, $8.7 billion is spent on gifting during the festive season, and $512 million is spent on wrapping paper. Just how much of that is going straight into landfill? It’s time to put an end to wasteful gifting, and purchase gifts that give back to society - something nearly half of Australians 47% would like to do more of.
With that in mind, ING bank has partnered with one of Australia’s best gift wrapper, Megumi Inouye, to come up with some more eco-frienly ideas to reduce your impact on the environment this Christmas.
“I’m excited to be a part of ING’s Dreamstarter initiative to help Aussies wrap up gifts that give, while attempting to reduce waste over the holiday season,” says Megumi, who has come up with five easy yet effective ways to wrap gifts in a sustainable way that makes reducing waste easier during the festive period.
1. Consider the person you’re buying for, so you’re not wrapping up a gift that goes to waste.
“A little bit of thought put behind a gift and how you wrap it can make all the difference. Try and find a way to make wrapping the gift extra special, such as making a card out of an old photo or reusing the same card each year for each other and dating it, to avoid this unnecessary waste.
2. Repurpose paper with unique designs for a splash of colour.
“Given that Aussies throw out $282 million worth of wrapping paper is each year, it’s important to try and reuse wrapping materials where possible. Everyday items such as scrap fabrics, cloth napkins, buttons and bottle caps can all be repurposed into gift wrapping material. I also try to keep cards, invitations, theatre programs or anything with beautiful graphics, as they can always be used as accent pieces on the gift, or made into gift tags.”
3. Keep a hold of ribbons and strings gifted to you.
“Ribbons are colourful and festive, so throwing them out after one use would be a waste. I like to repurpose old ribbon as adornment pieces to plain gift wrapping or make a new topper design with them.”
4. Leave a little to the imagination.
“It's a misconception to think that the entirety of a gift needs to be wrapped to be considered as gift wrapping. It’s sometimes nice to give a hint of what the gift could be. For example, I often place books in a paper sleeve and only cover the title portion. Alternatively, a wine bottle need only be partly covered with a message to be a considered a thoughtful gift.
5. Create your own packaging.
“I like creating my own packaging material from recycled paper. It's not only sustainable, but the different shades of colours can make for an artful presentation. Put old colourful wrapping paper, magazines and newspaper in the shredder and use it as packaging material.”
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