Wednesday, November 05, 2008

Eco-Friendly Gift Giving

Lately I have been very conscientious about how much waste goes out into the environment. Although supermarkets and other stores are finally getting the message and not supplying so many plastic bags, people are still not getting the whole fact that they are the ones causing the problem, not the stores who are just going on the whole supply and demand thing.

There are so many little things we do in everyday life that contribute to the downfall of this planet. While going through the supermarket check out about a week ago, I had a conversation with the girl behind the counter. I was purchasing an extra carry bag with a cute picture on the outside. She asked if I would like to use it along with the rest. "No, I am going to use it as a gift bag", I said. "Oh, its cute" she replied. "But, I prefer to wrap things nicely. I always keep the paper when I receive a gift and recycle it in my craft work. It really irks me when people just tear open the wrapping".

Now while I sympathised with the poor girl, I could not help myself and had to ask " So how many trees do you think have to die for people to wrap presents?" The poor kid looked mortified! But she thought about it all right to the extent that she looked a little ashamed. "Why don't they teach us that in school?" she said. Hmmm, well, Im sure they do teach kids where paper comes from, surely? Around here, all it took was me walking past a big row of boxes and boxes of xmas wrap and casually saying "I wonder how many trees had to die to make this paper?" Dinoboy immediately frowned and replied "A lot mum". We then went on as a group discussion and it was decided that we would not be buying any this year!

It only takes a comment here and there for kids to work out things for themselves. And of course leading by example. If they see you doing the right things by the environment, they will follow. There are so many "little" things that you can do, that in the long run make a VERY BIG difference. So what can you do to help?

Firstly ask yourself before placing things in the garbage, "Can this be re-used?" A lot of what we throw out can. eg. glass jars, plastic jars or containers, pieces of string or ties (those ones that they seem to think all toys need a million of, these are great for use in the garden). Try to buy products that have the least amount of packaging or even better, none!

In the gift department, here are just a few.........

* Don't wrap gifts at all.
* If you must, how about a gift bag? If you do not write in the tags they can be re-used
* Or buy an eco bag and put the gift in it. (If its a childs gift there are heaps of cute ones available now and the kids can use the bags for outings, sleepovers etc.
* For adults....wrap in teatowels or fabric for crafty people.

Any ideas?????

Remember, every little thing we do helps! Make our planet a better place for our children!


Vickie said...

Hey, I just had to comment on what irks me. Almost any store you go into now has the canvas bags you can purchase or you can even make your own bags to use. I have a lot of those bags and use them at every store I go to. I also use them for other things like putting my crochet into or a couple weeks ago using them to put stuff into for our camping trip. The thing is I rarely see anyone else using them. And there has been many times that I have had my bags and the cashier will just look at them and roll their eyes. They don't like the inconvience of having to bag things into them from what I am told.

And I agree with you looking at all the paper wondering how many trees had to come down just for the Christmas season alone.

Take Care :)

Cazzie!!! said...

I have been known to use tea towels, pillow cases and my children's art work as wrapping for gifts. I like there to be a personal touch to it aswell as saving the environment. A hair tie is used for a bow, or a strip of material that can be used to make something else, like a trendy bandanna or belt :)

swampy said...

When I was teaching in the public school, and the objective was "graphing"...The title of my assignment was:
"How many of you let the water run while you brush your teeth"
Sub title: "You do brush your teeth, don't you?"

Anyway, we first identified the problem and graphed how many in the classroom did that...then I had them measure and graph how many gallons of water ran down the drain...then, we surveyed family members and graphed that...

Then we all signed a contract to NOT let the water run while brushing teeth...then we graphed how many gallons of water we saved.

Awesome Lesson Plan if I must say so myself.

Love the wrapping paper story. I must say, I'm guilty of wrapping many of our gifts, but in my defense, I do re-use most of it.

Don't forget this web-site that won't show up as a link, but all you have to do is Google Catalog Choice.

Thanks for reminding us that we are using up our Children's Planet.

Beckie said...

Karisma - great post, great ideas. I couldn't agree more. I'm going to work on using less wrapping this year. I try to reuse gift bags for birthdays, but Christmas wrap is always a waste.

Karmyn R said...

I think you have the perfect idea - buying a cute canvas, reusable bag to wrap a gift in....that makes it 2 gifts in one.

Also - if the kids are going to be making art - instead of "recycling" the artwork, use it as wrapping paper. Grandparents love this.

Kila said...

Large, cloth reusable bags, tied shut with a bow, would be pretty. Kind of like the large sack Santa carries around ;)

Spider63 said...

Nothing like bringing down children in order to save a tree.

You did your good deed for today!

Mel said...

I have a tote full of gift bags that I re-use over and over. Tissue paper as well, Christmas wrap gets folded and placed in a recycled quilt (plastic zipper bag)bag and placed in the Christmas decor tote. I save the bows or make my own, each year according to colors used in decorating our tree I make my own bows Yes, with twisties as I call them, saved from bread bags. I save the inside plastic wrap from cereal boxes and reuse them for cooking (breading meats, veggies, they work great) they also work for crushing bread crumbs or crackers. The ideas are endless, but, think before you toss...

Hugs, Mel

karisma said...

Vickie: That is the whole point! It irks you so lead by example. Lots of people around her are using the eco bags now out of habit. And even a couple of local stores have stopped supplying plastic bags!

Cazz: Yep we have used artwork as well.

Swampy: Yes you are awesome!

Karmyn: Yes the kids get just as excited over the cute bag! GB's pressie was wrapped in a blanket the other day. He loved it.

Beckie: Thanks

Kila: Great ideas!

Spider63: Bringing down children is not my way! My kids are hardly suppressed, they have choices and hopefully will grow up to make them wisely! I don't see how instilling a love for their planet brings them down! Unless you are talking about the check out girl who was around 22, hardly a kid.

Mel: Yay! Your good habits are what I was really trying to get at. Just by being conscious of what you are throwing out or saving is a start. Most people have absolutely no idea!

CatHerder said...

I wrap gifts in leftover newspapers that i handstamp...if theyre for the home i recycle them afterwards as well. I just cant seem to bring myself to buy paper or cards, because i know theyre just going to be tossed.

FlaxandSpindle said...

greta ideas!! I have received gifts in tea towels and just loved it!!

City Mouse said...

Come back!

Girl About Asia said...

I've been concerned about the same thing for a while and I try and gift using the Japanese art of Furoshiki. All you need it a 17 inch square of fabric and a preferred technique.

You can read more on my post :)

Fashion and Lifestyle|Designer Clothing said...

Thats very true. There are a lot of ways on how you can wrap your gifts.Thank you for these wonderful tips.