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!