Tuesday, December 27, 2011

What to do With Leftover Wrapping Paper

The holidays are over and not only do you have a fridge full of leftover food but you've probably got a lot of wrapping paper too, from gifts you've received.

So, what can you do with leftover wrapping paper?

1) Recycle it. Make sure to remove the tape or other items that might impede the recycling process. (Remember, some paper is dyed, laminated and/or contains non-paper additives like glitter and plastics which cannot be recycled.)

2) Save it for next year. If your wrapping paper isn't ripped up, it can be reused again!

3) Shred it. Shredded paper is often used as puppy and kitten bedding in animal shelters. Call your local shelter to see if they'll accept your shredded paper as bedding!

4) Pack it. Use crumpled or shredded wrapping paper to pack fragile items away for storage (like Christmas ornaments!) or when sending items through the post.

5) Litter! It's not what you're thinking... some papers can be turned into kitty litter. Here's a tutorial! 

6) Compost it. Some papers can be composted (note: glossy, heavily inked papers cannot) - here's how

7) Get crafty. Plenty of decoupage and paper mache projects can come directly from your used wrapping paper!

Happy New Year!

Monday, December 5, 2011

Wrap it Up!

The holidays are just around the corner, and I'm sure that just like us you've got a mound of presents that are just waiting to be wrapped and put under your tree. My thought this holiday season is: how do I not contribute to the wasteful use of paper? Last year I remember passing by trash bins overflowing with wrapping paper after Christmas, telling myself that I would find more creative ways to wrap my gifts. It seemed like a sad after-effect of the holidays - to boot, most gift wrapping can't be recycled, and those that can be recycled generally aren't. According to Eco-Chick.com, if every American family wrapped just three presents in reused materials, it would save enough paper to cover 45,000 football fields.

So, reused materials. I've found some great ways to wrap of those gifts in style to make them the prettiest and most eco-friendly presents under your tree.

Wrap it with fabric! Perfect for smaller gifts, especially jewelry boxes.  Remember, fabric can also come from old tee-shirts or sweaters.
A doubly-useful gift? Use a scarf!
Maps! They're colorful and fun. Try comics and newspaper too!

And make your own bows! If you have leftover wrapping paper or even just old magazines, you can create these beautiful bows very easily!

Here's a tutorial on how to make these super cute spiky bows

And one on how to make the "standard" bow  

If you must use wrapping paper, please make sure it's recycled. Here's some tips on wrapping paper from Earth 911.

Happy wrapping!