Every year the U.S. spends 8 million dollars on wrapping paper. It makes my head hurt just to think about how much of that ends up in the trash can. Many types of wrapping paper aren't actually paper but actually plastic or at least lined with plastic to create that shiny look. Because of that, many local recycling facilities don't accept wrapping paper or gift wrapping in their curb-side bins. So before you buy a new roll of plastic gift wrap, consider using some of the following more eco-friendly methods.
Decorate your own paper
You can make really beautiful and fun wrapping paper by just taking an over-sized roll of standard paper and decorating it. Fun craft projects can include using fruit and vegetable stamps to paint on designs or drawing on holiday themed quotes. By using standard paper, you guarantee that it is recyclable in the paper bin.
Wrap using poster paper
Many craft stores will sell post paper on rolls that you can cut to the size you need. Try purchasing a sheet of red and green poster paper to wrap gifts this year! They make a simple design and are recyclable with standard paper.
Use reusable gift bags
Gift bags have been around a long time so they make a very familiar wrapping. Make sure though to collect them at the end of the day to save for the next occasion. With a small set of decorative bags, you can get through the whole year without ever needing to recycle or throw out any paper!
Collect newspaper comics
If you don't feel like decorating plain paper yourself, newspaper comics make great wrapping - and are fun to read! Since newspapers are already delivered to your house, it is a great way to use up something already headed for the recycling bin.
Close with paper tape
Even though the tape holding the paper together may seem like a small thing, it is still plastic. Instead of using traditional tape, opt for water activated paper tape. The paper tape is completely recyclable so it doesn't add plastic to the recycling stream. Keeping a roll of this kind of tape around the house will help minimize plastic use in many other areas as well!
And above everything, save what you can! Keeping wrapping paper, tissue paper, and bags for the following year is the best way to reduce your impact. Reuse, reuse, reuse!