Friday, December 13, 2013

Wrapping It Up Eco-Style This Holiday Season

This season, Clean Ocean Action is offering tips on how to green your holiday. Here is the fifth of twelve in COA's '12 Days of Green Giving' series.

By: Catie Tobin, COA Ocean Advocacy and Education Fellow

It may seem difficult to keep up your holiday spirit up this season while staying environmentally cautious, especially while wrapping presents, shopping at malls, or sending out your holiday cards, but it’s a good thing that there are quick and easy ways to ‘go green’ this holiday season!

Sites, such as Eco Cycle, Pinterest, and Tree Hugger, give great suggestions on how ‘going green’ this holiday season is affordable, eco-friendly, and easy! The perfect way to start is wrapping  and packing eco-style. Wrapping paper adds a variety of colors to your holiday d├ęcor, but why use single-use wrapping paper?

Utilize comics, posters, old calendars (there are only a few more days left in 2013), maps, blueprints, fabrics, or cloth gift bags to wrap this year’s holiday gifts instead. This is a great opportunity to not only be eco-friendly, but to personalize the wrapped gifts for that particular person. You can even make a game out of it on Christmas morning: have your loved ones find their gifts based on which type of wrapping resembles them the most! For example, if you have a cousin who loves to travel, wrap all of their gifts in recycled maps, or an uncle who loves to go boating and fishing, wrap his gifts in recycled fishing nets or pages from a boating magazine. Be creative!

Another great way to be environmentally friendly this holiday season is to bring your own re-usable bags holiday shopping. Clean Ocean Action has a re-usable, recycled bag made from recycled plastic just for you! This is a simple and easy way to avoid using plastic shopping bags and help the environment! 

Choosing holiday cards which can easily be recycled is another useful tool that can help you ‘go green’ this holiday season. While sending e-cards is an environmental solution, they can get lost in people’s inbox and may not seem as personal. If you prefer to send out holiday cards via post office, choose cards without non-paper embellishments like foil or ribbon, and look for cards that contain post-consumer recycled content. Don’t worry, you can still send around a photo with your family rockin’ their holiday-best sweaters, but why not do it in an eco-friendly manner? Sites such as Greener Printer and the Gallery Collection will allow you to do just that. Now go and get the camera ready and say ‘eco-friendly’ as the light flashes!

There are so many ways in which you can be environmentally friendly without lessening your holiday cheer. Start a new tradition this year and watch as these ideas remain a holiday favorite for years to come. 

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