Waste less this holiday season!

With the holidays already on their way, it’s important to keep eco-friendliness in mind. The amount of waste generated by the holidays is huge. Traditional wrapping paper, bows, ribbons, and gift bags aren’t recyclable, and most times, not reusable. In addition to gift wrap, gifts are often tossed within the first few weeks of receiving them. In Annie Leonard’s movie Story of Stuff she discovered that only one percent of gifts given last beyond the first six months of receiving them. Which means over the month of December and carrying into the New Year our landfills overflow with unnecessary garbage. It’s something we should all work towards reducing, and eventually eliminating. Here are some ways to celebrate the holiday season while reducing your waste impact!

Alternative gift wrapping:

One of the most popular alternative gift wrapping techniques is furoshiki, a traditional Japanese method using cloth. By wrapping gifts in cloth, you reduce your waste of unrecyclable gift paper, and can reuse the furoshiki for years to come. Any cloth can be used as furoshiki; repurpose some old sheets, blankets, table cloths, scarves, or miscellaneous fabric and voila!

Check out this video by HGTV Handmade on how to wrap gifts furoshiki style: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iTrip8N9GR4

Reusable bags are another great alternative. You can make your own bags or even just use ones from stores! If you aren’t big on sewing, why not try making t-shirt bags? We had a t-shirt bag making workshop at the 2018 Halifax Fix-it Fair, check out some pictures below:

Our third alternative is to use recyclable paper wrapping or bags. Things like newspaper, old maps, and brown paper bags are all great ways to wrap gifts. Plus, you can design the wrapping paper or bag however you like! Perfect for kids and creative-folk alike.

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Sustainable gifts:

  1. Experiences:

Giving gifts can be stressful. What do people want that they don’t already have? Giving eco-friendly gifts may help relieve some of that holiday anxiety. Instead of gifting tangible items, why not gift an experience? Give your loved ones tickets to a concert, movie passes, gift certificates to their favourite restaurant, store, or spa. Most of these certificates can be shared online, which eliminates more unnecessary paper use!

  1. Homemade:

Make gifts! Bake someone their favourite holiday treats, make some homemade freezable meals, knit a scarf, and so much more. Not only will these gifts be useful, they also come from a place of sentiment which is always received warmly.

  1. Time:

If you don’t have any creativity skills to offer, why not gift some time? People always appreciate someone’s time, especially when it helps them out! Offer to babysit, help move, volunteer for their favourite cause, or help them paint their living room! As the saying goes, time is money, and time as a gift may be the most priceless of all!

  1. Eco-friendly shopping:

If you’re going to buy gifts, the best thing you can do is buy locally. Supporting your local economy is important, especially during the holidays when everyone is looking to big corporations for the cheapest and fastest gifts they can get last minute. Our local businesses often get over looked when we’re shopping, but some of the most unique items come from them! Or, try shopping at local thrift and consignment stores! Whatever you buy, ensure its quality. Gift items that are useful and will last!

Check out our Fix-it Fair 2018 vendor list to find some local artists or repurposers to buy from!

  1. Re-gifting:

Re-gifting may get a bad rap, but it’s an OK thing to do! Have an old table that someone you know would love? Give it to them! Any old items you have that are still good quality can become great gifts. But, make sure you let them know it’s a re-gift.


Technology is booming right now, so why not take advantage? Send out your holiday cards through email! Not only will you ensure they get delivered on time, you also won’t unnecessarily waste any paper or photos. However, don’t feel guilty sending family and friends who are email-less a card in the mail. It’s all about reducing your impact as much as you can, take small steps if you need to.

Happy holidays from the Fix-it team at Clean!


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