‘Tis the season…It’s the season for giving. And receiving, opening, returning, and exchanging lots of gifts and packages. No matter what the celebration, i.e. holidays, a job promotion, or just plain old treating yourself, the holiday sales make it hard to say no to gift giving.
This joyous season brings with it the inevitable trash pile. You know, that moment after all the cocoa has been drunk, the snow has fallen, and the gifts have all been opened when you realize there is a mountain of boxes, bows, packaging peanuts, and wrapping paper in your living room. It comes with a sort of ease of cleaning, though, and we are all guilty of wrapping our arms around the entire pile, walking unsteadily to the garbage, and tossing it. Ok, sometimes the boxes make it to the recycling bin, and in rarer cases, they are put away in the crawl space to be reused next year, because not all heroes wear capes.
There is a better way to gift.
Many of us are guilty of being wasteful this time of year, especially when there is so much convenience around it. Thousands of tons of packaging waste is produced in December alone from online orders and trips to the mall, and we don’t think twice about throwing away boxes and packaging that could be easily recycled, reused, and up-cycled. It’s time to turn these wasteful holiday norms into sustainable opportunities. As providers and suppliers of packaging goods, we want to help change the way we “unbox” our holiday gifts. When it comes to packaging, and anything in worthwhile in life, United Packaging believes there is always room for improvement. Even our slogan, “There is a better way,” upholds this message.
It’s time to Unbox Better.
There are dozens of ways to be more sustainable this holiday season. Everyone can be a part of the solution. Here are some great, easy ways to reduce the holiday waste and still have a seamless holiday season.
1. Reuse boxes for gifting
Boxes can be easily reused from year to year, especially strong corrugated boxes that are used to getting beat up in the delivery process. You will be hard pressed to find someone who cares about the box in which their gift comes. Extra Tip: Save the packaging from your online orders to use as gift boxes.
2. Opt for unwrapped presents
This trend is popular with wedding and baby showers, but we think it should be transferred to holiday gift-giving, too. Unlike boxes, it’s much harder to reuse gift wrap because it is often destroyed in the unboxing process. If you have little kids in your family, you get it. Opt for unwrapped gift-giving this year for a less wasteful holiday.
3. Use recyclable gift-wrap
If not wrapping your gifts is not an option, try using recyclable paper and/or paper that is made from sustainable materials. Instead of trashing it all at the end of the day, you can feel good about recycling it.
4. Add a charitable donation to your wishlist
It’s great getting new stuff, but it’s greater to give to those in need. Instead of buying another pair of shoes, donate your time or money to a good cause.
5. Put a price limit on gifts
Avoid excess gifting (and packaging) with a price limit on your holiday gifts. This helps reduce waste, and also remove any pressure from friends and family to spend too much on one another.
6. Do a White Elephant
This is in conjunction with #5 above. The idea is that each person only buys one gift, regardless of how many people are at the party. Unfamiliar with White Elephant? Click here to learn about it. To be really sustainably savvy, do this in addition to the unwrapped presents tip (#2).
7. Shop local, shop small, and shop sustainable
Support local, family-run businesses instead of the conglomerates this year. Buy gifts made from sustainable materials. You’ll be giving back to your community without much effort, all while giving awesome gifts in the process. It’s a win-win.