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October 2014 QUOTE OF THE MONTH: “We do not inherit the earth from our ancestors, we borrow it from our children.” - Native American Proverb
December 09
Gift Wrapping--the Green Way!
Aiman Arif, California Virtual Academy, Fremont
World Wildlife Fund Fights for Endangered Animals
Amanda Nguyen, San Ramon Valley HS, San Ramon

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Gift Wrapping--the Green Way!
By Aiman Arif
Grade 11
California Virtual Academy
Fremont, CA

It’s that time of year—the holidays! Spending, wrapping, buying, gifts, food…but along with all that comes abundance of....waste! Wrapping paper from holiday gifts is largely to blame for a 25 percent spike in curbside trash volume between Thanksgiving and New Year’s Day (EPA). While you’re keeping your house neat and tidy through the holidays, don’t forget to make sure you keep our bigger home—Earth—clean as well! Keeping the environment in mind, here are some eco-friendly gift wrap ideas. These brilliant ways to wrap your gifts in merry and bright eco-friendly wrapping will surely warm hearts but won’t heat up Planet Earth!

•   Reuse! Save gift wrap, bows, ribbons, boxes, etc from gifts you receive and reuse them. Use them to wrap other gifts. And, most gift wrap is wonderful for origami and can be turned into amazing artwork!

•   Instead of gift wrap, give gifts in pretty gift bags. These are more easily reused than gift wrap since they’re not instantly torn open. Or, even better, reuse shopping bags, and add your own artistic style. Some colorful raffia or hemp twine tied around aluminum foil balls adds a festive flair. Simple and superb!


•   Make your own colorful cloth bags. All that’s needed is some colorful felt or thick bright cloth and some needle and thread. Even fabric glue works! Here’s a simple and green way to make great bags! Sweet and thoughtful! And of course, reusable!


•   This gift wrap will make the recipient pause for a thoughtful moment before that “Ah!” moment of tearing into an irresistibly wrapped gift: Take a simple brown gift bag or a solid colored/white paper. Wrap/bag the gift, then write interesting quotes on it with a marker. Or, even better, a poem hand written in bright colors. Even stenciled holiday decorations or hand paintings add a unique and personal touch.


•   Or are you looking for something more lighthearted? Reuse comics from the newspapers to wrap the gift to give your recipient a good laugh before even opening the gift!


•   Eco-friendly filler: Use paper that’s shredded from the shredder. Or, use biodegradable packaging peanuts (if you’re shipping gifts) made from corn.


•   Make the wrapping a part of the gift: A bucket or watering can is easy to fill with gardening supplies, and a mixing bowl or stockpot makes the perfect package for your favorite cook. Or perhaps use a beach towel to artfully wrap beach supplies, or a cute baby blanket to wrap baby stuff, all tied with a pink or blue ribbon. Creative and cool!


•   Gift Baskets are great, too! You can find an array of cute wooden gift baskets or tins at your local thrift store!


•   Some of the best decorations for your gifts can be found in backyards, beaches and fields. Sprigs of berries, branches, shells and pinecones are naturally beautiful and don’t require any manufacturing at all … just a short hike. Old silk flowers or fresh decorations from your backyard make great embellishments, too!