One Green Thing: Dealing With Packaging

One Green Thing Strocel.comIt’s Enviro-Mama Thursday here on, and today I’m thinking about what to do with all that toy packaging. It’s my One Green Thing for December. If you want to know more about my One Green Thing for November, which was winterizing my garden, you can read my progress report from last week.

One of the things that I consider when I’m choosing Christmas gifts is the amount of packaging that the gift comes with. When you buy a tiny little toy that comes in a massive box, you wind up with a whole lot of trash on your hands. All the resources and energy that are used to manufacture and ship all that packaging literally end up in the trash. It’s wasteful and it isn’t good for the planet. That’s one reason that many “green” products come with minimal packaging, or none at all. It’s a way of reducing the environmental impact of the stuff you buy.

In spite of my best intentions, however, a whole lot of packaging comes into my home over the holidays. I can’t really complain about it – the packaging is a sign that my family is well-loved, and we’re receiving a lot of gifts. It’s also a sign that we have more than we could ever need. Still, I don’t like the idea that our celebrations are generating a whole lot of extra waste for the landfill. That’s why this December I’m targeting packaging.

Hannah checks out her presents

Here’s how I plan on tackling the Christmas packaging:

  1. As always, I’ll be keeping and reusing the gift bags and tissue paper that come into the house. By doing this I’ve been able to avoid buying new gift wrap for years now, and my presents still look pretty and colourful.
  2. I’ve just discovered that there’s a local business that recycles styrofoam. They don’t accept it in my community’s curbside recycling program yet, but it’s good to know that there’s something I can do with it if I’m left with some after the holiday is over.
  3. I will recycle all of the recyclable packaging that comes into my home, as always. I’ve got my eye on you, cardboard boxes!
  4. As I said, I will try to opt for gifts with little or no packaging when I can. This will just ensure that I’m not bringing extra packaging into my home myself.

These changes aren’t really dramatic, but sometimes little changes make the most difference, because they’re the ones we can stick with most easily.

How do you handle all the packaging that comes into your home over the holidays? I’d love to hear your tips and tricks! Also, if you’d like to get in on the act and take on One Green Thing of your own, I’d love to hear about it. Feel free to grab the button from this post if you’re blogging about it, and spread the enviro-love.

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  1. That’s awesome that you found a place that recycles styrofoam! We keep bins full of like items for the boys to tear into to make “recycle art.” Our librarian also loves to get bags full of interesting shaped packaging items to use as art projects with the kids during storytime.
    Michelle’s last post … Ten CookbooksMy Profile

  2. A place that recycles styrofoam?! Wow! Are you able to share the business name?

    I’ve been saving my styrofoam packaging to use for print making crafts with my students (I’m an elementary teacher). I also have a Christmas card display project that I want to make with my really big pieces (wrap it with fabric of choice, hang on wall or put on mantle or shelf then just pin cards to it).

    Despite barely making a dent in the massive rolls of Christmas wrapping paper we bought at Costco a number of years ago, this year I’m hoping to experiment with non-traditional wrapping. I’m going to wrap a present for my daughters with scarves that I’ve knit for them. And I’ve been researching ways to wrap using the traditional Japanese fabric wrapping called furoshiki. But that doesn’t make a difference in the amount of packaging we receive.

    Suffice to say, I feel your pain. That and as they get older the packaging gets a little less crazy.
    Christy’s last post … A Love of Bikes: UpdateMy Profile

  3. I like nontraditional wrappings as well. A silk scarf is good, or a cloth bag they can reuse for something else.

    I just canNOT convince my husband to carefully untape wrapping paper so we can save it. He always has to rip.
    Sheila’s last post … Evidence of HarmMy Profile

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