Zero Waste Gift Giving

Whether it is someone’s birthday, anniversary or just a celebration of any kind we automatically think of the best gift for them. In an effort to reduce waste and live a zero waste life we must take into consideration the waste that is produced from gift giving.

If you must give a gift, let us talk about wrapping it.  Wrapping paper in the U.S, alone create over 3 million tons of trash each year!  Also, most wrapping paper cannot be recycled because it’s dyed and or laminated.  So in an effort to reduce waste, we can purchase a beautiful box as your gift box. Not only is it a great option to avoid waste they get a second gift that they can use as well.

If you do choose to use wrapping paper, I personally love using the comic section of my newspaper, or any newspaper really that is neat looking. If you do not buy newspapers, you can usually get one for free at the end of the day from most small stores. Simply ask the clerk if you can have one of the newspapers they are about to throw away, I have been successful 8/10 times when asking. However, if this is not an option that appeals to you I found plantable biodegradable wrapping paper that is beautiful!


If you have to give a card, I have always enjoyed making my own.  If you are giving to a family member and you have a child/children,  have them make a drawing or watercolor painting and write a note on the back.  There are also biodegradable cards and cards made from recycled paper. I have also found cards that have seeds embedded in the paper!

There are other options instead of  giving someone a physical gift that they may or may not use.

Some options for experience gifts are…

  • concert tickets
  • tickets to a play
  • movie tickets
  • taking them out to eat
  • a museum tour
  • a zoo membership
  • a museum membership
  • an adventure such as skydiving or river rafting
  • a class they would enjoy such as art or cooking
  • payments to extracurricular activities such as swimming or karate

…better yet you can join them!  

It is proven that the memory of an experience is not only more important, but that they will likely never forget it!