After my daughter was born, we had a huge supply of gift bags. Most of them were pink, but we had our fair share of gender neutral and holiday bags, too. It’s been over three years, but I’m almost finished using them for gifts.

Honestly, it felt like my stash would never be gone. When I got close to the end of my pile, I started thinking about how I would wrap presents in the future. I did a little bit of research on the web and found some startling statistics about gift wrap.

Wrapping paper, from an ecological point of view, is a pretty worthless use of trees. Each year in the United States, 4 million tons go from logs to landfills to make wrapping paper and holiday shopping bags, according to the Clean Air Council, a Philadelphia-based nonprofit organization.

Once I got past the shock of 4 MILLION TONS EACH YEAR I read something even more unsettling. You know how some people throw wrapping paper into their fireplace?

Decorative wrapping paper, much of which is made in countries such as China that have looser environmental regulations, can contain lead, synthetic inks, plastic film, chlorine or metal-based foils, which release toxic and carcinogenic compounds into the air when burned. Metallic paper may or may not have a greater environmental footprint than other types, but it’s certainly not meant to be inhaled. Who’s most vulnerable to this indoor pollution? Children, whose systems are still developing.

You may be able to recycle gift wrap depending on where you live, but metallic accents, glitter and too much tape can make them un-recyclable. Plus, if it’s unsafe to burn, is it really safe for your child to be tearing it apart?

handmade fabric gift bag

So, I’ve resolved to only use fabric gift bags and plain recyclable paper going forward. I really like how my first fabric birthday bag turned out. Does anyone want to make this resolution with me? There are some great ideas to inspire you over at That Little Bit Greener.

resource: Quotes taken from this Washington Post article.

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8 Responses to gift bag resolution

  1. Amy says:

    I have way too much wrapping paper that I’m trying to use up. So, at least for future Christmas gift wrapping, I’ll be buying those paper boxes from HL and Modge-Podging my favorite papers to the box. This way I’ll be able to reuse them for years to come.

  2. Sarah M says:

    I hate wrapping paper, and haven’t bought any for years. We only use gift bags that I’ve received from baby showers (and yes, every once in awhile, a grown adult might get a baby bag, but at least we match the gender, lol!). Once they’re gone this will be all we use, too, since it is all we use for Christmas.
    See you Wednesday,
    Sarah M

  3. Kelly says:

    I’m in! We have several gift bags that get re-used quite a bit, but we’re down to those tall, narrow wine bags now. lol I love the purple bag you made. One thing is certain: I have plenty of fabric to do this!


  4. Charity says:

    Such funny timing – just yesterday I was off to a “post-Christmas party”, and had two gifts to wrap. I ran down to my studio, and whipped up a couple of little bags, that looked very similar to yours! :o) Nice to know I’m not on my own on this one…

  5. Sally says:

    Now I have a reason to make more bags. I love making & giving them :). I had never thought about the chemicals on paper. Thanks for the info.

  6. Tricia says:

    Thats a great resolution. I’ve been giving gifts only in fabric reuseable gift bags or my daughters artwork for a whie now. I’ve had a few friends think the gift bag was the gift. LOL!

  7. […] friends by hand, and I thought it would be fun to have her make wrapping paper for the gifts, too. Fabric gift bags are great, but sometimes kids just need to rip […]

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