Although the Holiday season hasn’t officially hit (I know its not even Thanksgiving), its never too early too start thinking about environmental ways to approach the season. It is estimated that almost 25 million tons more waste is created during the holidays than over a typical ten-week period. The extra waste amounts to 25 million tons of garbage, or about 1 million extra tons per week!

If every family reused just two feet of holiday ribbon, the 38,000 miles of ribbon saved could tie a bow around the entire planet. If every American family wrapped just 3 presents in re-used materials, it would save enough paper to cover 45,000 football fields. The 2.65 billion Christmas cards sold each year in the U.S. could fill a football field 10 stories high. If we each sent one card less, we’d save 50,000 cubic yards of paper.

So enough of statistics! Here are some tips to be more environmentally conscious when wrapping presents:

Instead of using wrapping paper, get in the habit of wrapping your family presents in cool fabric and ribbons that you reuse every year. If you’re super crafty, make cloth sacks out of fun fabric and ribbon closures or knit one. Thrift stores often have great options for inexpensive fabrics. Get creative!

If you do use wrapping paper, try to buy only recycled options. Fortunately attractive options exist! One of my favorite companies, paporganics, “sustainable stationary and gift wrap” sells beautiful gift wrap and all the trimmings (hemp wrap, gift enclosure cards, natural ribbons and gift tissue). savitris makers of handmade recycled paper products also sells gorgeous gift wrap that i would drool to get a present wrapped in. BuyGiftPaper.com sells inexpensive recycled wrapping paper in solid colors ($12.95 for a 24″x100’roll) and KidBean sells recycled hemp wrap.

Use recycled craft paper to create your own recycled wrap with interesting stamps or sponge painting

Make sure to recycle all wrapping paper when possible, but check first with your local recycling program to make sure they accept conventional wrapping paper. Most conventional wrapping paper contains a high content of metal and is therefore not accepted by most programs. When not using recycled wrap, try not to buy the metallic wrap because of this reason.

Make your own wrapping paper by recycling ordinary items from your house. Colorful magazine pages, the comics, wacky personals pages, phone book listings all make interesting and unique wrapping materials. Make a collage and use that. Why buy paper when you can just reuse something cool you already have?