Friday, 25 January 2019

Another Post-Christmas Post

Does anyone else try to save Christmas wrapping paper to re-use? I don't exactly resent buying wrapping paper, the part I hate is that it is a single-use item. Most of us have lived in a time of such abundance that we fail to recognise the environmental cost of manufacture, we only look at the financial cost of the item. 

Toying with the idea of fancy shaped gift tags...

So much of today's Christmas paper incorporates plastic and glitter (which is minute bits of plastic) and this prevents it from being re-cyclable. So on top of the natural materials, like trees and petroleum by-product, the dyes and the energy required to heat, cut and otherwise fuel the mechanisation of production, if the paper isn't able to be re-cycled into more paper or toilet paper or something, it goes to landfill, where the plastics take hundreds of years to decompose. All that for a single, brief, decorative function. It seems a ridiculous waste to me.

So I provide large bags and ask Bill's kids to place any paper or ribbons they don't wish to keep in them. I know at least one of them (I'm not naming names) takes great delight in crushing the paper into as small a ball as possible. This person is a lovely individual, but their lifestyle is an environmental nightmare. One good thing is that if the paper can be crushed and remains crushed, at least it is probably re-cyclable as plastic won't stay crushed.

I've used brown paper wrapping and fancy re-useable bows for years now. Also, bottle and other shaped paper bags seem to circulate a lot around here. I tend to punch a hole in the bags between the handles and pull a ribbon through to tie the top shut. If the item is too big to allow this, I put tissue paper in the top to hide the item. You won't be surprised to find a save any tissue paper that comes my way. 

This is the second year that we've had food hampers as a major gift exchange. If we are lucky, we get a hamper back at some point. Sarah gave Bill her Christmas hamper re-filled with items for his 70th birthday, which I thought was clever. When we buy these things they come with enormous sheets of clear plastic, another silly single use piece of garbage. I managed to rescue one this year for re-use. Our sheer curtains (cream-coloured) in the front room are due for replacement. Fabric exposed to sunlight over time will break down. The old curtain is enormous and I'm hoping to use that to wrap future hampers, perhaps with any rips repaired with Christmas-coloured mending or patches. We'll see how that goes.

This year when I processed my bags of wrapping paper in several stages. The largest pieces were ironed on a low heat and wrapped around a tube. Decent pieces that were too small to be likely useful got cut up into A4 (letter-size) sheets or A5 (half a letter-size) sheets. The former for making into notebooks, the latter for scribbling notes, grocery lists or possibly smaller notebooks. The odd shaped smaller pieces were stapled together in bunches and put into a kitchen drawer for the same. 

The ragged bits of paper went into the paper recycling; the plastic stuff into the trash. I was pleased to see only two small waste baskets full of trash out of four very large bags. 

An idea I've just run across in collecting ideas for our WI craft group, is Swedish hearts. They can be made from many things but I thought Christmas patterned paper might make cute tree decorations. I'll show them to you if I do make some....OK, that sounded a bit lame to me, so I took the time to do this. It's a bit fiddly but completely do-able. I used this lady's instructions but didn't find her template and my hand drawn one wasn't proportionally (at least I think that was the problem).  This free template has four 'tines' instead of three, which was no problem at all, but it is a bit larger than I might want for ornaments; that said, larger is probably easier for learning. Apparently, you can also make Swedish stars, but I will leave that for another day.


Unknown said...

I admire the lengths you go to to recycle wrapping paper. I thought that I did well by recycling gift bags (I am aware that the lavender gift bag you used for my birthday present has been recycled at least twice!), ribbons and bows (at least some of which have already been recycled by you!), Xmas cards which I reuse on gift bags made from Hotel Chocolat paper bags and as gift tags, and tissue paper. This last Xmas I sorted the recyclable wrapping paper from that which could not be recycled and disposed of it in the appropriate refuse bin. It slightly amused me to think of you ironing wrapping paper. It takes me all my effort to get round to doing the clothes ironing!

Shelley said...

Hi Vivien - I do love that you 'get' my eccentric ways in up-cycling stuff. I've never much minded ironing and with paper it only gets a 'lick and a promise' anyhow.