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Claire Moshenberg's picture

Wrapping up your holiday shopping? It's time to start wrapping and sending out those gifts! Try these top five green (and easy!) shipping tips:

Green shipping options: When you’re shopping online, pay close attention to your shipping options. Many companies now give you the option to ship goods with less packaging and to bundle packages into one shipment. Find out if this is an option by searching online or placing a quick call to a company’s customer service line.

Think local: Shipping gifts to far flung locations? Look into local stores in those neighborhoods and towns. Some locally owned stores will put items on hold for you so you or the recipient can pick them up, or will hand deliver them, which minimizes the fuel used to transport your gifts, and the amount of packaging necessary to deliver your gift.

Wrapping and shipping your own gifts? Make green choices when it comes to these three commonly used items:

  • Bubble wrap: Reduce your plastic and styrofoam consumption by skipping the bubble wrap and packing peanuts. Replace these traditional, toxic packaging options with recycled alternatives. Recycled fabric makes an attractive and effective replacement: Wrap and cushion breakables in clean fabric by cutting old clothing into fabric squares. Switch out your packing peanuts with crumpled recycled newspaper, calendar pages, magazine pages, or any paper non-personal paper (no leftover mail or bills) on its way to the recycling bin.
  • Tape: Packaging gifts can require a lot of tape, so make sure you’re choosing the safest kind. The Green Guide recommends stocking up on PVC free tape or recycled gummed paper tape. And remember, when that flurry of gift opening is over and it's time to gather up and recycle the wrapping paper, tape interrupts the recycling process. Make sure to remove all tape from leftover packaging and paper that you recycle this holiday season.
  • Ribbons: According to The Green Guide, 38,000 miles of ribbon get thrown every year. Don’t add to the pile! Recycle ribbon from old gifts or search your local thrift stores for ribbons and bows. If you want to buy something new, choose raffia or hemp twine instead.


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