Saturday, 22 December 2018

10 Waste-Less Gift Wrapping Ideas

You've read our previous post and have made the choice to do some waste-less gift giving this year, wonderful! However, there is still the sticky point of wrapping those gifts. In addition to the waste created from product packaging, there is also waste created from gift wrapping. Luckily, we are here with some great waste-less gift wrapping ideas for you!

1. Wrap with fabric

Wrap your gift in a tea towel, reusable bag, tablecloth, doily, scarf, belt or bandanna. The fabric can also double as a gift. You can also use scrap fabric leftovers from other projects or find some at the Reuse Centre or a local thrift store.

Photo by Joanna Kosinska

2. Basket or a container

A basket or reused container can also form part of the present and can make a gift look lovely. You can add recycled paper and tie it together with a bow. We have many different baskets and tins available at the Reuse Centre for a one-stop shop!

3. Newspaper or other reused paper

Look around, and you'll likely find an assortment of paper waiting to be recycled. Your recyclable paper can be used in the traditional way to wrap gifts, then add any decorative touches you want. If you have a traveler in your family, a paper map makes for great wrapping!

4. Recycled brown paper

This can be a great option if you're looking for something more traditional because it's made from recycled products already and can be recycled again. The neutral colour and plain pattern means you can make it as festive in any style you want. Try adding some ribbon or lace to the bag. Using decorative stamps would also work well on the plain paper.

Photo by Samuel Holt

5. Wooden ornaments as gift tags

This is yet another wrapping item that doubles as a gift. Finding locally made wooden ornaments or even just cutting some fallen branches into small segments can make for a unique and thoughtful gift after the unwrapping is done.

6. Foraged greenery

On your next winter walk, look down and see if there are some pine branches or pine cones that have fallen from a tree. This greenery can add some festive cheer to your gift wrapping and the items can be composted or left in your yard to decompose naturally after you're finished with it.

Photo by Caley Dimmock

7. Make your own bows

If you have some old magazines laying around they can be turned into beautiful gift bows! The only thing you need for this is the magazine and some double sided tape or a glue gun.

9. Old Christmas cards

Cutting used Christmas cards into fun shapes creates instant gift tags! The Reuse Centre has a number of used cards available, if you don't have any at home.

10. Make your own gift box

Maybe you need a gift box but don't have anything other than some cereal boxes on hand? This post from Instuctables will help you make a gift box out of a cereal box. You don't need anything more than scissors, a cereal box, and a glue gun!

Let these ideas inspire you to wrap those presents without giving the gift of excess waste.  Have other innovative wrapping ideas? Share them in the comments below!

- Krista (Staff)

Monday, 17 December 2018

Festive and Holiday Vase Decor

The Reuse Centre recently hosted a drop-in crafting activity where participants made Winter Scene Tealight Holders. The pieces of art that were created during this session were stunning, and we just couldn't resist sharing them with you.

Most participants opted to stick to the original project, and designed their own tealight holders using decorative beads and ribbon but there were a few people who thought outside the box and used their vase/candle holder to create beautiful winter and holiday scenes, sans tealight. Here were some of the creations.

Photo Credit: Tessa M.

Photo Credit: Tessa M.

 Photo Credit: Vanessa

Photo Credit: Vanessa

Want to create your own festive vase for this holiday season? Here's a quick tutorial to get you started. One added bonus, all of these items are available at the Reuse Centre.

  • Glass vase, candle holder, or other type of glass jar
  • Table salt
  • Small holiday or winter figurines and ornaments
  • Artificial greenery or floral type material 
  • Ribbon 
  • Glue gun and glue sticks 
  • Any other accoutrements that you like (i.e. sequins, bells, glitter, beads etc.)


1. Ensure that your vase or container is clean. Once you start to add items, it will be difficult to wipe off dust or fingerprints.

2. Fill the bottom of your container with salt. A 1-2 inch layer should be enough, but you can add more or less, depending on how much "snow" you want in your scene.

3. Once you've added your "snow", start creating your winter/holiday scene. I'd recommend placing larger items in first and then working the smaller items around them. Try experimenting by adding some glitter to your snow. And don't be afraid to trim down your artificial greenery and floral material to create little trees or shrubs. A great part of this project is that you can put items in and take them out relatively easily, so you can create exactly what you're envisioning.

4. When you've finished creating your scene inside of your container, try adding some ribbon or other items to the outside of your container. Just a word of caution, adding too much to the outside may make it difficult to see your scene on the inside. Pay attention to what your scene looks like from eye level and not just the top.

Taaa-Daaah! You're all finished!

Interested in attending our next crafting session? Be sure to follow us on Facebook to find out about any upcoming drop-in crafting activities and workshops.

- Vanessa (Staff)

Friday, 7 December 2018

Waste-Less Gift Guide

The holiday season is upon us, snow is on the ground and lights are on the houses. It's a wonderful time of year to show people what they mean to us. The holiday season is also a time of year that we create a lot of waste. The Edmonton Waste Management Centre sees twice as much waste in the last weeks of December compared to all other weeks in winter.

Here are some gift ideas to show how much you care, while also minimizing your waste this holiday season! Share these ideas with your family and friends too and we can all have a "green" Christmas!

1. Give experiences instead of things

This could be tickets to sporting events, movie tickets, attraction passes or classes. In a study on the Science of Happiness, Cornell University's Dr. Thomas Gilovich determined that we get longer term happiness from experiences over material possessions. By giving the gift of an experience to your loved ones you are not only reducing waste but giving more lasting happiness. A win-win in our book!

Photo Credit: City of Edmonton

2. Gift cards

These could be gift cards to stores you know the person loves, or gift cards for an experience that a person may not buy for themselves, such as a massage or a spa day. Purchasing a gift card helps to remove the risk of someone getting an item that they may not use and may end up in landfill.

Photo Credit: City of Edmonton

3. Re-gift or give pre-loved items

We need to remove the stigma around re-gifting or giving previously loved items. Second hand stores and buy and sell sites offer many interesting and unique gifts that still have a lot of life in them. Giving these items is a great way to reduce your environmental impact this season. It also helps support local charities and businesses. The important thing to keep in mind, much like all gift giving is to match the item to the recipient and make sure it's something they would want and use.

4. Handmade Items

Gifting something homemade is a great way to show you care because you took the time and effort to create this one-of-a-kind gift. There are a number of things you can make, such as bath products, kitchen seasonings and spice mixes, children's toys, home decor, the list goes on! Bonus points if the packaging is reusable or second hand. If you're searching for some inspiration, we have a number of ideas on our Pinterest page!

Photo Credit: One Good Thing

5. Charitable Donations

Some people on your list may say they don't want anything. This can be a tricky situation, since you may still want to acknowledge them at this time of year. A donation to a meaningful charitable organization is a great way to let someone know that you care while still respecting their wishes.

Hopefully, this list will give you some inspiration to give green and save green this holiday season! Stay tuned for our Waste-Less Gift Wrapping post.

- Krista (Staff)