Thursday, December 22, 2011

4 ways to recycle your wrapping paper

As Christmas gifts are being exchanged...I find myself focusing on something other than the joy of Christmas.  Last night, my family had the first of many celebrations that will take place in the next few days.  I watched as packages were being opened, and all of the used wrapping paper was shoved into garbage bags.

I am not a recycling fanatic, but there are some things that bother me enough that I can't stop thinking about them. Instead of watching what everyone was unwrapping, I found myself focusing on the wrapping paper- appreciated for it's beauty one minute, and then suddenly it's being thrown's purpose having been fulfilled.

Or has it?  Could this wrapping paper deserve a second chance... a new role in life?

I have decided to start a page called "The Green Scene"- it will be dedicated to creating a new purpose for all of the things we so easily throw away. 

The first thing that is hopefully on it's way to a new and bright future is... wrapping paper!

Here we go : ) -

1. Colorful and child-friendly placemats

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If you have a large family with a lot of kids, like mine, this is a great idea to save your nice linens.  Find two larger pieces of wrapping paper and tape them back to back with double-stick tape. Then trim the paper down to 13"x19" dimensions. Take them to a copy store and have them laminated.  Now you have a place-mat that can easily be washed off, but is festive at the same time.  For very little expense, you can make place-mats for every occasion using the wrapping paper you were going to throw away.

Another option is to pick paper that would appeal to children on one side and then make the other side be for adults.  Flip them over to coordinate with whatever event you are having. 

2.  Create artwork for your walls by framing wrapping paper

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Whether you use a large piece of wrapping paper (above) or small pieces hung in a grouping (below), you can create quite a statement in your room.  Use Christmas theme wrapping paper temporarily or use a year round paper as a backdrop for your room.

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3. Shred your used wrapping paper for gift wrapping next year. 

For all of those creased and torn pieces of paper, that you may think there is no hope for, shred them in a paper shredder and use them as box or bag filler when you are wrapping gifts.  You could easily spend $2.50 on one small bag of bag filler, when you could make your own for free.

4.  Make next year's decorations using your discarded wrapping paper

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Cut strips out of your used paper and make a paper garland for the tree next year.  The more sturdy the paper, the bigger the loop can be.

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Using small scraps of paper, you could frame your favorite paper and hang them on the tree.

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Make 3d snowflakes to hang around the house or on the tree.  Think how pretty these would be using your favorite Christmas paper.  For detailed instructions click here.

Make a wreath using your wrapping paper scraps.  For detailed instructions, click here.

Try to think twice before you throw that festive wrapping paper away.  It still has the potential to make your world beautiful!

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