By Annika Prom | Dec 17, 2019
Simple gifts with brown wrapping paper

Winter break and the holiday season are in full swing, leaving most people wishing for a white winter. What if you made it a green winter instead? From gift ideas for someone special to cleaning up after the new year, here are five tips for being more eco-friendly this season.

All wrapped up: Gift wrap can contain non-recyclable materials, meaning a portion of it ends up in the garbage. You can reduce waste by wrapping gifts with reused materials like fabric, brown paper, and newspapers. Make the switch from adhesive tape to washi tape, which is often reusable. For extra flair, you can wrap twine and yarn around your gifts instead of bows and ribbons.

Shop green: Reduce your carbon footprint through buying second-hand or thrift shopping. Americans send more than 10 million tons of clothes to the landfill each year. Thrifting helps prevent this pollution and is easier on the wallet, too. UW has many second-hand stores nearby in the U-District. In order of increasing distance from the West Campus dorms are Crossroads Trading, Buffalo Exchange, Lucky Dog on the Ave, Goodwill, Red Light Vintage Clothing, Lucky Vintage, and Valley of Roses. 

Encourage sustainability: Consider gifting eco-friendly items that are handy, multi-use and customizable. Put a personal touch on your gifts by getting artsy: Decorate reusable water bottles with fun stickers and paint pictures on plain tote bags. Or think about gifting experiences rather than stuff - tickets for a performance, gift certificates for a spa, lessons for a new hobby or tree certificates.

DIY goodies: Channel your creativity by gifting something homemade, which often uses fewer resources than a purchased equivalent. If you have a knack for baking, you could make treats and package them in a glass jar that your recipient could later repurpose.

Packing up the holidays: At the end of the season, think about recycling your holiday decor. See a list of places in King County that will recycle your unused light strands here and find out where to “tree-cycle” here.