2011-12-22 / Local & State

Ways To Reuse Holiday Gift Wrap

Now that the holidays have come and gone, it's time to pack away the decorations, take down the tree and haul large bags of trash to the curb. If much of that trash filling garbage bags is discarded wrapping paper, there may be better ways to put the paper to use.

The gift wrap industry earns roughly $2.6 billion in retail sales each year. Tons of paper trash is generated from the gift wrap people use to conceal gifts for Christmas, Chanukah and other special occasions throughout the year. As much fun as all the different patterns of wrapping paper can be, gift wrap is a relatively unnecessary bit of decor, purchased with the intent of being ripped away and discarded.

There are many ways that wrapping paper can be reused or recycled. Here are a few to think about.

1. Save some scraps of paper to use for children's art project at school and home.

2. Use in scrapbooking or as an inexpensive matting for photos.

3. Wrap other presents in paper that has been preserved well.

4. Shred the paper and use it as filler in packing boxes or as a decorative filling for gift bags.

5. Use bits of paper to make gift tags.

6. Employ origami and use leftover gift wrap as your paper of choice.

7. Line shelves or drawers with the paper to protect surfaces.

8. Make decoupage holiday decorations for next year.

9. Crumple up the paper and use it to stuff into tall boots so they keep their shape.

10. Trace the pattern of an envelope on the paper and cut out your own envelopes for little notes or holiday greetings for next year.

11. Buy a reusable coffee cup that enables you to change the insert. Use a piece of gift wrap to change the design.

12. Cover a holey bulletin board with a piece of gift wrap for a festive look.

13. Find out which types of paper can be collected by curbside recycling and wrap it up with your newspapers.

14. Add some wrapping paper that's free of harmful dyes to your compost heap.

15. Use paper to line a bird cage.

16. Give paper to the kids to play with. Chances are they can come up with many other great ideas.

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