Q4 Theme: Small Steps, Big Impact
October: Green Up Laundry Day
November: Get Political
December: Sustainable Wrapping
One of our community’s favorite challenges is back! This month, we’re asking you to embrace the seasonal sparkle – sustainably.
It’s that time of year when we shower our friends and family with tokens of love. This year, let's focus on giving in ways that don’t conflict with our planet-positive ideals. Gifting mindfully offers an opportunity to introduce loved ones to important social and environmental topics, financially support brands you respect, and steer your community towards Earth-first lifestyles.
But it’s not only what’s in the package, it’s also how it’s wrapped!
The most wonderful time of the year is also the most wasteful. Americans create 25% more garbage between Thanksgiving and New Year’s than any other time of year! That equates to an extra 1 million tons of trash produced each week.
A lot of holiday waste comes from gift-giving. Americans spend billions of dollars on gift wrap each year. The majority of wrapping paper, ribbons, and gift bags are not recyclable. The glossy finishes or styles adorned with glitter are destined for landfills. About 2.3 million pounds of wrapping paper ends up in a landfill every year.
For December, challenge yourself to gift wrap sustainably. Get creative, share photos, and take reels to send to us!
In lieu of traditional packaging:
Something from Home
We’re talking tote bags, pillowcases, blankets, towels, cloth napkins, scarves, t-shirts – you name it. This is an especially solid option if you’ll be there when the gift is opened. No need to generate waste, just reclaim that special wrapping accessory afterwards!
To maintain the ‘wow’ of a perfectly packaged present, try the Furoshiki fabric wrapping method - a traditional Japanese wrapping technique that takes mere seconds. Scrap fabrics serve as an excellent medium for this beautiful packaging style.
Dip into your stored gift bags from holidays past or old shipping boxes. Try repurposing newspapers, magazines, chocolate wrappers, food tins, paper grocery bags, etc. If the gift was shipped to you, try keeping it in its original shipping materials. You can always add a little extra flare.
Recycled paper exists! We know it does, because we use it. Instead of creating new waste, elect for something that’s been recycled back into usable paper. Not only is this an Earth-positive choice, it also supports industries that are investing in recycled goods, which can change market behaviors for the better.
It’s not gold star quality, but it’s way, way better that adding fodder to the landfill. The traditional glossy, laminated finish makes gift wrap not recyclable, and the same goes for paper with a metallic, glitter (aka microplastic), or textured finish. Ribbons, bows, and holiday cards are also not accepted at recycling centers. Including any of the above in a bin with other paper products might make the entire batch not recyclable.
Natural Festive Touches
Rather than a shiny plastic bow, go au naturale with tree branches, cinnamon sticks, herbs, fallen leaves, dried orange slices – whatever you can sustainably source in your area.
Take a photo of your eco-wrapped gifts and send to us through the Ambassador Work Submission form for 50 points! If you share a post or reel, tag @happyearth – we love to feature your work!
Don't forget: You can always earn more points by picking up trash!
We award 40 points per pound of trash cleaned up (with photo evidence) - so get out there, clean up the planet, and earn some free Happy Earth merchandise!