Life without Plastic

Wednesday, January 4, 2017

Christmas Reflections

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How did we do for a more zero-waste and plastic-free Christmas? Kind of crappy actually.
 Most of our gifts from family were wrapped in non-recyclable wrapping paper and sealed with plastic tape. Some of gifts we received weren't plastic-free either.

We received a gift card to a store we never shop at, UG1 received a cheap stuffed animal (yeah they're plastic too, unless you buy an overpriced organic one), and UG3 received some set of cheap stuffed animal things for babies, and an obnoxious nylon noisemaking baby book. I promptly put these toys in a box to be sold or donated at Kid-to-Kid (kid's thrift shop where you can get store credit or cash for used kids' stuff).

We traded in our giftcard for cash at a 17% loss to be used on Amazon to buy our hand-crank blender we've been saving for. It's very plastic, but I'm working on finding plastic-free replacement parts for as it breaks down.

We also received some gifts that were fairly plastic-free but were still poorly made and probably toxic. I personally have a chip on my shoulder against Melissa and Doug products as they are made in China of particleboard or balsa wood, painted with who knows what, and often include plastic elements to their wooden toys. I purchase unfinished hardwood toys on Etsy to avoid these issues and to get help with reducing packaging.

The gifts we gave were properly wrapped in reused folded brown paper we got over a year ago, some yarn we keep in a ball for tying up presents, and gift tags that are homemade on the back of junk mail. UG1 could easily unwrap these as an extra bonus.

One such gift was some homemade playdough dyed with food and separated with junk mail sheets in a glass jar. Super satisfying gift to give!

One of the zero-waste areas where I fail repeatedly is to speak up and clarify what we are looking for in gifts and how to package in a way that works for us. What are some ways that you have helped your loved ones reduce packaging waste and give more plastic-free and zero-waste gifts?

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