Environment at Home: Consider ways to conserve paper during holiday season

Try wrapping gifts without using cardboard boxesand sending hemp or recycled holiday cards

Special to Idaho StatesmanDecember 11, 2006 

How many trees do you use at Christmas?

Of course, there's the one in the corner with all the lights. Energy-saving LED lights, right?

But how many trees are going into the cards, wrapping paper and cardboard boxes? The answer is probably too many. So here are a few ideas to keep Christmas trees in the forest.

• Cards. Call me a Scrooge if you must, but I don't have much use for Christmas cards. I don't send them and feel just fine about not getting them.

I appreciate personal messages, but those hardly seem to make their way into cards. Usually, they say something along the lines of, "Best wishes."

Um, thanks. I feel so loved.

I'd much rather get a long, personal e-mail. Or even a funny, mass e-mailed Christmas letter. But if you must send cards, look for those made from recycled paper.

The St. Jude's Ranch for Children sells cards made from cards, and the money goes to charity. St. Jude's formerly collected used cards for reuse. But the kids were overwhelmed with cards and the organization is no longer accepting them.

But you can still buy the recycled cards at www.stjudesranch.org.

Or you can go the hemp card route: www.greenfieldpaper.com.

You also can find ways to reuse cards you receive. Here is a Web site for making Christmas ornaments out of old cards: www.allfreecrafts.com/christmas/card-ornaments.shtml.

• Wrapping paper, especially the kind that can't be recycled, should have at least one more life. The same goes for ribbons and bows. Wrapping paper can be used to wrap presents again, to cover books or to wrap flower bouquets and wine bottles.

Don't burn wrapping paper because chemicals from the ink pollutes the air.

But it's best to avoid using non-recyclable wrapping paper. Instead, be creative with newspaper or dress up plain brown paper.

• Boxes. As for boxes, most cardboard can be recycled. But think outside the box. Put presents in containers that also are presents. Or just wrap the present, without a box, it makes for more interesting shapes under the tree.

Do you have an idea or tip for our weekly Environment at Home column? Let us know. Send an e-mail to Local@IdahoStatesman.com with subject line "Enviro at Home."

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