It’s a wrap for wasteful holiday habits

As Canadians become more concerned with sustainability, some are turning to gift wrapping alternatives


By Graham Abraham

In an era of fancy wrapping paper and excess online delivery packaging, some Vancouver shoppers are turning to wrapping alternatives this holiday season in an effort to reduce waste.

Christmas is traditionally a holiday that produces a lot of waste, from gift wraps to food packaging. To reduce waste, some Vancouver businesses are offering more sustainable alternatives for festive celebrations.

Shoppers are seeking sustainable options this year. Of surveyed consumers, 45 per cent said they are likely to shop with environmentally responsible businesses. Among generation Z shoppers, 89 per cent said they are concerned about sustainability. This is according to a 2021 report by PricewaterhouseCoopers LLP Canada, a multinational organization that provides professional services.

According to Recycle BC, paper gift wrap and cards can be recycled but ribbons, bows and foil-lined gift wrapping cannot go in the blue bin. Most of these products end up in the waste stream.

Gift wraps contributes greatly to the waste produced during the holidays. Some stores offer shoppers a more sustainable way to wrap their presents.

A centuries-old tradition

At Oomomo Japan Living on Robson Street, shoppers can purchase traditional Japanese wrapping cloths called furoshiki. The cloths are decorative and reusable and have been used for centuries to wrap gifts.

“In my day, it was a common form of fabric in the home but today, it’s not so common,” said Oomomo employee Kazu Sato. “Sometimes, the younger people who love Japanese culture will come in and buy the furoshiki.”

Some stores, like zero-waste grocery store Nada on East Broadway, are cracking down on waste. The store offers a wide range of plastic-free holiday products, such as gingerbread cookie dough, made in-house.

Jan Taylor, who shops at Nada three to four times a year, said she likes having the option to shop sustainably.

“I like the zero-waste packaging aspect of it. I like that they have young, really interesting people working here. I like that they have stuff that I can’t get from other places, and I just kind of like the notion of it,” Taylor said.

In addition to curbing her wrapping habit, Taylor is making several adjustments to her holiday shopping habits to eliminate waste.

“The first thing I would say is reduce, I just give fewer presents to fewer people and more presents to charities,” said Taylor. “I re-gift a lot of stuff, when you’re my age, you have a lot of stuff.”

Morgan Teske, fulfillment manager at Nada, said that she has seen an increase in customers searching for more sustainable options during the holiday seasons.

“Even myself, I shop pretty much exclusively here for my family and relatives for some more sustainable products for presents and Christmas selections,” said Teske.

Nada also partners with Evergrow, a company that accepts used Christmas trees and replants them.

Cover photo: Weekend Knitter via Flickr

1 Comment
  1. Don Fraser says

    Graham: Your gift will be a donation to JDRF. No card, no wrapping paper. Love Grandpa Don.

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