Week 34: #Waves4Change 2020 Sustainability Challenge: Buy Reusable Containers for Gifts Instead of Wrapping Paper

Why Take This Challenge?

We spend billions each year on something that’s forgotten in minutes. According to a report from Sundale Research, Americans spent $12.7 billion on gift wrap in 2017. The majority of wrapping paper, ribbons, and gift bags are not recyclable in most circumstances, according to Earth911. The glossy, laminated finish makes gift wrap unrecyclable — the same goes for paper with a metallic, glitter, 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 an entire batch unrecyclable.

How Does This Challenge Benefit Me?

By reducing the use of wrapping paper, we reduce the amount of landfill waste. Landfill waste plays a role in climate change. They are a natural source of landfill gas (LFG), a byproduct of organic matter decomposition. This gas is composed of approximately 50 percent methane, 50 percent carbon dioxide (CO2), and a small number of organic compounds.

According to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), municipal solid landfills are the third-largest source of human-caused methane emissions in the United States. In 2017, they accounted for 14.1 percent of all methane emissions. Methane traps heat 28 to 36 times more effectively than CO2.

What If I Already Do This?

Try to incorporate reusable containers in other areas, whether it’s shopping, eating lunch at work or anything else that reduces unnecessary waste.

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