Rethinking Gift Wrapping: The Environmental Impact of Christmas Paper

As the festive season approaches, streets and homes in Denmark are adorned with twinkling lights, and the spirit of giving is in the air. However, amidst this joyous celebration lies a hidden environmental concern: the use of Christmas wrapping paper. In this blog, we'll explore the environmental impact of this tradition and discuss sustainable alternatives.

 

The Stark Reality of Paper Consumption

In Denmark, like many other countries, the use of wrapping paper during Christmas is a long-standing tradition. However, have we ever stopped to consider the environmental cost of this practice? Let's delve into some mathematics to get a clearer picture.

Here in Denmark, it is estimated that we in 2023 will use 693 tonnes of gift wrapping paper. To produce this amount, approximately 18,480 trees would need to be cut down. This number is staggering, especially when we consider that it represents just a fraction of global consumption. Each of these trees plays a crucial role in our ecosystem, absorbing carbon dioxide, releasing oxygen, and supporting biodiversity. The loss of these trees contributes to deforestation, climate change, and the loss of habitats for countless species.

 

The Environmental Impact

The production of wrapping paper is not only about the trees. The process involves significant water usage, energy consumption, and the release of greenhouse gases. If you consider the resource consumption associated with the production of 693 tonnes of Christmas paper, we are faced with impressive quantities: approximately 65,000 tonnes of water, 7,850 MWh of energy, 748 tonnes of wood and 706 tonnes of chemicals are used for our Christmas packages. Moreover, a lot of wrapping paper contains non-recyclable elements like metallic foils, glitter, and plastics, which end up in landfills, adding to the environmental burden (1). 

 

Sustainable Alternatives

The good news is that there are eco-friendly alternatives to traditional wrapping paper. Here are some good ideas:

  1. Reusable Fabric Wraps: Inspired by the Japanese tradition of Furoshiki, fabric wraps can be used repeatedly and come in various beautiful designs.
  2. Recycled Paper: Using paper made from recycled materials reduces the demand for virgin paper, thereby saving trees and energy.
  3. Upcycled Materials: Old newspapers, magazines, and maps can be excellent wrapping materials, adding a unique touch to your gifts.
  4. Plantable Wrapping Paper: Some innovative companies are producing wrapping paper embedded with seeds. After unwrapping, the paper can be planted to grow herbs or flowers.
  5. DIY Decorations: Instead of buying new ribbons and tags, get creative with natural materials like twine, leaves, or dried flowers.

 

A Call to Action

As Danes, we have a proud tradition of environmental consciousness. This Christmas let's extend this to our gift-giving practices. By choosing sustainable wrapping options, we can significantly reduce our environmental footprint and help preserve our planet for future generations.

While the tradition of gift wrapping is a part of our cherished festive celebrations, it's crucial to be aware of its environmental impact. By incorporating sustainable practices into our holiday routines, we can enjoy the spirit of giving without compromising the health of our planet.

 

Let's make this Christmas a green and eco-friendly one!

 

 

 

Mathematics behind the fact that 18,480 trees is needed to produce 693 tonnes of gift-wrapping paper.

If we assume that each roll of gift-wrapping paper weighs 150 grams, we can calculate the following:

1. Total Weight of Paper: 693 tonnes, which is equivalent to 693,000 kilograms.

2. Weight per Roll of Wrapping Paper: 150 grams, or 0.15 kilograms.

3. Number of Rolls in 693 Tonnes: We need to find out how many 150 gram rolls make up 693 tonnes. This is calculated by dividing the total weight by the weight of one roll:

  • 693,000 kilograms / 0.15 kilograms = 4,620,000 rolls of wrapping paper

4. Trees per Roll of Wrapping Paper: If we state that one tree produces approximately 37.5 kilograms of paper, we need to find out how many rolls this equates to. We divide 37.5 kilograms by the weight of one roll (0.15 kilograms) to find out how many rolls one tree can produce.

 

Based on these assumptions, where each roll of gift-wrapping paper weighs 150 grams:

  • Approximately 4,620,000 rolls of wrapping paper can be made from 693 tonnes.
  • One tree can produce about 250 rolls of wrapping paper.
  • Therefore, it would still take about 18,480 trees to produce 693 tonnes of gift-wrapping paper.

 

 

 

Sarah Elahi – CEO & Product Developer

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