$3 fix to common bad habit
PUT down the wrapping paper - there's an environmentally friendly way gift-givers are taking a stand on excessive waste, and it's catching on.
Tea towels, baby wraps, pillowcases and offcuts of material are being used by thrifty young Aussies who are reverting to old-fashioned approaches to do their bit for the environment.
Pam Gollan, 31, from NSW, recently started using baby wraps for friend's presents after having her first child, Patrick, five months ago.
"Since being on maternity leave I have had a lot of time to look around the house and at the way we live, and so I have endeavoured to reduce the amount of waste and plastic we use at home," the Hallidays Point woman said.
"We normally wrap gifts with brown paper because it can be recycled, but this time I used the wraps because I was gifting them to my friend anyway and I thought it would be nice."
She said using the wraps - which cost $3 from Kmart - was motivated by environmental issues, and encouraged others to do the same.
"Recycling just isn't enough," she said.
"Since posting the pictures online, I've heard from other people doing similar things, I almost feel silly not having thought of it sooner.
"I think my friend liked it, it was well received by her other guests as well.
"I was very surprised by the amount of attention this idea has had - I'm sure others are running through ideas of their own for gifts now too.
"Tea towels are also a great idea."
Australians use about 8,000 tonnes of wrapping paper every Christmas alone - and even though lovingly picked, wrapped and tied - it is usually left ripped, crushed and destined for bins and landfill. In fact, last year research from international aid agency CARE Australia found that Aussies used more than 150,000 kilometres of wrapping paper every festive season.
Furoshiki is the art of Japanese fabric wrapping and knot tying, and it is a simple way to reduce waste that has been used for 1200 years.
Carol Young has been using material to wrap presents for about 10 years, finding her loot at stores like Big W, Kmart and variety stores.
"For kids I like to buy a pillow slip, preferably in their favourite colour - sometimes I can get a pillow case for $1 and then I put the gift inside and wrap the ends around, then tie up with some pretty curling ribbon, or ribbon I may have recycled from a gift I was given," she told news.com.au
"I was brought up with older parents who were born not long after the depression, so I was raised not to waste things - my Dad never believed in buying Christmas wrapping paper, instead he wrapped our presents in newspaper.
"I have always tried to do the best I can each day for the environment and actively sent letters in my teens to companies about environmental issues and concerns."
Ms Young - who has been taking her own bags to the supermarket for years - said in most cases, fabric was cheaper to buy than wrapping paper.
"When I give a gift with an alternative gift wrap, every person says 'wow, what a neat idea' - they say it makes sense," she said.
"Why spend money on wrapping paper to end up in the recycling bin when I can use this tea towel or pillow case.
"I give tea towels to adults and pillow cases to kids - because let's face it, you can never have too many tea towels."