July 06, 2023
An initiative that’s swelled to a global movement, Plastic Free July started as a way to help people understand the wide-scale environmental impacts of plastic pollution and how everyday actions can help to minimize them. Empowering millions to be part of the solution means we are able to work collectively towards healthier oceans and cleaner streets, waterways, and communities.
The call to action is simple: refuse/ replace single-use plastic and work to improve personal sustainability practices. The challenge further motivates us to engage with our local community by participating in clean-up efforts, shopping at farmers markets, or joining a compost exchange or garden club.
While gift wrap products are not the most obvious culprits when it comes to plastic pollution, there are surprising ways plastics sneak in to ruin the party. We’ll get to that later in this post, but first…
Progress Over Perfection
You wouldn’t be alone if your first reaction to the idea of avoiding plastic for a month was, no way, that’s too hard! Listen here, participation need not be perfect—any plastic straw, shopping bag, or beverage bottle that you avoid is one less thing that will sit in a landfill. You are still making a difference even if you aren’t perfectly zero-waste.
Arguably the biggest benefit of participating in Plastic Free July is becoming more mindful of the plastic you consume daily, learning what adjustments we have the ability to make, and working to build new habits that will take root year around.
As consumers, we have the opportunity to reduce how much single-use plastic we use every time we make a purchase (or choose not to.) By investing in reusables to replace cheap single-use items, by seeking eco-friendly swaps for commonly used products, by choosing brands that are committed to minimal/ compostable packaging, or simply skipping the to go coffee or opting to dine-in rather than takeaway are all actionable ways to reduce plastic waste. Cumulatively, it really does add up.
On your journey to create more sustainable habits and remove unnecessary plastic from your home, Wrappily is in your corner. We are mindful of how our manufacturing choices affect the planet and can assure you, our products and packaging have been plastic-free from day one.
Still curious about the hidden plastics in conventional gift wrap products, and how to avoid them? Let's take a deep dive!
Most glossy, reflective wrapping paper contains plastic in the form of laminate coatings or glitter additives. These will break down into microplastics and are not biodegradable. Some metallic and holographic wrapping “paper” isn’t paper at all, but actually thin sheets of pure plastic that is completely non-recyclable and has no where to go, but straight to the landfill.
This issue is a particular thorn-in-our-side, so we scour the globe in search of eco-friendly alternatives. Here's the catch, even 'reusable' fabric or woven ribbons like satin, grosgrain, or velvet are made of plastic sold by different names like nylon, polyester, polypropelene, or polyethylene. (And don't even get us started on the metallics, glitters and flockings). At the end of the party, even these reusable fabrics are going to live in your landfill forever.
We're proud of the biodegradable ribbon options we've sourced for our shop—and we're always on the hunt for more!
Most conventional roll wrapping paper comes shrink-wrapped in plastic film or packaged in poly bags, but Wrappily does it different. The clear bag our paper comes in is made of plant starch PLA that is commercially compostable and biodegradable.
We couldn't do all that work to bring you a smarter, more sustainable model for wrapping paper—and then package it in plastic. No. Way. José. That's why our clear bags are made of a plant starch called PLA, a sustainable alternative to plastic.
PLA (Poly-lactic Acid) is a biopolymer made from starchy plants like corn, grown right here in the U.S. Starch from corn kernels is processed into a biopolymer that looks, acts, and performs much like traditional plastics, but with the crucial benefit of being 100% compostable in commercial compost facilities.
We acknowledge that PLA isn't perfect—not everyone has easy access to commercial composting and some of our packaging may still end up in the trash. We believe it's still a better alternative to plastic and a positive step toward sustainability. Plastics never biodegrade, they just continue to breakdown until they're too small to be seen (a.k.a. microplastics), meaning every bit of plastic produced since 1907 is still present in the environment.
For Plastic-Free July, Earth Month, and every other time of year, our hope is that by participating in a more circular economy and investing in the imperfect, yet more sustainable solutions that science makes available to us, we are making progress towards our sustainabililty goals.
- - -
Want to see more gift wrapping ideas and tutorials? Head to the Gift Happily Blog