Simply Resourceful

Simple ways to be more conscious about how we use our resources.

Christmas Blues

Yesterday and today I cleaned up the gift opening chaos...packaging material.  Such a dreaded but necessary task in every household at this time of year.  Each year I get depressed while breaking down boxes, removing packaging tape, folding tissue paper for reuse later on, registering products for warranties, salvaging bows and ribbons, folding gift bags, and removing all of those small plastic fasteners and twisty ties.  Keep in mind that we live in Oregon and our families live in Wisconsin and Minnesota.  About 95% of our gifts are shipped here so we're certainly going to have a lot more packaging than others.  Here is a snapshot of some of the packaging, but there is a lot more!  Many of the gifts we receive are directly shipped from stores but we don't bother wrapping them in colorful paper.  While this picture may show a lot, what you don't see are all of the popped plastic pillows and the amount of wrapping paper that is crammed in that one box.  We still haven't removed all of our presents from their original packaging, and we're still waiting to receive some gifts in the mail.  If all of the holiday packaging material was in one pile, it would most likely be twice this much.  *sigh*

Years ago I would have felt okay recycling everything---even all of those tiny plastic fasteners used on almost all kids' toys.  How exciting---no waste!!!!  So I would pat myself on the back while I placed the cardboard at the curb and the plastic bits in containers to take to the recycling center.  My perceptions have changed so much since then.  Now I look at this pile and shake my head.  We are a family of 3 who take the time to sort everything and recycle it.  I can't help but wonder how many families don't recycle.  Recycling is the smallest portion of this equation too.  What about the lifecycle of this material?  And then there's the whole topic of excess packaging in general!  And what about the transportation impacts with making the products and mailing them to our home?  And do I want to even touch the topic of need vs. want?

I go in circles thinking about this system of waste that has been created.  How can I get out of it?  Well, that's quite the challenge.  Too much to reflect on for this entry.


About this blog

A weekly update on our adventures of trying to be more self-sufficient by using resources wisely. We explore a variety of topics that most broadly fit in the "Homesteading" category, i.e. beekeeping, organic gardening, edible landscaping/fruit forest, food preservation/canning, woodworking, soap-making, and environmental stewardship.

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