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Environmentally Friendly Gift Wrapping

According to Stanford University, Americans throw away 25 percent more trash between Thanksgiving and New Year's than any other time of year. The result is about 1 million extra tons of trash each week.

In his latest book, "Simply Green Giving," environmental life style expert Danny Seo offers creative gift-wrapping ideas that look good and are also eco-friendly. He visited To The Early Show on Monday for a demonstration.

"I was standing in line buying wrapping paper and I thought I had enough to wrap all the gifts, but I went home and didn't have enough," Seo told The Early Show co-anchor Julie Chen.. "It was so frustrating. I thought 'is there a way to use stuff we already have at home to wrap our gifts?' It's less wasteful so I don't feel so bad."

Read some of Seo's ideas below.

This homemade wrapping paper pays homage to the chic Burberry plaid.

  • Open a paper grocery-store bag with a pair of scissors to make it a flat piece of paper.
  • Wrap the gift with the paper, making sure the unprinted side shows on the outside of the finished wrapped package.
  • Use electrical tape and stick strips of red, black, and white tape around the package in a random pattern, using different colors.
  • For straight lines, run the tape around the box when it's still on the roll, then snip off the excess. Doing this will help you control the neatness of the stripes.


    Use newspaper to decorate a gift of wine or champagne.

  • Tools: Newspaper, clear tape, ribbon or string and scissors.
  • Begin with two layers of newspaper. Wrap them around the bottle, leaving about 5 inches of excess newspaper above the top.
  • Use a piece of tape to keep the newspaper snug around the bottle.
  • Tie a ribbon or string around the neck of the bottle.
  • Use scissors to cut strips down from the top of the paper to the top of the bottle.
  • Run each newspaper strip along the sharp edge of the scissors until it curls.


    Although VHS tapes are becoming obsolete, they can still be used for something. Inside the cassettes there is a seemingly endless amount of shiny tape that can be used as ribbon for any gift.

  • Use a screwdriver to unhinge the small screws that hold the tape together.
  • Remove the spools inside the tape that hold the black tape and use it just like a ribbon.
  • Snugly tie the black tape into place; leave extra-long strands.
  • Using a pair of sharp scissors, run the tape along the blade to create curly bows.


    Put old, recycled or excess ribbons to use by weaving them together.

  • Materials: Ribbon remnants, seam-binding tape, an iron.
  • Sort ribbon remnants by width.
  • Cut the Stitch Witchery tape into ¼-inch slivers that are equal to the width of the ribbon.
  • Place four pieces of seam-binding tape at the end of one piece of ribbon; place another ribbon on top.
  • Using an iron on a low setting, place the iron on top and slowly press it for a few seconds until the Stitch Witchery melts and binds the two ribbons. Repeat the process with other remnants.


    Old silk flower arrangements make great gift toppers.

  • Materials: silk flowers, florist tape and scissors
  • Begin by removing the plastic leaves off each stem.
  • Group flowers together by color and wrap florist tape around the stems. Start as close to the petals as possible and work your way down.
  • Use scissors or gardening shears to snip the stems if they are too long.
  • Place the bouquet on top of a gift and tie into place with ribbon.


    Use two recycled unwanted business cards to make gift tags.

  • Materials and tools needed: two unwanted business cards, white craft glue, hole punch and string.
  • Choose two cards that are identical in size, with at least one card completely blank on one side and the other card with an interesting graphic element.
  • Glue the printed fronts together using white craft glue.
  • Allow the glue to dry completely. Fold the card in half and crease it with your fingernail to create a straight, sharp line.
  • Open the card and use the hole punch to place two holes directly on the crease; run a string through the holes and tie a knot.


    Box filler should protect not only the contents in the box, but can also make for a better presentation. Seo says look to the great outdoors, your home and even recycling bins to find environmentally friendly alternatives to Styrofoam peanuts and plastic bubble wrap.

  • Use fresh pine needles from trees in your own yard or trim or prune your Christmas tree and use those branches.
  • Run old newspaper, office paper, and scent strips from magazines through a paper shredder. The scent strips will perfume the paper filler.
  • Save the filling from old pillows and use them to protect packages.

    More information can be found at

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