To throw away less, reusable packaging for the holidays

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For throw away less, reusable packaging for the holidays

Canadians waste more than one million tons of wrapping paper and gift bags every year. packaging and gift bags, according to statistics from the organization Zero Waste Canada, and we can logically think that the problem will be particularly acute in the coming weeks.

And that's not to mention the metallic wrapping paper, sprouts, decorative ribbons and duct tape, to name a few, that are not salvageable. .

Sniffing a market to be developed there, and aware of the growing environmental concerns of consumers, several entrepreneurs, including some in Quebec, now offer packaging that ;you can reuse it almost endlessly.

“We realized that there weren't necessarily solutions that joined our traditional wrapping paper, with the joy of unwrapping presents and everything. »

— Gabrielle Huppé, co-founder of Next Chance

Founded two years ago, Next Chance offers a range of products that range from puffs to packaging pouches. All are made from new leftover textiles that have been salvaged from local businesses, and which would otherwise have been destined for export or even landfill.

On the Eco-Cado side, founder Karine Laflamme instead uses a fabric that comes from recycled water bottles to produce a packaging that is wrapped around the gift and that ; we attach with a button.

“People have identified the problem. When they see my product, often those who were there, who tried other methods or who wanted to and weren't too sure, but were almost there, well they have a heart. »

— Karine Laflamme, founder of Eco-Cado

Next Chance's turnover has doubled every year since its launch, assures Gabrielle Huppé, which testifies to the growing enthusiasm of the public for reusable packaging and for the protection of the environment.

“In two years of existence, we have reached 15,000 pounds of salvaged fabrics,” she said. That's 50 years of buying clothes for 7.5 people. »

— Gabrielle Huppé, co-founder of Next Chance

But before getting to that point, Ms. Huppé and her co-founder Maude Girard had to find the companies that would supply them with salvage fabrics, which involved finding companies that not only shared their values, but also accepted to change their ways.

While some jumped into the project with both feet, Ms. Huppé said, others had to take the time to think.

It really becomes a collaborative work, she explained. The people who supply us are not just suppliers, we don't pick up the phone to order a "batch", it's really on an ad hoc basis.

So the key is really to develop solid partnerships and collaborations with these people who ultimately have values ​​like ours, to reduce waste or the environmental footprint. But not all companies have made it there.

Reduce, re-evaluate and reuse: these are the three themes that come up most often when we ask the experts how we can reduce our environmental footprint this holiday season.

Reduce our consumption, re-evaluate our needs and purchasing decisions, and reusing everything that can be, would be three good strategies to adopt to spoil Mother Nature at the same time as we spoil our loved ones.

During the holidays, we often give a lot of gifts that will not necessarily meet a need, said Amélie Côté, who is an analyst in source reduction at Équiterre. So I think the reflection must also be on our consumption practices during the holiday season. Wrapping paper is one part of that, but more broadly, the environmental impacts of donated items, especially if they are not useful to the people they are given to, are also very important. .

Wrapping paper, she continues, is part of the broader issue of single-use products, just like straws or take-out containers, for example. The reflection must therefore go beyond the mere wrapping paper and encompass what it describes as the waste of natural resources.

Producing wrapping paper, adds Ms. Côté, consumes a lot of natural resources and energy and results in a product that often will only be used once before being sold. x27;sent for recycling or trash.

But only wrapping paper that can be torn (exposing the small fibers it is made of) can be recycled , said Grégory Pratte, who is responsible for public affairs for Tricentris. Metallic or laminated paper should be discarded instead.

“It is estimated that out of ten trucks that come home, the equivalent of about two are full of undesirables. It's still serious. »

— Grégory Pratte, Head of Public Affairs for Tricentris

Ever-decorated artificial trees, Christmas lights, boxes sometimes still containing their gifts, Styrofoam packaging… the list of objects that consumers put in their recycling bin (out of ignorance or laziness) is long, which causes trouble considerable waste at sorting centers and even causes equipment stoppages.

He also advocates the reuse of everything that can be reused, such as cabbages or ribbons, or the use of gift bags, flyers or newspapers to wrap gifts.

On our Facebook page, we always give out holiday tips on how to packaging in a more environmentally friendly way, aiming for reduction and then reuse, of course, he said.

During the exchanges with the customers she meets in the various Christmas markets in which she participates, Karine Laflamme has seen an unexpected obstacle to the use of her products emerge: the embarrassment.

Its wraps cost between $15 and $20, and each can only be used for one gift at a time. When you compare them to a traditional two or three dollar roll of wrapping paper that can be used for several gifts, you quickly realize that we are not talking about the same kind of product.

Ms. Laflamme does not hesitate to educate her clients.

I tell them, listen, if you want to give it with the gift, there's no logic in it, you have to reuse it, she explained. It must be used on December 22 at your niece's house, on the 24th with our spouse, on the 31st for the exchange of gifts, then for the birthday of your children or your cousin. Once I put them in context like that, I really have their attention.

But to be able to reuse the packaging multiple times, you still need pick it up and bring it home once the gift has been unwrapped. That's where the embarrassment factor comes in and it's so legitimate!, adds Ms. Laflamme laughing.

Yet clients who experienced it later told her there was really nothing there, she says.

I think we value our embarrassment more than the ecological footprint we might leave, she said. You just have to explain that we've gotten there [to use reusable packaging] and it's going very well. I even invite people to take on the challenge as a family: this year everyone arrives with reusable packaging, everyone leaves with their reusable packaging, we break the ice as a family, and then, it's ;is done.

Next Chance products are available in several stores in the greater Montreal area, but also in Sherbrooke, Trois-Rivières, the Îles-de-la- Madeleine and Val-des-Sources. They can also be ordered on the company's website.

Éco-Cado products are available online. They will also be available for purchase at various Christmas markets over the next month.

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