I Never Buy Wrapping Paper—I Do This Instead

Tell me if this sounds familiar: You’re wrapping the last few items in your stack of holiday gifts when you reach the end of the wrapping paper roll. Dang. If you’re anything like me, you’re probably doing this late at night and aren’t in the mood to g…

Tell me if this sounds familiar: You’re wrapping the last few items in your stack of holiday gifts when you reach the end of the wrapping paper roll. Dang. If you’re anything like me, you’re probably doing this late at night and aren’t in the mood to go to the store, so it’s time to get crafty. On the other hand, you may not have purchased any wrapping paper on purpose—a noble commitment to keeping things low-waste.

There are lots of ways you can create a lovely wrapped gift using random items you have lying around the house, with zero need to rush back out to the store in the 11th hour. Here are 10 of our favorite new ways to do just that.

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This Company Is Turning Scraps into Flours

“Dregs” is such an unappealing word. But the dregs are exactly what Renewal Mill prizes. This Oakland, California–based business is all about upcycling and repurposing food by-products from waste streams; a rescue mission, if you will, that starts with…

“Dregs” is such an unappealing word. But the dregs are exactly what Renewal Mill prizes. This Oakland, California–based business is all about upcycling and repurposing food by-products from waste streams; a rescue mission, if you will, that starts with the smallest scrap of food not going into the garbage.

One and a half billion tons of food waste are generated globally annually, enough to feed more than 2 billion people each year. But when Claire Schlemme co-founded Boston’s first organic juice company, Mother Juice, in 2012, this fact wasn’t even on her radar. Schlemme, who studied environmental management at Yale, swiftly found herself face-to-face with mountains of fruit and vegetable pulp. “Nutrition was going to waste in all of that pulp—we did our best to repurpose into muffins, and even sold the scraps to different outlets, but it was outside the core of what we were building,” she says.

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How These 6 Liquor Brands Prioritize the Planet

Not only are we in the midst of a global pandemic, we’re also in the grip of the sixth great extinction—a “biological annihilation” of species worldwide as a result of human activity—including planetary climate change, leading to extreme weather events…

Not only are we in the midst of a global pandemic, we’re also in the grip of the sixth great extinction—a “biological annihilation” of species worldwide as a result of human activity—including planetary climate change, leading to extreme weather events, damaged marine ecosystems, and negative impact on crops. Suffice it to say that after reading that, you might want a drink. Luckily, you have the option to pour a drink that plays a small part in helping the planet. In an effort to challenge the industry’s reliance on energy-intensive processes and the production waste, many liquor producers are becoming more sustainability-minded, whether that means using less glass to make bottles or turning scraps from other industries into a liquor’s main ingredient. Get ready to mix your favorite cocktail, comforted by the knowledge that you’re giving the environment a helping hand. Here are six beverage producers who are doing their bit for the planet right now.

Avallen Calvados

Going back to the very beginning, it seems as though Avallen Calvados could have been any liquor, but sustainability brought the company to one specific fruit: “We started with a blank sheet of paper and firstly looked at the raw materials used to make alcohol,” Tim Etherington-Judge, founder of Avallen, explained in an email. “After detailed analysis, we settled on apples as the best from a sustainability point of view.”

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What Is a Buy Nothing Group? Only the Best Thing I’ve Joined.

Simply Living is a new column by Christine Platt, aka the Afrominimalist. Each month, Christine shares her refreshing approach to living with less, with clever tips for decluttering, making eco-friendly swaps, and creating a more mindful living space t…

Simply Living is a new column by Christine Platt, aka the Afrominimalist. Each month, Christine shares her refreshing approach to living with less, with clever tips for decluttering, making eco-friendly swaps, and creating a more mindful living space that's all you.


Early in my journey to living with less, I did what most people do when they are ready to part with items that no longer serve them: I gathered up my donations and drove them to my local Goodwill. I recall feeling so accomplished while waiting in line to drop off my items, a feeling that only grew stronger as my car approached the free-standing donations’ trailer. Until one day, I found myself pulling up right when items were being transported inside the local facility. Given the angle of my vehicle, I could see directly into the Goodwill storage area. I was horrified. I had never seen so many industrial-sized rolling bins overflowing with things.

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6 Kitchen Scraps to Use in the Garden—Even if You Don’t Compost

If you’re already composting (be it on your countertop, in your backyard, or squirreled away in the freezer), good for you! Composting, while very advantageous for the environment and our kitchen scraps, is sometimes a hard hobby to get into. If …

If you’re already composting (be it on your countertop, in your backyard, or squirreled away in the freezer), good for you! Composting, while very advantageous for the environment and our kitchen scraps, is sometimes a hard hobby to get into. If you haven’t yet picked it up, but are looking for ways to reduce your kitchen waste, look no further. There are plenty of ways to use your leftovers in your garden, from organic pest deterrents, to yellow jacket traps, to ground covering that prevents weed growth. Read on for some of our favorite scrap-lications.

eggshell seed starter pots

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7 Simple Cooking Tips for Your Eco-Friendliest Kitchen

With The Climate Diet, award-winning food and environmental writer Paul Greenberg offers us the practical, accessible guide we all need. This new release contains fifty achievable steps we can take to live our daily lives in a way that’s friendlier to …

With The Climate Diet, award-winning food and environmental writer Paul Greenberg offers us the practical, accessible guide we all need. This new release contains fifty achievable steps we can take to live our daily lives in a way that’s friendlier to the planet—from what we eat, how we live at home, how we travel, and how we lobby businesses and elected officials to do the right thing. Here, Paul shares a whole host of simple tips to make our cooking—and yes, our kitchens overall—a whole lot more sustainable.


With the news this month that Eleven Madison Park, by some measures the most famous restaurant in the world, has gone vegan, I think it’s safe to say climate-conscious menu planning has gone mainstream. Queries for vegan recipes now regularly top Google food searches and any number of plant-based meat replacements are now widely available at American supermarkets, potentially pairing with millions of tons of emissions off of our meals.

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15 Very Doable Tweaks to Reduce Kitchen Waste

A Full Plate is a column about family life and the home by contributing writer Laura Fenton, who explores the intersection of sustainable living and home design through a mother’s eyes.

Quick, where’s the biggest garbage can inside your home? Bet yo…

A Full Plate is a column about family life and the home by contributing writer Laura Fenton, who explores the intersection of sustainable living and home design through a mother’s eyes.


Quick, where’s the biggest garbage can inside your home? Bet you said the kitchen, right? Our kitchens are the source of so much of the waste that flows into—and out of—our homes. From food packaging to forgotten leftovers, the trash fills up quickly.

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12 Ideas to Upgrade Your Outdoor Space, Sustainably

There is no better feeling than breaking out your outdoor decor for the season. You know the day: the weather has finally hit 60 degrees and you can’t wait to blissfully sit out on your porch (slash deck, slash apartment terrace) and finally finally fe…

There is no better feeling than breaking out your outdoor decor for the season. You know the day: the weather has finally hit 60 degrees and you can’t wait to blissfully sit out on your porch (slash deck, slash apartment terrace) and finally finally feel the sun warm your face again (with SPF 45 on, of course). Whether you have just enough room for a bistro table and chairs or a whole outdoor living room to play around with, our fresh-air spaces quickly become sanctuaries for the next several months.

My partner and I have been in the market for some new outdoor decor now that we own a home and finally have a backyard of our own to deck out. And, while there are so many beautiful options out there, the "consume, consume, consume" mindset that comes with buying (and decorating) a new home can often feel like… a lot. To help ease our environmental footprint a bit, we decided to approach shopping for our very own oasis from an eco-conscious mindset, and look to items that were sustainably made to outfit our outdoor space.

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15 Eco-Friendly Tricks We’ve Learned in the Last Year

We’ve come through a year that changed our lives more than any of us could’ve imagined: When a pandemic impacted millions of lives, unemployment soared, small businesses struggled, and our lives retreated to the four walls of our homes.

And what of th…

We’ve come through a year that changed our lives more than any of us could've imagined: When a pandemic impacted millions of lives, unemployment soared, small businesses struggled, and our lives retreated to the four walls of our homes.

And what of the impact on the earth? A year when black-footed penguins took over the empty streets of Cape Town, South Africa, and people in India saw the Himalayas from their roofs for the first time from over 100 miles away, and birdsong was louder (and prettier) than ever was also a year of food shortages, natural disasters, and increased plastic pollution.

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This Cutting Board Is Made From Single-Use Utensils

In one corner of my cutlery drawer sits an unlikely candidate: my guilt. It sits atop a bunch of forks and spoons, paper napkins, and chopsticks—my cumulative takeout “extras.” For years I have tried to address this via the number of times we order in …

In one corner of my cutlery drawer sits an unlikely candidate: my guilt. It sits atop a bunch of forks and spoons, paper napkins, and chopsticks—my cumulative takeout "extras." For years I have tried to address this via the number of times we order in (which is at odds with wanting to support our local restaurants), what we order, and repeatedly writing “NO CUTLERY AND NAPKINS, PLEASE!!!” in the special requests section. Yet... the single-use cutlery keeps finding its way in.

Each year, after just one use, millions of units of restaurant cutlery are thrown out, and end up in landfills and in our waterways. Plastic cups, plates, utensils, and straws are obviously a big source of pollution (a smart and successful campaign made straws the villain of the piece), but as I’ve learned, wooden (bamboo and others) chopsticks are culpable, too. The common assumption that chopsticks are produced with scrap wood products just isn’t true: millions of trees are logged each year to make chopsticks that are shipped around the world, used once, and discarded. And because they’re treated with chemicals, and soiled after use, they often can’t be recycled.

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