During the holiday season, Americans throw out an extra 5 million tons of waste, 4 million of which is wrapping paper and shopping bags. In addition to this seasonal waste stream, Americans use around 10 billion brown paper bags each year, consuming about 14 million trees — and only about 10 to 15 percent of paper bags get recycled. Here's a creative way to do something about both problems: forget spending money on rolls of wrapping paper this year and instead make your own by reusing large brown paper bags and using a handmade potato stamp. With a few simple steps you can transform your bags into beautiful wrapping paper. (If you have been good this year and actually managed to avoid collecting shopping bags, you can buy cheap, recycled brown paper in rolls at most craft or stationery stores. See the resource section for specific stores selling recycled brown paper and various art materials for this project.) (Text: Lindsay Kurz. Copyright Environ Press 2008)
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