A Plastic-Wrapped Impulse Buy


If it was a perfect world I would not have bought these.

But we all slip up from time to time.

2012-05-18 01These are 2 rolls of birthday wrapping paper that I bought this evening from Aldi when we called in to buy some milk.  I had not even thought about buying wrapping paper until I saw it.

Now for the debate:

The Good

  • Multi-purpose – suitable for child or adult birthdays
  • Bargain – 1m x 5m roll for $1.99
  • I had virtually no new birthday wrapping paper and have not bought any for over 10 years

The Bad

  • Wrapped in non-recyclable plastic wrap – contributing to waste
  • Made in China – transport costs, probable exploitation of workers
  • Impulse buy – do I really need it or could I have continued being innovative in my gift giving

It seems ridiculous to be buying gift wrap when I am currently working on making a series of re-useable bags from Christmas fabric for Christmas gift-giving.  However, even if I find I do not need it all I am sure my granddaughters will be able to use it when going to friends’ birthday parties.  You need to strike a balance between environmental and economic concerns on one hand  and ensuring that children are able to engage with their peers on an equal footing without being made to feel odd or extreme.

Would you have bought this paper?  What impulse buys have you made?  I have heard of people who go out to buy the Sunday paper and end up buying a new car.  Now that is a bit ridiculous in my opinion!

8 thoughts on “A Plastic-Wrapped Impulse Buy

  1. Wrapping paper is a huge issue. I think you should return them. It could be a gate-way purchase 😉 We usually buy one roll of 100% recycled wrapping paper for Christmas and then reuse present bags for the rest of the presents. I know it’s not the same as tearing apart all that paper but your granddaughters will be just fine without it.
    I recently bought around a dozen boxes of seventh generation garbage bags on sale for .99 a box. I thought it was great at the time because they are mostly recycled plastic etc… but then I calmed down and thought “aren’t we trying to not make garbage? Why would we need this many bags?”. Very regretful. Maybe I can give them away for Christmas.ha ha!

  2. I love this post! We were at Berwick Market a couple of weekends ago and I spent $15 on a lovely handmade handbag made from old jeans and pretty floral fabric. I need a new handbag, but after a week when I realised I STILL hadn’t transferred all my stuff over into it, I wondered WHAT ON EARTH possessed me to buy it?? It’s lovely, but NOT what I want to use. So, there’s no chance of returning it as it’s a handmade stall. So it’s gone into the Op Shop box near the front door ready for the next Op Shop trip. It was a hard lesson to throw away $15 for nothing, but lesson learned!

  3. Tough call, and Stephanie is pretty sure. I think it’s a little more grey. I bought brown paper to wrap (there’s no ‘children’ I gift to). I wrap it and use ribbon bows – as I can do ‘florist bows’ it ends up looking great, and the ribbon is excess from a wedding I did (and in colours I love!) But, as with you, it came in plastic, undoubtedly from China (not that I checked then…). I like to be ‘lighter’ on myself. I try to make less waste all the time – no new plastic spoon with each new batch of chinese medicine, no waxed wrapper for my new shampoo bar (but then the tossable bento bow – I’m not even sure where I’d find a reusable one, but I appreciate you planting the seed – cause it’s supermarket bought, it’s pre packaged, which isn’t an excuse, but I’d have to get sushi elsewhere to be less wasteful). Every step counts, but for every backward step, no need to beat yourself up (and agreed, no need to make your grandkids feel ‘weird’ by going too extreme on them, esp around their friends)

  4. I didn’t mean to sound like I never buy things I regret. I do it all the time! I think the greatest thing is that people are thinking about their purchases. That is huge!

    • Ah it’s OK Stephanie, I hope my reply didn’t seem nasty. You just seemed to have a clear idea on wrapping paper and it’s role in life. Got to agree, it’s all about thinking about what we use and what we waste when we purchase!

  5. Well, that post sure generated some discussion! I think it is great that we discuss our less than perfect decisions and hopefully be more mindful next time. I ended up keeping the wrapping paper but it has made me think about how I can incorporate re-usable bags or other items into more gifts.

    Michelle – that must have been difficult but at least it is not sitting around taking up space and gathering dust. The pain of parting with the bag almost immediately makes the ‘waste’ of money seem more real.

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