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article imageUK Shopping Centre Unveils Mathematical Formula For Waste-Free Gift Wrapping

By Angelique van Engelen     Dec 6, 2007 in Environment
The UK's population of 60 million people wastes over one tonne of wrapping paper each Christmas. A shopping centre assigned a scientist to find a foolproof method to know where precisely to tear the wrapping paper.
To promote the idea of wrapping practices as green as a Christmas tree, Bluewater, a large UK shopping centre, have devised an eco-friendly formula.
In its complicated version, the mathematic riddle goes like this: A1 = 2(ab+ac+bc+c²)**
In laymans’ terms, the length of the wrapping paper should be as long as the perimeter of the side of the gift, with no more than 2cm allowed for an overlap. The width should be just a little over the sum of the width and the depth of the gift.
Those who need to wrap an unusual shaped gift, such as a cylinder, can compare its radius with its height using the formula h/(p-2)***.
"The equation will help consumers decide whether they should roll the paper around the gift or wrap the paper over the top of it to ensure they reduce their gift-wrapping footprint", according to the shopping centre.
The formula has been created by Warwick Dumas from the Department of Mathematics, University of Leicester, who has been working with Bluewater to devise the perfect method of gift-wrapping that will help customers save time and money as well as reducing the amount of paper that will be wasted.
Mr. Dumas says that the formula proves that consumers can perfectly well wrap their presents without using excess paper. "We have taken into consideration all the factors that will impact the way customers will wrap their Christmas gifts this year, including the trend for buying unusual-shaped goods.”
Using the largest side as the base and cutting the right size of paper will allow consumers to wrap presents in the least amount of time and achieve a classy result, says Dumas.
So how about if you wrap a cuboid diagonally? Doesn't it safe paper? Niente, says Dumas. If you do that, you will definitely waste paper, except if you are wrapping an item with a square base. "But wrapping diagonally uses a different shape of paper and so could be useful when only a small piece is left", says Dumas.
"When wrapping “diagonally”, 45 degrees is the best azimuth as long as where a>b>c are the dimensions of the item," he explains. "Otherwise the best angle is such that the flaps only just meet.”
Dumas also measured cylinders and says that if the cylinder's overall shape resembles a cuboid, it's best to stick to the cuboid wrapping method. If it's more of an oblong shape, roll it along the paper.
Dumas says the formula here is h/(pi-2). In a simpler, nevertheless still complicated version; when the radius is greater than about 0.876 of the height, it is better to wrap the item as a cuboid but otherwise, better to roll it along the paper.
That's sustainable wrapping methodology 4u. Might lead 2 sustainable conversation 2.
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