4 Ideas to Give Holiday Gifts with the Environment in Mind
By Theresa Evans (GBB Senior Consultant)
While the holiday season is known for joy, it is also tantamount to extra shopping and increased waste. Fortunately, it is possible to spread cheer with thoughtful gifts for your loved ones that don’t harm our environment. Support sustainability into the new year with the following suggestions:
- Give an Experience
Gifting experiences is a great way to reduce waste and create lasting memories! Whether it’s a membership to a nearby park, a local museum, a ticket to an upcoming event, or even the promise of a night of free babysitting to someone with young children, experience gifts are always a hit.
- Shop Local
Resist the temptation to buy online! Instead, visit your local businesses and bookstores to find a unique and meaningful gift. Shopping locally requires less transportation and, therefore, lower carbon emissions; it supports the economy of the community you reside in, and areas where shops are located generally yield less sprawl, congestion, habitat loss, and pollution.
- Choose Practical, Zero-Waste Gifts that Prevent Waste
Reusable metal, glass, or ceramic water bottles and travel mugs are plastic-free gifts that will also help the recipient reduce future waste. Clothing items such as new pajamas, socks, gloves, etc., are useful, reusable, and long-lasting gifts. Other zero-waste gift ideas include bamboo utensil sets, stainless steel straws, loose tea and tea strainers, beeswax food wrap, Swedish reusable cloths, reusable tote bags, and more.
- Consider the Gift Wrap
Most wrapping paper has been chemically dyed, laminated, and mixed with non-paper materials like foil and glitter (aka plastic), making it non-recyclable. And that’s before you factor in ribbons, gift tags, sticky tape, cellophane, etc. Instead of typical wrapping paper, avoid waste by choosing untreated paper that can be decorated with items from nature, such as pinecones, holly, rosemary, lavender, cinnamon quills, etc. Alternatively, you could wrap a gift with a pillowcase or a kitchen dish towel, and then the wrapping becomes part of the gift itself, or you could repurpose kids’ artwork, glam up newspaper, or even turn an empty potato chip bag inside out to use as gift wrap.
These suggestions are just a few of the many ideas to help you enjoy a sustainable holiday gift-giving season. Use this time to express your creativity and show appreciation not only for your loved ones, but also for the environment. Happy Holidays!