Your Guide to Sustainable Gifts
You’ve probably heard the buzzword sustainable tossed around in conversation more and more, but you’re not really sure what it means or why you should care? Maybe it feels like an abstract concept that doesn’t apply to your life, especially if you’re trying to be green with your gift buying this holiday season. Here’s everything you need to know about sustainable gifts and how to shop green this Christmas!
Green The Entire Process
You may be surprised at how much work goes into a single gift, even if you purchase it from a sustainable source. If your goal is to give greener gifts, start by making sure that everything along the way—from sourcing materials and manufacturing products, right down to packaging and delivery—is done in an environmentally friendly way. In other words, when you think sustainable gifts don’t just consider whether or not you can recycle a product (you should be able to); think about what happens from beginning to end.
Minimize Packaging and Waste
It’s no secret that many companies produce excessive packaging and waste. Avoid anything wrapped in unnecessary plastic or paper if you want your gifts to be sustainable. The National Recycling Coalition estimates that some 25 million tons of paper and cardboard waste ends up in landfills every year.
Purchase From Brands with Sustainable Business Practices
Organic and recycled products, use of renewable energy, minimal packaging. Brands that are making a conscious effort to lower their carbon footprint often create unique gifts that aren’t widely available in stores. A gift from one of these companies will bring your friend or family member something special and encourage them to make more sustainable lifestyle choices for themselves.
Leave The Car at Home
Although a bus pass or ride-sharing service might cost you more than driving yourself, it will save you money in gas and spare you from paying for parking. If public transportation is not an option, combine carpooling with taxi services such as Uber. You’ll be able to cover more ground per mile while saving some cash. In fact, if you can get your hands on an electric car or a fuel-efficient hybrid, you might even be able to make it back home using less gas than it took to drive there.
Keep It Local
Larger cities often have local artisans, craftspeople and artists who work independently or through small-batch studios. Invest in handmade or locally sourced items whenever possible. You’ll not only be giving a great gift, but you’ll also keep your money circulating in your community—and that makes it sustainable. So, buy from a company you know and support. If you know what they make or sell, you’ll be able to judge how sustainable their practices are. For example, if you see a recycled newspaper in someone’s packaging, it’s likely a local company that cares about their community.
Buy Gifts for Loved Ones That Last
No one wants to spend hundreds of dollars on something that will break or get thrown away after a few months. When considering sustainable gifts, always buy things that are meant to last. Whether it’s an heirloom-quality gift or something like a fitness tracker that can track your progress over time, sustainable gifts are designed with longevity in mind.
Chances are, you’re buying gifts for your loved ones. And chances are, they’ll be on their gift list year after year. That means it’s not just about getting great presents—it’s about buying presents that are good for both them and for our planet. The best thing about sustainable gifts is that they can be customized for any occasion. Each one is different, and each makes a great gift for family, friends, or coworkers. If you want to give a sustainable gift that speaks to someone’s interests or values, then it helps to know them well enough to make an educated guess. But these are all great options whether you know your recipient well or not.