We've all probably received or given a gift that started collecting dust in storage shortly after the exchange. If not given much thought, gifts can be unnecessary items that are barely used, becoming wasteful and unsustainable. However, when we are environmentally-conscious while purchasing gifts for others, they can be intentional, exciting, and sustainable. Follow these tips to see why the thought truly counts!
- Give Products that Promote Sustainable Lifestyle Choices
The best way for a gift to be sustainable is for its use to inspire lasting change in someone's lifestyle. From an e-bike to reusable shopping bags there are many ways you can support sustainable lifestyle choices through gift-giving. Good Housekeeping has compiled a list of worthwhile gift ideas, including beauty products, clothing, and tech for everyone on your list. Get creative with your gifts and think about how you can positively impact your loved one’s life and the planet.
- Gift Thoughtfully
“It’s the thought that counts”, a common cliche that rings true in the world of sustainability and waste reduction. One of the leading ways gifts become wasteful is when we give simply for the sake of giving. Things like knick-knacks, niche kitchenware, or excess electronics might not always be useful or helpful. Consider how useful these products are for your loved-one, otherwise they may take up space and eventually make their way to a landfill. Not sure what else to get them? Donations to a local nonprofit in their name, their favorite foods and snacks, or an experience you can share together are all great sustainable choices.
- Shop Locally
Shopping locally as opposed to finding gifts at big-name stores will not only make a gift more unique and heartfelt, but it is also more environmentally, socially, and economically sustainable. Local gift shopping reduces emissions and costs associated with transportation, especially if the business uses locally sourced materials. Small businesses are more likely to be minority or woman-owned and take more interest in the wellbeing of the whole community. Shopping locally also helps create more jobs and keeps money within your community.
- Don’t Be Afraid to Regift!
Regifting may be a faux-pas to some, it can be a great way to keep gifts in rotation and out of the landfill if you do it correctly. Maybe don’t give your mother-in-law a partially burned candle… but if you are looking for a simple gift for a White Elephant exchange or as a “thank-you” for your dinner host, consider regifting an item you don’t have much use for. If you don’t have an outlet for a regifted item, you can always donate it to a secondhand or thrift store where it can find a new home with someone who will truly appreciate it!
Celebrate this holiday season with love and gratitude rather than waste so we can have many lovely holidays to come!
Daniel Castree is a Sustainability Intern at Walking Mountains.