Go Green and Give Green…
With eco-conscious gift-giving
The season for giving is fast approaching, and it’s time to start looking for the perfect gifts for all of the special people in your life. When we know we selected just the right gift for our loved ones, it gives us a warm and fuzzy feeling, right? Well – as it was once famously put – we are living in a material world; and sometimes that makes gift-giving stressful and expensive. It may sound a little cheesy and cliché, but oftentimes the gift really is in the giving. This year try bringing back that warm and fuzzy feeling of gift-giving by making it a creative and thoughtful effort. You can be more original (and hopefully less consumptive) by thinking like a green, eco-conscious consumer this holiday season.
- Bag of Goodies. Instead of making a gift basket, use a reusable bag to fill with tons of eco-friendly goodies like a BPA-free water containers, compact fluorescent light bulbs (CFLs), soy or beeswax candles, organic cookie and cake mixes, and eco-friendly skin care products. These items are all useful, thoughtful, and good for the environment and…Who doesn’t want a whole bag of free stuff?!
- Make great memories. Buying tickets to the theater, a museum or a concert is a fantastic gift because you’re guaranteed to find something for anyone. Whether you’re shopping for your artsy bookworm friend or your indie rock ‘n roll buddy, there are so many options for you to choose from. Depending on where you live and what type of tickets you’re buying, they can become pricey, so you may want to save this type of gift for someone really special.
- Consumable gifts. Spending money for a gift that isn’t going to get any use besides gathering dust in garage is a waste in so many ways. Selections of organic baked goods, fresh flowers, dried fruit, and organic teas are gifts that are sure to be enjoyed with very little waste.
- Material gifts. If you have to purchase a material gift, just make sure it’s something that will get a lot of use. Try to stay away from items that are easily disposable or may not be used often. Just because your sister really likes waffles, doesn’t mean she’s in dire need of a waffle-maker. If you’re going to spend the money, why not buy something the person really needs? If you know the person well enough, you might know of something they are thinking of getting themselves, and maybe just haven’t gotten around to it, so beat them to it. You’ll know your gift will be thoroughly enjoyed.
- Green Gadgets. This article lists 50 green gadgets that are great gifts for the eco-conscious consumer. They range from eco-chargers to solar-powered tents!
- Does not include batteries. Although batteries have greatly improved since they became a household “necessity” in the 1980’s, they still contain harmful chemicals, and still end up in landfills. If at all possible buy items with either no batteries or rechargeable batteries. According to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) 40% of all battery sales occur during the holiday season. If someone is a “gadget junkie” or have children with lots of battery-operated toys, a rechargeable battery set would be a great green gift in itself.
- Beware of packaging. When making gift purchases, look for items that are reusable, use less packaging, and come in recyclable packaging. It will help cut down the amount of excess trash that is created during the holiday season.
- Do it yourself. Look through some of the old holiday cards you have received. If you find a few that you don’t mind parting with, you can make gift tags out of them using these simple steps:
- Make sure the back of the card cover is blank.
- Rip the card at the crease.
- Cut the card to your liking or leave it as it is.
- Punch a hole at the top of the card.
- Put ribbon through the hole and tie it to your gift bag.
Newspaper comics could make creative wrapping paper as well. It adds color, originality and gives the person something to read while they wait to open their gift.
- Wrapping it up. Spend the money on the gift not the wrapping! The holidays shouldn’t be about making tons and tons of trash to be shipped to landfills. Keep a box in your closet where you can store used wrapping items to reuse for future holidays. We’re not saying you should open your wrapped gifts with a razorblade and microscope. Just try to save and reuse old gift bags and tissue paper that happen to still look new. It’s not re-gifting to reuse perfectly good paper.
If you don’t have any wrapping material to reuse, look for gift bags that are 100% recycled. Try sticking to gift bags rather than wrapping paper to make it easier for the person to reuse it later.
- Making and putting together your own Christmas gifts for your loved ones gives each one a personal and unique touch that they will truly appreciate.
- With the eco-friendly gift bag, you will be giving your friend useful items they can use over and over again, while sending a great message and expressing your own eco-conscious personality.
- By reusing old cards as tags and used gift bags you can get rid of some of that clutter in your closet.
- If you buy a useful gift for someone that they use often, you will get the satisfaction of knowing you gave something that is really appreciated.
…to your wallet
- Reusing or using alternatives to wrapping paper and gift bags will save you money, especially if you have a large family and lots of presents to hand out.
- Making specialty baked goods for friends and acquaintances instead of buying items may take a little extra time, but it will save you a lot of money on material gifts people may not even want or need.
…to the earth
- Splurging on gifts like tickets to a concert produces very little waste (if the event is local). The packaging consists of no more than an envelope and the tickets themselves. You’ve given that person an experience they won’t forget with a gift that doesn’t end up in the landfill.
- Giving gifts like organic teas and dried fruit will limit waste since these gifts are consumed when enjoyed.
- If you spend a little extra money to buy a high quality item for a good friend or family member that you know they will use often, it will lengthen the time they can enjoy it and lessen the chances of them throwing it out to buy a new one.
- Reusing gift bags or buying recycled (if you have to purchase) will reduce the amount of new trees that need to be used to make these products as well as limiting waste.
- Hopefully, this season, your eco-conscious gift-giving will inspire the receiver to do the same, starting a chain of recyclers eco-conscious consumers.