Giving gifts is part of what makes the holidays so fun, but it’s not always the most eco-friendly part of the festivities. People get things they don’t need (or maybe don’t even want), and the gifts they receive aren’t always the most environmentally conscious products. You can change all that, though, by choosing to give a eco-friendly gift!
When shopping for green gifts, opt for local items to reduce emissions associated with transporting goods. Choose reused or upcycled items, as opposed to new items. Upcycled items make use of materials that might have otherwise gone to waste. If you do go with a new item, look for certifications that tell you whether a product is organic, sustainably sourced, recyclable and more.
With those general rules in mind, here are some more specific eco-friendly gift ideas to get you into the spirit of green giving.
Gifts for Foodies
When shopping for an environmentally minded food lover, make it easy for them to reduce the wasted resources that can come with buying, preparing and storing food. Pick them up a fashionable fabric grocery bag or reusable containers for storing leftovers. Of course, local and organic ingredients are always a good option as well.
Gifts for Kids
It is possible to get the kids on your list the toys they want without sacrificing sustainability. Manufacturers offer all the typical toys, like dollhouses, toy cars and teddy bears, but made from more eco-friendly materials such as sustainably sourced wood, recycled plastic and organic cotton. If you want to go a more educational route, check out these environmental books for kids.
Gifts for Pet Owners
With these ideas, pets can go green too. For a fun homemade present, you can make organic treats at home. It’s easier than you might think! You can also find plenty of other alternatives to traditional pet items such as squeaky toys made of hemp, cat perches made with reclaimed wood and biodegradable shampoo. You could even find an eco-friendly pet wash business and get them a gift card.
Gifts for Beauty Queens
Help the fashion-conscious folks on your list stay environmentally conscious too by getting them organic, biodegradable, sustainably sourced beauty products. You can find an eco-friendly gift option for pretty much any beauty item you could want from lipstick to bath gel to exfoliating masks. With so much variety available, you’re sure to fulfill any fashionista’s wish list.
Gifts for Gardeners
The garden lovers among us will always be happy with another plant. You could reach for seeds, potted plants or terrariums — the choice is yours. Just try to go as local and organic as possible. If you pick out a potted herb or vegetable plant, your gift will help them reduce the environmental impact of their diet as well. It doesn’t get any more local than a houseplant in your own kitchen!
Gifts for Techies
Tech might not seem like the most eco-friendly gift idea, since it uses energy and oftentimes rare materials. But you can make your friends’ tech a little greener with the right present. Everyone will appreciate a solar-powered iPhone battery, since they’ll know they’ll never be without a charge and they can get it an eco-friendly way. You can also reach for a Wi-Fi smart plug so they can turn off their devices from their phone if they forget to do it before they leave the house.
Don’t Forget About the Wrapping Paper!
Beyond the gifts themselves, wrapping paper is another way we produce waste when it comes to gift giving. Reuse old newspapers, calendars, maps and other paper products that you’d otherwise throw in the recycling bin. If you want something more decorative, opt for biodegradable wrapping paper or something that’s made from recycled materials.
Go green with your gifts this holiday season, and you’ll experience the joy of giving twice over. Not only will you make someone smile, but you’ll also be doing something good for the earth.
Emily is a sustainability and eco-friendly living blogger.