Many people live by the idea that it’s better to give than to receive. If you love giving gifts, whether it’s for a special occasion or “just because,” you probably already have a thoughtful mindset.
So, why not make the gifts you give even more thoughtful by pursuing eco-friendly options?
What does that mean, exactly? Thinking of “greener gifts” requires a bit of background knowledge into why sustainability is becoming so important. With climate change issues on the rise, it’s up to every individual to do their part and make smarter, more eco-friendly choices. It’s still not too late to turn the climate crisis around, stop overloading landfills, and do what’s right for the planet.
While gift-giving might seem like a small place to start, if you already enjoy doing it, it could be the perfect way to begin reducing your carbon footprint. Let’s look at a few things you can do.
Focus on Functional Gifts
You’re already putting a lot of time and thought into the gifts you’re giving, right? With just a bit more thought, you could opt for an eco-friendly gift that is both functional and meaningful. Some eco-friendly gift ideas include:
- Saplings/plants for outdoor use
- Indoor plants like aloe vera, which has multiple uses
- Sustainably-made clothing
- A repurposed or recycled item
- Bamboo cooking utensils or straws
Eco-friendly items are also often associated with ethical practices. Buying gifts from ethical businesses can help the environment, for certain. But, it can also help humankind. Everything from zero-waste kits to fairtrade coffee or chocolate can be awesome options for gifts. If you’re not sure how to get started with ethical giving, make sure you’re sourcing your gifts carefully. Have an understanding of where they come from. Research companies, read labels and buy local whenever possible. Ethical giving can take a bit of research and it can often cost more, but the benefits greatly outweigh those costs.
If you take the time to tell the gift recipient why you chose a specific gift, it could make things even more meaningful. Talk to them about why the gift is meaningful to you, and why it made you think of them. Without realizing it, you could be educating someone you care about on why it’s so important to include sustainable practices in their daily life.
Give an Experience
One of the best ways to stick with an eco-friendly mindset while gift-giving is to offer an experience, rather than a tangible item. Do you have a friend or family member who loves the great outdoors? Book a white water rafting trip for them, or plan a weekend to go camping and hiking together.
Your gift doesn’t have to be extravagant. Experiences make for wonderful gifts because the memories last longer. People are more likely to remember something they did that they truly enjoyed, rather than a trinket or physical item that might not frequently get used.
Not only can you benefit the planet with the right experience, but you can give your loved one a boost, too. There are many benefits to spending time in nature, including:
- Lowered blood pressure
- Reduced stress
- Immune system support
- Improved sleep
- Elevated mood
Experiences could be small, too. Purchase necessary supplies for a garden and help them to put one together in their yard so they can enjoy their own produce. Sign up for a bike tour or a race if they love staying in shape. The options are endless, and it’s easy to tie in the things your loved one already enjoys.
Whether you do the experience with them or just want them to enjoy it for themselves, you can really “outdo” yourself in the gift-giving department by offering up some type of beneficial outdoor experience. If you can get in on that experience with them, that’s just the icing on the cake!
Wrap it Up
If you’ve found the perfect gift and it’s something you feel good about giving, make sure you stick with your overall theme by packaging it the right way.
If you’re giving someone an experience, printing that experience on recyclable paper or cardboard is easy. But, if you’re giving them a tangible item, be sure to choose packaging material that can be reused or recycled.
Thankfully, most common packaging materials are recyclable, including:
You can also get creative and look for alternatives to traditional wrapping paper. Standard wrapping isn’t often recyclable if it features any kind of gloss or glitter. Choose to use something like fabric, an old map, or even a jar or tin to package a present. Not only are those options better for the planet, but they’re incredibly unique.
Fostering an eco-friendly mindset for gift giving is easier than you might think. By making a few swaps and thinking about the things you purchase a bit differently, it’s easy to put the planet first.