Anyone who has ever attempted to get the perfect gift for their friends and family know how hard that is… and that’s without factoring in the gift’s eco-friendliness. However, it is not a completely impossible feat. Here are some of our favourite eco-friendly gift ideas!
With the DIY trend back in full swing, inexpensive craft projects that look like a million bucks will make great presents all year round.
The best part? Upcycling things as well as making handmade gifts like calendars, festive treats and decorations are also better for the environment, as it meets the 3Rs ― Reduce, Reuse and Recycle ― which help cut down waste in the long run. Also, contrary to popular belief, saving the planet doesn’t mean you have to sacrifice style!
⋆ Buy gifts that will keep on giving
It is important to consider how meaningful the gift is because when it comes to gifts, it’s really the thought that counts. For example, if you know a friend who is guilty of tapao (takeaway) lunches on a regular basis, a thoughtful gift would be a cute bento box and utensil set to help them save the environment, one meal at a time.
Or, how about a domestic goddess who wants to start going green in the kitchen? Zero-waste helpers such as compost bins, cute reusable grocery shopping bags and mesh produce bags would be a nice gesture. Make sure the item is of good quality, even if it means having to pay a little more ― making sure the quality is top notch will help your gift go a long, long way.
⋆ Make memories, not trash
Finally, choosing (or making) a sustainable product to give someone is only a small part of what giving a green gift means. Ideally, a true, low-impact gift option would be the gift of an experience — helping your recipient accumulate lifelong memories instead of junk which they might not even end up using.
Some possible waste-free gift ideas include concert tickets, dance classes, passes to a sporting event, as well as a full “makeover” day.
If you’re on a budget, an alternative would be printable love coupons (like the ones listed here). These can cover anything from an offer to help complete a chore to full body massages, so get creative with them!
If you’re feeling like greening your gifts even further, here are two more points to consider:
#1: Get rid of any excess packaging
If you *must* buy, one thing to look out for if you’re trying to help save the planet is to avoid buying anything which has unnecessary packaging.
Think of all the plastic wrappers and bags that come with store-bought products which can get pretty excessive and even annoying. To counter this, make it a point to shop at stores which are committed to “slimming down” (or even offering products without) their packaging like Lush ― which sells handmade vegetarian soaps and cosmetics wrapped in paper as well as local stores where you can purchase unpackaged goods.
Other alternatives include shopping at thrift stores as well as buying pre-loved items (which are still in good condition).
#2: Wrap it before you send it
This might seem contradictory to the point above, but for many, gift-wrapping is an integral component of a gift. After all, part of the fun of a getting a gift is unwrapping it to see what’s inside!
Wrapping your gift, however, doesn’t have to be a major offence against the environment. Opt for sustainable wrapping options which can be just as festive and not nearly as wasteful as pretty printed wrapping papers. Between reusable fabric gift bags and furoshiki as well as old magazines, maps or scrap fabric, your wrapping wizardry will only be limited by your creativity!