Week 6: Sustainable Gift Giving

We all love to give and receive gifts, especially when they are presented to us in shiny paper and sparkly ribbon, but gift-giving creates millions of tons of waste across the globe and it is projected that at least half of it ends up in landfills. This week we want to focus on how we can Make Gift Giving More Sustainable.

Why Sustainable Gift Giving?

Image by Anna Larin from Pixabay 

For the Health of Our Environment

About 380 million tons of plastic is produced globally each year. Unfortunately, only a small fraction of that is recycled and it is very difficult to purchase a gift without having some form of plastic packaging. Once the gift has been opened, the packaging is thrown away and ends up in our landfill or in the ocean. Same with sparkly ribbons and bows. They certainly are pretty but not environmentally friendly. Even though we can reuse these items, they only last so long before they get smooshed or tear and then must be thrown away.

Many of the gifts we give are short-lived. For example, maybe they are the latest fad and quickly go out of style. Once this happens, the item is quickly discarded. Many of the gifts we give are given just for the sake of giving a gift. In this case the recipient may see the item as additional clutter in their home and toss it out before too long. This adds even more waste to our landfills.

Sustainable gift giving means investing in products that won’t end up as unnecessary waste but what does this look like?

Alternatives to Traditional Gift Giving

Sustainable gifting aims to minimize the use of resources, use natural, biodegradable & reusable materials, upcycle materials that have already been used and still exist somewhere on our planet, support artisans, pay all workers fairly and give back to the society in a positive manner. Sustainable gifts help one reduce waste and embrace an Earth-friendly lifestyle. They can also help you make a strong statement about your values and beliefs.

Green Feels

Think about the packaging when you are purchasing an item. Is there unnecessary plastic packaging that the recipient will have to throw away? Look for gifts that have minimal packaging to prevent this extra waste.

Be Thoughtful

Give a gift that you know the recipient will truly enjoy and cherish. This will minimize the chance of the gift being tossed so soon.

Think Outside the Box

Gifts don’t have to be a brand-new item purchased from a store. They can be handmade, purchased from a local artisan, secondhand, a donation in someone’s name, or time spent together.

Infograph from Green Action Centre

We literally throw money away on gift wrapping while there are so many better ways to present an item that don’t harm the earth. For example, sew scraps of fabric together to make a gift bag that can be reused over and over; use newspaper as wrapping paper; use a glass jar for some homemade cookies; the list could go on and on.

Learn More!

There are endless options in sustainable gift giving and we’ll talk about some of them this week. Don’t forget to follow us on Facebook to keep up with the discussion!

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