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Choosing Green: Eco-friendly Gift Guide
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Choosing Green: Eco-friendly Gift Guide

Even though the Christmas time is over, we’re still coming bearing gifts. And perhaps, the most important one this time around – the gift of knowledge.

And who doesn’t love a good gift, right? But what makes it good? More than one way to answer that question, no doubt.

There’s a matter of personal preference, which is just about the most inconsistent factor out there. Let’s not forget about the price, practicality and usefulness, lifestyle as well as the aware buyer’s best friend – environmental impact.

Why is that important in this context?

The Dark Side of Gift Giving

There are at least two sides to everything – and gifts are no different. What’s unique about them is that we normally think only about the good.

But, what else is there to it? At the end of the day, they’re all about putting a smile on our loved ones’ faces. What’s wrong with spreading some joy and happiness?

Nothing, of course. But there’s someone in this equation who’s definitely not happy – our planet.

Let’s think about gifts for a minute here. Yes, wrapping paper, decorative bags and shiny ribbons are only a part of the problem.

Toy Wrapping

Any single-use product is to some extent. And we have to admit, as nice as the gesture is, it’s also wasteful, with over 2 million pounds of wrapping paper ending up in landfills every single year.

Let’s not forget about the actual gifts, which are essentially just products. And we know perfectly well how harmful manufacturing in our consumerism-crazed world is to the environment.

So, what’s the right way? Should we just skip this Christmas (and not only) tradition altogether in the name of the common good? Not necessarily.

After all, what’s the point of depriving the world of joy?

The Better Way

Perhaps, not a perfect one, but a solution nonetheless – sustainable brands and eco friendly gifts.

The impact we leave on the planet is not going away completely. It’s just impossible. The best we can do is focus on minimising it.

Actually, that’s more on the companies. Responsible manufacturing practices, the use of sustainable materials, zero-waste initiatives – all of this can make a difference. But it’s only half the story.

Woman showing board with inscription against bottles with pumps in eco shop

The truth is that it’s still a business – and any business needs profit. For that to happen, we need demand (among other things, of course). Because sustainable practices are not exactly cheap at the moment, it’s also on consumers to support these efforts.

In return, they get durable, high-quality products that are much more planet-friendly from a brand that doesn’t cut any corners. Win-win.

In a way, it’s working towards a common goal, collectively. It’s a choice. Admittedly, sustainable gifts tend to have a higher asking price, but there’s a clear trade-off. Higher production costs go hand in hand with a heavier price tag. We all know the high road is one less travelled. But in the end - it’s all worth it.

Buy Less, Give More

There are other ways to do the right thing than just picking eco friendly gifts. We could start thinking about them in a completely different way.

Let’s consider the idea of giving out experiences rather than physical objects, for example. A ticket for a concert, or any kind of event our family member or friend could enjoy. And we don’t have to stop here.

There are services or favours we can just as easily gift to our loved ones. Sometimes, that’s even more meaningful than the most elaborate gift.

Another increasingly popular, idea is a digital present, such as a membership or a subscription. And it’s not just what you think – like an Amazon gift card, Netflix or Prime access for a month or two. There are other, far more personalised options out there.

Person Online Shopping Holding Black Android Smartphone

Let’s take a tool library as an example, which is a great option for any woodworking enthusiast. They get to learn, dip their toes in this world, without making a big financial commitment from the start, before they can even tell how much they enjoy it or not.

Here's another question - what’s more eco-friendly than one of the powerful three Rs? We’re talking about recycling, of course.

Yes, it’s possible here as well. How? Simple – second-hand gifts.

While the idea of giving a pre-owned item to a loved one may not sit right with some of us, it’s still a viable option. Nobody’s suggesting that giving a worn-out, century-old piece is any better than a brand-new gift – not by any stretch. But there are some hidden gems and true potential here.

A vintage watch, upcycled furniture, or perhaps an article of designer clothing with an authentic retro vibe. Or consider a gift made using 100% recycled materials.

Round Beige and Brown Wooden Table and Chair

While this might not be the best choice for every setting, crafting a homemade gift is also up there.

Some small art pieces, decorations, hand-knitted clothes or accessories, even something as simple as a meal or beverage. Who knows, maybe your loved ones would appreciate the time and effort even more?

Greener Choices

Don’t worry, it’s not just ideas, philosophies and a great piece of advice to make every gift by hand. If you’re looking for something a bit more specific – we’ve got you covered. Here are some of our best eco friendly gifts for the next special event you’ve got coming up.

Bamboo Homeware

Versatility is key if you choose to go for any kind of decorative or functional item. As it happens, that’s what you get with bamboo.

And it works pretty much everywhere – in the kitchen, with bowls, plates, or even cutlery, as well as the bathroom, with bamboo towels toothbrushes, holders, and soap dispensers.

Many timber organic brushes at home

By now, we all know all about this miraculous material, but let’s also remember that not all bamboo was created equal.

Just because it grows really fast, it doesn’t necessarily mean it’s sustainable, so make sure you look for specific certifications (like FSC).

Coconut

While we’re on the subject of homeware, let’s not forget about the coconut. They’re normally harvested for oil, water or flesh – and on a big scale, too.

The practice itself is not exactly sustainable, to put it mildly. But sustainability is all about making the most out of every situation.

That’s why some brands decided to put the empty shells to some good use since normally they were simply burnt or thrown away.

Coconut Shape Bowl

Now, they’re being turned into bowls – their natural shape doesn’t have much else to offer. Still, it’s a striking piece that can find its place in any home – whether someone’s big on environmental issues or not.

Eco friendly sweet treats

It’s a big one – the chocolate business is a source of many issues. Child labour, deforestation, modern-day slavery... Yes, there’s definitely a dark side to all of this sweetness.

That’s why we should support the efforts of brands trying their best to change the entire industry by employing sustainable and ethical practices. Look for Fairtrade or Rainforest Alliance certifications.

Beauty products

Sustainable and eco-friendly soaps and shampoos are better for us and the planet. They’re typically plant-based and use environmentally-conscious packaging, ideally FSC-certified.

Creams and lotions with carbon-neutral certifications are another great example. Maybe something a bit more original, like a forever eye mask replacing the disposable one. They keep your skin in tip-top shape while helping out our precious Mother Earth.

Organic Cotton towels

Natural materials are much better for skincare, thanks to their anti-bacterial properties and softness. That’s true for bamboo towels as well as their organic cotton towel counterparts.

Woman Wrapped in an Organic Cotton Towel

As always, make sure you look for officially certified fabrics, like the Global Organic Textiles certification. Remember – no material is truly sustainable unless it’s sourced and processed responsibly and ethically.

Sustainable bath mat

Although organic cotton is also a good choice for a mat or a rug, there’s no better product than a natural stone bath mat.

It’s made of diatomite – an amazing sedimentary, highly porous rock. Natural, light and durable with anti-bacterial properties combined together to build the ultimate bathroom product – an absorbent bath mat.

On top of all that, it requires almost zero maintenance, no chemicals and dries up in just 60 seconds.

Indoor garden & plants

It’s hard to think about a more natural gift than plants. They have the power to breathe life into just about any space and reduce the amount of carbon monoxide in our living space.

Photo of Plants on the Table

If you want to take it to a whole new level, check out the indoor garden sets that can fit up to 12 plants, giving the lucky new owner an opportunity to enjoy their own herbs and the most local produce there is.

Reusable notebook

While normally electronic devices aren’t exactly eco-friendly, this is still a good alternative that’s going to save a lot of trees.

You can easily take some notes and store your ideas safely in the cloud, without going through a single piece of paper.

Cash

Yes, while it’s still often not really considered classy, cash can be a great gift.

There’s nothing worse than getting somebody something they don’t like. And we only get one shot to get it right, so why not let them decide for themselves?

Better future

Green is definitely the way - if we care about our planet, that is. And it should be a choice we all make.

Making a difference is not that hard, and we hope this short guide can save you at least some time you’d normally spend on choosing the perfect gift.

Awareness and wrong ideas about sustainability are often what’s stopping us from making the right call. We can’t let that get in the way.

So why not consider sustainable gifting and supporting local artisans the next time an important event comes around - and then we can all lead a greener lifestyle.

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