Want to show a loved one how much you care, but don’t want to poison the planet in the process? Here are our top tips for giving green gifts.
Don’t make empty gestures
Here’s the thing, a lot of the time we buy gifts because we feel like we have to. We end up buying funny little trinkets or whatever which make the recipient smile for five minutes, then end up gathering dust in the back of a cupboard somewhere until the end of time. Don’t buy your loved ones stuff to clutter up their houses and the planet just for the sake of getting something. Get them things they’ll definitely use and enjoy. Or get them vouchers, so that they can choose their own gift.
Consider delivery logistics
The heavier the gift and the further it has to travel, the greater its carbon footprint. If you’re sending something a long way, pick a lighter gift.
Gift experiences, not things
The amount of pointless Stuff in the world is a big problem right now. And, as we’ve mentioned, gesture-gifts make up a big proportion of that pointless Stuff. You can help to cut down this problem by gifting non-physical things. Experiences (for example, a day out at the beach, a trip to the theatre etc) are often more appreciated than the silly bits and bobs we commonly gift one another.
Ditch the card
Do we still need to send cards in this day and age? There are better, more eco-friendly ways of sending messages. Most greeting cards end up in landfill pretty quickly, and their decomposition releases greenhouse gases. What’s more, the greeting card industry has a massive carbon footprint– is it really worth it for something that’ll be chucked in the bin right after reading?
Be careful when choosing packaging
Bubble wrap, polystyrene packing peanuts, plastic packaging…even wrapping paper is bad for the environment. Think about what you’re using to package and wrap your gifts and try to find eco-friendly alternatives if you can. This article goes into some great alternatives to wrapping paper, and this one is full of eco-packaging inspiration.
Gift your time and/or skills
Similarly to gifting experiences, gifting your time and/or abilities is a lovely way to give something meaningful without filling the planet with more stuff. Maybe you could offer to help around the house, or give friends a date night by babysitting, or walk the dog for a week, or whatever else you can offer that your loved one would appreciate. Arguably, this kind of thing is actually a lot more significant than something you quickly grabbed off a shop shelf.
Ideally, local to the person you’re gifting. Not only does buying local gifts support local crafts and businesses, it also means that your gift has way less distance to travel. Transportation is a huge part of any gift’s carbon footprint. Buying local shrinks that footprint right down. Plus, things made by small-scale local businesses tend not to be using environmentally harmful methods of mass production, so it’s a win all round.