The holiday season is often a stressful time of year for many people. It’s also a time of year that tends to produce a lot of waste. If you find yourself feeling overwhelmed during the holiday season and you’re looking for ways to celebrate that are better for you and the environment, consider following these tips that promote a positive and sustainable approach to gift-giving.
Choose Gifts With Less Packaging
If you take a look at the waste you’re throwing away after opening presents, you’ll likely notice that a significant amount of it is made up of packaging. For example, consider a box of chocolates, which is a popular gift to give around the holidays.
Just this one present has pieces of chocolate sitting in a plastic tray, covered with a padded sleeve, inside a cardboard box, and wrapped in cellophane. As you’re shopping for gifts, take a look at the packaging and consider how much of it will immediately end up in the landfill. If it’s a lot, you might want to consider a different gift.
While shopping online is convenient, the shipping box and packaging materials that your gifts come in increase the amount of waste produced. Shopping local is one way you can cut down on how much packaging comes with your gifts.
Consider the previously mentioned example of a box of chocolates. If you visit a local chocolate shop to get this gift, it will only come in one box. You’ll be able to personally select each piece of chocolate, so you know your gift recipient is getting exactly what he or she likes. Plus, you’ll be supporting the local economy, which is good for your community.
Give Handmade Gifts
After the holidays, it’s not uncommon to find yourself with a pile of gifts you’ll never use. Making handmade gifts is one easy way to make sure the gifts you give are useful and have less packaging. We all have to get clean, so homemade soaps are always a good functional gift to give. You can also consider gifting homemade lotions, body scrubs, or cosmetics. If you’re good in the kitchen, you can gift your friends and family baked goods or homemade meal kits. Your gift recipients with four-legged family members will love receiving some homemade pet treats.
Offer Experience Gifts
Experience gifts are zero waste gift options that have been gaining in popularity over the years. You can find all types of experience gifts for children and adults. For the young people on your gift list, consider a membership to the zoo or aquarium, gift certificates to an adventure park, movie passes, tickets to a water park or theme park, or tickets to a museum. For the older people on your list, good experience gifts include a gift certificate for a massage, tickets to a comedy show, online guitar lessons, or cooking lessons.
Regifting Is Completely Acceptable
At one time, regifting was a frowned-upon practice. However, now that the sharing economy is becoming increasingly popular, people are seeing the benefit of passing along a present that you previously received from someone else.
Perhaps you received a scarf last year, but you usually don’t wear a scarf. If you have a friend who loves to wear scarves, you can pass that gift along to someone who will appreciate it and use it. Or maybe you’ve been given too many holiday treats and you’ll never be able to eat all of them. There’s nothing wrong with gifting some to friends and family so they can also enjoy something sweet.
Zero Waste Gift Wrap Ideas
Once you decide what type of minimally packaged gifts you want to give, it’s time to wrap them up. In addition to packaging, gift wrap is the other item that creates an excessive amount of waste during the holidays. Since you can’t recycle most types of wrapping paper, it simply ends up in a trash bag at the landfill. Rather than contribute to this waste, consider one of these unique alternative ways to wrap your gifts.
If you choose reusable wrapping paper or fabric, you can wrap your presents in the same thing year after year, which can save you time and money. Brown kraft paper can give you the look of traditional wrapping paper, yet it’s completely recyclable or compostable. Plus, you can even decorate the kraft paper to give it a personalized touch. You can also reuse wrapping supplies. If someone gave you a gift in a gift bag, you can save the bag and use it to give someone else a gift.
Thanks to these helpful tips on giving zero waste gifts and using alternative ways to wrap gifts, you can enjoy a more positive approach to the season and cut down on the amount of waste you produce.