This is a guest blog post written by our partners over at Sustainable Jungle, an online blog where they share sustainability related ideas, tips, tricks, hacks, products, brands and stories of people & organizations doing meaningful work to future-proof our planet. Check them out here!
We don’t know about you, but this holiday season, eco friendly gifts are the only thing on our wish lists.
As per the Golden Rule, give only that which you would hope to receive! Thus, in the spirit of sustainable living, we should also focus on sustainable giving, by opting for zero waste, low impact, and minimalist gifts no matter the occasion.
So without further ado, let’s unwrap some reasons why we should greenify our gift giving habits.
1. We Already Have Too Much Stuff
The Ghost of Christmas past is here to haunt us, but not for our Scrooginess. In fact, for the opposite: our overconsumption.
And we need look no further than the clutter in our own homes to know this one’s something we all need to consider. Ornaments that never trim the tree, unworn pajamas, and of course, home decor that sits in the back of our closet, forgotten until we eventually purge all the unwanted junk from past holidays (and impulse shopping sprees).
Rather than perpetuate the consumption-cycle of getting and giving too much stuff, let’s tone down the quantity of gifts and focus on quality ones that will provide longer lasting enjoyment and utility. In fact, there are many minimalist gifts that “spark joy” far more than just another thoughtless sweater.
Tokens of affection don’t all need to be physical tokens, and some things that add the most value to our lives don’t add anything at all. But if they do, make sure they’re useful and will be truly enjoyed.
2. Our Gifts are Also Giving to The Solid Waste Stream
Not only are our over-consumptive holiday habits filling our houses, but they’re filling our landfills. Americans alone throw away 25% more trash (amounting to 25 million tons) between Thanksgiving and New Year’s.
Gifts aren’t solely responsible for this, but they certainly contribute.
Think back to some gifts you’ve received: heavy scented lotions, a fifth pair of mittens, goofy t-shirts from a friend’s vacation (good for momentary laugh but you would never actually wear)… the list goes on. We’ve all given, received, and gotten rid of our fair share of such gifts.
It’s time we take the zero waste philosophy of a circular economy and apply it to even the most special occasions. Do so by seeking zero waste gifts, like naked beauty products or even digital gift cards, which you can both get at EarthHero! That way, you know you’re giving something they’ll actually want and use.
3. We Need to Stop Putting Toxins Under the Tree
A clean house and planet also means things that are clean of all the icky stuff: toxins, BPAs, PVC, phthalates, and the like.
Most standard gifts are laden with chemicals and synthetic ingredients known to cause health issues. Why buy these when you can spend just a few more dollars and get a quality alternative that’s safe and natural?
For example, instead of candles containing lead and carcinogenic paraffin, buy ones made from vegan soy wax and scented with all natural essential oils.
The same goes for personal care products. Opt for sustainable beauty products that are non-toxic, vegan and cruelty-free.
4. Mindless Holiday Spending Encourages Fast Fashion and Other Unsustainable Industries
Thoughtless gift buying (even occasionally or seasonally) supports industries, like fast fashion (the antithesis of sustainable fashion), thriving on overconsumption and greenwashing. By supporting companies making cheap, disposable items, we’re essentially giving a thumbs-up to continue doing so.
Remember, you vote with your dollar as much as you vote at the ballots.
By buying into the “more is more” gift giving mentality, we create pressure among our loved ones to reciprocate by buying us just as much in turn. Stop unintentional holiday gift guilt by tempering your giving to one or two consciously chosen items.
5. Disposable Gifts Can Be a Waste of Money
Holidays tend to stretch our budgets, but they don’t have to. By spending less frivolously, we’ll find ourselves simply spending less. Instead of buying five trinket gifts, spend a little more on one quality gift your loved will treasure for years to come.
Even better, don’t buy anything at all. Try your hand at making something really special, which saves both you and the planet some green.
6. Animals are Also Paying for our Giving Habits
While choosing gifts that won’t harm the planet, remember that includes any living being that inhabits it. Hence, cruelty-free and vegan gifts are a must.
Many common luxury gifts often come at the cost of animal pain and suffering: cashmere sweaters, leather handbags, and animal-musk perfumes. Fortunately, there are vegan substitutes for pretty much all of these (even perfume).
And ethical gift giving has never been easier with EarthHero’s specific vegan gift category.
7. Mindless Gifts are Meaningless Gifts
If nothing else, we should turn to more mindful, eco friendly gifts simply because they matter more. They demonstrate thought and consideration for not just the giftee but for our planet as a whole.
Giving shouldn’t be obligatory, remember why we give in the first place: to show we care and remind someone they matter to us. And that reminder doesn’t need to come in the form of a last minute cheap scarf because-you-didn’t-know-what-else-to-get gift.
Aside from showing a modicum of consideration, eco friendly gifts are often more unique. When we can’t fall back on the default fuzzy socks, we’re forced to think outside the box (that’s under the tree). What’s more memorable: gifting a sponsorship of your loved one’s favorite endangered animal species or yet another pair of fleece pajamas?
Experience gifts, like a day out together or even a travel getaway, are meaningful because they create memories, which are the best gifts of all.
Final Thoughts on The Importance of Buying Eco Friendly Gifts
With rampant consumerism fueling dwindling resources and climate change, the importance of buying eco friendly gifts has never been more critical.
Whether shopping for Christmas, Hanukkah, a birthday, or a baby shower, don’t let yours be just another forgettable “back of the closet until next year’s spring clean out” gift.
Nothing says “I care” like a gift bought or made with consideration for our future on this wonderful planet, wrapped up with a big biodegradable bow.
Check out all of EarthHero’s green gifts here and give the gift of sustainability this year!