Last Updated on December 8, 2022
Sustainable gift giving isn’t just about what you give, but also how you give.
It’s easy to think that buying a gift made in an eco friendly way is all you need to do, however there are important things to keep in mind and ways to give presents sustainably regardless of the item.
This post is in partnership with EarthHero which is an amazing one-stop shop for all kinds of sustainable products and an easy place to get your gift shopping done. They have everything including clothing, kitchen and home goods, zero waste items, decor, baby and kids stuff, eco friendly pet products, green beauty lines and more.
So let’s jump into my tips of how to make your gifts more sustainable and also some great conscious gift examples from EarthHero!
1. Ensure it’s a Gift that Will Get Used
I think this is the most important one: a gift that the person doesn’t want and won’t actually use and enjoy is always going to be wasteful. 52% of Americans admit to getting at least 1 unwanted gift over the holidays – that’s billions of dollars and time wasted, as well as all the unnecessary energy and resources used to make the items (plus wrapping and packaging).
An easy way to solve this is simply to ask the person what they need or could use! Or if you don’t want to ask them directly, do some sleuthing and ask close family members, partners, friends etc. Or see if there’s anything they use regularly that could use an update or replacement.
Here are some ideas of items that most people use regularly which make good, practical gifts:
- Socks – Check out our favorite organic socks that give back
- Face masks
- Phone case
- Phone/tech charger
2. Quality over Quantity
Something that really needs a shift is the idea that “more is better” when it comes to gifts. The reality is excessive consumption is not only incredibly harmful to our planet and people but holiday gift shopping also creates a lot of unnecessary debt, stress and pressure.
Focusing on quality over quantity not only allows you to give items that will last and won’t be trashed. It also means you can invest in responsible brands and something you know the receiver will get good use from.
This isn’t just for gifts, any product you buy you should try to research. Choose things that are well made and ideally from brands that align with your sustainable and ethical values.
It can be tough to research every company though, so marketplaces like EarthHero are helpful because they curate products and also give you filters of sustainability features. They use icons so you can easily identify features such as plastic-free, Fair Trade, recycled, Black Owned businesses, compostable, vegan, climate neutral, and much more.
4. Support Small Businesses
Amazon and all the mega-corporations don’t need your money, meanwhile holiday purchases can be crucial for small businesses to keep the lights on. Small businesses not only offer more unique products but also create stronger communities and are important for advancing the sustainability movement.
Here are just a few of my favorite small brands you can find on EarthHero:
- Fat and the Moon – natural body and beauty products
- Knickey – my fave eco undies
- Marley’s Monsters – reusable paper towels, cloths and cotton rounds
- Nudnik – kids clothing made from fabric scraps
- Wee Gallery – children’s toy and products
5. Give Consumable Gifts
Gifts that will be used up are fantastic for anyone who doesn’t want or need more “stuff”. You can give a gift without the lasting clutter or waste!
Homemade baking, sauces, snacks or cooking mixes are great consumable gifts and also budget-friendly. Favorite coffees, teas, beer/wine, jam, or chocolate also are good go-tos.
When we think consumable we typically think of food. However there’s also non-food “consumable” gifts such as:
- Soaps and bath products
- Essential oils and diffuser blends
- Lip balm
- Pet treats
- Swedish Dish Cloths (they’re super useful and fully biodegradable!)
- Gift cards
6. Reusable or Biodegradable Materials
Another way to cut down on the impact of gifts is to look for reusable or biodegradable, materials and packaging. So at the item’s end-of-life it won’t go in the landfill. Try to avoid plastic products and packaging as much as you can; sometimes it’s unavoidable but we can try our best. 🙂
Also remember that most wrapping paper comes from new resources and often isn’t recyclable so stick to sustainable gift wrap – ideally recycled or reusable options, and make sure they don’t go in the trash!
7. Gifts that Give Back
Many conscious brands also give back to great causes, so you can multiply your gift giving! It can be especially meaningful if it’s both a gift they’ll appreciate and a cause they care about.
Here are some great brands on EarthHero that give back:
- Conscious Step – each pair of organic socks gives back $1 with many causes and organizations to choose from
- Tentree – clothing brand where every item plants 10 trees
- Terra Thread – each bag donates meals through Feeding America
- Scoria – their cork yoga products give back to Right to Play which works with Indigenous youth in Canada
8. Give Experiences
I’ve said this many times before, but it’s always good to repeat – experiences make amazing, memorable gifts and can also be a fantastic sustainable gift!
Here are some enjoyable experience gifts depending on the receiver’s interests:
- Meal at a favourite restaurant
- Tickets to a concert or sports game
- Membership to a museum or gallery
- Spa or massage service
- Admission to an amusement park
- National park pass
- Classes for something they want to learn
- Getaway or camping trip
Happy Holidays and if you have any other tips you’d add to this list, please share them!