Gift-giving is a great opportunity to show your loved ones that you care for them. However, with gifts come many wrapping paper and gift boxes that end up in the trash more often than not. With more than 2.3 million pounds of wrapping paper making its way to landfills every year, it’s time to scrap the wrapping paper and start spreading the love with eco-friendly gifts.
Here are some practical, sustainable gift ideas that say, “I care about you (and the environment).”
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For many of us working and learning from home, pajamas have almost become our second work attire. Whether you’re looking for a pajama set or a simple tank to match your pajama bottoms, there are different kinds of ethical pajamas for you. They’re not only good for the environment, but they’re also good for your health and the workers making them.
Most ethical pajamas are high quality, as they are made of sturdy materials like cotton, bamboo fabric, and more. These materials are often hypoallergenic, antibacterial, and breathable, making them safe for allergy problems and asthma. Many brands even make sure that their clothing is fair-trade, meaning that materials are ethically sourced and are made using ethical practices, so you don’t have to worry about child labor and other inhumane practices being involved in the making of your clothing. ;
When you think of yoga mats, you might think of the rubber ones that absorb your sweat and start to stink once they dry up. Those are called PVC yoga mats, which are horrible for the environment. PVC is a petroleum-based material that gives off a toxic gas when exposed to the sun. Don’t let that put a damper on your yoga session; there are different alternatives to the PVC yoga mats that use safe and non-toxic materials like cork, natural rubber, grass fiber, and even cotton.
Organic soap has a ton of benefits that your beauty guru friend and family members will love. Firstly, they’re made up of all-natural ingredients that are generally suited for most, if not all, skin types. They don’t dry out your skin, have various scents, and don’t contain any harmful ingredients that can irritate your skin, like parabens, surfactants, or artificial fragrances. Some soaps even have healing properties that can help ease skin concerns like eczema, acne, or even sunburn.
Not only that, but many organic soap brands use minimal packaging for their products which is a great way to keep unnecessary packaging away from landfills.
If you’re looking for a practical gift that doesn’t harm the environment, a pair of eco-friendly sneakers will do just the trick. If you know someone who might need a new pair of trainers, Allbirds is one of the most popular ethical shoe brands on the market. They offer biodegradable sneakers made from merino sheep wool, recycled bottles, recycled cardboard, and castor bean oil. They’re a great alternative to commercial trainers, and they don’t lack in style, either.
Natural Scented Candles
There’s nothing more relaxing than lighting a scented candle before a soak in the tub. Unfortunately, many commercially-made candles contain animal fats or paraffin, which are harmful to the environment and our health. It’s not just the wax that can harm our health, but the wicks too, as some wicks are made from metal, which can release harmful vapors.
A better, eco-friendly alternative to gift your loved one with is a plant-based candle. These types of candles make use of waxes made out of soy, coconut, beeswax, other natural ingredients that won’t harm the environment or your health.
For some, jewelry is a form of self-expression. While there are many commercially-made jewelry items you can find online or at a nearby shop, they’re often made of materials that can cause allergies and are sometimes made inhumane conditions. On the other hand, sustainable and ethical jewelry ensures that you’re getting quality items made of ethically-sourced, biodegradable materials without involving bad working conditions. Whether you’re getting a ring for your fiancée or a friendship bracelet for your best friend, it’s important to see the origin of the jewelry you’re getting.
Donating to a Cause
If you’re looking for a packaging and item-free way to show your loved ones you care, you can choose to donate to a cause that they support. Many charitable institutions would be more than happy to accept your donations, but make sure that it’s close to their heart. This way, you’ll be supporting an important cause, saving the environment by consuming less, and showing your loved ones how much they mean to you all at the same time.
When saving the environment is more important than ever, we need to become more conscious about the brands we support and buy products from. And as long as your gifts come from the heart, your loved one is sure to appreciate them.