In 2018 report, 62% of the Americans bought their gifts a week before Christmas. In United Kingdom and United States combined, over $2 trillion dollars were spent on the same year for the said holidays. A larger portion of the expenditure are bought for presents, while the remaining are spent for Christmas decorations, food, and travels.
The holiday season kindles our passion to give. After all, the whole occasion is filled with the spirit of love and giving. For many, it is not just a chore they do to fulfil a routine. It is more of their heart’s desire to express sincerity. This is one of the reasons why many allot budget for buying gifts. However, in spite of having the passion, many still find it hard to choose the best present, especially if going zero waste.
Zero Waste Gifts: Are They Possible?
For the growing number of zero waste lifestyle advocates, Christmas is both a challenge and an opportunity to give back to nature. After all, Mother Earth did pretty amazing job of stretching its hands of sharing its bounty to its settlers. She gave move than enough of what we needed. There is a dilemma, though. Going zero waste is already tacky on its own. Adding concerns on gift ideas to the equation, it makes the whole task even more complicated. The good news is, complicated does not necessarily mean impossible.
To shed some light, the goal of zero waste is to lessen, if not eliminate, unnecessary trash. That includes use of too much wrappers, plastics, and products with one-time use. It is a little inconvenient to pull off since majority of the industries do not practice zero waste, but it is always doable.
This is also true in looking for zero waste gifts ideas. Zero waste gifts, as defined, are “handmade, homemade, secondhand or items that help someone refuse and reduce disposable or plastic waste.” So when you upcycle things from your old stuff into something new and beautiful to give it to someone, you already have a zero waste gift. If not create your own, you may buy items for someone from a zero waste store, which is basically just the same thing.
So, may it be an item crafted from your hands or bought to serve many purposes without necessarily having too much packaging, that is a zero waste gift.
DIY versus Buying Sustainable Gifts: Which is more zero waste?
While both can fulfill the ultimate goal of living zero waste, making DIY gifts has a pretty more advantage than buying sustainable ones. Here’s why.
First, living zero waste aims to simplify one’s life. This means you only have to purchase what you need in order to minimize consumption. You might think buying for a friend can be a good excuse, but this leads us to the second reason: DIY zero waste gifts reduce your purchases and that is a part of the zero waste campaign.
As we buy new products, the lesser the chance of older stuff to be saved from the landfill. We might not add up to waste, but the same amount of trash are still around us. So if there are still things that can be savaged, why not turn them into an art?
Additionally, creating DIY giftable items can also lead to a great side hustle or business. As long you use your creativity to produce useful and/or aesthetically pleasing objects, people will go to you to enjoy the beautiful fruits of your labor. You could sell in county fairs, bazaars, Etsy, or your own website.
If no stuff can be given new life, purchasing sustainable gifts also sounds like a good idea.
Recommended Zero Waste Gifts
Buying zero waste gifts for a love one is a practical decision, too. In here, we do not only talk about the items we will give for someone. We also think about time and appropriateness of the present to the person we are sending them. Though we mostly give gifts during the Christmas season, the following stuff can also be given to the people we love even without the occasion.
Moms are super hardworking. They do amazing job at keeping the house clean and attending to all their child’s concern. So this holidays, the following zero waste gifts will not only make their hearts big. It can also help them ease out their home duties for a lifetime.
- Glass bowls with lids. Moms love to go zero waste in terms of food. Since they have that commendable advocacy, we want them to let them know they should keep it up through giving them glass bowls with lids.
- Tote bag. Moms love to shop. In fact, they are usually the ones who buy things at home. They can be both a mom and a fashionista by giving them a fashionable tote bag.
- Garden plant or pot plant. Moms love a touch of green, not only in the food they cook but also in the front porch. You may actually be fulfilling a favor if you give them a plant that lasts long such as succulents.
- Eco-spa gift certificate. Give a mom a relaxing day through an eco-spa. For most moms, family is the priority, thus, allotting little time for self. With a gift certificate, you give them a deserving off from stress.
- Zero waste gift sets. A lot of stores offer gift sets such as a kit with bamboo toothbrush, reusable wipes, and handmade soaps. They are perfect to make any mom smile.
For busy professionals
For the workaholic professionals, every second counts. Thus, they will appreciate gifts that allow them to do things with ease while not taking too much of their time. Here are some creative and sophisticated ideas for them:
- Reusable metal drinking straw. Whether in the office or in the field, this set will surely be very useful for having takeout and dine-in with a drink.
- Portable coffee mug. Professionals are always on the go, but they cannot leave their coffee behind. Thus, a portable and sealable coffee container which locks in heat will be a good treat to them.
- Refillable bamboo pen. Signing is probably one of the things they do in constant. A chic refillable bamboo pen will surely level up that routine.
- Personalized bamboo flash drive. In spite the availability of a cloud, flash drives are still preferred by some professionals. They constantly transfer copies of files each day and they need to store it somewhere safe.
- Oil diffuse bamboo humidifier. Work can be stressful, but not when they have an oil diffuse bamboo humidifier. It is a great way for them to relax, despite hectic days.
- Bamboo travel utensils. Man sure go to places. A bamboo travel utensils will make that experience worthwhile and eco-friendly.
- Organic handkerchief. Let an organic handkerchief take care a man’s sweaty situation. Because organic, the cloth does not invisibly tear up skin. Plus, it is not a threat to the environment.
- Ticket to a game sport. Who would not have a sport? Men do love it. A ticket to his favorite game is not only zero waste, it will also be something a man will appreciate.
- Wooden beard comb or razor. Let his shaving be with a purpose through buying him wooden beard comb or razor.
- Unpacked soap for men. Men loves manly scents. An unpacked soap with masculine touch will surely be appreciated.
As early as possible, kids should love sustainable products. You can start by giving them this creative and fun gifts.
- Wooden toys. Help kids appreciate wooden toys by buying something that suits their preferences and age. Animal sculpted toys is fine with any gender. Boys usually love vehicles, while girls do appreciate kitchen wares or dolls out of wood.
- Stainless steel water bottle and lunch box. Make them enjoy their meals through stainless steel water bottle and lunch box. There are products that has kid-friendly lids, so you do not have to worry about them having difficulty of using it.
- Bamboo toothbrush. Kids know the importance of brushing teeth. Show you support by giving them bamboo toothbrushes than plastic ones.
- Arts and craft supplies. Kids love to show their creativity and you can show you care by buying them arts and craft supplies.
- Organic shirts. Take care of their body, and at the same time portray zero waste advocacy by carefully choosing cloth materials that does not harm the environment. Kids also appreciate new shirts with funny and creative designs.
Gift-giving is made more meaningful with zero waste lifestyle. Aside from sending our loved ones items that they will surely enjoy, we also give back to the environment by going zero waste. That is even more rewarding with two goals in line. Moreover, giving zero waste gifts now means giving a better future to younger generations. It is work we need to fulfill even on holidays.