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Sustainable & eco-friendly gift ideas

3rd November 213 mins
By Toucan

Sustainable/eco-friendly gift ideas

Overconsumption is a major issue that the planet currently faces. Giving loved ones or colleagues gifts that they will likely never use contributes to this and it goes against the principles of sustainability. Being conscious of your consumption and sustainable practices is necessary to help the environment, however, it doesn’t mean that you should stop giving gifts. Alternatively, choosing gifts that are sustainable/eco-friendly and will be used by the receiver, ensures that gifts aren’t negatively impacting on the environment.

When looking for the perfect gift, there are numerous sustainable/eco-friendly items that can fulfil these requirements. From clothes made of recycled materials to making a charitable donation as a gift, the list is endless. Living a sustainable life really doesn’t have to make or break your everyday habits.

So, which gifts best suit your occasion? We provide a variety of ways that can help get you started with your sustainable/eco-friendly gifting and help protect the planet. 

Why is gift giving bad for the environment?

Unfortunately, it’s very common for people to gift items that are not essential. We often see items being given that would not normally be purchased by a consumer. This has a significantly negative impact on sustainability, as practising sustainable behaviours focuses on only using the resources that you need and replenishing them when possible. According to Annie Leonard, an expert in overconsumption, only 1% of the materials used to produce our consumer goods are still in use six months after sale.

Buy second-hand

Fast fashion is destroying the environment. Second-hand gifts are a first-hand example of ‘reusing’ rather than ‘recycling’. Preowned gifts such as vintage/retro designs or an item with history such as an heirloom will almost certainly be loved by the recipient. Modern gifts can even be bought second-hand. Today, more and more people are buying quality used items such as TVs and game consoles all at great prices.

Purchase eco-friendly gifts

There has been a rise in eco-friendly gifts on the market in recent years and fortunately, they do not compromise the immediate impact on the planet. Examples include reusable drink bottles, sustainably made cosmetics, freshly cut flowers, or even doing an activity with a loved one such as sports. As you know the person who you are shopping for, choosing an item that you are sure they will use and enjoy can makes a real difference. Today, consumers are becoming considerably mindful about purchasing eco-friendly gifts. A survey conducted in the UK by Deloitte found that 46% of consumers need clarity on the sourcing of products.

Choose homemade gifts

Homemade gifts are a fantastic way to compensate for the negative impact on the planet, but it is necessary to go the extra mile while making a sustainable gift and that includes the wrapping of the gift. Using materials that you already have or purchasing sustainable supplies for projects such as paper bags and natural cotton threads helps make a real difference. Consumers in the UK will use 227,000 miles of wrapping paper each year – over 83 square kilometres of this will end up in our bins. By choosing the right wrapping materials and opting for natural, sustainable materials, you can be sure that you are reducing waste. Brown parcel paper and using recycled fabrics are great alternatives. Additionally using reusable gift bags and boxes increase the sustainability of a gift.

Shop locally and make your trip sustainable

Shopping locally benefits your community as well as the environment. It makes it easier to keep in mind the carbon footprint of your shopping trip. Looking for products that are manufactured locally can also reduce the carbon footprint effects from transportation. Also, make sure to always bring a reusable shopping bag when collecting your items.

Use brands that are sustainable

Sustainable brands are on the rise and by purchasing products from them, you can improve the eco-friendliness of your gift. A sustainable brand integrates environmental, economic, and social issues into its business operations and aims to reduce its impact on the planet. As many consumers are increasing their sustainable actions, many are wanting brands to take the lead with 64% of consumers wanting brands to reduce packaging.

Giving sustainable/eco-friendly gifts doesn’t have to feel like a compromise but by considering the points above when deciding on the right gift, you can help do your bit for the environment. By choosing to take these measures into account for gift ideas, you can make sure that what you give your loved ones and colleagues doesn’t harm the planet. Every small step makes a difference in reducing carbon emissions, less landfill and waste, and even helping your local economy.

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