18-Dec-2017

Eco-friendly gift ideas

If you’re determined to tread lightly on the earth this Christmas, there are plenty of options for interesting sustainable gifts that your family and friends will love.

A massive $630 million worth of discarded gifts are given at Christmas time alone, many destined for Gumtree or local second hand stores.

Living Smart has collated this handy gift guide to help you with those last minute eco-friendly gifts. If you are aiming to reduce your gift footprint, keep these handy hints in mind when selecting a gift:

  • Consider what the item is made from, and whether it can be upcycled or recycled when no longer in use;
  • Choose items that will help your family members and friends make their own responsible choices such as reusable shopping bags or keep cups
  • Select experiences rather than gifts: think outside the box and go with special events, movie vouchers, dinner vouchers or simply take the person to lunch or breakfast instead of buying a gift

Living Smart eco-friendly gift guide

Plants in pots
One of the easiest gifts to find, that can last for many years. Potted flowers, edible plants such as herbs and rocket, or window gardens are lovely presents for people with smaller spaces. Native shrubs or fruit trees make wonderful gifts for those with large gardens.

Potted cactus or a mini cactus garden
Buy several small cacti and pot them in funky coloured pots, or for something a little more impressive, create a mini cactus garden by planting several different varieties in one pot, finished with tiny coloured pebbles. They are easy to take care of and can generally be placed indoors or outdoors.

For inspiration, check out mini cactus gardens on Pinterest.

Beeswax wraps
The ideal alternative to plastic wrap, these handmade wraps are made from organic cotton and beeswax. Designed to cover and wrap food, they are flexible and can be reused over and again.

Available from health food stores or online including from Bee Eco Wraps and Honeybee Wrap.

Reusable shopping bags
With Queensland introducing legislation to ban single use plastic shopping bags in 2018, why not find a quirky bag to suit your friend or family member’s personality?

For ideas, try, Boomerang Bags, Shop Naturally, The Fresh Green Bag, or Onya

Buy an experience
Support your local community and reduce waste by buying gift vouchers instead of presents. Cruises, Day Spa vouchers, restaurant or café vouchers, hot air balloon rides, kayak or stand-up paddle hire, hotel accommodation or winery tours are just a few of the many options out there.

The gift of time together
With our busy lifestyles, finding a couple of hours to spend with people we care about can often be difficult. Interactions beyond social media are so important in keeping us connected with those we love. A beautiful and incredibly personal gift can be created by making a voucher on your computer (or even better, make it by hand!) pledging a coffee, an afternoon, a meal or a walk. Give it a use-by date like any other voucher so you commit to making it happen.

Handmade or handcrafted
Bake some biscuits or a cake. Make some jam or tomato sauce. Harvest produce or flowers from your garden and wrap in butcher’s paper decorated with gingham, ribbon for a retro look. Paint a pot. Or support local artisans and buy something handmade at the markets.

Keep cups and reusable water bottles
With more people carrying their own coffee cups and water bottles, these make an ideal gift idea. You can usually find a range of keep cups at your local coffee shop. Reusable water bottles can be found at most health food stores. Glass or stainless steel options are best.

Don’t forget to choose a sustainable gift wrap option to complete your eco-friendly choice. Try paper bags, reusable gift boxes or bags, butchers paper with fabric ribbon, or fabric for an environmentally friendly and personal touch.

 

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