Recently, at Eco-Able we have been thinking about the concept of sustainable gifting, and how best to give a gift to a loved one that they will appreciate, whilst trying our best to be sustainable in our purchases. I know it might seem as though we are hinting at a certain festive period, however gifting is a year round situation, whether that be for birthdays, anniversaries or just as a little treat for someone you care about. We recognise how difficult it can be to buy for others, even if we know them very well (it’s even harder if we don’t!), but we have put our heads together, and have come up with some handy solutions for the sustainably conscious gifter.
Our top tips for a more sustainable approach
First of all, it’s best to really consider who you are buying for. This might seem obvious, but it can be easy to overlook someone’s real interests and hobbies, in favour of a generic gift: one that’s usually bought in a last-minute panic if you’re anything like me! If the present is for someone you don’t know too well, such as a work colleague, perhaps consider trying to get to know them better if they seem like someone you would get along well with, or ask a friend of theirs what they might like. Discussing each other’s interests is a great way to get insights into someone’s life and what kind of present they might enjoy. For example, if the recipient is interested in walking or hiking, perhaps consider an experience gift, such as membership to the national or various wildlife trusts. An experience gift is a great way to be sustainable as they can often be sent as an email, meaning there’s no need for wrapping or waste!
Similarly, as someone with two younger brothers I know all too well the challenges of buying presents for fussy, teenage boys. In this instance I look towards presents that might be useful. For example, one of my brothers has just started university, and so I might consider giving him a gift-card for one of his favourite takeaways or restaurants, so he can enjoy these home comforts that might not have fitted a student budget otherwise. The key here again is spending time to think about what someone might really appreciate or need, whilst critically considering what sustainable options are out there. Gift-cards can be great gifts, however if you want to avoid plastic, for restaurant gift-cards it is often possible to phone them and arrange for them to take the gifted amount from the recipients bill or to send this via email. Many other online retailers also now do email gift-certificates, and these are a good option to consider to avoid plastic waste, and for a gifting on a specific budget.
Stay away from novelty gifts. As much as these may seem like a great idea at the time, they usually have no practical use and will most likely just end up in the bin, and subsequently, in landfill. Not only is this a really unsustainable way to give to someone, but it is also such a waste of money! If you’re on a tight budget these types of gifts may seem appealing, however in this instance I would suggest thinking about what you might be able to make yourself. Handmade gifts can be great for keeping to a budget, but they also make for really thoughtful and personal presents. Some of my favourite ideas for handmade gifts tend to be a little complicated, but if you’re looking to learn a new skill, take a look at these ideas below.
My personal favourite handmade gift to make, is painting a watercolour scene of the recipient’s favourite place. I’ve linked an easy to follow video tutorial below, as well as ideas for a macrame plant hanger and an embroidery pattern- all of which would make lovely gifts!
- Macrame Plant Hanger: https://www.thesprucecrafts.com/beginner-plant-hanger-patterns-4768729
- ‘Bees Knees’ Bee Embroidery Hoop Pattern: https://web.archive.org/web/20180706174902/http://blog.beeskneesindustries.com:80/cateanevski/2014/05/bee-embroidery-pattern.html
- Simple Watercolour Beach Scene Tutorial: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=b1icdL5i5gs&ab_channel=Earl%27sArt
If making a gift isn’t in your remit however, why not consider purchasing a handmade gift from someone else? Not only is this a great way to support small businesses, with websites such as Etsy, there are lots of possibilities to choose from.
Another great option, especially if you have gifts you have already purchased, is to consider the type of wrapping you use. Brown paper wrapping can be great, but be sure to check these do not have a plastic coating, as otherwise they won’t be recyclable. I’ve also recently noticed wrapping paper which looks like brown paper however is actually normal coated wrapping paper, which again often can’t be recycled. Additionally, at Eco-Able we have just launched our very own re-wrapable™ fabric gift wrap, which can be used time and time again. What we love about these fabric wraps, is that once the recipient has opened their gift, they can then save the fabric wrap for a present they intend to give!
Finally, we have a lovely selection of eco-friendly products over on the shop page of our website, which also make lovely gifts for someone wanting to take small steps to sustainability. With everything ranging from our bath and shower products, which are additionally cruelty free and natural, to our everyday sustainable swap boxes, which come pre-packaged in recyclable cardboard – you’ll be spoilt for choice!
Let us know your ideas for sustainable gifting and what your favourite eco-friendly gifts are! We hope you enjoyed this post and found our ideas useful.