How to Choose E-co Friendly Gift Ideas

image credit: Pixabuy / AnnaHelsink


F inding the perfect gift for someone is HARD. Especially when it’s your mother-in-law who “don’t want anything this year, honey, just having you home for Christmas is enough”. These special days add more bliss and happiness to our lives. But what makes these days so extraordinary are the gifts you receive and give to your loved ones.

Finding the right gift, whoever you are and whoever you are shopping for, can often be a challenge. But gift giving can get doubly difficult when either you or the person you are shopping for, is very environmentally conscientious. After all, a lot of the gift giving way involves novelty.

Demand for eco-friendly products has risen dramatically over the last few years, with organic food, hybrid cars, and eco-friendly household products all growing into multi-billion dollar industries.

Here are some ideas to get you started: you can find the perfect gift for your particular person. So, if you have no idea about purchasing gifts then take a deep breath and relax. Just go through the list and know how to choose the right gift for someone.

1. A charitable donation

If your loved one supports or speaks passionately about any particular charities, then a charitable donation in their name might not go amiss. There are many ways you can do this. You could simply donate a certain amount of money to a cause they approve of and include the certificate in their card. Or you could buy them a subscription or sponsorship package, whereby they get access to grounds or events held by the charity, or receive updates from a person, animal, or cause they have sponsored. This way they can be more in touch with their charity of choice, still benefit from their present but have most of the value go towards those who truly need it.


2. Something biodegradable

Another option is to get them something that does not place much of a burden on the planet. It can be hard shopping for all your eco-friendly needs, and some products are consistently bad for the environment, hard to find alternatives for, and when you find the alternative it is expensive. So it is a wonderful thing to receive biodegradable options. Biodegradable baby wipes and nappies, eco-neutral soaps and detergents, and card-based disposable plates and cutlery are all great ideas. You could even go a bit wacky and get them some edible gelatin dinnerware, or some hemp clothes. Try and provide six months to a year worth, to make the present’s impact last. It will really improve their life, and help the planet.


3. Something reusable

If your friend is against all landfill waste and all consumerism, then a great swap for biodegradable goods is reusable goods. We use and dispose of countless different items every single day. Take-out boxes, cardboard coffee cups, female sanitary products, tissues, baby nappies, etc. But almost all of them have a reusable alternative. Talk to your loved one about how far they would be willing to go to save the planet, and consider any of the following swaps:

  •  Writing paper for a whiteboard booklet.
  •  Take-out boxes for personal glass Tupperware.
  •  Cardboard coffee cups for reusable travel mugs.
  •  Female sanitary products for reusable pads or cups.
  •  Tissues for handkerchiefs.
  •  Disposable diapers for cloth ones.


4. Something digital

Of course, the ultimate zero waste product is one made entirely from pixels. There is so much digital content available right now that if you don’t want to give a potentially wasteful present, you can always turn to digital media. Musical albums are a wonderful option, as almost everyone loves music of some kind or another, and supporting their favorite artist may be important to them. Digital film files, or an online music or television streaming service are also wonderful options. Or perhaps you could buy them some digital artwork from one of their favorite painters, supporting an artist and presenting them with some meaningful commissioned art? Finally, another great gift option is a device on which to use this media. An e-reader, or a tablet, or a streaming box may be a great way of gifting digital content now and in the future.


5. An experience

Another great non-physical option is to gift an experience. Almost everyone has something they love doing. Some of these activities are free, but others may cost in terms of travel, materials, equipment hire, venue hire, etc. So if your loved one has a hobby that is expensive, or something they have always wanted to try but could never afford to, you could buy them a session of it. Examples of this include a holiday abroad, diving lessons, or a music festival. Or, if it is something cheaper, which they indulge regularly, you could buy them an annual subscription or membership. Examples of this include a gym, an arts group, or access to trails.


6. A plant or animal

Not a great gift for someone young, inexperienced with living things, or who may not have the time or space. But if you have a loved one who already keeps, for example, fish, snails, or stick insects, you could consider adding an animal to their collection. If they have green fingers perhaps you could gift them a rose bush, or a small tree to grow on their own. If they have long talked about getting a pet, you could help them with the setup costs or the initial vet bills. Or if they already have pets, you could consider giving them something which their pets will use.


7. A qualification

Some people are definitely more of the go-getter, career-loving, studious types. So if your loved one is not big on physical gifts, a bit of a minimalist, or really into their work, then maybe a qualification would be a good option. You don’t need to look at putting down money on a degree, though! A first aid certificate, patisserie course, basic accountancy diploma, etc., are all available as online courses or short weekend courses. They will not cost you too much but could be a great start or addition to a career.


8. Nothing at all

Perhaps even after all this, you are feeling a little stuck. The person you are shopping for will definitely be unhappy if you bring home a meaningless knick-knack, an ornament, or another piece of unethical clutter. But none of these more environmentally aware gifts seem right for them either. They have all the biodegradable and reusable stuff they need, you’re not clued into any charities they want to support, and a plant or animal is out of the question. But, likewise, they have no digital goods, qualifications, or experiences they are desperate for either. If you’re really stuck, remember: when it comes to someone who hates waste and consumerism, no gift is better than a bad gift. Just explain why you could not give them a gift, and they are sure to understand and respect your decision.

Even if you are a big fan of shopping, choosing the right gift can be one of the most challenging things to do. There are a lot of factors to consider when buying a gift for someone, from the limited budget to the personal preference everything needs serious consideration,

Read moreHow to Find the Perfect Gift Ideas


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