Protecting the planet without breaking the bank
The holidays are right around the corner. If you participate in gift-giving, you may be wondering how to give eco-friendly gifts that don’t break the bank.
Here are 10 tips to help you get started on low-cost, low-waste gift giving.
1. Embrace the regift
Regifting doesn’t need to be taboo. It’s much friendlier on the planet and your wallet to give someone else that lamp or waffle maker you haven’t touched in over a year than to buy something new.
That being said, if you are choosing to regift, there is some basic etiquette that you should follow. For example, don’t regift something that is homemade or monogrammed; or something that is obviously worn-down. Make sure the gift makes sense to who you’re giving it to and try to avoid regifting within the same circle of friends or family.
2. Shop second-hand
Consider doing your shopping at a local thrift store. Similarly to regifting, it’s an opportunity to reduce impact on your wallet and the planet by giving new life to something old.
Of course, you still want to make sure the gift makes sense for the person you’re giving it to, and that it’s in good condition. Aside from thrift stores, checking sites like Kijiji, VarageSale, Facebook Marketplace and local buy and sell groups are other ways you can stay local and avoid buying new things.
3. Try DIY
Even if your artistic abilities haven’t been honed since grade school, you can still make meaningful homemade gifts. From photo albums, to painted mugs, to candles and ornaments — there’s a Pinterest board for every skill level.
4. Gift an experience
An experience — especially if it’s one you can share with the person you’re gifting it to — can often be the most memorable or treasured gift. From simply sharing time together, to purchasing a movie ticket, a Groupon pass or a live show, an experience is a great way to reduce product waste.
5. Think reusables
Though many of these vary in price, finding reusable swaps to daily items are a great gift for environmentally-minded (or curious!) people. Water bottles, grocery and produce bags, snack bags, mugs, dryer balls, food wrap and straws are all good places to start.
6. Offer consumables
Consumable gifts are a good choice because they’re (typically) not going to take up unwanted space or go unused. This can be kept cheap by opting for creating baked good mixes or soup mixes in a jar, or hot chocolate in a mug. Alternatively, you can find items from a local bakery or specialty goods shop.
7. Opt for greener wrapping
Ditch the wrapping paper this year. Instead, choose newspaper, flyers, packing paper, fabric, or old gift bags. Try to save gift bags if you receive them to then be reused again.
8. Plan ahead
We’ve all been there. You see something that would be perfect for someone for Christmas and it’s a good deal, so you buy it. But then you do that again. And again. And you end up with more gifts than you need, or a gift that you don’t have the right person to give to. Planning what you want to gift and for whom can help avoid that.
9. Choose gifts with minimal packaging
If you are buying new, try to find gifts with little to no packaging, or companies that use post-consumer recycled materials as their packaging.
10. Donate on someone’s behalf
Pick a charity or cause that that person believes in and donate on their behalf.