I have a love/hate relation ship with gift giving.
I love giving gifts and making people happy.
What I hate about gift giving is the general focus on just buying more stuff that may not even be used or wanted creating more waste. I am going to try and focus on a few practical zero waste gift ideas to spark the recipients interest in reducing their impact on the planet.
Gift Experiences – a Practical Zero Waste Gift Idea
I wish I could get my family behind this one.
Instead of gifting items, gift experiences.
Memberships to local zoos, museums, aquariums. Maybe even just tickets for the whole family for a day. Although in my experience, a year membership for a family of four is almost the cost of a year’s membership.
Massages, concert tickets…
DIY Food and Drink Mixes
This has been a life saver with family many times.
I have been known to whip up a cookie mix in a jar, or make hot cocoa mix and send it out in cute little jars. I have seen people online make soup and chilli mixes too. As a picky eater, I recommend sticking to something basic like chocolate chip cookies, brownies, or hot cocoa … something that most people like.
If you have the ingredients and some jars on hand, “cookies in a jar” and “soups in a jar” make a great zero waste gift that also doubles as a last minute gift.
What to consider
Be cautious of food allergies.
Make sure to list the ingredients for the recipient as either a cute tag or a card that also has the directions on it.
Glass or Metal Food Containers
Always welcomed in my home. Glass or metal food containers make a very practical zero waste gift. It would help to replace plastic containers in people’s lives and acts as a great housewarming gift. There are so many sizes and options available. For a more personal vs family touch, reusable lunch containers or bento boxes are a great idea.
Dryer Balls as a Practical Zero Waste Gift
It’s pretty much assumed that everyone does laundry…
As much as I love to hang my clothes to dry, these Canadian winters make it a little bit hard. Add to the fact that I live in an apartment so I have limited space and a family of four. I use dryer balls to help reduce the amount of time (saving money) that it takes to dry my clothes and avoid using fabric softener sheets. I personally like to add a few drops of essential oils to my dryer balls to help add a little bit of scent that is all natural, as well as act like a diffuser spreading the wonderful benefits of the oils through my laundry area while I am drying the clothes.
What to look for
100 % wool works best, especially if you are planning on adding any oils.
Support your local farmers markets, health food, bulk and zero waste stores as they usually carry 100% wool dryer balls from local farmers and artisans.
Travel Mugs and Water Bottles
A good starter zero waste gift, also great for basic zero waste starter kits. A travel mug or reusable water bottle is great gift to get people to switch from using disposable cups and single use water bottles.
Stainless Steel Wine Glasses
This is kind of a “want” on my list.
According to what I have read about stainless steel wine glasses, they can keep your drinks cooler longer than glass.
Gift Cards to Local Zero Waste or Bulk Stores
A gift card to a local zero waste, bulk or natural health food store could possibly be one of the most practical zero waste gift. The recipient can pick out items that they would prefer and you are supporting a local business at the same time. When the recipient goes into the store, they will be exposed to so many items and the people at the stores can help guide them on their zero waste journey.
The Best Advice for Giving Zero Waste Gifts
Know the person that you are shopping for.
Listen for items that they may have mentioned wanting to try out but wouldn’t normally splurge on. If you’re crafty, you can try your hand at making some items that the recipient may want or need. Check out second hand shops for items instead of buying new ones.
Reusable Gift Bags
Wrap up your gift in a cloth gift bag to ensure that it will be reused.
I happen to keep all gift bags, my family members even gather them at holidays and give me them to take home. They also call me up if they need any on a short notice.