A Guide to Giving Eco Friendly and Sustainable Gifts

Reducing our environmental footprint is incredibly important for our future generations, for ourselves and the world we live in. We can make a difference with simple decisions in daily life that have positive impacts on the environment and on our planet.

When finding the perfect gift for someone, your gift ideas should always have a purpose. Sustainable and eco-friendly gifts are a great place to start...

But what to choose and where to look? What does sustainable even mean? In this post, we'll cover a few great options and answer some common questions about sustainability and eco-friendly in general.

What does sustainable mean?

Sustainability has the planet's future in mind. Sustainable products (and choices) will be those that provide human, social, economic and of course, environmental benefits and preservation.

Mt Gold Skin

Mt Gold One + Half Sheepskin Rug

  • Companies with sustainable practices will consider environmental impact at every stage of the production and manufacturing process. They'll have the least effect on the planet and support causes that give back.

  • Sustainable businesses ought to be environmentally responsible in every aspect of their business - from the office culture that designs the product or provides the service, to the manufacturing and distribution practices.

  • The term eco-friendly refers to items that don't harm the planet. It sounds fairly broad, and it is. However, at the heart of it, eco friendly means just that - environmentally friendly, and kind to the earth and its ecosystems.

What are some sustainable and eco-friendly gift ideas:

When consciously choosing sustainable gifts, a little more thought is often required. It's certainly not difficult, but do choose with intention.

1. Recycled materials: Where to begin? Plastic water bottles used to appear convenient and innocuous. But do you know how many end up in our oceans? Choose products actually made from recycled water bottles, or select a bamboo or all natural water bottle for long term use.

Pram Liner

Mt Gold Sheepskin Pram Liner

There are many brands making new products from recycled ones, or using every scrap of material to create something and reducing waste. Seek these brands out for gift giving ideas.

2. Be practical: Some of the best eco-friendly gifts are those practical, handy items that your gift recipient never knew they needed. Think of everyday products you use that end up in landfills.

  • Food wraps made from waxed cotton to help eliminate plastic wrap. There are some cute fabrics available and many are made from an organic cotton.

  • Un-paper towels - small, washable cloth squares that behave just like a paper towel. Even better, go for a set of Swedish dish cloths.

  • Soap bars or soap drops to help reduce ocean-bound plastic.

  • Kitchen bokashi bin for food scraps - compost your scraps and food waste instead of sending them to landfill.

3. Something sheepskin: Sheepskin is a natural material that is not only sustainable (being a by-product of the meat industry), but it also offers superstar qualities that can't be beaten.

  • Sheepskin comes from nature and is biodegradable, thus can be returned to where it came from at the end of its long and illustrious life. Although sheepskin is one of nature's sustainable materials, it's important to look for companies with environmentally responsible and sustainable manufacturing practices. You can learn more about how we (Wilson and Dorset) balance our carbon footprint here.

  • Sheepskin and wool products are among the best eco friendly gifts you can offer someone.

5. Eco-friendly gifts with a cause: Think about gifts that directly support environmental and charitable causes positively affecting the planet. Look for brands with initiatives for environmental interests - something like "for every item sold, we'll plant one tree" and similar. Consider eco-friendly gifts like a solar powered lamp or natural rubber yoga mat.

Fern in hands

6. Holiday season tips: Let's talk about wrapping paper -

  • Make your wrapping part of the gift-giving. Organic cotton bandanas make wonderful wrapping paper. Instead of a shiny new gift bag with tissue paper, reuse paper shopping bags, or purchase a reusable shopping bag and make that the wrapping.

  • Holiday season is particularly problematic in terms of disposable and additional purchasing.

What are the five "R's" of sustainability?

A move toward zero-waste living includes the regular practice of the five "R's". By reducing, reusing, refusing, repurposing and recycling, we're well on our way to a better future.

Recycling plastic waste, cardboard, and more should be a last resort after attempting to refuse, reduce, reuse or repurpose. Let's take a closer look:

1. Reduce

Try to consciously purchase less, and choose products that have compostable and recyclable (or no) packaging. Make an effort to reduce use of plastics and in turn, reduce the waste of harmful, unnecessary and non-recyclable products.

2. Reuse

Single-use plastic items have created a questionable "throw-away" culture. Reusing products is a great way to minimise waste.

3. Refuse

Practice this daily so it becomes a sustainable lifestyle change. Plastic bottles and single-use plastic bags are the antithesis of what we describe as eco friendly. Too many of them end up in our oceans and water ways. Always turn them down and resist the purchase of wasteful and non-recyclable products.

4. Repurpose

In the home decor world, this is commonly referred to as upcycling. It's a wonderful method to give something a second lease of life. Try to repurpose things where possible.

5. Recycle

Biodegradable

Once you've been through the other R's, it might be time to recycle. Curbside recycling of cardboard, paper, cans, glass, plastics and more is common these days. But if your home doesn't have this service, collect them and take them to a local depot.

  • Properly recycled bottles are easily manufactured into so many things, including some clothes.

  • Glass is infinitely recyclable.

  • Aluminium is also infinitely recyclable and up to 75 percent of all aluminium ever produced is still in use today.

How do I know if a product is sustainable?

Look for a carbon-neutral company and brands with B Corp certification with a focus on sustainability. Purchase from brands that are working toward zero waste and whose products have natural or no packaging materials.

Research the production process for that must have brand-focused item. Be sure your purchases are sustainable with fair trade and environmentally responsible initiatives in practice.

If you can find products that have been ethically manufactured from renewable resources with a low carbon footprint and biodegradable (or no) packaging, you'll be doing well.

The takeaway:

We can all do our part toward a sustainable future. It's a great gift we get to pass along. Conscious purchasing, going plastic-free and reducing our carbon emissions are all part of a responsible shift moving forward.

The best eco friendly gifts are those with the environment at top of mind. Get creative and don't be afraid to re-gift or offer services as gift giving ideas.

Be particularly mindful during holiday season and put good practices in place at home where you can. Each little step will go a long way to reduce waste and prolong the future of our planet earth.

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