With Christmas just around the corner, we’ve been thinking up some great eco-friendly Christmas gift ideas to add to your shopping list. Now more than ever, is the perfect time to shop consciously. And to really think about the purchases you’re making and how they impact our beautiful planet.
As well as playing your part as the shopper, many of these gift ideas help your friends and family to do their bit as well. Remember that gifts can be great conversation starters. And can help raise awareness of the ever-present environmental issues of our day.
There are a bunch of options depending on your budget and how much time you’ve got available.
1) Cute tote bags!
Countries, states, large cities and small towns started banning single use plastic bags as early as 2007 (way to go Leaf Rapids, Manitoba in Canada, and San Francisco, USA!). Since that time, many more have followed and it’s now not uncommon for shoppers to bring their own bags when going out for groceries and other goods. There are so many cute bags on the market now. You’re out of style if you don’t have one ;)
Shopping bags now come in all shapes and sizes; foldable with zippers and ties; with a myriad of inspiring quotes and colourful patterns. Pick one or more – you can never have too many bags, they always come in handy – for the perfect Christmas gift.
2) Refillable water bottles
Plastic bottles are one of the biggest polluters of our oceans, and refillable water bottles one of the simplest solutions to reducing plastic waste. They come in a variety of sizes, materials and décor to match the personalities of each of your friends.
Look out for bottles with in-built water filters if you have friends travelling to countries where the tap water isn’t safe for drinking. They’ll be forever grateful.
3) Keep cups
Coffee is a billion-dollar industry with a huge impact on our environment. Whether it’s the cups, the lids or the pods, our obsession with our morning coffee is a key contributor to the planet’s waste. So, reusable coffee cups, or keep cups, are a great Christmas gift idea for the coffee lover in your life.
They’re sold in everything from glass to bamboo materials, and small to large sizes!
As well as being good for the environment, some coffee shops also offer a small discount for patrons using their own cups – even more reason to use one!
Go no further than keep cup – loads of designs and some that support charities!
4) Reusable straws
Plastic straws are small but a huge part of the plastic pollution problem. They’re too small for recycling and as a result end up in landfill by the millions, or worse, floating out in the ocean. Reusable straws have become increasingly popular with eco-conscious cafes and restaurants but not everywhere uses them. And this is where the public needs to step up and refuse the plastic straw. Bringing your own straw makes this action easy. Like the bottles and keep cups, straw variety is overwhelming – glass, metal, bamboo, bendy, straight, thick and skinny!
Our friend Shay at Cali Woods make some amazing ones and she really cares down to the last detail!
5) Bamboo Toothbrush
We find plastic toothbrushes everywhere when we are cleaning the beach. Why not make the switch? The bristles last just as long and when you are done you can ct the bristles off (most bristles aren’t biodegradable) and the handle can degrade.
Our friends at Bambuu Brush donate $0.25 to charity for every toothbrush sold! Plus they are doing wonderful things. Give them a follow!
6) Food glorious food
Who doesn’t like a bit of Christmas baking! If you’ve got the time and the skills, gifts of cookies and cakes are always a winner. And homemade freezer meals can also be a wonderful Christmas gift for your ‘to-busy-to-cook’ friends, or new mums and dads.
Pop your baking or cooking into a reusable container and you’ve got a low waste gift sorted!
7) Ocean Mimic swimwear
If you’re reading this blog you’re probably already aware of our unique collection of recycled swimwear. Our stretchy, soft and breathable, not to mention bright and colourfully designed, swimwear is the perfect gift ocean loving girls!
Our swimwear is made of Carvico Vita, a fabric made of recycled plastic and fishing nets. Using this fabric results in a drastically lower carbon footprint without compromising on quality (it’s got factor 50 UV protection too!). Shop all the designs here.
Where to shop?
A lot of these products can be found online, at the bigger department stores. Or at your local eco-friendly, zero waste store. If you’re in Canggu there are plenty of eco-friendly shops around, including our favourite Eco Living Bali.
If you’re after something a little different, you could also shop your local recycling centre. Some centres create products (glasses, bags etc) from the waste they collect and by selling them, raise funds to cover recycling costs and future projects.
What about the wrapping?
If you’re a bit of a collector like my mum, you’ll have a heap of old wrapping paper stored in a box somewhere. Use this first, it reduces waste and saves you money!
If you want your wrapping to be extra special, you could always make your wrapping part of the present. Reusable bags or tea towels with a bright ribbon make for great wrapping materials.
Less is more
Christmas shopping can be overwhelming so just remember, less is often more. A lot of the time we think of someone and immediately it’s a case of ‘they already have everything’! So if this relates to some of your friends and family, take the alternative approach and look at gifting your time. Maybe they’re a new family and you can offer some babysitting. Maybe it’s helping out with home renovations. Whatever you choose, it’s guaranteed to be appreciated.
Similarly, if your friends and family are already eco warriors and have set themselves up to reduce waste then take their cue. Don’t buy them ‘stuff’. Look at gifting them an experience, something they can enjoy and that will build memories. Maybe it’s a day pass to the local amusement park, movie tickets or an overnight stay somewhere.
Remember it’s the thought that counts
We are surrounded by advertising that says we need to buy this or that. Our societies are built on consumption and we often forget that at the end of the day, it’s the thought that counts when it comes to gifts. When you’re out and about shopping ask yourself ‘do I really need to buy this?’, ‘are there other less wasteful options?’.
This Christmas set yourself a challenge to buy less, buy quality, buy sustainably – the planet, and your friends, will thank you for it.