Gift Giving for the Environment

Give a Gift to Your Loved Ones and the Environment at the Same Time

According to a recent blog on Harvard University’s website, globally the average adult spends $475 a year on holiday presents, half of which are unwanted. Over $70 billion in products are returned after Christmas each year. These returned products end up in a cycle of shipping, selling, and reselling that contributes a lot of greenhouse gases. But it doesn’t have to be that way. If your gift giving list seems a bit dull and ordinary, why not consider one or more of the following suggestions that will please your loved ones and help the earth at the same time?

For the Sweet-Tooth

Chocolate is a no-brainer as a gift. Who doesn’t like chocolate? However, not all chocolates are created equal. Many contain palm oil, the mass production of which requires the destruction of rain forests. Look for those that do not use palm oil; they may be labeled as “rain forest alliance certified” with a little green frog on the package, or similar.

For the Millennial

Giving the gift of an experience, rather than a physical item, can be more environmentally friendly. It also appeals more to the younger generations who tend to value experiences over material goods. Gift certificates for massages, movie theaters, mini golf, zoos, stand up paddle boarding, and more will please your loved ones and get them out of their house. Maybe they’ll invite you along!

For the Green Thumb

If flowers are on your list as a host/hostess gift, think hard about which kind(s) to choose. Flowers can have a large impact on the environment, depending on where and how they are grown. Because flowers are not edible (typically), the amount of pesticides on them is not regulated like it is for food. Choosing organically-grown flowers can help there. Land is converted from rain forest in South America and Africa to fuel the cut flower industry in the U.S. and China, destroying wildlife habitat and taking up a lot of the available water for irrigation. Selecting locally-grown flowers is the best way to ensure a low environmental impact. If those are difficult to come by, especially in the winter, look for those that are rain forest alliance certified. And consider choosing a potted plant over cut flowers, as they will last much longer and could even help improve indoor air quality.

For the Do-Gooder

So many great charities out there sell gifts or partner with businesses to offer products that earn money for a cause. Whether your loved one is into trees, clean water, or wildlife, chances are you can find a related charity with one or more great gift ideas. Just do an online search for the cause (parks, butterflies, rivers, etc.) and “charity” and you’ll find many options for giving. Throw in the word “Pennsylvania” to keep your donation local, if you want. You can always give a gift of money to the charity in your loved one’s name without relying on the accompanying “free gift”. That way, 100% of your donation will go directly to doing good in the world.

For more ideas on green gift giving, visit the following:

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