It’s the most wonderful time of the year – but it’s the most wasteful time, too. The holidays are around the corner and with them comes the annual increase in consumption. From packaging and lights to travel, gifts, and décor, our carbon footprint grows dramatically during the holiday season. Americans toss out 25% more trash during the holidays than any other time of year, increasing waste from an average of five pounds of trash per day to around 6.5 pounds per day.
A 2022 Salesforce report predicted that consumers would return more than $1.4 billion orders after the holiday season, and that number is expected to increase this year. Many retailers don’t resell returned items, finding it more cost-effective to send them to the landfill. Even the most conscious consumers often forget or don’t realize that their returns have a major impact on the planet. With more than five billion pounds of returns ending up in landfills each year, carbon emissions and packing waste are becoming a huge issue.
The climate implications of gift-giving are important to keep in mind as you plan for the holidays this year, and Passion Lilie is here to help. Follow these steps for eco-friendly gift giving this holiday season.
Think Before You Buy
Before you even pull up your browser or step into a store, think carefully about the person for whom you’re shopping. Consider what that person likes to do and what tools, products, or experiences they consider useful. Instead of buying them a physical gift, is there an experience or service you might offer instead? Some possible options include mobile car detailing, a special interest class (online or in person), museum membership, salon experience, meal gift cards, a celebrity video from Cameo, or tickets to see a show or performance. Whatever their interest, you can probably find something online to match it. The most eco-friendly gift is often not a physical product, but it’s something they will use, enjoy, and remember forever.
Another excellent non-material eco-friendly gift is a donation to your loved one’s favorite charity in their name. It’s a thoughtful way to show that they’re important to you, and so are their causes. As a bonus, charitable gifts are tax deductible if you choose to itemize on your returns.
Opt for DIY Gifts
Homemade gifts are an excellent option for reducing financial and physical waste. Making a batch of sweet treats, bath goods, jams, or candles can help you save tons of money on gifts while avoiding the wasteful aspects of mass-market goods. Putting your skills to use is a thoughtful way to show that you put time and effort into a gift while reducing the environmental impacts of the season.
Check The Materials
One good sign that you’re choosing an eco-friendly gift is the materials from which the product is made. If they’re recyclable and/or biodegradable, that indicates that you’re buying something sustainable. Look for items that come in eco-friendly packaging like recycled paper or reusable containers.
You could even take this a step further by giving eco-friendly lifestyle gifts like stainless steel straws, bamboo utensils, eco-friendly water bottles, or cloth shopping bags. Find items that are ethically made and that will help reduce waste in your loved one’s daily life.
Research the Company
Before you buy anything, we always recommend a quick look into the company you’re supporting. There are a few important things to make sure of: that they treat their employees fairly, that their goods are made ethically, and that their supply chain is as clean as possible from start to finish. Any sustainable brand worth its salt will have this information readily available on its website. Seek it out and make sure their values align with yours before you click “add to cart.” A few keywords to look for are eco-friendly certifications or memberships like Global Organic Textile Standard (GOTS), Energy Star, and Fair Trade Federation. Brands with these designations are the gold standard for eco-friendly gifts and products.
Support Eco-Friendly Brands
If we’ve said it once, we’ve said it a million times: your dollar is your vote. When you shop from Fair Trade and sustainable businesses, you cast your vote for a more ethical fashion industry. You prove that it is possible – and important – for ethical companies to succeed in this cut-throat business. Many eco-friendly businesses are small teams who celebrate every purchase, every share on social media, and every positive review or comment. Your voice matters, and we deeply appreciate it when you use your platform to lift us up.
If you’re interested in learning more about ethical businesses, check out Sustainably Kind Living’s blog and Instagram. They’re friends of the Passion Lilie team and they do great work sharing tips for an eco-friendly lifestyle. During the first 12 days of December, Sustainably Kind Living is doing daily giveaways with their favorite sustainable brands. Go check it out and let us know if you win something so we can celebrate with you! You may recognize a familiar brand on the seventh day of giveaways ☺
Passion Lilie’s Top 3 Eco-Friendly Gift Ideas
A few gifts in our collection stand out as holiday favorites year after year. The first is our handwoven throw blanket. It’s made from 100% cotton by our team of artisans in India, so it’s cozy, lightweight, and sustainable. Passion Lilie blankets are a favorite eco-friendly gift for a reason: in addition to being super cozy, they effortlessly complement any décor and add a pop of color and texture wherever they’re placed. Our throw blankets are currently on sale, so you can buy one for a friend and snag a second one for yourself for free! Use HolidayDecorSale2023 when you’re checking out for this buy one get one deal.
Another go-to eco-friendly gift is a Passion Lilie scarf. Each one is uniquely hand made from natural materials like modal or 100% cotton fabric. They’re versatile, adding flair to any outfit, and they’re the perfect size every time. When you choose a Passion Lilie scarf, you’re supporting the sustainability movement and empowering artisans around the world.
Finally, our men’s button-down shirts are the runaway favorite eco-friendly gift every holiday season. Comfortable and tailored to perfection, these shirts feature gentle tapering at the waist with a straight and narrow profile and a broader fit in the shoulders. People who own these shirts always come back for more. They can be thrown on easily for day-to-day wear, festivals, or special occasions. Made from 100% handwoven organic cotton, our shirts are breathable and stylish. They’re the perfect gift for people who care about fashion and the environment.
Wrap It Up Sustainably
Once you’ve chosen the perfect present, whether it’s a physical gift, a gift card, or a donation receipt, it’s time to work on the presentation. Most wrapping paper isn’t recyclable due to metallic designs and glitter, and around 2.3 billion pounds of it ends up in landfills during the holiday season. Instead of purchasing wrapping paper this season, try an alternative like wrapping your gifts in newspaper, old maps, or recycled wrapping paper. For a gift that keeps giving, grab a Fair Trade tote or scarf to serve as your eco-friendly gift wrap.
Embracing eco-friendly gift giving is not only about the gifts themselves but also about cultivating a mindset of sustainability and conscious consumerism. Let’s celebrate occasions in a way that spreads joy while also respecting and preserving our planet.