Holidays are joyous occasions for us as we celebrate with our friends and family, follow traditions, and give away presents wrapped with our love. At the same time, while we are busy having fun, we end up creating more waste. It has been noted by the researchers that human beings create 25% more waste during the holidays. Something that gives us so much happiness ends up being harmful to the environment, and in turn, us.
With the bombardment of ads around us through media, we become susceptible to purchase more and more, especially during the gift-giving season. This again leads to wastage.
Exchanging gifts makes a considerable contribution to the wastage, the producers overproduce, the markets are oversupplied and we overbuy—material that isn’t eco friendly and ends up in the landfills. This also leads to an increase in greenhouse gases.
And let’s not forget the wrapping papers and shopping bags specially created to wrap stuff. Do we really need fancy wraps?
What we need is to be a conscious buyer and start caring about the environment during holidays as well.
Here are some gift ideas that will save the world and create less waste:
1. Gift An Experience
Skip the material goods this year and gift your friends and family an experience of a lifetime that is environmentally friendly too. It is said that spending money on experiences makes us happier for a longer time. Why not gift music lessons to your friend who wanted to learn how to sing for the longest time? Or sign up your nature-loving friends with eco drives. Gifts like classes, memberships, volunteering are useful and can fill up the hearts of people you care about, instead of lands.
2. Donate To A Charity In Someone’s Name
If you have a friend who believes in making others happy and is really into charity work, make a donation in their name to a cause they really believe in. Nothing will make them happier and satisfied. You will not just be making your friend’s day but improving the life of someone or something in need too.
3. Give A Home To An Animal
If any of your family members or friends, who are animal lovers and are planning to have a pet, adopt an animal that needs a home for them. We can find numerous animal trusts on the internet and thousands of animals in need of shelter.
4. Zero-waste Gifts
Zero-waste gifts are aligned with the philosophy of zero waste living, to live using biodegradable, compostable, or reusable products that create minimal toxic wastes.
These gifts are packed and posted/shipped with zero waste too.
5. Carbon Offsets
A Carbon offset compensates for your emissions by funding an equivalent carbon dioxide saving somewhere else. One of the ways to reduce the environmental damage is by minimizing our carbon footprint. If you know someone who travels a lot or has a nature of work that creates a bigger carbon footprint, gift them carbon offsets.
6. Buy Something From Charitable Web-stores
If you search the net for eco-friendly and charitable gifts, you will come across a lot of web stores and foundations that have stores open for us to buy things from, the money that we spent buying those items are directly sent towards the charity. For example, the Worldwide Fund for Nature (WWF) has a store that offers plushies and more as symbolic donations for animals, or TheBetterIndia shop that sells sustainable goods. Another store ‘Ecosia’ plants 1 tree with your every purchase.
7. Adopt a tree
Along with symbolic adoptions, WWF also offers us adoption for trees. If any of your family members or any friend is a plant parent, gift them another tree child. You can also gift them seeds and go out on a tree-planting drive, go on an eco-friendly adventure this holiday.
8. Buy From Thrift Stores Or Small Businesses
Thrift shopping is becoming the new norm, it is more environmentally friendly than buying from the huge conglomerate chains. Small businesses also put in their own hard work and their stuff is usually environment-friendly from the material used to packaging.
Lastly, nothing says more than something that is hand-made. Hand-made gifts are the best. They convey a lot more than something brought from the market. You can make upcycled gifts and create the ‘best out of waste’. Doing it yourself saves a lot of money, creates less waste, and makes us recycle stuff.
Celebrations are great for bringing people together and creating memories. But they also come at a cost, that goes beyond your wallet. By now, we should realize the dire need to consciously act positively towards the environment. Climate change is real and we only have a few years left to make a difference. 2021 should be the year of active care towards nature. Our little steps together towards eco-friendliness can save the environment and many lives.
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