Giving gifts is a common way to express your gratitude. It’s a clear sign to your team that you appreciate the good work they do and it lets your clients or business partners know that it was a pleasure to work with them. However, if you don’t consider the types of gifts you hand out carefully, they may just be left forgotten or thrown out and produce unnecessary waste.
Consider practicing mindful and sustainable gift-giving to show your heartfelt thanks and support instead.
What Makes a Gift Sustainable?
In order to be considered sustainable, a product must be:
- Made from organic, eco-friendly, repurposed, recycled, or locally sourced materials
- Designed as zero-waste alternatives to single-use plastics
- Crafted from certified sustainable practices
- Approved by certified sustainable industry standards
To further contribute to the gift’s sustainability, make sure its packaging is made from:
- Reusable canvas or cloth bags for shopping or everyday use
- Reusable decorative boxes, tins, or baskets for storage
- Recycled paper
Tips and Examples for Sustainable Gift-Giving
Don’t know where to start looking for a gift that’s not only worth keeping, but won’t actively harm the environment? Here are a couple of ideas:
Shop from Local Brands
Purchasing from a local gift shop allows you to directly support small businesses that handcraft their products, as opposed to producing them in large commercial quantities. It also does more than simply contribute to the success of a small business. Shopping local keep the circulation of money in your direct community. This provides more opportunities for women, people of color, and other minority groups in the area and improves the local economy and quality of living overall. On a much larger scale, purchasing directly from local businesses even reduces costs and resources dedicated to shipping.
Homemade Goods and Organic Alternatives
You can rarely go wrong with cookies, jams, and other heartfelt treats straight from the kitchen. Unlike purchasing items directly from a store, giving homemade presents leaves a great impression that thought and care went into choosing and possibly preparing the item. Likewise, more intentionally handcrafted items symbolize how much time and effort was devoted to creating the gift. This is bound to make the gift feel more personal to the recipient as well.
Purchase Practical Products
Finding out what your recipient needs now or will need in the near future opens an opportunity to personally hand over or send the gift to them. As a bonus, this eliminates the idea that the present was given simply for the sake of doing so. A few examples include memberships or subscriptions to their favorite apps, bags, or snack boxes. If you intend on giving tech accessories, make sure you select reusable batteries to be more environment-friendly!
Encourage Green Thumbs
Plants are gifts that keep giving. Seeds of herbs and vegetables promote healthier food choices, making them a straightforward choice to show you care about the recipient’s wellbeing. This also gives them the option to regrow some produce. Furthermore, you can go on a trip to the local plant shops or nurseries to pick up flowering or ornamental plants. Regardless of the kind of greenery you choose, each one is bound to offer a refreshing touch to any space.
Promote Eco-Friendly Habits
Pass on the gift of living a more sustainable lifestyle. Pay for the recipient’s subscription to a grocery delivery service that’s known to be low-waste, for instance. For a more direct approach, influence them to enjoy a home-brewed drink with a package of whole or ground coffee beans. You may also get them a completely reusable on-the-go kit, complete with utensils, straws, and a water container.
Donate to Important Causes
Not every gift needs to be tangible. Learn what causes your recipients hold close to their hearts and support it for them. Contribute funds in their name to animal rescue organizations, health research or caregiving facilities, homeless shelters, culture and the arts preservation programs, movements that support women and minorities, among others. Depending on your recipient, you may even donate to their own organization. In most cases, this can strengthen the sense of solidarity between both parties.
Being a Sustainable Gift Giver
Being more sustainable and minimizing your carbon footprint isn’t only limited to buying the gift and delivering it to an employee or client. Rather, it starts with the production of the product all the way to any energy consumption it may provide. For every purchase you’re about to make moving forward, educate yourself on how and where certain products are produced. This way you can make more informed decisions that will limit the amount of unnecessary waste you’re contributing while also showing your genuine appreciation for the recipient.