Give ‘green': Sustainable gift ideas for all occasions

It’s better to give than to receive, and to take the old saying one step further, the best way to give is to give green. Gifts, like many products available in stores, are heavily packaged, and packaging accounts for a significant amount of waste in landfills. According to the EPA, packaging is responsible for as much as one-third of the non-industrial solid waste stream.

Cutting down on packaging isn’t the only way to give green – there are plenty of gift options available that reduce carbon footprint and lessen the burden on the environment. Here we’ll take a look at a variety of green birthday gift-giving options.

Record Center Coasters

These coasters, priced at $18 for a set of 6 by Uncommon Goods, are a green alternative to buying mass produced coasters. A lot of folks have a box full of old records lying around and collecting dust, waiting to be thrown out. Instead of sending old LPs to a landfill, Uncommon Goods turns them into cool-looking, vintage coasters. If you have a friend with eccentric taste in music, a set of coasters from their favorite artist’s albums could make for a fun DIY project that will be cherished longer than generic, store-bought coasters.

Chi-qoo Solar Power Pack Kit

Have a tech junkie in your life? Just about everyone these days has a smartphone in their purse or pocket. The Chi-qoo Solar Power Pack Kit is an innovative device designed to charge any USB-supported device with the sun’s energy. The pack is equipped with a 5W monocrystalline solar panel, is enclosed in bamboo and is capable of fully charging an iPhone in two hours.

Earthopoly Board Game

Earthopoly is an eco-friendly twist on Monopoly, created by board game company Late for the Sky. Geared toward children, the game teaches players about the environment by issuing carbon credits and having players trade for clean air, while passing “Go Green” each time around the board. The game’s paper components are recyclable and the ink is vegetable oil-based, and all game pieces are made from natural materials.

Eco-friendly Gift Wrapping

Wrapping paper is a huge source of waste – it usually gets thrown away after a gift recipient tears it to shreds and winds up in a landfill. An eco-friendly and aesthetically pleasing alternative to wrapping paper is using fabric as gift wrap, or as the Japanese call it, Furoshiki. Any fabric large enough to cover the gift’s surface area can work as gift wrap, and although it takes some practice, everyone at the party will be wowed that you managed to wrap a gift with your no-longer-used floral print bed sheet. For a comprehensive guide on fabric gift wrapping, read here.

At USAgain, we readily accept all surplus textiles for recycling and reuse. We encourage sustainable practices such as fabric gift wrapping as well; the way we see it, the more textiles diverted from landfills, the better, regardless of how the diversion takes place.

Reducing waste in every way possible is necessary if we’re to ensure the sustainability of our planet. Next time you go shopping or embark on a DIY gift project, ask yourself, “Is there a green gift I could give?” There’s a good chance there is.

Share your eco-friendly gift ideas in the comments section below!

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