As you celebrate the holidays, you have an opportunity to give to those you love and help the planet. A group of TDS employees dedicated to helping create a Greener world has gathered oodles of fantastic ideas to make it easy.
From stocking stuffers and gift ideas, to gift wrapping and bows, get the eco-friendly holiday hookup with this creative 16-item list:
Reusable or biodegradable straws
There are so many options available now, the hard part may be choosing only one (and the heightened awareness about these single-use plastic items, odds are, it’s something they’ve been meaning to get but haven’t!). Pick their favorite color, or one that can collapse to fit into a key chain, or give them a pack of greener alternative disposables made from plants. Need more help deciding? Food & Wine magazine recently chose their favorites.
Here’s a fresh idea for produce shopping: bags they can use again, and again, and again. If the weight of non-plastic bags is a concern, it shouldn’t be—here’s a set that has the tare amount right on them!
Washable cotton pads/cloth
Save your loved one money by giving them an alternative to those single-use options from the favorite drug store. Even better, many sets come with their own bag so they can easily be dropped in the wash (like this set, which is one of many). If your loved one doesn’t do the small pads, consider a full-cloth like this one (Norwex also offers them if you have a rep near you).
Don’t laugh! A spork is just the ticket for folks to keep at their desks at work. It’s an all-in-one tool that’s easy to wash and will eliminate single-use plastic at the office. Check out this titanium one, or how about these fun-colored options?
Gifts for everyone
Stainless food storage containers
Ubiquitous in other parts of the world, they’re durable, pretty, and food safe. The added bonus? They won’t take on odors! Forage and Sustain gave a shout out to the gorgeously shiny Dalcini stainless, but there are other options out there too.
Wool dryer balls
Paying for fabric softener and dryer sheets will be a thing of the past once you give them wool dryer balls that can last 1,000 dryer cycles or more. Don’t believe us? They’ve even been featured on Everyday Cheapskate so you know we’re not making it up. You can often find them at local knitting shops and Etsy, but you’ll also find them even at chain stores like Target, Amazon, and Trader Joe’s. Fun fact: after doing some Googling, it seems that even if you don’t like or are allergic to wool sweaters, you shouldn’t have an issue with wool dryer balls.
A safety razor
You might think they’re old fashioned but they’re seeing quite a renaissance lately. They’re durable, industrial chic (the one pictured is from Parker), they last for years and years, and refills literally cost only pennies. This could make an extra lovely gift when paired with other shaving accessories.
Reusable food wraps
Quadruple win: a gift that makes food look like it should be in a Martha Stewart photo shoot, it saves the recipient money, benefits the Earth, and you can support American jobs all at the same time. Beeswax wraps are reusable up to 150 times (or you can revive them!), biodegradable (compostable even), and you can find many that are made right here in the U.S. Check out Bee’s Wrap, made in Vermont (photo, right), for example. If Amazon is your best option, they also sell wrap made in America.
The gift of power is no small thing—especially when it comes in the form of rechargeable batteries. Panasonic eneloop batteries, for example, are a fantastic option. Give a charger and a few sets of batteries and the recipient won’t have to run to the store to buy disposables for years.
Silicone food storage bags
Reusable silicone bags do things disposable bags can’t—they can be washed, they’re leakproof, and they can even stand up in the fridge. Some of the TDS Green Team have (re)zip brand bags they picked up at Target and like a lot, but there are others on the market too. Pull together a few different sizes to make a well-rounded food storage gift set.
Water bottle/hot beverage mug
Who wouldn’t enjoy a high-quality thermos/container for their favorite beverage? Go for broke and get them a Yeti, or a Zojirushi, and now even Tervis is getting into the stainless tumbler biz. Get your loved one their favorite color or let them geek out with one reflecting their favorite fandom. Added bonus: if they like to stop for a hot beverage in the morning on their way to work, many places will give them discount for bringing a reusable cup.
Reusable shopping bags
Give a gift in another gift—a reusable shopping bag! There are so many cute patterned options out there (we’ve spotted them at World Market, Marshall’s, and HomeGoods, just to name a few). Want something more understated? Check out One by One’s classy understated tote (each one is numbered so every one is unique!) or a Baggu bag that can be tied up into a jaunty knot for giving (and tossed in a purse later). Most don’t cost any more than a roll of wrapping paper.
Sing it with us: brown paper packages tied up with string! Because this paper isn’t bleached and is frequently made with recycled content, brown paper a more Earth-friendly alternative to traditional gift wrap. This is a great way to reuse any grocery bags you have lying around (turn them inside out as needed) and the result is a tidy and crisp-looking gift. Hot tip: if you have small kids, have them color on the paper before you wrap to make a perfect gift wrap for the grandparents.
Wrapping paper is generally only used once, but gift bags can be reused over, and over, and over. Non-shiny ones are better for the Earth as they don’t have any plastic coating. Hot tip: you can often score these on the cheap at dollar stores.
It’s a classic for a reason! The funny papers make a colorful present or use the black-and-white only sections for a super chic look (a pop of color with a cloth ribbon or washi tape really completes the look).
Instead of plastic ribbons, go for washi tape! It’s a paper tape that comes in a zillion different colors and patterns making it not only festive, but also less harmful for the Earth. You can find it at your favorite local crafting store but even big box places have it too.
What ideas do you have to add to our list? Share in the comments and inspire the rest of us! :-).