The holiday season is right around the corner—time to start thinking about season’s greetings, celebrating with friends and family, and giving gifts! It might be a wonderful time of year for us humans, but for the planet, it can be a burden. According to Stanford University, Americans create 25% more garbage during the season between Thanksgiving and New Year’s than at any other time of year! So, this year, let’s give the gift of wellness to a loved one AND to the planet by being mindful as you shop for (or DIY) gifts. Here are some of our sustainable favorites!
Gifts that can be used time and again are less likely to be discarded. For this kind of sustainable gift, look for alternatives to single-use plastics. It lets the recipient achieve sustainable wellness on their everyday adventures—because small choices can have a significant impact!
Reusable Water Bottle
Plastic pollution is one of the greatest environmental challenges we face, and plastic bottles are among the top contributors. In fact, one statistic finds that 86% of plastic water bottles used in the United States become garbage or litter. Unfortunately, just putting plastic bottles in the recycling bin still isn’t enough. A study in 2015 indicated that only 20% of global plastic waste is recycled; compare that to the staggering 55% that gets discarded. Good news though–one reusable water bottle can remove 156 single-use plastic bottles from the system each year. That’s even better than recycling! Not to mention, they’re much cooler. Keep a friend and the planet healthy by gifting a reusable water bottle this holiday season.
S’Well® x New Chapter® Vitamin Case
This year, say no to plastic vitamin cases or those single-use plastic bags! The portable, effortlessly chic S’Well x New Chapter Vitamin Case makes it easy to stay well and live sustainably. Each vitamin case is made from 18/8 stainless steel and is BPA/BPS-free. The washable, reusable 7-day wellness organizer fits up to 8 pills per day, and the lid doubles as a tray! Available in three stylish colors, there’s sure to be something for everyone on your gift list.
Make sure a friend or loved one doesn’t run out of battery power in the middle of holiday photos by gifting a solar-powered charger! Solar-powered chargers supply electricity to batteries, phones, and other devices using the sun’s energy. They come in all sizes, including portable options for an on-the-go recharge of a smartphone or tablet.
In the same vein as solar chargers, consider giving rechargeable batteries! Single-use batteries are typically made with toxic metals that are a non-renewable resource and may be mined in poor working conditions. When batteries are disposed of in the trash, these metals can leak into the soil or water supply. Take a small step to fix this by giving batteries that can be used over and over again! Rechargeable batteries are available for a variety of devices and battery types, and they can help cut the cycle of mining, briefly using, and throwing away toxic materials.
Household Sustainable Items
These Earth-friendly favorites are household essentials that make super-handy gifts.
Everyone has clumsy days or just wet hands after washing, which is why towels are a household essential. Reusable towels are an easy, stylish way to gift sustainably this holiday season. Paper towels often end up in landfills or waterways after use, contributing to pollution. A study from Harvard estimates that paper towels contribute to 20-40% of waste by volume from dorms and office buildings alone! Not to mention that every time you run out you have to head to the store to buy another roll. By using reusable towels, you can save time, money, and the environment! Reusable towels made from cotton or bamboo can be washed, so they don’t get discarded after one or two uses. Plus, they come in a variety of colors and patterns for every personality!
Beeswax is a versatile resource. You’re probably familiar with beeswax candles, balms, or chapsticks. But have you ever heard of beeswax wraps? Beeswax wraps are like plastic wrap, but reusable and far better for the environment! For a friend or family member who loves to cook or to pack their own lunch, this is the perfect, sustainable solution to plastic waste. Need some inspiration? Check out local Vermont brand and fellow B Corporation Beeswrap!
Silicone Sandwich Bags
Single-use plastic sandwich bags are a don’t this holiday season (and every season). Instead, consider Earth-friendly alternatives such as silicone sandwich bags and containers. This is especially helpful if your friend or loved one has a child! A silicone sandwich bag is the perfect lunchbox companion for all those school lunches in the New Year.
Everyone loves fresh produce, but not everyone loves those single-use plastic bags you get at the supermarket. If you choose not to use them, your produce can roll around in your basket or shopping cart. Reusable produce bags are your friend or loved one’s new go-to for grocery shopping! Help cut back on plastic waste and improve the health of the surrounding ecosystem by replacing single-use plastic bags with a reusable alternative. Just remember that some reusable bags are better than others. Look for ones made from Earth-friendly materials such as organic cotton, linen, or hemp for the lightest environmental impact.
Sustainable Cleaning Supplies
Everyone’s home seems to get dirtier and more cluttered during the holidays, doesn’t it? With all of the gatherings and meals and gift exchanges, it’s no wonder things get hectic. Give a loved one the gift of a clean, more organized home this holiday season by supplying some sustainable cleaning products. Consider eco-friendly options like handsome glass spray bottles for cleaning surfaces, or plant-based soaps and shampoos. Check out Grove Collaborative for green cleaning inspiration!
Beauty Gifts that are Packaging Free
One of the reasons that waste output is so much higher during the holidays is because of the extra packaging that comes with presents. Think about the piles of wrapping paper, ribbon, bubble wrap, and tissue paper in your living room after a gift exchange! Consider giving gifts that are packaging-free to reduce waste this holiday season.
For your fashionista friends, try solid shampoo! Solid shampoo is like a bar of soap for your hair, a unique gift that doesn’t require any additional wrapping or packaging. You can often find solid shampoos that are entirely plant-based and free of harsh chemicals that can irritate your skin. They come in a range of scents, shapes, and colors and can be easily found at any local beauty store!
Zero Waste Gift Boxes
Buy or DIY an innovative new kind of care package: a Zero Waste Gift Box! Zero waste gift boxes are filled with reusable, biodegradable, all-around sustainable products such as water bottles or reusable straws. There are many options available online for different budgets. Or you can customize it to best fit a friend or loved one!
Sustainable Gift-Wrapping Ideas
Are you looking for a stylish, sustainable alternative to commercial wrapping paper? Try these ideas for unique, Earth-friendly presents that are sure to delight!
Paper Grocery Bags
Brown paper bags are a time-tested classic for sustainable gift-wrapping. This one is both Earth-friendly and affordable; you probably already have a stack of paper bags in your kitchen or pantry. If not, a quick run to the local supermarket or co-op is an easy remedy. Complete the look with twine, dried orange slices, and evergreen needles for a beautiful, rustic holiday effect.
Stop the presses: newspaper gift wrapping is the highlight of the holiday season! Upcycle those old newspapers to create beautiful, visually interesting gift wraps (bonus points if the pages you choose have photographs or comics on them). Pair with brightly colored ribbon for a bold contrast, or finish with twine for a vintage flair. Either way, your gifts will have newsworthy style.
Mason jars have crept into the limelight over the past decade, and for a good reason! These screw-top glass jars are among the most versatile containers you can use: fill with everything from tea to candies to small soaps. Add dried veggies and herbs for a rustic soup mix or fill with cocoa for those cold winter nights. Seal the lid and finish with ribbon or top with a bow for a fun, portable holiday gift.
For the lover of all things vintage, using old maps as wrapping paper can make your gift a visual treat. If you’re like us, you probably have a stack of road maps in your car door or glove compartment. This is the perfect opportunity to craft beautiful, unique gift wrappings while also freeing up some space in your car.
Old Fabric / T-Shirts
For presents with a unique texture that are sure to surprise and delight, consider wrapping with old fabric or T-shirts. Fabric can come from old blankets, pretty dish towels, colorful quilting squares, or even grandma’s sewing kit! Upcycling old fabric is a fun, DIY alternative to traditional gift wrapping. You will have just as much fun wrapping the gift as giving it!
Whatever the occasion, New Chapter wishes you a safe, healthy, and sustainable holiday season.