Gifting sustainably this giving season!

Planning to be a little more sustainable this festive season when it comes to your gifting? Sustainable gifting isn’t a new idea, but it is changing. Gifting sustainably is no longer just about the environmental impact we have on the planet as we wrap presents for loved ones. We now need to think about the people our gifts affect, what happens to them afterwards and what we can be doing to transform gifts into forces for change.

Being sustainable in today’s world goes beyond sticking to eating food grown responsibly or switching to energy-efficient devices. Sustainability touches every part of our lives, from how we move around to the ways we shop, what we choose to dress in, and, yes, how we celebrate.

From birthdays to weddings, anniversaries and the festive season, sustainability in our gifting practices is growing, not just in what we gift but how we’re doing it. This post looks at sustainable gifting in a world where it is imperative that we take responsibility for our actions more than ever before. We explore the concept of responsible gifting, look at some interesting gift ideas and discuss the green gifting tips for doing your part in making the festivities you participate in a little more friendly towards the planet.

What is sustainable gifting?

Sustainable gifting means choosing gifts that are produced, consumed and shared in a way that is environmentally responsible and that has less of an impact on the planet. Whether it’s shopping at places selling sustainable products or using wrapping paper that can be repurposed or recycled later on, sustainable gifting  involves changing our behaviour to benefit the world around us.

It means thinking about our environment

Everything we do has an impact on our environment. But while we’re finding new ways to produce cleaner, greener energy, cutting back on our carbon footprints and contributing to preserving our oceans, it’s easy to forget about the smaller things we can be doing – especially when they only
come around once a year.

Every gift follows a production process. From manufacturing, packaging and shipping items to selling them, wrapping them and opening them on the big day, each step of the process impacts the environment. And while we can’t exactly control how our gifts are produced, we can do our part in limiting their ultimate  impact. Responsible gifting has never been more important.

It means gifting ethically

When we shop, we buy products that someone, somewhere, has built. Buying from those sources owned by the people who need revenues the most is the first step in gifting sustainably. So, think about supporting local, sustainability-conscious small businesses and startups that will use their revenues to help the people who need it the most.

It means making those gifts go further

If chosen carefully, the right gift can become a gift that keeps on giving. Single-use presents or gifts that will quickly become obsolete are not great for supporting sustainability. Instead of buying plastic-heavy products that can quickly degrade, consider things that can be regifted, items that last longer or presents that can one day make somebody else very happy long after the original recipient has grown past it.

Sustainable gift ideas

Here are some quickfire sustainable gifting ideas that will get the creative juices flowing. We’ve categorised these items according to who will be getting them, but you’re, of course, welcome to mix and match according to your own needs.

For friends

  • Homemade beverages like eggnog, punch or sweet, low-sugar drinks that people can enjoy around the pool.
  • DIY scrapbooks containing pictures and notes of special memories from your years-long friendship.
  • Bespoke clothing or homeware made from recycled materials or eco-friendly fabrics.

For family

  • Hand-made, personalised ornaments, art or decorations that people can enjoy for many years. Use paper, wood or other non-plastic materials.
  • A composting bin for the kids to toss old food waste into and to be added to your home- grown veggie patch.
  • Baked goods using only sustainable ingredients like wild honey, low-impact grains and cereals, and organic fruits

For partners

  • Reusable grocery bags, repurposed from old cloth-based carrier bags and personalised with customised names.
  • An unforgettable eco-friendly experience such as a therapeutic massage session at a
    sustainable local spa or a weekend away camping in the wild.
  • Digital shopping vouchers or gift cards to stores specialising in sustainable products.

For work colleagues

  • Glass or metallic water bottles to use in the office instead of single-use plastic ones.
  •  Water-wise, indigenous plants like succulents (the spekboom is an amazing option) can be taken home, planted, or left to grace a desk for the next year.
  • A pen and writing paper set made entirely from sustainable materials like bamboo or recycled materials.

There are countless sustainable options, gift ideas and responsible gifting choices out there to choose from. Many of them are pretty easy to find and don’t cost all that much money. Get creative, and you’d be surprised at just how sustainable you can get when it comes to gifting.

Tips for gifting more sustainably

Finding sustainable gifts is one thing, but what about the impact we have on actually getting them into the hands of our loved ones or lucky recipients? That’s right. Sustainable gifting includes taking into account the impact we have on getting them to become, well, gifts.

Here are some helpful green gifting tips on how you can be more sustainable, not just with the gifts you give, but in how you do it.

1. Build it before you buy it

Why spend money on something you can make yourself? Before rushing out to the shops, stop and think about turning your retail therapy into a DIY project. You’ll be travelling less, you can take control of the resources you use and the money you save can go toward a good eco-friendly cause.

2. Gift with purpose

Gifts that grow, can be handed down to the next generation or can outlast whatever birthday, celebration or festivity they were originally given for are worth so much more than the ones that get tossed out once people lose interest.

3. Wrapping with the right stuff

Wrapping paper is the number one waste by-product of gifting. Most wrapping papers are plastic- based and get thrown out the day after they’re torn off the gift. Use newspaper, bio-degradable papers or reusable gift bags instead.

4. Spend less, give more

Rather than spending thousands on a great big, fancy gift, consider going for a more affordable alternative and instead donate some of your gift budget to eco-warriors and organisations who are making a difference in the World.

5. Educate gift receivers

Leave a little note in the gift to point people in the right direction on the sustainability front. Kindly remind them to recycle their gift once they’re done with it, dispose of the packaging responsibly, and think about what they can do to contribute towards a more sustainable future.

6.Recycling gifts

Buy gifts made from recycled materials or containing materials that can be recycled quickly and easily.

This festive season, add the planet to your shopping list. Sustainable gifting is an important part of ensuring we can all enjoy many more birthdays, weddings, anniversaries and special occasions together. Think before you buy this festive season. Take responsibility for how you share your gifts with loved ones, and do your part in helping to spread the word about these green gifting tips.

Sustainable gifting doesn’t stop once January rolls around, though. In fact, we should all be working harder to live more sustainable lives beyond the gifts we give to loved ones. Give a gift that doesn’t cost much to the world this year. Start by signing the WWF Nedbank Green Trust #ProtectOurPlanet Pledge, visit our online store, and start wrapping a present that will make people happy for generations to come.