It's nice to receive gifts, and even better to give them! But, let's face it, most of us already have everything we could ever need, and our overconsumption is having a serious impact on the planet. What if your gift could have a very small, or even positive, impact instead?
Here's our top gift ideas that keep the environment in mind.
Trees are majestic, stately lifeforms that clean the air, remove CO2, pump out oxygen and provide homes for wildlife. What could be a better gift? If you don't have any trees to hand (and we don't recommend you uproot any), then organisations like Treeform will plant one on our behalf that you can then 'send' as a gift.
Like a firework!
As well as tree planting, there are other carbon offsetting projects that can always benefit from financial support. Why not offset someone's carbon emissions for the year? This UN initiative makes it simple and easy to do so.
Who doesn't love animals? It's a shame that so many are at risk of going extinct because of us. With WWF, you can 'gift' someone an animal, for example a leopard, polar bear, orangutan or dolphin. The money is used to help protect these animals and your recipient receives regular updates about their status.
Re-commerce is a growing trend that's being spearheaded by brands like Patagonia with their WornWear programme. Essentially these are online market places that facilitate the reselling of their products. Other brands that do this are North Face and Taylor Stitch.
If you know someone who is 'green-fingered' so to speak, then they'd definitely appreciate a composter to make some delicious fertiliser for their plants. We're big fans of this super-stylish, odourless vermicomposter from Uncommon Goods. Composting prevents food waste going to landfill, where it releases greenhouse gases like methane as it decomposes. If they're just getting started and don't know how to compost that's okay, they can read our guide to composting with the Eden Project's Catherine Cutler.
Another one for anyone into plants (after 2020, who isn't?). These exotic seed kits from The Eden Project will bloom into venus fly traps and plants that actually move!
Venus fly trap
If you're buying for a keen cook then the Zero-waste Cookbook may just be the perfect gift. It's packed with useful tips like adding sunflower seeds to bread for an extra crunch and infusing vodka with lemon zest.
We had to include one or two of our own! Maybe our favourite product to date, these protective phone cases are made from the byproduct of linseed farming and can be safely composted in a back garden after use. Alternatively, send back to us and we'll recycle into a new one as part of our circularity system. Oh, and they're carbon negative as well.
These elegant bracelets are partly made from plastic that has been removed from the oceans and other recycled materials. The money from the sale is used to remove 450g/1 pound of plastic from the oceans.
OK maybe this is our favourite product. We work with IM Swedish Development Partner to upcycle illegal firearms into a symbol of peace. 25% of the sale of each pen goes to projects rebuilding communities that have been badly impacted by gun crime. A gift to be cherished.
Kuhdva is an off-grid campsite site situated on the lush Cornish coast. It's designed to be a hideout to escape from the digital world and connect with nature, which is great for our health. They celebrate sustainability and offer talks, workshops and music events.
Cornwall is a mythical place! Don't forget to offset the travel. :)
As Tony Stark's dad said "no amount of money ever bought a second of time." Your time is the most precious thing you have, so simply putting aside some of yours for someone else is a gift in itself. Sounds corny, but taking the time to cook someone a nice (preferably veggie or vegan) meal or plan a day out somewhere can mean a lot.
We'll keep adding to this list when we see new ideas we like, and feel free to reach out to us with any of your favourites. Let's give sustainably!