Gifting greener means being conscious of what we’re buying, where we’re shopping, and how these purchases impact the environment. Both the products themselves and the way they’re produced contributes to their overall footprint.Think about buying from sustainable businesses and choosing products made from natural materials. This ensures that the gift was sourced ethically and can be disposed of responsibly. Glass, metal, paper and wood are all easily recyclable and great alternatives to plastics. Paying attention to the life expectancy of a gift is also important. Generally, the longer a product lasts, the lower its environmental impact. Here are some specific ideas for shopping and giving greener!
Supporting eco-conscious businesses is one of the best ways to gift greener. Check out this directory with a list of local Certified Green Businesses in Montgomery County. For inspiration on item-specific sustainable options, take a look at Shop Ethical shopping guide. Look for companies that package without plastics, or sell reusable items. The quality of production practices, material sourcing, working conditions, and final product all contribute to the overall sustainability of a business. Green business certifications are not restricted by industry and can apply to a variety of shops, restaurants, providers, and nonprofits.
If you’re looking to literally “green” your giving, houseplants are a fool-proof, go-to option. With an endless variety of leafy greens, cacti, and succulents you can find the perfect plant for anyone. Many houseplants even have air purification qualities! These lively buds help to bring the outside in during the cold winter months when we spend most of our time hibernating. Not only are plants beneficial for the environment, they are also 100% compostable, making them one of the most sustainable gifts you could give. Consider shopping at a local nursery! To further personalize, look for unique, decorative pots and planters at a local thrift or antique shop. Montgomery Parks offers weekly plant clinics, hosted by Master Gardeners, who answer questions and advise on best gardening practices, tailored to you. This could be a great experience for someone with a green thumb or anyone looking to start a home garden.
Fossil fuels contribute to 76% of greenhouse gas emissions (EPA). This year, investing in energy saving tech for a greener approach. Energy star certified appliances are more efficient and could be a great practical gift. Peruse designer bulbs or color changing LEDs to brighten up your home or give to a friend or family member. The Nest Thermostat E is another smart device that will help save you money on utilities by saving energy and maximizing comfort. Efficiency power strips are a useful tool for managing “vampire” power loss from keeping used devices and charging ports plugged in. Each of these products will help to minimize energy waste and promote greener lifestyle practices.
This blog post was written by Natalie Sanford, a volunteer with the Department of Environmental Protection and loves ecology, climate science, and sustainable lifestyle alternatives. She graduated from Appalachian State University with a degree in Environmental Science and can be found on LinkedIn.