The start of each new holiday season brings an array of gift ideas even more unique and creative than the year beforehand. This year is no different, with an ever more expansive green gift repertoire to chose from. We’ve sorted some of our favorites for green gift giving 2016 into the following categories:
Green Gifts that reduce waste
In 2014, the EPA reported that 258 million tons of municipal solid waste (MSW) were generated; they also reported that over 89 million tons of MSW were recycled and composted. In order to keep reducing the former and raising the latter, we have to find more efficient ways to increase recycling and up-cycling. Knit socks and throws made out of recycled cotton t-shirt clippings is one way to make gift-giving greener. Apparel in general creates a ton of waste in the cutting process, so finding those uniquely green gifts that are made out of cotton, wool, and cashmere scraps will spur the re-vamping of the apparel and home décor industry.
Green Gifts that reduce energy
The U.S. is the second largest energy-consuming country in the world, following China. For tech-savvy colleagues, friends, and family members, there are a variety of uncommon and even entertaining green gifts specialized in reducing energy waste–the Nest Learning Thermostat is one that can be a gift for the whole family. It monitors your heat energy consumption, and adjusts the temperature according to your habits. It also allows you to control the temperature of your home from your smartphone or computer, so you can lower or raise the heat depending on when you will get out of work, have company over, or be traveling. Portable solar iPhone chargers are also easy and handy gifts for holiday beach vacations.
Green Gifts that grow
Gardeners, plant-lovers, and pet-lovers (plants can also be pets!) alike will enjoy a gift blossoming with consideration and warmth. From the most exotic plants to mini cacti and herbs for the kitchen, gifts that grow offer creativity and originality like no other type. Ceramic pots and planters can be gorgeously elaborate, while terrariums with fun figurines and creatures offer room to play. One of our favorite spots in Williamsburg, Brooklyn, makes gift-creating as enjoyable and exciting as gift-receiving.
Green Gifts for on-the-go
For everyone who is on the go, the array of gifts is especially vast. Bamboo utensil sets, stow and go lunch containers, and messenger bags made of recycled poly yarn (“PET yarn”) are some eco-friendly favorites. Even gifts that promote bikeshares and urban cycling such as emergency multi-tools, up-cycled bike baskets, and funny bike mudguards are ingenious ways to keep the green going around.