Modern gift giving is a prime source of endless clutter and consumer waste, yet how else are friends and loved ones supposed to show someone that they care? Holidays, birthdays and thank yous are made so much more memorable with these little gestures. Here is a list of 10 eco-friendly gift ideas that are kind to the Earth and are exactly the type of gifts people enjoy receiving.
1. Digital Media
Companies like Amazon.com (http://www.amazon.com/) and iTunes (http://www.apple.com/itunes/) have all aspects of digital media covered, and giving books, music and movies through these digital channels reduces the footprint of our modern media consumption.
2. Sustainable LivingItems
For the most part, if it's made of wood, it has a sustainable counterpart. WorldofGood.com by eBay (http://worldofgood.ebay.com/) has tons of sustainable options, from coasters and cutting boards to bracelets and accessories. The styles are unique and artful too, fitting in with a wide variety of different tastes.
3. Food Gift Certificates
Most people love getting food gift certificates, and as long as one steers clear of obscure types of restaurants this gift is sure to please anyone. Gift cards are fairly low impact for the environment, but many restaurants are even taking it a step further with re-loadable cards. Reusing gift cards means even less waste.
An unforgettable night on the town won't end up cluttering up a landfill someday, and some would argue that they are the best gift possible. Concerts, movies, parties and the like are what memories are made of. They can be a deeply moving gift, but require a bit of insight into the personality of the recipient. Hard rock, or opera? Basketball passes or baseball tickets? This extra added mental legwork is more than worthwhile for the impact it has as a gift.
5. Artisan Crafts
Most artisan crafted items are made of either re-purposed materials or renewable, green materials. Novica.com (http://www.novica.com/) and WorldofGood.com by eBay (http://worldofgood.ebay.com/) are great sources for connecting with artisans all over the world.
6. High Quality Second Hand Goods
Our current mindset of disposable goods leads to a lot of wastefulness, but this can be counteracted somewhat by buying used goods. All kinds of things like furniture, jewelry, clothes and instruments can be given a new lease on life when people choose to buy used. This is an excellent gift for those who are eco-conscious.
The problem with quaint little knick knacks is that they are never used up. While that's fantastic for valuable mementos it's bad for the planet and leads to a load of household clutter. Refrain from purchasing that paperweight, unless the person you're buying for is a card carrying collector. Candles, incense, toiletries, food baskets and baked items all fall under the consumables category. They are enjoyed while they last and then they are gone, naturally.
8. Plant a Tree as a Lasting Gift
The Arbor Day Foundation (http://www.arborday.org/shopping/gifts.cfm) offers various gift ideas for any occasion. A tree given as a gift is a lasting contribution that will remain for generations to come. A truly thoughtful gift for births, marriages, anniversaries, weddings and more.
9. Fair Trade Items
The sad fact is that many farmers, artisans and craftsman never see the majority of the money made from the sale of their goods. Fortunately, this is changing as more and more fair trade options are hitting the market. Most fair trade items are made with sustainable materials, and more importantly are not manufactured in a large factory. These beautiful items are made on a small scale with skills passed down through generations.
10. Gifts of Service
Perhaps the most eco-friendly gift of all is a gift of service. Cleaning, raking, organizing, babysitting or cooking are low impact on the Earth and high impact for people. Gifts of service can be personalized to meet an individual's unique needs, and will be remembered long after the good deed has been done. What could be better than that?
Gift giving doesn't have to be hard on the environment. Eco-friendly gift options are great for today, and lead to a brighter future for tomorrow. That's truly the gift that keeps on giving!