A Guide To Low Impact Gifting

Capri Sun BagThe month of June is filled with weddings, birthdays and anniversaries! During this much celebrated time of year you may find yourself generously giving a great deal but do you consider the environmental impacts of the gifts you give? Here are a few ways you can reduce these impacts:

When choosing a gift, consider buying from a fair trade store. While your gift will probably be imported (which is energy intensive) extra money you spend to buy fair trade allows farmers to produce goods that are more sustainable. According to the Labor-Religion Coalition, buying fair trade protects the environment by “reducing or eliminating pesticide use, increasing composting and maintaining biodiversity.”

For those who would like to avoid the buying option I suggest crafting a gift by hand. Not only are handmade gifts a sincere expression of how much you care for the recipient, since you took the time and effort to create the gift, but if done right you can use virtually no energy. Here are two ideas I have used in the past which also encourage re-use:

  • Juice pouch bags- I saw Capri Sun bags being sold commercially and thought, β€œI can totally make that myself,” so I did. I found this pattern online for my own attempt, pictured above.
  • Denim jean pockets- When you are sick of a pair of jeans try making something neat out of them. In one of my teen magazines from way back when they suggested you cut out the back pocket and glue magnets to the back so you can use it to hold pens and pencils on your fridge.

Another very low impact gift could be the promise of a service. Sometimes it is more valuable to a friend to know that they can call you to baby-sit, help them weed their garden, or simply move some boxes from the attic to the basement. This is a big hit in my family!

Now, for all gifting it is important to consider your wrapping. I try to save all bags, tissue paper and wrapping paper that I receive from my family and friends. This way I can pull from these when I am wrapping and I don’t need to purchase new materials. When you are giving a gift avoid writing on the bags and tags so that the recipient may re-use the wrapping as well.

I also like to have a set of blank, Recycled Paper note cards on hand for an occasion that may arise. If you are not much for paper cards you can opt to send your friend a free electronic greeting like these ones from Conservation International!

So, while you celebrate your special summer occasions please consider these useful tips for low impact gifting!

Image Credit: from author’s own collection

  1. Kathy G

    Thanks for the ideas!

    My latest favorite birthday gift…I load up on gift books when I find them at garage sales and book fairs. Most of these books are in great shape, and look new, because they’re only read once or twice.

    Sometimes I give just the book, sometimes I wrap a gift certificate up with it too.

  2. Mary

    Many years ago, my Mother & I made a quilt for my sister upon her college graduation. We used scraps of fabric & cut up old clothing she would remember & crafted a cat quilt for her. Even the black buttons we used for cat eyes & noses came from buttons mom had collected over the years. We only had to purchase the quilt batting & the backing material.

    My sister loved it & wore it out before she completed vet school. She said it made her less homesick because she felt that she was wrapped in love each time she used the quilt.

    My DH & I also purchase books from used book sales & garage sales both for our own enjoyment, our children’s enjoyment & to give as gifts.

    We save gift wrap, tissue paper & gifts bags to wrap gifts in. I also cut up some of our Christmas cards & use them as gift tags.

    My mom made fabirc bags to give her gifts in years ago, our family still uses a few of those as well.

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