The holiday season will soon be upon us! Here are tips for gifting and receiving gifts that are a little easier on the Earth.
- Try a new experience. Giving the gift of an experience is an easy way to reduce waste while still being fun and thoughtful. This could be something like tickets to a botanical garden, museum, or outdoor activity!
- Get crafty. Making gifts can lead to meaningful keepsakes that come with a lighter ecological footprint. Make a quilt or bag from fabric, yarn or old clothes, make some candles, or construct a memory book of cherished photos.
- Give the gift of knowledge. There is nothing like curling up with a blanket with your favorite…e-book! E-books allow you to read something new without any of the paper. When they’re done, they can easily download the book to share with others. Alternatively, you can gift them credit for a fun virtual class!
- Donate to a cause they care about. Donations to organizations can make a positive impact while making little to no waste!
- Fill their tummies with their favorite foods. Does your loved one have a favorite local restaurant? A gift card or warm meal from there is an easy way to make them smile while supporting a local business. Just remember to ask for no disposable utensils!
- Shop local. There are plenty of great small businesses in the RethinkWaste service area. Shopping locally and in-person (if possible) supports the local economy while reducing waste and emissions from shipping.
- Repurpose wrapping. Paper grocery bags or old newspapers make great wrapping paper. Tie it together with some twine and pine needles from outside for a rustic feel. Or reuse last year’s wrapping paper and gift bags or try using scrap sewing material or a colorful scarf.
- Power up. Many electronics, toys, and gadgets require batteries. If batteries are not included, consider rechargeable batteries. They help reduce waste and can save you money, too.
- Disposal directions. When giving gifts, providing directions for disposal can help ensure that the receiver knows how to properly sort any waste that comes from it. This is especially important for gifts that contain batteries, as batteries are very dangerous when put in the wrong bin!
- Make a list. If you plan on exchanging gifts with loved ones this year, make a list of items you may want or need. Giving your gifter ideas may spoil some of the surprise, but it does allow you to receive something you want instead of something that may go to waste. Also, it’s OK to say no to friends and family if you don’t really want a gift, or consider one of the ideas above if you’re trying to avoid too much consumerism.
- Sort it out. Make sure you sort your gift wrapping and packaging into the correct cart or bin—or better yet—save materials to reuse next year! If you’re not sure where it goes, check out WhatBin.com.
- Energize. As you start receiving and using new gadgets, make sure to properly dispose of your spent household batteries. Learn how to do this on our battery page.
- Donate. To make room for your new gifts at home, consider donating items in good condition that you no longer need instead of trashing them. Check out San Mateo County’s Reduce, Reuse and Recycle Guide to learn more.
Holiday celebrations may look a little different this year, but there are still plenty of ways to show your love to friends, family, and the planet! How are you reducing waste this holiday season? Tag us on social media – #RethinkHolidays on Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram.