In our modern consumer culture we are so used to buying our loved ones gifts to show that we care about them. The problem is, buying gifts for every special occasion drains your wallet and fuels the overconsumption that is ruining our planet. Instead of drowning your loved ones in material objects, none of which they are likely to actually need, why not give them something special with these zero-waste gift solutions.
The amount of money you spend on a gift should never be a measure of your love. Your time, creativity, and consideration are worth far more than any store-bought bounty. When deciding on a zero-waste gift, a good place to start is here: Bake it, make it, plan it. Bake something delicious, make something recyclable, or plan an unforgettable adventure.
One thing we all have in common: we all eat. In fact, most of us love eating. Baked gifts are inexpensive yet thoughtful gifts that anyone can appreciate. Be sure to keep in mind your loved one’s diets, preferences, and allergies before deciding on the perfect recipe.
Baking is a simple way to create something worthwhile that doesn’t require tons of expertise. Simply choose a recipe, stick to it, and something tasty is sure to come from it. Is a delicious cinnamon apple pie too underwhelming as a birthday gift? Pair it with an envelope that contains some money. You’ve showed your love, and baked them a thoughtful gift that won’t float around in the ocean for the next 500 years.
Take a look at these appetizing baked gift ideas:
- Quick & Easy Banana Bread
- Delectable Vegan & Gluten Free Apple Cobbler
- Lemon Meringue Cheesecake
- Creamy Tiramisu
- Cherry Chocolate Nut Cookies
- Vegan Fudge Brownies
- Sausage and Cheese Breakfast Muffins
- Mediterranean Scones
- Easy Vegan Rye Bread
- Wild Garlic Pesto Vegan Pinwheels
- Cheesy Zucchini and Olive Bread
- Vegan Creamy Potato Casserole
Recycling is a great way to breathe new life into objects that would otherwise sit in a landfill and polluting the environment. Not only can DIY gifts show that you care, but they discourage pollution and can save you a lot of money.
But crafters beware! Unfortunately, not all DIY crafts are sustainable. Glitter, googly eyes, polyester, or other plastic or chemical elements bought for craft should be avoided, as these products do more harm than good.
When researching DIY gifts, you want to either recycle something that already exists, or, if you are creating something new, use natural biodegradable components. Examples of biodegradable ingredients include cotton, wool, paper, wood, wax, clay, and organic materials. Examples of recyclable materials include magazines, papers, cans, glass bottles, and plastic containers.
Here is some inspiration to get you started on your next DIY gift:
- Fragrant beeswax and essential oil candles
- Put money or a heartwarming note in a handmade card
- Create a clay jewelry dish, pottery, or key chain
- Build a birdhouse or bird feeder
- Knit a blanket or crochet a toboggan
- Express your love and appreciation with a 52 Things I Love About You Jar
- Pamper your loved one with natural bath bombs
- Boho macramé decor: feathers, garland, wall-hangings, and plant hangers
- Recycled wine bottle wind chime, or candle holder
- Recycled magazine basket or coasters
- Soothing vanilla rosemary soap bars
- Upcycled aluminum door wreath for welcoming guests
- Sew a swanky pillow, potholder, or tote bag
- Offer heavenly aromas with a natural homemade air freshener
- Homemade extracts for the chef in your life
- Pressed flower art is a great way to commemorate an event or memory
- An Insect hotel can spruce up a garden while benefiting wildlife
- Popsicle stick photo frame to display a beloved photo
- Upcycled cardboard box twine basket
- Display a favorite quote or loving words with recycled magazine word collage
- Elegant wine cork monogram decor
- Fun bottle cap magnets for the refrigerator
- Cute no-sew sock bunny for the little ones you love
- Tin can storage cups with sticks from the garden, rope, or cloth
Not all presents have to be tangible. Unforgettable experiences can be a spontaneous surprise, gifted as tickets, enjoyed together or apart.
Sharing an experience is the perfect opportunity to spend quality time with a loved one and create lasting memories. Gifting an experience increases the opportunity to support local businesses and community members instead of corporations that are producing landfill-bound trinkets and gadgets.
Remember to be mindful of which types of business owners and industries you would like to support. Local artists and musicians often have a tough time making ends meet. Checking out a local theater performance or indulging in a nearby live music event can be a fun act of community support.
Here are some ideas for organizing a memorable adventure:
- Watch a local theater production or concert
- Museum passes
- Bowling, roller skating, or arcade trip
- Massage and spa day
- Tickets to a sporting event
- Gym membership
- Movie night at home with snacks
- Surprise picnic
- Hiking, rafting, biking, or camping trip
- Attend a local lecture or seminar
- Sign up for a pottery, martial arts, or cooking classes together
- Throw a zero-waste party
- Babysitting, car wash, or back rub coupon
- Brewery tour, pub crawl, or wine tasting
- Visit a national park
Admit it: You have received gifts that you have never used and didn’t want to begin with. Instead of wasting money on products, let’s use our time and creativity to come up with something a little more sustainable. Bake it, make it, or Plan it!
Editor’s Note: The opinions expressed here by Impakter.com columnists are their own, not those of Impakter.com. — Featured Photo: . Wooden box with homemade bottled products. Photo Credit: Dimitry Mashkin