Top 10 alternative eco-friendly Christmas gifts
Top 10 alternative eco-friendly Christmas gifts
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Christmas is nearly upon us and as Andy Williams once crooned, it’s the most wonderful times of the year. As Santa begins to wrap his icy fingers around the winter season, we are reminded that ‘tis the season of warm drinks by the fireplace and jolly songs ringing through the snow-dusted streets. It is also a time of infuriating queues and last minute dashes to the shops to find loved ones the perfect presents.
However, even in gift giving, it’s important to keep the environment in mind. You can help cut down on the level of toxicity that’s developed around commercial Christmas and maybe even influence good habits in those you love by following Retail Digital’s alternative green gift list.
A popular alternative to asking for a gift is to ask would-be gift-givers to donate to a charity or a philanthropic organisation in your name. This gift is both immaterial, and thereby doesn’t generate waste through packaging, but can also contribute to worthy causes and help organisations work to achieve goals, which is especially hard to do in this economic climate.
A friend of mine once said that when it came to gift-giving, she preferred experiences to physical items. Giving the gift of tickets to a sports game, concert, play, or opera, is giving the gift of a memorable experience to someone, which many times can be more thoughtful than a mere trinket. It can also help people get out and try something new, or take part in something they enjoy but could not afford normally. Things like a year-long membership to a museum or a staging of Wagner’s Ring Cycle could make someone’s year without having to leave boxes of gift-aftermath out on the curb. Log on to lastminute.com to find great offers on some very unique experiences.
3. Space heater
For those who live in large homes, particularly older ones, and chew their nails when the heating bill arrives, space heaters are a great gift. Using a space heater on cool days in the area that you’re in is more energy efficient than blowing out the whole house with the heavy artillery central heating. A practical and efficient gift for all your friends living in haunted houses.
4. Super vacuum
Not many people think of vacuums as “green” products, but a high efficiency, low energy vacuum can use less energy in the home, and amass dust and dirt into small compact units that can then be disposed of effectively. Dyson is one brand that is advancing green cleaning technology with vacuums that aren’t unnecessarily bulky, saving on materials. Instead of bags, its vacuums utilise what the company calls “Root Cyclone” technology, which essentially means that you get a more efficient, high-powered vacuum that will leave you with a cleaner house without having to throw away bags filled with cat hair and dust.
5. Bulk canisters
Shopping in bulk is proven to be cheaper overall than buying individual packages, which create waste, but often we forego buying in bulk because we don’t have the place to store tons of stuff. Resolve this by gifting a set of high-quality storage jars for the kitchen. Having spice containers and canisters to house bulk groceries encourages the purchase of those bulk materials.
6. Subscription to streaming service
A subscription to Netflix Streaming or any other online web-streaming service is a gift that creates virtually no waste and has lasting impacts. Many families are set up with some device that allows them to stream movies and TV shows to their television, computer, video game console, or set-top-box. If Netflix is not an option for whatever reason, there are many alternatives to choose from including Amazon Video and Hulu.
When it comes to decreasing carbon footprints, transportation plays an important role. We can’t all afford to gift an electric car, but bicycles are a cheap alternative and have health and fitness benefits, to boot. Substituting one car ride with a bike ride each week would substantially reduce emissions flowing into the atmosphere and help keep your body in reasonable health.
8. Compost tumbler
In 2009, the United States produced 243 tons of rubbish, and 21 tons of that was recovered by composting. If you know someone who is conscious of waste generated in the kitchen, but doesn’t know what to do about it, a composting tumbler is a great idea. Composting is a great way to reduce kitchen waste and repurpose for a small home garden. Fruits, vegetables, herbs and other crops from that garden can be used in the kitchen which saves on the costs of groceries. Save the world, eat healthier, spend less money? Count us in!
9. Electric lawnmowers
Spring may seem far away at the end of December, but if you live in an area where people have lawns an electric lawnmower is one of the greenest gifts that you can buy for them. It may be that gas-engined mowers are easier to use, but they can be so noisy—noisy enough to cause hearing damage (your average lawnmower tops out at around 100 decibels, whereas hearing damage begins to happen around 90 decibels). But aside from noise pollution, did you realise that lawnmowers are worse for the atmosphere than driving your car? They can be surprisingly big polluters.
The EPA estimates that 10-12 percent of the nation’s total air pollution comes from the sort of small engines that you find in lawn care equipment. Gas powered lawn mowers consume 580 million gallons of gasoline annually, and 25 percent to 35 percent of that fuel escapes unburned into the atmosphere – polluting the air we breathe and the water we drink.
Today we’ve got a different option in the electric lawn mower. Electric mowers are 50 percent to 75 percent quieter than a standard gas mower, self-propelled, can be easily adjusted to the desired cutting height, and are much less harmful to the environment.
You have heard it before: Reduce, Reuse, Recycle. Regift would complete the series. Why buy another product from the store when you have got one at home that you’re not using? There are all sorts of outdated ideas about the incivility of giving someone a gift that you’ve already ‘contaminated’ by using. In the new world, we have to think smaller and we have to think smarter: why cause further stress on the environment by supplying demand for a product that’s already wasting away in your attic or your garage! It’s Christmas! Give it away!
Written by: Thomas Stone
Thomas Stone writes blogs on behalf of Sears and other prestigious brands. He enjoys keeping abreast of environmental protection news and sustainable living technology.
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