Hey Oles! Do you want to be known as a person who gives great gifts? This year is your chance to give meaningful gifts that have a environmental and social impact! Your choices as a consumer can make a big difference in the lives of your friends and families this holiday season. Start by thinking about the person you are gift searching for… will he/she really love and use what you are considering giving them? If you think so, look for or make the most sustainable, durable version of this gift that you can find! If not, would he/she rather have you give to a cause or nonprofit that he/she is passionate about? In this case, check out the websites of nonprofits and groups that your friend/relative cares about! Many websites for social causes contain donation sites and shopping areas where you can financially support the cause (ie http://www.theparadigmproject.org/join-us/ ,  http://shop.invisiblechildren.com/). Lastly, in your effort to be more sustainable, stay smart! Avoid marketing deception through greenwashing products (http://www.earth911.com/home-garden/how-to-avoid-greenwashing/). Look for these legitimate labels while shopping! Screen Shot 2014-11-24 at 11.11.05 AM

But wait, there’s more! Did you know that each holiday season, from Thanksgiving to New Year’s Day, household waste increases by more than 25% (http://www.recycleworks.org/resident/holiday_facts.html)? This is, in large part, due to the use of gift wrapping. In fact, “half of the paper America consumes is used to wrap and decorate consumer products” (The Recycler’s Handbook). In addition to buying gifts that come from sustainable sources and are not shipped too far, to reduce your carbon footprint this holiday season, try not to buy and use wrapping paper! Instead, you can give gifts in reusable cloth bags that won’t be immediately thrown away or recycled once used, wrap gifts in paper that you were going to recycle anyway (newspaper comics work well!), or hide presents to preserve the surprise without creating waste. 

So, what can you do?

– Only buy/make gifts that are meaningful and will be well used!

– Make educated consumer choices!

– Don’t be falsely persuaded by greenwashing!

– Use intentionality when presenting your gifts to decrease trash!

– And lastly, have a wonderful holiday season!