10 Sustainable, Eco Friendly and Ethical Gifting Ideas

Any gifting event like a birthday, Valentine’s Day, Easter, Mother’s Day, Father’s Day and Christmas can be a trigger for a lot of waste, with all the shiny wrapping, plastic packaging and greeting cards.

However, it doesn’t have to be like that.

You can choose to buy sustainably, shop eco-friendly and ethical brands and prioritise quality over quantity. You can also focus on gifts that encourage people to get more connected to nature and each other and to shop local. 

It’s called ‘conscious consumption’ or ‘conscious consumerism’.  

Here are some tips on how you can show your love and care for family, friends, neighbours and colleagues while also taking care of the planet.

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1. Give the gift of an experience

Gift your loved one an experience gift that they can enjoy by themselves or together with friends and family. These memories will last a lifetime and it’s a great way to bond. 

For instance, book a cooking, art, pottery or wine tasting class, enjoy a Mystery Picnic together or gift one of the many experiences available on BananaLab (that even comes in a lovely gift box so the recipient has something to open) 

Maybe you could gift outdoor cinema tickets, a pamper session at a spa, or go away for a glamping holiday or staycation weekend.  

If you want to leave the choice up to the recipient why not give an experience gift card?

A gift that is an experience shows your recipient that you care and have thought of everything. Many of these experiences are more meaningful than an actual object and can leave a lasting impression.

 2. Buy local products 

When you’re shopping, be mindful of where your product comes from and the effect that transport around the globe has on greenhouse gas emissions.

When you shop local you are supporting small businesses, providing more jobs for people in the community and reducing your carbon footprint by cutting down on transportation time and cost. 

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3. Give a living plant gift

A living plant is a gift that keeps on giving and it can also represent growth and the promise of fresh air. They are a more sustainable option compared to cut flower bouquets. 

Some plants that make great plant gifts are succulents, air plants, orchids, ferns, or cacti because they are relatively low maintenance and don’t require much water.

Find the best indoor plants in Melbourne that you can get delivered, ready for gifting. 

4. Opt for ethical chocolate

Chocolates are a gift staple and suitable for all occasions. 

Regrettably, child labour and deforestation are common practices in the cacao industry, so when you are buying chocolate make sure it’s been made ethically. 

Biome stocks a great range of delicious range of high-quality organic chocolate, including raw chocolate, fair trade and vegan chocolate. It’s all palm oil-free, dairy-free and made and packaged in a sustainable manner.

5. Buy ethical jewellery

When buying jewellery make sure you only buy from jewelers that have ethical, transparent sourcing practices and production processes. You might also consider purchasing second-hand.

There are many ways to make sure that you are buying ethical jewellery. Firstly, make sure that the company you buy from has a social responsibility policy. Secondly, ask the company what their policy on conflict minerals is and how they ensure that they are not using any child labour in their production process. Lastly, ask for documentation on where all raw materials come from and if any of them come from conflict zones.

Biome stocks jewellery from local designers who hand-make the pieces in small batches and Indigenous-owned and operated small businesses. 

6. Choose a gift that will be used and will last

Consider the life expectancy of the gift you are buying and ensure it has meaning or purpose. Think about what your gift recipient enjoys doing and gift them something they will actually use! Also don’t buy gifts that will just go to waste because they are low quality and will quickly break or not work. 

For instance, a reusable coffee cup and water bottle are great gift ideas that will also reduce waste. You can also find beautiful sustainable beauty and body products that are sure to delight your recipient.

7. Give a consumable present

One of the best low waste gift ideas is one that involves food and drinks. 

Surprise someone with a grazing box, donuts, a cheese platter, cupcake delivery, a seafood platter, a breakfast box or high tea delivery

You could also order a cocktail delivery, a gift box of craft beers or a gourmet hamper.

Even better, these are gifts made to be shared!

Other eco-friendly food and drink gift ideas of packaged food include chocolates, tea and coffee, hemp food or superfood ingredients. 

8. Take in nature’s splendour together

Get outdoors and share the beauty of nature with your loved ones to make special memories. 

Plan a picnic in a park or on the beach and get the catering organised with a picnic box (even better, make your picnic zero waste). 

Or gift a Mystery Picnic where you explore a particular area and pick up artisan goods on the way for your feast.  

You could also go on a bike ride, a bushwalk or a waterfall hike together. 

9. Get creative

Create a video compilation or a collage of photos of your favorite memories together. A special photo in a lovely recycled wooden photo frame is also a thoughtful gift. 

10. Reconsider gift wrapping

Instead of single-use wrapping paper, wrap your gift in a reusable bag or use a fabric scarf from an op shop to create a Japanese-style furoshiki wrap. Otherwise, give your green gifts an extra special eco touch by wrapping them with old-fashioned twine and paper that can be recycled.

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Buy an indoor plant gift in Melbourne

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This post contains affiliate links. If you purchase using the links there is no extra cost to you and I earn a small commission that helps me to provide free, valuable and useful information for you! Thanks, Joyce

About Joyce Watts

Joyce Watts is a former intellectual property, IT and media lawyer turned serial entrepreneur.

As well as being the founder of TOT: HOT OR NOT she helps businesses with their SEO, email marketing & social media as BrightSmart.com.au; she owns an online bike store CycleStyle.com.au and develops and produces creative experiences for families via WheelieGoodFun.com. She used to publish another popular lifestyle and food blog called MEL: HOT OR NOT The decisive guide to Melbourne.

She lives in inner-city Melbourne with her husband, two children and seven bikes.

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