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Let's Be Kinder to the Planet This Holiday Shopping Season

November 17, 2021

Check off your list with these sustainable gift ideas and practices.

With home internet speeds running close to a gigabyte per second in many parts of the U.S., online shopping has never been so easy. But with that ease comes great responsibility.

While the holiday season is all about giving, it's also a good time to think about the impact on the planet when you shop. Here are eight ways to make your holiday shopping cleaner and greener.

Say No to Same-Day Delivery

For last-minute shoppers, same-day delivery comes in handy, but it's also hard on the planet. Placing lots of different orders for fast delivery means shippers use more packaging and drivers burn more fuel to meet their delivery commitment.

Aim to shop early and bundle your gifts into as few deliveries as possible.

Consider Buying Experiences, Not Gifts

If you're having a hard time trying to find the right something for the special people on your list, why not look for a gift that can help make memories?

It could be something simple, like a restaurant meal, a spa day or a wine tasting. It could be an adventure, such as a hot-air balloon flight or a ski day. Or you could even go the charitable route and provide assistance to struggling families as a gift for the person who really has it all.

Pay a Little Extra for Products That Will Last

Whether it's fast fashion or plastic toys, the cheapest products are often not built to last. Paying that little bit extra for a well-made item won't just make your gift last longer — it could save the planet from that extra waste in landfill.

Donate or Recycle Old Electronics

You might be tempted to throw out old electronics or leave them in a drawer, but neither option helps the planet. Charities can give donated electronics a new lease of life for families in need — visit the National Cristina Foundation to find out more.

Even unusable electronics still contain valuable metals — check the Consumer Technology Association's recycling locator to find out where to recycle defunct gadgets.

Look for Alternatives to Plastic

Plastic is made from fossil fuels and a major contributor to ocean waste and landfill. Remember those classic wooden toys that were handed down the generations? Give one as a gift this holiday season, and it, too, will hopefully stand the test of time.

Shop Vintage or Antiques

Whether it's the perfect silk scarf, a piece of heritage china or a second-hand book in a beautiful binding, vintage shopping can make for gorgeous, considered gifts. And instead of buying new, you're putting an old product back into use again.

Buy Sustainable Products

Think renewable with your shopping. Bamboo fiber T-shirts in place of cotton. Clean, organic wines from a local winery in place of imported, sulfite-heavy brands. Ethically sourced spices from India in reusable containers in place of plastic-wrapped gift sets.

Shopping more sustainably can help make a difference this festive season. Why not add sustainable products to your own holiday wish list, too?

Hold a No-Gifting Pact

Many adults already have more than they need. If you find yourself struggling to gift your parents or siblings, and vice versa, a no-gifting pact can save you time and cash — and help save the planet, too.

Instead, you can plan to enjoy the season together — whether in-person or virtually — and feel even better about your choices.

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