Giving Sustainably this Holiday Season

by Kiley Morgan

Despite all the challenges this year has presented, the holiday season is upon us and is in full swing. While we all look forward to our annual traditions, gatherings with friends and family—from a distance!—and toasting the coming year, the holiday season can also be a time marked by consumerism and excessive waste. However, it doesn’t have to be.

This year when considering how to show appreciation for your loved ones, we want to provide a few tips to giving responsibly and sustainably. Giving sustainably means considering what waste your gift purchase will create, buying from companies who have sustainable business practices, and ensuring that your enthusiasm for gift-giving doesn’t result in unnecessary purchases. Here are a few things to keep in mind when shopping this holiday season (and beyond!):

  1. Shop local — buying gifts from a local store reduces shipping and packaging waste and cuts fossil fuel emissions. Plus, small businesses throughout your community could really use the support this year. Think about purchasing a one-of-a-kind piece from a local artist or gift certificates to your favorite local restaurants. 
  1. Do some research — Before purchasing a gift, read up on the company and the product. Does the company have ethical business practices? Will the product last for years to come, or will it reach end-of-life sooner than you want? Becoming an informed consumer is one of the best ways to begin shopping more sustainably.
  1. Give experiences instead of things — Consuming less stuff is better for the environment, and is often better for your wallet! Plus, the fun memories from a special experience will last far longer than most items. A few fun ideas could be a zoom cooking class for your extended family, a ski lesson for your close friends, a membership to a zoo or museum, or a subscription to newspaper or magazine.
  1. Make a charitable donation in someone’s honor — For the person who has everything, or simply doesn’t need anything else, consider making a charitable gift to a favorite non-profit organization. This is a wonderful way to support an organization doing good in your community and honor your friend in a meaningful way. If you’d like to make a gift to the Utah Recycling Alliance in someone’s honor this holiday season, click here. We’d be very grateful!
  1. Think outside the box — There are many ways you can give sustainably if you start to think about the possibilities! Perhaps you have a friend who has always wanted to try a zero-waste lifestyle, but hasn’t yet. You could give them a zero-waste starter kit to kick-start their journey. Or maybe you have a friend who will be working from home for the foreseeable future, and could use a potted house plant to brighten up their space and clean their air. You could also consider buying secondhand or vintage records for the music aficionado in your life. Truly, the possibilities for sustainable giving are endless.

Wishing you a wonderful holiday season and a very happy New Year. We look forward to bringing you much more zero-waste programming in 2021!