Holiday shopping? Your purchases can make a difference.

by Nov 30, 2017

(Editor’s note: In the spirit of the holiday shopping season, we’re shifting our focus this week from consumers and sustainability to sustainable consumption. Odds are you’ll get a good gift idea or two. Enjoy!)

The chaos of Black Friday and Cyber Monday may be history, but chances are your holiday shopping is not. So how about choosing some gifts that contribute to the sustainability of our world and its people? Perhaps you could buy from places where your purchase might do a little extra good for someone or something, somewhere else.

It seems that every year, we’re able to find more and more opportunities to do just that, and this year, they’re better than ever. Don’t get us wrong – reusable water bottles are great, likewise beeswax candles and goat milk soaps, but these days, recycled, upcycled, organic and fair trade just-about-everythings are available. You’re bound to find something suitable for everyone on your list.

To help you get started, we’ve curated a few of the many great gift ideas and websites that can help you leverage your purchase decisions for the collective good. 

Every bracelet purchased from 4Ocean funds the removal of one pound of trash from the ocean. To date, the organization has collected and properly recycled or disposed of over 200,000 pounds of trash and marine debris from oceans and coastlines around the world. These charming little bracelets are made from recycled glass and plastic bottles, are fully adjustable to fit any size wrist, and come in a variety of colors.

Bambeco is a gold mine for sustainable gifting. It not only offers a full range of quality home décor, furnishings, dishes, cookware, bed and bath linens, and even apparel, but every product is crafted from reclaimed, recycled, natural, renewable or organic materials. The inventory includes a great selection of holiday decorations and stocking stuffers, many of which are also fair trade, directly combating poverty in far removed and emerging economies.

It might take some time to fully explore this extensive site, but not nearly as much as fighting your way through the mall. And listen to this: Bambeco uses Carbonfree® shipping and with every purchase, the company plants a tree in an American forest. Now that’s a holiday deal!

If babies and young children are on your list, this site could have just what you’re looking for – and they’ll have it organic, fair trade, natural and Earth-friendly. Our Green House started as a small, local, brick-and-mortar boutique 13 years ago. Today it’s a thriving online store dealing in organic baby clothing, linens, furniture, books and made-in-America wooden toys. It’s not exclusively for kids, though. They also serve Moms and Dads with fair trade jewelry from artisans around the world and organic towels and robes. There’s also an entire section of elephant-themed gifts – we’re not quite sure why, but we like them.

Here’s a water bottle with a difference. Made from sustainable bamboo and available with one of three accent colors, these surprisingly stylish bottles keep drinks cool for 24 hours and hot for 12. They come with a stainless steel lid and a removable infuser for infusing water or brewing coffee on the go. And one more thing: for every bottle Welly sells, it donates $1 towards sustainable clean water projects in developing countries.

Already shopping on Amazon? Probably, but make sure you’re using its free Smile program. When you make eligible purchases (and most are eligible) through smile.amazon.com instead of the regular amazon.com, the company donates 0.5% of the purchase price to the charitable organization of your choice. It may not sound like much, but with millions of Amazon shoppers participating, those few dollars and cents can really add up. You can choose from almost one million eligible 501(c)3 public charitable organizations, from very local nonprofits to huge national charities and reputable environmental NGOs, like the Environmental Defense Fund (full disclosure: they’re our client).

Remember that Amazon is also an easy place to pick up a few of our favorite green home goods and technologies, which of course make great gifts. From smart thermostats and smart outlets to reusable beeswax food storage sets, at Amazon, you can find a full range of energy-efficient and environmentally responsible gifts.

What’s on your wish list this year? Let us know in the comments below!

About the Author

Lyn Meany

Lyn conceptualizes and develops compelling content for a variety of clients, including CertainTeed Insulation and PowerSecure. She excels in both the technical and creative aspects of her work. Before joining us, she served as director of marketing at a leading scientific publisher, which was right up her alley – she holds a degree in physics.

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