With the holiday season coming up I want to share some “green” gift ideas that will inspire green behavior change in the people you care about to protect the planet we all care about. For this article I thought I would focus on small, generally affordable, items that could work as stocking stuffers.
We don’t want to advocate for any specific brands or products, rather we hope these will give you some ideas and inspire you to consider the impacts you can have this holiday season when so many gifts are being exchanged.
You can bring your own reusable bag to the grocery store, but walking through the produce section you see large rolls of clear plastic bags for your fruits and veggies. This alternative will allow your produce to breath and can be machine washed.
It is estimated that Americans use 500 million drinking straws each day. That’s a lot of straws and a lot of plastic. While there are a lot of alternatives coming to the market like paper straws there is still a long way to go. Reusable straws provide a simple solution to show your commitment to reducing plastic consumption.
Leftovers often lead to a huge waste of food. This is a big issue because of all the energy it takes to produce, package, transport, refrigerate and generally get food to consumers. To reduce food waste we can use the convenience of plastic to store and wrap food for later consumption, but this can often just create more waste.
A new product has emerged to combat the plastic waste created from storing food. These beeswax wraps are also washable and when they have completed their life cycle can be composted! And on top of all this, they come in cool designs…like honeycomb.
There are so many cool designs of reusable coffee mugs that can make for unique and personalized gifts.
The challenge of replacing disposable items with reusable is getting in the habit or as Green Camps likes to say inspiring Green Behavior Change. Signage, incentives and maybe even a cool mug that you cherish could be some good ways to accomplish this.
Check out the info graph below to better understand the impact of disposable coffee cups.
In an average home, showers are typically the third largest water use after toilets and clothes washers. The average American shower uses 17.2 gallons and lasts for 8.2 minutes at average flow rate of 2.1 gallons per minute.
Challenge your children or yourself to take shorter showers by using a shower timer. By understanding the impact of how much water and energy consumed by showering they may be more likely to try to take action.
It’s amazing to watch a seed grow into a plant that will provide you with nourishment, oxygen or just something pretty to look it. Studies have proven that house plants improve concentration and productivity (by up to 15%), reduce stress levels, and boost your mood.
Give the gift of growth and happiness
Giving back around the holidays is a great way to model the importance of charity. Talk with your family about causes that they find important. It could be arts programs in the school system, homelessness in their town or endangered animals. There is probably a non-profit that is doing great work in that area and by supporting them you are making our planet a better place to live. They might even give you a badge or some way to signify the impact of your donation that you can slip into the stocking or a card.
These can be a bit more expensive, but an infrared camera is a cool gift for the techy person on your list.
On a cold winter day you home or business is likely leaking hot air while cold air is getting in. Your HVAC system has to work hard to make up for those losses costing you lots of money to heat or cool your home or business. An infrared camera can help you locate areas that could benefit from additional insulation or caulking to reduce air leaks.
The cost of solar panels has dropped as the technology has improved and spread in popularity. There are tons of designs of portable solar panel chargers that fold up and can be taken on hiking trips, to the beach, festivals or other places where access to power isn’t always easy.
There are tons of books with easy green tips, green art work and many others that I’ve used as an educator to inspire green behavior change. The book I’ve been talking about a lot lately and want to add to this list is the Better World Shopping Guide.
According to the latest research, the average American family spends nearly $22,000 a year on goods and services—that’s 22,000 votes for the world you want to live in. Do you want to ensure your money is supporting companies who work to make the world a better place, or risk its going to corporations who make their decisions based solely on the bottom line?The Better World Shopping Guide