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Eco-Friendly Gift Guide

Grace Morrison ’22
The holidays are coming up, and although the holidays are not about giving gifts, it is a way to say to someone “I appreciate you.” According to Stanford University, 25% more trash is produced during the holiday season. That equates to 25 million tons of extra waste on a system that is already struggling. Every year thousands of gifts get thrown away, but this year your gift will be appreciated with this guide!

Gifts For Anyone
To start off, gift cards, tickets, and memberships are always a good idea if you don't know the person you are giving a gift to very well. With these options, the person you are gifting gets an experience or outing. 

Everyone needs bags! Whether it's for groceries, a purse, or a backpack, a bag is always useful. The amazing company Out of the Woods makes their bags out of paper, therefore they're completely recyclable. These bags are 100% vegan, sustainable, and washable.

Everyone showers, that is why Plaine Products is perfect for anyone! Plaine Products has many hygiene products that come in metal containers that can be shipped back when empty for a refill. This is a better way to reduce your plastic waste, and for anyone who does not prefer a shampoo bar. Plaine Products has samples for five dollars. 

For Teenagers 
Most teenagers appreciate clothes as a gift. It is well known that fast fashion is not eco-friendly, thrift stores are. It may seem strange to be gifting something used but as long as the clothing is in good condition, it should not matter whether the gift is new or not. In fact many teenagers think thrifting is trendy. 

Here is an idea for teenagers who drink coffee. Although most places that serve coffee are not accepting reusable cups at the moment, a mug or reusable cup is useful. To make the gift more fun, customize the cup online. 

Many people have smartphones, but teenagers love to accessorize with phone cases. The problem with phone cases is that they often break, and have to be thrown away. That is not a problem with the Pela Case, which is made from a plant-based biodegradable material. Say goodbye to cracked, plastic phone cases! 

For The New Homeowners 
Along with thrift stores, there are antique shops. antique shops are a great way to find a unique gift for that special someone. There is even the chance that something still has the tags on it you can pass it off as new. 

Coconut bowl and utensil set. Sounds cool right? Coconut bowls and utensils are made from the husk of coconuts, which make them durable and biodegradable. Coconut bowls are more interesting than regular white, breakable dishes. If you know someone who has a beach house, this is the perfect gift. Who does not want to eat out of a coconut?

Do these new homeowners have a compost, or are thinking or making one? The perfect gift is a compost bin. A compost bin is an elegant way to hide the odor and decomposing waste in plain sight. When the bin is full, it is simply dumped into the compost outside. Make sure the lid is lined with a filter, otherwise the compost bin will smell. 

Plants are great for any new homeowners. Plants are a great way to add color to any room, improve air quality, and reduce stress levels. Even if the plant dies, it can be composted, or simply left to break down outside. 

For Makeup Wearers 
A common skincare object that is found in landfills are cotton rounds. To the surprise of many, most cotton pads are not biodegradable. This is why anyone who wears makeup or is into skin care needs reusable cotton pads. These can be found in grocery stores, smaller retailers, or online. Remember shopping local is better for the economy! 

For The Adventurer
People who love the outdoors and are active know that a container that keeps the temperature inside consistent is a necessity. The brand YETI has amazing stainless steel water bottles and containers that keep food and beverages cold and hot for hours. The containers come in many sizes and fun colors. This is a great gift if you know someone whose New Years resolution is to stay hydrated! 

For The Creator 
Know someone who likes to draw, write, or just uses too much paper? Give them the Rocket Book! The Rocket Book is a reusable notebook that is connected to your devices when your writing needs to be saved. It is like a less expensive IPad! 

If digital notes are not your recipient's thing, then a composition notebook with 100% post-consumer-waste recycled pages is a better option. It is simply a regular notebook, but with recycled pages, and fun covers. 

Do you know a quirky writer? They may like products from POOPOOPAPER. Just like the name, POOPOOPAPER is made from animal dropping. It is tree-less, organic, oder-less, and most importantly, clean. The concept is very interesting and can be explained on their website. 

For The Chef
Zero waste cookbooks are a necessity for any eco concerned cook. Since the climate change movent, many new cookbooks, specifically about zero waste, have been released. Check your local book store before heading online. Pair the book with a spice set, jams, or pickled food and you are set! 

Cling wrap and tin foil are bad for the environment. Although tin foil has the potential to be recycled, cling wrap is pure plastic, which is known to be a carcinogen. Who wants that on their food? Fix this problem with the gift of reusable bowl covers! 

For The Kids
Most parents understand the struggle of feeding their growing children, especially teenagers. Kids are known for loving food, which is why they need reusable snack and sandwich bags. Made from beeswax or cloth, these bags are a great switch from plastic baggies. 

What is more fun than funky socks! Two great brands are Hippy Feet and Conscious Steps. Hippy Feets works to give homeless people jobs. Conscious Steps donates to a different charity depending on the pattern of the sock, so it is customizable for the person you are giving to. 

If all else fails, a handwritten note letting the person know how much they are appreciated or homemade food is always nice. While shopping, always look for products made from recycled material and buy from small businesses. The final step is the presentation! As for wrapping the gifts, use newspaper, brown paper based, or reuse old gift bags. Avoid wrapping paper with metallic or glitter detail, plastic bows, and satin or tulle ribbon, because it is trash. Opt for natural decorations such as burlap and tweed. Remember, the holidays are not about gifts, they are about family, friends, and memories. In the words of Mariah Carey, “I don’t care about the presents”. 
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