Sustainable Gifts for the Eco-Friendly Couples in Your Life
Buying gifts for your friends and family can be incredibly challenging, especially if you have many people to please. Toss in those more environmentally conscious, and your holiday cheer could turn into the Nightmare Before Christmas before you know it. For the environmentally friendly loved one in your life, you want to find sustainable gifts that don’t require significant energy to produce and result in little to no waste.
Luckily, your environmentally conscious friends aren’t lone consumers. This market has exploded worldwide in recent years, offering endless gift and product choices that won’t leave a major carbon footprint in the gift receiver’s hands. These products are constructed using sustainable materials and smart technology to reduce waste while making production more efficient. Many of these products also feature a reusable system that eliminates individual-use throwaway items.
If you’re interested in finding sustainable gift ideas to wow your environmentally-conscious friends on any occasion, keep reading to learn more!
What does it mean for a product to be sustainable?
The simplest sustainability definition is the ability to be maintained at a specific level or rate. Therefore, for a product to be sustainable, it must be consumed and produced so that it doesn’t create destruction or harm, which could be through energy usage or waste, both of which destroy and harm the environment.
A product can be considered sustainable if it meets the following criteria:
- It doesn’t directly harm the environment through energy usage or waste.
- The product doesn’t deplete nonrenewable, natural resources.
- The product wasn’t created socially irresponsible, like with health and safety concerns or through child labor.
What materials are not sustainable?
Countless materials exist that are not considered sustainable, either due to their energy usage, processing, or waste.
In the past, recycled materials have only been good enough for mass market use of water bottles and other items that don’t require mixed materials, intricate designs, durability, or beautiful fashion statements. Many of these are in the plastics category and include:
Acrylic can be found across a variety of products ranging from cosmetics packaging to apparel. The processing of acrylic requires highly toxic chemicals that are dangerous to factory workers by entering the body through the skin or inhalation. Also, it takes up to 200 years for the acrylic to biodegrade in a landfill. Additionally, the processing creates highly chemical wastewater that can contaminate the local water stream.
Cotton is the most common material used in apparel, bags, and other wearable items. While cotton is a natural substrate, the number of pesticides and insecticides used to protect crops is significant. Not only does it become intertwined into the fibers, but it also pollutes the local groundwater.
Cotton production consumes 1,931 liters of irrigation water to produce enough for one t-shirt and one pair of jeans. In addition, these fibers cause further pollution through the dyes and treatment chemicals.
Nylon is commonly used in clothing items and packaging materials but is derived from crude oil. No nylon grade is biodegradable and can sit in a landfill for up to 200 years. In addition to the material being derived from petroleum, one of the dirtiest energy forms and industries, nylon production also creates nitrous oxide, a greenhouse gas that utilizes tremendous amounts of energy and water.
Numerous products are polyester and related blends ranging from bottles and rope to t-shirts and blankets. Like several others on this list, polyester can take up to 200 years to biodegrade in a landfill because it’s partially derived from oil, a massive pollution source. Also, considerable amounts of water are used for cooling this high-energy production process, which is dangerous in water-depleted areas.
Rayon is created by dissolving cellulose using a dirty chemical solution, which is then spun into threads. Cellulose is naturally derived from plants and is marketed as a plant-friendly material. However, while the fiber is non-toxic and biodegradable, the processing can harm the environment and factory workers. Additionally, rayon uses copious amounts of energy and water and releases dangerous chemicals into the surrounding environment.
Sustainable gifts for her
Whether you’re shopping for your grandmother, mom, sister, wife, girlfriend, or best friend, finding sustainable gifts for her can be a challenge. Luckily, the number of available options expands with each passing year. Some of the top sustainable gifts for her include:
From mules to ballerinas, flats have fought their way back in style but with a twist from the early-2000s, sustainable materials. Sustainable flats gain their sustainability rating by using materials that don’t exploit animals and are recycled from other products.
For instance, some flats are constructed from cork and recycled PET from plastic bottles. Another focus adds to the sustainability claim by offering fair wages to workers in foreign countries where the daily pay is well below the international poverty line.
Sustainable materials don’t just stop at footwear, sustainable handbags are also growing in popularity since they share many of the same woven fibers as apparel. In addition, many handbag options use PETA-approved materials that are solvent-free to eliminate the chemicals that end up in groundwater.
Others used innovative natural materials like cactus leather while offering fair trade wages to lower-income communities. Additionally, as material advances have improved, many of the same apparel, footwear, and handbag companies have moved into travel bags (like Rothy’s Weekender), which need to be more durable to withstand the harshest travel conditions.
Sustainable gifts for him
Sustainable gift ideas are not just applicable to women; men are also forward-thinking in limiting their environmental impact while still boasting a bit of style. Material advances can be found in men’s shoes, sneakers, and wallets.
Men’s loafers have come a long way in the sustainability department and are one of the best sustainable gifts you can get for the beau in your life. Many of the eco-friendly loafer models in the market are constructed from ethically sourced leathers, recycled foam and cork insoles for comfortability, and recycled plastics. Some companies, like Rothy’s, take this a step further by utilizing recycled plastic bottles.
Environmentally friendly men’s sneakers are another of many excellent sustainable gift ideas. Sneakers need to be provided excellent support, breathability, durability, and comfort, which have been challenging characteristics with previous sustainable materials. Now, the industry is able to achieve these traits by using materials like ethically farmed merino wool, eucalyptus fibers, bamboo fibers, waterproof hemp, and other recycled shoes.
Show your loved ones you care about them—and the planet
In the past, sustainable products were barely on anyone’s mind. However, as more companies adopted corporate sustainability, ethical, and social responsibility initiatives, which created an entire market of sustainable and responsibly-source apparel, footwear, and accessories, for those with an eye for the environment, these sustainable gift ideas will go a long way since you are giving them a functional and durable product based on a social initiative they care about.
While there are many excellent sustainable product companies on the market that utilize environmentally friendly materials while offering workers in low-income counties competitive wages, Rothy’s is a top choice for these products.
The footwear, bags, and accessories offered by Rothy’s meet the three points of sustainability: no harm to the environment through energy usage or waste, they don’t deplete nonrenewable natural resources, and the products aren’t created in a socially irresponsible manner.
Rothy’s has even taken this a step further with a corporate initiative of achieving a closed-loop production model by 2023. Check out everything that Rothy’s has to offer for the sustainable people in your life.