It's Time To Talk About Sustainable Gift Ideas
Author: Nikki Barnett Date Posted:24 February 2020
We’ve all heard the word sustainable, but what does it really mean when it comes to choosing sustainable gift ideas? It’s thrown about by politicians, eco-warriors and our children, in fact, anyone who wants a brighter future. So let’s look a little deeper at how giving sustainable gifts is one way you can contribute to a healthier planet.
What Is Sustainability?
Before we move onto looking at sustainable gifts, let’s consider what is meant by the term. While a bit of a buzzword, sustainability is not a trend. The concept and philosophy has been around for a while. Sustainability has three core elements,
- Environmental Protection
- Social Development
- Economic Development
Why are these important? Lots of complicated answers to that question depending on who you talk to, but simply put we need to embrace the earth we live on and support it rather than carrying on depleting it if we hope to maintain our quality life now and for future generations.
While governmental support is essential, there are many initiatives that individuals and communities can contribute to. Selecting sustainable gifts being the one we are looking at today.
Australians are well aware of the value of being sustainable as a 2019 ING research showed. They found that over the Christmas period, 57% of Aussies planned to buy sustainable gifts and 23% would like to receive an eco-friendly present.
The 10 million unwanted gifts sent to landfill last year, is a subject that's not really discussed around the dinner table but it is a critical one. One, more and more Australians seem to be getting on board with. More so since China has now stopped accepting our recycling.
One way ING has responded to this enormous issue is by introducing ING Dreamstarter, where you can discover ethically source gifts and more information on how you can contribute and become part of the sustainability movement.
For Those Who Like To Drink
Finding fair trade products for coffee and tea is becoming more accessible. A great gift for friends or family could be a sample of the Blue Mountains company Tribes and Nations.
Here you can purchase samples or have a subscription to Fair Trade certified tea and coffee. As an alternative gift, how about one that lets you grow your own tea? Or, a gift that uses up your coffee grinds by growing microgreens?
Reusable cups, mugs and water holders are always a great gift, and there are several fun ones to find, take a look at the range on the Gifts Australia website. Alongside ethically sourced drinking products gifts of silicone or stainless steel straws are a great start to sustainable living.
Alcohol! Many of the big breweries and wine producers in Australia are seriously working towards lowering their waste, towards being a zero-waste company. You can also buy organic wines, meaning no synthetic chemicals that are vegan-friendly and preservative-free.
At Emporium hampers we are pleased to include the Margaret River Cape Mentelle wines in our gourmet hampers. Cape Mentelle is accredited under the Winemakers Federation of Australia’s Entwine program and was the fifth vineyard in Australia to be certified and the first in Western Australia. Here they run several initiatives that are ‘Environmentally Aware & Sustainability Focussed, initiatives like,
- Using natural fertilisers.
- Production of nitrogen and organic matter by seeding cover crops between the vines.
- Having free-range guinea fowl (weevil catchers)
- Controlling weeds and weevils by under-vine mowing and cultivation.
- Reusing winery waste and grape marc as compost on the vineyards.
- Recycling & treatment of wastewater on-site by filtering it through reed beds to protect wetlands and aquifers
- To minimise mowing and the use of herbicides sheep are allowed to graze on weeds/grass in the vineyards during winter.
For Chocolate Lovers
Chocolate, a go-to-gift for any occasion; chocolate gifting has a long history, and massive efforts by chocolatiers worldwide, have started to make the industry far more sustainable, eco-friendly and ethical. With large numbers of underaged workers on plantations in Western Africa, a commitment from the larger companies to better source and support the growing of cacao has been ongoing but much more needs to be done.
There are websites you can check that have up-to-date information on which companies are actively supporting sustainability issues, slave labour and eco-friendly use of the rain-forests.
One such company in Brazil is Willie’s Cacoa that we are proud to include in our hampers, his bean to bar chocolate has changed the way chocolate is produced. Buying a hamper with this incredibly decadent chocolate not only thrills the recipient of the gift but also contributes to sustainability and Fair Trade. Tempted?
You should be, as it is the most delicious chocolate, as are our Ernest Hillier chocolates, the oldest, opened in 1914, privately owned chocolate house in Australia. Try gifting our Sweet Epicure Hamper for gourmet chocolate delight.
Organiser, Student Gifts
Recycled paper and tree-free paper makes for excellent sustainable gifts. You can find beautiful 100% recycled diaries and notebooks.
You can even go one step further and purchase notebooks designed and made in Australia that are carbon-neutral, non-toxic and recycled, alongside eco-highlighters and a popular bamboo pen that is made in South Australia.
For kids, you can find 100% biodegradable paints and non-toxic crayons. Check out Green Toys for fun products if you want to reduce your contribution to the plastic mountain. Made from 100% recycled milk bottles the toys are BPA-free, PVC-free and phthalate-free, and dishwasher-safe for easy cleaning.
The Sustainable Gift Ideas Continue
Every area of gifting can be sustainable; a quick check online will point you in the right direction. For homes, garden, BBQs, clothing, footwear, food, drink etc. there are passionate artisans or companies in Australia that are offering sustainable products, ethically sourced and eco-friendly.
One last sustainable gift idea is to gift for a cause. You can choose a gift that supports a cause you or your recipient care about, like Conscious Step. Here you can select to support HIV-patients, help animals, fight malaria, give books, or send food packs to malnourished children and empower women. How? By purchasing their vegan-friendly certified organic cotton, socks for men and women with sustainable manufacturing processes.
You could also adopt an animal or plant a tree as your gift. Look around your home area, are there initiatives you can support? Like the Raise the Bar initiative in Sydney where they are making coffee scrubs out of used coffee grounds, sourced from local cafes.
With every sustainable gift you purchase, you promote the concept and become an advocate for a better world.