Christmas is just days away! For those of you who haven’t adopted this superior-gift-giving Secret Santa technique and, as a result, still have a list of names to buy for, why not pick up a few gifts with the environment in mind?
Here are a few affordable and environmentally-friendly gift ideas that can be fun, stylish, and do a good job taking care of our planet at the same time.
Reusable Water Bottle
By now, it’s safe to assume most everyone has heard about the giant garbage patch that’s adrift in the ocean. And if we humans don’t change our habits, there will be more plastic than fish in the ocean in just a few decades. One of the biggest culprits is water bottles, which are so popular now they’ve been outselling soda in recent years, and all those leftover containers are adding to our massive plastic dilemma.
The good news is that reusable water bottles are everywhere, from the stylish Love Bottle, which is made with recycled glass, to more robust options like the Lifesaver Liberty, which has a built-in filtration system for the outdoorsy-types. And, of course, there are an abundance of more conventional (and affordable) options that are designed for durability. All of which can go a long way in reducing the amount of plastic that makes its way to our ecosystem.
Also, this also applies to all you coffee fanatics out there, too.
Reusable Grocery Bags
With more and more stores offering incentives to bringing your own bags, and some cities and even whole states banning them entirely, cloth grocery bags are becoming more and more common. They’ve also become something of a fashion accessory onto themselves. From trendy looking designs from companies like Baggu and Apolis to more heavy-duty bags from companies like Yeti and Creative Green Life, there are no shortage of options out there.
Green bags are so widely used that everyone from bands to bars are getting in on the action, selling their own logo-embroidered cloth bags on their websites. Of course, the best part is the amount of paper and plastic waste it cuts down — so long as you remember to put them back in your trunk after each shopping expedition. Also worth noting: you should wash them regularly to cut down on the risk of food-borne illnesses.
Safety Or Straight Razor
The EPA estimates about 2 billion disposable razors are thrown away annually, and due to their composition, they tend to be very difficult, if not impossible, to recycle. There is a simple workaround, which is to greatly eliminate this level of landfill-clogging metal and plastic by buying a quality safety razor that lets you swap out the blade (yes, it turns out you can shave just fine with a single blade and not 30 stacked on top of one another). There are a quite a few durable safety razors for sale online, as well as services like Bevel that delivery fresh blades to your door. You can even really commit and learn to shave with a straight razor, which simply needs sharpening to give you a nice close shave. But, seriously, you’ll want to learn how to use one properly first and save yourself a trip to the ER.
Whichever way you go, it’s not only more affordable in the long run– disposable razors are perplexingly expensive — but it’ll help cut down on the amount of trash that gets thrown away.
Disposable straws create such an environmental problem that there’s a specific movement, The Last Plastic Straw, that’s dedicated to eradicating them. And one of the best methods to do that is to stop using them altogether, and the best way to do that while still opting for the convenience of a drive-thru soda you can sip on while driving is to forego the plastic option and use a metal one. Although most straws that are used come from dining (or drinking) when out, you’ll want to make it a habit to specify “no straw” with your drink.
There are a host of options online, with multi-packs offering special cleaning wands as well as carrying cases to make it easier to always have one with you. Granted, this can be one hell of a lifestyle adjustment, but a worthy one. Sure, the notion of remembering to leave the house with your metal straw sounds like some green-minded fever-dream, but just a few years back hearing the same thing about reusable grocery bags would’ve sounded equally preposterous. And now they’re everywhere.
There was a time, not that long ago, that rechargeable batteries were more of a feel-good solution that gave waining life to your Discman, eventually losing their spark after a few times in the charger. Thankfully, the technology has made leaps and bounds in recent years, with more breakthroughs right around the corner.
With a number of options for chargers online, mainstream battery companies like Duracell and Energizer are jumping on the train. Given the options we have available now, being able to get multiple uses out of a single battery before tossing it in the garbage still does a lot of good.