If you’re concerned about climate change, you can give thoughtful gifts while also protecting the environment. Here’s how.
Concerned about climate change, but still want to give great gifts for the holidays?
There’s a way to have your vegan cake and eat it too — by giving zero-waste gifts.
The zero-waste lifestyle is gaining popularity throughout the U.S., with people doing everything they can to minimize the waste left behind by their actions.
Locally, this movement can be seen in governments where officials are discussing and occasionally passing bans on single-use plastic straws and bags.
The plastic breaks down into microplastics, which can be harmful to marine life, according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.
“Holiday time is really wasteful, and usually people get gifts that they don’t even want or need,” said Elana Smith, who with her husband owns and operates One World-Zero Waste, a zero-waste-focused store in Tequesta.
Gifts that produce little to no waste are “infinitely reusable and they’re good for everybody,” she said.
From a few bucks to items on the pricier side, we’ve compiled a list of eight great zero-waste gift ideas with the help of Smith at One World-Zero Waste and Emily Mauri at Jar Zero Waste in Stuart.
1. Reusable utensils. Say “so long” to single-use plastic utensils buy gifting a stylish set of bamboo utensils in a fashionable carrying case.
“You can always keep it with you in the car or in your purse,” Smith said.
These can set you back anywhere from $4 or $5 for a single utensil to $30 for a set in a handy bag.
2. Bamboo toothbrush. It takes 400 years for the plastic in a typical reusable toothbrush to break down, Mauri said. A bamboo toothbrush that sells for $5 can be composted after the bristles are removed — something her dedicated customers do by pulling them out with pliers.
“You can compost the handle right in your backyard compost,” Mauri said.
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3. Reusable lunchboxes. Sure, these are popular for people who take their lunch to work or school. But Mauri said she also knows people who bring reusable containers when they go out to dinner to hold any leftovers.
“They do this instead of getting styrofoam,” she said.
Stainless steel or wood lunch or bento boxes can cost about $10 per piece, depending on the size of the container, or $35 to $50 for a set.
4. “Un-Paper” towels. These cotton flannel sheets wrap around your paper towel dispenser and come in a 12-pack for $30. They’re one of Smith’s most popular items right now.
“It’s a super common problem,” she said of some of her customers. “They use more paper towels than they care to admit.”
With the Un-Paper towels, people can save money while also saving trees, Smith said.
5. Reusable straws. With more and more cities and counties banning plastic straws, a set of chic reusable straws could make a great gift for a loved one who hates sipping through paper.
Reusable straws come in metal, glass, silicone and bamboo.
“I definitely sell more metal straws than anything else,” Mauri said.
You can buy one straw for a few dollars or pay slightly more to buy a set.
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6. Solid shampoo. Yes, you read that correctly: solid shampoo. Mauri swears by it.
“It is the holy grail of shampoo bars,” she said of the Hibar brand she carries in her store for $12.95 apiece.
It comes in three scents and “suds really nice,” she said.
One bar should last anywhere from three to six months, depending on your hair type.
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7. Reusable sponge. This gem is easy to use and environmentally sound. Plus, just pop it in the dishwasher to get it clean, Smith said.
“It never gets horrible sponge funk,” she said. They cost $10 each.
8. Gift baskets. Smith has put together fun zero-waste-themed gift baskets that cost from about $90 to about $160. The kitchen basket is packed with goodies like the Un-Paper towels, a washable sponge, plate and bowl covers (to replace plastic wrap), a vegetable cleaning brush and a plantable holiday card.
Smith’s most recent basket has a “manly touch,” with a razor, shampoo bar, and reusable snack and sandwich bags.
For more information, contact:
One World-Zero Waste: www.oneworld-zerowaste.com, 561-285-8511.
Jar Zero Waste: www.jarzerowaste.com, 772-600-8191
This story originally published to palmbeachpost.com, and was shared to other Florida newspapers in the new Gannett Media network.