Sustainable Gifting

Whether it’s a birthday, an anniversary, or the holidays, gifts are a great way to show someone you care, love, thank, or are simply thinking of them. But how much waste is created by our kind intentions? According to Stanford University, Americans throw away 25% more trash between Thanksgiving to New Year’s Day than any other time of the year which generates 25 millions tons of garbage! Now, imagine how much excess waste birthday or anniversary gifts accumulate to?

Don’t stress too much though! Here are a few tips on how to minimize your environmental footprint all year long.


  • Give people experiences instead of things: Surprise your friend by booking a campsite for the weekend or a whitewater rafting experience!
  • Create and send a thoughtful video or video call: Let your loved one know you are thinking of them on their special day without having to actually buy something.
  • Hand-write a note: Reuse construction paper scraps or use fun items like old buttons and twigs to create a fun design!
  • Donate to a charity/cause instead of giving a gift: Social media sites like Facebook, allow you to post fundraisers for your organization of choice.
  • Make jewellery, hats, scarves, from existing materials: Nothing says “I’ve been thinking of you” like a hand-made gift.
  • Save gift bags and boxes for future use: This simple, yet often overlooked, tip definitely makes an impact on the amount of waste we produce. Remember this tip around the holidays!
  • Make a home-cooked meal or bake a cake: Dinner and dessert? What a sweet way to end a celebration.


Written by Emily Su, Class of 2022.

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