Gifting without the unnecessary waste

Small beeswax wrap on glass jar.

Christmas time means office parties, social functions and family get togethers. A common, fun part of these social gatherings is gift giving. And who doesn’t love to give and receive? Isn’t that what the spirit of Christmas is all about?

The concept of gift giving at work related functions usually requires buying gifts under a certain dollar value determined by group organiser—typically under $20. The recipient may have been chosen prior to the event or it’s a lucky dip type of arrangement, where the gift could go to any member of the party. It’s done in the spirit of fun times, however these fun times usually also represent something not so fun. And those that broach the topic of the not so fun aspect of gift giving, are usually looked upon as being a “party poopers”.

What could possibly not be fun about giving gifts?

The fun part many enjoy is to give a gift that is silly and unwanted. The gift is only intended to give a few giggles to the crowd for five minutes and will be promptly thrown away once the recipient gets home. The not so fun part is that it’s either all made of plastic or wrapped in plastic.

What should be an inexpensive, fun way to celebrate and give gifts has now turned into “what can I buy that’s cheap?” And typically when we think of cheap, it involves some junky plastic item that you might pick up at the dollar shop.

Let’s face it, we’ve become a throw away society, purchasing gifts simply based on a dollar value. How much will it cost — not how much will the recipient “value” this gift?

It’s easy to avoid unnecessary waste by simply selecting gifts that will last or can truly be appreciated by the recipient.

Need some plastic free gifting inspiration?

Skip the plastic wrap and make your own bouquet of flowers, or head to your local florist and pick up a bunch of unwrapped flowers and add a reusable beeswax wrap on the bottom. It’s the perfect two in one gift, a gift that will keep on giving for months and months.

Head to your local markets and pick up a bar of soap—everyone can use a bar of soap!

Support your local beekeeper. At the last secret Santa event I attended, a jar of honey was the gift everyone wanted. (Filling an empty wine bottle with honey also makes the gift more interesting). Prefer wine to honey? Wine also makes an excellent plastic free gift!

Have you been saving your seeds from your garden? Why not place the seeds into a small paper bag or glass jar and add a label. It's another gift that keeps on giving. Don't have seeds but have been storing up dried herbs? Place these in a glass jar and add a label, every time your recipient uses your herbs they'll be reminded of the great xmas gift they received.

Chocolate Coated Srawberries
Repurposing Glass Jars

Looking for something small, eco-friendly and unique? Something that everyone can use is a bamboo toothbrush, if your budget allows — add some toothpaste tablets, or some plastic free dental floss.

Chocolate is often on the cards for Christmas gifts, and it’s rare that anyone is disappointed when they receive a box of chocolates. The issue with chocolates is — the amount of plastic the chocolates are wrapped in. Plastic packaging wrapped around the cardboard box, a plastic sheet protecting the chocolates on the top and a black plastic tray to house the chocolate. All this plastic is headed straight for landfill. We’ve got some better plastic free chocolate gifting options:

  • Purchase a block of chocolate that’s packaged in cardboard and foil.
  • Head to your local refill store and select some delicious chocolate coated strawberries or chocolate coated nuts. Place these in a glass container and you’ve got the gift of chocolates.
  • Looking for a DIY option? How about adding a jar of dehydrated strawberries to a jar.

Need a last minute gift and don’t have time to hit the shops or wait for an online delivery? Purchase a gift voucher — this could be for an eco-adventure, a relaxing massage, sponsoring an animal, or for purchases at an eco-store – such as EORTH. 😃

Orangutan Options
Skyrail Rainforest Cableway

Most importantly, seek out plastic free items that are reusable and useful that won’t end up in landfill come January and enjoy a less wasteful festive season in 2020.



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Catherine Anne Earle

Author Bio - Catherine Anne Earle

Thanks for reading. I'm Cathy the founder of EORTH Australia, an online store that stocks only plastic free products.

I started EORTH after participating in a Plastic Free July many years ago. A few days into the Plastic Free July challenge I soon became aware of just how damaging plastics were to the environment, and although I was conscious of my consumer choices, products packaged in single use plastic and household products from of plastic materials were still very high on my list of purchases.

After lengthy searches for alternatives to plastic products I soon realised that there were a lot of eco stores that sold some plastic free products, but very few really got down to the heart of the plastics issues and said a big hard "no" to selling products that contained plastics — and that is exactly what EORTH is all about.

I have a Bachelor of Arts in Communication Management and was the owner and founder of Sun Peaks Independent News, a community newspaper based in British Columbia, Canada.

After moving back to Australia several years ago I now reside in Palm Cove a beachside suburb in my hometown of Cairns — the gateway to the Great Barrier Reef.

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