The most sustainable gift is one that will be used

Published on 01 December 2022

he holiday season is a time of year for celebration and exchanging of gifts with our loved ones. However, during the holiday season we also see household waste increase significantly. The average household can produce 30 per cent more waste during the holiday season, meaning more packaging, more food waste and more waste to landfill.

There are a number of ways we can look to purchase and gift more eco-friendly gifts. Read on for some gift-giving inspiration this holiday season.

Searching for the perfect gift

Simple questions to ask yourself

Before making a purchase, think about the gift in more detail and how it is going to be used.

  • Do they want it?
  • Do they need it?
  • Is there something they are interested in doing or learning more about?
  • Will this end up as a charity store donation or returned?
  • Do they have something similar?
  • Is this practical, or just trendy?
  • Can you find it second hand?    

The gift of reusables

There are a number of reusable items to think about for gifts. Gifting reusables is a great way to help others reduce their waste and it’s a gift you know will be used over and over for years to come.

  • Reusable coffee cup, water bottle or smoothie cup
  • Reusable tote bag or produce bag
  • Swag bags to keep food fresh
  • Reusable straws
  • Reusable lunch box or bento box

The gift of a green thumb

Composting food waste at home is a great way to not only reduce food waste to landfill, but also to get outside in the garden with the benefit of producing quality compost for your garden and soil. Maroondah City Council offers residents up to 60 per cent off the purchase of a range of home compost systems. Visit our discount compost systems webpage for more information.

You could also look to gift something for the garden, like some new seedlings, a fruit tree or a window-ledge herb garden.

The gift of experiences

Consider investing in an experience, a class or a membership instead of a physical gift this year. The excitement of receiving products and things can be short-lived, but an experience can provide life-long treasured memories and result in less clutter and waste. Better yet, you can join your loved one in the experience! Tailor your gift to their interests, hobbies or something they’ve always talked about doing, but never found time for. Some ideas to get you thinking include:

  • movie tickets
  • concert tickets
  • magazine subscriptions
  • memberships for a zoo or museum
  • indoor rock-climbing
  • sky diving
  • cooking classes
  • painting classes.

The gift of time

Sometimes, spending time together or donating your time is the greatest gift of all. Something as simple as offering to babysit your nieces and nephews, creating a home-made voucher for a date-night/day, or sharing your skills and knowledge with your loved ones can make a wonderful gift. Intentionally set some time aside to pass down family recipes, do some gardening or help with some home organisation.

The gift of food

Who doesn’t love food? You could gift a fruit basket, a home-made hamper of locally sourced products, brownies or cakes in a jar to make at home, or coffee beans from your local roaster. There are so many amazing local food and wine producers - visit your local market or a craft market to find some special (and delicious) goodies.

Further inspiration

As you can see, there are so many ideas out there to avoid waste, and still provide a meaningful and thoughtful gift to your friends, family and co-workers this holiday season. If you’d like some further inspiration, Clean Up Australia have prepared ‘The Eco Friendly Christmas guide’ which includes some fantastic tips and tricks to make your Christmas decorating, food and gift wrapping more sustainably focused in 2022.