It’s the time of year when the world starts to write and swap wish lists for the holidays. After months of tumult and uncertainty, why not give your loved ones exactly what they want? If you’re struggling for ideas for yourself this year, I’m sharing some of my favorite ideas for green & eco-friendly gifts below!
Green Gifts for Everyone On Your Holiday List
2020 was an unusual and difficult year, to say the least. On top of everything else, the coronavirus pandemic was the cause of a huge rise in plastic waste in 2020. Many of us ordered extra takeout this year, which meant extra garbage. It seems like everything is single use right now in order to avoid any contamination. While it makes sense, on a sustainability scale we’re going backwards instead of forward.
You can do something about it by making holiday purchases that support sustainable lifestyle practices, for the holiday season and beyond.
In addition to buying green, organic, and sustainable products whenever possible, I encourage you to buy from family-owned businesses, and hyper local ones if available.
Let’s do whatever we can, together! To help save the environment, we need everyone doing small things — because those little choices can add up to a pretty big impact.
Here are some of my favorite sustainable, environmentally friendly stocking stuffers for 2020. Have any more questions or want to talk over ideas in more depth? I’m always here to chat at (312) 607-4700.
1. The Sweeping Dimensions gift certificate
Give yourself a break this year and ask for a gift certificate from Sweeping Dimensions. We use as many eco-friendly cleaning supplies as possible, and we have strict COVID sanitation and safety protocols in place. We want to make sure your family is safe and healthy by making sure your home is clean and healthy. Contact us today to learn more about the environmentally friendly, all natural supplies we can put to work in your Chicago home.
2. The #cleanchampion 100% cotton t-shirt or cosmetic bag
Cotton is one of the best materials you can purchase and wear, because it is a natural material. It’s hard to find 100% cotton shirts but the CleanChampion Etsy shop has a cute t-shirt that helps you show your support for being clean and green. I love the boxing gloves on the design!
3. Sustainable chocolates
What could be a better indulgence than some delicious chocolates over the holidays? This year, add chocolates that don’t harm the environment to your shopping list. Did you know that conventional chocolate production contributes to a massive amount of destruction in the rainforests? Instead of buying chocolate that will incite all kinds of guilt, get some of the good stuff made from fair trade, sustainable cocoa beans grown with organic farming practices. In Chicago, check out Renee’s Raw Chocolate or Vosges Haut-Chocolat.
4. Canvas Reusable Bags
Earlier this year, most grocers in the Chicago area were not allowing customers to bring their own bags to do their shopping. While it made a lot of sense, I’m glad that we have all developed some safety protocols and that many shops are allowing reusable bags again. Just one reusable grocery bag can save more than 22,000 plastic grocery bags every year!
Canvas bags are great because they are sturdy and can be easily tossed in the washer and dryer to keep them clean. Not all reusable grocery bags are made equal though. Ideally, you’ll want to get a canvas tote made out of 100% cotton, so you can cut it into strips and compost it once its usable life is over.
5. Biodegradable or Compostable Garbage Bags
You can now buy sturdy, plant-based or other biodegradable garbage bags that will decompose in landfills faster and put fewer dangerous chemicals into the environment. The quality of green garbage bags has come a long way since I started using them years ago. Using a biodegradable or compostable garbage bag not only reduces the amount of plastic in the landfill, but I’ve also found that people tend to make different choices about what they choose to throw away when they know they’re using a greener bag.
6. Biodegradable or Compostable Sponges
Use them for washing dishes and scrubbing your counters or shower — or leave all of that scrubbing to us and know that your home is being cleaned with the most sustainable practices in mind. Much like the biodegradable and compostable garbage bags, there are high quality sponges available made from natural materials that can be composted, or which will decompose faster than plastic options.
I particularly like bamboo scrubbing pads because of the sustainable materials, and because wild bamboo features natural antibacterial properties! You can also find scouring sponges made from walnut shells, which is a great way to use a byproduct that often gets thrown out.
7. Composter and Compost Bags
A great way to go green this holiday is to start composting. Composting turns food scraps and other natural materials and waste into a nutrient rich additive that helps replenish soil. If you have the space, you can buy your own composting bin. There are lots of videos on YouTube that show how to layer and turn your compost over time.
If you live in a home with less outdoor space, a Chicagoland-based compost service might be the best way to go. They will drop off a bucket which you can fill with your scraps, and then come back to pick it up for you. Most compost services also offer free compost pickups, so you and your home garden can benefit from your new compost habit!
8. Solar Powered Generator
We’ve spent a lot of extra time at home this year, and we’ve spent a lot more time on our screens. All of this extra time indoors means extra electricity use; as the days get shorter, it’s a good idea to find ways to use less electricity. A solar powered generator is a great way to save money on electricity when at home during COVID. You can simply charge the generator by leaving it out in the sun, and once it’s charged, you can use it to plug in those much used iPads and computers… even Christmas lights!
9. Organic Tea
Cold days are always made better with a warm drink in your hand, and this year’s troubles can definitely be soothed (at least in part) with a hot cup of tea. I love Tea Gschwendner in Chicago because it is a local, female-owned shop that offers a wide selection of organic teas. Organic tea production has less of a negative impact on the environment because of the reduced use of fertilizers and pesticides, which can seep into the surrounding land.
10. Indoor Grow Lights
Growing your own vegetables and herbs at home is a fun way to do something green — while cutting down on your grocery costs each month! You can easily set up a small hydroponic garden on your kitchen countertop, or use a larger setup for growing most of your own produce at home. If you feel crafty and want to build your own vegetable growing station, be sure to purchase full-spectrum growing lights, because they are the most similar to the light that comes from the sun.
11. Sustainably Sourced Clothing and Shoes
It’s time to leave “fast fashion” in the past. There are some great shops here in Chicago and online that sell genuinely sustainable clothing that won’t totally blow your entire holiday gift budget. Some of my favorite brands include Eileen Fisher, Everlane, and Lafayette 148 NY. A quick search online brings up many sustainable brands to explore. Make a wish list or ask for a gift card to start stocking your closet the right way!
12. Compostable Mailers & Pens
Since we can’t be with all of the people we love this holiday season, we have to find other ways to stay connected. And with everyone tired of being planted in front of technology, what’s better than receiving a sweet card in the mail? With all the stress of this year, a handwritten card can go a long way to lift someone’s spirits. Start collecting addresses now so you can get mail out before the holiday you celebrate.
You can purchase compostable mailers and pens made from wheat. I love them because they’re not only durable, but they break down quickly and can be composted along with your food scraps. Plus, you might spark your recipient’s desire to start composting!
13. Compostable Partyware Sets
Even though our holiday celebrations will be much smaller this year, the dishes can still pile up when you’re making a holiday feast at home. If you’re trying to avoid doing dishes after your meal but want to save the planet from plastic, try compostable partyware sets instead! I love plates and flatware made from bamboo because this material is both eco-friendly and stylish — and you can toss it all in the compost bin after you’re done eating!
14. Green and Sustainable Beauty Products
I am a huge advocate of brands created and run by people who do everything they can to make the planet a healthier place. This year, if cosmetics are on your holiday wish list, try a brand like Beautycounter. Their skincare and cosmetics have better, safer ingredients and they use responsible sourcing methods to ensure their environmental impact stays as low as possible. The owner of the brand even goes to Congress to try and advocate for better standards and cleaner ingredients throughout the cosmetics industry. She’s a huge advocate for being green — and I can relate!
Want to Make the Holidays Extra Special This Year? Sweeping Dimensions Is Here for You
No matter what’s on your holiday gift list this year, or who you are purchasing for, remember that every small step forward can make a huge difference for our environment.
At Sweeping Dimensions, we truly care about our impact on the environment and do everything we can to use green, sustainable materials and cleaning methods. During the holidays and all year long, we are committed to adopting and sharing those practices with our clients to make the world a better place for all of us.
Time to get your home ready for the holidays? Want to take something off of your to-do list to make the season a little less stressful? Sweeping Dimensions can help you get your home holiday-ready with a cleaning. Contact us today for your free service estimate!