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  • Shristi Poddar

5 WAYS TO GIFT SUSTAINABLY


It's the thought that counts and the personal touch which makes any gift more memorable. With a bit of planning, you can give more while spending less.


In today's well-aware world, we are questioning every action that we take towards ourselves or the environment. But have we spoken enough about sustainability? Sustainability doesn't only end at opting to eat Vegan or drinking from metal straws. Often our actions, even when done out of love or respect, affect someone else's environmental responsibility like gifting.


Giving gifts to your loved ones on several occasions is an old tradition that humans have been following to show their affections. Be it wedding, social occasions or any other festivities 'Hamper gifting' has become the go to solution in India. Simultaneously, the corporate gifting culture tied with corporate responsibility has been in practice for the longest and occupies a whopping 80% of India's gifting industry! For an industry as big as this, it only fits that we advocate the importance of mindful gifting here as well.


With the increase in consumerism, most gift items made today have synthetic and harmful materials like plastic because of their cheap and shiny qualities. The plastic wrappers and decorative materials used to wrap the gift and make it look more attractive to the receiver are single-used and thrown away once unwrapped. Even most of the so-called paper gift wrappers come with a plastic coating on the inside, which often goes unnoticed. Hence, have you ever realized that all those fancy gifts we buy and the effort we put into gift presentation harm our environment and pose distress for the coming generation?



LET US UNDERSTAND WHAT IS SUSTAINABLE GIFTING


Sustainable Gifts


Are eco-friendly: Products that use natural and biodegradable/reusable materials, or are upcycled.


Have real and lasting value: Sustainable gifts are durable, functional and meaningful. A gift that has meaning for the giftee will be cherished and used by them much longer.


Are ethically sourced and made: Brands that support craftsman, pay all workers fairly and give back to the society in a positive manner.


Use minimal resources to reach the end-user: Locally sourced items ensure minimal carbon footprint and ease of exchange.


Are packaged with eco-friendly materials: By using eco-friendly wrapping materials and boxes, we can make our gifts pretty and sustainable at the same time.





HOW TO GO ABOUT SUSTAINABLE GIFTING



1. Pay attention to the material:


Make sure the gift's material is durable and of good quality. Eliminate single-use plastics and choose materials free from harmful dyes and bleaching. For example, Cork's resistance to moisture and rot enables it to age without deteriorating. With only light sanding, Cork Products can look as good as new.





2. Upcycle and repurpose gifts:


Gifts artistically made using recycled materials mean that you are giving more thought to the kinds of gifts you distribute. They are more memorable and personal. It indicates you care. Reuse wrappers and packaging materials. Not every gift has to be store-bought. A little imagination can go a long way. For example, a gift box filled with colored papers and hand picked stationary tools can be a lot of fun for a small child.






3. Go local:


Include items that are locally sourced or made of organic material. Promoting small local businesses instead of reaching out to foreign brands help our developing communities committed to getting sustainable products out there and minimizes carbon footprints by reducing transport energy and cost. Go for homemade edibles such as a jar of dried exotic fruits, coffee, or even desserts. Handmade products always have a personalized edge over mass-produced machine-made products.






4. Gift services and experiences instead of objects:


One of the easiest and most convenient ways to do so is through gift cards. They are flexible to peoples' preferences, hence the chances of gifts being returned or simply thrown away drastically reduces. It is also an effective way to ensure minimal contact (given the country's current state). You can give tickets to a sporting event, coupons to a spa day, or a free dance class. You can also offer company's discount vouchers or special membership.





5. Think about the packaging:


A gift is usually incomplete without its packaging. The presentation of the gift is as important as the gift itself. However, most of the times, the wrappers become unusable and cheaply made boxes lose its value pretty soon.

There are two ways to ensure sustainable packaging-

Using recycled and eco-friendly materials as fillers and wrappers.

Making the packaging a part of the gift too- whether its a box, a tray or any other container.





Sustainable gifts help your family, friends and colleagues to embrace a climate-friendly lifestyle and reduce waste. They can also help you make a statement about your values and spread environmental awareness.



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