Keep the tradition of giving and cut the tradition of waste with these green ideas.
It’s December, which means that the holidays are officially upon us. It also means that it’s shopping season. This year, I’ve done some research — and I have some green gifts and sustainable stocking stuffers that will be a sure hit this holiday. From solid perfume bars and vegan shoes to reusable wrapping, here are products that help make the festivities friendlier to the earth.
But first — not to dampen that holiday spirit — a note of caution about shopping online. A recent article in The Atlantic (shocking to me) reported that when you return stuff that you bought online it will most often head straight to the nearest landfill or incinerator. Just something to know before you make that next impulse purchase!
So, moving on, to some ideas that will warm the heart, not the planet.
Sustainability is the hottest new trend in skincare –– starting with bar soaps and then shampoo and conditioner bars. Next up in the zero-waste personal care category is solid perfume bars. This Melbourne-based brand has a luxury fragrance collection that is alcohol and paraben-free and is also vegan-friendly and cruelty-free. They use plant-based ingredients like coconut and safflower seed oils that are suitable for all skin types. They come in both solid perfumes and perfume oils. Both the solids and rollerballs are refillable and reusable to reduce waste. The fragrances are inspired by nature and are grouped by four themes: Earth, Ocean, Forest and Midnight. You can order their products for the same price through Banish, a sustainable e-commerce business and education platform.
Nothing can beat a thick, cozy sweater as a holiday gift. This French atelier has a beautiful collection of classic sweaters that are designed to last. Sézane, recently B-Corp certified, is all about slow fashion and timeless designs. Three-quarters of the materials they use are eco-friendly, and the pieces have the stamp of approval from some of the textile industry’s most reliable certifiers: Oeko-Tex, GOTS, RWS, FSC, and RMS (this means that the research has been done for you!). They also have a recycling program, use eco-friendly packaging, and all their locations are powered by renewable energy. You can read more about their sustainability initiatives on their website.
New York City, USA
If you want to treat your feet this holiday season, Aera is the way to go. It’s the luxury sustainable shoe brand of your dreams. All their products are vegan and made with 50% biomaterials including cotton, wood and field corn that is not suitable for human consumption. The other 50% is recycled synthetic materials such as recycled ABS plastic. They don’t underestimate the importance of slow fashion — their most popular styles, such as the classic Audrey Hepburn-inspired flats, are timeless designs. The shoes have been worn by style icons like Natalie Portman and Meryl Streep, giving the brand real style cred. If you’re looking for something to wear this New Year’s Eve, definitely check them out — how gorgeous are these heels?!
Aera is founded by Tina Bhojwani, who also opened a sustainable luxury pop-up in NYC’s Soho. Our founder, Peter, had a chance to visit and chat with her. You can read more here.
When it comes to presents, the last consideration –– which should not be the least –– is the wrapping. Unfortunately, most wrapping papers are incredibly wasteful — they’re only used once, and often can’t be recycled because they’re dyed with chemical inks, are laminated or contain non-paper additives. Check out Wrappr if you’re looking for sustainable (but still beautiful) wrapping options. Inspired by the Japanese furoshiki, these vibrant colored cloth wrappings are reusable. They’re available in cotton, silk or satin, and each piece is a unique work of art. I think this one in silk, inspired by the winter harvest, and perfect for the holiday season, may be my favorite.
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