The holiday season is nearing, promising much to cheer for most of us, especially when it’s time to exchange gifts. But, sadly, while it’s a season of giving, it’s also a season for excess waste that can potentially harm our planet.
In a survey commissioned by ING in 2019, an estimated $400 million was spent on 10 million unwanted Christmas gifts in Australia, many of which, along with their wrapping, likely ended up in landfills. On the brighter side, however, one-quarter of those polled in the survey said they would prefer receiving “environmentally friendly” gifts.
Today, Viable.Earth shares some of the coolest eco-friendly gifts from Australia that you can give your loved ones this Christmas – and there is still time to order. (Note: these ideas were chosen by our team: we are not receiving any payment or reward for promoting them.)
Ten cool eco-friendly gift ideas from Australia
Stay Tray offers a sustainable way to carry beverages like coffee.
Kate Stewart, the founder of Stay Tray, shared with us that after 17 years of getting her daily cup, she felt it was “painfully ironic” to use reusable coffee cups but carry them in a disposable coffee tray.
While most disposable cardboard trays are recycled or biodegradable, 30 per cent of them still end up in landfills.
Stay Tray is made of 100-per-cent recycled BPA-free polypropylene, with a shape versatile enough to carry different types of bottles and cups. The company added that at the end of its life cycle (which is longer than that of disposable paper trays), it could be recycled again.
Stay Trays come in two-cup or four-cup modes, priced at $28 and $33, respectively.
Ethique Lip balm
A sustainable stocking stuffer, Ethique lip balms come in 100-per-cent plastic-free twist tubes lined with plant wax that can be composted at home, or in a garden, at the end of their life.
The products are also crafted from fair-trade, sustainable ingredients from Gana, Rwanda, and Samoa to help support farming cooperatives.
Priced at $12, they come in fun flavours, including pink grapefruit & vanilla, peppermint, and chocolate.
Most parties during the festive season include wine, so how about gifting something greener to your friends and family? Greenskin Wine is the country’s first recyclable, resealable, glassless way to enjoy wine anywhere.
The brand offers premium quality wine in 750ml soft pouches that are unbreakable, quick to chill, compact, resealable, easy to transport, and completely recyclable.
Kinder to the environment, a Greenskin pouch takes less than 20 per cent of energy to produce versus traditional glass wine bottles, is 100-per-cent recyclable, and emits fewer emissions during transport.
The wine – sourced from high-grade West Australian wineries – comes in varietals including Chardonnay, Rose, and Sauvignon Blanc, as well as reds, priced from $135-$198 per box of six pouches, sold online.
One of the best things about this concept: once you have emptied the pouches, they can be returned for recycling in a pre-paid postage satchel included in the box.
Plasto plastic-free toys
Something for the kids (or kids at heart!), Plasto offers a wide range of toys made from bamboo bioplastic.
A Finnish brand established in 1954, its ethos is to let the child’s imagination run free, making sustainable, simple toys without any flashy gimmicks.
All Plasto plastic-free toys are made from recyclable raw materials and free from phthalates, Bisphenol-a, lead, cadmium, or other hazardous chemicals. According to the company, all of its toys are designed and built to last.
It’s available for purchase in Australia at My Little Earthling.
Casetify compostable phone case
Getting a brand new phone case is always cool, but did you know that more than 400 million pounds of plastic are used to produce around 1 billion plastic phone cases each year? Plus, with a new mobile phone released every year, an average phone case lasts less than two years before it’s replaced or thrown away, making its way into landfills.
Instead of gifting someone a traditional plastic mobile phone case, how about giving them compostable phone cases by Casetify?
Described as “earth-friendly”, the compostable cases with 2-metre drop protection are made from a blend of starch, bamboo grain, and biopolymers. It also uses non-toxic, soy-based ink for its colouring.
The cases are available in seven colours – Sunflower, Mushroom, Licorice, Peach, Eggplant, Avocado, and Blueberry – priced between $45-$55.
Deemed as “sustainable luxury”, you can gift your special someone an authentic Gucci purse or a Ferragamo scarf through online retailer Net-a-Porter’s luxury resale service, Reflaunt.
“We see re-commerce as a true enabler to tap into greater product longevity by extending the lives of pre-loved purchases,” said Alison Loehnis, president of luxury and fashion, Net-a-Porter.
Producing new handbags, scarves, or clothing consumes a lot of water and energy. The fashion industry is responsible for around 10 per cent of global carbon emissions, uses massive amounts of water and even animals worldwide. Supporting pre-owned products allows us to have something “new” without using additional resources.
In our opinion, there’s nothing wrong with gifting or receiving pre-loved items, especially if they’re still in tip-top shape. The company checks everything before uploading the products on its website, from the quality to authenticity, so you don’t have to worry.
V-10 eco-friendly sneakers
Crafted from environmentally friendly materials, V-10 by Veja is a great gift for sneakerheads.
The shoe’s lining is made of 67-per-cent recycled polyester and 33-per-cent sustainably-sourced organic cotton, while its insole is made of 34 per cent sugar cane, 11 per cent Amazonian rubber, 11 per cent organic cotton, and 8 per cent recycled EVA (Ethylene Vinyl Acetate)
Made in Brazil, the product also supports responsible leather manufacturing through its partnership with the Leather Working Group. In addition, the brand operates as a non-profit enterprise and is B Corp certified. That means it is a business that meets the highest standards of verified social and environmental performance, public transparency, and legal accountability to balance profit and purpose.
The sneakers ares available for purchase at The Iconic for $210.
Akili sustainable homewares
Brisbane-based Akili offers a range of sustainable products, including shoes, hats, bags, scarves, jewellery and homewares, handmade using natural or recycled materials by women-led artisan enterprises in Brazil, Ecuador, and Tanzania.
In addition, the company will adopt a tree on behalf of its customers for every order it receives through its website. Buyers will receive the GPS coordinates once their seedling is planted, so they know where their tree is located.
Frank Green sustainable homewares
For the eco-friendly homemaker, another sustainable homeware brand you can check out is Frank Green.
The range features eco-friendly products like bowls, insulated food storage containers, and stainless steel utensil sets. Its products are primarily made from recyclable and non-degradable materials, including silicone.
The home range collection is available online via the company’s website, with prices ranging from $24.95 to $79.95.
Good Citizens carbon-negative eyewear
The term carbon-negative might sound like another green buzzword, but Good Citizens not just offer sunglasses made from fully recycled and recyclable materials, it also donates funds to various environmental organisations like the Sea Shepherd Marine Debris for each sale.
The sunglasses frames are made entirely from post-consumer recycled single-use soft drinks and water bottles, however the lenses sourced from Carl Zeiss Vision, are not made from recycled materials.
Wrapping it all up
Don’t put all your eco-conscious gift-giving efforts to waste! Level up your sustainable gifting up a notch and package them in recycled newspapers, old magazines, or even used fabric. There’s even a biodegradable packing tape you can use for wrapping.