Let's Talk Trash: Gifting the planet

Ever find yourself forgetting someone’s birthday, or heading to a friend’s for dinner empty-handed? Have you wished for a magical drawer with an assortment of gifts you can grab at a moment’s notice without the stress of last-minute shopping?

Keep reading, for a genie-in-a-bottle “aha” moment. Essentially, your Aladdin is you, but the version of you with perhaps more foresight.

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Some easy tricks can keep you stocked with earth-friendly gifts at the ready for last-minute needs.

It is the season of farmers’ markets and pop-up street-craft fairs. What a great opportunity to grab a few treasures to share with loved ones in the coming months.

By planning ahead, you can make the whole experience more enjoyable for you and the planet. Last-minute gifts usually come with lots of packaging, a heavy carbon footprint and a less personalized feel.

Markets are full of unique offerings, from handmade jewellery and wooden toys to quality-made beauty products and more. As you wander the stalls, you can become inspired by local artisans and find the perfect treat for the people on your gift list. Markets, as well as local art galleries and studios, are fantastic places to find low-impact gifts such as treasures made from upcycled or natural materials.

Another idea for gifting can be the once taboo concept of regifting. If now is the time to downsize and purge items in your storage locker, basement and attic, you might keep a few choice things for future gifts. You may even find clothing with tags still on or only very lightly used games and tools.

Slightly wonky pieces can be repaired and mended in preparation for their new homes. Garage sales, social media shop and swaps and thrift stores might also have the perfect gifts awaiting your discovery.

Beyond these low-waste to zero-waste gifting ideas, you could also find yourself motivated to craft at the beach or on your porch during these long days. How about gifting freshly picked blackberries or flowers from your garden? Canned goods make amazing gifts, too, and you can personalize labels to add that homemade touch.

Next time you head out the door to do errands and get your “must haves,” think ahead to the next celebration you may be attending. Plan on stopping in at local galleries and markets to check out the latest offerings. Remember to bring along your baskets or bags, so the whole shopping experience is near zero waste.

Let’s Talk Trash is qathet Regional District’s waste-reduction education program.

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