Sometimes finding a sustainable gift that does good for the planet can feel impossible. To help, we’ve gathered 5 sustainable gifting ideas to embrace in 2022, so you can give guilt-free this season!
Gift a plant instead of cut flowers.
Plants are not only a simple way to bring life into any space, but they are the gift that keeps on giving! While most flowers last 1-2 weeks, houseplants will last months (if not years!) with proper upkeep. Visit your local florist for seasonal recommendations and care information.
Tip: Succulents and other low-maintenance plants are great for friends with little to no green thumb abilities!
Gift an experience instead of a thing.
Instead of buying things for the sake of buying, opt for giving an experience, instead! Something as simple as a day out hiking together, exploring your city, or taking a cooking class is not only more sustainable but also creates a much more memorable experience. Choose to do something they love instead of collecting items that will end up in a landfill one day.
Tip: Get creative! Browse your local Eventbrite and Groupon pages to see what one-of-a-kind experiences are happening near you.
Bake instead of buy.
Surprise that special someone with homemade sweets, granola, or even a fresh loaf of bread! Cooking is truly a labor of love and generates little waste that is ultimately compostable. Personalize the dish to their palate and create something sweet that they are sure to remember!
Tip: Not a baker? No problem! Shop from local bakeries, coffee shops, and restaurants to create a delicious assortment that is sure to make an impression.
Replace wrapping paper with a reusable basket.
Reduce waste and elevate your gift by using reusable baskets and containers instead of wrapping paper. Thrift stores usually have a large and eclectic mix of baskets and bowls that are perfect for gifting. This not only adds to the gift but turns into something they will use again instead of adding additional waste.
Tip: If you opt for traditional wrapping, try using materials found around your home. Items like newspaper, foliage, fabric, or kraft paper add a unique touch while reusing materials!
Shop sustainable products.
If you choose to shop, try going for sustainably made products. Fairtrade, vintage, and products made from recycled materials are all great options for more sustainable gifting!
Tip: Labels are key. Check the labels on your products for the correct ‘Fair Trade’ and ‘Recyclable’ certifications. Many products are falsely advertised as “all-natural” or “eco-friendly” without any real data to back them up!
This year, gifting sustainably shouldn’t have to be a challenge. Choosing products and methods that make a positive impact is key for a more sustainable future for us all.
ECO Storage products are all made from up to 99% recycled materials, creating storage that gives a second life to plastics. For more sustainability and organization inspiration, follow us on Facebook and Instagram! Click here to explore more ECO Storage products.
Keeping your Trunk Organized (and Green!) with the Eco Tough Box
If you’re anything like me, then keeping your car organized is a constant struggle. Whether it’s a pile of takeout wrappers, a discarded shoe, or a loose tennis ball rolling around, there always seems to be SOMETHING keeping my car cluttered. Enter: the Eco Tough Box.
Made from up to 7lbs of recycled plastic, this eco-friendly storage container is STRONG. It was exactly what I was looking for in my trunk – a storage solution that wouldn’t crack under pressure (literally!).
So, we put it to the test and discovered 4 unique ways to use the Eco Tough Box in your car every day.
1. Grocery Wrangler
The Challenge: Protecting the trunk against grocery spills and leaks.
The Solution: Pack ‘em in tight!
Placing my groceries in the box kept them snug and secure on the ride home. In case of spills within the box, simply remove the groceries and hose out the bin! Trust me, this is much easier (and cheaper) than getting your car detailed!
Bonus: Bring the entire bin inside for easy one-trip unloading!
2. Outdoor Explorer
The Challenge: Finding storage that withstands all weather and holds heavy camping gear.
The Solution: The Eco Tough Box lid.
Here I utilized the lid on the Tough Box to stack camp gear and ultimately save space. The lid seals tight to help form a water-resistant seal – perfect for your next rustic adventure!
Bonus: The lids have hasp holes to help tie them on top of the car if extra room is needed.
3. Not Your Dog’s Storage Box
The Challenge: Keeping loose kibble, toys, and dog hair contained.
The Solution: One box to store them all.
Taking your pet with you on the go just got 10x easier! The Eco Tough Box worked great storing all of Buckley’s loose toys and dog food. There was not a stray piece of food to be found in my trunk afterward!
Bonus: Store dog food in the garage stress-free by using the tight seal lid to keep unwanted critters out.
4. Sports Family
The Challenge: Toting sports equipment to and from practice with ease.
The Solution: Pile ‘em in.
The Eco Tough Box worked great for keeping balls, bats, mitts, and gear all in one place. It also helped keep dirty cleats off of the carpet after an especially rainy practice. The best part: no more loose balls rolling around at every stop!
Bonus: Never forget your equipment for practice or the big game by always keeping everything in your vehicle!
The bottom line: The Eco Tough Box helped keep our trunks safe, secure, and overall mess-free. Whatever your lifestyle is, the Eco Tough Box is here to help you stay organized.
*This blog was co-written with Caroline Chomanics, IDEAS For Us chief administration officer and Fleet Farming program manager.
We are beginning a new decade in 2020! Unlike most New Year’s resolutions, these don’t require you to break a sweat at the gym or reorganize your closets, Marie Kondo style. As 2019 comes to an end, it’s time to start thinking about the environment. While chucking your plastic water bottles into a recycling bin helps, there’s more you can do to take part in the green movement. Here is a list of 20 ways to be more sustainable in 2020.
1. Change all of your light bulbs to LED: Take a moment today to make sure your home is using all LED light bulbs. LEDs typically use about 75% less energy than traditional incandescents and can last at least 35 times longer. This may seem incidental in helping people transition to clean energy. But at least it’s a solution that’s bright!
2. Plug large electronics into a smart power strip: Did you know you have an unseen menace lurking in your home, stealing electricity and spiking your power bills? “Phantom loads,” or energy vampires, as they’re appropriately called, refer to the electricity an appliance or a device consumes even when it’s not in use. Leaving unused devices plugged into outlets can cost you, on average, up to $200 more per month in electricity. Smart power strips shut off the power to your electronics when you’re not using them, saving you the hassle of having to remember to unplug your devices each time. This is a smart way of using less energy at home, while also saving money.
4. Check all weatherproofing on windows: Energy can easily be lost with the gaps and spaces between doors and windows. This has a major environmental cost in 70% of greenhouse gases that can be attributed to the energy usage of buildings. Grab some caulking and weather stripping to help prevent energy loss of your home or business.
5. Switch to reusable water bottles: Despite recent images of oceans brimming with plastics and marine life washed ashore, Americans still use an average of 50 billion plastic water bottles a year. And while recycling has become part of a modern lifestyle, an unsettling fact remains: 91% of plastic is not recycled. Switching to reusable water bottles such as a mason jar or an ethically made product is an easy way to eliminate your use of plastics. And like most sustainable options, it will save money.
6. Install a low-flow showerhead or a shower timer: It’s no surprise that showers can be a major source of in-home water consumption. According to the Alliance for Water Efficiency, “The average American shower … lasts for 8.2 minutes at an average flow rate of 2.1 gallons per minute.” You can help conserve water by taking shorter showers (five minutes, tops), using a timer to keep you on time. Another option: You can install a low-flow showerhead.
7. Install a toilet buddy: Many of us don’t want to think about all the times we flush in a day, all the water we’re wasting when there’s an increasingly dwindling supply. Sewage often gets short shrift in discussions about water conservation. And while flushing is, well, necessary, there are ways to eliminate water-wasting problems that could be coming from your toilet. For instance, your toilet could be outdated. Older toilets use up to three to seven gallons more per flush. Most toilets have a date stamped either inside or on the back wall of the tank. If your toilet is more than 20 years old, it’s time for a new one. But if this is an expensive option, toilet buddies can help with reducing high-flush volume. A DIY alternative is to pour water down the toilet to cut down on excessive flushing.
8. Compost your food and yard waste: Composting at home is easy! All you need is a container for your freezer to place food scraps during the week and a composting area outside for excess food scraps when the bin fills up. Your composting area can be a hole where you regularly till the compost, a composter product or even a worm bin in your apartment.
9. Grow your own herbs: Growing your own food is one of the biggest ways to become more sustainable. Novices to the world of food-growing can begin with garden herbs. These lovely food accents not only add a welcome burst of flavor to any meal, but fill your home with an array of lush, earthy scents. The five easiest herbs to start with (depending on your climate) are basil, oregano, thyme, mint and parsley. These can be grown in pots with six hours of bright sunlight, and only need watered a few times a week. For more info on growing herbs in your home, check out this blog by Cooking Light.
10. Shop at your local farmers market: Farmers markets are popping up everywhere. And for good reason. They’re a great way to while away a sunny afternoon. Shopping local also supports community growers and small business economies. Locally, we recommend stopping by the Audubon Park Community Farmers Market for your weekly produce. While there, peruse the works of local artisans and other unique vendors. But make sure you bring a reusable bag!
11. Zero waste your food shopping: As the name implies, zero-waste sends nothing unnecessary or deemed recyclable, to landfills. A refrain of the zero-waste philosophy is reuse, reuse, reuse! Bulk stores or bulk sections are boons for those looking to shop zero waste. Bring your own bag or container to the grocery store, and before stocking up on dry goods, ask for the “tare,” to see how much your container weighs when empty. Also, opt for purchasing tin cans or paper-wrapped items rather than items with plastic packaging. According to the United Nations, “nearly 50% of the plastic waste generated globally in 2015 was from the packaging.” To learn more about shopping zero waste, see our blog.
12. Follow the protocols of proper recycling: Let’s make 2020 a year of proper recycling. A good rule of thumb is the following recycling guide:
Plastic can usually be recycled in the mixed recyclables section if they are numbered 1 through 7 on the packaging.
Cardboard and white paper can be recycled in the paper section.
Caps, paper with wax, plastic bags, plastic film, and Styrofoam should not be placed in recycling bins.
Food must be washed off items before being recycled.
13. Deny all plastic bags: Plastic is old news! Stock up on reusable bags and conveniently place them in your car, in your purse, at work, and at home. You’ll never have an excuse to use another plastic bag in 2020. Have you ever heard someone say, “Well, I use them for dog poop bags”? Yes, we even recommend using biodegradable to-go poop bags, like these.
14. Shop at thrift stores: News flash: Shopping secondhand is cool! Rather than contribute to waste production by shopping new, go to your local thrift store for clothing, furniture, decor and housewares. This is an excellent way of reusing items in your own community and switching to a more sustainable lifestyle.
15. Purchase one year’s worth of bamboo toothbrushes in compostable packaging: Plastic toothbrushes take over 400 years to decompose. That’s why bamboo toothbrushes are the perfect alternative: They are 100% biodegradable and antimicrobial–which means they don’t harbor nasty bacteria. You can purchase them in compostable packaging and buy in bulk for the whole year. If you think using an electric toothbrush gets you off the hook, you’re wrong. Electric toothbrushes use electricity and require batteries that, when dumped in landfills, leak battery acid into waterways and oceans.
16. Switch from paper towels to reusable rags: One of the easiest ways to be more sustainable in 2020 is to replace paper towels with recycled cloths. Just as plastic chokes waterways, unrecyclable paper produces unnecessary waste in landfills. In a pinch, it’s easy to grab a paper towel to clean up a spill. But think about the number of paper towels discarded each year, with every household on the planet. According to the Paperless Project, it’s 254 million tons. Besides, reusable cloths can do the job faster, by soaking up more liquid with less material and waste. Check out this plant-based company for sustainable cleaning tools.
17. Purchase recycled toilet paper: Here’s an astounding fact: We flush the equivalent of 270,000 trees down the drain each day, and nearly 10% of that is attributable to toilet paper. Recycled toilet paper can be a sustainable game-changer. Check out this company called Who Gives a Crap, which offers recycled toilet paper and “forest-friendly” tissues and paper towels.
18. Put up a native birdseed bird feeder: Bringing nature closer to work or home is easy with a bird feeder. Make sure to purchase only native birdseed (with no sugared or dried fruit) for a way to support the beautiful birds in your neighborhood.
19. Install a solitary beehive: Bees need our help! Solitary beehives are man-made “insect hotels” that act as a place for pollinating species to take residence. They can add habitat to your yard, in an easy and beautiful way.
20. Plant native plants: When deciding what you can do to save the ecosystems in your area, the answer is simple: Grow native plants! Supporting local wildlife is the key to regenerating our ecosystems. Look into the native wildflowers, trees, shrubs, and vines suitable to your environment, to create habitat in your own home or office. Live in Florida? Here is a helpful resource for finding native plants.
Single use plastics are the biggest contributor to pollution. We use them one time and throw them out, they account for 50% of the U.S.’s overall plastic usage. These include straws, grocery bags, bottles and caps just to name a few. There are 78 million tons of plastic packaging produced per year, and of that 38% ends up in our oceans annually. As of now, that is the equivalent of dumping one garbage truck of plastic into the ocean Every. Single. Minute. That staggering number is only going to increase as time goes on. Environmentalists are estimating that by 2030 plastic pollution will total two garbage trucks per minute, and by 2050 will be four garbage trucks per minute. By the year 2050 there will be more plastic in our oceans than fish! We refuse to just sit by and let that happen.
Here is why we are different: Our ECOstorageTM line is made from up to 99% recycled materials. All of our products have to pass our high quality standards on the production line. When those standards are not met, we regrind the container and use that plastic to create our bins in the ECOstorageTM line. Our manufacturing plant recycles over 98% of our own plastic right from the factory itself – resulting in as little waste as possible. We also purchase recycled resin from outside sources preventing even more plastic from ending up in landfills or oceans. That is just one way we are giving a second life to plastics. In an effort to help save our planet we are committed to using over 15 million pounds of recycled plastic annually already. We strive to try and reach even higher amounts each year!
Skip out on single use plastics,
and together we can take a stand in purchasing recycled products to invest in
our future and save our planet at the same time. Another step in doing our part
to this amazing initiative is we are trying to REDUCE, REUSE and RECYCLE. Take your
first step towards a more sustainable lifestyle with us! That said, we are
excited to DIY with our ECOstorageTM container line. The goal is to find
more eco-friendly practices that could bring new life uses to these plastic