7 Last-Minute Sustainable Gift Ideas

During the holidays it’s easy to lose track of our carbon footprint and the waste we create along the way. Everything from leftover Thanksgiving dinner food scraps to quickly discarded wrapping paper soon find their way to the landfill—contributing to global emissions and further warming of our planet. “In the period between Thanksgiving and New Year’s, American households generate 25% more waste. That’s about 1 million extra tons of trash each year”, according to the Environmental Protection Agency.

Fortunately, we think that gift-giving can be the perfect opportunity to start a dialogue with friends and family about incorporating more sustainable practices in 2018. Here are 7 picks from the Exposure Labs team for how to keep the holiday cheer while caring for our planet.


Give the gift of compost

(Image courtesy Uncommon Goods)

This isn’t your typical composting unit. This odorless composter is reimagined as a sculptural ecosystem that turns food waste into fertilizer. Just add your leftover food and the worms-in-residence will break down the scraps into nutrient-rich soil.  It’s a subtle, yet stylish way to get your friends started making a positive impact on the environment.


Adopt an acre

Help protect some of the world’s most beautiful and vulnerable habitats by adopting an acre for someone special in your life. With your symbolic gift, recipients will be awarded a colorful certificate and fact sheet from one of five critical regions from The Northern Rockies to the Louisiana Gulf Coast.


Host a clothing swap and find gifts for FREE

Host a clothing swap to find “new” threads and give the gift of gently worn gems from your own closet. Plus, it’s a zero waste alternative to shopping without spending a single cent and we think that’s a pretty beautiful thing.


Gift a CSA Membership

When you purchase your food through a Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) system, you’re directly supporting local farmers in your region while reducing emissions in the process. The food is always fresh, seasonal, and usually much cheaper than shopping at a supermarket — making your kitchen creations more sustainable and healthy at the same time!  Get started by searching for a local CSA here.


Give experiences not things

Sometimes the best gifts aren’t physical things, but that of a shared moment. Give the gift of experience with Airbnb’s new Social Impact Experiences. Whether for an upcoming friend’s vacation or rediscovering your hometowns, select from these pre-filtered experiences focused on protecting and cherishing our natural ecosystems. A portion of all proceeds will go toward supporting a local charity.


Stock up on beeswax reusable wraps

(Image courtesy: Uncommon Goods)

This is the perfect gift for the foodies in your life. Handmade from cotton and infused with beeswax, jojoba oil, and tree resin, these sandwich wraps are naturally antibacterial and form a moisture-resistant seal around your food—a terrific alternative to plastic. In addition, they keep food longer than traditional plastic wraps would and they’re also reusable!


Wrap your gifts in cloth

(Image courtesy: Trusted Clothes)

Now that your shopping is finally done, it’s time to wrap your gifts! Wrapping with cloth is a gorgeous and sustainable alternative to traditional wrapping paper. When you wrap items or transport goods with cloth, you’re embracing an old Japanese practice called “Furoshiki”: a meaningful method that’s not only environmentally friendly but steeped in tradition and creativity. Reducing waste never looked so good!