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At a point where our waste and carbon footprint is increasing tenfold, I believe it’s important to encourage our loved ones to reduce their impact and encourage sustainable practices (whether it be subtly or overtly). This holiday season, I’m making a pointed effort to purchase gifts that bring joy to those I care about, including the environment. Here are just a couple of ideas to jumpstart your search for affordable, eco-conscious gifts:

Tote bags

Tote bags are a great option for a friend who loves supporting small businesses, personalized gifts and/or reducing their use of plastic bags. Many stores still allow the use of reusable bags in self-checkout lines and this idea is especially great for my fellow New Yorker’s, who know about the small fee applied whenever a customer uses plastic bags provided by a store.

Make sure to search around on platforms like Etsy and Depop, as well as search “eco-friendly personalized tote bags in my area”. You’d be surprised how many shops specialize in this effort and how much care and effort they put into your personalized item.

Reusable Produce Bags

On the topic of reusable bags, reusable produce bags are super affordable and are also offered in cute designs. Many people don’t realize how much plastic use one trip to the grocery store can generate. Check out uncommongoods.com, Target, Ikea or Amazon for some stylish and well-priced bags.

Reusable Houseware

As we approach graduation and the doom/excitement that comes with entering the adult world, many of us are already building up our houseware supplies. This idea is best for friends who know they’re moving out of state post-grad or already have an apartment. Houseware includes everything from reusable kitchen towels, tupperware, dishes, sandwich bags, utensils, straws, etc. It seems like a rather boring gift, but it will be greatly appreciated by friends already overwhelmed with the costs of living on their own. Some of my favorite places to shop on a budget for these items are TJ Maxx, Bed Bath and Beyond and Amazon

Shop eco-conscious brands.

For budget friendly clothing, opt for thrift stores or platforms like Depop or Poshmark, where you can negotiate prices with sellers. If you have a little bit more funds or want to try out something new, check out Kotn, Alternative Apparel or even a well-known brand like Levi’s. They’re all investing efforts into ethical and sustainable clothing production/distribution and you may just put a friend onto their new favorite clothing company. Try to forego sites like Shein, that offer amazing deals at the expense of the environment and quality.

Carbon-neutral jewelry.

Investing a little more in carbon-neutral jewelry that’s long-lasting and eco-friendly is a win-win. Not only do you reduce your negative impact, but you get quality jewelry and a great shopping experience. Etsy has many shops that specialize in such jewelry and I’d also recommend trying out Ana Luisa. I’ve had amazing service with these shops and they offer great deals. Ana Luisa also offers yearlong warranty, in case you run into any trouble with your pieces.

Stay safe and happy shopping!

Class of 2022
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