If you are marking a special milestone in your relationship, you likely want to spoil your other half and splurge on an expensive or meaningful gift for them. However, for the more eco-conscious among us, gift buying can be challenging, as many options may conflict with your values or intention to live more mindfully and with respect for the planet and her precious natural resources.
Whether it’s an exotic holiday that comes with a large carbon footprint, a luxury garment with excess packaging or an item of jewelry that contains non-sustainable gemstones, many traditional gift ideas are no longer viable from an eco-friendly point of view. However, this shouldn’t deter you, as there are many ways you can show your partner how much you care without harming the environment.
Here are some eco-friendly gift ideas that both your other half and the planet may love:
1. Lab-Grown Jewelry
Jewelry is one of the most popular gift ideas between couples and is a wonderful way to express your love and appreciation for your partner. Whether it’s a signet ring for him or a beautiful necklace for her, buying your partner a timeless piece of jewelry can make them feel valued and special.
Nothing says “I love you” quite like diamonds. In 2020, the value of the U.S. diamond jewelry market was $35 billion, making it the world’s largest diamond jewelry market by country. As exquisite as these precious gemstones are, they come with a price tag that may exceed their actual value.
The process of extracting diamonds contributes to many environmental and social problems such as soil erosion, deforestation and the destruction of ecosystems. Diamond mining is also known to violate human rights by exploiting workers in developing countries and for its use of child labor. Knowing these facts can diminish the allure of wearing such a stone as it is difficult to support or contribute to such unethical practices.
Fortunately, you needn’t dismiss this beautiful gemstone from your list of gifts as lab-grown diamonds provide a wonderful and ethically-sourced alternative that often comes at a more affordable price. From lab grown diamond earrings and necklaces to rings and bracelets, the options are limitless.
2. Sustainable Whiskey
Whether it’s American bourbon, Irish rye or Scotch malt, if your other half is a whiskey connoisseur you may like to gift them with a brand new bottle of their favorite tipple. Unfortunately, whiskey production is an energy-intensive activity and comes at a hefty price in terms of its impact on the environment. According to a report by the Beverage Industry Environmental Roundtable, crafting a 750ml bottle of whiskey releases carbon dioxide into the air equivalent to that produced by burning one-third of a gallon of gasoline.
Whiskey production requires vast quantities of raw materials such as grains to be transported over long distances, and large amounts of energy are consumed in the extraction of sugars from these grains. The distillation process involves the largest expenditure of energy and is also another contributor to greenhouse gas emissions. Malting, barrel creation and bottle production also have a significant carbon footprint.
Thankfully, many producers of whiskey are now taking a more eco-conscious approach and adopting sustainable practices when crafting their spirit. From distilleries that run on 100 percent clean energy to those that recycle almost all of their waste material, by opting for a whiskey from a sustainable producer you can still surprise your partner with a bottle of their favorite liquor.
3. Eco-Friendly Getaway
Being environmentally conscious and mindful of your consumption habits doesn’t mean you have to stay at home and forgo travel altogether. You and your loved one can still enjoy the luxury of holiday time together by opting for a more eco-friendly getaway.
Discover some local gems and explore places such as beaches or forests that are close to home instead of opting for international travel. Rather than flying, traveling by train can be a more romantic and environmentally friendly way to get to your destination.
When deciding where to stay choose an eco-friendly option by looking for accommodation that employs practices such as recycling, water conservation and energy-efficient systems like solar panel technology, smart lighting, hydroelectric power or geothermal heating.
You and your partner can also be more sustainable travelers by visiting less dense cities and rural areas that are off the beaten path. This not only helps to spread tourism and economic activity to local communities but also lessens the burden on more commercial destinations. When getting around, rather than driving, taking taxis or using public transportation, consider cycling locally or renting an electric or hybrid vehicle for longer journeys.
With these great gift ideas, you can feel confident you will pick something your partner will love while still doing your bit for the environment.
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