November 13 2020
You're an overachiever, aren't ya? You want to participate in the most wasteful commercial exchange on planet earth but create absolutely no trash or waste while doing it? Whew. Okay. We drank a big bottle of Gatorade and listened to a lot of Carly Rae Jepsen, but we're hyped up and we're here now. Let's do this.
Looking for our master gift guide for all budgets, styles, situations and personalities? Click here!
You're right, you can absolutely do both. It is possible to celebrate the holidays, give and receive gifts, and do it all without compromising your values and harming the Earth. Let's get the three biggest obstacles out of the way so we can get into gift ideas.
1.) Shipping! Packing stuff in boxes inherently creates waste. When we bring brands onboard to Goldune, we do ask them for extreme levels of detail when it comes to their packaging, so we can be best informed and help match you with the products and brands that meet your personal requirements. That said, holidays can be totally nuts in the retail world, so the notes we have included on each of our product pages are subject to change— if one of our partners runs out of plastic-free tape alternative, they're going to tape up your box with whatever they can get, instead of waiting a month for backordered eco tape to arrive. If you can make peace with the packaging, with the plasticized shipping tape, and know that you will need to recycle, then you're in good shape. We're sad to remind you, but packaging is sort of the tip of the iceberg. You can count on us to have done all the homework on all of our products, from start to the time you need to dispose of them, but shipping anything at all does have an impact on emissions. Generally, the bulkier the purchase, the less carbon friendly.
2.) Packaging! We covered boxes above, but a lot of items come in a really commonplace enclosure called a polybag. There are only one or two polybagged items on our site, and a lot has been written about the environmental impact of polybags. Ours are generally all biodegradable and made from a bioplastic, or are made of PCR (post-consumer recycled) plastic. Each product page on our site will also give you a comprehensive overview of any insulation included in your shipment. Again, this changes time to time, and we can't know the exact contents of every box, but we're a group of people trying our best to give you super honest updates in realtime.
That said, your gift may need to come in a box or get wrapped. We'll cover eco-friendly wrapping techniques another time, but if you're looking for a gift that ships already in a recyclable gift box, here's an idea.
3.) End of Life! The thing about zero waste gifts is that you can't actually control how someone disposes of a product at the end of its life. (Sad.) Assuming you're gifting to a fellow sustainability nut or environmentalist, you could always include a note on recycled and recyclable paper (like this tiny holiday notecard) with end of life details. Or you could just verbalize them after they've opened the gift, or shoot them an email with the end of life instructions from our product page. You probably can't actually recycle, compost or dispose of the gift for them, but at least we can equip them with all the info they may need to handle responsibly and sustainably disposing of their gift when they're done with it.
Everyone has a different definition of what a "zero-waste" product is, just like everyone has a different idea of what "sustainable" actually means. In this gift guide, we defined it as an object that ships in totally recyclable or compostable packaging and that can either be composted, will biodegrade, or can be used and reused infinitely. We would be remiss not to point out that the only * truly * zero-waste gift is the gift card— where your giftee can pick something that they can responsibly care for, really enjoy, and they'll never run the risk of wasting or not fully appreciating.