As “environmentally-friendly” continues to grow in popularity, we have seen a dramatic increase in the sheer variety of eco products out on our store shelves. Yet, what are some of the things to look out for when browsing all these different possibilities if you’re hoping to pick up a great, responsible gift for a friend or loved one.
1) Excess Packaging – Picking up a product that is environmentally responsible should not be limited to the product itself. Make sure everything about it sends a good message, especially the way its packaged. Is the product packaging recycled or recyclable? Does it look just “too much?” Companies that are truly green will usually try to reflect that in the way their items are packaged as well.
2) Useful Purpose – Although we now have environmentally-friendly alternatives for just about everything, a great gift is still practical and useful. Items like journals or flasks make great gifts because they serve an everyday purpose. Just about anyone you can think of needs something to write in or something to drink out of, and a great present is one that is going to serve a purpose often and for some time.
3) After Use – A great Eco-gift should also be made to be disposed of safely. Eco-friendly paper products, for example, can typically be recycled or even composted after you have used them. Although reusing recycled materials is great to make new products, they’re not as helpful as items that also break down easily and safely.
4) Price – When I mention cost, I don’t mean avoid paying for expensive products. However, when you consider how much some companies mark up their products simply because they fall into the “Green” category, you need to be wary of how much you might be overpaying. Compare environmental alternatives to non-Eco items. Anything more than a 20-30% price increase for a similar product could mean you’re not getting your money’s worth.
5) Design – As Eco-friendly products have become popular, they have created an almost customary look or style. Look up a handful of environmental products and you’ll notice a common earthy, green and brown color scheme in appearance. Although this was originally intended to denote a product as “green,” it has now reached overkill proportions and very little color or style appears to exist in the green market. Spend some extra time looking around. Some companies are attempting to reverse the trend by adding bright colors and great designs to their products, contributing to a complete environmental product.
As more and more people become passionate about environmentally-friendly products, there will eventually come a time where you have to purchase a gift that is responsibly made. Educating yourself about what to look for in products will set you on your way to finding the best ones, ultimately putting a huge smile on the face of whoever you’re buying it for.
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