This holiday season, you’ll spend hours searching for that just-right gift for your dad, your best friend, your roommate. It’s a joy to give to the people you care about. But what if you could also make sure your thoughtfulness extends to the planet?
Researchers estimate that at least 87,000 tons of debris — everything from abandoned fishing nets to discarded plastic bottles — is currently floating in the Pacific Ocean alone. Holiday gifting in the traditional sense, with its heavy carbon footprint, can’t help. Between wrapping paper, over-the-top holiday decorations, and ever-more packaging, Americans generate 25% more waste than normal between Thanksgiving and New Year’s. Concerns about pollution — and specifically plastic pollution — only continue to grow.
But it has never been easier to shop for gifts that not only don’t harm the environment, they help. Eco-friendly goods have come a long way in recent years, in large part thanks to organizations like environmental consortium NextWave Plastics and sustainability incubator Lonely Whale. These entities and others partner with companies like HP who develop manufacturing technologies and products that will help clean up the ocean — not only by finding ways to use the plastics currently polluting them, but also by preventing plastics from getting there in the first place. The end goal? To create a global supply chain based on recycled materials for everything from sneakers to surf boards, keeping plastic in use and out of the ocean.
Here are eight gifting ideas for ocean-friendly presents you can feel good about giving.