More Love, Less Waste

Need a last-minute idea for celebrating loved ones in your life? Consider options that generate zero or minimal waste. This helps reduce the amount of waste sent to local landfills.

Ask This First

Before you buy a gift, consider whether your loved one has a need or desire for the item. If not, maybe you’re better off investing in an experience such as enjoying a meal together at your favorite restaurant (one that serves local food is even more sustainable). Or pick another experience that allows you to make memories instead of more stuff.

Consumables and Compostables

Baked treats or other culinary creations are great zero-waste choices. Even if there are leftovers, food waste can be composted instead of trashed. Speaking of compostables, you can also toss a bouquet of flowers in a composting bin once they’ve past their peak. Bonus: the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences has ideas on local flowers you can buy and why this local purchase matters.

Smart Choice

If you’re going to buy a physical item for a loved one, research the most sustainable choice. Is the product durable enough to last a long time, or is it disposable and likely to end up in the landfill? Can you buy the product used instead of new? This saves money while also giving second life to an item. If you are buying new, can you choose a version of the item that is recyclable, made of recycled material or has other certifications indicating responsible manufacturing?

Give Back

Could you make a purchase that makes a difference for others? You could make a contribution to a charity in the name of your loved one(s). Or, if you’re going to buy something, seek out companies that have social impact in their mission. This will ensure that a portion of your purchase contributes to a greater good.


More valuable than any of these tips may be the obvious: tell and show loved ones you care through your words and actions. Often we forget or underestimate the power of kind notes, words and deeds.

What other sustainable or zero-waste ideas can you think of to show loved ones you care?

Image credit: Marco Verch. Shared under a Creative Commons license. Click for more information