ETHICAL CHRISTMAS GIFT GUIDE: homewares
If you're hunting for Christmas gifts which encourage a minimum-waste lifestyle, perhaps these items may be a a very welcome surprise under the Christmas tree - because they are made to last, bringing many years of joy & practical use to the new owner, as well as being ethically produced.
1: Hanging Garden Chair
Made in France by Fermob, this charming hanging garden is made from recycled steel with a heavy duty anti UV solvent-free powder coating, so it's made to last. (The powder paints are applied in a zero-release facility, and the residues are recycled.) Fermob's focus on sustainable production includes operating a more efficient oven drying system than is conventionally used, cutting consumption by 30%.
The 1900 Hanging Chair retails for Aus$788 from Classic With a Twist here in Melbourne.
2: Organic Cotton Hand Towels
Made from GOTS certified organic cotton, these beautifully textured guest towels are hand-loomed by a women's cooperative of traditional weavers in Southern India, in the foothills of the Tamil Nadu.
Measuring 50 x 55 cm, they would make a thoughtful addition to a guest powder room. Once you have experienced the softness of organic cotton, it's hard to go back to the conventional stuff - especially if you delve a little into the impacts of the farmers, the eco-system and the workers. We're converts, and are slowly transitioning across as our conventional cotton items wear out.
3: Re-usable produce bags
Rather than using single-use plastic produce bags, these produce bags are intended to be used again and again to hold fresh veggies, fruits, nuts, cereals & grains. For larger items, organic cotton mesh bags are a wonderful choice as the goods can quickly be seen at the checkout, and they can hold large amounts. For cereals & grains, a more solid weave works well - and can either be made from organic cotton, recycled fabrics, or fine mesh polyester.
As a Christmas gift, you could even fill them with a selection of fresh fruits or nuts - making a really gorgeous present for a foodie who is trying to cut down on wasteful packaging.
4: Keep Cup re-fillable coffee cup
Carrying your own coffee cup in your bag each day means no more disposable cups to add to the growing pile of rubbish in the world. Because even "recyclable" or "made from recycled material" disposable cups are not really a good enough solution - more of a green washing - apart from the energy required to turn them into something else (for the small proportion that actually DO get recycled), it's simply a waste of energy to transport the recycled components from consumer to dump/or recycling station - when a simple wash at home of a glass re-usable cup like this is a much better use of resources. Besides, most "paper" cups are lined with polyethylene, so in many cases, they are not recycled, despite their "kind brown paper cup" appearance.
Whether you choose this double walled glass version (ideal for retaining heat for longer) or the single walled glass version, there are a multitude of colours available in the lids, bands, and plugs to really personalise your Keep Cup.
Made in Australia, they are now available in 32 countries around the world.
5: Cactus Garden eco cushion
This gorgeous Cactus Garden cushion is from a range of homewares by the eco-conscious label Urban Granola. It's made from an organic cotton/hemp blend fabric. In fact, the whole cushion is entirely made from thoughtful sustainable materials (including a filling made from 100% recycled PET water bottles & zips made from recycled polyester).
Made & digitally printed in Melbourne, and printed using water based soluble inks, the cushions are gently coloured in fun designs. It, or any of its friends in the range, would be a delightful present to give to somebody who appreciates individual design & eco credibility.