5 Ways to Nail Plastic-Free Gifting This Holiday Season – terra20

0 comments / Posted by Olivia McEwen

NOV 11, 2021

5 Ways to Nail Plastic-Free Gifting This Holiday Season


Keep it sustainable, Santa!

5 Ways to nail Plastic-free Gifting this Holiday Season


Spooky season is already behind us, which means it’s officially time to make our lists and check them twice.

There’s really no time like the present to start thinking about...well, presents...and we here at terra20 love giving the perfect gifts almost more than we love receiving them. But choosing the perfect item for everyone on your list can be hard—especially since the perfect gift for your BFF might not be a gift to our planet. (And we have it on good authority that harming our planet most definitely lands you on Santa’s Naughty List.)

Why Give Sustainably?

Surveys have shown that Canadians are more likely to splurge on gifts this holiday season, since last year’s was basically a write-off. Unfortunately, that also means there’s likely to be an uptick in waste generation. During an average holiday season, Canadians generate about 545,000 tonnes of waste just in gift-wrapping and shopping bags. That’s equivalent to the mass of 100,000 elephants! It also doesn’t even take into consideration product packaging, price tags, stickers, receipts, and all the other waste accumulated throughout the buying process that inevitably ends up in landfills and waterways around the world.

Unfortunately, that’s also the best-case scenario. The average Canadian tosses about 99% of everything they’ve purchased within six months of buying it. We’re not saying your grandparents have plans to throw out your very thoughtful gift, but if we’re anything like our American neighbours, there could be up to $100 billion in gift returns in our future. What’s worse is that only 10% of those returns get re-sold; the remainder heads to the dump.

Eco-Friendly Options for Everyone on Your List

At terra20, we believe that small actions can have big, positive impacts on our planet and the people in it. We also value products that help us (and you) to lead a healthier, more sustainable future. With that in mind, we’ve curated a list of eco-friendly products and ideas that you can find right here at terra20, for everyone on your list.

1. Gift Wrap

We all know how much first impressions matter, which is why we just have to have the prettiest, sparkliest wrapping paper. Anything to make that pile of presents under the tree more enticing and Instagram-worthy, right?

But the excitement lasts all of about two seconds before we’re ripping into our gift and tossing the wrapping paper to the side (and, later, into the garbage).

Canadians spend a whopping $98.7 million on holiday stationery like wrapping paper and cards every year, just for it all to be thrown away. (Don’t be fooled by the word “paper”—most wrapping paper is not recyclable.)

We readily gave up single-use plastics, so why are we OK with spending so much money on other single-use items, such as wrapping paper?

Luckily, there are several gift wrap alternatives that are still picture perfect. Plus, each one allows you to wrap your gift within a gift, making the final reveal all the more exciting.

One of our life’s philosophies is that you can never have too many reusable bags—especially when they’re travel-sized! These zippered pouches are perfect for housing smaller gift items, and then re-using on the go. The design is also sophisticated enough for that person on your list who’s the most difficult to please. 😉

Sort of like reusable shopping bags, you can never have too many scarves during winter! Scarves, shawls, and other textiles are excellent items for wrapping up smaller presents. (Bonus points if you knitted it yourself!)

Our Pokoloko scarves are made using sustainable, cruelty-free, 100% super-fine alpaca fleece, so they’re incredibly soft and durable—a gift that keeps on giving!

Whether the recipient could use an extra produce bag for grocery store runs, something to stash their lunch in, or a casual tote for afternoons out on the town, our macrame bags by Danica Heirloom can do all that and more. Made with sturdy cotton rope and a cotton lining, it’ll protect whatever you decide to put in it, and its colour will look great under the tree.

2. Beauty Lover

You’ve probably noticed that the biggest beauty trend right now is all about being clean. From product packaging right down to the product’s ingredients and testing methods, people are embracing the less-is-more approach and opting for plant-based, recognizable ingredients that’ll be gentle on their skin (as well as the environment).

We’ve made it easy to identify products that match your values when you’re shopping with us by placing our Ethics Icons on each item, so you can know at a glance exactly what you’re looking at. When it comes to self-care and beauty products, be on the lookout for our “sustainable,” “vegan,” and “free of harmful chemicals” icons, as well as any others that align with your recipient’s values.

The first step to gifting sustainable beauty products? Avoid plastic—inside and out. Canada has (thankfully) banned the use of rinse-off microbeads, but other microplastics—like glitter—persist in many beauty products, and are extremely damaging to both our own health and the environment.

 Luckily, our assortment is full of safe and sustainable products that’ll make the beauty lover on your list feel like a million bucks.

Despite the product name, this is a skin corrector that conceals under-eye circles, blemishes, and discolouration to bring out the most confident you! The creme is available in five different shades and comes in a natural wood, refillable pot that’s also the perfect travel size.

Need to get a little something for the men in your life? This comb pairs perfectly with any of our beard oils to help them keep their facial hair tidy and styled.

This portable bag with zippered closure is made of 100% linen and a vegan leather lining that is easy to clean simply by using a damp cloth. Perfect for makeup, toiletries, pencils, and more!

3. Fitness Enthusiast

Chances are good that the exercise lover on your list cares about the health of the planet just as much as they care about their own health. These plastic-free picks are sure to get them in the mood to move!

Relieve muscle tension and pain with this buttery balm made of vegan shea butter, coconut oil, and other essential oils. Once the balm has run out, simply wash the tin and re-use!

Routine’s popular scent, Cat Lady, now comes in stick format, with cardboard on the outside and 100% post-consumer recycled plastic inside. Smell like the most delicious coconut cake, even after the hardest workout.

4. Foodies

The United Nations recently released some shocking statistics. It said that while global hunger has been on the rise since 2014, a staggering 17% of all food produced around the world is wasted every year—the majority of which is tossed out by individual households.

The average individual Canadian wastes 79 kilograms of food at home, every year, and it’s estimated that food waste contributes to between 8% to 10% of all greenhouse gas emissions.

And that’s in addition to the waste created by unsustainable packaging.

We doubt the foodie on your list has trouble clearing their plate, but we’ve rounded up a selection of items that’ll make it even easier for them to cut down on waste and enjoy their favourites on the go.

Plastic wrap, be gone! These wraps are made of beeswax-coated cotton and can be reused again and again for up to a year to keep food fresh and protected.

Everyone knows that chocolate comes to those who’ve been good. Give your special someone a little treat this year with this delicious chocolate bar made with rice milk chocolate refined with bourbon vanilla and a pinch of sea salt. This gift is also great for our planet, as the packaging is made from sustainably obtained wood fibre that can even be composted at home within 50 days of purchase. The outer cardboard box is also made with wood from sustainable forestry practices and printed exclusively with oil-free, mineral-based inks.

Sophisticated coffee aficionados will be thrilled with this reusable coffee filter composed of 100% Certified Organic Cotton. Unlike paper filters, cotton filters impart no flavour to the finished brew.

5. The Host

Since most of our plastic consumption is done at home (we’re looking at you, plastic wrap), it can be difficult to know where to begin to make the switch to a more sustainable lifestyle. On the flip side, our homewares are also the items that get the most use, next to our clothing, so many of us don’t think twice about using plastic cups, mixing bowls, or even compost bins. Unfortunately, regardless of how long we use them for, they all end up in the same place—at the cost of our planet. (And we only get one of those.)

Luckily, we’re here to help make the transition to a plastic-free home a whole lot easier, and these next few items are a great place to start.

While the priority is to cut down on food waste, certain things (like apple cores) need to be composted. But when you use a plastic bin, it erases some of your hard work trying to keep the planet healthy.

Unlike traditional green bins, this bamboo alternative is sustainable and attractive enough to keep on your kitchen counter for easier access. It also features a charcoal filter in the lid to keep odours hidden, plus it’s lightweight for easy transportation and emptying.

This versatile and durable basket is all you need to keep your house clean and organized. The material consists of 90% paper and 10% latex (rubber), and the basket size is easily adjustable simply by rolling the rim up or down. It’s also food safe, so can be used to house produce and other pantry items.

Did you know that terra20 is the curator of the ecobar, Canada’s largest product refill station? The idea is simple: Small actions, like refilling everyday essentials (such as hand soap or laundry detergent), can have a big positive impact.

All you need is an empty ecobar container, such as this glass bottle. Bring it to any of our ecobar locations and choose from any of our household cleaners, laundry products, or hair and body care products. Then, fill it with any of our in-house options or brands like Nellie’s, Ecologik, Carina Organics, and Green Beaver.

Bigger Picture

Don’t stress! Regardless of who or how many you have on your shopping list, terra20 has something for everyone. Remember that those who waste not, want not—and a more sustainable lifestyle is the gift that keeps on giving!

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