The holidays are here, and we all want to gift the people we love something unique and special. Over the years, this might have included shopping for hours at department stores, stocking up on endless amounts of wrapping paper and holiday decorations, and allowing the holiday rush to get the best of us. With markdowns available from nearly every large brand during Black Friday and Cyber Monday, it’s hard to avoid the convenience and affordability. 

But with those deals comes quite a bit of waste. Americans produce on average 5 pounds of trash per day, or 35 pounds each week. During the holidays, that increases to 6.25 pounds per person per day, or 43.75 pounds each week! 

If you’re still finishing up your gifts this holiday season but want to do so consciously (or if you have friends and family who care about the environment), you can still get them something meaningful without creating additional unnecessary waste. Plus, choosing something that shows you care about the people in your life doesn’t have to be exclusive to showing you care about the planet! 

Waste Produced by Holiday Season   

Before we share our list of sustainable and convenient gift ideas, it’s important to understand how our current view of the holidays impacts our planet. So let’s get into the numbers, thanks to Brightly

  • Wrapping Paper: 2.3 million pounds of wrapping paper end up in landfills each year. Unfortunately, many of the wrapping paper options in stores are coated in plastic and other non-recyclable materials. 

  • Food Waste: While we’re gathered around the table eating food and getting full, the leftovers often wind up in the trash. Each year, 70 billion pounds of food are sent to landfills, with the heaviest amounts of food waste occurring during the holidays! 

  • Holiday Lights: We love to deck our homes with bright, twinkling lights, but the reality is that these don’t last forever and they use up quite a bit of energy. Holiday lights consume enough energy to power 400,000 houses per year! 

  • Unwanted Gifts: If you’ve ever received a gift that isn’t something you’d use, it’s no big deal – we can just return it! Unfortunately, depending on the type of gift this was (makeup, food, etc.) it often never makes it back onto the shelves. Instead, the returns are sometimes sent to landfills, and in 2021, there were an estimated 8.75 million packages returned in just a few days at the beginning of the year. 

 Give a Good Filling Gift Bag

The best holiday gift is one that’s thoughtful and something you can appreciate each day. So this holiday season, we’ve created the Good Filling Gift Bag for your own holiday gifting inspiration! 

Here’s what’s inside: 

  • First, we started off with a reusable produce bag to hold all of the gifts – this is something that can be reused time and time again, whether you’re at the store or gifting something to another person! 

  • Now, you get to choose what’s inside! We’ve created a home care basket, filled with products that are great for the planet and great for keeping your home clean! We love Puracy’s hand soap, dish soap, and multi-surface cleaner. This small, family-owned company only uses the purest ingredients possible – each formula for its products is at least 98.5% natural. Want to focus on body or beauty care? Here’s our list of 3 green beauty tips for the perfect sustainable morning routine. 

  • Instead of letting these products go empty and having your friend or family purchase single-use plastic, help them start their own sustainability journey by offering a gift code for refills at a Good Filling Station here in town! 

Win A Good Filling Gift Bag

Looking to make your home clean for holiday guests, but without all of the plastic waste from typical cleaning products? We're giving away a Good Filling Gift Bag, perfect for you or for anyone else who wants to help the planet (plus three months of free refills at one of our Good Filling Stations). Enter to win on our Instagram post!



Other Sustainable Gifts We Love

A rack of vintage and secondhand clothes inside of a thrift store window.

Want to add more sustainable or zero-waste items to your own gift basket? Here are some more gift ideas we love that would make great additions to your basket, or as stocking stuffers! 

  • Steel Straws: Did you know that scientists estimate 7.5 million straws are polluting the United States coastlines? Gifting steel (or silicone) straws is an easy way to introduce a more earth-friendly habit into this person’s life! 

  • Reusable Paper Towels: Paper Towels is one of the most wasteful things we can find in a kitchen, but there’s a simple swap! We love these reusable towels from Marley’s Monsters - they’re durable and infinitely reusable! 

  • Secondhand Clothes: Instead of purchasing something brand new, head to your local thrift or vintage store and find something that’s totally unique. You never know what kind of luck you might have, and gifting someone secondhand clothes shows that you really know and appreciate their style. 

  • Reusable Tote Bag: Whether they’re heading to the gym or the grocery store, a reusable tote bag always comes in handy (plus, it helps them avoid single-use plastic). We love these affordable options from Public Goods and Cotton On

Zero Waste Holiday Tips

A sign in a shop window that reads “Thank You For Shopping Local”

If you have other plans for gifts or want to come up with your own special plan, we want to encourage everyone to shop consciously this season! How can you become a conscious consumer? By simply being aware of your own habits, and by being willing to make small changes like these: 

  • Shop local where you can: Support a local business instead of large corporations! 

  • Avoid multiple online orders: this creates additional unnecessary waste. 

  • Wrap your gifts with intention: A lot of the wrapping paper we see on shelves is not recyclable because of its added materials, so get creative with how you wrap! We love using Furoshiki, a traditional Japanese wrapping cloth. Use this to fit any shape of your gift, and the person who opens it can keep the fabric! 

  • Consider how you get the gifts to them: The United States Postal Service is a key part of our democracy, so choose them if you can! You can also personally deliver your gifts (or have them ready under the tree for them).

About Good Filling Company

Good Filling runs and operates automated refill machines for home care, personal-care, and beverage products, offering homes an accessible and affordable way to help the planet.

Our Good Filling Stations allow consumers to reuse their own containers to prevent plastics from entering the waste stream.

With Stations across the United States, and many more on their way, we’re bringing convenience to the zero-waste movement. To learn more about Good Filling Stations and to find one near you, click here.

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