You want to show your employees appreciation with a gift this holiday season. But you don’t necessarily want to hand out trinkets that will inevitably create more waste by getting tossed in the closet or the trash can. Rather, think seriously about giving employees an eco-friendlier holiday gift this year.
Here are five green gift ideas for employees to get your mind rolling:
1. Reusable travel mug – Reusable mugs are a nice way to encourage employees to avoid creating styrofoam or paper waste. There are lots of options, of course, at local gift and home furnishing stores. If you need some inspiration, the JOEmo Leak-Proof Coffee Mug gets high marks from the consumer product reviewers at the Hammacher and Schlemmer Institute, or you could opt for a biodegradable porcelain one, such as the Eco Cup.
2. Memorable experience – Instead of an object, consider giving a memory this year. You can buy your employees tickets to a local play or destination, or let them choose their own. Online companies like Cloud9Living.com and XperienceDays.com sell gift certificates starting around $50 to $75 that let recipients select the experience – it can be anything from a private sushi-making lesson to a museum tour or a hot-air balloon ride. Make sure the company has ample offerings in your area for the gift certificate amount you give.
3. Solar-powered battery chargers – They’re not as futuristic as you might think anymore. The Amp Solar Charger by Voltaic sells for $99 and gets a full charge after seven hours in the sun – enough to power a cell phone or digital camera and other devices. A more-affordable gift might be a solar-powered charger just for cell phones, such as the Gaiam Solar Power Charger.
4. Local foods – Food gifts rarely go to waste. But try to purchase your gift baskets from local vendors that sell locally grown or produced food. Local cheese shops, grocery cooperatives or local farms and orchards can be a good bet. If you’re having trouble finding a source, check out LocalHarvest.org, a nationwide database of farms and local food producers.
5. Eco-friendly tote bags – Mobile Edge makes a line of eco-friendly bags in a variety of designs and colors, with prices starting around $50. The bags are made from corn stalks or all-natural cotton.
Many environmental organizations also solicit donations around the holidays, if you’re so inclined. The Nature Conservancy’s Nature.org offers an array of gift donation options, or you can choose a local cause.