Zero/low waste Gift Ideas

It’s officially gift giving season! It can be hard to navigate gift giving when you’re trying to be zerowaste, low waste or just more eco friendly. Here are some gift giving ideas to try and help you out! These are all gifts I’ve given or recieved over the years. 

1. Make Something

Some of my favourite gifts are hand made. My sister knits and paints so I’ve gotten knit socks, a coffee sleeve, and an amazing painting of my cat. My best friend also paints and does all kinds of creative things. She’s made me a doll of my cat, and paintings. I love them because it makes me think of them and it shows so much thought. Baking some cookies or brownies is also a great way to make a gift.
2. Support a Hobby

I love useful gifts, but I also want them to be fun. Supporting someone’s hobby does both. I’ve gotten bee keeping supplies for my mom, I’ve recieved soap molds, gardening supplies and embroidery thread. My sister often gets art supplies. 

I think this is great because your not just giving someone stuff that’s going to take up space but something they can use, and think of you when they use it.

3. Give Experiences

There are lots of experiences you can give someone as gift. The plus side is that then you get to spend time with them. Get the two of you concert tickets, a voucher for a yoga class, or a movie theatre gift card. There’s lots you can do.

4. Support Local

When you do buy something for someone I feel like buying something local is thoughtful. I will self promote a bit here. I keep seeing plastic wrapped gift sets at Wal Mart and other big stores and to me they just seem so lazy, but if someone gave me a hand made or locally made gift set I’d love it.

It’s also easier to find plastic free choices from local shops.
5. Get Some Zerowaste Supplies

I ask for zerowaste goodies most years and now I have so many stainless steal tiffins, reusable bags, reusable bulk bags, travel mugs, and reusable straws. They help me keep up with my zerowaste goals and because it’s something I can use I think about the gift giver whenever I use it.

What are the best gifts you’ve given or recieved?

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It’s Ok to Buy Things

I’ve seen so many posts this week telling people not to buy things and many are very patronizing. They are right in some ways but not all. I do think it’s important not to mindlessly buy new things just because of a sale or discount code, but sometimes you just want new things. I love thrift shopping and trying to buy second hand first but there are many things I just prefer to buy new. I think it’s important to love the things you own. I’d rather buy a new bed set (which I just did) than find a used one I don’t like. Now I’m not saying I want people to go crazy with consumerism, but I don’t think shopping is inherently bad.

What’s important is buying things to last. I’m taking advantage of Black Friday, small business Saturday, and cyber Monday deals to buy things that I both need and want. For example I bought a cast iron Dutch oven for $30 (regularly $120) and I will be using it the rest of my life. I could have waited to find one used for the same price, or been happy with the ceramic ones I have but I love cast iron and I’ll take care of it. I also stopped myself from buying lots of other things. It’s important to go into these sales with a list of things you need and try and stick to it.

I also bought a bed set from H&M. They may be a fast fashion brand but the bed set was 100% cotton, from their conscious line, and on sale. I’d rather buy a 100% cotton set I’ll love new, than a synthetic set used. When I buy new things I try and be mindful of the materials used. I would have preferred to buy a set from a sustainable organic brand but I can’t afford that. It’s important to choose the best option in your budget.

When we tell people not to shop I think we’re forgetting all the people who rely on shoppers for their jobs. I know from starting Growing Green Co that I’d be pretty sad if no one ever bought anything. So one way to have your cake and eat it to is to shop local. Supporting small business when you need to buy something is great. I buy lots of things from small business when I can and I think it’s a great way to vote with your dollar. I’ve bought several Christmas gifts from local business this year and in the past.

My main point is be mindful when you shop and don’t feel bad about buying new things. As long as you need them and take care of them I don’t see a problem.

How I Winter my Bees

Winter is the easiest time of year for beekeepers because once you get your bees tucked in for the winter there really isn’t much you can do, but this also makes it a scary time of year. Of course we still check on them but you can’t open up a hive until it’s over 10 degrees so no hive inspections. We use a plastic tube as a kind of stethoscope to listen to them and see if they sound strong instead of an inspection. But before this we get them ready for winter. 

In the fall once the honey is off we treat the bees. We use Apivar strips to treat for varroa mites, and a powdered oxy (oxytetracycline) for foul brood. Usually we do both in the fall and spring. This year will be the first time we didn’t treat with oxy before winter, so we’ll see how that goes. The treatments need to be done after the supers are removed and before you get the bees ready for winter. When we take the strips off its a sign we need to get ready for winter.

We do three things to get the bees ready. First we put insulation in the inner cover. I want to experiment with using wood shavings instead of insulation next year. We then wrap the hives in tar paper. I know some people use the bee cozys you can order from bee supply stores but I’ve never tried one. You don’t want your bees too bundled up or moisture won’t be able to get out and your hive could get moldy. 

Finally we put an entrance reducer on the hives. The reducers help prevent robbing, they prevent mice from getting in and they also keep them a bit warmer by letting less air in. We are using both wooden and metal entrance reducers and I think I like the wooden ones better but I haven’t decided. I worry the metal ones don’t provide a big enough space for the bees to clean out dead bees. You can make the wooden ones yourself or buy either kind at a bee supply store. You could also just block the hive door with whatever you have on hand. This isn’t the best option because the real reducers are secured to the hive. 


And that’s it. Now you just need to cross your fingers and hope everybody makes it through the winter. 

Gift Sets

To help your Christmas shopping I’ve created some gift sets. These sets include some of the most popular items in the shop but they are matched and wrapped just for you.

If you don’t see what you’re looking for you can always customize an existing set or order a custom set.

All gift sets are available in a gift bag or gift box.

Please remember to order early so I can deliver items to you on time. There is the possibility of products selling out before Christmas so please order soon.

Order by email growinggreenco@gmail.com or messaging me on Facebook or Instagram

Oh Honey Gift Set

oh honey gift setIncludes an oh honey soap bar, pure beeswax hive candle, and two lip balms of choice $20.00

Oh Honey Deluxe Gift Set

oh honey deluxe setIncludes: an oh honey soap bar, pure beeswax hive candle, two lip balms of choice and a healing salve $25.00

The Bath Set

bath setIncludes: one bath soak, one soap of choice, and one pure beeswax duck candle $20.00

The Deluxe Bath Set

deluxe bath setIncludes: one bath soak, one soap of choice, one pure beeswax duck candle, and a soap saver of choice $25.00

The Christmas Set

christmas setIncludes: a pure beeswax Santa candle, a lip balm of choice, a candy cane soap, and a 100% cotton soap saver for $20.00

The Deluxe Christmas Set

christmas deluxe setIncludes: a pure beeswax Santa candle, a lip balm of choice, a candy cane soap, a 100% cotton soap saver, and a pure beeswax tree candle (available in green) for $30.00