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Little Miss Recycle

Michelle's Blog

Give a Great Story: Waste-Free Gifts

Posted on December 10, 2018 at 3:05 AM

This time of year, End-Of-The-Year bonuses are being doled out, holidays are observed, families are together, and people are expecting their tax returns soon! People are feeling more generous! No matter the time of year if you are going to give, the City of Austin's has come up with fun ideas and memorable gifts that have the added bonus of being Zero-Waste friendly!  Look at the creative suggestions from Austin Resource Recovery's "Give a Great Story for a Waste-Free Holiday" by Thomas Nguyen!


Giving a great story means thinking beyond brand-new items and finding gifts that create new memories with your family and friends. You can gift an experience, gift your time or knowledge, get a beloved item repaired, or find a vintage item that has its own story to tell. All of these gifts create lasting memories without creating waste—and they give the recipient a story to tell for years to come!


Find businesses to support your Zero-Waste shopping efforts in our Shop Zero Waste directory. Here are some of our gift ideas:

Give the gift of experiences.

Give memberships to museums, zoos or galleries.

Purchase online skill-development classes.

Buy DNA ancestry testing.

Buy an annual pass to state or national parks.

Be tourists in your own city—see Austin in a new way by doing a bike tour.

Buy tickets to a sporting event.

Give a kayak or canoe rental gift certificate.

Enjoy your favorite band or artist in concert.

Visit the theatre or ballet.

Volunteer together for a cause you care about.

Give the gift of repair.

Repair a family heirloom.

Have a favorite pair of shoes repaired.

Restore photos that are damaged or faded.

Have a favorite outfit that no longer fits altered.

Fix the broken down bicycle in the garage.

Give the gift of reuse.

Buy a pre-loved book.

Find a vintage piece of jewelry with history and style.

Turn a teacup into a planter.

Add a new coat of paint to an old piece of furniture.

Make a quilt out of favorite old t-shirts.

Find thrift-store frames for treasured family photos.


25% more waste is created during the holiday season. By choosing to shop for recycled, upcycled or pre-loved items, repairing already loved items or buying experiences, you are supporting local businesses and helping Austin to reach it’s Zero Waste Goal.

Reducing waste isn’t the only reason you should consider Zero Waste gifts; it’s also a great way to make a unique, lasting impression on your loved ones. Whether it’s the anticipation of the experiences you will share together, the thoughtfulness of having a beloved item repaired, or the excitement of receiving an item that has lived a life before getting to you, giving a great story means showing you care.

So, instead of buying something that’s likely to end up in the landfill in a few months, give the gift of a great story—and put a lasting smile on your loved ones’ faces.

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