Father's Day is right round the corner. We all want to get Dad the perfect gift for Father’s Day to show our appreciation for a lifetime of love and support, but don't often find time to do so. Feel free to say 'thank you', for starters.
This year, why not treat your dad to something that’s not only good for him but also good for the environment? Our fathers' love for us unites them, but dads come in many different hues. No two fathers are alike. What kind is your dad? The outdoorsy type or a gadget guy? A cool daddy-o, a hipster or a workaholic? There are always great ways to show him your love that he'd surely appreciate. A printed tie or perfumes, a T-shirt, watch or belt, gadgets and pen collections are some of the most common gifts that you can think of.
But this year why not try to add your own twist? Because your father does deserve the best gifts and one of the nice things about him is that he'll love any thoughtful presents from his kids. Here are some ideas for last minute, easily obtainable presents that will not only make your dad happy but also help shrink that carbon footprint we dread so much.
A compost kit can be a good gift that can help build soil and reduce household waste at the same time. Your responsible dad will love this gift if he does not have time to go and get one for himself. This isn’t really a new idea. Many forward-thinking super dads have already gifted home composting kits to their friends for birthdays and other occasions. They are conscious of the benefits of composting and take every opportunity, even during casual gatherings, to encourage their friends to compost their kitchen waste at home.
Does your father travel a lot on work? Then, reusable travel mugs can just be the gift for him. Help him ditch the disposables that are dumped in landfills because they can't be recycled. If he can keep a couple of ceramic or steel mugs in the car, he won't need to worry about contributing to landfills. Or about hygiene. Get him a cup with a nice screen-printed message or a handsome steel coffee mug that can keep home-brewed coffee hot for a long time. Also, in the off chance that he has to go out for coffee, he won't be the one throwing away those single-use disposables. A reusable cup in the hand is better than a thousand disposables in the trash can, right?
The health-conscious dad
Out with disposable water bottles and in with reusable ones! This is a thoughtful gift that can help your father cut down on disposable cups for drinking water at work. They're also great for taking on hikes or while travelling to keep him moving and hydrated. Or even just to take to the park. Dad will love that it came from you.
The neat freak
Does one really need tissue paper? Handkerchiefs are great gifts and help immensely in using far fewer tissues. Although tissue can be composted, it takes much longer. And when there is a reusable alternative, why not a smart kerchief? They’re more budget-friendly and earth-friendly than throwing away disposables. With you thoughtful gift, your dad may even refuse to use disposable tissues in a social gathering or at work with your thoughtful gift.
The artsy type
A great way to go green is to get creative with the presents we give on Father’s Day. It only takes a few seconds to unwrap a gift before all those dyed, laminated, non-paper additives that are not-recyclable heads off to the landfill. Ditch the shiny traditional wrapping paper and wrap your gifts in the left over paper in your house and put it to good use - old calendars, newspaper, magazine pages and kid’s art work work well. Gently-used scarves and thin towels can be knotted, pinned, or tied with a ribbon and are great for wrapping oddly-shaped gifts. Your dad will surely appreciate the effort and the cool ideas.
The party animal
Throw a surprise party for dad and have some fun! Just consider your impact. Opt for reusable plates, cups, spoons and napkins over single-use disposable products and go strawless for beverages, if you plan to celebrate with dad and his friends this Father’s Day. Dad will love reusable cutlery because they last longer and in the long run generate less waste. Besides, they're easy on his pocket!
Plastic shopping bags are no longer in fashion. There are plenty of chic reusable bags in the market that make nice gifts for the dad who loves to shop or run errands. If your dad has a few in his car all the time, he can use them during those store stops.
These picks are just the beginning - a sweet way to say thanks to dad for being a great guy. Green gifts have a great reputation for being clever and unique that tell Dad how much you love and appreciate all that he has done for you. Even if your dad is not the eco-conscious kind, he will appreciate these simple gifts and, who knows, possibly even be encouraged to become more eco-conscious.
Happy Father's Day!
Anandhi Balaji, a mother of two, is a home-maker, technology professional and volunteer at OpenHeart kitchen.