Four ways to gift sustainably this holiday season


Living a sustainable lifestyle can be a daunting undertaking, especially if you don’t know where to begin. Welcome to Philly Low-Waste Living. I’m Emily Rodia, the founder of Good Buy Supply—Philly’s one-stop-shop for sustainable home goods. We specialize in all areas of the home from kitchen, bathroom to laundry but I can also help you navigate the sustainable world within city limits. Follow along for tips, tricks and hidden sustainable gems of Philadelphia.

This year think outside-the-big-box stores and shop locally for more meaningful gifts.

Soaps and candles from the Vellum St. Soap Company are packaged in Remark Glass jars. Photograph courtesy of Melissa Torre.

Remember the best gift you can give someone is your time, but the next best thing is a gift that also supports small businesses and makers in your community. Sometimes it’s the little things that mean so much more.

  1. HOMEMADE TREATS: Try baking someone you love homemade cookies in a thrifted container. We love finding vintage dinnerware and using it as part of the gift. Attach a handwritten recipe card and you are good to go. Not a baker? Try making quick pickled vegetables, or some homemade hot sauce or infusing a spirit! I love receiving gifts like these because it adds new recipes to my collection.

  2. UNIQUE EXPERIENCES: Bring your recipient to a place they will remember. Journey to the many museums we have here in Philly. Some favorites are the Mutter Museum and the Barnes Foundation. This could also be a night of music at a local venue or dinner at your favorite restaurant. Some of these are the most memorable gifts to give!

  3. USEABLE PRODUCTS: When buying physical items we stick to usable, practical and local items like handcrafted cutting boards or locally made candles and soaps. Try to avoid the products that are marketed exclusively for the holiday season. Always consider if you would use it yourself and if you would purchase it at other times of the year. At our shop we stock sustainable local vendors like Vellum Street Soap Company, Remark Glass, Kitchen Garden Textiles and much more all year round! All of these vendors value people and the planet over profits.

    Photo by Annie Spratt on Unsplash.
  4. RECYCLED GIFTS: Have a craft night at home and take a look at some of your materials heading for the curb. Have a lot of glass jars? Gift some plant cuttings to friends or make them a small terrarium. Add a little label with the care instructions. Bin full of papers? Try your hand at some homemade paper for a card.

Some of the blue bottles ReMark Glass transforms into beautiful houseware. Photograph by Rachael Warriner.

As always, think of what your recipient would like and actually use on a daily basis. Gifting shouldn’t be stressful or wasteful, so take a step back and look at the bigger picture.

Emily Rodia is the founder of Good Buy Supply, located in South Philly at 1737 E. Passyunk Avenue.

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