Center for Biological Diversity

For Immediate Release, June 29, 2023


Kelley Dennings, (919) 355-8102,

Report Finds Americans Support Secondhand, DIY Gifts

Alternative Gifts Help Reduce Environmental Cost of Holidays

TUCSON, Ariz.— A new report by the Center for Biological Diversity found that 56% of Americans are likely to give a secondhand gift and 68% are likely to make a handmade or DIY gift during the holiday season.

The report is based on data collected from a paid, national random online survey of more than 900 people that was conducted between Sept. 27 and Oct. 17, 2022. This research comes as retailers are pushing Christmas in July sales and Amazon’s July Prime Day is expected to generate at least $12 billion.

“If you want to give gifts that won’t trash the planet, secondhand shopping is the way to go,” said Kelley Dennings, a campaigner at the Center. “When you shop secondhand it avoids the extraction, production and pollution that come with manufacturing and packaging new stuff. Our data shows that people are happy to give and receive gifts that aren’t brand new.”

The report also found that 67% of Americans consider the environmental impacts of a gift before purchasing it and 59% are likely to give gifts of time or skill.

Experts have found that while more stuff doesn’t buy happiness, experiences can. Experiential gifts like concert tickets, cooking a homecooked meal for a friend or going on a camping trip can provide long-lasting memories without being wasteful.

“We can’t keep consuming endlessly and pretend we’re not in the middle of a climate crisis,” said Dennings. “No one wants to stop giving gifts to their loved ones. Luckily giving gifts of time, skill or experiences is more meaningful and less harmful to the planet.”

The practice of giving material gifts over the winter holidays — or any time of year — takes a hefty toll on the environment. A 2021 analysis by the Center found that Americans generate 23% more waste in December than in other months of the year. Studies have found that nearly a third of people who received a gift they didn’t like threw it in the trash. And many unwanted gifts that are returned to the store end up in the landfill.

The Center has created a gift guide of alternative gift ideas and a free customizable gift wish list that makes it easy to ask for presents with a minimal environmental footprint year round.

The Center for Biological Diversity is a national, nonprofit conservation organization with more than 1.7 million members and online activists dedicated to the protection of endangered species and wild places.

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