Christmas is just around the corner. Are you looking for some last-minute gift inspirations? Before you make any hasty decisions, let us remind you that the waste produced after Christmas is 25% more than at any other time of year, and it’s high time we changed that!
Never fear, because TAIPEI is here to give you some green ideas for your Christmas list. Many Taiwanese designers, brands and shops in Taipei have been producing and promoting a variety of commemorative products in line with the concept of sustainable environmental protection, which are not only perfect for Christmas gifts, but great for daily use as well.
We have selected four designer brands with diverse products that you can find in Taipei based on their exquisite designs, useful functions, and eco-friendly concepts. Starting now, the holiday celebration can be meaningful and eco-friendly!
BAMBOO STRAWS, TOOTHBRUSHES AND CUPS BY YUANTAI BAMBOO WORKSHOP
Bamboo, a plant that represents moral integrity in Chinese culture, is now a popular material for crafting, too. The designer/owner of Yuantai Bamboo Workshop (元泰竹藝社), Lin Jiahong (林家宏), uses bamboo grown in his hometown Zhushan (竹山, literally Bamboo Mountain) to create bamboo straws, toothbrushes and cups; all three can be a great Christmas gift package that creates zero plastic waste. (See also: Why Yuantai Bamboo Workshop in Nantou Should be Your Next Stop If You Care About the Earth)
Your first earth-saving gifts are artful bamboo straws that vary in length and size, with their natural shape preserved. The natural fibers inside also maintain the temperature and flavor of beverages much better than plastic straws. The brush of bamboo toothbrushes is made of horsehair, the result of hundreds of tests undertaken by Lin, making the toothbrush 100% decomposable after being thrown out.
Don’t forget to pack a bamboo cup in your gift box. The 14 different patterns, including the Formosan black bear or local mountain scenery, are painted with non-toxic pigments, and also make it a great souvenir from Taiwan.
Where to find bamboo products by Yuantai in Taipei
Eco Hub in Huashan 1914 Creative Park
🏠 1, Sec. 1, Bade Rd., Zhongzheng Dist.
BO BO CUP BY YCCT
Taiwan is where bubble milk tea originated, and Taiwanese drink 1.5 billion handmade drinks every year, resulting in the production of billions of plastic cups and straws. Having a reusable cup handy is a great alternative to reduce plastic garbage while still enjoying fresh drinks. (More drinks in Taiwan: Drinkipedia: The Lowdown on Taiwanese Drinks)
Bo Bo cup, produced by YCCT, is designed as a perfect handmade drink container. The patented foldable lid design is the biggest feature. Press the lid lightly and the straw will pop out. Press it again and the straw will be retracted. Each cup is equipped with one thin and one wide silicone straw. Furthermore, the stainless steel-made cups are harder, lighter and safer than a glass cup.
For those who are crazy about Taiwan handmade drinks, Bo Bo cup can be a useful and sustainable choice for a Christmas present. With a reusable cup such as this one, you can enjoy as many drinks as you like guilt-free. (For bubble tea fans: Bubble Milk Tea and Beyond in Taiwan (part one))
Where to find Bo Bo cup by YCCT in Taipei
BonVoyage in Shin Kong Mitsukoshi Xinyi Place A8
🏠 12, Songgao Rd., Xinyi Dist.
FABRIC LAPTOP CASE, BOOK COVER & MASK BY IN BLOOOM
In Blooom (印花樂) is a Taiwanese design brand not only devoted to showcasing original Taiwanese print fabrics, but also dedicated to developing eco-conscious lifestyle products that replace plastic or non-recyclable materials.
What makes in Blooom a perfect destination for Christmas gifts from Taiwan is its fabric patterns featuring their own Taiwanese story. For instance, a laptop case with the Formosan Crested Myna, an endemic species in Taiwan, was the first pattern designed by in Blooom to make people aware of this endangered creature, and it has become an iconic symbol of the brand.
The pocket-size book cover with begonia glass pattern is a great gift option for adults. Begonia glass is a Taiwanese traditional pattern, commonly found on stained glass in old apartments and houses. Back in the old days, stained glass in Taiwan had different patterns to protect indoor privacy. This nostalgic pattern has become a very popular element in the design of today’s Taiwanese daily goods. When light penetrates the stained glass, the light and shadow bring a special feeling of the past. While raising awareness of sustainability, in Blooom has also created an identity rich in local features. (You may also like: Customized Souvenir Tips from Taiwan Scene)
In Blooom has developed fabric masks this year as well in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. It’s designed with a pocket for the user to insert a proper medical mask so that the usage time of the medical mask can be extended, in an attempt to alleviate the issue of abandoned used masks.
We picked the mask with the trekking pattern. Taiwan is a mountainous country, and many precious species can be found at high elevations. In Blooom would like to deliver the pure feeling of cheerfulness you experience while getting close to nature through this print.
Where to find fabric products by in Blooom in Taipei
in Blooom Dadaocheng branch
🏠 28, Minle St., Datong Dist.
ECO-FRIENDLY TABLEWARE FOR TAKE-OUT BY ZEN ZHOU
When people are gathering for Christmas feast and bringing home takeaway food, they may accidentally use too much single-use plastic. But Zen Zhou (仁舟) social enterprise is providing eco-friendly options. Zen Zhou is a brand that practices the idea of reducing plastic. The company believes that if they start changing from the production level, creating more fashionable and user-friendly products, they should be able to promote the idea of reducing plastic more effectively. (If you care about earth: What to Do for World Oceans Day in Taiwan)
We want to introduce three reusable products that can replace single-use plastic and reduce trash production for your Christmas gift options: a silicone folding box, silicone food bag, and beeswax food wrap.
For those who will be hosting a potluck party, be sure to get your order in for the silicone folding boxes ahead of the holiday season. They are made from 100% food-grade silicone and with its leak-free seal design, you can also use it for soup or drinks. As the silicon can be cleaned easily, it is a good reusable material to replace plastic bags. The little sea turtle on the lid is designed to serve as a heat aeration mechanism. What’s more, it also corresponds to the brand message of marine protection.
Another option is Zen Zhou’s thick and washable freezer bags that can be reused over and over again. The patented three-dimensional design allows the bag to stand upright without falling over. It is also heat-resistant up to 200°C, which makes it a great container for a steaming hot bowl of beef soup or even your Christmas leftovers! With these bags, it’s easier than ever to practice a plastic-free lifestyle. (See also: How to Celebrate Earth Day in Taiwan)
The third product is the beeswax food wrap, which is a less-mentioned but always useful eco-friendly product, and an alternative to plastic wrap. In order to make a perfect food wrap, Zen Zhou used 100% natural materials, including organic cotton and antibacterial beeswax to retain moisture. The wrap is biodegradable and protects both the health of your family and that of our planet.
Where to find eco-tableware by Zen Zhou in Taipei
eslite Xinyi Store
🏠 11, Songgao Rd., Xinyi Dist.
This article is reproduced under the permission of TAIPEI. Original content can be found at the website of Taipei Travel Net (www.travel.taipei/en).
Words by: AYCC
Photos by: Samil Kuo