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How to Shop Sustainably for the Holidays and Beyond

Holiday gifting can be a challenge when you’re trying to live more sustainably. But being environmentally conscious doesn’t mean you can’t experience the joy of giving something special (and delicious) to your favorite people. Here’s how we’re choosing sustainability as we shop for the holidays and beyond.

Buy direct from makers and artisans.

white cardboard box with gold bow

Cutting out the middleman—especially when the middleman is a big box store or e-commerce giant—is a great way to reduce waste and ensure that more of your dollars are going to the person who made the gift you’re giving. Pledge to do your holiday shopping at a local craft fair, farmers’ market, gift shop, specialty store, or other small business curating high-quality wares.

You can also support awesome artisans by purchasing directly from them or other small businesses online. In our cheese gift shop, you’ll find beautiful cheese boards, handmade knives, and Cheese Grottos, of course!

Seek out sustainable farmers and producers.

cheesemaker at vat full of curds with white paddle and hairnet

Everyone loves an edible gift, and that goes double for the cheese lovers in your life. Look for small, regional producers and independent cheese shops to patronize this year and build them a customized holiday gift box full of delicious cheeses and accompaniments.

No artisan cheese near you? Shop direct from local cheesemakers in our online cheese shop! Or use our Build Your Own Box option to curate a selection of cheeses and accompaniments like charcuterie, crackers, jams, chocolate, and more from American makers to suit your loved one’s preferences.

You can even include a beautiful bamboo cheese board that will fit perfectly in the box—plus, we’ll send it right to the recipient’s door. Just be sure to place your order by Thursday at 11:30 p.m. Eastern to send your gift via Express Shipping the following week.

Shop from small businesses supporting regional economies.

round black slate cheese board with cheese and chocolate

Want to make a difference this holiday season? Support a small business!! Small businesses like Cheese Grotto can have a big impact on regional economies, and they often have more flexibility to make more eco-conscious choices than the big guys.

For example, we source our cheeses and accompaniments from American artisan cheesemakers and specialty food producers. We work with small craftspeople and artisans—like our woodworker Donovan and ceramicist Eric—who build the components of each Grotto by hand. The bamboo we use for Grotto shelves, knives, and cheese boards is a more sustainable, stronger alternative to wood, while our slates are quarried locally and sustainably in New York state.

When you purchase from a small business like ours, you’re supporting our artisans and workers, too!

Use greener packaging wherever you can—and support businesses that do, too.

cardboard cheese gift box with green cell foam packaging and bamboo cheese board

Shipping products—especially perishables like cheese, which must be kept cold in transit—can generate lots of packaging waste. We at Cheese Grotto have worked hard to lower the environmental impact of our packaging, and we’re pretty proud of the results. We pack our Grottos with recyclable cardboard inserts for a simple, elegant presentation and use recycled—and recyclable—plastic to protect our clay bricks.

We insulate each cheese shipment with Green Cell Packaging, made from non-GMO, US-grown corn. After you remove it from its recyclable film, the foam can be composted, dissolved in water, or even burned in your fireplace! Plus, its production makes 80% less greenhouse gas and uses 70% less energy than polystyrene.

Our ice packs are reusable and sustainably disposable, too. Stash them in your freezer for future use, or cut open the melted ice pack, recycle the plastic, and pour the contents down the drain. You can even use the contents as nitrogen-based plant food indoors or outdoors.

Give experiences and edible gifts to reduce clutter, shipping, and packaging.

cardboard box overflowing with cheese and gourmet accompaniments

Sometimes the perfect gift is an object—ideally, one the recipient will use and enjoy for many years to come. But recipients may prefer a gift that doesn’t take up space in their home.

Experiences like farm tours, dinner out at a favorite restaurant, or a special cheese board feast created by you are all fun ways to give that don’t create waste or clutter. We also love purchasing cheese subscriptions for our loved ones during the holidays. They’re the gift that keeps on giving every month or every quarter—and disappears when it’s done.

Wherever you’re sourcing gifts this holiday and beyond, we hope you’re feeling encouraged and inspired to do so with an eye to sustainability, simplicity, and deliciousness!

How are you making your holiday shopping more sustainable this year? Tag us @cheesegrotto on Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter and let us know!

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