Christmas is a time for giving, and one of the best ways to do that is by choosing sustainable gifts. These eco-friendly presents are not only good for the environment, but they also support ethical companies and help to promote awareness about sustainability. If you’re looking for some sustainable gift ideas, check out our list of 68 best gifts to give right now. From sustainably produced fashion to organic foods, we’ve got you covered!
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Why Sustainable Gifts are Important
With climate change and continued drought in many parts of the world, it’s more important than ever to give gifts that won’t put a strain on the environment. Sustainable gifts are made from materials that have less impact on the planet, like bamboo instead of plastic or metal, or products that use less water in their production. Giving a sustainable gift is a great way to show you care about the planet and the people who live on it. And with so many amazing sustainable products available today, it’s easy to find the perfect gift for everyone on your list.
While a shiny new gadget may be tempting, the truth is that sustainable gifts are the best choice for both the planet and the recipient. For example, a sustainable water bottle can help to reduce the amount of plastic waste produced each year, while also providing a convenient way for the recipient to stay hydrated on the go.
Alternatively, a potted plant makes a beautiful and long-lasting gift that doesn’t require any extra packaging or shipping. And if you really want to make a difference, you can give the gift of an experience like tickets to a local art museum or a hiking trail pass.
The Benefits of Giving Sustainable Christmas Gifts
Christmas is a time for giving, but all too often our gifts end up in the trash soon after they are opened. According to the EPA, Americans generate 25% more trash during the holidays than at any other time of year, and a large portion of this waste comes from wrapping paper, boxes, and bows. In addition, many popular Christmas gifts are made from plastic, which takes centuries to decompose. As a result, giving sustainable Christmas gifts is one of the best ways to reduce your carbon footprint and help protect the planet.
Here are some of the direct benefits of giving sustainable gifts:
- Support eco-friendly and ethical business. Most people set aside a budget for buying gifts during the holidays and throughout the year. Why not use that money to support businesses that are trying to make a difference? From Fair Trade organizations to those with circular production models, forward-thinking businesses can only grow if we show them our support by purchasing their products.
- Generate less waste. Reducing waste generation should be at the forefront of our minds as we shop for sustainable gifts. Nobody needs more plastic junk lying around their house. many sustainable gifts—such as restaurant gift cards, experiences, and donations to charitable organizations—don’t involve acquiring any material stuff at all (and thus generate little to no additional waste). If you do choose to purchase products, look for ones that are made from recycled materials or that can be fully reused, repurposed, or recycled at the end of its useful life.
- Create a ripple effect in the local and global economy. Where we spend our dollars really matters. When we choose to support local businesses and farmers, we build up the communities we live in and make it possible for our neighbors to generate meaningful livelihoods. We can increase our impact even further when we choose to purchase from companies that pay attention to their whole supply chain from the farmers who grow their raw materials to the workers who assemble finished products. Each purchase we make has the opportunity to make a difference.
- Reduce carbon emissions. Many manufactured goods require a lot of energy to produce, and this often comes from burning fossil fuels. This contributes to carbon emissions and climate change. But if you give a gift that is made from recycled materials, or that doesn’t require any manufacturing at all, then you can help reduce carbon emissions. If your gift is made from new materials, try to buy it from a company that uses renewable energy or purchases carbon offsets.
What Makes a Sustainable Gift?
People often think sustainable gifts and products are too expensive, and they’re not entirely wrong. Companies that put consideration for people and the planet at the forefront of their operations usually do have to charge more for their products.
However, the most sustainable gifts do not have to be pricey. In fact, not buying something is the most sustainable thing you can do.
I’ve recently been asking around to find out what people most enjoy receiving as Christmas gifts. Almost always, the thought is more important than the gift itself. Friends have told me that they’d much rather receive a heartfelt card or letter than an expensive gift. If the card comes with a gift card to get a cup of coffee at a nice cafe, that’s a bonus, but even that’s not always necessary.
Experience gifts and the gift of your time are other hands-down favorites. I love to invite other families over in the month of December and make them a really nice dinner as their gift. During the rest of the year, we don’t always have time to spend a lengthy evening with friends—at least not as much as we’d like to. Creating the space and time to be together and connect over good food is one of the best gifts we can give.
My other favorite type of sustainable gift to give are DIY gifts. I spend much of the fall planning and making small, thoughtful presents to give my friends and loved ones. I like to recognize a large number of people in our community over the holidays, more than I would be able to buy gifts for. But by making sustainable DIY gifts, I’m able to make my giving budget go a lot further.
My go-to DIY gifts are soaps, candles, lip balms, hand salves, potted plants (taken from cuttings), and baked goods. I’ve developed an awesome system for planning and tracking all my DIY gifts so I can cut down on my time investment while still producing tons of awesome sustainable gifts. If you want to go all in with DIY gifts, check out my DIY Gift-Giving System.
But for some people, I know you’re still going to want to give physical gifts. Whether you’re trying to help them switch away from more single-use products or you want to support Fair Trade workers by spreading some chocolate love, we all have our reasons for seeking out eco-friendly gifts that we can hold and wrap.
For these, we want to make sure we’re making the best choices possible. Take into consideration factors like:
- Where was it made (and how? by whom?),
- Under what labor standards was it produced?
- How far has it traveled?
- What materials went into making it? Were they virgin or post-consumer?
- How long will it last?
- What will they do with it when it reaches the end of its useful life?
- Is there a better alternative?
- Do they really need this?
These are just a few of the questions that will help you discern whether a gift is good for the planet or not.
And now, without further ado, let’s look at 68 of our top picks for sustainable Christmas gift ideas.
The Ultimate Guide to Sustainable Gift Giving
All prices below are in USD unless noted otherwise.
Gifts That Give Back
When it comes to sustainable gift-giving, choose items that will have a positive impact beyond the recipient. Fair trade gifts are a good example of this ripple effect. Fair trade gifts are produced in a way that is fair to workers and supports sustainable practices. In addition, many fair trade organizations also give back to the communities where their products are made.
For example, some fair trade organizations may provide funding for education or healthcare. As a result, fair trade gifts are not only good for the environment, but they also have the potential to make a real difference in the lives of those who produce them.
Likewise, charitable donations are a great sustainable gift idea that generates zero waste while creating a meaningful impact on people around the world.
Here are a few of our favorite sustainable gift ideas that give back:
Kiva Microfinancing Loans
Kiva is a microfinancing site that brings together investors from all over the world to fund small loans for individuals and communities. When you lend through Kiva, you become part of something much bigger. You join a global community of like-minded individuals who are united in their belief that everyone deserves a chance to succeed.
Best of all, your loan has the power to change lives. By funding a loan, you're giving someone the opportunity to start or grow a business, pay for schooling, access clean energy or water, and so much more. When they repay their loan, you (or, in this case, your recipient) will get your money back—plus interest!—so they can relend it to someone else in need.
World Vision Gift Catalogue
Through the World Vision Gift Catalogue, you can choose from over 90 different gifts that will help vulnerable children and families around the world.
Whether you choose to purchase a gift like an animal, medicine, or school supplies, or simply donate money, your kindness will have a lasting impact. Every gift purchased entitles the donor to a free personalized e-card or greeting card so you can let your loved one know how and why you've decided to honor them in this way.
Donation to a Favorite Charity
Beyond Kiva and World Vision, there are countless other charitable organizations you could donate to on behalf of your loved ones. Sites like Canada Helps (in Canada) and Charity Navigator (in the US) will help you sort through dozens of charities to find the ones that are most aligned with your recipient's passions.
Rainy Day Mug—$20
When the rain is pouring down and the temperature is dropping, there's nothing better than curling up with a warm cup of tea. And there's no better mug to enjoy that tea in than this Rainy Day Mug.
This mug is handcrafted and hand-painted in the village of Bat Trang, Vietnam, which has a long history and tradition of pottery making. The women artisans who create these mugs for the Craft Link organization are paid fairly through fair trade partnerships, ensuring that they can earn a sustainable income while practicing the art of their ancestors.
K'UL Fair Trade Chocolate Bars—$15
What could be better than fair trade chocolate? Support fair wages for cocoa growers and enjoy delicious chocolate at the same time. K'UL invests in direct trade partnerships with women-run cooperatives that work solely with organic cacao farmers.
K'UL handcrafted chocolate bars are created with just three simple, yet specially selected and organic ingredients. Fair trade cacao beans, cocoa butter, and sugar are combined to create a chocolate like no other. K'UL does not use any unnecessary ingredients or emulsifiers in their chocolate-making process. Instead, they focus on quality by sourcing their own cacao beans and ensuring control of the production process from start to finish.
Wandering Thoughts Journal—$13
Dogs have a way of making us feel comfortable and loved. They're always happy to see us, no matter what kind of day we've had. So it's only fitting that we would want to immortalize our thoughts in a journal that celebrates our furry friends.
The Wandering Thoughts Journal does just that. This beautiful journal is handmade by artisans in India, using traditional methods passed down for generations. The cover is made from cream-colored cotton fabric, with a colorful dog-themed design. Inside, there are pages of high-quality paper, perfect for jotting down your musings.
Not only is the Wandering Thoughts Journal a delight to write in, but it also helps support artisan communities in India. By purchasing this journal, you're helping to provide fair prices that allow artisans to support their families and grow their businesses.
Sustainable Gift Ideas for Kids of All Ages
Sustainability is an especially important consideration when it comes to gifts for kids. They are the future generation that will inherit the world we live in today, so it’s important to teach them about sustainable living from a young age.
Experience gifts are a great way to do this. Instead of giving them a material thing that will eventually end up in a landfill, give them an experience that they will remember forever such as tickets to a play or concert, a membership to a local museum, or even a day at the zoo.
If you do want to give a physical gift, look for items that use natural materials, will last a long time, and can be responsibly repurposed or disposed of when the child no longer needs them.
Green Toys Cookware & Dining Set—$50
Looking for an eco-friendly cookware set that's both fun and functional? Look no further than the Green Toys Cookware and Dining Set! Made from 100% recycled plastic, this 27-piece set includes everything your little chef needs to whip up some pretend culinary creations.
And because it's made in the USA from FDA-approved materials, you can rest assured that it's safe for your child to use. Plus, it's easy to clean and dishwasher safe, so cleanup is a breeze.
Solid Wood Standard Unit Building Blocks—$24
These toy stacking blocks are perfect for building and construction play. Made of FSC-certified 100% natural beech wood, they are perfectly sanded and smooth to the touch. The set includes 70 standard-unit building blocks and a cloth carrying bag with handles.
Liewood Iris Organic Cotton Doll—$36
The Liewood Iris Organic Cotton Doll is a classic make-believe toy that is perfect for your little one. The doll is made from soft organic cotton, and it is CE marked.
The doll's simple outfit is beautiful, and the 100% organic cotton construction means that it is eco-friendly and free of harmful chemicals. Your child will love to play pretend with this doll, and it will help them to develop their acting skills, language, and communication skills.
Petit Collage Floor Puzzle, Wild Rainforest—$18
Looking for an eco-friendly and age-appropriate puzzle for your little one? Look no further than the Wild Rainforest Floor Puzzle from Petit Collage. Made with recycled paper and printed with non-toxic, vegetable-based inks, this puzzle is safe for both your child and the planet. The large, sturdy pieces are perfect for little hands, and the completed puzzle measures 18” x 24”.
The bright, bold illustration is full of detail and offers plenty of things to spot once the puzzle is complete. Building puzzles is a great way to promote hand-eye coordination and problem-solving skills–so it’s a win all around!
Kids' Bamboo Toothbrushes—$10
Greenzla's bamboo toothbrush is the perfect eco-friendly choice for your child's oral hygiene. Made from natural materials, these toothbrushes for kids are biodegradable and compostable, so you can feel good about your impact on the environment.
Super Sparrow Insulated Water Bottle with Straw—$22
Looking for a water bottle that won't leach chemicals and alter the taste of your drink? Look no further than the Super Sparrow insulated water bottle!
Made of premium stainless steel BPA free material, this water bottle is perfect for those who are health-conscious and want the safest water bottle option available. The sleek and stylish design is also convenient to use, and each bottle comes in a gift box—perfect for giving as a present!
A great book about sustainability or the environment is sure to be both educational and inspiring for kids of all ages. Check out a few of these top recommendations:
The Story of More (Adapted for Young Adults): How We Got to Climate Change and Where to Go from Here—$9
The Story of More is a great introduction to climate change and the steps we can take to help foster a more sustainable future. In this young adult adaptation, Hope Jahren details the science behind key inventions that have both helped and harmed our world.
Jahren explains the current and projected consequences of unchecked global warming, from superstorms to rising sea levels, resulting from the unprecedented amounts of greenhouse gases being released into our atmosphere.
But there is hope. Jahren outlines practical steps that we can all take to reduce our impact on the planet and protect its resources for future generations. The story of more doesn't have to be a story of destruction–it can be a story of hope, determination, and action.
What Is Climate Change?—$6
Climate change is one of the biggest problems facing our planet today. And it's only getting worse. And while the vast majority of scientists agree that humans are largely to blame, there is still a lot of debate on the subject.
Author Gail Herman takes a comprehensive look at climate change, exploring both sides of the argument. She presents the scientific evidence for climate change, as well as the counterargument from those who believe it is not caused by human activity. She also looks at the social and political implications of climate change, and how it is affecting our world today.
This is an essential read for anyone who wants to understand more about this complex and crucial issue. Herman's fair-minded approach makes this book an invaluable resource for anyone looking to educate themselves on the topic.
Pre-order Nature's Best Hope (Young Readers' Edition): How You Can Save the World in Your Own Yard—$9
Pre-order Nature’s Best Hope (Young readers’ Edition) by Douglas Tallamy and Sarah L. Thomson.
In his New York Times bestseller, Nature's Best Hope, Tallamy alerted readers to an alarming problem: wildlife populations are increasingly at risk because the native plants they depend on are quickly disappearing.
By planting more native plants, we can be part of the solution for these endangered species. In this middle-grade adaptation, Tallamy describes his vision for a ground-up approach to conservation that everyone can contribute toward regardless of age.
Sustainable Gift Ideas for the Foodie
It's no secret that the single-use lifestyle has taken over in recent years. From plastic straws to water bottles, it seems like everything is designed to be used once and then thrown away. This holiday season, why not give the gift of sustainability? Here are a few ideas for the foodie in your life:
Brightland Olive Oil
For the baker, choose top-quality olive oil from Brightland. Brightland olive oils are made using olive trees that are grown using regenerative agriculture practices, meaning they actually improve the health of the soil instead of damaging it.
Organic Cloth Napkins 12 Pack—$29
For a friend who loves to entertain, a nice set of reusable cloth napkins is both beautiful and environmentally friendly.
A great alternative to paper napkins and paper towels, these washable and reusable napkins are perfect for everyday use. Made from Fairtrade, GOTS-certified 100% organic cotton muslin, these napkins are soft against sensitive skin and only get softer with each wash
Bee's Wrap - 7 Piece Value Pack—$39
A set of reusable silicone food wraps is an excellent alternative to plastic wrap and can be used again and again.
Made in the USA with certified organic cotton, beeswax, plant oils, and tree resin, Bee's Wrap is durable, pliable, and reusable.
Perfect for prepping meals and storing leftovers in the fridge or packing snacks and lunch on the go, these helpful wraps keeps food fresh without waste.
Reusable Stainless Steel Metal Straws—$13
Does your friend love iced coffee or smoothies? Help them ditch single-use straws with a set of reusable stainless steel straws. They're easy to clean and will last for years.
Reusable Food Storage Bags—$30
Ditch the single-use plastic wrap and go for reusable storage bags instead. They come in all shapes and sizes, so you can find the perfect option for your foodie friend. Plus, they're great for storing leftovers or bringing lunch on the go.
Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) Subscription
If you have a foodie friend who's always in the kitchen whipping up new creations, why not help them out with some top-notch ingredients?
A top pick for sustainable gift ideas is a subscription to a local CSA (Community Supported Agriculture) box. Not only will they get seasonally-appropriate fruits and veggies delivered straight to their doorstep, but they'll also be supporting small farmers in your community.
Visit LocalHarvest to find a CSA in your area.
Sustainable Gift Ideas for the Health Nut
The holidays are a great time to show your loved ones how much you care, and what better way to do that than with a sustainable gift that will help them live a healthier life? Here are a few of our favorite options for your loved ones who are into health and fitness:
Essential Oil Diffuser—$36
For the health nut in your life, consider an essential oil diffuser. Essential oils have been shown to improve mood and cognitive function, among other benefits.
But diffusers can also have a positive impact on the environment. Look for one made with sustainable materials like bamboo, and make sure it uses essential oils that are certified organic and free of synthetic fragrances.
You can also choose a diffuser that uses ultrasonic technology instead of heat, which helps to preserve the integrity of the essential oils.
Brita Stainless Steel Water Filter Bottle—$42
Another great option for the health-conscious person on your list is a reusable water bottle with a built-in filter. This will help them reduce their carbon footprint by eliminating the need for bottled water, and it will also remove impurities from their tap water, making it safer and healthier to drink.
The bottle is also double-wall insulated to keep water cold for 24 hours and features a leak-proof lid. Plus, it's compatible with Brita water bottle replacement filters, so you can always enjoy fresh-tasting water.
The Well Plated Cookbook: Fast, Healthy Recipes You'll Want to Eat—$21
For the health-conscious foodie in your life, consider gifting them a healthy cookbook. This will give them plenty of new ideas for how to prepare healthy meals that are still delicious and satisfying.
In Well Plated, Erin Clarke shares more than 130 brand-new rapid-fire recipes that are perfect for busy weeknights. From Instant Pot Mac and Cheese to One-Pot Tomato Basil Chicken Pasta, these dishes are sure to please everyone at the table.
Clarke's recipes are known for being incredibly approachable, budget-friendly, and delicious, and her use of "stealthy healthy" ingredient swaps ensures that you'll get maximum nutrition without sacrificing flavor.
Garmin Vívoactive Fitness Tracker (Refurbished)—$129
A workout tracker is a great way to help someone stay motivated and on track with their fitness goals. Look for a tracker that offers features like heart rate monitoring, sleep tracking, and activity tracking to help them get the most out of their workouts.
For a more sustainable (and budget-friendly) option, look for a certified refurbished option from a trusted manufacturer such as Garmin. This gives a useful piece of equipment a second life and keeps e-waste out of landfills.
Ivy Ecostretch Cropped Tank—$48
Sustainable workout gear is another great option for the eco-conscious fitness enthusiast. Look for gear made from recycled materials that can stand up to tough workouts.
Reformation offers the Ref Active line that transforms recycled plastic bottles into comfortable, durable activewear.
Gym Membership or Personal Training Sessions
If the person you're shopping for is really serious about getting in shape, a gym membership or personal training sessions make an excellent gift. This can help them get started on the path to achieving their fitness goals.
Try using FitnessTrainer to locate a personal trainer in your area. They'll connect you with a local personal trainer who can help your loved one reach their specific fitness goals, whether they're looking to get healthier or get into a specific sport or activity.
They offer a wide range of trainers with different specialties, so you're sure to find one that's a perfect fit.
Sustainable Gift Ideas for the Homebody
Check out these gift ideas for the eco-conscious homebody in your life. From natural candles to cozy throws, these gifts are sure to make their home an even more inviting place to be.
Succulents and cacti are trendy, low-maintenance plants that make great sustainable gift options. Succulents are easy to care for and only need to be watered every few weeks.
They also purify the air, making them ideal for small spaces. Cacti, on the other hand, are even more low-maintenance than succulents and can survive for months without water. If you're looking for a sustainable gift that is sure to please, succulents and cacti are great options.
Forest Recycled Bottle Throw—$50
Artisans in India weave this herringbone patterned throw blanket from PET yarn, which is made entirely from recycled plastic bottles. Not only is the Forest Recycled Bottle Throw eco-friendly, but it's also super cozy, making it the perfect sofa companion or gift for someone special.
This deep teal color is exclusive to Ten Thousand Villages, so you know you're giving a unique product. The best part? It's machine washable, so your loved one can keep it looking as good as new for years to come.
There are few things more relaxing than a candlelit bath or a cozy night spent reading a good book by candlelight.
And when those candles are made of natural beeswax, they're not only beautiful and fragrant but also sustainable. Unlike traditional paraffin candles, which are made from petroleum products, beeswax candles are completely natural and renewable. They burn cleaner, producing little to no soot, and they release negative ions when burned, which can help to purify the air.
Beeswax candles also have a naturally sweet scent, making them perfect for creating a calming ambiance.
Self Care Gift Basket—$59
Self-care gift baskets made with natural products are perfect for loved ones who need a mental vacation. From soothing candles to relaxing bath salts, a handmade self-care basket will help your loved one unwind and recharge.
Look for products with natural—rather than synthetic—ingredients. Make it even more sustainable by shopping from a local vendor at a craft fair or on Etsy so your gift travels as little as possible.
Reverie Coffee Roasters Subscription—$17+
For the coffee lover, try a subscription to Reverie Roasters. This small-batch roaster only sources beans from sustainable farms, ensuring that both the environment and the farmers are taken care of.
Tea is the perfect drink for those who love to stay cozy at home, and organic tea is a great way to enjoy your favorite beverage while supporting sustainable agriculture.
There are so many different types of organic tea available, that choosing just one type may be overwhelming. If you're not sure what kind of tea your loved one prefers, you could try giving a sampler box, such as this one from Mighty Leaf Tea. The Complete Collection Box is the perfect way to explore all 14 of the flavors Mighty Leaf has to offer!
ThriftBooks Gift Card
A book is a great present for so many reasons. They are unique, personal, and can be enjoyed over and over again. But did you know that by giving a pre-owned book, you're also helping the environment?
Every year, millions of books end up in landfills, creating an unsustainable volume of waste. By giving a ThiftBooks gift card, you're helping to give these gently loved books a new lease on life and reduce your gift-giving footprint at the same time.
Sustainable Gift Ideas for the Traveler
People who travel a lot can be hard to shop for. They often don't want to accumulate a lot of things, so material gifts feel counterintuitive. Look for sustainable gift options that will help them lower their travel footprint or introduce them to new experiences.
Packable Travel Mug—$27
For the coffee-loving traveler, a packable travel mug is a must-have item. Not only will it save them money in the long run, but it will also help to reduce plastic waste.
A reusable mug can be filled up at home before heading out the door, or can be filled up at a coffee shop on the go. Either way, this helps to reduce the need for single-use cups and lids, which can quickly add up over time.
In addition, most reusable mugs are insulated, keeping coffee hot for hours on end.
Support a Travel-Oriented Charity
For the truly hard-to-shop-for traveler, a donation to a charity that supports sustainable tourism initiatives such as the Center for Responsible Travel or the Sustainable Travel Initiative is always a thoughtful and appreciated gift.
Kindle or Audible Gift Card
Kindle or Audible gift cards are the perfect way to give your favorite traveler the gift of books without burdening them with a heavy physical object. Ebooks and audiobooks don't generate physical waste, so your loved one can enjoy their books without harming the environment.
Plus, with a Kindle or Audible gift card, they can choose from millions of titles and download them instantly. Whether they're looking for the latest bestseller or an obscure classic, there's sure to be a book that they'll love.
Tru Earth Laundry Detergent Strips—$17
Traveling can be tough on your clothes—constantly being packed up and moved around can lead to wrinkles and fabric damage. And if you're trying to be eco-friendly, it can be hard to find a laundry detergent that meets your standards and is easy to tote.
Tru Earth Eco-Strips are vegan-friendly and paraben-free, and they're gentle enough for even the most sensitive skin. Plus, their zero waste, compostable, and plastic-free packaging reduces transportation fuel consumption and global-warming carbon emissions by 94%.
And they couldn't be easier to use—just 1 strip for a full load or half a strip for a smaller load. No measuring and nothing to spill.
Microfiber 100% Recycled Travel Towel—$32
For those who love spending time at the beach, a recycled microfiber travel towel could be just what they need. These towels are made from 100% recycled post-consumer plastic and are very soft and luxurious.
They are also lightweight and compact, making them perfect for taking on the go. Plus, they dry three times quicker than a cotton towel, so you never have to put a damp towel back in your bag.
Sustainable Gift Ideas for the Nature Lover
Individuals who love nature typically enjoy spending time outdoors exploring and observing the world around them. One way to show your appreciation for these individuals is by giving them gifts that are sustainable, eco-friendly, and that support the environment.
When choosing a gift for the nature lover in your life, consider a sustainable or eco-friendly option that will show your thoughtfulness and concern for the planet, such as:
Zero Waste Camping Essentials—$71
Looking for a sustainable gift for the outdoorsy person in your life? How about a collection of eco-friendly personal care products designed for travel?
This kit includes a solid dish bar, a wooden dish brush, a cedar soap tray, reusable snack bags, a shampoo bar, and a bamboo utensil set. For those who love hiking and camping trips, these sustainable products will come in really handy.
Solar-Powered Portable Charger—$60
A set of portable solar-powered chargers is a great gift for the camper or hiker who loves to be off the grid. These panels can be used to recharge phones, cameras, and other electronic devices—perfect for those long days in the wilderness.
Woodlink Wooden Bluebird House—$18
A wooden birdfeeder can provide a great home for feathered friends, and give you a front-row seat to all the action!
Made in the USA and constructed of reforested, kiln-dried, inland red cedar, this feeder is designed to last. The ornithologically designed feeder with a 1/2-inch hole is just the right size to attract bluebirds and the easy-open front makes cleaning a breeze.
Nocs Waterproof Binoculars—$95
Nocs binoculars are a great sustainable gift idea for nature lovers! These binoculars are made with Bak4 high index prisms that provide extra-high resolution images, perfect for birdwatching or observing nature. They also have long eye relief, making them an excellent choice for eyeglass wearers.
The binoculars are also waterproof and fogproof, making them perfect for all weather conditions. They're built to last and come with a no-matter-what lifetime warranty.
If you have a friend or family member who loves to garden, give them a gift that will help them do it in a more sustainable way. A rain barrel is a great option—it will help them save water, which is good for both their plants and the planet.
Sustainable Gift Ideas for the Office
When it comes to choosing gifts for the office, sustainability is a great option. By supporting small businesses, you can help reduce your impact on the environment and promote social and economic justice. Here are some sustainable gift ideas for your colleagues and employees:
Gift Cards to Local Businesses
Giving your colleagues gift cards to local businesses is a great way to support your community and encourage your colleagues to shop locally.
Companies like Give and Get Local can help you find local businesses to purchase gift cards to. Just be sure to Google the businesses before purchasing as Give and Get Local doesn't provide their addresses, so you'll want to make sure it's close enough to be a useful gift to your loved one.
You can also discover new local businesses by searching on Etsy, asking in your local Facebook group, checking your city's website, or, of course, on Google.
The Munchie box - Medium Stainless Steel Bento Box—$26
This stainless steel bento box is the perfect gift for that colleague of yours who wants to bring more homemade lunches! It's a great way to store sandwiches, pasta, wraps, and more, and with the reliable inner silicone ring and airtight clasps, they'll never have to worry about leaks.
The removable divider makes it easy to create small or large compartments, and it's all plastic-free, food-safe, and dishwasher-safe.
Potted plants make sustainable gifts because they can last for years with the proper care. For example, consider the Emerald Beauty plant. Also known as the Chinese evergreen or Aglaonema Maria, this plant is one of the easiest and best-looking houseplants. With proper care, it can eventually grow to be a large, bushy floor plant.
Plus, NASA has even listed the Chinese evergreen as one of its top ten plants for cleaning the air of harmful toxins. When choosing a potted plant as a gift, look for low-maintenance varieties that can thrive indoors.
With proper care, a potted plant can make a sustainable and long-lasting gift.
Theo Chocolate Bars—$37 for 6
As a chocolate addict (er, lover), I go through about one bar of dark chocolate each week. I typically eat it when working to boost creativity, productivity, and mood. Having tried countless brands of Fair Trade dark chocolate, I can safely say that Theo's bars (especially the salted almond) are my favorite.
Made in Seattle using USDA organic, non-GMO, Fair Trade cocoa beans from the Democratic of Congo and kosher dairy these chocolate bars are guaranteed to get your co-workers through the mid-afternoon slump.
Seed Journals—$18 for 3
A seed journal is a perfect sustainable gift for coworkers. It's a small and inexpensive way to show you care about the environment and their well-being.
The journal can be used to record daily thoughts, take notes in meetings, or plan their next big project. The plantable seed paper cover can be planted at any time, and the inside pages are made of vintage rag paper. This gives the journal a rustic look and feel that is unique and sustainable.
Sustainable Gift Ideas for Pets
It's no secret that our furry friends have a big impact on the environment. From the food they eat to the toys they play with, everything we give to our pets has an ecological footprint. Fortunately, there are now more sustainable options available than ever before, making it easy to find eco-friendly gifts for our animal companions.
Seaside Boxy Bed—$105+
Sleep soundly knowing that your dog bed is not only comfortable but also eco-friendly. The Seaside Boxy Dog Bed from P.L.A.Y. (Pet Lifestyle And You) is filled with high-loft PlanetFill® filler made from 100% post-consumer certified-safe recycled plastic bottles.
Not only does this divert plastic waste from landfills, but it's also comfortable for your dog. The unique filling provides the perfect amount of support and cushioning for a restful sleep.
P.L.A.Y. is a certified B Corp and they are committed to making eco-friendly pet products that are also stylish and fun. Their dog beds are made with PlanetFill® recycled plastic bottle polyfiber and are assembled in the USA. They also offer a Fill-a-Bed and Change-a-Cover system where you get the cover and a stuff-sack to fill with your own textiles.
Avocado Organic Dog Bed + Pillow Bolster—$239+
For another sustainable pet bed choice, consider the Avocado organic dog bed. It's made with 100% GOTS organic certified materials.
It is biodegradable, naturally hypoallergenic, and antimicrobial. The mattress is comprised of three inches of breathable coconut husk covered in an inch-think layer of certified organic latex from Avocado's own farm for extra orthopedic support.
The mattress is covered with a waterproof organic cotton liner and a removable, sweat-absorbing organic cotton cover. The optional dog pillow is filled with vegan buckwheat hulls for extra comfort.
Hemp Cat Collar—$16
This hypoallergenic hemp cat collar is lightweight, soft, and adjustable to fit more cats. Made from 55% hemp and 45% organic cotton and handcrafted in the USA, it is both anti-bacterial and anti-microbial.
The collar features a breakaway kitty flip to release your cat if she gets caught on something and is available from Earth Hero in nine colors.
Purple Eco Wool Pet Toy Ball—$14 for 6
Friendsheep's Purple Eco Wool Pet Toy Balls are an eco-friendly and safe toy option for your cat. Made from 100% organic New Zealand wool, these balls are completely plastic-free and biodegradable.
The dyes used are also non-toxic and free from harmful chemicals. The Eco Wool Pet Toy Balls are handmade in Nepal using Fair Trade labor practices in ethical facilities by women living with disabilities.
Friendsheep Wool is also a member of 1% for the Planet and gives about 20% of its proceeds to environmental and social organizations.
Pet Water Fountain with Filter—$70
The Pet Water Fountain with Filter is made of high-quality 304 stainless steel, making it highly durable and corrosion-resistant. The double filtration system provides your pet with pure drinking water, keeping them healthy.
With a capacity of 3.2L, the water fountain is perfect for multiple pet families. Additionally, the ultra-quiet 1.5W pump won't disrupt your sleep, even at night.
Equipped with both faucet and spring modes, the Pet Water Fountain encourages your pets to drink more water, keeping them hydrated and healthy.
Sustainable Gift Ideas for Teachers
Teachers play an important role in shaping the future, and they deserve our thanks and appreciation. Teachers spend their days surrounded by students, so it's important to give them a thoughtful gift that will help them relax and recharge. Here are a few of our favorite sustainable gift ideas for teachers:
FSC-Certified Wood Pencils—$8 for 12
Help a teacher ditch the plastic and go green with a set of sustainably sourced wood pencils. Sharpened and ready to use, these pencils are a thoughtful and practical gift that any teacher is sure to appreciate.
Organic Tote Bag—$37
These versatile bags are perfect for carrying books, papers, and other supplies. Look for one that is large enough to hold everything a teacher needs, but not so bulky that it becomes a nuisance to carry.
This organic cotton option from Nanya Studios is 20" x 14" x 5" and can carry about to 30 lbs.
Gift Cards to Local Restaurants or Cafes
The best sustainable gifts have benefits that impact not only the recipient but a greater community (or the planet) as well. Giving the gift of a meal at a local restaurant or cafe is an example of one such gift. Not only does the favorite teacher in your life get a chance to enjoy some relaxation time and good food, but you're also supporting local businesses in your community.
Small businesses are facing increased operating pressures and it's becoming more and more challenging for them to stay open. Using our giving budgets to help support them is an investment in the places we live and the people who live there.
Plus, experience gifts like these do not generate waste or consume unnecessary resources.
Visit Open Table to find gift card options for local restaurants near you.
Stainless Steel Bento Box Set—$44
If the teacher in your life regularly brings their own lunch to school, why not gift them a set of stainless steel bento boxes for carrying their food? Stainless steel containers with locking lids are one of the easiest ways to achieve a zero-waste lunch.
This particular set from ECO lunchbox is larger than most Bento boxes because it has three separate compartments. The bottom tier is perfect for a full-sized sandwich, the removable snack box pod holds smaller snacks like fruit, nuts, and yogurt, and the top tier keeps pastas, salads, or veggies safely separated from the rest of the food.
Sustainable Gift Ideas for Fashionistas
Sustainable fashion is a growing industry, and there are many stylish options to choose from. While second-hand or upcycled clothing items are the most sustainable (as they do not require the use of new materials), sustainable fashion brands have found creative ways to use eco-friendly materials to make beautiful clothes and jewelry. Here are a few of our top picks:
ThredUp Gift Card
If your fashion-forward friend loves shopping secondhand, consider giving them a gift card to ThredUp.
ThredUp is an online marketplace where people can buy and sell gently used clothing. By shopping at ThredUp, your friend can find great deals on clothing while also reducing textile waste.
North Americans throw away an estimated 10 million tons of clothes every year. Much of this clothing ends up in landfills, where it takes up valuable space and emits harmful gases into the atmosphere. By choosing to shop secondhand, your friend can help to reduce textile waste and make a positive impact on the environment.
Black Compressive High-Rise Legging Made from Recycled Bottles—$78
Girlfriend Collective is a sustainable activewear brand that is quickly gaining popularity among eco-conscious consumers. The brand's motto, "don't make waste, wear it," perfectly encapsulates their mission to reduce textile waste and promote the use of recycled materials in fashion.
All of Girlfriend Collective's products include recycled materials such as post-consumer water bottles, fishing nets retrieved from the ocean, and fabric scraps. Their signature leggings are made from 79% recycled plastic bottles (RPET).
The brand's commitment to sustainability doesn't sacrifice style or function either; their leggings are designed for high-impact workouts and feature a small hidden back pocket for keys or cards. Plus, the sweat-wicking and squat-proof material is soft yet sturdy, with four-way stretch for ultimate comfort.
MCS Save Our Seas T-shirt—£20
As our oceans face ever-increasing threats from pollution, overfishing, and climate change, the need for active conservation efforts has never been greater. That's why Rapanui has collaborated with the Marine Conservation Society, a leading charity that works to restore the health of our oceans and protect marine wildlife.
Through initiatives like beach clean-ups, campaigns to reduce plastic use, and cutting-edge research, the Marine Conservation Society is at the forefront of the fight to save our seas. And every purchase of this exclusive Save Our Seas design helps support that vital work. Made using certified organic cotton, low-waste printing tech, and renewable energy, this stylish t-shirt can be returned to Rapanui at the end of its lifecycle to be made into something new.
Ecoalf Washed Stone Storm Sweatshirt
Founded in 2009, Ecoalf is the first Spanish fashion brand to receive B-Corp certification. The company is tackling unsustainable fashion practices such as seasonal lines, promotional campaigns that encourage impulse buying, and fast fashion by creating timeless, durable pieces that can be worn for years.
Their designs use a combination of materials such as recycled polyester, recycled nylon, recycled wool, and recycled cotton to reduce Co2 emissions and water consumption.
The Storm sweatshirt is made from 50% organic cotton and 50% recycled cotton. It's part of Ecoalf's Because There is No Planet B collection, thoughtfully created to spark conversations and serve as a reminder to evaluate our daily choices.
Eileen Fisher Recycled Cashmere Tweed Hat—$98
Eileen Fisher is another design company shaking up the fashion industry with its commitment to circular design. To do so, they use materials that are renewable, recyclable, and reusable at the end of their useful lives. The company accepts back its used products to be resold, donated, or remade into new designs.
The wool used for this hat is produced in Australia on farms certified to the Responsible Wool Standard. Recycled cashmere comes from yarn respun from fine Italian fabrics, which meets the Global Recycled Standard.
Made in Romania and available in two colors, this cozy hat will keep your loved one warm for many winters.
Sustainable Gift Wrap and Packaging Ideas
The holidays are a time for giving, but all of that wrapping paper and ribbon can quickly add up to a lot of waste. If you're looking for ways to be more sustainable this holiday season, here are some gift wrap and packaging ideas that will help you reduce your environmental impact.
Reuse Paper Gift Bags
One easy way to reduce your environmental impact is to reuse gift bags and boxes. If you have any leftover bags from previous gifts, store them safely to keep them in good condition and use them again. You can also find second-hand bags and boxes at thrift stores or online resale sites.
I like to keep a selection of brown paper gift bags in a variety of sizes on hand. They're recyclable, reusable, and can be used for any occasion. Add some tissue paper in a bright color to jazz your gift up and you have an easy and sustainable wrapping solution.
Another option is to use fabric wrap instead of paper. Fabric can be reused over and over again, and it's also biodegradable. If you do use paper, opt for recycled or recyclable varieties. And don't forget about the power of good old-fashioned brown paper! You can dress it up with some ribbon or twine, or go for a rustic look by leaving it plain.
Fabric Gift Bags—$17 for 9
One easy way to cut down on waste is to use reusable gift bags. You can find reusable bags made from fabric, leather, or even recycled materials. They're often sturdier than disposable wrapping paper, so they can be used year after year. Plus, they're usually more stylish, so your gifts will look great under the tree.
Recyclable Wrapping Paper—$17 for 3 rolls
If you prefer to wrap your gifts in paper, there are some eco-friendly options available. Look for wrapping paper made from recycled materials, or opt for Kraft paper, which is recyclable. You can also jazz up your plain paper by adding your own embellishments like stamps or ribbons. Just make sure they are easily removable/reusable so your recipient can still recycle the paper after they open your gift.
Use Items From Around Your House
Another sustainable option is to use items you already have around the house as giftwrap. A pretty scarf or piece of fabric can be repurposed as a gift bag or wrapping paper. Get creative with what you have on hand and you'll be sure to impress your friends and family with your sustainable gift-giving skills.
Christmas is the time of year when we all come together to celebrate family, friends, and giving. This holiday season, why not give gifts that are sustainable? Not only are these presents good for the environment, but they also support ethical companies and promote awareness about sustainability.
There are amazing sustainable gift ideas out there for everyone on your list, from homebodies to world travelers. Let me know which sustainable gift you’re most excited to give this year!
Need more gift ideas? Check out some of these other gift guides:
- 43 Best Gifts for People Who Love to Read
- Best Christmas Gifts for Skincare Lovers
- 12 Perfect Science Gifts for Teens and Tweens
- 16 Incredible Gifts That Keep Giving All Year Long
- 13 Last Minute Christmas Gifts for Everyone on Your List
Sophie Agbonkhese is a writer, homeschooling mother of four, and a recovering overachiever (who occasionally relapses). She is the founder of My Cup Runs Over, a site dedicated to helping busy women simplify and enrich their lives. When she’s not writing or debugging websites, Sophie spends her time reading, dancing, bullet journaling, reading, gardening, listening to audiobooks, and striving fruitlessly to have a clean house for at least five minutes.