Health Disclosure: This post is meant to be educational in nature and not a replacement for medical advice.
The holiday season is quickly sneaking up on us, making it the perfect time to start thinking about how to celebrate sustainably. As our gift to you, we’d love to share this guide about how to make your gift-giving as green as the tree! But first, let’s dive into exactly what is a sustainable gift.
What makes a gift sustainable or eco-friendly?
The holidays may be filled with joy, but they’re also associated with a significant environmental impact. On average, Americans produce 25% more garbage during the holiday season. This is in addition to roughly five billion pounds of returned gifts that ultimately end up in landfills. This year, consider extending some holiday cheer to our planet by giving planet-friendly presents.
When it comes to eco-friendly gifts, there are several different sustainability factors to consider:
- Is it a responsible gift? Is it something the recipient will truly use and treasure for years to come? Or is it just a gift for gifting’s sake (i.e. something last-minute that will just provide something to be unwrapped)? Make sure any gifts you give are meaningful, and won’t just be immediately trashed or left to collect dust.
- Will it last? Is it made with durable materials or has it been cheaply manufactured?
- Are the materials natural or responsibly-sourced? It’s difficult to completely avoid plastic, but it should certainly be kept to a minimum, or come from recycled sources.
- Will the gift contribute to something greater? It’s great when a gift can light up a recipient’s eyes, but even better when it supports independent artisans, provides fair wages, or contributes to donations to environmental or social causes.
Ultimately, your sustainable gift will be something that comes with a positive impact—whether through being made with eco-friendly materials, encouraging sustainable practices, or supporting people and our planet.
Still at a loss? Consider one of these 20 budget friendly eco-friendly gift ideas.
Top 20 Sustainable or Eco-Friendly Gifts
Sustainable Gifts for the Kitchen
1. Kitchen Composter from Uncommon Goods
The Bokashi kitchen composter from Uncommon Goods is one of the best no-fuss ways to establish an indoor composting system. A perfect gift for eco-enthusiasts who live in an apartment or don’t have a large backyard, the composter uses an all-natural starter that contains microorganisms that help to aid in fermentation.
In just 10 days, a full bucket will be transformed into a pre-compost product that can be buried in the garden. Over time, it will inoculate the soil with beneficial components and in about a month it will become rich topsoil!
Buy it here: Uncommon Goods
2. Silicone Sandwich Bags from Stasher
If a loved one hasn’t made the switch from polluting plastic snack and sandwich bags, introduce them to Stasher—the most popular brand behind reusable silicone zipper bags.They’re air tight, non-toxic, microwave/dishwasher/freezer-safe, and look cute! This collection features five bags and 1% of the sale will support an environmental organization through 1% for the Planet.
Buy it here: EarthHero
3. Beeswax Wraps from Bee’s Wrap
Made with organic cotton, sustainably harvested beeswax, and organic jojoba oil, these reusable, USA-made food wraps are so much better than their plastic, disposable counterparts. They’re easy to use, great at keeping food fresh, and support a woman-owned company and proud B Corp.
Buy it here: Amazon
4. Reusable Coffee Mug & Water Bottle from Klean Kanteen
Family and employee-owned Klean Kanteen uses reusable, recyclable stainless steel in their coffee mugs and water bottles—meaning no plastic, no BPA, no waste, and a hotter or colder drink just when it’s needed. Just a single vacuum-insulated bottle can keep water cold for 47 hours and coffee hot for 14 hours!
Buy it here: Klean Kanteen
5. Thrive Market Gift Card
With thousands of healthy food options and organic food brands on offer, a Thrive Market gift card makes for a perfect, practical gift for an eco-friendly foodie. They can shop by value or dietary need and with every subscription purchase, one is donated to a family in need.
Buy it here: Thrive Market
Eco-Friendly Clothing Gifts
6. Ethical Sweater from Naadam
Staying warm is nearly synonymous with wool, but wool is often associated with environmental harm and animal welfare issues. Not with Naadam! Their $75 sweater for men and women is made with conscious cashmere wool and supports fair payment for herders and preservation of Mongolian ecosystems.
Buy it here: Naadam
7. Organic Pajamas from Pact
Pact combines ethical manufacturing and sustainable materials to make their Fair Trade, organic cotton flannel sleep sets! The cozy PJs empower Indian workers with fair, safe work conditions and are responsible for far less water use and chemical pollution than traditional pajamas. They’ve got sleepwear for the entire family—men, women, kids, and babies.
Buy it here: Pact
8. Sustainable Beanie from tentree
The unisex Smokey Wool Beanie features a Smokey the Bear image and is made from a blend of ethically-sourced Merino wool and recycled polyester REPREVE fabric. It’ll keep your loved one consciously cozy and, like everything from the brand, its purchase will plant ten trees!
Buy it here: tentree
9. Eco-Friendly Underwear from Knickey
They don’t offer men’s underwear (yet), but this Starter Set is a perfect gift for women in need of a reset in their underwear drawer. Theirs are made with GOTS, OEKO-TEX, and Fairtrade certified organic cotton and sent using Carbon-Neutral shipping. They even provide an option to return old undies to be responsibly recycled!
Buy it here: Knickey
10. ThreadUP Gift Card
Sometimes, you just don’t know what to get a loved one. This is where a ThreadUP gift card can come in handy. They can search for sustainable, secondhand clothing, jewelry, shoes, handbags, and accessories, save tons of money, and keep valuable materials out of landfill!
Buy it here: ThreadUP
Sustainable Jewelry Gifts
11. Recycled Silver Ring from Anni Maliki
Featuring a purple-hued Peacock Coin Pearl, this eclipse ring is made from etched .925 recycled sterling silver. This is one of the more affordable pieces of jewelry from the brand, but all would make for excellent holiday or birthday gifts!
With a focus on environmental and artistic stewardship, all of the jewelry pieces are made by artisans are small businesses that promote a better world. Additionally, everything is made from 99% recycled silver. All purchases support TreeSisters, an organization committed to tropical reforestation and feminine empowerment. Through the partnership, more than 7,000 trees have been planted. When was the last time a silver ring did that?
Buy it here: Anni Maliki
12. Recycled Brass Earrings from YEWO
YEWO is a jewelry brand based in a rural village in Malawi. Their jewelry line is made with locally sourced raw materials, like teak wood and the recycled brass that goes into these earrings! The workshop is carbon-neutral, solar-powered, and supports local artisans with fair trade pay and employment benefits like meals, health insurance, and paid time off.
When purchased from Made Trade, the earrings are a 100% Climate Neutral certified order, support a donation to an environmental non-profit, and help a woman-owned, family-run company!
Buy it here: Made Trade
13. Recycled Sunglasses from Parafina
Instead of virgin plastic, Certified B Corp Parafina’s sunglasses are made from 100% recycled rubber. Even better, the rubber comes from tires sourced from the world’s largest landfill in Kuwait. Like other sunglasses, they provide 100% UVA/UVB protection. Unlike other sunglasses, 5% from every sale goes towards school-building projects in Paraguay
Buy it here: EarthHero
14. Organic Scrunchie from Pachamama Market
While not jewelry, per se, the organic scrunchies sold by Pachamama Market are beautiful enough to wear as bracelets! The 100% organic cotton scrunchies come in a variety of colors and patterns, are handmade by fairly supported artisans in Ghana, and are great as stocking stuffers.
Buy it here: Pachamama Market
15. Etsy Gift Card
One of the world’s largest ethical marketplaces is also a great place for jewelry! Between reclaimed materials, vintage pieces, and ethically-sourced metals and gemstones, your loved one will have a lot to choose from. Even better, all Etsy purchases are sent with carbon neutral shipping.
Buy it here: Etsy
Eco-Friendly Beauty Gifts
16. Shampoo & Conditioner Bar Gift Set from Ethique
Introduce your loved one to the world of zero waste hair care! Ethique is one of the biggest names in plastic-free beauty products, and their inexpensive Hair Sampler provides three shampoos and two conditioners—all of which are plant-based, vegan, compostable, and perfect for luscious locks!
Buy it here: Amazon
17. Essentially Yours Beauty Kit from Elate Beauty
In the Essentially Yours Kit from Elate, your friend or family member can unwrap natural, sustainable lip and eye products. It comes with a lip color pencil, lip balm, and mascara—all made with safe, natural ingredients and packaged in reusable or compostable tubes and jars and a tree-free gift box.
Buy it here: Elate Beauty
18. Multi-Use Balmies Gift Set from Axiology
The best beauty tools are those that can be used in multiple ways. Axiology provides just that in their Balmie collection! The gift set features 14 plastic-free crayons that can be used on lips, eyes, and cheeks. Balmies are 100% zero waste, free of nasty ingredients, and vegan and cruelty free.
Buy it here: Axiology
19. Safety Razor from Albatross
Many of us shave, meaning we constantly need to replace our single-use razors which contributes to plastic waste and ocean pollution. Albatross provides a clean-shave and a more responsible alternative with their plastic-free, double-edged stainless steel safety razor. It’s easy to use and comes in a cute biodegradable hemp bag.
Buy it here: Zero Waste Store
20. Coconut Oil Gift Basket from Dr. Bronner’s
If they don’t already know about the magic of Dr. Bronner’s, use the gift-giving season to educate your loved one on one of the world’s most sustainable brands! The gift basket features some of their best-selling products: coconut oil; castile soap in citrus, lavender, and peppermint; toothpaste; unscented castile soap; unscented magic balm; organic lip balm in four scents.
Not only are the products made with mostly organic and Fair Trade ingredients, but they also come in a Fair Trade basket that’s been handmade with local ingredients by a women’s cooperative in Nicaragua. With every purchase, you can select to donate a portion of the purchase to an organization advancing regenerative organic agriculture. It’s truly the gift that keeps on giving!
Buy it here: Dr. Bronner’s
Final Thoughts on Eco-Friendly Gifts
We hope this makes your holiday preparations a little less stressful, and much more sustainable. Don’t forget—your love is the best gift out there, so don’t get caught up with the idea that you need to impress your loved ones with something material. If you do, try to keep it as ethical and environmentally-friendly as possible!
- As an Amazon Associate, ZestofLime earns commission from qualifying purchases, including the product links above.
- Always consult your physician before beginning or changing your diet or exercise program. This general information is not intended to diagnose or treat any medical condition, nor to replace your healthcare professional. Consult with your healthcare professional to design an appropriate exercise and diet plan. If you experience any pain or difficulty with any exercise or diet changes, stop and consult your healthcare provider.