sustainable gifts

Sustainable gift-giving is on the rise, but what exactly makes a gift sustainable? Online, there are seemingly endless products advertised as “eco-friendly”, but it can be difficult to tell whether they are actually good for the environment. 

Let’s understand what exactly makes a gift sustainable, and explore 25 examples of sustainable gifts that everyone in your life can enjoy. 

What exactly are sustainable gifts?

The practice of gift-giving has become increasingly wasteful over the years and has the potential to contribute to our landfills worldwide.

In 2019, Americans alone spent around $15.2 billion on unwanted holiday gifts, and 4% of these gifts ended up in the trash can. 

And we know what happens to waste once it finds its way into a landfill – plastics can take hundreds of years to biodegrade, emitting harmful greenhouse gasses as they do so. Textile waste can also emit harmful gasses and release toxins into surrounding water and soil. 

It’s easy to forget all of the processes that went into creating that discarded gift sitting in a landfill. Manufacturing products requires copious amounts of energy, water, and raw materials like trees and fossil fuels, not to mention the resources that are expended transporting products.

Gift wrapping and packaging is particularly wasteful as well – especially items that come packaged in bubble wrap or other plastic materials that are difficult to recycle.

eco friendly sustainable gift box
Gifts should not only be eco-friendly but also use sustainable packaging

In light of all of the damaging effects that gift-giving can have, sustainable gifts have been rising in popularity in recent years. But what makes a gift sustainable? 

Sustainable gifts are items made from sustainable materials that will not harm the environment once they are at the end of their useful life. These materials are also extracted ethically and do not damage our natural landscape further. Sustainable gifts are also typically packaged in recycled materials that can be recycled again. 

Because of this, purchasing sustainable gifts offers environmental, economic, and social benefits while playing a part in protecting public health. 

Why shop for sustainable gifts?

If you’re aiming to live more sustainably, it’s crucial to think intentionally about the gifts you give. 

You don’t have to be an environmentalist to appreciate receiving a gift that has little to no impact on the environment. Gifting one of these sustainably-made items will not only make you feel good, but your recipient will be thankful for it as well. 

When looking for the perfect gift for a loved one or a colleague, numerous eco-friendly items can pass the test. From ethically-sourced chocolate, or slippers made from responsibly-obtained wool to vegan bags, the list is endless.

Let’s dive in – take a look at these unique sustainable gifts that you can give year round. 

Sustainable gifts for her

From self care products to comfortable pajamas and slippers – these sustainable gifts are perfect for the women in your life, no matter her age. 

1. EarthHero Assorted Self Care Gift Box

This self care gift box is a great option for a day of relaxation. Made up of items from EarthHero brands, this box includes a non-toxic soy candle, a herbal lotion bar, a detoxifying bamboo charcoal soap bar, plant clay face mask, and an exfoliating agave fiber washcloth. 

Why it’s sustainable:

  • Ships plastic-free in packaging made with recycled content.
  • All of the items included are handmade in small batches in the USA, and thus have less of the negative impacts of manufacturing and transport. 
  • Items include all natural, paraben-free ingredients. 

2. Bambüsi Cheese Board and Knife Set

Do you have a cheese lover in your life? This Bambüsi set is an excellent choice for serving cheeses. It offers the best way for you to enjoy those Italian Ricotta slices, French Vacherine, or English Cheddar accompanied by a glass of wine.

Why it’s sustainable: 

  • Handcrafted from 100% sustainable bamboo material for superior quality 
  • Includes a stainless steel knife with a bamboo handle. 

3. Baabuk Mel Slippers

Baabuk Mel Slippers

Looking for sustainably-made footwear for your loved one? These Baabuk slippers are the perfect cozy, high-quality option. Handmade in Nepal by local artisans and offered in eight colors from navy blue to pink, these slippers make a great addition to any outfit.

Why it’s sustainable: 

  • Baabuk slippers are made of natural wool, crepe, and cotton 
  • Wool is a long-lasting and renewable resource, and Baabuk gently sources their wool from New Zealand sheep twice a year

4. KicKee Women’s Short Sleeve Collared Pajama Set

Who doesn’t love a matching pajama set? This option from KicKee is extra smooth, soft, and easy to care for. KicKee’s Signature Bamboo Blend fabric is more sustainable than other fabric options. 

They come in five color options and a variety of sizes, making it easy to choose the right option for your loved one.

Why it’s sustainable:

  • These pajamas are made out of organically-grown and sustainably-sourced viscose from bamboo, which is generally less chemically-intensive to produce.

5. HiBar Maintain Shampoo + Conditioner Bars

This set of Maintain HiBar shampoo and conditioner bars are a perfect gift for all hair types, these bars are 100% safe for color treated hair, and contain no sulfates, parabens, silicone, phthalates, or palm oil

These bars serve as a perfect replacement for single-use plastic hair care bottles, and will last as long, or longer, than a 16oz bottle when stored properly. 

Why it’s sustainable:

  • This set is packaged and shipped 100% plastic free! 
  • Using these products helps reduce reliance on single-use plastic shampoo and conditioner bottles, which are not typically able to be recycled.  
  • When finished, these bars are able to be composted!

Sustainable gifts for him

Searching for sustainable gifts for him? Look no further – these items will inspire their recipient to cut down on single use plastics, and feel good while doing it.

6. EarthHero Sustainable Expert Kit

Have an avid hiker or camper in your life? This EarthHero set is perfect for those that are always on the go and want to cut down on single-use waste. The kit includes reusable grocery bags, reusable sandwich wraps, a utensil set, and a lunchbox. 

When it comes to sustainable gifts, this kit not only has great value but will allow its recipient to reduce their reliance on single-use plastics. 

Why it’s sustainable:

  • Each item in this kit is sustainably-sourced, made of 100% recycled materials, or stainless steel, making it an all-around sustainable option. 
  • In addition, this set is packaged and shipped in recycled materials, and can also be recycled once opened.

7. Badger 3-in-1 Organic Shaving Kit

Badger Basic Shave Set

A family-owned and run company in New Hampshire, Badger’s products are made without chemicals, synthetics, fragrances, parabens, or GMOs. This 3-in-1 set of organic shaving products makes a perfect sustainable self care gift. 

This kit contains a pre-shave balm, shaving soap, and aftershave tonic. Ingredients like baobab, olive oil, witch hazel, and coconut oil create a smooth, moisturizing shave for anyone. 

Why it’s sustainable:

  • These products are made of whole ingredients and free of damaging chemicals. 
  • Badger’s formulas are USDA Certified Organic, and the company is a certified B Corp. 
  • Each product is made locally in the United States. 
  • This set is packaged in recycled material, and two products come in glass bottles.

8. Corkor Vegan Front Pocket Wallet

Corkor creates vegan wallets that are high-quality and a better option for the environment. 

This front pocket wallet fits up to ten cards, and is completely vegan. Local artisans produce Corkor products in small batches, ensuring less is wasted in the production process and quality is high. 

Why it’s sustainable:

  • Corkor is a direct-to-consumer brand. This means middleman’s profits and commissions are directly passed on to you.
  • All of the cork leather used for this wallet is FSC certified, ensuring the protection and adequate harvesting of the cork oak forest.
  • Cork is obtained by removing the outer bark of the tree, without cutting or harming it. As the bark replenishes, cork can be harvested again and again.

9. Autumn Woods Collective Mountain Bespoke Bar Box Set

The Mountain Bespoke Bar Box Set contains a 6 oz flask and a bottle opener. The durable flask features a unique mountain design and is great for traveling or to give as a gift. Both wooden flask and bottle opener are handmade in the USA from stainless steel and sustainably harvested wood. 

Why it’s sustainable:

  • Autumn Woods Collective plants a tree for every product sold – to date, they have planted over 110 thousand trees!
  • Autumn Woods Collective makes their products from sustainably sourced wood that is not on the endangered species list. 

Premium sustainable gifts

These premium sustainable gifts are perfect for a big occasion or when you want to splurge on someone in your life. Take a look at these innovative items that help cut down on waste at home. 

10. Lomi Smart Waste Kitchen Composter

Have an avid gardener or chef in your life? This smart waste composter breaks down waste food and turns it into soil – right on your kitchen counter! 

The Lomi device speeds up the breakdown of organic waste into smaller fragments – quickly, and without the smell and mess. The end result is a natural source of soil nutrients that increase the organic content of soil, helping boost plant growth and soil enrichment. 

Why it’s sustainable:

  • Lomi can reduce the garbage tossed in the trash each week by up to 80%. 
  • This composter produces nutrient-rich soil which can be used for a garden outdoors, or houseplants alike.

11. AeroGarden Harvest with Gourmet Herb Seed Pod Kit

This innovative AeroGarden indoor herb garden is perfect for food-lovers and gardeners alike. Up to six plants grow at a time in the indoor garden, and they grow in water, so no soil is required.  

The AeroGarden Harvest garden includes a seed pod kit, and a high-performance 20-watt LED grow lighting system that results in rapid natural growth of the herbs. The item comes with a control panel that indicates when to add water, plant food, and automatically turns lights on and off for your indoor herb garden

Why it’s sustainable:

  • This supply of fresh herbs all year round can reduce reliance on single-use plastics from the grocery store. 
  • The nutrients AeroGarden provides contain no harmful pesticides or herbicides. 
  • AeroGarden’s seeds are sourced from large and small vendors from around the world. Many are heirloom seeds, organic sources are chosen when available, and GMO seeds are never used. 

12. Twenty39 Qarbo Sparkling Water Maker and Soda Streaming Carbonator

Soda and sparkling water lovers alike will appreciate this at-home soda streaming carbonator from Qarbo.

This product makes it easy to add unique flavors and fruit directly into water, wine, or beer, and get the perfect carbonation each time. Qarbo’s bottles are made of BPA-free PET plastic.

Why it’s sustainable:

  • This product can reduce the use of single-use plastics and cans that may not be reusable – most soda bottles cannot be accepted at recycling facilities because they contain a sticky residue. 
  • Making soda and carbonated beverages at home can also reduce the environmental impact of producing these products and shipping them to stores where they are typically purchased.

Sustainable gifts for foodies

Food waste can be daunting, especially when it comes to the packaging and preparation of dishes. So for the food lover in your life, take a look at these ethically-sourced treats and sustainable gifts that help reduce waste.

13. Smash Eco-friendly Bento 8-Piece Lunch Kit 

This eco-friendly lunch kit includes everything you’d need to enjoy a waste-free meal on the go: a three-compartment stainless steel lunch box, utensil kit, water bottle, and snack bowl. 

Available in three colors, this leakproof and stylish meal kit will make a great gift for your loved ones that are on the go frequently. 

Why it’s sustainable:

  • This set can be reused over and over, helping to keep single-use plastics out of our waterways and landfills.

14. Flying Bird Botanicals Chocolate Lover’s Hot Chocolate Gift Box Set

As the holidays approach, hot chocolate is a favorite gift for all ages. This Flying Bird Botanicals hot chocolate is delicious and ethically-sourced. 

This box set includes four unique flavors: Chokola, Especial, Lavender Mint, and Vanilla Orange. Flying Bird Botanicals takes the extra step to ensure all ingredients are sourced ethically. Their cacao is sourced from Ecuador, one of the few locations that sustainably-grown chocolate is harvested by farmers earning a fair and living wage. 

Why it’s sustainable:

  • All products included are compostable.
  • Cacao used in this box set is sustainably harvested in Ecuador.
  • This set comes in a reusable tin made with recycled steel, and it ships plastic-free in recycled and recyclable content.

15. Conscious Collection Gift Box

Conscious Collection Gift Box

This gift will not only delight its recipient, but also has a substantial social impact. The Conscious Collection was designed to make ethical gifting effortless.

From ethically-produced dark chocolate to Earl Gray Tea that supports local tea production and education, each item in this set has a uniquely social and environmental impact.

Why it’s sustainable:

  • The Buttery Shortbread Biscuits included in this box were made entirely from renewable energy
  • The Madagascar Dark Chocolate Napolitains contribute to reforestation projects and use innovative packaging to reduce waste. 
  • The Lemon-infused Sparkling Water is made from wonky lemons that would otherwise go to the landfill, helping fight food waste.

16. Ecozoi Large Bamboo Cutting Board with Containers

This Bamboo cutting board from Ecozi is an eco-friendly and BPA-free gift for the chefs in our life. 

However, this is no ordinary cutting board – it is uniquely designed to organize cut veggies and meat on the go while you are preparing your food. The set comes with 2 stainless steel organizer trays to collect the cut food items, saving time, counter space, and dish washing.

Why it’s sustainable:

  • The stainless steel and bamboo materials used in this product are more sustainable alternatives than traditional plastic made to create cutting boards and food storage containers
  • Ecozi uses zero-waste packaging that is made from recycled material.
  • Ecozi products are sourced from local artisans, and a tree is planted for each purchase, contributing impactful reforestation and poverty alleviation support.

Sustainable gifts for kids

From eco-friendly beach toys to colored pencils, these sustainable gifts are great options for the little ones in your life.

17. LoveLotte Eco Beach Toy Set for Toddlers & Kids

Looking for an alternative to the plastic beach toys that break year after year? This eco-friendly beach toy set from LoveLotte is a natural, BPA-free alternative to cheap plastic toy sets that harm our environment and the health of our children. 

The deluxe soft-touch bamboo fiber that is used in this beach toy set is heavy duty and stands up to harsh waters and play. The set contains a bucket and three digging tools, perfect for children of any age to enjoy. 

Why it’s sustainable:

  • These beach toys are biodegradable! If lost in the ocean or buried in the sand, they will break down into harmless organic matter within approximately 12 months. 
  • Produced by a small family business, the purchase of this set will allow LoveLotte to donate a portion of their profits to Plastic Oceans to continue their work educating and promoting change.

18. Sprout Pencils Special Mix Edition

These lead-free pencils seeds in place of an eraser! For those who love drawing, you can help them channel all their artistic desires by gifting them these coloring pencils. After the pencil is used up, they can do more good to nature by planting the seed at the bottom.

The Sprout pencil pack contains eight eco-friendly and biodegradable Sprout pencils: six colored ones and two graphite ones. Each pencil has a capsule at the bottom that carries flowers, herbs, or vegetable seeds.

Why it’s sustainable:

  • Sustainable and eco-friendly: the Sprout coloring pencils, as well as the graphite ones, are all lead-free and eco-friendly. They are biodegradable, non-toxic, and made from sustainable materials.
  • Sprout pencils and packaging are either PEFC or FSC certified. This means that every time a tree is harvested, another one is planted.

19. Bamboo Little Soft Baby Bamboo Footie Pajamas

For the precious little one in your life, these bamboo footie pajamas make a great sustainable gift. Made out of bamboo jersey made of 95% bamboo viscose, these fabrics are breathable and hypo-allergenic, perfect for sensitive skin. 

Available in sizes from 0-24 months and fifteen colors and patterns, there’s an option for everyone. 

Why it’s sustainable:

  • Bamboo plants are grown in water, pesticide-free. They also self-regenerate, making this material a sustainable alternative to other fabrics used in footie pajamas.

20. Pick a Toy Bamboo Rainstick

Music-lovers will adore this sustainably-made rainstick that creates soothing rain sounds. 

This rain shaker from Pick a Toy is made with high-quality bamboo that is easy-to-use, durable, and produces a beautiful rain sound that children of any age will enjoy. 

Why it’s sustainable:

  • Bamboo is one of the most sustainable natural resources that can be used to create toys, and a great alternative to unbiodegradable plastics that are typically used.

Sustainable gifts for pets

Sustainable gifts aren’t just for people! These gifts are sure to delight any of your furry friends – without damaging the environment or their health.

21. EarthHero Pampered Pup Dog Gift Box

Have a furry friend that you want to spoil? The Pampered Pup Dog Gift Box is a perfect starter kit for a new and energetic puppy. 

This set comes with essential toys like a tugg-able hemp ball, organic cotton-stuffed dog bone, paw protection salve, and tasty calming chews to entertain any pup. These products are cruelty-free and not tested on animals. 

Why it’s sustainable:

  • These products are free of dyes, parabens, chemicals, fragrance, sulfates, and detergents. 
  • Every item is made from earth-friendly and plastic-free materials that are safe for pets, humans, and the planet.
  • Each product is ethically made in the U.S. or China.

22. Beco Pets Natural Rubber Dog Treat Ball

This natural rubber dog treat ball from Beco Pets is an eco-upgrade to the classic tennis ball that dogs of all ages love! 

Made from 100% natural rubber with a vanilla scent, this ball features a hollow center for hiding treats. 

Why it’s sustainable:

  • This item ships plastic-free in packaging made from recycled content. 
  • The ball is BPA-free and responsibly-made in China. 

23. Spot Ethical Products 3 Pack of Bam-Bones

Bones are important for the health of any dog’s teeth, but can sometimes cause irritation because of their harsh materials. These Spot Ethical bam-bones are made of strong bamboo fibers that are long-lasting and won’t irritate the pup in your life! 

Why it’s sustainable:

  • Bamboo is a more sustainable and gentle material than is typically used in dog toys. 

24. Beco Pets Hemp Ring Dog Toy

Do you know a pup that loves to fetch? This hemp ring dog toy from Beco Pets has you covered! 

Made from recycled cotton and sustainably-harvested hemp, this durable dog toy has tough fibers that clean your dog’s teeth as they chew. Its shape is also perfect for fetch and play indoors and outdoors. 

Why it’s sustainable:

  • Hemp is a sustainable material that grows without pesticides, needs very little water and returns 60-70% of its nutrients back to the soil.
  • This item ships plastic-free in packaging made from recycled and recyclable content.
  • Beco Pets donates 5% of profits towards the Beco Foundation, a non-profit charity run by a third-party board that donates to charities and causes helping animals across the world!
  • Beco Pets does not test on animals.

25. Honest Pet Products Eco Mouser

Cats of all ages and temperaments will love this mouse cat toy from Honest Pet Products, which is made from 100% natural hemp canvas and filled with natural catnip. If you’re looking for sustainable gifts with a conscience, then this one should fit the bill!

The purchase of this item will help to support the Americans who help make them in Wisconsin, as well as the crafters in Nepal who handmake several of the wool parts used in Honest Pet’s items. 

Why it’s sustainable:

  • Hemp is a sustainable alternative to other materials frequently used in pet toys like plastic or silicone. 
  • This toy is 100% biodegradable and uses sustainable materials, helping reduce our carbon footprints. 

Choose sustainable gifts for every occasion you can

As consumers around the world become more eco-conscious with their gift-giving, sustainable gifts are available everywhere. 

The environment is all we have and must take good care of it if we also want to live abundant lives. Since gifting is something most people can’t do without, why not do it in an eco-friendly way?

With the above variety of sustainable gifts, and many more available both locally and online, we can continue creating awareness for every person to do their part in preserving our environment.

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