Eco-friendly gifts are a growing trend and we are here for it!
The holidays can be a wonderful time for us, but a terrible time for the planet. Every year, there is a huge global spike in the consumption of consumer goods during the holidays.
These might bring magic and joy to you and your loved ones, but what do they do to the environment?
Conscious consumption is always a bit challenging in a consumer-driven world, but the holidays can be downright hard.
Often, we need to buy things in a hurry and sadly sustainable gifts aren’t always easy to find. How do you even know what to look for and how to choose sustainable options?
So, what are the environmental impacts of holiday gifts and how can we do better?
In this guide, we’re covering exactly that, plus some great sustainable and eco-friendly holiday gifts to give instead. Who doesn’t love a good gift!?
Let’s jump right in!
Skip to What You Need
- 1 The Environmental Impact of Holiday Gifts
- 2 How to Choose Great Eco-friendly Gifts
- 3 36 Amazing Eco-Friendly Gifts
- 4 Wrapping Up
- 5 Frequently Asked Questions
- 6 References and Useful Resources
The Environmental Impact of Holiday Gifts
When it comes to the holidays, there is a huge spike in the consumption of consumer goods. Driven by events like Black Friday, Cyber Monday, and Christmas people buy vast quantities of gifts, electronics, toys, decorations, food, clothing and accessories, and just about every consumer good out there.
In the US alone, the National Retail Federation projected that 2021 holiday season spending in November and December would increase by between 8.5% and 10.5%, with a value between $843.4 billion and $859 billion. Although the numbers for 2022 aren’t out yet, the growth is expected to increase even more this year.
So, how do holiday gifts and increased consumption impact the environment?
This comes down to a few key things:
The Holidays and Holiday Gifts Generate Vast Amounts of Waste
Almost every item bought or sold comes in some form of packaging, the majority of which contains at least some plastic. Online purchases come in even more packaging due to shipping and they also need things like Styrofoam pellets to protect items in transit.
Most plastic packaging cannot be recycled and goes straight to landfill. Take a look at this video by CBC News for a peek into what this looks like:
Holiday Gift Manufacturing and Distribution Impact the Environment
When we give gifts, they’re often not items that are really needed by the recipient. That means that the environmental impact of those items’ manufacture and distribution is really unnecessary and avoidable.
The environmental impacts of holiday gifts and the packaging they come in start from the raw materials used to make them and continue right up the supply chain.
In broad strokes, these include things like climate change, water use, greenhouse gas emissions, impacts from manufacturing processes, wasted resources, and waste generation.
There are also profound social and ethical impacts, the people involved in the production of raw materials and the manufacture of the goods we buy.
Cosmetics and make-up are a great example:
As you can see, something as simple and seemingly innocent as a tube of hand cream can leave a huge environmental, social and ethical footprint behind it.
So, how do you choose eco-friendly and sustainable gifts instead?
Let’s take a look at some easy ways to make the holidays more sustainable.
How to Choose Great Eco-friendly Gifts
How do you choose eco-friendly gifts? Here are some easy ways to make your holiday gifts more sustainable:
- Choose items that the recipient really needs and will use (and reuse)
- Opt for sustainable materials and skip the plastic wherever you can
- Buy secondhand wherever you can
- Opt for natural fibers and natural materials that can be composted or disposed of safely
- Select organic and sustainably made items, learn a bit about the company what they do to reduce their impact on the environment
- Buy local and support small businesses
- If you’re buying online, look for places that offset their carbon emissions from shipping
- Choose vegan and/or cruelty-free items
- Look for reliable sustainability certifications
- Consider social impacts and choose Fair Trade businesses and those that treat workers well
- Consider buying experiences or subscription rather than physical things
- Look for businesses that use sustainable packaging
- Reuse last year’s wrapping paper or use a fabric wrap that can be used and reused
- If you have to buy wrapping paper or cards, use plastic-free wrapping paper that can be recycled or composted
- Skip the plastic and polyester ribbons
Right, with the above in mind, let’s look at some great eco-friendly gifts! We have chosen gifts from companies that go good for the environment and make great quality, sustainable gifts.
36 Amazing Eco-Friendly Gifts
Here is our selection of the best eco-friendly gifts to give in 2023:
11 Eco-Friendly Gifts for Him
1. Plantish – Wooden Essential Oil Diffuser
These discrete wooden essential oil diffusers from Plantish are the perfect alternative to chemical-laden air fresheners! They look great on a desk, in the home or in the car and they’re made to last out of natural wood.
Add a little aromatherapy to your day to day life by simply adding a few drops of your preferred essential oil to the wood, which absorbs the oil and then slowly released the scent. When the scent is gone, you can top up with the same oil or choose a different one.
Plantish is a small Canadian business that sells plastic-free, zero-waste and vegan products. All their products are sourced responsibly and made to last, using natural materials. Most are reusable, recyclable, or home compostable. We love their dedication to sourcing and providing eco-friendly products for the whole family!
Price: $12 (CAD)
2. Solios Solar Watches – The Solar Black
Solios is a B Corp certified watch brand making solar-powered watches with the environment in mind. Founded in Montreal, they aim to create a circular economy, minimize the environmental footprint of manufacturing and maximize long-term usage of each item. They offset their carbon emissions and aim to be net-zero by 2025.
Their watches are made from infinitely recyclable stainless steel, and silicone-based eco-vegan leather that contains no plastic.
Solar watches run on renewable energy and last much longer than conventional battery-operated watches. They offer a take-back program to take back old watches so that the materials can be recycled.
We love their clean, minimalist designs for men and women, and their dedication to creating a sustainable brand. A great eco-friendly gift for a watch enthusiast who also loves the planet!
Price: $340 (both men’s and women’s styles)
Website: Solios Watches
3. Butter Me Up Organics – Organic Magnesium Lotion
Butter Me Up Organics makes a wonderful range of cruelty-free, zero-waste personal care products. All their products are personally made in-house at their studio in Livermore, California.
They use only natural ingredients, which are carefully sourced, mainly from local suppliers. Most of their ingredients are fair trade and certified organic.
Butter Me Up Organics is a passionately zero-waste brand. They minimize waste in all their processes and only use sustainable packaging that is biodegradable or compostable, reusable, or recyclable. They ship 100% plastic-free, using materials that are recycled and recyclable.
Butter Me Up Organics’ Organic Magnesium Lotion is a rich and nourishing lotion made with organic avocado oil, shea butter, coconut oil, and pure lavender essential oil.
The base of the lotion is a Magnesium oil that Butter Me Up Organics made themselves. Magnesium is readily absorbed through the skin and offers a host of health benefits! It is packaged in a glass jar, with a metal lid.
Website: Butter Me Up Organics
4. Trail Botanica – Everyday Care: Vegan and Zero-Waste Skincare Set
Trail Botanica (previously known as ApothecaryMuse) is a Pennsylvania-based skincare brand making vegan, zero-waste ‘Adventure Skincare.’ Their products are a great choice for men or anyone who prefers a minimalist approach to their skincare.
Train Botanica’s products are made with all-natural and plant-based ingredients and contain no plastic and no manufactured chemicals. Even their packaging is plastic-free, as they use a biodegradable plant-based ‘cellophane’ instead.
We love their Everyday Care skincare sets, which contain a Meditation Mixer Soap, Herbal Warrior Lip Balm, Trail Blazer Deodorant, and a Funk Fighter Laundry Stain Stick. The perfect eco-friendly gift for someone who loves an active, outdoor adventure!
Website: ApothecaryMuse/Trail Botanica on Etsy
5. Allegorie – Black Gala Bi-Fold Cardholder
Allegorie is a women-owned, environmentally sustainable, and socially ethical brand making bags and accessories from food waste.
Soiled produce and fruit peels from the fruit juice industry are the main source of raw materials, diverting them from landfills and avoiding the huge amounts of greenhouse gases released by rotting produce in landfills.
Unlike most ‘vegan leathers,’ their plant-based leather alternative material is completely biodegradable and contains no plastic/PVC. The material and final products are made in ethical, socially responsible working conditions.
Allegorie bags, purses, wallets, and cardholders are beautifully styled in simple, minimalist designs that limit waste from offcuts. They’re a great choice if you’re looking for a chic eco-friendly gift.
6. Chilote Shoes – House Shoes
Chilote Shoes is a sustainable and eco-friendly shoe brand from Patagonia. They make slow-crafted, hand-made cozy wool slippers that are about as traditional as it’s possible to get.
Handcrafted slowly by a network of independent artisan women in Patagonia with locally-sourced wool, vegetable saddle leather, and a QR code that transparently tracks each wool slipper back to the artisan group that made it.
Chilote Shoes is a Certified B Corp that only uses locally sourced raw sheep wool and organically (vegetable) tanned leather. There is no factory, and no production line, just a group of hard-working women. The entire collaborative effort is sustainable and climate positive.
Their packaging is entirely plastic-free, using only recyclable cardboard and paper.
Chilote Shoes works to empower artisans by providing sustainable and consistent employment opportunities throughout the year.
With no factory or location that artisans need to work from, their artisan partners can set their own schedules and do not need to commute to larger cities, which allows them to work surrounded by their families while earning a reliable income.
Website: Chilote Shoes
7. Finex – Cast Iron Pan
Finex is a cookware company based in Portland, Oregon. They make robust hand-crafted cast iron skillets that are functional, durable, and elegantly designed to stand the test of time. With a patented octagonal shape, the skillet sides make it easier to release cornbread, and each corner serves as a pouring spout for soups and stews without dripping on the table.
Finex’s small team of Portland-based craftspeople, cooks, and designers are obsessed with the intentional design, quality, and craftsmanship of antique cast iron cookware and took it upon themselves to build it on American soil.
Finex took the best attributes of vintage cast iron cookware: machine-smoothed cooking surfaces, flaxseed oil pre-seasoning, stone-tumble polishing, and added modern functional design elements like the ergonomically designed “Speed Cool” handle inspired by antique wood stoves, designed to temper heat and feel great.
Using temperatures exceeding 2,000 degrees, FINEX carefully melts quality sourced iron from North America for each piece, which is handmade by six craftspeople and takes more than 12 hours from beginning to end.
Every skillet comes polished, tumbled, pre-seasoned, and assembled entirely by hand.
Price: $230.00 (12” Skillet) – $300.00 (Inc. Lid)
8. TenTree – Mobius Backpack
TenTree is a Certified B Corp based in British Columbia, Canada that won Best For the World in Community in 2021. They make a vast range of apparel, accessories, bags, and homeware from closed-loop, chemical-free, soil-friendly, and 100% recycled materials. Their clothing caters to the whole family and is focused on comfort, versatility, and long-lasting clothing.
For every item purchased, The so-named TenTree plants ten trees in an effort to regenerate ecosystems, capture carbon and provide planting jobs in communities around the world. All their manufacturing processes and products are created with an Earth-First approach, meaning they’re made in fair, safe working conditions and constructed using only sustainably sourced and recycled materials.
Since 2018 they replaced plastic packaging with rolling and tying their items with recyclable paper twine, or a fully recyclable poly bag. Even their hangtags and mailer packaging is 100% recycled.
Tentree is committed to sustainability at every step of its production, packaging, and delivery chain.
The Mobius bag is packed full of features that have their own sustainable element, like Recycled polyester lining and Recycled trims made from post-industrial waste.
Website: Tentree Shop
9. Mondaine – Essence Wristwatch
Mondaine is an eco-friendly CO2-neutral Heritage brand based in Switzerland. Their watches feature exquisite swiss movements in classic and timeless designs and are made, in the case of their Essence range, using eco-friendly, renewable materials, including Rizinus (castor oil) for its case, natural rubber for the strap, and 100% recycled PET bottles for its multi-purpose pouch.
Their factory is 80% solar powered, which is a great contributor to their CO2 neutrality, along with the use of hydroelectricity at their HQ, a 50% reduction in packaging volume, and the use of eco-friendlier materials in their products.
Every element of the Essence collection watch has eco-friendly materials incorporated, including the watchstrap, which is made from a textile manufactured from recycled PET bottles with an ethically sourced cork lining.
The watchcase of the Essence is made of renewable, and recycled materials, 41% castor oil, 27% fossil plastics, 30% glass powder, and 2% color, resulting in an elegant and clean watch face and an elegant and clean manufacturing footprint.
Website: Mondaine Store
10. Veja – Minotaur Veja X Berlin Sneakers
Veja creates sneakers with a mix of social projects, economic justice, and ecological materials in Brazil. There are no buzzwords here when it comes to environmental responsibility. Their vast range of shoes is broken down, piece by piece, to show you exactly what went into each part, what materials were used, and how they were sourced.
Deconstructed is how they show transparency while maintaining high standards for themselves and their entire supply chain, including their logistics.
Veja does not advertise, knowing how much branding impacts cost. Even though a pair of VEJA costs 5 to 7 times as much to produce, they are sold for the same price as “big” brands.
Their higher spending on pre-production means that raw material producers are more justly compensated, social and environmental impacts are constantly optimized, and sneakers are manufactured in conditions where everyone gets the respect they deserve.
The Minotaur Veja X Berlin White Pierre is made from Chromefree leather that uses 40% less water and 80% less salt during their innovative tanning process, Amazonian rubber, rice waste, sugar cane, recycled vinyl and rubber, 100% recycled polyester, and organic, fair-trade, ethical cotton.
Website: Veja Store
11. Biodynamic Coffee – Rubicon
Biodynamic Coffee are roasteries in California, USA, and Montreal, Canada, that make No Compromise Coffee. They hold themselves and their suppliers to the highest standards possible, making only Specialty grade Biodynamic coffee from single-estate regenerative farms, and lab testing every batch for mold & heavy metals.
Biodynamic agriculture certification has stringent requirements. There are no exemptions for broad-spectrum natural pesticides in Biodynamic farming, and Biodynamic Farmers are required to set aside at least 10% of the total farm acreage for biodiversity – riparian zones, wetlands, grasslands, and forests – and Biodynamic certification now includes soil testing for carbon sequestration.
All that extra effort is made in the name of environmental safety for you, and the earth. Their farming practices sequester CO2, resulting in better yields, and climate resilience, maintain biodiversity, and produce cleaner, healthier foods.
Their packaging is 100% compostable, including the valve.
Website: Biodynamic Store
9 Eco-Friendly Gifts for Her
1. Scoria – Butterfly Cork Yoga Mat
Scoria is a woman-owned business making sustainable yoga mats with the vision of bringing play and joy back into adult life. Their products are made from biodegradable, recycled, or natural, renewable materials, in ways that minimize energy use and waste.
Scoria yoga mats are made using 100% sustainably grown cork and backed with natural tree rubber. They contain no synthetic TPE/PVC plastics yet do not lose any comfort, functionality, or durability. Cork is also naturally anti-microbial and non-slip, making them a good choice for hot yoga.
Their cork yoga mats come in a variety of designs to suit anyone’s preference, from completely plain to intricately patterned.
Website: Scoria World
2. Baleen Jewelry – Ohelo Necklace
Baleen Jewelry is a small Seattle-based studio that produces handmade pieces out of recycled metals in a zero-waste facility. They make a comprehensive range of jewelry, including rings, necklaces, bracelets, and anklets.
Every piece contains recovered and recycled metals and/or materials like colorful, plant-based cellulose acetate.
Baleen offsets its shipping carbon emissions, and its packaging is recycled and recyclable. Their tags and gift boxes are made of recycled paper, from a mill powered by renewable energy in the USA.
They do not use any plastic bubble wrap and instead use 100% recyclable paper shaped like a honeycomb to protect products in transit. The paper is also sustainably sourced from an SFI-certified source.
We love the wide range of styles and designs they have, from bold pieces to delicate necklaces and dainty chains, like this Ohleo Necklace.
3. Pact – Organic Cotton Honeycomb Knit Scarf
Pact is a small sustainable clothing brand from Colorado. They’re one of the most popular eco-friendly brands and use only GOTS-certified organic cotton. All their garments are made in a Fair-Trade-certified factory in India.
Certified organic cotton requires more than 70% less water, and none of the harmful chemicals used to grow conventional cotton.
We love their Honeycomb Knit Scarf, as a cozy but pretty and practical eco-friendly gift.
Their packaging is made from 98% to 100% post-consumer recycled paper and cardboard, which are completely recyclable. The plastic sleeves inside are made from biodegradable plastic.
Pact also offsets its carbon emissions from shipping through offset purchases for renewable energy.
4. Nisolo – Rosa Pouch
Nisolo is a Nashville-based company making sustainable leather goods. They are B Corporation, Climate Neutral, and Leather Working Group Certified. They make bags, wallets, shoes, and belts for both men and women, out of leather that is processed sustainably.
Nisolo reduces and offsets 100% of its carbon (for its entire supply chain), uses natural materials, and is committed to ethical working conditions and living wages throughout its entire supply chain.
We love these Rosa Pouches as a high-quality gift that is the perfect size to use as a clutch, or you can use it in your purse or tote bag with anything small inside it, even cosmetics or electronics. These little purses make a stunning eco-friendly gift that can be used in so many ways, for many years to come.
5. 8000 Kicks – Hemp Shoes
8000 Kicks is a shoe brand that makes 100% vegan and eco-friendly shoes from Portugal. From the founder’s idea, along with his grandmother’s skills, came the world’s first waterproof hemp shoe. Their range has since expanded to backpacks, wallets, accessories, and a lot more styles of shoes.
Their hemp fabric is waterproof and dustproof while still being 100% vegan and sustainable, thanks to the properties of hemp. Hemp is a long-lasting material and is very ecological, as it consumes five times less water than cotton, restores nutrients in the soil, needs no fertilizer to grow, and captures CO2 from the atmosphere.
The Explorer model shoe was their first-ever model and was designed to be the most sustainable, durable, and comfortable sneaker ever built. They were clearly a hit, and customers love them.
The materials they use on the shoe are sustainable from top to sole. The sole is made of an innovative foam made from algae, and the hemp in-sole has anti-microbial, anti-bacterial, and temperature-regulating properties.
Website: 8000 Kicks
6. Rawganique – Organic Hemp Robe
Rawganique was founded in 1997 by off-grid islanders in the U.S. They grow, weave, knit & sew unique, organic cotton, linen & hemp clothing, bed, bath & home products in-house in the USA and EU. Their fabrics are chemical-free and organic and are locally made to reduce their carbon footprint.
They formulated their products specifically for chemically sensitive skin and customers who demand more than just lip service from their “green” products.
They were shocked at the lengths most garment companies will go to make clothing look good while using harmful chemicals like dioxin, formaldehyde, bleach, and toxic dyes, which are routinely used in so-called organic clothing.
Rawganique’s bathrobes are crafted from unique and rare organic hemp knit and flax linen and have extra comfy sweater weight. The production is entirely sweatshop, chemical, bleach, and dye-free.
Making the choice to stay small-scale means they handcraft all their products from end to end without consideration for the requirements of large-scale machinery.
Website: Rawganique Shop
7. Obakki – Beeswax Candle
Obakki is an international collaborative effort to widen access to ethical, artisanal, fair-trade products. They start by helping artisans establish sustainable local markets for their hand-made, small-batch products, before giving them a platform to access a wider international audience.
Every supply chain is vetted and built to protect the environment and the artisan’s future livelihood.
Obakki works directly with its artisan partners to create modern products while respecting, preserving, and protecting traditional artistry.
They also fund development work through the Obakki Foundation, a philanthropic counterpart, which focuses on providing clean water access and livelihood initiatives around the globe, which has helped over 4 million people to date.
Each specialty Beeswax candle is hand-poured in Mexico out of 100% beeswax sourced in Chiapas. Each layer is poured by one artisan named Viviana, who is continuing her family’s legacy of traditional candle-making.
Website: Obakki Shop
8. By Rosie Jane – Angie Eau de Parfum
Rosie Jane is a woman-owned eco-conscious luxury brand based in Los Angeles. They are a carbon-neutral company, with 100% recyclable packaging made using wind power, vegetable-based inks, and sustainable paper.
They are a member of the “1% for the planet” network, an organization that certifies and tracks donations and their real-world impact. Rosie Jane donates 1% of gross sales annually, supporting real environmental impact around the world.
Their products are certified vegan and cruelty-free, and their 100% ingredient transparency pledge ensures clean and safe products, both for you and the planet. All ingredients are responsibly sourced, sustainable, and certified organic whenever possible, including organic sugar cane alcohol and organic fractionated coconut oil.
They also have a recycling program that rewards customers with 20% off brand vouchers when they send their used caps, pumps, and roller-balls in, which are then re-used, meaning zero waste.
“Angie” is named for the founder’s love for Los Angeles, with notes of honeysuckle jasmine and fig, the smells of night blooms in Spring.
Website: byRosieJane Store
9. Bearaby – Tree Napper Blanket
Bearaby is a women-owned Brooklyn-based company that manufactures weighted blankets that are planet friendly and free from fillers and synthetic materials. Their products are made from a variety of innovative materials, which are ethically sourced and cultivated.
All three blanket options are planet friendly, from TENCEL™ wood-woven fabric and Fairtrade International Certified wool, to 100% GRS-certified recycled marine plastic. Their weighted blankets are thoughtfully crafted to be comfortable and cooling for improved sleep.
Bearaby is a zero-waste company, with a zero-plastic production line from the start, and no plastic wrapping or excess packing materials around our products. All their products are shipped in 100% organic cotton bags.
Their flagship “Tree Napper” is made from TENCEL™ Lyocell sourced from Austria, where it’s farmed in a natural and sustainable closed-loop process.
Sustainably relying on natural rainfall to grow, this fabric woven from renewable Eucalyptus Wood pulp uses 90% less water than traditional fabric, is 100% biodegradable and is one of the most sustainable fabrics on earth.
Website: Bearaby Store
7 Eco-Friendly Gifts for Kids
1. Fitch & Folk – Wooden Picture Blocks
Fitch & Folk makes beautiful décor, baby toys, playmats, and blankets out of natural materials, like certified organic cotton and beechwood, painted with non-toxic paints. Many of their products are fully customizable so that you can give a truly one-of-a-kind, personalized gift.
Their wooden toys are hand-made in Australia, and their soft items are made in India, by Fair Trade partners using certified organic cotton. Bonus: if you buy through their Etsy shop, your shipping will be carbon neutral – making your eco-friendly gift even more sustainable!
We love their customizable wooden block sets as a gift for small children. They’re natural, non-toxic, and hand-painted. The blocks are 5cm square, making them the perfect size and weight for babies and toddlers.
Small wooden blocks that have been customized will last a lifetime and make a great keepsake too.
Price: $15.35 (set of 3) – $51.15 (set of 10)
Website: Fitch $ Folk on Etsy
2. Tender Leaf Toys – Galaxy Magblocs
Tender Leaf Toys is an eco-friendly toy brand from California. They make beautifully hand-crafted wooden toys, puzzles, and games for children of all ages. Their toys encourage imaginative play and physical interaction with different shapes and sizes.
Tender Leaf Toys are made from FSC-certified plywood and sustainably reclaimed rubberwood, which is a by-product of the latex industry. They use only safe, non-toxic paint and glue, which contains no formaldehyde.
Their packaging is completely plastic-free, and they use recyclable cardboard and paper instead.
The facility where the toys are made in Indonesia is family-owned, and they ensure good working conditions and fair wages for all their workers.
Tender Leaf Toys made a huge range of toys and sets, from simple blocks to intricate playsets and dollhouses. We love their magnetic blocks because they’re super cute, simple, and versatile – giving plenty of options for a young imagination to run wild with!
Website: Tender Leaf Toys
3. Sophie la Girafe – Natural Rubber Baby Blocks
Sophie la Girafe is an historically naturally produced toy that has kept the same harm-free production processes for more than 59 years. Sustainable and eco-friendly, their toys are made from latex from Hevea trees, grown sustainably in tropical regions, and painted with natural pigments, making them ideal for teething.
These products still use a handmade process to shape and craft each toy and then hand paint each one.
Their packaging is completely plastic-free, using only recyclable cardboard and paper.
Made from 100% naturally occurring rubber from rubber trees grown in Malaysia, and contain no BPA, BPS, lead, phthalates, or toxins and are colored with vegan, food-grade dye
Website: EarthHero Shop
4. Ekobo – Bambino Recycled Bamboo Toddler Feeding Set
EKOBO is an eco-friendly French company that saw the need for reusable, non-toxic dishware for kids, and used their years of expertise in Fairtrade bamboo handicraft and product design to develop their signature BIOBU® bamboo fiber eco-composite.
Their production is handled by a BSCI-compliant Fair Trade manufacturer in China, where workers receive fair, living wages and work in safe conditions that adhere to fair trade standards.
EKOBO’s super strong BIOBU material is made from raw organic bamboo sawdust, a by-product of China’s chopstick and flooring industry, which is finely ground and mixed with a food-safe and non-toxic melamine-binding resin.
This set for toddlers includes a sturdy bowl with a non-slip base, a spoon, and a sippy cup with a premium-grade silicone lid, perfect for everyday use at home, and solid and durable enough to take on the go.
Exceptionally durable and eco-friendly, bamboo fiber tableware is made with food-safe, non-toxic, 100% food-grade dyes, and is BPA, PVC, and phthalate free.
5. Hazel Village – Gwendolyn Raccoon
Hazel Village is a Brooklyn-based company that makes organic, ethically-made toys and clothing in partnership with social enterprises around the world. These organizations empower artisans with job skills, dignified work, and fair wages.
Their Hazel Villagers dolls and clothing are made from organic cotton and stuffed with hypoallergenic polyfill in Brooklyn, Peru, Nepal, and Cambodia. Each production partner is socially responsible, and focuses on community upliftment, education, and empowerment of marginalized or disadvantaged groups, from rural artisans and survivors of trauma or discrimination to street children in Phnom Penh.
Each animal comes with their own backstory, and artwork, and is almost fully customizable. They can be ordered with a variety of accessories, outfits, and matching kid’s outfits, and they can even be monogrammed, making this a perfect tailor-made gift for kids.
Website: Hazel Village Shop
6. Made By Bees – Beeswax Crayons
Made By Bees is a hobby that became a collaboration with the community, and then became a lively Ontario organization that produces more than 60 products, from beeswax food wraps and cutting board wax, to beeswax crayons and Swedish dishcloths.
Bees wax food wraps help to avoid food waste by keeping food fresher for longer, and reduce plastic pollution by offering a viable replacement for single-use disposable plastics. They are all-natural, biodegradable, eco-friendly, plastic-free, and sustainable.
They are also actively involved in bee advocacy, hosting demonstrations, workshops, and speaking engagements.
Their beeswax crayons are made using a blend of all-natural and food-safe ingredients. They are non-toxic and safer for children to use than traditional paraffin-based crayons in the event of accidental consumption.
The wooden caddy is a perfect way to both store, and display your crayons. It also acts as a puzzle-like activity for your child to practice fine-mobility skills and help clean up their coloring area.
Website: Made By Bees Store
7. Bureo – Minnow Cruiser Skateboard
Bureo is the Californian creator of NetPlus® material, a fabric made from 100% post-consumer recycled fishing nets. With 20 communities across four countries, Bureo has repurposed over 789,225 lbs of fishing nets, preventing them from ending up in the ocean as dangerous waste.
By replacing new plastics with post-consumer recycled NetPlus® fabric, Bureo is able to prevent harmful waste in the environment and reduce the need to extract fossil fuels.
The Minnow is the first skateboard deck in the world made from recycled fishing nets. The wheels are also made from 30% vegetable oil wheels and premium marine grade hardware for the trucks and deliver a quality ride.
Each skateboard prevents more than 30 square feet of harmful plastic fishing nets from entering the ocean.
Website: Bureo Store
9 Eco-Friendly Gifts for the Whole Family
1. Plaine Products – Zero Waste Starter Kit
Plaine Products is a woman-owned, zero-waste, vegan, and cruelty-free brand. They’re also a Certified B Corp, carbon-neutral, and partner with 1 for the Planet.
Their ranges include zero-waste hair care, body care, and face care products, as well as a lovely selection of zero-waste gift sets! All their products are natural, safe, and non-toxic, using only Environmental Working Group (EWG) approved ingredients.
As a fully zero-waste brand, they use aluminum bottles and offer refills and subscription services. Their shipping is carbon-neutral, and they use recycled boxes for delivery and returns.
Plaine Products’ Zero-Waste Starter Kit doubles as a travel kit, and makes an excellent gift! It contains a full-size hand wash and lotion, as well as travel-size shampoo and conditioner.
They’re all refillable, and the travel-size shampoo and conditioner are a nice choice for someone trying them for the first time. We love the Rosemary Mint Vanilla, but you can also try their Unscented or Citrus Lavender.
Price: $50 per set
2. Simply Chi Vintage – Glass Domes and Terrarium Jars
Simply Chi Vintage is a California-based store selling second-hand items that are an “eclectic mix of the 80s & 90s, mid-century, boho-inspired, and anything that just has an organic, earthy feel”. They stock a wide range of items, from home décor and lighting to toys and trinkets.
When it comes to eco-friendly gifts, buying second-hand is a great choice. Especially if the items you’re buying are high-quality and made from natural materials so they can be reused again or recycled/disposed of safely.
We love these rustic glass dome specimen displays and terrarium jars. They’re pretty, versatile, and made of glass, so they can be infinitely recycled when the time comes.
Simply Chi Vintage sells second-hand, so their pieces are unique, and there won’t always be more than one of each.
Website: Simply Chi Vintage on Etsy
3. Creative Women – Stonewashed Linen Throw
Creative Women is a woman-owned, fair-trade, and vegan brand. They made a wide range of handmade textiles and also stock various other home décor items (we love their baskets!).
Choosing an item from Creative Women is not only an eco-friendly gift but an ethically and socially responsible one too.
Their products are all hand spun and handwoven, using natural fibers that are grown locally to where they’re made. Creative women use only Fair-Trade suppliers, throughout their supply chain.
Their linen throws are a great eco-friendly gift that is super functional, versatile, and feels lovely. They’re made from pure linen (flax), which is a more sustainable material than cotton, and dyed with azo-free dyes.
Website: Creative Women
4. Klean Kanteen – The Plastic Free Kit
Kean Kanteen is a California-based company that makes stainless steel alternatives to most of the small plastic items we use in everyday life – water bottles, cups, travel mugs, flasks, lunch boxes, and straws.
Klean Kanteen is B Corp certified and all their products are manufactured in a facility that is 100% solar powered. Renewable energy is part of their mission to eliminate greenhouse gas and carbon emissions from their business. They buy carbon and greenhouse gas credits for the emissions they’re not able to eliminate.
Stainless steel is an infinitely recyclable material, which is light but very durable. Their products are made to last and last, making them a great eco-friendly gift for anyone who wants to eliminate plastic from their life and reuse it forever.
The Plastic Free Kit includes a single-wall 27oz Reflect water bottle with bamboo cap, a 32oz Insulated TKPro thermos with pour-through cap and cup, and a 16oz Insulated Tumbler with straw lid. It also comes with a 20oz steel lunch box, and 12oz Insulated TK Wide coffee mug, and a stainless steel straw set.
Website: Klean Kanteen
5. Earth Hero – Zero Waste Lunch Kits
Earth Hero is a Colorado-based marketplace that champions responsible consumerism by only offering sustainable goods. They are a Certified B Corp, a 1% for the Planet member, and Climate Neutral company that supports Ocean Blue Projects, Global Greengrants Fund, and activist hub Intersectional Environmentalist.
Offering over 2,500 vetted products, Earth Hero aims to make sustainable shopping approachable and easy for everyone.
Their eco-starter kits are a great way to introduce planet-conscious living to your family.
The Zero Waste Lunch Kit includes a To-Go Ware bamboo utensil set, Stainless steel straw and brush, Stasher reusable silicone snack bag, Bees Wrap sandwich wrap, and a stackable ECOlunchbox 3-in-1 stainless steel lunchbox.
Every product meets sustainability goals and has been made from materials that are eco-friendly, durable, and free from negative environmental processes or outcomes.
Website: Earth Hero Shop
6. Mightly – Family Pyjamas
Mightly is a women-owned clothing company based in Oakland, California. Their purpose was to make kids’ clothes that are durable, ethically made, and affordable. Their inventive and bright designs are achieved with non-toxic inks, on organic and Fair Trade Certified cotton.
Their supply chain is completely transparent. The organic farming practices employed by Mightly’s GOTS-certified cotton suppliers don’t damage the soil and use 71% less water and 62% less energy than conventional cotton farming.
For every garment made by their Fair Trade Certified factories, Mightly pays an additional Fair Trade Premium directly back to the workers, who decide how the money should be spent on local projects that benefit themselves and their children best.
Their unisex cotton pajamas coordinate across all sizes and styles, even the sleeper onesies for babies, for families that like to match, or mix and match. All pajamas are made from 100% organic, GOTS-certified cotton in a Fair Trade Certified factory, and are pre-shrunk and made with no chemical fire retardants.
Price: $25.95 – $49-95
Website: Mightly Store
7. Public Goods – Chocolate Almonds
Public Goods is a New York-based wholesaler that brings eco-friendly goods to consumers at wholesale prices. They deploy various sustainable measures, including using sugarcane bottles and tree-free paper, sourcing organic ingredients, avoiding toxic chemicals, and donating excess products.
They also practice carbo off-setting through both reforestation and carbon-neutral shipping.
By taking the unique approach of limiting their profit margins, they are able to supply products at lower prices, while not requiring bulk purchases. They have a wide range of products, from personal care and household products to consumables and pet products.
Made in California and packed with protein, vitamins, and antioxidants, their 100% natural chocolate almonds are roasted and coated in bittersweet chocolate to create a uniquely delicious and healthy snack, perfect for the whole family.
They go great in morning smoothies, chicken mole, or on the counter in a snack tray and contain no artificial sweeteners.
Website: Public Goods
8. By Copala – Laminated Leaf Laptop Sleeve
By Copala is a German-based Asian brand that makes bags and pens from recycled wood, cork, paper, or leaves. Their products are all hand-made, small-batch designs that are often the result of collaborative efforts between artists and craftsmen.
Their products are sustainable and vegan, and, just as importantly, unique. They choose recycled materials that are highly water-repellent and remarkably durable, thanks to the processing they employ. There are no factories or complex supply chains here, as these bags, wallets, notebooks, and accessories are individually hand-made.
Their LEAF laptop sleeve is eco-friendly and ethically vegan, and are made from leaves of the Tong Tung tree, which are sustainable material that causes no damage to the tree when harvested. The leaves are waxed and laminated for water-repellent properties, and the inner sleeve cotton lined and padded.
They also come in various sizes for laptops and tablet devices, perfect for the varied preferences of a family.
Website: Etsy Store
9. Boll and Branch – The Waffle & Signature Bed Bundle
Boll and Branch is the world’s first 100% organic Fair Trade Certified™ bedding company. Based in New Jersey, USA, Boll and Branch began their journey by building ethics and sustainability into every step of their cultivation, supply chain, and manufacturing from the very start.
They are a family owned and run business that is committed to using 100% organic and sustainable cotton, and have invested in their production and end-products are free from harmful chemicals, pesticides, and GMOs.
Organic cotton avoids insecticides, instead relying on natural pest control, which results in a better-quality product.
The Waffle & Signature Bed Bundle is a fantastic way to introduce your family to the best of sustainable and eco-friendly products. This set proves that ‘natural’ can still be ‘luxurious.’
The multi-layered bedding bundle is made from the finest long-staple 100% organic GOTS-certified cotton on earth, and because of this, the uniquely soft Signature Sheet Set gets softer with every wash.
They guarantee complete traceability, Fair Trade, and fair wages throughout their entire cultivation and supply process.
Price: $478 – $630
Website: Boll and Branch Store
To wrap it up, when you choose sustainable gifts, you’re choosing to support businesses that support the environment and work in responsible and ethical ways. Eco-friendly gifts are a way of giving and giving back to the planet at the same time.
In this guide, we covered all you need to know to make the holidays sustainable – how common gifts impact the environment, how to choose more eco-friendly gifts, and some of the great options you have for sustainable gifting. Where will you start?
Frequently Asked Questions
What gift do you get for someone who is environmentally friendly?
If you're looking for an eco-friendly gift, look for gifts that are:
- something that they will use many times, for a long time
- made from sustainable, renewable materials like natural fibers or wood/bamboo
- organic, all natural and non-toxic
- made by companies that are eco-friendly and use sustainable business practices
- vegan and/or cruelty free
- have sustainability certifications
- are plastic-free
- come in sustainable packaging that is reusable recycled, recyclable or compostable
Read the full guide for more ways to make gifting eco-friendly and a list of great eco-friendly gift ideas
What are eco-friendly gifts?
Eco-friendly gifts are products that are made and distributed in ways that do not harm the environment and that can be reused, safely disposed of or recycled. Check out the full guide for more on what makes a gift eco-friendly and how to choose the best eco-friendly gifts.
What are the best eco-friendly gifts for men?
Some great eco-friendly gifts for men include:
- zero-waste safety razors
- solar watches
- vegan and zero-waste toiletries
- organic cotton or linen clothing or bedding
- sustainable jewelry
- experiences and subscriptions rather than physical products
Read the full guide for more eco-friendly gift ideas and some amazing eco-friendly gifts to choose from.
References and Useful Resources
Certified B Corporation: Certification Requirements
Columbia University Climate School: How Buying Stuff Drives Climate Change
Esty: Carbon-Offset Delivery and Packaging: Delivering a World of Good
National Retail Federation: NRF Predicts Highest Holiday Retail Sales on Record (2021)
Shop Like You Give a Damn: Infographic – How Sustainable Are Your Christmas Gifts?
The Good Trade: Truly Sustainable Brands Have These 3 Values In Common
The Good Trade: Sustainable Fabrics 101: Everything You Need To Know Before You Shop