While gift giving can leave you feeling warm and fuzzy, it can also lead to a lot of waste. Regardless of the season, there are a number of eco-friendly gift ideas for him and her that reduce our carbon footprint and won’t break the bank.
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Several years ago at one of my bookclub meetings, we read a book that forever changed my outlook on the purchases I make. It also ultimately shaped my business and my focus on sustainability.
The book (called Radical Homemakers) opened my eyes to the amount of waste we produce as a society and compelled me to start making changes.
Soon trips to the mall and shopping at big box stores filled me with feelings of guilt.
Don’t get me wrong, I haven’t 100% stopped shopping at either of these places, nor do I judge anyone else who does.
If anything I try to be more mindful of the businesses I’m supporting and the types of products I purchase.
And I may (nonjudgmentally) share these with other people.
When it comes to gift-giving, I try to take a similar approach. I believe the best gifts are ones where the recipient’s tastes and interests are the forefront of the gift, even if it might not necessarily be something you’d want for yourself. At the same time, I believe you can give gifts that align with your own values while still presenting something that the recipient will treasure.
With that in mind, I put together this gift guide with a range of eco-friendly and affordable presents. (And you don’t have to be a modern-day hippy like me for the recipient to value these gifts.)
With these green gift ideas, you are sure to find something special for everyone on your list.
Related post: 9 DIY eco-friendly gifts that are a cinch to make
Tangible Eco-Friendly Gift Ideas
Green Products Subscription Service
I have been a subscriber to the MightyFix since my friend told me about it in fall 2015. Each month I get a fun “green” surprise in the mail, from beeswax wrap to bamboo cutlery. As described on their website, “From ditching plastic wrap to upgrading from chemical dryer sheets to discovering natural deodorant that works, we provide all the shortcuts that make it easy for you to tackle one healthy change each month.”
By the way, if you want to MightyFix out for yourself, you can use the coupon codeDRYERFIX2018 for three dryer balls your first month or BEESFIX2018 for two sheets of Bees Wrap (an eco-friendly alternative to plastic wrap), and your first month will be $3.00 instead of $10.
Sustainable “leather” journal
These adorable leaf leather nature journals are handmade from plant-based “leather”, making them a cute (and super affordable!) alternative to a traditional leather-bound journal. Plus the company plants 10 trees for every purchase! It’s a perfect stocking stuffer. Pair them with a package of Sprout plantable pencils (a Boston-based company!) and you’ve got a unique gift for a nature-loving creative.
Linkouture features minimalist eco-friendly jewelry for value-driven women, handmade primarily from recycled/reclaimed sterling silver and consciously packaged.
Related post: 11 eco-friendly jewelry brands
Natural & sustainable personal care products
Perfect for the women and men in your life who want to simplify their personal care routine. Made from mostly organic and non-GMO ingredients, these three personal care products by Akamai can be used on your hair, face, and body. With their carefully sourced ingredients, Akamai is perfect if you are looking for sustainable gifts for her or him that reduces the number of products needed.
Through November 28, 2018 you can save 25% on any one-time order or a subscription using coupon code GET25. Plus subscriptions get free shipping!
Photo courtesy of Akamai
Sustainably Printed Photo Book
Create a gorgeous, high-quality photo book with Artifact Uprising. Their hardcover and softcover books pages are made from 100% post-consumer waste recycled paper and Forest Stewardship Council certified paper for their other options (including calendars and square prints).
Nuno Gift Wrap creates gorgeous and colorful sustainable gift wraps inspired by the Japanese art of furoshiki, or wrapping gifts in fabric. Each unique print can then be reused in multiple ways, such as a scarf or a bag. Plus, each one is made from 100% post-consumer recycled bottles.
Know someone who wants to reduce their carbon footprint or who loves gardening? A composting service is a really unique eco-friendly gift idea. I don’t live in a city that offers compost pickup. Fortunately, there are paid services that do all the work for you! We use Garbage to Garden, which is based in Maine but offers pickup in a few cities in my area. We just put all of our organic waste in a bucket, and every Monday they pick it up and replace it with a clean bucket. When we’re ready, we can request fresh compost to use in our own garden.
Experiential Gift Ideas
Looking for eco-friendly gift ideas that don’t require buying stuff? Experiential gifts are a fantastic alternative to physical things and can often be enjoyed together or over a sustained period of time. Here are some sustainable gifts for her and him to offer instead of a product.
Lesson or Class with a Local Business
This one not only supports your local economy, it gives the recipient a hands-on opportunity to learn a new skill. For my husband’s most recent birthday, I gifted him ukelele lessons after I met a neighbor who teaches it. Hands down it is one of the best birthday gifts I have ever given him, and we’re supporting a local artist. (Another sustainable benefit, he can walk to his lessons!) Other ideas include cooking, dance, art, yoga, or scuba diving lessons.
Give the recipient the comfort of learning from their own home. CreativeLive offers over 2000 curated classes in crafts and the arts, business, photo and video, music and audio, and foreign languages. I’ve taken three courses so far and have not been disappointed! And you can save 60% off trending classes!
Donation to Charity
If you are looking for gifts for the environmentally conscious, why not consider a donation to an environmental charity in their name? Our family donates to the Environmental Defense Fund and National Resources Defense Council.
Museum memberships are a gift that can be enjoyed over and over again. Plus, if you get one that offers reciprocity to other museums, such as the North American Reciprocal Museum Association or the Association of Zoos and Aquariums, recipients can use the membership to many other museums around the country! Or consider a gift to the recipient’s state’s Audobon society, which offers access to nature conversation centers, some of which have particularly great programming for children.
Subscription to online books
Know someone who loves to read? Give them the gift of virtual books with Amazon Kindle Unlimited or Audible. With Kindle Unlimited, members get unlimited access to over one million books, magazines, and thousands of audiobooks.
In this non-stop hectic world we live in, one of the best gifts we can offer is one that centers around self-care and mindfulness. The Calm app gives bite-sized chunks of meditation to help you “reduce anxiety, sleep better and feel happier”.