Eco-friendly Gift Ideas | Sustainable + Mindful
While I am sharing a variety of gift guides this year, this particular gift guide is important to my heart. My family loves to shop small and handmade, and I’ve often shared these brands with my readers. I make sure to keep my small shop gift guides up to date! But this year I want to also focus on eco-friendly gift ideas that may not be from small shops, but still make a big difference.
Our family has been fairly “green” and “crunchy” for a while now, although not consistently mindful about all of our purchases. Recently I have been learning more about sustainability and eco-friendliness, and it has really affected my shopping habits. I now seek out brands and that use sustainable practices and pay fair wages, as well as products that are more natural and eco-friendly. Also important is supporting those that create less waste!
Here I am sharing 13 products from amazing brands I’ve found, along with a few other eco-friendly gift ideas. These products and brands fall into at least one of the categories I’ve mentioned, and they are all brands that I fully believe in and support. Read on to find my top picks for sustainable and eco-friendly gift ideas for mindful gift giving this year.
Experiences as Mindful Gifts
The most eco-friendly gift you can give is an experience. Many moms these days are asking for grandparents to give their kids less “stuff” and more memories. Not only are parents tired of the endless piles of plastic and noisy toys that we have to tell our kids “oops sorry, that toy died and can’t get new batteries,” but we hate the wastefulness of just TOO MUCH everything. Toys that the kids get excited about for 5 minutes and then never play with again.
Memberships to museums and botanical gardens are great for adults and families. A membership to a gym or yoga studio is perfect for person who wants to improve their health. Wrap up a gift certificate to your local Club Pilates along with some new toe socks and a water bottle for the perfect health package!
The budding photographer may like to take classes to improve their skills. A massage or day at the spa for a tired parent. Kids would be excited for a handful of passes to a local trampoline park or climbing wall gym. I don’t know one parent who wouldn’t be eternally grateful for someone to pay for a season of sports so they don’t have to! Just wrap up the info with some new sports socks or an athletic shirt and call it done!
Even the gift of time is one that loved ones will appreciate. A picnic, a hiking date, an afternoon at the movies, or a mini vacation are all experiences worth far more than their monetary cost.
Regifting and Second Hand Gifts
I’m not sure who decided that regifting was a faux pas, but that person doesn’t understand sustainability! Regifting is the best thing you can do with a gift you don’t love. We never want to hurt the gift giver’s feelings, but about 2/3 of gifts given are actually unwanted by the recipient! The worst thing we can do with those gifts is throw them out or let them go to waste.
If you are able to regift to someone who will love and appreciate the gift, by all means go for it! And if you don’t have an old gift at home to repurpose, try finding a second hand gift instead. Check your local thrift store or Facebook marketplace for good used (or even unused) gifts. Babies and toddlers especially don’t know the difference between new and used toys. They just want to play!
Cost doesn’t equate value either. My husband buys a used book for his dad every year. It’s basically a tradition now, and the fun is seeing what title or theme he finds.
A new plant inside a vintage pot can bring life and character to someone’s home. An old dresser repurposed with special paint can become a little girl’s dress-up center. Even a stack of old wooden crates can become a tiny treehouse for kids to enjoy. Be creative and see what you can find!
12 Eco-friendly Gift Ideas
When experiences and second hand gifts won’t work, these eco-friendly gifts are sure to be enjoyed by loved ones. Some of the following products were sent for me to try out, but I fully support and believe in every brand shared here.
Pure Earth Pets is a subscription box to bring natural and eco-friendly toys and treats for your pup. Because even pets deserve to have mindful gifts! Pure Earth Pets has a mission to connect their customers with companies that align with their goal of protecting our earth and using quality natural ingredients. Each month they also donate a portion of the proceeds from that month’s box sales to help local pet related charities.
But their eco-friendliness doesn’t stop there! Besides the contents of the box being eco-friendly and natural, their physical shipping boxes are biodegradable and printed with soy ink. The list of the box contents are also emailed to each customer instead of printed on a postcard to further help our planet and reduce waste!
These organic bath bombs are perfect for relaxing after a long day. The PLANETS mix skin-loving moisturizers, plant-derived essential oils, and 20mg of full spectrum hemp extract. Plus, the PLANETS are PLASTIC-FREE! They come individually sealed in an innovative plant-based material that is 100% compostable and food-grade safe. Their shipping boxes and labels are also from recycled product, and they encourage you to use the boxes for gift giving!
This one reminds me of home because it’s a small business located in Savannah, GA! Nourish is an all-natural, sustainable and eco-friendly self care product company with products that are all manufactured in Savannah. From essential oils to candles to every bath and body product you can imagine, Nourish carries delicious-smelling gifts that appeal to everyone. Seriously. Even the shipping box smelled amazing.
Nourish products don’t contain animal ingredients, parabens, sulfates, or any of those weird words I can’t pronounce. Nourish also works to keep their environmental impact to a minimum. And honestly, just that mindfulness means a lot.
Another brand with ties to Georgia, American Blossom Linens is the only brand of bedding made completely in the USA using 100% organic cotton. Grown in West Texas, spun in the Carolinas, and manufactured into bedding in Georgia, these linens are amazing quality.
They recently launched a new bedding that has a rich color but is dye free and environmentally friendly with pure chemical free softness. Made in the USA ethically and sustainably, these sheets will make anyone feel like they’ve been gifted sweet luxurious dreams. (You can use the code Amanda25 for 25% off of your first order!)
Hiptipico is an ethical fashion brand based in Guatemala that showcases Maya artisans and their handmade creations. They employ their full time staff out of Panajachel to lift them out of poverty while doing something they love.
In addition to beautiful bags and accessories, Hiptipico carries these unique camera straps. The unique embroidery is woven by artisan partners in a weaving cooperative. Using intricate needlework, each strap can take 3 – 10 days to complete! Purchasing one strap means supporting a sustainable effort to pay above a living wage, provide steady employment and impact entire indigenous families.
There may not be many people with shampoo and conditioner on their wish list, but Plaine Products would make me happy any day! This shampoo and conditioner set comes with a TSA travel size set as well. They smell amazing and make my hair look pretty good too!
The bottles are refillable and reusable, meaning no plastic waste. Just use and return! Plaine Products are vegan, Certified B Corp, Certified Green, safe and non-toxic. Basically it’s the cleanest thing I’ve found for my hair and body and I’m not going back.
7. ZYX Sticks
Here’s an eco-friendly gift idea for the kiddos! ZYX Sticks are an open-ended, wooden building toy that promote creativity, collaboration, and spatial relations without an instruction manual. They are completely gender and age inclusive encouraging the entire family to build together! Get on the floor and build, mom!
ZYX Sticks are also a sustainable toy, made in the USA with maple hardwood and packaged in a fabric bag with absolutely no single use plastic. They come in sets of 12, 24, and 48, depending on how big of a creation you want to make! ZYX Sticks are definitely a very new, unique, and unexpected gift item for 2019!
I know it sounds like a crappy gift, but I promise this won’t stink! We just got one of these and my life has changed. TUSHY is the modern bidet that easily clips to your toilet & transforms your health, hygiene and life. It improves cleanliness as well as environmental sustainability – saving trees and water with every bidet usage.
TUSHY also gives back. A portion of their profits go to build community toilets, enabling the poor in India to lead healthier, productive, and more-dignified lives. Go ahead and get a holiday bundle with a TUSHY bidet, ottoman, bum cloths and a travel TUSHY. I’m gonna go out on a limb and guess that this won’t be a gift that someone gets two of this year – but hey, not a bad thing if they do!
Back to another Georgia-based business for eco-friendly gifts! Okabashi is a family shoe company in Buford, GA. They have been focusing on sustainability for decades, from their closed loop manufacturing process to their recycling program. Okabashi shoes are made from a bio-based, recyclable material, are built to last. Their sustainability model keeps their shoes from ending up in landfills and oceans and reduces their overall carbon footprint.
Not only are their shoes made with the environment in mind, they are also made with your foot health in mind. Okabashi shoes are recommended by podiatrists and chiropractors as a supportive alternative to traditional footwear, as they provide relief from a wide range of foot ailments.
So while you might be thinking, “Flip flops for Christmas? Is she crazy?” Well yes, but that’s beside the point. Recyclable shoes that are good for your feet, good for the Earth, and cheaper than most flip flops in stores? Why are you NOT buying Okabashis for Christmas? That’s the real question.
The Merkato handbag from Parker Clay is so luxurious, the woman in your life may swoon when she sees it. Crafted from premium Ethiopian full grain leather, this bag is versatile and superior quality. It can hold almost anything you need, including a 15″ laptop. It also comes with a lifetime guarantee!
Parker Clay (a Certified B Corp) is a socially-focused brand that employs over 100 Ethiopian artisans, mostly women who were hired out of prostitution. These women are being educated and empowered, taking steps toward changing the world. When you shop Parker Clay, use code amanda20 to get 20% off your order!
I could write an entire list of eco-friendly gift ideas just from UncommonGoods alone! UncommonGoods, one of the FIRST Certified B Corporations, sharing unique and creative products from artists all over the world. You can find eco-friendly, recycled, purposeful, and environmentally friendly gifts on their site. They also give back to various charities!
My picks this year from UncommonGoods (because I shop there SO much) are these mason jar indoor herb gardens and beeswax food saving wrap. I hate using plastic wrap, and these can just be washed and reused! A great stocking stuffer.
12. Alana Athletica
I basically live in fitness leggings, and these from Alana Athletica are my new favorite. When I started shopping for more ethical clothing, literally my first question was, “Where can I find ethically made exercise clothes that are good quality?” And if you know me, you probably aren’t surprised one bit!
Alana Athletica is a small company that designs and manufactures high-performance pants, while also supporting women who have survived sexual abuse. And their pants are amazing! No pilling, no see-through fabric when you squat, non-toxic, and antimicrobial/moisture wicking/ odor-free deliciousness for your booty. And the price is comparable (or even less than) other popular workout leggings! Definitely a must-have this year.
Ethically Made and Sustainable Gifts For Everyone
That’s it for my very first (but not the last) eco-friendly gift guide! As I learn more about mindful shopping and the brands and products that fall in line with this lifestyle, I will continue to share more with you guys! In the meantime, you can head over to Still Being Molly to read some of her amazing blog posts – including her recent Ethical Tuesday shopping guide (with LOTS of coupon codes!).
And for other gift ideas (some eco-friendly, some not so much), check out my other holiday gift guides: