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 a few 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 unwanted 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 bench refurbished with new paint can become a treasured garden seat. Even a stack of old wooden crates can become a tiny treehouse for kids to enjoy. Be creative and see what you can find!
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!
This gift isn’t just about tea – it’s about mindfulness and care. The mission of philanthroTEA is simple; they fill your cup so that you can help to fill the cups of others. With such flavors as “pawsitiviTEA” and “anxieTEA” you can see that philanthroTEA is all about helping make the world a better place.
Not only is the tea delicious, but each purchase makes an impact. Partnering with organizations that are related to each tea flavor’s purpose (such as NoStigmas and Bear Necessities Pediatric Cancer Foundation), philanthroTEA donates 20% of profits from the sale of each blend to those organizations.
To be as eco-friendly as possible, the tea is sold loose instead of bagged to reduce waste. Their loose leaf teas are also certified kosher, non-GMO, and USDA organic which results in a pure cup of tea that is consistently worth bragging about.
Give the Ultimate Gift Set -all four tea blends, a glass tea infuser bottle, and a steeper spoon – the perfect gift for tea lovers or for anyone who can sip to a higher purpose.
Amba Heated Towel Rack
How about a gift that gives the feeling of spa-like luxuriousness while also reducing energy waste? Utilized in Europe for decades due to their energy efficiency, heated towel racks use much less energy than a standard dryer (about the same amount of electricity as a few light bulbs).
Amba Heated Towel Racks add a stylish accent to any bathroom, laundry room or mudroom, reducing unnecessary trips to the laundry room by keeping towels fresh and dry longer. With 150 affordable mounted and free-standing models, it’s easy to add style and convenience while saving on the time and energy costs associated with laundry.
Add a heated towel rack to your bathroom to warm your towel while you shower, and help dry your towel faster (reducing mildew and frequent laundering); or install a heated rack in the laundry room to dry clothes faster and reduce energy-sucking dryer usage! The possibilities are endless.
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!
For the person who enjoys being out in nature, the Pakt Travel Backpack is the perfect gift.
Consciously constructed with an exterior that features RPET material that is sourced from recycled water bottles. This backpack has a tough and stylish exterior with a water-resistant coating, available in green or black. Includes community sourced & expertly constructed features including a top-loading interior waterproof pocket, removable hip straps that transform into a sling, lockable zippers, secret security compartments and many, many more.
Pakt only uses modern, durable, technical materials that are animal-friendly and have the lowest possible environmental impact. They are also working to constantly improve our supply chain and products by looking for lower impact replacements for every step and every material.
Pakt is deeply committed to keeping our oceans healthy, and has opted to ship their products in 100% plastic-free packaging designed by their sister company, SeaHive. SeaHive ﬁghts plastic pollution before it enters our oceans by eliminating plastic packaging and educating consumers.
You don’t need a green thumb to add greenery to your home with succulents! Succulents are easy to grow, low-maintenance plants that come in various vivid colors and shapes.
Thanks to the small size and hardiness, succulents have quickly gained popularity among millennials and is now one of the trendiest house plants. They fit perfectly in small spaces and are a great material for DIY projects.
Succulents Box is a small business based in California that offers more than 200 varieties of succulents and 5 monthly subscription boxes. They come with care cards that tell you exactly how much sunlight and water each plant needs. A box of succulents would make a unique gift for someone who loves adding some greenery to their home without a lot of fuss!
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!)
POLYWOOD Adirondack Chairs
I can’t decide if these POLYWOOD chairs are the perfect gift for grandparents or a gift I’d rather gift to myself – but I think it’s a bit of both!
These timeless chairs are manufactured at both POLYWOOD’s Syracuse, Indiana headquarters and their Roxboro, North Carolina facility. They’re environmentally-friendly constructed of genuine POLYWOOD® lumber (that’s wood made from recycled landfill-bound and ocean-bound plastic containers) and are built to withstand a range of climates including hot sun, snowy winters, and strong winds. These sweet chairs come with a 20-year residential warranty, clean easily with soap and water, and are available in an array of classic colors to bring the country home beach vacation vibe to your staycation reality.
POLYWOOD has an array of extremely exciting, ground-breaking (and ocean-saving) products that they manufacture on-site starting with their very own plastic recycling assembly line all the way through to drop-shipping directly to customer’s homes or through stores like Amazon, Target, Wayfair, and your local outdoor furniture shop.
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.
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!
Another gift idea for the kids – this time for the slightly older ones. What better way to teach your kiddos about the importance of the environment than through a fun board game?
Adventerra Games North America creates sustainable board games with environmental themes including Global Warning, PowerHaus, WaterGame and Recycle Rally (seen here). They are made from eco-friendly materials and teach players how to be smarter consumers.
While playing these simple and enjoyable board games, players intuitively learn new behaviors that reduce their ecological footprints. When these behaviors become lifetime habits, players will have become super-heroes for the planet! Grab a couple of games and you’ll be set for family game night for sure!
Can we be real for a second? Sometimes all you really want is a pair of great jeans. Even better than that is eco-friendly men’s and women’s jeans that fit like the top options on the market but at a fraction of the price.
Not only are Revtown jeans affordable and fit like a glove (thanks to Revtown’s signature Digital Tailor that customizes the fit with 96% accuracy), but they’re also produced sustainably, with environmental practices in accordance with the strictest regulations in the denim industry. I love that 100% of all waste is recycled, and their denim is sustainably dyed using shrimp shells, orange peels, and nut shells – saving energy, water, and using less chemicals in the process.
Bonus: their website and IG feed show models in a variety of sizes. LOVE their inclusive and diverse advertising!
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.
An elegantly simple and durable gift, these glass photo prints are an eco-friendly upgrade from the traditional framed print.
Founded by Abhi Lokesh in 2009, the Gainesville, Florida-based company Fracture allows users to upload digital photos, have them printed directly onto durable glass, and shipped in an eco-friendly ready-to-mount package – no frame required.
In addition to offering a sleek, minimalist glass print option, you can feel good about your purchase because Fracture is a socially conscious, carbon-neutral company dedicated to reducing their carbon footprint and offsetting what carbon remains by planting trees, all of which is overseen by third-party partners, We Are Neutral. In fact, Fracture is so committed to mitigating the effects of climate change that they recently cut the ribbon on a new 30,000-square-foot solar-powered facility in Alachua Florida’s “Tech City”.
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 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.
Eco-Friendly Yoga Mat from MYSOLMAT
Family-owned and Texas-bred, MYSOLMAT sells artisan designed, high-quality and cute yoga mats that stand out in a crowd and add an element of fun to your workout. You don’t need to be a professional yogi or a fitness fiend to use our products— MYSOLMAT is made for everyone.
All MYSOLMAT fitness and yoga mats are made with TPE, a durable, earth-friendly recyclable material. The material is tested to be not harmful to the environment in both production and recycling, and is biodegradable as well.
Sustainable Dog Toys by Outback Tails
Ecofriendly gifts for pets – why of course! Dogs deserve sustainable toys, too.
These artistic, beautiful dog toys from Outback Tails have been printed with authentic Australian Aboriginal artwork. Stuffed with natural jute fiber and triple stitched for durability, they have been colored with natural vegetable dye. They make a great non-toxic toy for your furry friend to chew (instead of your new Christmas gifts!). As you can tell, Roxie LOVES her toys.
Outback Tails gives back, too. With your purchase, 10% of sales goes back to the Aussie Desert Dog Program in the Aboriginal town of Yuendumu in The Australian Central Desert.
(Outback Tails toys will be coming to Amazon in November, but they do have international shipping from Australia now!)
Ethically Made and Sustainable Gifts For Everyone
As I learn more about mindful shopping and the brands and products that fall in line with this lifestyle, I will continue to update this gift guide to share more with you!
And for other gift ideas for all occasional (some eco-friendly, some not so much), check out my other gift guides here!
Which of these eco-friendly gift ideas do you like best? I’d love for you to share in a comment below or send me a message on social media!