If you’re concerned about all the waste the holiday season brings, whether it’s the carbon emissions of shipping, plastic packaging of gifts or unwanted gifts thrown in the trash, you’re not alone. This year, you can easily cut down on holiday waste by changing the way you gift.
By using leftover boxes, paper bags, unbleached twine and recyclable tape, you can cut down on wrapping paper that would end up in a landfill. Or, if you don’t have spare wrapping materials, try putting your gift in a tote bag and voíla, two gifts in one.
In terms of what you’re gifting, the general rule to live a more sustainable life is to simply buy less. However, there are a handful of gift ideas that can go a long way to help you reduce your waste, like reusable bags, Swedish dishcloths and more. From eco-friendly fashion to simple household swaps, we’re listing out some of our favorite eco-friendly gifts that are actually sustainable.
Trying to cut down on paper waste? You need a bidet. The Tushy Classic 3.0 is our pick for the best bidet attachment, as it’s easy to install and use. But if you really want to cut down on toilet paper, you’ll want a bidet with a dryer. Check out which dryer-equipped seats we recommend in the best bidets.
One of our all-time favorite sustainable products, these nifty silicone mats can replace the aluminum foil and parchment paper in your life. They’re infinitely reusable, inherently nonstick and can be used in all sorts of bakes and recipes.
You can stop using single-use plastic bags with this nifty three-pack of Stasher’s silicone reusable bags. These bags are a kitchen miracle and can be microwaved, frozen, boiled, put in the dishwasher and even used in the oven. We tried them out ourselves and won’t ever go back to normal Ziploc bags.
If you know someone who still uses plastic water bottles, help them make the sustainable switch with this Hydro Flask. It’s stylish and can keep your drinks hot or cold for hours on end. Want more ideas for reusable water bottles? Check out our full guide here.
Composting is an easy way to drastically reduce your household’s carbon emissions. Just collect your food scraps in this bucket — which features a charcoal filter to keep the smells at bay — and dump them at your local composting site.
Once you realize how much single-use plastic is in your kitchen, you’re going to want to find as many alternatives as possible. Bee’s Wrap, a replacement to plastic wrap, is made from organic cotton and beeswax and can handle all your storage needs. Read our full review here.
If you’re the type to give practical gifts, give your loved ones something they’ll actually use like this recycled toilet paper from Who Gives A Crap. This TP is much more sustainable than traditional toilet paper and works great too. Read more about why we love this toilet paper and Who Gives A Crap as a whole here.
Traditional sponges shed microplastics into the water as you do your dishes, and they get mildewy and gross lying on the counter. Switch to this eco-friendly dish brush, which has replaceable, compostable heads with bristles made from tampico fiber.
Step up your shower game with Good Time’s low-waste shampoo, conditioner and body soaps. The soaps are 100% plastic free, 100% cruelty free and have 100% carbon neutral shipping so you can feel better about your purchase. Not to mention 50% of profits are donated to charities working on clean water initiatives.
Whether you’re eating lunch at the office or getting fast food on the go, it’s always a good idea to have reusable cutlery on hand so you don’t have to use disposable plastic ones. This set even comes with a clip so you can keep it on your backpack or keys for easy access.
Another option for storing leftovers or even bringing to the office as a lunchbox, this stainless steel container is airtight and leak-proof, so you can even throw a tin of soup into your bag without a worry. It’s available in seven different sizes ranging from 8 centimeters to 26 centimeters.
Allbirds crafts its shoes from all sorts of planet-friendly materials, including plant-based leather and ethically sourced wool. Plus, the sneakers are machine-washable and stylish to boot. Read our full review here.
Girlfriend Collective is one of our favorite sustainable fashion brands, since it uses recycled water bottles to make clothes and features ultra-inclusive sizing. Check out these compressive high-rise leggings that belong in every eco-conscious person’s closet.
Your tech can be sustainable too with Pela’s various compostable cases. Made from a proprietary material that includes bioplastic elastomer and flax straw, these cases will protect your phone while still being stylish and sustainable. Plus, Pela has plenty of case options for both iPhone and Android phones.
Cotopaxi is a certified B corporation and produces stylish, color-blocked fashion and gear. We’re partial to its 28-liter travel pack, which is the perfect companion whether you’re a college student or jetsetter.
Everlane puts a lot of pride in producing what they call “Clean Denim,” which is made with organic cotton and produced at some of the world’s cleanest factories. We love the look of these classic Cheeky Jeans, which are available in three different hues and tons of sizes.
Patagonia has roots in activism and environmentalism and those core values are evident in everything the brand produces. This stylish fleece is made from 100% recycled polyester and is Fair Trade Certified sewn.
Another Girlfriend Collective essential, this racerback bra is available in 10 colors and 11 sizes.
Another classic from Patagonia, this cozy fleece has a retro look and is made from 100% recycled polyester.
This iconic puffy from Cotopaxi features 800-fill down and a DWR finish to keep you warm and dry on those winter days.
Rothy’s has been making shoes and other accessories out of plastic bottles for years now, but its signature shoe never goes out of style. Check out this pointed flat, which has tons of color and size options.
Naadam makes gorgeous, sustainable, 100% cashmere sweaters — and they’re only $75. Need we say more?
The traveler in your life will love this ultra-durable duffel from Patagonia. Made with 100% recycled body fabric, it comes in an abundance of colors and sizes up to 100 liters so you can take it on any adventure.
This fleece hoodie from Everlane is made with 100% recycled polyester and is the coziest winter layer you could ask for.
Stay cozy all winter long with this beanie made from 100% recycled water bottles.
These sunglasses are made with 33% less carbon dioxide, 34% less water and 82% less waste than traditional sunglasses. Plus, once you’ve gotten your use out of them, you can send them back to Pela to be upcycled in the brand’s Pela 360 program.
Nothing pulls an outfit together quite like white sneakers. But this pair from Thousand Fell are much more sustainable than your normal kicks. Featuring a recycled upper, recycled rubber insole, recycled laces and other planet-friendly materials, when these shoes are at the end of their life, you can send them back to Thousand Fell through its Recycle Now initiative, which gives you a $20 credit for each pair of sneakers you recycle.
It’s hard to keep track of all your daily essentials, but not with this small, light and stylish fanny pack from Patagonia. Stash your phone, keys, chapstick and anything else you need in this nifty bag, which is made with 100% recycled materials.
Outerknown is a great sustainable fashion brand and its chromatic puffer is a perfect example, with a 100% recycled polyester shell and Responsible Down Standard-certified down insulation.