For anyone looking to be a bit more environmentally friendly, it’s absolutely possible to find the perfect everyday items that are easier on the environment and won’t ruin your budget. An eco-friendly item should consist of natural, durable materials but also have a long life and won't end up in a landfill after a few uses.
Here are the best eco-friendly gifts.
Bewbow Bamboo Utensils Cutlery Set
Whether you’re heading on a road trip or just plan to use them in your everyday life, this bamboo cutlery set is a must-have. The eight-piece set includes a fork, spoon, chopsticks, straw, and more. They’re neatly wrapped in a pouch that has a carabiner, which can easily clip on any bag.
Price at time of publish: $12
Baggu Standard Baggu Nylon Ripstop Tote
A super easy way to reduce your use of plastics is with a reusable tote bag like this option from Baggu. Available in tons of cool colors, the nylon tote uses recycled materials, holds up to 50 pounds, and comes clean easily in the washing machine. Plus, they fold up into a small square, so they're perfect for taking on the go.
Price at time of publish: $42
Terra Ties Compostable Hair Ties
You can never have enough black hair ties, and those from Terra Ties are a great eco-friendly alternative to traditional brands. Terra Ties are plastic-free, biodegradable, and ethically sourced. They won't damage, pull, or hurt your hair in any way, making them the perfect stocking stuffer for everyone on your list.
Price at time of publish: $15
Sunseeke Silicone Straws Set
Ditch plastic straws with this silicone straw set from Sunseeke. The affordable set comes with 12 colorful straws, four carrying cases, and two straw cleaners. Throw them in your purse or pocket to use with your daily coffee or tea as an easy alternative to plastic that makes a difference every day.
Price at time of publish: $13
PopSockets PlantCore Grip Dusty Lavender
PopSocket's PlantCore line features plant-based materials and each one is completely recyclable. They make the perfect present for social media fanatics or those friends who are always on their phones. Plus, they come in tons of cool patterns and colors like this muted purple.
Price at time of publish: $15
Rocketbook Everlast Mini Smart Reusable Notebook
Save paper in style with Rocketbook's reusable notebooks that come clean when wiped with a damp cloth for endless notes, drawings, stories, and more. You can also transfer your notes into a Google doc, Evernote, Slack message, email, and more to keep them all in a safe place through the product's smart features.
Price at time of publish: $16
Makeup Eraser The Original MakeUp Eraser
Every makeup eraser replaces about 3600 disposable makeup wipes. The polyester cloth acts as a suction for makeup and dirt when activated when water. Use nightly to cleanse the face and remove makeup, then wash in the washing machine and repeat. It comes in tons of fun colors and acts as a sustainable and affordable alternative to wipes and other makeup removers.
Price at time of publish: $40
Sqwishful Sqwish Set
A not-so-pleasant part of adulthood involves cleaning. To make the process a bit greener, Sqwishful’s set has the essentials for keeping your abode sparkling. There’s a dish brush, scrub sponge, and three pop-up sponges. They’re free of plastic and made with bamboo, hemp, and wood pulp.
Price at time of publish: $32
Eco Dune Sunglasses
Sunglasses are a great way to protect your eyes, but they’re even better when sustainably made. Eco frames are made from 95 percent recycled materials like ocean litter and metal. And on top of that, for every pair sold, Eco plants a tree. These Dune frames have a slight cat-eye look and a classic feel. They’re available in classic black or statement-making lavender.
Price at time of publish: $95
Uncommon Goods Recycled Wine Bottle Platter
If this platter looks like a flattened wine bottle, that’s because it is. The recycled bottles, which come in amber or green, are melted and glossed to form these fun trays, which would be perfect for meat and cheese or your favorite snacks. It even comes with a cork-topped cheese spreader.
Wild One Toy Kit
Gift a good boy or girl with a toy kit that will keep them engaged. And the products are made from materials that aren’t harmful. Wild One’s toy kit features toss, twist, and bite toys that are made from organic cotton and natural rubber. Pups will love playing with these toys that come in four colors, and parents will appreciate the recycled materials and how easy they are to clean.
Price at time of publish: $39
Hitch Bottle and Cup
This cup is great for someone on the go or anyone who just wants to cut down on single-use plastic water bottles. The design is actually two products in one; a bottle and a cup. Use the 12-ounce cup and lid for hot beverages and the 18-ounce bottle for cooler drinks. Both options are double-wall insulated and made of stainless steel.
Price at time of publish: $68
Aya Paper Co. FaceTime Friends Card
Sending cards might seem like a lost art form in such a digital world, but people still love to receive them. Aya Paper Co.’s products are made from completely recycled materials, included these “F is for friends who FaceTime together” cards. It’s a cute way to show appreciation or even support for a friend who’s never more than a call (or FaceTime) away.
Price at time of publish: $5
Goldune Small Pod Set
For your kid's snacks or even a snack for yourself, the Goldune pod set is the perfect product. Each set comes with two eight-ounce containers that are made of bamboo. The BPA-free pods hold solids or liquids, and the spill-proof screw-on top keeps items secure.
Price at time of publish: $24
JungleCulture Eco Friendly Safety Razor
Disposable razors can be useful in a pinch, but the amount of waste they produce can be excessive. That’s why JungleCulture’s safety razor is a great option for the person who shaves regularly. The razors have a vintage vibe with stylish chrome, and the handle makes it easy to grip. It comes with a travel bag and even a cute storage box that will look great on any counter. Don’t forget to order the affordable set of blades (sold separately).
Price at time of publish: $29 in azure with a stand
The Detox Market The Detox Box
“Green beauty delivered to your doorstep every month.” That’s how The Detox Market describes their subscription box. Choose a one, three, or six-month plan to receive at least $90 worth of beauty products that feature cruelty-free ingredients. The picks can range from moisturizing lip serums to face creams.
Price at time of publish: $59 per month
L.L. Bean Recycled Waterhog Dog Mat
Some pets can get a little overzealous and downright messy when they eat. One solution is this L.L. Bean mat that holds two bowls, and the material is made of recycled plastic. It’s easily washable, can be vacuumed, and dries quickly. The mat comes in small and large, which hold dishes of seven or 10 inches, respectively, and the raised edges prevent spills from getting on your floor.
Price at time of publish: $30
Pink Moon Bamboo Toothbrush - Kids
While teaching kids the importance of oral hygiene, they can also learn about the environment. Pink Moon’s bamboo toothbrush can be purchased as a single or five-pack. The soft rainbow bristles are sure to get a kid’s attention, but they’re also vegan and BPA-free, while the handle is made of biodegradable bamboo.
Price at time of publish: $6
Full Circle Ziptuck Kids Reusable Sandwich Bags
Full Circle’s sandwich bags aren’t just functional, but kids will love the colorful designs. Choose between dinosaurs, emojis, or monsters. Either way, the prints are fun and the perfect way to store sandwiches or snacks. The food storage bags are leak proof, store flat, and easily washable.
Price at time of publish: $8
Last Object Fresh Start Kit
Last Object makes reusable versions of essential items we use every day to reduce waste easily. This start pack comes with three LastRounds, one LastSwab original, and one LastSwab designed for beauty and makeup cleanup. Simply use the items as you normally would, follow the washing instructions, and use again the next day for a waste-free loop that fits your routine.
Price at time of publish: $14
Wearwell Leather Planter
Perfect for the plant lover in your life, Wearwell's leather planter uses high-quality leather scraps from other projects that would otherwise get thrown away. The gorgeous planter looks great paired with any succulent or sproutling and the muted colorway fits well with any decor style.
Price at time of publish: $65
Mo's Crib Woven Natural Basket
Mo's Crib is a woman-owned business based in South Africa, selling beautiful handcrafted pieces like this gorgeous natural basket, perfect for storing blankets or toys. The PVC pipes come from landfills or construction sites and are then woven by hand through a wire frame for four to seven hours, resulting in a durable and functional art piece.
Price at time of publish: $119
Geometry Over the Hill Beach Blanket
Prepare for park picnics and beach days with this blanket from Geometry. Made from post-consumer recycled materials, the stunning blanket features a colorful sunrise guaranteed to raise any recipient's spirits. It's compact, absorbent, and quick-drying. Plus, there's room for two and it was printed in the United States.
Price at time of publish: $68
Happy Earth Arboretum Recycled Lanyard
Keep your keys close when hiking or traveling with this adorable lanyard from Happy Earth. It features the brand's name decorated with green and white trees and it's made completely from recycled polyester. With every purchase on Happy Earth, you choose to plant 15 trees, clean up 1lb of trash, or offset 150lbs of greenhouse gases, so you can feel good about your purchase.
Price at time of publish: $10
Larry's Coffee Flavor Pack
Coffee lovers need to try Larry's Coffee, the organic, fair trade, kosher, and shade-grown (bird-friendly) brand first started in 1993. Based in North Carolina, Larry's Coffee implements various sustainable practices including using rainwater for the washrooms, installing solar water-heated flooring, encouraging company-wide composting, and more. This three-pack features the brand's popular flavor and makes a great gift for those who can't survive without their morning joe.
Price at time of publish: $38
Noshinku Refillable Hand Sanitizer
For a functional gift, we love the Noshinku refillable hand sanitizer. The matte misters look sleek and attractive and slide right into your pocket or purse to always have on hand. Each refill includes 250 sprays of the FDA-registered sanitizer formula designed to kill 99.9 percent of germs. When your mister runs out, keep your mister and grab a refill of a new scent for an eco-friendly alternative to plastic containers.
Price at time of publish: $34
Third Rock Kitchen Compost Bin
Compost bins help reduce waste in your kitchen by collecting food scraps and coffee grounds that would otherwise go in the trash. This pick from Third Rock keeps odors locked inside and fits neatly under a sink or in a cabinet. However, the cute design makes it suitable for leaving out on your kitchen counter as a constant reminder to always think about the planet.
Price at time of publish: $30
Conscious Step socks that plant trees
Socks always make a great gift and Conscious Step makes it easy to gift socks that make an impact. These four green designs from the brand are Fairtrade, GOTS, and vegan certified and include added padding for comfort. They're also made from 23 percent recycled polyester. The best part? Every purchase supports the planting of four trees.
Price at time of publish: $15
What to Look for When Buying Eco-Friendly Gifts
An easy way to approach eco-friendly gift giving is by focusing on natural materials. Linen bedding, robes, or table linens make a lovely quality natural gift that will last for years. Wicker or rattan home decor such as lighting, decorative mirrors, or furniture and accessories are lightweight and durable. Or you can gift your friends and loved ones with the greenest gift of all: a natural plant.
One way to give eco-friendly gifts is to offer organic food, wine, or natural beauty products that have a shelf life and will be consumed rather than ending up in the landfill. Make sure to choose gifts from reputable companies that have been produced in a sustainable, transparent way. Choose products with green, easily recyclable or biodegradable zero waste packaging, and buy local whenever possible.
If you’re looking for an eco-friendly gift that is not consumable, such as clothing or home decor, consider offering a vintage gift. Check out your local flea market, second-hand shop, or online for everything from vintage handbags and clothes to vintage home decor and furniture, toys, or books.
What does eco-friendly mean?
Eco-friendly is a catch-all term that means being kind to the planet. As a consumer, you can make eco-friendly choices by selecting products that are made from natural materials that are naturally regenerating, biodegradable, or recyclable, using green technologies that respect the environment. And you can limit your consumption of unnecessary goods that might eventually end up in the already overflowing landfill.
How do you make an eco-friendly gift box?
Start with a recycled or upcycled container made from natural materials such as a wine crate or natural wicker basket. Next, fill it with thoughtfully selected eco-friendly products. For example, a beauty-themed eco-friendly gift box might include organic products such as natural bath salts, essential oils, and shea butter skin products.
How do you wrap a gift in an eco-friendly way?
The best way to keep your gift-wrapping eco-friendly is to keep it simple. Swap store-bought wrapping paper and plastic ribbons for recycled and recyclable brown paper shopping bags and natural twine. Decorate with a small branch of eucalyptus, a rosemary sprig, a leaf, or a pinecone. Or emulate the Japanese tradition of furoshiki by using fabric squares to wrap gifts, making sure to choose an eco-friendly natural fabric such as linen.
Why Trust The Spruce?
This article was written by Julia Fields, a lifestyle writer for The Spruce covering all things surrounding toys, gifts, and the holidays. She's also covered similar topics in other roles, including toy reviews, product roundups, interviews with experts, and more.