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There’s a lot of talk about shopping in a more eco-friendly way, but that doesn't mean doing so is easy—sometimes it can feel downright dizzying. It also has the perception of being expensive, but it doesn’t have to be. For anyone looking to be a bit more conscious of the materials in the products they use, it’s absolutely possible to find the perfect everyday items that won’t ruin your budget.
Here are the best eco-friendly gifts to give this year.
LastObject Personal Care Kit
For someone starting off on their eco-journey, LastObject’s personal care kit is a great introduction. The four items include a swab that can be used more than 1000 times, tissues, and a laundry bag. The reusable items also come in colorful covers like peach, blue, black, or green.
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.
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.
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.
Lulu Dharma Brown Woven Weeender
Sometimes you don’t need a big suitcase, but you also require more than a small tote. That’s where the weekender bag comes in. Lulu Dharma’s bag from the Eco Plus collection is made of recycled vegan leather, with an interior made of recycled plastic bottles. This style is classy, environmentally friendly, and roomy enough to carry all of your essentials for a short trip.
Repurpose Plastic-Free Dinner Set
When you want dinnerware for your kids that's durable, but you want to skip the plastic? Repurpose has a set that comes in fun color options, is non-toxic, and free of any plastic. It's actually made from plants. Each item (tray, plate, bowl, and cup) is dishwasher safe and is compostable whenever it's reached the end of its lifespan.
Yaya & Co. Tucker All Natural Pet Bed
While pets may not exactly understand the ins and outs of being environmentally friendly, they’ll surely appreciate this cozy bed. The actual bed is made from 100 percent cotton and suitable for pets up to 40 pounds. The basket is jute, biodegradable, and recyclable. Pet parents will also love how easy the bed is to clean.
Val Huegerich Recycled Wine Bottle Platter With Spreader
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.
Sistain Bamboozle Compost Bin
Composting can be a great way to reduce food waste, so a great compost bin is a must. This option from Sistain doesn't just look sleek on a countertop, but it's made from sustainably sourced bamboo. There's also a carbon filter to keep food smells away and for extra convenience, the bin is dishwasher safe.
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.
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 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.
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.
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.
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).
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.
Holly & Tanager The Pro Backpack Tote
A single product that has multiple functions is a major way to get serious bang for your buck. While this might just look like a regular backpack, this bag, made of recycled nylon, easily converts into a tote and crossbody. The exterior is also water-resistant and has useful interior pockets and even a laptop sleeve.
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.
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 a biodegradable bamboo.
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 roundup was written by Patrice J. Williams, a lifestyle writer who's contributed gift guides to The Spruce since 2020. She loves helping her friends and family find unique, thoughtful, and wallet-friendly presents. In addition to her work for The Spruce, she's appeared on-air for The Today Show, WEtv, and was the Savvy Shopper reporter for WPIX in New York City.