You don't have to idolize Greta Thunberg to understand that the environment is in danger. The holiday season can be stressful for everyone, but particularly those who want to minimize their impact on the planet. The manufacturing, shipping, and packaging of one-off holiday gifts —
34% of which will just get returned anyway — is a serious issue. Sustainable gift ideas can make your giftee feel a little better about their participation in the season of giving and receiving.
Sustainable gifts have come a long way in the last few years, thanks to innovative creators and an increased interest in, well, saving the planet. According to a 2019 Nielsen sustainability report, 73% of global consumers report that they are more likely to change their
buying habits to be a little more eco-friendly, even if it means paying more. And a CGS 2019 U.S. Consumer Sustainability Survey revealed that Gen Z now prioritizes the how ethically something was made above other factors, including price, and are more likely to be loyal to a brand that prioritizes sustainability and ethical manufacturing.
Choosing gifts that are earth-friendly is a gift for the recipient and the planet. Below, find 16 ideas for sustainably minded gifts for the eco-warrior on your list.
We only include products that have been independently selected by Bustle's editorial team. However, we may receive a portion of sales if you purchase a product through a link in this article.
Adopt An Endangered Animal
Gift the animal-lover in your life the World Wildlife Fund's symbolic adoption. For $55, you can "adopt"
an endangered species. While the recipient won't get a pygmy elephant delivered to their door, they will get a plushie version of the animal you choose, an adoption certificate, a photo, a species card, and a nice bag to put all the goodies in — and of course, that donation goes to protect endangered wildlife.
A Travel Kit For Future Adventures
Want to support sustainability and small businesses? Look no further than Aria's Travel Kit. The moisturizer, toothpaste, and lip balm are made in small batches to minimize waste, while the bamboo toothbrush is biodegradable, so it won't end up in a landfill when you're done with it.
For that friend who
can't get enough of CBD products, the Foria collection is ideal. The company creates CBD products that aid in sexual health, and everything is organic and cultivated using regenerative and biodynamic practices — meaning the way they farm essentially leaves the soil better than off than it was before. Foria also uses only low-impact packaging with minimal plastic.
When it comes to sustainability, bamboo is a key player. Not only does it grow really fast — so pandas still get their fair share — but it
pretty much takes care of itself. This brush set is made with recycled aluminum, plastic, cotton and bamboo fibers and is just as effective at gently applying make up as conventional make up brushes. Plus, the paper packaging it comes in can be planted, as it is 100% biodegradable and embedded with wildflower seeds.
A Compostable Phone Case
Your typical phone case is made of plastic, meaning they stick around in landfills long after they cease protecting your phone. This phone case, by contrast, is 100% compostable, meaning when your mom wants to switch out her case, the old one can go to fertilize her garden. Purchase of the
Ripple Effect edition Pela phone case will result in access to one year of clean water to a person in a community in Kenya. You can even track your impact to see where the water is going and how it's being used.
Not only are Sézane clothes beautiful, but they're made of
OEKO-Tex certified natural material, meaning all fabrics are free of specific harmful chemicals, making them safer for humans and the environment. Their packaging is made from 100% recyclable materials or from sustainably managed forests.
Home accessories company Jungalow sells sustainably minded décor and furnishings. This artful hand-crafted vase is made of painted ceramic, and is perfect for dried or fresh flowers. Jungalow has partnered with
Trees for the Future, to ensure that for every product purchased on their site, two trees will be planted. The company will also match all donations made to the organization.
This holiday card set includes four sentiments: Peace & Joy; Give Thanks; Happy Holidays; and Merry Merry! The set was designed by artist and Aya Paper Co. founder
SaVonne Anderson, with 100% recycled paper. They come with recycled, chemical-free envelopes in a recycled box. All items are made with recycled materials.
A Made-To-Order Shirtdress
beRESONANT doesn't start making its products until after the customer orders it, so they can be sure they're not wasting materials or resources without demand. The company doesn't hold any inventory, and when they do process requests, they use all sustainable materials, to ensure they have a modest carbon footprint.
This set of four glasses were handcrafted with 100% recycled glass in Poland. Everything from the box to the ink print was made of recycled and biodegradable materials. GOODEE is a marketplace that sells only ethically sourced and produced products from around the world. You can
navigate their site by sustainable principals, like recycled materials, natural materials, or water conservancy, browsing only products that honor those causes. GOODEE also donate at least 1% of every sale to support environmental non-profit organizations.
Tools For Reusable Grocery Trips
This zero waste kit is the perfect starter collection for someone who's down to experiment with greener shopping practices. The kit includes 100% natural cotton produce bag, 100% organic cotton net produce bag, a small and large reusable jar, and a string bag. This kit eliminates the need for plastic produce bags, and allows the shopper to purchase bulk items without any wasteful packaging. The bags can also be used to sort foods in the fridge at home or transport personal care items.
This body butter is handmade in small batches with Shea Butter, Illipe Butter, Coconut Oil, Hemp Seed Oil, Argan Oil, Marula Seed Oil, Kukui Nut Oil, Baobab Oil and comes in recycled packaging. And as a part of jELN's recycle program, when your giftee return five empty glass jars or bottles, they will receive 20% off their next purchase.
While the sold-out
Native Plant Shoe — made of all natural plant-based products — might have taken the spotlight in terms of obvious sustainability, the Native Shoes Remix program ensures that the rest of their inventory is equally as eco-friendly. This program promises that when you're done with your Native shoes, they can be easily returned and recycled into something else — like the rubber floor of a playground, or another shoe — so that they never end up in landfill.
A MasterClass Subscription
Virtual gifts require no packaging or manufacturing, making them a pretty sustainable pick. Gift the environmentalist in your life a year of MasterClasses (featuring over 90 different masters), like the famed
Dr. Jane Goodall conservation lesson plan. This series includes 29 video lessons — running just over five hours total.