We all have an eco-conscious person in our friend circle. They’re the one who takes the time to recycle properly, shops with a reusable bag at the grocery market and writes to their representative nonstop about climate change. It’s inspiring to say the least, and we could all stand to take a tip or two from their impeccably green lifestyle. But when the holidays come around, there’s no denying that finding eco-friendly gifts for your Earth-loving pals can be a bit of a minefield. You might stumble across the perfect gift, only to discover that it’s swathed in plastic, made from palm oil or requires batteries that can leach chemicals into the soil.
To make shopping for the eco-conscious people in your life a little easier, we’ve rounded up a few gift ideas that both your friends and the planet are sure to love. From the intrepid traveler to the beauty lover, we have you covered. Don’t forget to wrap your gift in eco-friendly gift wrap!
1. Shampoo Bar
Whether your friend fusses over every single strand on their head or prefers to take a hands-off approach to their magnificent mane, they’ll love getting a shampoo bar as a gift. These trendy little bars are having a huge moment, and it’s not hard to see why. Whereas conventional shampoo comes in a plastic bottle, shampoo bars are entirely package-free. Best of all, they’re typically highly concentrated with plant-based ingredients — making them better for your hair, your wallet and the planet.
2. Stainless Steel Water Bottle
Anyone interested in protecting the planet almost certainly has a reusable water bottle to help them avoid single-use plastics. But let’s face it — not all reusable water bottles are created equal. Plastic water bottles will typically give up the ghost after one year of use, while glass water bottles tend to break easily. Stainless steel, however, is both durable and long-lasting, so your friends can stay hydrated with the same bottle for years to come.
3. Sustainable Sunglasses
There’s something fun about buying sunglasses for a friend. Maybe it’s the challenge of finding a pair that perfectly suits their face shape or seeing the joy on their face when they realize you splurged on a pair of sunglasses they’ve been ogling for ages. But the problem with conventional sunglasses is that most of them are made from virgin plastic and are notoriously difficult to recycle. Fortunately, plenty of companies make sustainable sunglasses that protect both your eyes and the planet. For a stylish pair of plant-based sunglasses, check out Australian-based company Ozeano. Looking for something a little different? Try a pair from Woodzee, a company that makes sunglasses from wood and bamboo.
4. Reusable Silicone Covers
If the person you’re shopping for loves to cook, these silicone bowl covers are the perfect gift. Unlike single-use cling wrap, which releases toxic chemicals, silicone bowl covers are made of natural silica sand, making them a safer option for humans and the environment. Plus, they’re infinitely reusable — just pop them in the dishwasher and they’re good to go. On top of all that, they help keep your food fresher for longer, which helps save energy and other resources by diverting food waste from a landfill!
5. Cork Yoga Mat
We all have that one friend who’s constantly switching up their workouts. If they have yet to tap into the restorative powers of yoga, help them do so sustainably with a cork yoga mat. Whereas conventional yoga mats are made from toxic PVC, cork yoga mats are made from natural oak tree bark, which regrows when harvested sustainably. To top off your gift, give your friend a gift certificate to a local yoga class.
6. Recycled Cheese Platter
Whether you’re shopping for someone you don’t know very well or looking for a great housewarming gift, a recycled cheese platter is always a wonderful gesture. These one-of-a-kind platters are typically made by melting a recycled wine bottle in a kiln, making it the perfect conversation piece at holiday parties and get-togethers. If you have room in your budget, consider throwing in some sustainably made cheese knives and wine accessories.
7. Experience Gift
Mindless consumption of products — even if it’s a “green” product — is a key contributor to climate change. So, rather than buying your friend more stuff that will inevitably end up in a landfill, consider giving them an unforgettable experience instead. Treat them to a year-long membership to your local museum, tickets to a comedy club or a cooking class they’ve been itching to take. Along with being better for the environment, experience gifts are bound to create memories that outlast any materialistic item.
8. Swedish Dishcloths
Have you heard about Swedish dishcloths? Durable yet biodegradable, these reusable dishcloths are an easy alternative to paper towels. In fact, just one Swedish dishcloth can replace 17 rolls of paper towels, making them a good choice for the planet and your wallet. Plus, they come in an array of fun designs that are sure to put a smile on your friend’s face.
9. Cast Iron Skillet
Take your friend’s culinary skills to the next level with a gorgeous cast iron skillet. Cast iron cookware is long-lasting and naturally non-stick (read: no hazardous chemicals), making it a no-brainer for budding chefs who want to cook more sustainably. Does your friend already have all the cast iron cookware they could possibly need? Get them some useful cast iron accessories — like a handle holder or cast iron care products that will protect their cookware for years to come.
10. DIY Home Spa Gift Basket
While getting a professional massage feels amazing, you might not want to shell out the money for an expensive spa gift card. Fortunately, you can give your friend the gift of relaxation with an affordable, do-it-yourself spa gift basket. Making your own spa gift basket is easy, affordable and better for the planet because you have more control over the ingredients and packaging. Treat and pamper your friend with homemade sugar body scrub, DIY bath bombs and massage oil made with a blend of essential oils.