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What’s better than finding the perfect gift for someone? Finding the perfect, eco-friendly gift that does right by Mother Earth. The truth is that many of our well-intentioned gifts — from cheaply-made outfits to the latest electronics — produce a lot of waste. This waste ends up in landfills where it produces greenhouse gases that contribute directly to climate change.
Skip the unnecessary waste (and the eco-guilt) by choosing gifts that make a positive impact on the environment. From outdoor experiences to plastic-free shampoo bars, there are plenty of eco-friendly gift ideas that friends and family are sure to love. Who knows? Your thoughtful gift could be the thing that kickstarts someone’s journey to low-waste living!
Due to the pandemic, many of us are spending a lot more time in the kitchen. Why not give the gift of a greener kitchen? Whether you’re shopping for a die-hard foodie or a budding chef, these eco-friendly gifts are sure to be a huge hit.
1. A Plastic-Free Dish Brush: Doing the dishes is the least-fun chore ever. And admittedly, using a plastic-free dish brush won’t magically change this fact. What it will do, though, is make tackling dish duty a little more eco-friendly by replacing plastic sponges that end up in landfills and oceans. In any case, this would be a fantastic housewarming gift for an eco-conscious friend or co-worker. To complete your eco-friendly gift, consider throwing in a solid dish soap that cuts through grime.
2. Reusable Food Covers: There’s a good chance that the food-lover in your life doesn’t let any of their delicious food go to waste. But if they use a lot of plastic wrap to keep their leftovers fresh, consider giving them a set of reusable food covers to help keep plastic out of landfills and oceans.
3. Beeswax Food Wrap: Another easy way to steer your friends and family away from single-use plastics is by giving them beeswax food wrap. Hailed as a sustainable alternative to plastic wrap, beeswax wraps can be used over and over again. Plus, they’re naturally biodegradable and compostable!
4. Cast Iron Skillet or Dutch Oven: While non-stick pans are convenient, they’re coated with questionable chemicals like polytetrafluoroethylene (PTFE) that can break down when pans are overheated. Skip the chemicals and invest in cast iron cookware instead. Not only is cast iron long-lasting and naturally non-stick, it’s also totally recyclable since it can be melted down and re-made into a new product.
5. Cooking Class: Looking for an amazing experience-based gift? A gift certificate for a cooking class would make a fantastic gift for a partner or a friend who already has enough “stuff.” Similarly, you could do a food tour or a wine-tasting experience!
It’s no secret that the beauty industry is incredibly wasteful. From shampoo and conditioner to lotion and facial serums, most of our daily beauty essentials come packaged in unnecessary plastic. If you have a beauty-fanatic friend who wants to minimize his or her carbon footprint, here are a few eco-friendly beauty gifts that can help set them on the right path.
6. Shampoo Bars: Got a friend who’s completely hair-obsessed? Give them the gift of more good hair days with a shampoo bar. These small but mighty bars from The Earthling Co. can do everything that the liquid stuff can, only better. That’s because they contain quality, plant-based ingredients and are plastic-free — a win-win for your hair and the environment. To complete your eco-friendly gift, pair a shampoo bar with one of our equally-amazing conditioner bars.
7. Lotion Bars: If you think that plastic-free shampoo bars are going to be a huge hit with your beauty-loving friend, consider throwing in a lotion bar as well. Full of hydrating ingredients, lotion bars are surprisingly luxurious and work like a charm on dry, cracking skin. The best part? They don’t come in unnecessary plastic packaging!
8. Natural Wooden Soap Dish: If you’re now officially sold on the idea of solid-bar beauty products (we don’t blame you), this natural wooden soap dish would make a beautiful (and practical) addition to your eco-friendly gift. Wooden soap dishes are designed to keep sudsy products off the counter, helping to minimize soapy messes while also extending the life of the product. On top of being practical and eco-friendly, a wooden soap dish is also a gorgeous way to store soaps and shampoo bars.
9. Vegan Soy Candle: We all know someone who enjoys leveling-up their home’s cozy factor with scented candles. Why not surprise the candle connoisseur in your life with a vegan soy candle? Unlike regular candles made from paraffin wax, vegan soy candles are non-toxic and don’t produce a significant amount of soot. Sure, they might be a little more expensive, but it’s a small price to pay for an ethical, eco-friendly candle.
10. Reusable Bamboo Cotton Rounds: Is your bestie a full-on makeup addict? Encourage her to take single-use cotton rounds out of her skincare routine by gifting her a set of reusable bamboo cotton rounds. Regular cotton rounds require a lot of water to produce and don’t biodegrade due to the bleaching and mixing process used to make them. By switching to reusable cotton rounds, your friend can minimize her impact on the environment and help keep unnecessary waste out of landfills.
Need a good gift idea for someone who takes their career super-seriously? The best eco-friendly gifts for busy professionals are ones that will make their work days a little saner — and a lot greener. Here are a few eco-friendly gift ideas for the career-minded people in your life.
11. Sustainable Water Bottle: When it’s a busy day at the office, it’s all too easy to forget to drink water. Why not help them reach their daily H20 quota with a sustainable water bottle? You can’t go wrong with a stainless steel option. Make sure it has double wall insulation to prevent condensation and heat transfer.
12. Carbon Offsets: Perhaps you have a friend who cares deeply about the environment, but has to travel regularly for work. In that case, why not give them the gift of carbon offsets? Carbon offsetting helps them reduce their carbon footprint by offsetting all or some of their activities. When searching for a reputable carbon offsetting program, look for Gold Standard and/or Verified Carbon Standard certifications.
13. Online Learning Subscription: Know someone who’s trying to make a midlife career change? Get them a subscription to an online learning website, such as Skillshare or MasterClass. They can choose to level-up their existing skills or learn new skills that can make their career pivot easier.
14. Reusable Bamboo Utensils: Busy people don’t always have the time — or, frankly, the energy — to make a home-cooked meal. If the professional in your life takes a lot of their meals on-the-go, consider gifting them a set of reusable bamboo utensils to help keep plastic cutlery out of landfills. To further cut down on plastic waste, consider pairing your gift with a set of silicone bags that they can use for snacks!
15. Offer to Babysit: Balancing a career and a family is really difficult, especially during a pandemic. Why not offer to babysit, so mom and dad can go on a date? You could even make a coupon book out of recycled paper. This gift idea is budget-friendly, eco-friendly and gives hard-working parents exactly what they want: a much-needed break.
Know a pet owner who’s trying to live an eco-friendly lifestyle? Help your friend spoil their pet (sustainably) with one of these eco-friendly gifts for pet parents.
16. Pet Shampoo Bar: Did you know that a dog’s skin is even more sensitive than a human’s? That’s just one of the many good reasons to choose a pet shampoo bar made from canine-friendly ingredients. In addition to being low-waste, this pet shampoo bar contains a gentle mix of plant-based ingredients — lavender, tea tree oil, cedarwood essential oils — to safely pamper smelly pups.
17. A DIY Dog Toy: Sure, there are plenty of eco-friendly dog toys on the market these days, but why spend the money and resources when you can simply make one yourself? Dogs will go crazy for this plastic bottle DIY dog toy, which is made using an empty water bottle and an old sock. Not only does this dog toy cost nothing to make, it’s also a great way to keep one more plastic water bottle out of a landfill.
18. A Donation to an Animal Shelter: Does your friend spoil their pet a little too much? Skip the material gifts and consider donating to an animal shelter in your friend’s name instead. This is an incredibly thoughtful gift that is sure to tug at any animal lover’s heartstrings.
19. Dog Training Class: Searching for an experience-based gift for the pet lover in your life? Consider giving them a gift certificate to a local dog trainer. If they have an athletic pup, an agility training course could be fun for both dog and owner.
20. Custom Pet Portrait: A custom pet portrait is an endearing gift that the receiver will cherish for years to come. If you have artistic skills, consider making a custom pet portrait yourself. Otherwise, there are plenty of Etsy shops that will gladly make a custom pet portrait for you. (Hint: Look for a seller who uses 100 percent recycled paper!)
Still searching for the perfect eco-friendly gift? We’ve got you! Here are a few more eco-friendly gift ideas for the environmentally-conscious.
21. Headspace Subscription: Given the craziness of last year, a Headspace subscription is a welcome gift these days. Mindfulness can improve one’s health in many ways, from lowering stress to reducing chronic pain. It’s also an effective coping strategy for dealing with eco-anxiety.
22. Donation to a Sustainable Cause: Not sure what to get the person who has everything in life? Consider donating to a sustainable cause in their name. This would be a wonderful gift for someone who already cares about the environment and has a specific cause that’s near and dear to their heart!
23. National Park Pass: If you’re looking for an amazing, eco-friendly gift for an outdoor enthusiast, look no further than a national park pass. This pass provides your friend with access to more than 2,000 federal recreation sites. Check out the National Park Service website for full details.
24. A Book on Sustainability: Shopping for an avid reader? Consider giving them a good book on sustainability. If you need some book suggestions, check out Drawdown: The Most Comprehensive Plan Ever Proposed to Reverse Global Warming. Edited by Paul Hawken, the book brings together the world’s leading researchers, scientists and policymakers and gives the top 100 solutions to reaching net zero carbon dioxide emissions. Need to snap someone out of their climate change complacency? The Uninhabitable Earth by David Wallace-Wells is sure to do the trick.
25. Handmade Gifts: Anyone can run to the store and buy a gift. Homemade gifts are special because they take time and energy to create. Need some ideas to help get your DIY on? You could write a poem, create a piece of artwork or even make a DIY sugar scrub.
Gift-giving doesn’t need to come at the expense of the planet. With these eco-friendly gifts, you can surprise the people you love while lowering your carbon footprint.
Looking for more eco-friendly inspiration? Check out our entire collection of natural, plastic-free products at The Earthling Co. Cheers to forging a more sustainable world!
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