Zero waste gifts are a great way to show someone you care about them, but can also send environmentally-conscious folks into a panicked frenzy. There is no shame, though, because I am also one of those people.
Think about it:
Whether it be wrapping paper, gift bags, plastic packaging, or getting a gift that you do not really want or need, it all seems so wasteful!
Seriously, it drives me crazy.
What I have learned over the years is that is not worth it to become a nihilist over the joy of gift-giving.
Eco friendly gifts just require a bit more thoughtfulness.
You no longer have to worry because we are about to talk about everything related to giving zero waste gifts.
Let’s get to it!
Zero Waste Gifts Wrap
Americans spend $2.9 billion on gift wrap each year.
Think about how that equates to waste going to landfill. Yikes!
It is simple and economical to avoid wrapping paper.
Just find a cool magazine or newspaper around your house that you no longer want and then use it to wrap gifts. It always ends up looking super personalized and unique, which I love.
Here’s another idea:
Do you have a paper bag or some kraft paper laying around? Wrap the gift in that and then use a marker to add your own design. So cute!
There are endless ways to get creative with second-hand materials to wrap gifts, and it sure is better for the planet.
If every American family wrapped just three presents in reused materials during the holiday season, it would save enough paper to cover 45,000 football fields.
Gifts for environmentalists:
There is a Japanese tradition that is genius when it comes to sustainability and presents. It is called furoshiki and it basically is a textile that is used to wrap gifts. It can be reused over and over again.
Do you have a cute vintage scarf you no longer want or perhaps some fabric scraps from your latest project? Think about wrapping the next gift you give in that. I am sure the person receiving the present will appreciate your creative solution.
Sustainable gift wrapping is just the tip of the iceberg.
I have a bunch of zero waste gift ideas for you.
Stay with me:
Experiences: The Only Gift That is Truly Waste-Free
I love zero waste products and I can talk about my favorite ones for hours on end. However, if we over-consume even “eco-friendly” products, we are still generating a large footprint. It is all about balance, friends.
One gift that is truly waste-free are experience gifts.
Some great examples are buying tickets to go to a concert, performance, movie, or sporting event.
Think about it:
Gift-giving is all about letting someone know they are special to you.
What better way to say that then to spend some time with them?
One thing I love doing is gifting a friend or family member a “date day.” This usually means going out somewhere, getting a bite to eat, and treating them to whatever they want. These moments are always way more meaningful than any tangible object could be.
Next time you have a friend’s birthday or holiday coming up, consider gifting an “experience” gift.
I promise you the person will love it and will also probably love that you are doing your part in helping our planet.
Free Eco Friendly Gifts
Just because something may not cost any money does not mean that it does not hold value. Some of the best eco-friendly gifts are completely free.
Here’s my favorite:
I love making presents. Whether it be a painting, a ceramic mug, or a rendition of the person’s favorite song, homemade art is such an awesome thing to gift someone.
Seriously, who could dislike something that was made specifically for them? Another perk is that it generally does not cost any money, except for maybe a few nominal material costs.
Another free zero waste gift idea that comes to mind is things that are upcycled.
Okay, I know that regifting gets a bad name, but I disagree with that.
Think about it:
Things that are worthy and valuable stand the test of time. That’s why so many people love vintage. If you have something you do not want anymore and your friend would like it, why not gift it to them?
Zero Waste Gifts for Everybody
All of the gifts that I am about to recommend are great for people who are environmentally-conscious and are starting to pursue a plastic-free lifestyle, however, it goes far beyond that.
Here’s what I mean:
We all have people in our lives that maybe do not care as much about the environment as they should. However, many zero waste products are durable, functional, and aesthetically pleasing. I am sure if you got them an eco-friendly product, they would at least be willing to try it.
Maybe the gift you give can inspire someone to make more sustainable changes in their life. Perhaps you have an aunt who loves beauty products.
There’s a zero-waste gift out there for everybody.
Think about the person you are looking for:
What are their interests or hobbies? What gets them excited?
Consider all of these things and then check out this awesome guide to zero waste gifts:
Plastic-Free Gifts For The Friend That is Always On-The-Go
We all have one of those friends that constantly seem to be on-the-go or traveling. Every time you meet up for lunch, they have a million stories about the last place that they have been or are talking about the next place they are going.
Here are my favorite zero waste gifts for the people who are always on-the-go:
- Stainless Steel Cup
This is one of my favorite gifts to someone who is new to sustainable living. Everyone uses cups. Often times when we are out and about, we end up buying drinks that are in single-use cups. One way to combat that is to carry around a reusable drinking vessel with you.
Check it out:
My favorite one out there is this stainless steel cup with a carabiner handle.
The handle makes it easy to clip onto a belt or a bag, making it easy to always keep with you. Another great thing about it is that it also doubles as a handle. I love it!
- Stainless Steel Straws
Do you know what is a perfect product to complement a stainless steel cup? Some stainless steel straws!
We all know that awful image of the sea turtle with the straw up their nose. If the person you are giving the gift to cares about the ocean, then stainless steel straws are the way to go.
Any product that is 100% stainless steel is zero waste because it is completely recyclable. The good news is that stainless steel is also very durable, so it will last you for years and will be able to be reused many times.
- Bamboo Cutlery
If you start to eliminate your single-use plastic intake by saying no to cups and straws, you will realize that your next hurdle to overcome is cutlery.
Many restaurants offer plastic, single-use forks, knives, and spoons because it is convenient and cheap.
There’s an alternative:
Bamboo cutlery is reusable and compostable, making it a great zero waste product for eating out. I think that this is a really great gift for anyone looking to lessen their impact on the planet.
- Snack Containers
These snack containers are great for someone who may bring their lunch to work or has kids. They make awesome gifts and are completely waste-free.
Check it out:
There are three different sizes and they are made of stainless steel. The leak-resistant lids make them great for any food or snack.
Zero Waste Gifts For Those Who Spend A lot of Time in the Kitchen
Ah, the people who cook a lot have a special place in all of our hearts.
You know, the friend or family member that put their love into every meal they create. The ones who spend half their time at any gathering in the kitchen, preparing amazing food to nourish everyone.
This list is for those special people in our lives who spend a lot of time in the kitchen.
Here are my favorite zero waste kitchen gifts:
- Wooden Dish Brush
This wooden dish brush is a great gift for someone who loves functional, yet aesthetically-pleasing objects. It is great for cleaning pots, plates, etc. It even has a loop at the end so it can easily be hung near the sink.
This dish brush is completely zero waste. With a wooden handle and a brush made from sisal, a plant-based material, it is completely compostable. This is a great gift for people who spend a lot of time in the kitchen and want to live a plastic-free life.
- Dish Scrubber
This dish scrubber is similar to the wooden dish brush, but a bit smaller. This is great for someone who might live in an apartment and has a small kitchen. Again, this product is completely compostable.
It gets better:
Although this scrubber is intended to be for dishes, it goes far beyond that. It can be used to clean the floor, dirty surfaces, or get stains out of your clothes. Since they are so multi-purposed, I usually gift a few at a time.
- Zero Waste Dish Soap
This product pairs nicely with both the dish scrubber and the wooden dish brush. It is zero waste dish soap and is great for anyone who cares about the planet!
Listen to this:
This product is basically dish soap in the form of a soap bar. It is completely free of plastic waste. Simply get your brush or sponge wet, rub the bar in circular motions, and you are ready to wash some dishes. I would love to get this as a gift!
- Bamboo Soap Dish
This gorgeous bamboo soap dish does not only have to be for your kitchen. It’s also great for your bathroom. Besides looking pretty, it does a great job at extending the life of your soap.
Think about this:
This would be a great gift for kitchen dwellers because it would add some aesthetic flair to their sink area. It also would pair nicely with the zero waste dish soap or any other soap. Love it!
Zero Waste Presents for People Who Enjoy Skin Care Products
Some people out there love pampering their skin. Whether it be highly regimented skincare routines, face masks, or face peels, there is definitely a plastic-free alternative out there for them.
Check it out:
If you have a friend or family member who loves skincare, why not try getting them a zero-waste skincare product? Here are my favorites:
- Zero Waste Face Lotion
This is one of my favorite go-to zero waste skincare products.
The Yay For Earth face lotion is amazing. It is calming, moisturizing, and smells amazing. It’s light enough to apply twice a day and even includes sunscreen to protect your skin.
It gets better:
This face lotion is completely zero waste! Packaged in a glass jar with a metal lid, this container is either reusable or completely recyclable. Seriously, this is a great gift for anyone who loves skincare products.
- Face Oil
If you are giving a gift who really loves to indulge in self care, this face oil is for them. Made completely from plant-based materials, this formula is all-natural and comes in zero-waste packaging.
Check it out:
This face oil is vegan, cruelty-free, and organic. It is used best at night in order to rejuvenate the skin and make it glow. This product is integral to any relaxing zero waste self-care night.
- Reusable Cotton Rounds
Are you familiar with the single-use cotton rounds that many people use to apply product or clean their face? Well, they are super wasteful.
The good news is that there is this great alternative: reusable cotton rounds!
Here’s the deal:
These cotton rounds can be used over and over again and simply can be washed in between uses. I think that this is a great gift to pair with a zero-waste facial cleanser or some eco-friendly makeup.
- Zero Waste Lip Balm
Lip care is just as important as skincare. That’s why I love this zero waste lip balm. It’s moisturizing and comes packaged in adorable compostable materials.
It gets better:
There are three different flavors to choose from: tangerine, rosemary eucalyptus, and coconut cacao. Every single one of them is amazing and would make an amazing gift.
Bath & Body Zero Waste Gifts
Do you have a person in your life that loves soaps and skincare?
If you are looking for a gift for them, look no further than this list of my favorite zero waste bath & body products:
- Body Oil
This zero waste body oil is great for anyone who loves to indulge in moisturizing. It is multi-purposed and can be used directly on the skin, in your hair, or added into a bath. It smells like lavender, is all-natural, and is very relaxing.
I highly recommend gifting this product!
- Soap Bars
For an eco-conscious friend who loves basics, I would recommend this vegan soap bar. This formula is a blend of sweet grapefruit, cool peppermint, and mint leaves.
It gets better:
This soap comes in plastic-free packaging. In fact, the cardboard sleeve has an adorable illustration of a cat on it. This would make a cute yet functional gift!
- Shampoo Bars
I can not stop talking about shampoo bars. They just make so much environmental sense. EcoRoots carries a wide variety of plastic-free shampoo and conditioner bars.
There are so many scents and each formula has unique properties, but generally speaking, all of our bars are cleansing and super moisturizing.
I love all of them!
- Soap Saver
This soap saver bag pairs nicely as a gift with soap or shampoo bars. It’s made from plant fiber and helps extend the life of the soap.
The texture of the bag helps the soap lather better and exfoliates your skin. It’s a great gift for anyone who loves bath and beauty products!
Zero Waste General Hygiene Gifts
Don’t know what zero waste gift to get someone?
We all need to keep up on our general hygiene, so consider one of these awesome products:
- Safety Razor
I absolutely adore this amazing rose gold safety razor. It is light, durable, and works great. I love that it is beautiful and functional.
Listen to this:
- Shaving Soap
You can’t shave without soap! That’s why I always recommend this shaving soap as a sister gift to the safety razor. It’s zero waste because there is no outside plastic packaging. Unlike many foaming shaving soaps, this product comes as a bar.
This shaving soap prevents itchy red bumps. This formula includes:
coconut oil, avocado oil, and pleasant citrus smell. I love this product!
- Zero Waste Deodorant
Finding a deodorant that is free of aluminum or harsh chemicals can be tough. Finding one that is also a zero-waste product can be even tougher.
Look no further than this zero waste deodorant.
This product is organic, cruelty-free, and plastic-free!
The packaging is compostable which makes this a great gift for anyone who is environmentally conscious.
- Plastic-Free Floss
If you know someone who takes their dental care as seriously as they take sustainability, then this floss is for them.
Check it out:
This floss is made from bamboo fiber and also comes in recyclable packaging. It also is coated in peppermint oil so it will give you minty fresh breath!
Zero Waste Gifts for Indecisive Gift-Givers
If you love all the gift ideas that I just talked about, but can not make a decision on just one, consider purchasing a zero-waste kit.
Here are my top picks:
- Self Care Kit
This kit is a combination of the products I talked about earlier and is great for people who love self care or maybe need more self care in their life.
I would be so excited if I got this kit as a gift.
- Shaving Kit
If you were into the idea of some of the general hygiene products I mentioned earlier, consider this shaving kit.
This is everything you would need in order to start shaving zero waste!
- Cleaning Kit
The last kit that I want to mention is this awesome zero waste cleaning kit.
It’s a great housewarming gift!
The good thing to note is that whatever gift you choose, you are making an important effort to spread the word about zero waste products.
All of these products are plastic-free and create virtually no trash.
I am sure that the person receiving the gift will love it!
Don’t forget to wrap it in a zero waste way!