20 Sustainable Gifts for Every Person in Your Life
The holiday season may be stressful, but buying yourself or your loved ones a thoughtful gift doesn’t have to be! There are countless holiday guides out there that you can browse, but we’ve curated a quick guide that focuses on:
- Highlighting businesses run by Black, Indigenous, or Women of Color
- Products that are locally made (made in the USA, or even within NYC!)
- Products made with post-consumer recycled (PCR) materials and/or businesses with clear commitments for offsetting their environmental impacts
HOME: Is it just us or does everyone dream of a home that’s safe for our family members and the planet? Check out these eco-friendly brands for household essentials.
Some people say a house is not a home without the creature comforts. These can be anything from warm tones in your pillows, rugs, and more! Bolé Road Textiles has a wide variety of modern textiles to warm up any space.
Photo Credit: Bolé Road Textiles
It’s hard to find a safe, non-toxic piece of cookware these days, but Caraway is a top contender and cult favorite in many people’s kitchens. On their website, they state: “Our ceramic non-stick is made from inorganic natural ingredients which are all 100% safe to use in contact with all foods (and FDA approved). Plus, the absence of potentially dangerous chemicals like PTFE, PFOA, PFAS, Lead, and Cadmium means that there is no chance of harmful materials leaching into your food, even if you accidentally scratch or overheat your pan.”
Photo Credit: Caraway
If you’re looking to swap out smelly, plastic kitchen sponges for something more eco-friendly, Sqwishful is a great brand to check out. They sell simple kitchen cleaning essentials, from dish scrubbers to sponges. What’s more to love: their packaging and products are all plastic-free and 100% compostable!
Photo Credit: Sqwishful
When the pandemic first hit, it seemed like paper towels were flying off the shelves--and that’s a LOT of trees that were cut for single-use purposes. Make the switch today to the ingenious creation that is the Swedish dishcloth. A single dishcloth can replace 17 rolls of paper towels, saving you money, reducing waste, and letting trees continue to thrive.
Photo Credit: Three Bluebirds
Soft plastics are one of the most challenging materials to recycle and are often not accepted in municipal curbside recycling programs. In efforts to reduce our need for plastic wrap to preserve our foods, Wild Clementine offers stylish reusable bowl covers for every occasion.
Photo Credit: Wild Clementine Co. on Etsy
FASHION: The fast fashion industry is notorious for its negative environmental footprint, but luckily these brands stand out from the rest with their sustainable practices.
Make a statement wearing AERA shoes without leaving a footprint on the planet. This brand is certified vegan and is on a mission to create a shoe with zero environmental impact. Available in women’s and men’s styles.
Photo Credit: AERA
Transparency is something we hope to see front and center for the brands we want to support, and Girlfriend Collective does a great job setting this example. Every product listed on their website depicts a Sustainability Report, sharing how many water bottles were diverted from landfill (yes, their clothes are made from recycled plastic bottles!), how many pounds of CO2 have been prevented, and how many gallons of water were saved.
Photo Credit: Girlfriend Collective
For the die-hard fans of fanny packs, this will be a fan favorite. Give the gift of hands-free storage with HFS Collective’s belt bags, some of which are made with Piñatex, a sustainable leather alternative made from pineapple leaves!
Photo Credit: HFS Collective
Orenda Tribe is an Indigenous-owned company that reimagines vintage and upcycled textiles into beautiful works of art. Each piece is unique, tells a story, and is made with the utmost care and attention.
Photo Credit: Orenda Tribe
We love a business with a powerful mission, and The Tote Project exemplifies that! The founders aimed to create this company to empower and support survivors of human trafficking around the world.
Photo Credit: The Tote Project
LIFESTYLE: Maybe you or someone you know is looking to transition to a more eco-friendly lifestyle. They’re slowly using up what they have at home and replacing items beyond repair with durable, long-lasting products. Check out these products to help them on their eco-journey.
A personal favorite since I bought my first phone case from Pela, this company is one of the pioneers in reimagining phone protection. As you switched and upgraded to new phones over the years, you may have purchased phone case after phone case that were all made from plastic. Well, Pela Case changed the game by creating a 100% compostable phone case made from flax straw waste. Once your case has reached the end of its life cycle, you can place it in your backyard compost or compost bin, or send it back to Pela for them to upcycle it into a new product!
Photo Credit: Pela Case
If you’re tired of bags that either break on you or aren’t waterproof, look into RAREFORM for a next-level staple to bring with you before you head out of your home. This company rescues billboards from landfill and upcycles the material to create durable, waterproof bags. The best part? Scrap materials are also used to make accessories instead of getting thrown into the trash!
Photo Credit: RAREFORM
If you or someone you know is always on the go with a cup of coffee or tea in hand, Stojo is a great holiday gift! It’s collapsible for portability, reusable for the sustainability-minded folks, and absolutely flawless if we do say so ourselves. They even came out with a collapsible water bottle and bowl!
Photo Credit: Stojo
SELF-CARE: It’s been a rough year, and many of us may not have taken the time to pause and give space for self-care and love. We’ve got some ideas for the person in your life who might enjoy some items to make them feel all warm and fuzzy at home.
If we asked you to do a waste audit of the trash in your bathroom, what are the chances there are some empty bottles of facial or body soaps, or shampoo and conditioner in your bin? Ever since we made the switch to bar soaps, our trash bin has never been emptier! Check out Butter and Lye for all your soap needs!
Photo Credit: Butter and Lye
We recently learned of The Growing Candle (thanks Nicole of Zero Waste NYC Workshop!) which combines the comforts of a candle and the rewarding feeling of growing something from scratch with their products. Each candle comes with a plant seed-label and a beautiful container that you can use to plant your wildflowers!
Photo Credit: The Growing Candle
Skincare is key in the colder weather months, but especially as a way to prevent dry skin and wrinkles. If you want to give the gift of skincare, YFE offers sensitive skin face lotion in glass jars that can be upcycled once all the contents are used up.
Photo Credit: YAYFOREARTH
FAMILY FUN: This year might not allow for the traditional outdoor holiday festivities, but that shouldn’t stop you from enjoying fun, quality time at home.
For those who appreciate a good beverage, All-Wise Meadery can be a great gift! This is New York’s first full production meadery where everything is kept local to the state, including the ingredients used in every step of the brewing process.
Photo Credit: All-Wise Meadery
*Please drink responsibly. You must be at least 21 years of age to drink alcoholic beverages. For more information please visit http://www.cdc.gov/alcohol/index.htm.
Everyone needs some time away from the screen to relax after school or a long day of work. With Kikkerland’s Foragers Playing Cards, enjoy a game of Go Fish or take your time and learn about the wonders of nature.
Photo Credit: Kikkerland
The toy industry is one culprit we might not automatically think of when we think about the plastic pollution crisis. Luckily for us, there are companies like Green Toys that make children’s toys from 100% recycled products!
Photo Credit: Green Toys
Shout-out: While ecoBirdy is not a US-based company, we wanted to recognize them for their innovation upcycling discarded children’s toys and creating kid-friendly pieces of furniture and other household goods.
For the music enthusiasts in your life, House of Marley is a great place to look. Every product and its packaging is created with sustainability in mind, including but not limited to using recycled, upcycled materials.
Photo Credit: House of Marley
And last but not least, are you looking for stationery for writing holiday greeting cards? We want to give a warm shout-out to Aya Paper Co and Cute Root, two wonderful small businesses that aim to brighten anyone’s day through their eco-friendly cards and other stationery essentials.