lifestyle, Zero Waste Challenge

50 Ethical, Sustainable and Zero Waste Gift Ideas

The festive season is approaching, and it’s hard to miss it. Shops are stocked with goods, Christmas hits have taken over the radio and decorations are slowly lining the houses on my street. To many, this is a joyous time, but less so for the environment. In the words of George Monbiot, ‘…our relentless consumerism is trashing the planet’. However, with a few tweaks and a little creativity it’s possible to make your celebration a more ethical, conscious one. Gift giving is a good start. So here is a list of 50 gift ideas, and if you have any others, please feel free to comment below!!

Note: It is possible to make many of these gifts by hand. Check out Pinterest, Youtube and numerous blogs for tips and tutorials on making these items. Charity shops and local ethical shops are a personal favorite for ethically sourced materials too, so give them a shot before you head off to the supermarket.

  1. Handmade edible goods: Served in a reusable container, these are great for the workplace, and a chance to show off your baking skills.
  2. Reusable coffee cup: Great for the tea and coffee addict in your life. They’re available in a variety of sizes and colours from may cup
  3. Cotton coffee filters: A must for coffee lovers. Replace disposable filters with these for a zero waste brew.
  4. Loose tea: Sadly mant teabags contain nylon, but don’t let that stop you tea-lovers. Also don’t forget to use a….
  5. Tea strainer: The perfect way to enjoy your loose tea.
  6. Locally made alcohol: Support local businesses with style.
  7. Local independent food hampers: Support your local businesses with these tasty treats.
  8. Cloth food bags: Whether for storage, or for filling up at your local bulk store, cloth food bags are a great alternative to plastic bags.
  9. Lunch/Bento Box: Not just for kids, keep your lunch safely stored with these lovely boxes.
  10. Wax-wraps: Great reusable alternative to cling film. Simply rinse with a little cold water and you’re good to go again. These can be made with either vegan soy wax, or beeswax, and come in a variety of colours and sizes.
  11. Reusable kitchen towels: These pretty, reusable  towels are a lovely alternative to paper ones.
  12. Unsponges: Reusable alternative to disposable kitchen sponges.
  13. Bamboo Toothbrush: Biodegradable toothbrushes that are available from numerous eco friendly shops. Here are some from Savesomegreen. Bamboo-toothbrush-Charcoal-1
  14. Makeup remover pads: Reusable cotton pads for the makeup addict.
  15. Reusable sanitary products: Moon/Diva/Organi cup, period pants, cotton cloth sanitary pads. There are so many options out there. Save your loved one a tonne of money and the planet.
  16. Package-free Bath products: Shampoo bars, soap, toothpaste, solid perfume, deodrant and more. Try out your local ethical shop, or make your own.
  17. Safety razor: Cut away disposable razors in your life with this eco alternative.
  18. Interesting pot plant: Brighten up the home and get the oxygen flowing with pot plants. Cacti and succulents for the beginner, or perhaps a bonsai for the experienced plant lover?
  19. A vegetable growing kit: Have a shot at growing your own food. Whether it’s herbs, fruit or veggies, your hard work will pay off deliciously.
  20. Biodegradable bird feeders: Look after your local birds with these nature-conscious gifts. Check out the tutorial by Felt Magnet. bird feeders
  21. Native wildflower seeds: Brighten up you garden or balcony with nature- friendly flowers (your local wildlife will love it too).
  22. Bee friendly gift set: Help support your native bees with these lovely sets. There are some for other invertebrates.
  23. Compost bin: Dispose of your food and plant waste in a sustainable manner (and provide your plants with some lovely fertiliser).
  24. Home mushroom growing kit: Grow your own delicious mushrooms at home with these easy kits. Like these ones from GroCycle. GroCycle_Mushroom_Kit_Image_2
  25. A local vegbox: Fresh local seasonal veggies at your doorstep.
  26. Second hand gifts: Second hand shops have a misplaced reputation for selling shabby items. But this really isnt the case! From digital cameras at used electronics stores, to snuggly jumpers at charity shops, you can pick up almost anything. Not only will you get a bargain, you’ll also massivly reduce your carbon footprint.
  27. Tote bag: Say goodbye to plastic bags forever! A must have for any ecologically minded person.tote
  28. Reusable water bottle: A must have gift for anyone and everyone.
  29. Solar charger: No outlet in sight? No worries, charge your electrics with the sun instead.
  30. Recycled stationary: Save the planet whether you’re a student, an office worker or even an artist.
  31. Pencils that grow into plants: Need I say more? Visit SproutWorld for a full selection. sprout pencil
  32. Sewing kit: A hole or two will no longer be a problem with a sewing kit. Perhaps you can craft a thing or two as well?
  33. Eco drive watch: Award winning, durable watches by Citizen that run on light. Any light.
  34. Books: E-books and second hand books are always a wonderful gift for the book lover.
  35. Cycling gifts: Cut your travel footprint with a bike (and some other bits and pieces)
  36. Bamboo comb: Brush the plastic out of your life. Take a look at Savesomegreenbamboo comb
  37. Multifunction tool: Keep your toolbox small and compact with these amazingly useful items.
  38. Bamboo underwear: Sustainable underwear complete with..
  39. Bamboo socks: To keep your feet cozy.
  40. Travel utensil set: No need for disposable cutlery with this travel set. MakeLifeGreen on Etsy have some beautiful sets. kit
  41. Life straw: Essential for the traveller. Ensure your drinking water is safe with these handly reusable straws.
  42. DIY pillows, mats, blankets: Check out Pinterest for easy sewing patterns, and your local charity shop for second hand materials.
  43. Soy, carnuba or beeswax blocks: Candles, lip balms or wax wraps, this is a product for the crafty zero waster in your life
  44. Stainless steel straws: Replace one of the most notorious plastic polluters with this reusable alternative.
  45. Plant based acessories: Wallets made from leaves, and vegan leather bags made from cork, the options are endless
  46. Boots and belts made from recycled tyres:  Tyres can’t be recycled, but they can be remade into other cool products.
  47. Online charities: WWF, RSPB, ZSL and many other charities have online gift shops where you can buy a wonderful assortment of gifts with knowledge that your money will be used to do good. Maybe adopt a tiger whilst you’re there? adopt wwf
  48. Memberships: Museums, cinemas, botanical gardens and so much more. Rather than recieving ‘stuff’, build new memories instead.
  49. Classes or a course: Learning a new skill is fun, but sometimes the cost can be an issue. Why not treat someone you care about to a few sessions to something they’ve always wanted to try?
  50. Restaurant gift card: A wonderful meal and an experience to remember.

10 thoughts on “50 Ethical, Sustainable and Zero Waste Gift Ideas”

  1. I love this post so much! And I love your views. May have to purchase some of these items for myself- the toothbrush and mushroom kit being some of them! 🙂 Oh, and the straw! You reminded me to get one! 🙂


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s