The 17 Best Eco-Friendly Gifts & Sustainable Gift Ideas for Planet-Positive Gifting

by | Nov 20, 2020

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If you’re anything like us, you are in a constant standoff with the gifting dilemma. We want to send acknowledgement, love, and support, but we also want to avoid thrusting another thing onto the giftee that will just find itself among the waste weeks or months later.

While the key to much of our waste and emission reduction can just be consuming less, consuming smarter can certainly be a step in the right direction. The sentiment behind a gift is what we all focus on. And thinking about the impact of gifts long before and after that initial box opening can make that thought all the more valued. With this in mind, the celebratory moment of gift giving can be an opportunity to share some of the good feels that come with better-for-the-world products. 

And so we at Grow Ensemble want to arm you with a wonderfully sustainable and eco-friendly gifts that will help you show your loved ones, friends, and colleagues you care about them and the planet. Our list of environmentally friendly gifts and products, curated (and commented on) by our Grow Ensemble team, will hopefully lead you to the perfect gift that will make the recipient excited to see your name in their mailbox.

Happy earth-friendly gifting!

Grow Ensemble’s Eco-Friendly Gifts for the Eco-Conscious Giftees & Gifters!

Going VIP—Sustainable Gifts over $50

The Great Gift of Comfort: AllBirds — (Under $100)

sustainable shoesHave you heard of Allbirds? Of course you have. 

Allbirds exploded onto the shoe scene and for good reason. It’s always a fight between my wool runners and my high tops as I head out the door. Really no bad option there, and my feet always thank me. 

Underplayed however, is AllBirds’ leadership as a sustainable and responsible business. A Certified B Corporation, AllBirds went completely carbon neutral in 2019. Not to mention, their materials have been intentionally and consciously sourced and utilized from start to finish. You can get the full lowdown on their sustainability and style in our Allbirds review!

On their site, you’ll read ‘Our sheep live the good life,’ and their fun, familiar, and playful branding matches all the feel-good walks they have in store for you. As well, their packaging is made up of 90% recycled cardboard, giving every box out there a second chance. 

Need the perfect pair of socks to complete the gift? Check out our full Bombas socks review to learn how you’ll be giving more than just one gift with your purchase! There’s no turning back once you’ve met the Bombas-Allbirds duo.

There’s lots to love about AllBirds, and that doesn’t even start to touch on how much your special someone will love you when you gift them a pair! 

Get their kicks at AllBirds.com. 

Green is the new Gold: Deco Gold Necklace from Made Trade — (Under $85)

made trade greewalt necklaceMade Trade is an ethical marketplace that brings beautiful artisan work into our homes and our wardrobe. One of our faves? The geometric necklace from L.Greenwalt Jewelry, handmade in Portland, Oregon from up to 85% recycled gold. Prefer silver? All sterling silver used is either recycled or is sustainability sourced!

In addition to using mostly recycled metals, L.Greenwalt uses biodegradable materials in their production and also reuses all scraps.

Added bonus: All L.Greenwalt’s castings are made by hand with a vegan carving wax and are cast at a women-owned casting studio! With two chain lengths options, you can’t go wrong!

Find this recycled gold necklace at MadeTrade.com

P.S. — Not exactly their style? Find other great eco-friendly gift ideas with Made Trade’s Gifts Collection

Drink Responsibly for the Planet (Even on the Go): Klean Kanteen Cocktail Set— (under $100)

klean kanteen cocktail setOf course, Klean Kanteen is probably best known it’s line of insulated water bottles, but let’s not forget, they are in the business of ridding the world of single use plastic. And they attack this problem from every angle, including the high brow art of the craft cocktail.

This set allows any cocktail lover to enjoy their cold or hot drinks without killing the planet… or their buzz. They can bring it along to the tailgate, picnic, or the next camping trip! It includes an insulated thermos with a pour-through cap and cup, two insulated tumblers, plus a 4-pack of steel cups for sharing!

We were lucky enough to have interviewed former Klean Kanteen CEO, Jim Osgood on the pod— listen in for a chat about Klean Kanteen’s mission to do away with single use plastics. 

Get this gift set and many others at KleanKanteen.com. 

Keep ‘Em Warm without Contributing to Climate Change: Upcycled Salmon Leather Slippers—(Under $90)

made trade chilote house shoeAnother Made Trade purchase for the win! 

These comfy slippers from Chile are handmade by women artisans who are able to work right from their homes in the rural areas of Patagonia, where their families have lived for generations.

They are made from locally-sourced sheep’s wool and vegetable-tanned salmon leather (who knew that was a thing?!) that is sourced from a would-be-wasted by-product of the fishing industry there. 

With time, they’ll perfectly mold to your giftee’s feet, making them the coziest natural slippers around for men and women alike. They are made to last and come with a repair kit just in case you’re like me, and remember you’re wearing slippers only when you’re already at the mailbox.

You’ll sure be wanting to buy a pair of these slippers for yourself too! 

Find these snuggly (& sustainable) slips at MadeTrade.com.

These aren’t your giftee’s style either?! Head over to the Gifts Collection on Made Trade to find all sorts of other eco-friendly and fair trade gifts and products.

A Toast to Friendship: Tablas Creek Wine — ($25-$240)

tablas sustainable wineI’ve got great news for you winos out there! Wine can actually help solve climate change…if it’s done right, that is! What’s wine done right? Wine that uses grapes that were grown regeneratively. 

Tablas Creek is the first Regenerative Organic Certified (ROC) winery. They use all sorts of regenerative viticulture techniques that actually help sequester carbon dioxide from the atmosphere and put it back into the soil. Regeneratively produced wines like Tablas can also help increase soil health and water retention to limit erosion and protect against extreme weather like floods and droughts. 

Tablas Creek uses local yeast strains in their production in Paso Robles, CA, giving their wines a rich, distinct taste. They have a wine for every palette and offer holiday gift packages as well! Sign up for a membership to get awesome discounts on their delicious wines!

From a single bottle, to a gift basket, to a subscription, Tablas has what you need. You really can’t go wrong. Asking your giftee to enjoy wine for the sake of the planet will get you bumped up to their top 8 friends list guaranteed.

Sip sustainably at TablasCreek.com.

Celebrate It All!—Environmentally Friendly Gifts under $50

An Environmentally Friendly Gift Idea to Inspire the Writer in Your Life: A Good Company’s Stone Notebook—(Under $25)

a good company notebook penIf writing, journaling, or doodling is a pastime of your giftee, look no further than A Good Company.

A Good Company has paved the way to conscious consumerism, prioritizing environmental commitment in product development and providing a great alternative to Amazon.

And like they say, they do not compromise between design and sustainability. Their notebooks have a clean, crisp design, and it’s made from recycled stone making for a uniquely smooth writing experience.

In addition to their beautiful new notebook (which you can also customize), your giftee will be wowed by the clean, climate positive, and pleasantly soft packaging it all comes in. If they’re anything like us, their new notebook will also be a gateway to them indulging in a new, beautifully designed and sustainable phone case or any of their other amazing products.

We really loved chatting with A Good Company’s Founder & CEO, Anders Ankarlid, on the podcast about his quest to eliminate mindless consumption. He is a gem, so have a listen if you want to get to know more behind the company!

Check out all the innovative products at AGood.com.

If you have a true writer and friend of humanity on your gift list (and you’re ready to drop some more serious cash on them) check out A Good Company’s Humanium Metal Pen, made of melted down illegal firearms, with 25% of the sale going to projects tackling violence in El Salvador. The pen is mightier than the sword. 

A Cleaner, Plastic-Free Way to Stash: Stasher Bags ($10 – $50)

stasher food bagsDown with Ziploc! Revolutionize food storage!

I used to cringe when my mom would rinse out plastic bags and keep them on the sink faucet to dry. For some reason, there was something that didn’t sit right with me with those dirty plastic bags. But maybe, it was my mom’s OG attempt at using a little less…touché, mom.

Anyways, Stasher will help a friend not worry about dirty plastic bags on their sink faucet anymore since they are dishwasher safe. They are a staple for anyone interested in zero waste, sustainable living, or snacks packery.

And these puppies aren’t just for the pantry. Yes, they are great for bin grains (or candies…) and as go-to produce bags in your fridge, but they can also be freezer bags, snack bags, or sandwich bags for lunch sacks. They can even venture into your purse or gym bag, making sure your must-haves are always within reach. 

Stasher is one of those gifts we wanted for a loooong time, but didn’t want to invest in. Sometimes you just need that extra little push to step into something great. And by gifting a starter kit of the Stasher lineup, you’ll be opening up the door for your giftee to live more sustainably in all things baggie-related. Learn all about why we LOVE this gift in our complete Stasher review.

Find them at Stasherbag.com.

P.S. You can grab Stashers at Grove Collaborative too!

Get the Composting Started: Full Circle’s Breeze Odor-Free Countertop Compost Collector—($20)

full circle compost breezeYou should have seen our compost collectQion before we got this thing—peee-ewww! This Full Circle Compost Collector fits perfectly in the fridge, freezer, or countertop and is designed to reduce odor and prevent a radical kitchen fly takeover. This is an exceptional compost collection solution, from a wonderful company! 

Plus, if you’re a Bokashi composter, like us, the lid is the perfect way to compact your fermented compostables in the bucket! 

This is a great gift that will keep its use after delivery. Not only does it stay useful, but it opens the door to learning a ton about food waste and sustainability in general, and it encourages great gardening as it can create fertilizer so good, your giftee will be the most popular gardener on the block!

Start ‘em composting at Grove.Co. 

Fill it Forward for the Giftee and More: The Clean Water Series Cupanion Bottle — (Under $20)

clean water series cupanionIf you have a friend or family member who is still stuffing their pantry with plastic bottles, this is your chance to send a subtle message that it’s time they change their ways. Fill it Forward Clean Water Series is the perfect opportunity to encourage the switch.

With each Cupanion Bottle, you receive a tag that you can scan each time you refill via the Fill it Forward app.

This tracks the users footprint and lets them know exactly how much they’ve contributed to global clean water and sanitation projects through their refills.

With Fill it Forward’s initiative, you and your giftee can play a part in both tracking your environmental impact and ensuring more clean water is available to people around the world. If you buy a bottle from their Clean Water Series, you unlock a $5 donation to various projects you can choose from as well.  

These reusable water bottles are a very simple design, and the boxes they come in need no wrapping! Our team loves them, and they make for a smooth transition to sustainable hydration (we also kept our box which now sits by the front door, holding our masks). 

It’s a seemingly basic bottle with a remarkable story and sentiment to share in gifting.

Give Clean Water & Sanitation at Fill it Forward.

Thinking of You!—Small, but Meaningful Green Gifts

The Gift that Keeps on Growing: tentree Seed Cards—(10 for $30)

ten tree seed cardsSometimes a thoughtful card can be the most meaningful part of the gift! That’s why we love saving the messages our friends and family send us commemorating each event in our lives.

The reality though, is that those cards ultimately either end up in the recycling bin or in a bag in our living room closet…and then later into the recycling bin.

We love them, but we just can keep moving with pounds of cards from the past 10 years! And apparently, we aren’t the only ones with luggage-full of cards: 2.5 million trees are cut down every year to make greeting cards. 

That’s why we love tentree’s seed cards. Tentree makes these cards from recycled post-consumer paper and the giftee can plant the card after they’ve enjoyed your message. It’s a great reminder of your celebration that will grow with time!

We love these for all of our friends and family (even the succulent-killers among us). These cards are extremely easy to plant—you just soak the card, cover it lightly with soil, and water it, and you’ll see sprouts within a few days! 

Oh, and one tree will be planted on behalf of the card recipient. Tentree’s seed card itself makes for one of the best eco friendly gifts we can think of! 

Get them at tentree.com.

Goodie Bag for the Long Haul: Reusable Shopping Bag from tentree—($20)

tentree reusable toteSkip the wasteful wrapping and gift boxes and put your gifts inside a reusable tote bag! BAM! Double gift!

Or make them into a goodie bag or care package! I don’t know about you, but getting little stocking stuffer gifts brings me back to christmas mornings as a child. What could be next?!

Once again, tentree delivers! Not only will these totes limit plastic bag pollution, tentree also plants TEN TREES every time an item is purchased! They’re aiming to plant 1 BILLION trees by 2030. Help them reach their goal!

These reusable grocery bags are made from organic cotton. They are durable and fold up easy, while also retaining that classic tote look we all know and love. 

Check out all of the reusable bags and more at tentree.com.

Get Rid of the Straw that Broke the Planet’s Back: Reusable Final Straw— ($11- $20)

final reusable straws

Speaking of stocking stuffers…

Did you know Americans use 500 million straws every. single. day? Perhaps you felt everyone was already on board with the no straw movement? Wrongo bongo! So, given how plastic pollution affects humans, every straw spared is a win for us all.

Final has committed to offering a solution away from plastic straws with their collapsible, reusable silicone and stainless steel straws. All their straws are BPA-free and dishwasher safe! Plus, all Final containers are made from 100% post-consumer recycled plastic.

The problem about reusable straws is that I always end up forgetting them…so uh, not much use there. But Final offers straw cases and a carabiner so that you can store and protect your straw and easily attach it to your keys! That way if you’re out, you always have it on you! 

Another thing we really like about these specifically is their silicone tip. These prevent all steel-to-teeth combat common with metal straws. Get these stainless steel reusable straws for that friend who loves the ocean and the planet as much as you do. 

Make it a set and check out their reusable cutlery and wipes too!

Keep sippin’ on at Final.Co.

Keep it Highly Functional but Surely Coveted: All Good’s Natural Everything Balm—(Under $15)

all good goop container

If you think someone might be disappointed receiving a set of lip balm, why are people always stealing them!?! People turn into sharks around a good lip balm. Save your friend or family member from being the one asking, “Hey, do you have any chapstick?” (No! Get your own.)

That’s why All Good’s Goop is the perfect Christmas gift. It is a cure all for all things skincare. From chapped lips to itchy bug bites, to dry climbers’ hands, we literally put this stuff on everything, making it a fantastic addition as stocking stuffers, goodie bags, gift baskets, care packages, or the main course.

Started by the reluctant entrepreneur, Caroline Duell, this All Good Goop was a hit right out of the gate for all adventurers. Made with all natural beeswax, olive oil, and soothing herbs, you can’t go wrong with this balm.

Get the Goop on Grove.co. 

   Tip

Check out their reef safe sunscreen while you’re there. We are big fans!

Earth-Friendly Gifts that Keep Giving—Subscriptions

We love gifting subscriptions, and yeah, it’s partially to give our friends and family the idea of gifting us a subscription in the future! 

It’s especially a great gift for college kids, new homeowners, and newlyweds! Subscriptions are a gift that keeps giving throughout the year and can be so incredibly useful for the giftees. These are some of our favorite eco-friendly subscription gifts…

Healthy Home without the Grocery Trips: Grove Collaborative

grove collaborative sub boxEveryone has been there. Look to your left, look to your right, turn behind, tip over to look under the sink. God forbid having to squaddle to a closet…There’s. no. toilet. paper…NOOOOOOOO!

Maybe one of the best gifts you could give anyone is the elimination of this dreadful situation.

Better yet, is to give them easy, all the time access to some of the best eco-friendly toilet paper and household products out there through a Grove.Co subscription.

Grove Collaborative is a certified B-Corp that has high standards for household and body care and only carries bonafide sustainable products and brands.

If you haven’t already used them, check out our Grove Collaborative review to see how you can revolutionize the household purchasing for you and your loved ones.

Get a subscription at Grove.Co. 

Eat and Live Well: Thrive Market

thrive market boxWhile eating health and ethically is totally worth it, it can get quite pricey. That’s why we love our Thrive subscription and gift it often! Thrive offers top-of-the-line products at 25-50% off retail price (with price matching just in case)!

Not only is it convenient to have your groceries delivered right to your doorstep, it’s also great knowing that no matter what you buy, you’re voting with your dollar for the good guys.

Thrive has an abundance of selection, from meats and seafoods to beauty products and pet food. This is a great subscription for those dietary enthusiasts or allergic since you can limit your search to a specific diet you abide by.

With an easy-to-use, customizable interface, everyone could use a subscription, and their experience on the website can be tailored to all needs!

Start a subscription at ThriveMarket.com.

Refill, Reuse, and Rejoice’ with Plaine Products

plaine products-bottlesWe love Plaine Products. In under 3 years, Plaine Products went from launch to diverting well over 3 metric tonnes of plastic from landfills through 2019.

Plaine Products offers essential oil scented, vegan beauty and shower care products all made from natural ingredients (and they’re all cruelty-free).

They also have this amazing beauty oil that Annie and I use for everything from dry faces, to break outs, to taming my curls—Annie raved about that and more in our Plaine Products review if you want more details! 

The concept behind their products is simple and perfect for your sustainable familiars who you think deserve a somethin’ to show off their zero waste bathroom game:  

  1. Order your preferred products from Plaine Products (change the lid you get with a pump)
  2. When you bottle runs dry, order a refill (or subscribe and they’ll send you refills automatically.) 
  3. Once a bottle is empty, a quick rinse and pump switch, then use your return label to send it back! 

Big bonus for us? Their products are natural and biodegradable, and you can get them in travel packs (shampoo, conditioner, soap, lotion…they have it all!). These were a game changer for us when we set out for camping trips or long weeks in our van.

Get a subscription at PlaineProducts.com. PLUS, use the code “Grow” for 20% off your order. 

Non-Traditional Gifting…The Most Eco-Friendly Gifts of All? 🤔

Offset Travel with the Gift of Carbon Neutrality

native engery offsetThis is a surprisingly wonderful gift for an event that requires traveling. Have an Earth-friendly couple tying the knot in a place that requires air travel? Or maybe a minimalist traveling in for the holiday season? This is a great option for you!

Use Native Energy’s calculator to determine the rough carbon footprint of you, your family members, or your friends will have through traveling. Homework done, you’ll get a figure for the number of tonnes of carbon you’ll need to purchase to counteract your personal carbon footprint. 

Each purchase with Native Energy goes to build clean energy and carbon-reducing projects. 

Have your family reminiscing a year from now…”remember when our Christmas was carbon neutral? That felt nice, didn’t it?”  

Thanks for the folks behind Oliver Russell’s Purpose Post for this tip for holiday gifting! 

And with That, Happy Eco-Friendly Gift Giving!

This should keep you covered for the holiday, birthday, graduation, wedding, whatever you’re needing season. We’re excited you and your giftee will be making an impact that extends beyond the day of celebration.

Have any other thoughtful eco-friendly or sustainable gift ideas for keeping gift giving green? Let us know! We love to add to our list!

Cory Ames

Cory Ames

Founder & CEO, Grow Ensemble

Cory is the Co-Founder & CEO of Grow Ensemble, as well as the Host of The Social Entrepreneurship & Innovation Podcast. From Washington State, Cory now resides in San Antonio, TX with his brilliant fiancée and their rescue pup. Cory is deeply passionate about using his creative and cognitive capacities for doing good. 

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