The 16 Best Eco-Friendly & Sustainable Gift Ideas for Gifting with Our Home Planet in Mind

by | May 22, 2020

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Whether the holidays, birthdays, anniversaries, or congratulations are in order, if you’re anything like us, we are in a constant standoff with the gifting dilemma: we want to send acknowledgment, 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.

That kind of lifespan doesn’t feel good for us or the recipient of our well-intentioned offering. A lot of this discontentment comes from the fact that many people don’t actually need more things, and many gifts don’t quite hit the nail on the head in terms of things they do need.

And while the key to much of our waste-reduction can just be consuming less, consuming smarter can certainly be a step in the right direction. The thought behind a gift is what we all focus on. And thinking about the impact of gifts long after that initial box opening can make that thought all the more valued.

Of course, this isn’t all altruism. We want the giftee to feel our support, but sometimes we can also use the celebratory moment as an opportunity to share some of the feel-good that comes with better-for-the-world products. 

We may not be able to get our parents to stop using Keurig cups to brew their morning coffee on their own, but we can send a subtle (or not so subtle) message with the sustainable gift they open up that will get them involved in the global efforts to preserve the livelihood of this planet we call home. 

And so, we at Grow Ensemble wanted to arm you with a wonderfully eco-friendly and sustainable gift guide that will help you show your loved ones, friends, and colleagues you care and simultaneously give a much-needed nod to our planet. 

Our list of eco-friendly products and gifts 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 gifting!

 

Grow Ensemble’s Sustainable Gift Ideas for the Eco-Conscious Giftees & Gifters!

Tentree Seed Cards — (10 for $30)

teen-tree-seed-cards-1

Usually, gifts come with a thoughtful card. And this can often 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’t 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. The card itself makes for one of the best eco-friendly gifts we can think of! 

Get them at Tentree.com

Klean Kanteen Stainless Steel Straw Set — (Under $15)

Klean Kanteen Stainless Steel Straw Set

Of course, Klean Kanteen is probably best known for 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.

Americans use 500 million straws every single day. Klean Kanteen has committed to offering a solution away from plastic straws with their stainless steel straw packs. They offer them in packs of 2, 3, 4, and 5.

One thing we really like about these specifically is their silicone flex tip. These prevent all steel-to-teeth combat common with metal straws, the colors mark which is yours when you’re in a multi-person household, and they are removable for cleaning! These straws also fit nicely in the tumblers they sell, which makes for a great sip on the road.

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. 

And join in the mission: Get these stainless steel reusable straws for that friend who loves the ocean and the planet as much as you do. 

Get them at KleanKanteen.com

KeepCups’ New Thermal Reusable Coffee Cup — (Under $30)

thermal black

KeepCup originally created the first ‘barista standard’ reusable cup and has since taken that to the next level with the recent release of their thermal cups—built to reduce splash and keep your drinks warm. 

I love my KeepCup, especially for travel as the 12 oz is small and easy to pack. Of course, they are BPA-Free, made from 18/8 food grade stainless steel. 

This is a great option for those java hounds or tea lovers in your life. When stopping by the local cafe is a staple in your friends’ lives, this is the gift that keeps on giving (for them and the planet)!

Gather some KeepCups for the friends who loathe those to-go cup plastic containers but still love themselves a coconut milk latte. 

Visit KeepKup’s website to get yours

Fill it Forward with The Cupanion Bottle — (Under $20)

Fill it Forward with The Cupanion Bottle

If you have a friend or family member who is still using plastic water bottles, this is your chance to send a subtle message that it’s time they change their ways. The Cupanion Bottle is the perfect opportunity to encourage the switch, while also motivating and inspiring them each time they fill up.

With each Cupanion Bottle, you receive a tag that you can scan each time you refill via the Fill it Forward app. This tracks your footprint and sends a cup of clean water to someone in need.

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. The bottles are a very simple design and make for a smooth transition to sustainable hydration.

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

Get one at FillitFoward.com

Clean up the Planet with a Reusable Shopping Bag from EcoBags — (Under $10)

 

If you’re gifting for someone who does the grocery shopping in their house, up their zero-waste game with EcoBags. Support this women-owned & run Certified B Corporation and encourage your giftee to kick the plastic grocery bags to the curb.

These reusable bags are made from recycled canvas. Their tots are durable and fold up easy, while also retaining that classic tote look we all know and love. Their selection will satisfy all of your bag needs from totes to produce bags, and you can always opt for a zero-waste kit to cover all your bases!

For your farmers’ market friends, check out their recycled cotton tote bag with the magnetic snap that will keep their goods in hand even when they have a seat for a coffee break. The string bags also make a great option for your beachy friends who are tired of the heavy, wet, and stinky bags their beach towels leave them with after a day in the sun!

We like their organic cotton lunch bag for the sustainable worker bee. Their woven bag is also great for a picturesque picnic, and nobody’s mad when a bottle of wine is delivered in a recycled wine tote.

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

You can also shop select Ecobags products at Earth Hero and grab 10% off your order with code “growensemble”

Refill, Reuse, and Rejoice’ with Plaine Products’ Stocking Stuffers Gift Set  — (Under $20)

Stocking Stuffers Gift Set

We love Plaine Products. Especially after the CEO, Lindsey McCoy, joined us for a podcast to discuss how in under 2 years, Plaine Products went from launching to diverting well over 50,000 plastic bottles from landfills in 2018, and 100,000 in 2019 alone!

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

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

  1. Order your preferred products from Plaine Products (change the lid you get with a pump).
  2. When your 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! 

Zero-waste in every part of the process! PLUS, use the code “Grow” for 20% off your first order. 

Get these at PlaineProducts.com

Give Thoughtfully with the Highly Functional but Surely Coveted Natural Lip Balm —  (Under $20)

Coveted Natural Lip Balm

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.)

These also make a fantastic addition as stocking stuffers, gift baskets, or care packages. 

Two brands we love, both for the high-quality natural ingredients they use in all their skincare and homegood products, and their various commitments to sustainability and environmental consciousness with their production, are Dr. Bronner’s & All Good Products. 

Made with organic beeswax and oils, you can’t go wrong with Dr. Bronner’s Peppermint lip balm. A little fire on the lips, but definitely welcomed…that means it’s working. 

Visit Dr. Bronner’s to grab yours

   Tip

Or, you can try out All Good’s “All Good Lips” which offers another delightful option for keeping lips hydrated and protected. 

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

An Environmentally Friendly Gift Idea to Inspire the Writer in Your Life with a Good Company —  (Under $25)

good company

 

If writing, journaling, or doodling is a pastime of your giftee, look no further than a Good Company. A Good Company has rushed to the front of the pack, helping pave the way for environmental commitment in product development.

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 with each page.

In addition to their beautiful new notebook (which you can also customize), your giftee will be wowed by the clean, sustainable, 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 as well.

We really loved chatting with A Good Company’s Founder & CEO, Anders Ankarlid, on the podcast. 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

Let Your Sustainable Gift Giving Light a Fire, with Keap Candles

Candles are often a highly-coveted household staple that really make or break the home vibe. Once the burn-life is up though, you’re stuck with a container that almost always ends up in the trash.

That’s why Keap Candles created their Zero-Waste candles. When your candle burns out, you just return them, and Keap will repurpose and reuse them, keeping them out of landfills. 

Each scent is crafted by a master perfumer (didn’t know that was a thing to be honest, but I’m also happy about it). These candles are a bit on the pricier side, but if you’re able to swing it, it’s a great gift to treat the giftee who really needs a thoughtfully crafted energy into their home. They also have their “Sent-to-Home” sampler as a good option for only $12.

Their subscription option is a good choice if you are sending support to someone embarking on a shorter-term endeavor—a candle each month can add much needed calm and comfort during a last trimester or during intense exam prep! 

Check out their zero-waste candles at keapbk.com

Give Foodie Friends the Gift of Upcycled Pancakes — (Under $10)

These pancakes come from waste that results from beer production! 

Grain4Grain, a San Antonio based company, takes used grains from microbreweries to recycle them and turn them into a low-carb flour. To date, these folks have been responsible for upcycling over 60,000 lbs of grain and feeding over 2250 families in the San Antonio area through their donation program. 

Their low-carb flour is ready to be turned into delectable creations by the chef in your life: sustainable, socially impactful, and delicious. This is a great potential Christmas gift especially if you’re going to be whipping up pancakes for everyone in the morning.

Find their waffle and pancake mix at Grain4Grain.com and listen to our podcast with the CEO & Co-Founder, Yoni Medhin, here. 

 Support Sustainable Fashion & Shoes & Give the Great Gift of Comfort with AllBirds (Under $100)

Have you heard of Allbirds? Of course you have. 

Allbirds has exploded onto the shoe scene this last year, and for good reason. My pair of wool runners call to me often as I head out the door, 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 full Allbirds shoes 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. 

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!

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!

Find a pair at AllBirds.com

 Give Your Friends a Cleaner, Plastic-Free Way to Stash with Stasher! ($10 – $50) 

 

 

stasher-bag-review

 

Down with Ziploc! 

 

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, Stashers will help a friend not worry about dirty plastic bags on their sink faucet anymore (they are dishwasher safe!), and maybe more importantly save them a dozen grocery store runs to JUST pick up plastic baggies! 

 

And these puppies aren’t just for the pantry. Yes, they are great for bin purchases and veggies, but they can 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.

 

Learn more about this single-use baggie alternative with our complete Stashers Bag Review. 🤪

 

Stashers 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 sampler of the Stasher lineup, you’ll be opening up the door for your giftee to live more sustainably in all things baggie-related. 

 

Find them at Stasherbag.com

 

P.S. –  You can grab Stashers at Grove Collaborative, too! If you haven’t already used them, check out our Grove Collaborative review to see how you can revolutionize your household purchasing.

 

Get a Colleague Composting with Full Circle Home’s ‘Fresh Air’ ($30 – $40)

Have friends who don’t have the yard of their dog’s dreams yet? Maybe I’m projecting here

For the pal of yours who would like to do their part to reduce food waste but dwells in the city, Full Circle Home’s ‘Fresh Air’ Kitchen Compost Collector may be the ticket to get them started. 

Easy to clean, designed for reducing odor and preventing a radical kitchen fly takeover, this is an exceptional indoor compost solution, from a wonderful company! 

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!

Find it at FullCircleHome.com 

OR grab it at Earth Hero and get 10% off your purchase with code “growensemble”

For The Zero-Waste Morning Routine, the BogoBrush ToothBrush — ($10 – $15)

Bogo Brush

Free your friends to fight plaque and pledge their allegiance to preserving the planet at the same time. 

We recently tried to attack our sustainable living piece by piece, starting with our morning routine. We were shocked to find out how much waste is created just with toothbrushes!

Bogo Brushes are made from recycled plastic or plant-based materials that make them biodegradable and compostable! When we say compostable, we mean one of these brushes can be tossed into a backyard compost pile, a curbside organic waste bin, or one of Full Circle Home’s kitchen compost collectors (bundle gift anyone??). 

If you have a giftee who is moving into a new home, needs a little nudge with restroom cleanliness, or is just in need of a care package item, these little guys come with a suction stand—we love that because that means that old cup next to the sink that rarely gets cleaned is a goner. 

Check them out at Bogobrush.com 

Or, read our full write-up of the best eco-friendly toothbrushes to see some more options. 

 

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

Give Good with Phin — ($up to you!)

Phin facilitates you gifting the gift of giving (that’s so much giving already). We all know that giving feels good. And there are so many people and organizations out there taking action we all want to support. Phin makes that happen.

So, you pay the donations, your giftees choose the cause that’s most important to them. They get the feel-goods of supporting something they care about, and that is a heart-lifting gift from you.

We like this idea especially for businesses or organizations that are looking to find ways to appreciate their team and thank their community. Phin will set you up to 1) contribute financially to amazing causes, and 2) give your team the opportunity to make their voice heard on where the donation you’ve pledged should go.

Learn more at Phinforgood.com, and listen to our podcast with the Founder, Doug Lessing.

Offset Travel with the Gift of Carbon Neutrality

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

And with that, happy gifting!

Have any other thoughtful gifts 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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