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Gifting holidays can create an internal tug-of-war between our sustainable, small-impact ethics and wanting to show seasonal gratitude to friends and family. All of that consumerism, packaging, and wrapping paper can make it difficult to enjoy the season when we know the impact it has on our environment. But this year, we’re meeting in the middle by purchasing from companies that share similar values of sustainability and philanthropy. Below you can find something fun for everyone on your list. From foodies to tech gurus to teens and beyond, there’s even a little something for yourself. Happy eco-shopping!
Single-origin spices, like that from Burlap and Barrel, make a perfect gift for the cook in your life. Similar to fair trade chocolate and coffee, this company ensures spice farmers and production workers get a fair price for their traditionally grown products. “Spices today often change hands 15-20 times before they reach yours,” Ethan Frisch, the co-founder Burlap and Barrel tells Epicurious. In your cook’s kitchen, this means the freshest spices like turmeric, cumin, and paprika with richer flavor profiles.
Sure, you may think it’s a little odd to gift someone trash, but TrashCan natural plant fertilizer is coveted among the houseplant community. Even Instagram’s favorite urban plant guy Hilton Carter loves it. Founders of TrashCan collect food-waste from communities and mix it with other natural materials for a truly organic fertilizer without chemicals. Win for the planet, win for your list, win for your friend’s houseplants.
If they’re going to be buried in a phone, at least protect it with a fashionable, 100% compostable, ocean-friendly case. Yep, Pela Case is made with flax— an innovative plant-based alternative to plastic. The company also gives 5% of total sales to organizations such as Save The Waves, Surfrider Foundation, and Oceana to conserve and protect our oceans. And they’re always coming out with the cutest sea animal designs.
We’re a little biased but we think gifting plant-based body care is a perfect for the holidays. Not only are you introducing a loved-one to the clean beauty movement, you’re impacting their everyday life with fresh, natural-origin ingredients, like sunflower oil, that have powerful healing qualities. We recommend putting together a little gift basket of relaxing oils, soaps, and exfoliators from our body collection.
Maybe you’re lucky enough live with someone who shares similar values. For those like-minded roommates, we love the idea of gifting a box of hilariously marketed bamboo toilet paper with a cause. Founders of Who Gives A Crap donates 50% of their profits to help build toilets and improve sanitation in the developing world. Not to mention they use a renewable material (bamboo) and love a good toilet joke.
Credit: 33 Books Co.
Make your foodie friend smile with a series of tasting journals that cover everything from cheese, to whiskey, to oysters. Designed to teach the subtle art of tasting, 33 Books Co. uses 100% recycled paper, US-grown soy-based ink, and a teeny tiny amount of each tasting food (just for fun) to make their journals. Even if your friend wouldn’t consider themselves a ‘foodie’ these journals are a great excuse to mull over a bunch of cheese in the name of food.
There’s always a crazy sock person in your family. And they will love these colorful, thick, brightly-colored cozies by Solmate Socks. For nearly 20 years, the founders have been committed to sustainability by collecting t-shirt scraps from factories, grinding it down, and re-spinning it into yarn. How cool! The yarn is certified Global Recycling Standard and Oeko-Tex. Giving back is part of their promise too, as they donate socks each year to local homeless shelters.
Credit: Packaged with Purpose
No need to stress this year about what to gift your boss. Packaged with Purpose has you covered. They hand-pick beautiful fair trade, sustainable, eco-friendly products that impact deserving communities to make beautiful gift baskets. For example, the organic, fair trade bag of coffee from Aspire CoffeeWorks gives supportive jobs to children and adults with disabilities and re-invest all their profits to pay for everything from physical therapy to adult-learning classes. You can choose from a variety of gift boxes or make your own!
Credit: Sprout Pencils
Sprout pencils will thrill a creative friend or relative because not only are they made with 100% natural clay and graphite and sustainable PEFC / FSC-certified cedar wood, they contain 14 different non-GMO seeds. You read that right! Each pencil has a biodegradable seed cap that can be turned upside down and planted once the pencil is all done creating art. Basil, lavender, dill, you name it. You can even customize with an engraving.
Credit: Kiss the Sky
Gifting a yoga mat is powerful. You’re encouraging a loved one to slow down and take a few minutes for themselves each day. But all that toxic plastic makes it tough for us to feel good about gifting. Enter: Kiss The Sky. They manufacture their mats right here in the U.S. in a ISO 9001 certified and zero emission partners. No chemicals, no slip, just 100% recyclable and renewable materials from a loving husband and wife team who donates 1% of their profits to various causes.
Credit: Made by Minga
Honestly, you deserve it. Made by Minga is the perfect way to splurge and give back this holiday season. The company collaborates with a group of women living in Intag, Ecuador called “The Floras De Choco” who still practice the traditional art of weaving native cactus fibers into beautiful bags and products. Your purchase provides ethical and environmentally-conscious jobs to these artisans who love what they do. Plus, how cool would it be to rock a bag that was made from a cactus!
Phone chargers with an environmentally-friendly impact? Yes, please. Nimble’s sleek wireless and portable chargers are made with bioplastic from renewable sources like corn starch and organic help, not to mention their shipping boxes are biodegradable and made from 100% recycled scrap paper with no harmful inks or dyes. They are pending B-corporation certified and include a pre-paid return envelope for every product purchased so your giftee can safely recycle their old electronics.
Credit: Craft a Brew
If your friend is all about canning and jarring, they will love this DIY Kombucha Kit from Craft A Brew. With the starter kit, they get a gallon jar, organic black tea, organic cane sugar, and scoby (live bacteria and yeast) to make kombucha for life. Seriously, done right, the only item that needs replacing is tea and sugar. Did someone say sustainable kombucha party? Now instead of picking it up from the store, they can brew and experiment with flavors right in their kitchen.
Why not gift this year’s greatest eco read? Eco-lifestyle journalist Ashlee Piper put her hilarious stamp on living sustainably in her latest book Give A Shit. This judgment-free guide provides practical advice for greening your home, closet, and kitchen. She even went so far as to make the book itself sustainable! It’s printed in North America, not China, in a hydropower facility where folks are paid a fair wage. It’s made with water-soluble soy-based inks and recycled FSC paper. Can’t get better than that.
Cats are picky, but these eco-friendly toys are sure to please even the trickiest whiskers (and their owners). Petique’s beds, lofts, and scratch pads are made from soy-based ink, food-grade cardboard, and vegetable-based glue. You can rest easy knowing your friend is safe and they can rest easy in their very own loft for hours and hours. Cats have the best lives.
Credit: Known Supply
Fast-fashion is a big point of concern for eco-friendly families, but you can’t deny that stylish someone on your list. Feel good about gifting clothes by purchasing from Known Supply, a company dedicated to celebrating the makers by ensuring them a fair-wage, comfortable working environments, and chance to be truly recognized for their craftsmanship. For guys and girls, these pieces are simple staples hand-signed by the maker! We especially love the chance to Meet The Makers on their website.