Zero Waste Living

70 Zero Waste Gift Ideas

Gift giving can be especially tricky when trying to reduce your waste. But if you’re like me, and love gift giving, what do you do?

For years I felt conflicted between trying to gift eco-friendly and waste friendly options, but still give gifts.

Alternatively, what do you say when someone asks you for gift ideas?

Luckily, there are so many options! I compiled a list of zero waste friendly gift ideas for all your gift giving (or asking) needs with the categories of zero waste items, consumables, and experiences! These gifts are great for those who are looking to start implementing zero waste into their life, to those who are far on their journey.

Besides taking a hard look at the type of gifts we give and ask for, we have started following these four guidelines:

  • Follow the rule ‘Something you want, something you wear, something you read and something you need’.
  • Don’t underestimate second-hand stores for gifts. We love our local second-hand store for a variety of items, and for online second-hand women’s and kids clothes shopping we LOVE ThredUp.
  • Santa, Easter Bunny, Etc: Santa brings one gift (a smaller gift) and then stockings he brings usable items or consumable items (usable meaning yummy soaps, bath items, crafting supplies, snacks, etc). The Easter Bunny and other ‘friends’ follow suit.
  • Adopt other birthday/holiday/other celebratory event traditions instead of gifts
    • Make the person of honor their favorite meal
    • Offer to let the person of honor choose what activity they want to do for the day

Other than that, we really try to be really mindful of purchasing/making gifts that don’t contribute too much or any clutter and fall in line with our minimalist and zero-waste mindsets.



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Zero waste items:

ecofriendly gift ideas

  • Shirt and bag made with upcycled/recycled materials! – This adorable shirt and bag from Earth Custodian Designs (wearing and carrying the message of earth custodianship) are made with 100% recycled materials! The shirt, made with 50% recycled cotton and 50% recycled plastic, is super soft and comfortable – the perfect fit. The bag is made with 100% recycled cotton, and is a perfect size for groceries or just out and about (and is really sturdy!). Both the shirt and bag have the message ‘Protect What You Love’. By supporting this small, woman-run business, you’re supporting the owner, Amber’s, conservation and waste pick-up efforts. Also, for any purchase, 10% of all proceeds will go to an organization that supports animal and/or environmental conservation work. Not pictured but also available in her shop is a ‘Solidarity’ shirt with a human handprint and a multitude of animal prints. These shirts and bag is perfect for anyone on your list – and you know you’re supporting a small, woman-owned (and ran) business on a mission to be a good earth custodian!

upcycled gift ideas

ecocustodiandesign

Kids

  • Art/craft supplies (could be a great gift for adults too!)
  • Magazine subscription (can get a digital subscription or paper – donate the paper version when done)
  • Reusable snack bags (fox – see below, or hedgehog)

  • Lessons: swim lessons, dance lessons, etc.
  • Clothes/shoes

zero waste gift ideas for kids

  • Biodegradable or E-book: Leo & The Lion Learn of Love by Holly Rose. Harnessing the Love children so freely emit, the Lion teaches young Leo how to care for himself and the world around him with his heartfelt sagacity. Through the Lion’s wisdom, Author Holly Rose communicates the complexities of the modern world in a way which encourages children to work towards a kinder, fairer, more unified and peaceful future. Set alongside illustrator Caroline Winneguth’s gentle watercolour scenery, this book harnesses the Love children so freely emit, guiding them protect their nurturing nature. This is a truly stunning book with an even more beautiful message. Plus, did I mention the print version is biodegradable? A great zero waste option for kids! Psst…The Mindful Mom Blographer readers (that’s you!) can get 10% off using code ‘MINDFULMOM’.  Head over to the website to grab your e-book or physical copy!

Green Toys

I wanted to create a separate section for green toys, because these are toys that can fall within the lines of minimalism AND zero waste due to their high-quality material (made to last a long time), and the fact that they are made with 100% recycled plastic and come in recyclable packaging. Bonus – they all fall along the lines of dramatic play, meaning they are open-ended so the kiddo in your life can use them for a variety of things only constrained by their own imagination.

My son has a couple of these toys, and we often rent others from our local toy library, and him and I both love them!

Here are some of our favorites:

Consumables (look for items that come in reusable packaging/containers):

  • Food from their favorite bakery, restaurant, etc
  • Coffee/tea
  • Wine/Beer/Liquor
  • Homemade gifts such as salsa, pesto, jam
  • Meat gift basket (pick out a selection of meat)
  • Vegetable basket
  • Homemade soup mixes
  • Homemade lotions/lotion bars
  • Homemade soaps
  • Candles/essential oils/diffuser, etc
  • Grocery delivery service gift card
  • Gift certificate to their favorite coffee/tea place
  • Meal planning/delivery gift certificate

Experiences:

  • Give your kids one ‘yes’ day (check out this article for more details, or check out the book here).
  • Gift certificate for their favorite restaurant
  • Gift certificate to their favorite coffee/tea place
  • Meal planning/delivery gift certificate
  • Lessons for kids/adults: swim lessons, dance lessons, etc.
  • Sign up for a local community ed class together!
  • A local park pass or state park pass
  • A dog park pass if they have a dog
  • Movie night out or in
  • Sports tickets
  • Gift certificate to a spa or for a massage
  • Tickets to their favorite show
  • A membership to a local museum, nature center, or zoo
  • Gift certificate for house cleaning
  • Donation to a local charity in the recipient’s name
  • Gift certificate for their favorite app (ex. Headspace membership, Spotify, Aaptiv – see below)
  • Netflix/Hulu/HBO Go subscription
  • Offer to babysit/pet sit if they have kids or pets
  • Offer to shovel snow, rake leaves, change their oil, whatever task they may need doing
  • Itunes gift card

For more gift ideas, check out the gift guides below:

Over 125 Gift Ideas for the Zero Waster, Minimalist, and Mindful/Intentional Livers on your list!

Zero Waste Gift Giving this Holiday Season from my friend Jessie, owner of Tiny Yellow Bungalow, an amazing zero waste shop (many of her products are listed in this guide!)

Finally, check out 8 zero waste gift wrap ideas for easy ways to reduce gift wrap waste this holiday season!

What are your favorite zero waste gift ideas?

Become a trash talker and learn how to reduce your waste for good!
Become a trash talker and learn how to reduce your waste for good!
Join a community of like-minded people also on their journey to reducing mental clutter through mindful and intentional living, minimalism, and zero waste living! Join the group here.

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Zero Waste Gift Guide with over 70 Gift Ideas!

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Rebecca @ Strength and Sunshine

These are fabulous ideas and I’m always about giving experiences!

Seppy
2 years ago

Love these suggestions!!

I gave a traveling coffee mug to my friend at work because she brings a throw-away cup.. from HOME!!! It maddens me so hopefully she’ll use my gift hah

http://www.elleisforlove.com

Katie Braswell
2 years ago

I love this post! I have gotten a lot of my gifts from antique/thrift stores, this year! I’m also a big fan of diy gifts made from scrap wood we have laying around! <3 I’m a HUGE fan of cloth napkins! If you don’t mind the extra care it takes for them, they are wonderful! A great item on your gift list! Thank you for sharing!

Silvia
2 years ago

Great selection of gift ideas 🙂

Renee
2 years ago

So many great options! I absolutely love this idea! More people have got to get on board with these kinds of gifts.

April Kitchens
2 years ago

These gift ideas are right up my alley, I’m working on reducing my waste.

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