23 Sustainable Gifts for Everyone on Your List
These gifts were either made sustainably or will help their recipient become more environmentally conscious. We call that a win-win.
Making sure our purchases contribute to the world we want create has never been more important, which is why more and more of us are choosing to shop sustainably. This commitment, however, shouldn't end when the holiday season begins—not when there are a myriad of incredible gifts on the market that give back or help us positively contribute to Mother Earth. So, when you're shopping for that perfect holiday present—or scooping up birthday and anniversary gifts over the course of the rest of the year—make a concerted effort to seek out reputable, ethical brands with values that match yours.
Wondering exactly how an item earns a sustainable label? It all comes down to how it is produced from an environmental perspective and how it benefits the maker. In other words, a sustainable product needs to help the environment in which it is created, while also offering positive social and economic effects along the way. This goes for all stages of its production, from product development and manufacturing to shipping—and all the way through to its disposal. On the whole, a sustainable object leaves a positive impact throughout every phase of its life cycle.
If we shopped this way 100-percent of the time, we'd be well on our way to shaping a better world. Looking to start now, through your gift search? To help you on your way, our editors went ahead and rounded up several sustainable gifts; these items were either manufactured with the environment in mind or will help their recipient lower the own carbon footprint. We call that a win-win, every time.
Compost Food Cycler
Want to help your dad cut down on kitchen waste with ease? This food cycler can take your food waste items from scraps to fertilizer in four to six hours, cutting food waste by almost 90 percent. Additionally, the fertilizer the cycler produces can be used in the garden around his home to produce bigger, more bountiful blooms. It's a great option for someone who doesn't have the space for traditional composting.
Shop Now: Vitamix 068051 FoodCycler FC-50, $399, amazon.com.
Treat your mom and sister to a renewed glow with this body scrub by Nécessaire. This gel lotion comes in a soft eucalyptus scent and is guaranteed clean and vegan; the company uses 85-percent post-consumer waste boxes and 100-percent recyclable paper for boxes and shippers. They work with Forest Stewardship Council-certified vendors only and never use materials from virgin forests.
Shop Now: Nécessaire The Body Exfoliator, $30, nordstrom.com.
Terrazzo Water Bottle
This water bottle is covered in ever-popular terrazzo and is made from 100-percent food-safe silicone. You'll help your loved one stay hydrated without the fear of consuming micro-plastics through disposable water bottles. To make things even easier, this is a dishwasher-safe option.
Shop Now: Porter Bottle in Terrazzo, $35, amazon.com.
All-in-One Sewing Kit
Budding seamstresses will appreciate these one-stop-shop kits from Wildflower Delivery Co., which come with everything she needs—instructions, included—to create pieces that run the wardrobe gamut, from linen wrap dresses to cute headbands. The company offers a do-it-yourself alternative to the fast-fashion model, teaching style enthusiasts how to sew their own garments, instead. The fabric is as sustainable as the method: Textiles are made from 100-percent natural fibers and digitally printed to reduce synthetic dye runoff.
Shop Now: Wildflower Delivery Co. Sewing Kit, price dependent on kit, kickstarter.com.
The aspiring chef in your life deserves a product made without potentially toxic materials like lead, cadmium, toxic metals, and nanoparticles. The Always Plate from Our Place is made with a non-toxic and nonstick ceramic coating over an aluminum body, which heats quickly and evenly, requiring less energy during the preheating process (a win for the environment!).
Shop Now: Our Place Always Essential Cooking Pan, $145, fromourplace.com.
Baskets That Give Back
Masterfully handwoven from elephant grass by artisans in Ghana, these market baskets beautifully corral towels, throws, and toys.
Shop Now: Baba Tree Basket Company Baskets, $100 each, babatree.com.
Crafted using 100-percent organic cotton and all-natural plant dyes, these beautiful bandanas are made under sustainable processing practices. The plants sourced for dying are harvested when they are in season, and they are chosen based on their availability, which limits the amount of transportation required for their manufacture.
Shop Now: Pirtti Handwoven Plant-Dyed Bandanas, $36, atland.com.
Choose one of these throw pillows with confidence. Behind the Hill uses organic cottons that are naturally colored (no chemicals or dyes are used for processing); the cotton is grown in areas local to the artisans who make them by hand, using ancestral techniques and wooden weaving tools. Better yet, the textiles used to create these pillows are 100-percent biodegradable and their packaging is made from recycled cardboard, to boot.
Shop Now: Behind the Hill Tolimán Pillow, $190, behindthehill.com.
Ethical Diamond Studs
These diamond studs are made using recycled diamonds and metal, which mean they are completely conflict free. Bario Neal sources material in a way that reflects both the company's commitment to social justice and environmental sustainability. Purchase these diamond stud earrings for a loved one, and you are investing in someone else's loved one, too—proceeds help communities that are affected by the mining and manufacturing of precious stones and metals.
Shop Now: Bario Neal Ray Fringe Diamond Studs, from $325, bario-neal.com.
Cocoon a loved one in a gauzy wool-and-cotton throw. It has a different hue on each side (a decorating twofer!) and comes in seven chic color combinations.
Shop Now: Johanna Howard Home Cozi Throw, $175, johannahoward.com.
Made from a stonewashed yarn-dyed weave, this soft duvet delivers the best night sleep to both hot and cold sleepers. Somn uses the finest sustainable European flax, grown without the use of herbicides or pesticides, in all of their products; additionally, their linens are fully biodegradable.
Shop Now: Somn Linen Duvet Cover, $280, somnhome.com.
Modern Gingham Runner
Handwoven by women—in a woman-run co-operative based out if Cajolá, Guatemala—these table runners add texture to your dining room and put the women of Cajolá in a position to earn fair wages doing what was once traditionally considered "men's work." The co-op, which also provides childcare and professional training, was established in 2008. Your purchase contributes to maintaining its services and allows you to continue bringing beautiful handwoven linens into your and your loved ones' homes.
Shop Now: Minna Albers Runner in Meadow, $80, minna-goods.com.
Robe for Lounging
A French linen lining makes this luxe lounging robe feel as light as a feather against your skin. The biodegradable garments are also made using a "slow fashion" production model in a warehouse that operates sustainably on every front, from how and where it ships products to internal climate control. And when you buy products from Deji Studios, they will be shipped to your home in compostable packaging, which means their offerings are green from start to finish.
Shop Now: Deji Studios Pinstripe Robe, $139, dejistudios.com.
Sustainable Leather Tote
Ethically and sustainably made, this brown Ethiopian leather tote is sleek, stylish, and won't increase the size of your carbon footprint. Parker Clay works directly with farmers and the local agricultural market in Addis Ababa to keep money in the hands of the local farmers and businesses providing the materials. Additionally, their sister non-profit, Ellilta, helps them connect with woman fleeing the local sex work industry, so that they can provide them with high paying and sustainable jobs.
Shop Now: Parker Clay Caroline Tote, $198, parkerclay.com.
Patagonia is known for their fair-trade business practices. Purchasing apparel from the company—we recommend this warm wool polyester blend fleece—ensures you are contributing to a company that guarantees ethical material sorting, fair wages, and a safe working environment for all of its employees.
Shop Now: Patagona Woolyester Pile Coat, $199, patagonia.com.
Zero Waste Starter Kit
Say hello to this zero-waste starter kit and goodbye to disposable containers that so often end up in landfills and waterways around the world. Each set comes with everything they'll need to live a zero-waste lifestyle, from a tumbler for holding beverages and bamboo eating utensils to a stainless steel straw, produce bags, a bamboo toothbrush, and more.
Shop Now: Package Free Zero-Waste Starter Kit, $149, packagefreeshop.com.
With packaging made from post-consumer recycled plastic, a tube of Saie Beauty's lip balm-gloss hybrid will add a touch of color and a bit of moisture to your lips. The product is made from clean ingredients only, like beeswax, squalene, and coconut oil; there is no petroleum, a known carcinogen, in the formula.
Shop Now: Saie Beauty Liquid Lip Balm, $16, saiehello.com.
Reusable Snack Bags
If you purchase this reusable silicone bag set, Stasher will send one percent of the proceeds of your order to the Mojave Desert Land Trust, which is working to preserve the vast, open land for generations to come. Each set of bags arrives without packaging, keeping your carbon footprint small in the process. Plus, using food storage bags can help your recipient reduce food and plastic waste, overall.
Shop Now: Stasher Reusable Silicone Bags in Mojave Mix, $52.99, stasherbag.com.
This dishware collection was curated by Hawkins New York, who sources their bespoke products from artisans all over the world. Each piece of stoneware is produced without any excess or design flourish, something Hawkins calls function over form, a return to the simplicity of materials that do exactly what they're supposed to and nothing more.
Shop Now: Hawkins New York Shaker Dinnerware, from $10, hawkinsnewyork.com.
Choose from one of nine colors when ordering these luxe socks from Naked Cashmere and feel good about purchasing from a direct sales company that has made environmental responsibility, humanity, and diversity major tenets of their brand.
Shop Now: Naked Cashmere Ribbed Socks, $99, nakedcashmere.com.
SOIL Haiti is working towards transforming waste products in Haiti into rich and organic compost—and one percent of every purchase of Abel White Vetiver Perfume (which smells of lime, mint, and caramelized wood drydown) goes towards supporting them. Since 2006, SOUL Haiti has worked to create a way to provide access to safe, dignified sanitation that can be transformed into economic opportunities in under-resourced communities.
Shop Now: Abel White Vetiver Perfume, $150, abelodor.com.