Last updated: September 25, 2023
Check out these sustainable and eco-friendly gift ideas to show your friends that you care about them and the environment.
I do my personal best to live sustainably, but sometimes it’s difficult to think of eco-friendly gifts for others.
My sister is studying to be an Ecological Engineer, and my best friends are always discussing ways to live more sustainably. However, I haven’t always thought about the long-term impact of presents.
Nowadays, not only do I imagine my loved ones smiling when they open their birthday or Christmas presents, but I also consider the ecological impact of the item. I aim to avoid single-use plastics, toxic chemicals, and inequitable production methods.
Living sustainably doesn’t have to feel limiting. These days, we’ve moved beyond the stereotypical image of tree-huggers who only eat raw vegetables and bland pasta.
We’re probably all familiar with metal straws and reusable shopping bags, but there are many more eco-friendly items beyond those.
What’s more–sustainable products are often higher quality than cheaply made stuff that is trash-bound within a year.
That’s why I put together this list of the best eco-friendly gifts for any budget and friendship.
This sustainable gift guide emphasizes zero waste, recycled materials, fair trade, and organic products. Read on for help picking the best eco-friendly gifts your friends will enjoy for years to come.
Note: this post contains affiliate links, which help run this site at no extra cost to you so I can keep providing free travel advice and tips.
Table of Contents
#1 Seed Paper Thank You Cards
Let’s start with Thank You cards since everyone needs Thank You cards, right? I’m obsessed with stationery, and these seed paper cards are at the top of my list.
The butterfly cutout on this card has wildflower seeds embedded in it and is completely biodegradable. Your friend can plant the butterfly in their backyard and grow flowers for real butterflies to visit.
Order these cards with custom text, choose from 29 butterfly colors, and feel good about helping pollinators thrive.
#2 Earrings Made From Recycled Copper & Turquoise
I love putting gifts inside Thank You cards. If you want to add a little extra love, check out these geometric earrings made from recycled materials.
These reclaimed wood earrings have inlaid, sustainably-sourced turquoise and copper.
Tear-drop diamond is my favorite type of earring to wear as a flattering piece of art. I like the combination of materials that make these earrings lighter than some that feel like carrying a cast iron pan on your earlobe.
Slip a pair of these earrings into a card or wrap them in a box.
If you prefer to ship them directly to the gift recipient, no worries–each pair of earrings comes sweetly wrapped by the artist.
#3 prAna Flora Scarf
Scarves are perfect eco-friendly gifts for her and your loved one is going to adore this wool and Tencel scarf by prAna. Tencel is a fiber made from beach wood and harvested responsibly.
I especially like the Flora scarf because it can even withstand a snowstorm.
This scarf isn’t just some decorative piece but a useful and kickass scarf that will keep your loved ones warm while they slay on cold winter nights.
#4 Biodegradable iPhone Case
Another one of my favorite eco-friendly gifts is biodegradable phone cases. This case by Eplanita fits any budget and protects phones with side bumper shock absorption.
It comes in seven solid colors. Although the pastel pink and turquoise are adorable, I suggest darker colors to hide stains from jeans pockets.
For more phone case ideas, check out our recommendations for Otterbox alternatives.
#5 Allbirds Wool Dwellers Slippers
Slippers are one of my favorite Christmas gifts–you just can’t go wrong with a cozy item they can enjoy at home.
The Wool Dwellers by Allbirds use 100% recycled wool and polyester. These comfy wool shoes have squishy soles and a casual, classic aesthetic.
There’s something about putting on a pair of house slippers that makes me feel bougie, and these slippers would be no exception.
#6 Vegetarian Cooking Class
Is your friend a new vegetarian or tried and true vegan? Use Cozy Meal to find cooking classes in their area. If you live close by, attend a class together. Make memories and inspire their pallet.
As you scroll through the cooking class options, select something that will challenge your friend’s cooking skills.
You know your friend best. If they always order pho at restaurants but never make it at home, now is the chance.
Simply select the class you think they will enjoy and click “BUY AS A GIFT.”
If you aren’t sure when they’re available or want to choose a class together, send them a Venmo or Paypal surprise with instructions on booking a class.
#7 Chalk Bag for Rock Climbing
Not only do these chalk bags come in adorable prints, but they use recycled materials.
You can help a friend reduce their carbon footprint while they leave chalk handprints on the climbing wall.
#8 Botanically Dyed Tote
Naturally-dyed accessories are the best eco-friendly gifts because you know they were made with care and without toxic chemicals. This botanically dyed tote is a great gift for that reason.
Botanical dyes avoid carcinogenic additives that you frequently find in chemical dyes.
#9 Watercolor Palette
As an artist, I appreciate knowing where my paints are from and that they’re equitably sourced. This watercolor palette is handmade from natural pigments using spices.
All of my artist babes will receive one of these palettes this year.
#10 Paperless Paper Towels
I don’t remember a time when paper towels weren’t a contentious topic at the sustainable dinner table.
The solution? Paperless paper towels, which are easy to store and toss in the washing machine.
Give them as a housewarming gift when you visit your bestie’s new apartment.
#11 Organic Spice Blends
Spice up your friends’ dishes with new organic spice blends. Foodies and travel friends will enjoy making recipes from around the world with these.
Everyone looks good in a beanie. Keep your friends warm with an adorable gender-neutral beanie from prAna. These hats contain recycled polyester and have a fleece inner lining to keep them warm.
Plus, they’re soft and the neutral colors go with any outfit.
#13 Reusable Water Bottle
Believe it or not, plastic products can still rank among the best eco-friendly gifts, as long as they use recycled plastic.
These Nalgene recycled plastic reusable water bottles take ocean-bound plastic and give it a new, sustainable form. Eight recycled bottles go into each water bottle. Plus, they’re BPA-free and dishwasher-safe.
This water bottle also has a wide opening, which makes for easy cleaning so your friends don’t end up growing a science experiment in there.
And if your friend is a fan of metal straws, grab this set to go with the water bottle for a complete gift.
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#14 Organic Indoor Herb Garden
Most of us don’t have time for traditional gardening, and that’s why I love this indoor herb garden.
My best friend bought me an herb garden kit for my birthday. It was a simple gift that kept giving, and I thought of her every time I cooked with fresh thyme, rosemary, or basil.
Herb gardens are some of my favorite environmentally friendly gifts for college students who’ve left their pets at home.
They’re also the perfect gift for grandparents who enjoy caring for something.
#15 Bowl Covers
If your friend has leftovers, they can ditch the plastic wrap and use an elastic bowl cover instead.
I even think these bowl covers work better than beeswax wraps.
In my experience, beeswax wraps are water-resistant, but they wear out quickly and never stay in place.
I like bowl covers because they’re machine-washable and microwave safe.
#16 Fairtrade Chocolate
Please—for the love of people and the planet—convert your friends to fairtrade chocolate. Fairtrade certifications ensure that farmers receive fair compensation.
When a farmer gets fair pay, they are more likely to move out of poverty and invest in their community, their family, and sustainable farming.
Theo Chocolate is a delicious example of fairtrade chocolate that your friends will feel good about eating.
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#17 Fairtrade Tea
While we are on the subject of fairtrade, check out this fairtrade tea gift set for your eco-friendly tea drinker.
It comes in three stackable tins with a hand-carved spoon. I prefer caffeine-free, but they also have a caffeinated set.
#18 Sea Glass Jewelry
These sea glass rings, necklaces, and bracelets use recycled glass bottles as gems. These unique statement pieces are beautiful wearable art sure to receive many compliments.
Each piece comes with a note from the artist that explains what type of bottle the piece comes from based on the color of the glass.
Sea glass jewelry makes a unique eco-friendly gift that’s perfect for your favorite eco-friendly gift recipient.
#19 Patagonia Fleece Pullover
I had a pullover like this that was my favorite piece of clothing throughout winter, and I wore it nearly every day until I lost it.
Patagonia’s fleece pullover is Fair Trade certified and made of 100% recycled polyester fleece. This cozy pullover is one of the best eco-friendly gifts to help reduce waste.
There’s nothing better than being cozy and sustainable at the same time.
#20 Resealable Silicone Bags
Single-use zip lock bags are one item that I have had trouble moving away from. Thanks to Stashers, we can all finally take one giant step away from single-use plastics.
They seal in freshness and clean up in the dishwasher. I wouldn’t go as far as to fill stashers with water and trust the seal to hold–but that’s what water bottles are for.
These BPA-free, food-grade silicone bags do their job of storing blueberries in the fridge, leftover lasagna in the freezer, and my sandwich for lunch.
#21 Sustainable Wine Soap
Raise your hand if your friends like wine (I’m in Italy right now, so I’m raising both hands).
Soap and wine are common gifts. So what do you get when you stir them together? Even more eco-friendly products!
Wine bar soap by SudsAndSage is free of palm oil and made with all-natural ingredients. The wine produces a sweet scent and rich color and improves the lather.
I also like SudsAndSage because their products won’t break the bank. You can order them as cheap, eco-friendly gifts or pair them with a bottle of wine as a luxury eco-friendly gift set.
#22 Plastic-Free Razor
Plastic-free razors are another toiletry item that reduces waste. Think about it: how many razors do you go through each year?
Metal Leaf razors are completely metal with replaceable blades. Pair them with a thick-lather bar of wine soap as a luxurious gift.
#23 Solar Powered Garden Lights
Solar power is the queen of all renewable resources.
My mom always had cute solar lamps in the garden when I was a kid, and it felt like a fairy wonderland on summer nights.
We also kept a solar-powered lamp on the porch table for soft lighting throughout the evening.
The solar panel on top of these garden lights eliminates the need for charging or throw-away batteries.
These glass globes have flat bottoms and rope handles so they can sit on a table or hang overhead.
#24 prAna Yoga Mat
The Verde yoga mat by prAna is made with FSC rubber.
FSC, which stands for “Forest Stewardship Council,” is a sustainable forest management certification that ensures responsible natural rubber production.
Despite the name “Verde,” meaning green in Spanish, this mat comes in blue, pink, black, and green.
I love the idea of gifting a yoga mat to someone who cares about the environment.
Sometimes it’s easy to become weighed down by all of the negative news. A yoga practice can help environmentalists focus on self-care and breath awareness.
We are able to do more to help the planet when we take care of ourselves: heart, mind, and body.
#25 Bread Warming Stone and Wicker Basket
Looking for a meaningful, sustainable gift for Mother’s Day?
These terra cotta bread-warming stones are handmade and fairtrade. The woven baskets are made from sustainably grown seagrass and jute wool.
The earth-mama in your life deserves the best eco-friendly gifts and this is one of them.
#26 Activist Skincare Products
When was the last time you read the ingredient label on your skincare products? Buy two trial kits so your bestie and you can test and compare your thoughts.
Each kit of seven travel-size products includes three types of cleansers, a toning mist, a hydration serum, calming serum for breakouts, and antioxidant oil for protection.
Switching to beauty products with natural ingredients can be confusing. I like that Activist allows you to purchase a sample kit before spending hundreds of dollars.
Gifting one of these kits to friends can encourage incremental changes to help others live sustainably.
#27 Ethically Sourced Hand Towels
Call me boring, but I love receiving household items. Hand towels are one of those special things that brighten a room and add personality to your friend’s kitchen.
TheFairLine hand towels are woven on a foot pedal loom, fairtrade sourced, and 100% cotton.
#28 Recycled Newspaper Pencils
There’s nothing better than a good quality pencil–except maybe good quality chocolate.
As a writer and artist, there are some days when I don’t even touch my computer. I write and draw in pencil.
Inspire your favorite artist with pencils made of recycled newspaper. If you’re an overachiever, you can pair these pencils with a recycled paper notebook as well.
#29 Dolberg Flannel Shirt
I am so ready for fall photos.
Dolberg flannel shirts are comfy and flattering and use organic fairtrade cotton. The shirt has a light ecological footprint, using less water than traditional rapid–production methods.
When trying to live more sustainably, it’s essential to resist the temptation of “fast fashion.” Fast fashion pieces are produced quickly, with low regard for sustainability.
The styles change so quickly that buyers must constantly purchase new pieces to stay up-to-date.
Dolberg flannel shirts are lightweight and come in several colors. They work as staple pieces all-year and will hold up wash after wash.
Gift your sweetheart a new button-up and grab the dogs for a family photo.
Technically, Dolberg flannels are men’s shirts, but I think they’re the best eco-friendly gifts for him or her. Who wants a comfy oversized flannel? This gal!
#30 Weighted Blanket
If you have an anxious friend, calm their nerves with an all-natural cotton weighted blanket.
They can rest well under a comforting eco-friendly knitted 10-15 lb blanket. Weighted blankets are like a hug all night long.
Each blanket is responsibly sourced and made of non-toxic pure cotton.
I bought one of the quilted weighted blankets a couple of years ago, but it now gathers dust in the closet because it was simply too warm.
However, this hand-knitted weighted blanket is much more breathable. It offers comforting weight all year round with proper airflow between the loosely woven cotton material.
#31 Zero Plastic Toothpaste Tablets
Looking for another interesting sustainable gift that your friends have probably already heard about but not gotten around to trying?
Toothpaste tablets cut out the need for throwaway tubes.
Your friends can get every last bit of minty freshness with toothpaste tablets.
I’ve found that toothpaste tablets are also perfect for travelers tired of setting off airport security scanners with liquid toothpaste.
#32 Sustainable Gift Wrap
Wrapping paper and other gift packaging materials generate a lot of waste, lowering the sustainability factor of even the best eco-friendly gifts.
If you’re like me, you feel guilty throwing away piles of wrapping paper after birthdays or on Christmas. Even gift wrap made from recycled paper feels wasteful.
Drop the guilt and wrap your family’s gifts in fabric gift wrap from now on.
Make sure they know that the gift wrap is special and reusable. Fold it up and save it for birthdays, anniversaries, and Christmas.
#33 Fairtrade Organic Coffee
Coffee is one of those presents that hits the spot for coffee lovers.
When I travel, I bring back coffee as a souvenir for my mom. Around the holiday season, we always end up in passionate discussions about coffee with my aunt and uncle.
Peace Coffee is USDA-approved organic and fair trade. It’s grown by B Corp small businesses in South America that maintain high environmental and social standards.
Investing in something like fair trade organic coffee is important because your friend probably drinks coffee daily.
Not to mention, organic coffee is known for being less acidic and easier on the stomach on top of being a more eco-friendly option.
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#34 Silicone Baking Sheets
Still looking for the perfect gift? Sometimes the best eco-friendly gifts are simple and practical.
I bought a set of silicone baking sheets for my sister a couple of years ago, and they are possibly the most used gift in our house.
They are more sustainable than parchment paper and non-stick sprays.
We even found that the cookies don’t flatten as much when cooked on a silicone baking sheet, which helps them stay chewy.
These silicone sheets are my favorite eco-friendly birthday gifts for anyone who enjoys baking.
#35 Organic Raw Honey
My mom is a beekeeper, so I’m a honey snob. Most of the honey in bear-shaped squeeze bottles is cut with sugar and water.
Treat your friends to real raw honey from Crooked Crows organic beekeepers.
At my house, we all eat at least a spoonful of honey daily. Honey has antioxidants, anti-inflammatory, and antibacterial qualities.
It can help sore throats by coating the throat the same way as cough medicine does. Some people believe that honey also helps with allergies because it introduces our bodies to local pollen in small doses and decreases sensitivity.
Raw honey is one of the best eco-friendly Christmas gifts because we eat so much processed food in the winter. It’s nice to have an organic and completely natural sweetener for greek yogurt or tea.
#36 Ceramic Kitchen Composter
What do you do with leftover fruit and vegetable peelings? Food waste is a hot topic among my friends.
Composting is a big deal because it prevents food scraps from becoming greenhouse gases by turning them into nutrient-rich soil.
Compost bins are some of the best eco-friendly gifts for people who maintain an outdoor composting bin, but don’t always want to run out there to dump scraps.
Food waste begins at the grocery store when we buy more than we can eat. Even when we don’t overbuy and store food responsibly using reusable containers, there will still be food scraps.
I like this ceramic composter more than the plastic competitors because it’s a beautiful piece of kitchen decor and also cuts out plastic waste.
Plus, the lid of the composter has anti-odor charcoal to purify the air and prevent stinky countertop science experiments. Even biodegradable items like tea bags and coffee filters can go into the composter.
After everything has broken down, your friend can plant their seed paper or indoor herb garden using this natural fertilizer.
#37 HiBAR Shampoo & Conditioner
Ditch the plastic shampoo and conditioner bottles. Your friends will squeal at the opportunity to try bar shampoo and conditioner.
HiBAR is paraben and sulfate free. I like the coconut oil set for moisturizing all types of hair.
No more toxic hair care or paying for watered-down products. HiBAR shampoo and conditioner are perfect for at-home and on-the-road use.
#38 Baby Hat
Time for the best eco-friendly baby gifts. An English company called Laladoo produces these baby hats entirely from sustainable materials.
Laladoo baby hats are cradle-to-cradle certified, meaning that every step of their production process is eco-friendly. The caps are soft and sweet and a must-have go-to gift for a baby shower.
#39 Threads for Thought Pajamas
Need more eco-friendly gifts for kids? If your family is the matching type, surprise everyone with a new set of earth-themed PJs made from natural materials.
Not only are these PJs adorable, but they are also made of organic cotton and created by a company devoted to using sustainable processes.
Thread for Thoughts products have been CO2-neutral since 2022, and their factories recycle 80% of the water they use.
I feel comfortable ordering from Threads for Thought, knowing they work hard to reduce their carbon footprint.
Use these pajamas as an opportunity to start a conversation with your kids, nieces, nephews, and grandchildren about where their clothes come from.
#40 Zero Waste Solid Dish Soap
While traveling in Costa Rica, all of the hostels I stayed at used solid dish soap. I’m not sure why it isn’t a mainstream thing in the US, but I highly recommend encouraging your friends to switch to solid soaps.
Like laundry detergent, when you buy liquid soaps, you pay extra for the heavy water content. That water also requires more fuel while shipping.
This zero–waste soap comes in a ceramic dish, a reusable substitute for plastic.
The soap is vegan and palm oil free. There’s really no loss with this transition to a more sustainable choice. Treat your friends to Sicilian Lemon and Valencia Orange scents.
As a bonus, each soap dish comes with an all-natural scrub brush.
#41 Centerpiece Soy Candle
Organic soy candles and beeswax candles don’t give off carcinogenic materials like paraffin wax. This soy candle is completely plastic-free and comes in a hand-carved wooden dough bowl by a Mexican artisan.
There are 25 essential oil scents, including Lavender, Christmas Tree, and Mandarin Lime Basil. The candle maker sources most of the fragrances from their own backyard garden.
Buy three-wick candles as eco-friendly housewarming gifts. Or, go all out with seven wicks–these make the best eco-friendly wedding gifts.
#42 Vegan Spa Gift Box
Don’t worry; this isn’t a recipe for stewing in a bath of vegetables.
Vegan body butters, exfoliants, and soaps are naturally made without animal byproducts. The ingredients are eco-friendly and so is the packaging.
Everything comes wrapped in a gift box with a personalized note, ready to be shipped directly to your stressed-out best friend’s doorstep.
#43 Avocado Eye Cream
Now we turn to trusty avocados for more eco-friendly gift ideas.
Avocado butter moisturizes skin with natural oils. It also helps prevent dehydration throughout the night, so your loved ones can wake feeling refreshed.
Natural face cream is essential because our pores absorb what we feed them. This avocado eye cream uses organic, vegan ingredients that your friends will feel good about putting on their faces.
#44 Positivity Eyeshadow
Alright, one more cute eco-friendly gift to boost your best friend’s daily routine.
Last year I started feeling weird about the plastic eyeshadow palettes in my bathroom drawer. The ingredients inside of them are another story.
From now on, I will only buy makeup in eco-friendly packaging. The Power of Positivity eyeshadow palette has no plastic and is gluten-free, vegan, and cruelty–free.
With words of affirmation that scroll across the palette lid, gift this eyeshadow to a friend as a morning reminder that they are loved.
#45 Zero Waste Gift Box
I want to fill my house with products from Olsen+Olsen. This zero–waste gift box is the perfect introduction to eco-friendly lifestyles.
Send one of these eco-friendly gift sets to a friend who doesn’t think they have enough time to make environmentally friendly choices. They will quickly change their mind.
Each gift box is plastic-free with minimal packaging. There’s a little bit of everything in these boxes: handmade soap, wool dryer balls, reusable cotton gift wrap, a glass fragrance bottle, bio cloth, beeswax wrap, and an organic cotton bag.
My personal favorite is the dryer balls made of Canadian wool. Dryer balls tumble in the dryer, helping clothes dry faster so that you use less electricity.
Spritz them with essential oils to replace dryer sheets. After about 1000 loads, compost them.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Jodelle Marx is an artist and writer, adventure seeker, and collaborator. She hikes, swims, chases after her dog, and hums off-tune. When Jodelle is not nerding out about traveling, she is probably working on a community project or performing spoken word poetry.
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