Eco freindly gifts
Tips & Guide

13 Unexpected Environmentally Friendly Gift Ideas

Ahhhhh, gift-giving. The tradition where we collectively participate in giving generic gifts that are often never used and thrown away. That time of year when the immense planetary and spiritual destruction of hyper-consumerism shines most brightly.

Thankfully, this list offers 13 alternative environmentally friendly gift ideas that people might actually appreciate. It excludes any brand new products, except for food and cleaning products. Gifts are a good opportunity to gently introduce your friends or family to zero waste or to encourage them to pursue this approach.

With so many gift options to choose from, there is no reason you shouldn’t be fulfilling your need for green as well as giving this holiday season. Please note that some of these are affiliate links – thanks for your support!

1. An Experience

rock climbing

Yes! The first gift on this list is not a material object, but something longer-lasting: an experience. What could be more thoughtful than taking time to treat your loved one to a night out to the opera, a visit to a cool museum or something totally out of norm, like a rock climbing lesson. Best thing about this? Pollution need not be created to have a fun experience. Second best thing? It’s a gift that the giver can enjoy as well.

2. A Home Cleaning

Hooray, cleaning day! Said nobody ever. You can make the dream of an effortlessly clean home come true for your loved one this holiday season. Just book and pay for a cleaner and send them to that lucky person’s home. The home gets cleaned, your gift-receiver is thrilled and you are loved forever.

3. Eco friendly Vegetable Reusable Bags

Reusable vegetable bags

I love these organic cotton bags, I have them in all sizes and find them very practical. They are so light that you can take them to the supermarket and put your vegetables directly in them for weighing. In case you want to have the weight removed, it is written on each bag. Then when you get home you can put them directly in the refrigerator or in your pantry. A great little attention for all your friends who love to go to the (organic) market for example.

4. Vintage goods

Even non-hipsters will enjoy the charm of a vintage good. There are so many vintage items, from larger items such as furniture (think a lovely side table) to jewelry and clothing.

5. Upcycled goods.

Instead of letting usable, and often beautiful, materials go to waste, forward-thinking artisans are reclaiming thrown away materials and making them into something new. Every upcycled gift comes with a little story: what did it use to be, who made it and how? It’s almost as eco-friendly as buying secondhand items, except that they need a little bit of input such as thread and glue.

6. Glass Sprouter


For budding gardeners, who don’t want to get into vegetable gardens, the glass sprouter is THE perfect gift. You have a glass jar, you put water and seeds in it, and you just have to change the water every day. Day after day you will see your seeds germinate and you will be able to taste them in salad for example. As excellent for your taste buds as for your health! Plus it doesn’t take up any space in the kitchen. A great gift to introduce you to vegetable gardening.

7. Eco-friendly cleaning products

Okay, maybe not the best thing to gift for everyone, but I personally love myself some quality cleaning products. Eco-friendly cleaning products make great gifts because they are practical, needed and something you might not get for yourself. I would highly recommend gifting Soap Nuts this holiday season. Soap Nuts grow on trees and naturally contain compounds called saponins which, when mixed with water, clean. They can be used instead of laundry detergent.

Read also: Zum Clean Natural Aromatherapy Laundry Soap Review

8. Cash

Some consider giving money as a gift bad taste, but I couldn’t agree less. Why give your money to malls, when you can give it to your loved ones instead? Cash is a gift with the most versatility, the highest practicality and is something that everyone can love. If you feel weird handing someone a stack of bills, why not make a box of little origami money shirts?

9. Audible Gift Card

If you have a book lover in your circle of friends and family, they will likely be a huge Audiobook fan. Audiobooks are great because they allow you to insert reading into anytime in your day, making even horrible things like chores much better. You can check out the gift cards here, and try audible for free for yourself to decide if Audible is indeed gift-worthy.

10. Argan Oil

Do you have a woman you need to give gifts to this holiday season? Just stop right here and buy Argan Oil. Argan Oil is produced almost exclusively in Morocco, and is used as a beauty serum for both face and hair. It has moisturizing and anti-aging properties. I use it every night and day on my skin – works amazing, my skin feels like a baby’s butt. It’s a completely natural product, with no scary chemicals, and is mostly produced by small cooperatives of women in Morocco (e.g. it is fair trade). It’s also used in cooking, and as such it is 200 days friendly.

Read also: Spornette Classic German Porcupine 25 Hair Brush Review

11. A gift that gives back

Someone got me this for my last birthday, and I thought it was awesome. If you are looking for a gift for someone who already has everything, what could be better than making a donation in their name. They’ll know that their gift is helping a cause or person in need, and plus they don’t have to pretend to like your gift.

12. Secondhand goods

I know that this might not jive well with most people, but hear me out. There are a ton of secondhand goods that are in new or like new condition. A quick search on online classifieds, like Kijiji, will reveal listings that are “Brand New With Tags (BNWT)” or “Brand New Without Tags (BNWOT)”.

These are often items that were gifted to the person, but that they didn’t like for some reason. Alternatively, these are items that were purchased but never used. Either way, it means huge savings for you and a very nice and environmentally friendly gift for them. Just don’t tell any one where you got your gifts from.

13. Homemade food

Food is great because it’s one of life’s necessities, doesn’t create as much non-biodegradable waste and nom nom nom. Try making things that are hard to find in stores, such as apple butter or seed bread. Perfect for the foodie in your life.

As you can see, there is no need to compromise your eco needs for awesome gifts. Is there anything I missed in this list? Let me know!


I’m a writer, new mom and foodie. I love sharing what I know while making others feel beautiful. On this blog, I share my healthy lifestyle, simple meals, fitness tips and experiences.

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Kara Bout It