You need a nice small eco-friendly gift. You are not in the mood of making one. Moreover, you are short on cash, or you just don’t want to spend much, because it’s not such a big occasion or such a close person.
Whatever the reason, I will help you find a nice gift that is eco-friendly and won’t break your bank. I chose eight presents for under 20 USD on Etsy for you, so you can just look and pick what you like the most for the occasion.
When shopping online for anything, please pay attention to where you are buying from, as you don’t want a gift to travel to you from the other part of the world, and become very not eco-friendly because of all the transport. If possible, shop locally.
I am not affiliated to Etsy, I am not making any commissions on these recommendations, it is just what I really like and think will make a great present.
Eco-friendly and cheap gift
Eco-friendly and cheap are actually not opposites regardless of what people might think. I have been living an eco-friendly lifestyle for a long time. I actually think it is much cheaper to live like this. You end up spending much less just because you get into the habit of not buying much. However, when you buy anything, you will try to buy something good quality that might cost more in the short term but will last much longer and so will save you money in the end.
If you are interested in how to save money and be eco-friendly at the same time, I have an entire article on this topic. I will help you save the planet while saving money.
Eco-friendly and cheap in my definition must both be made from eco-friendly materials, locally available, biodegradable or recyclable, and have a purpose other than just decoration and cost less than 20 USD.
If you want to learn more about what does it mean to be eco-friendly, check out this article where I cover everything from the product stages, materials, to certifications, and much more.
Eco-friendly gifts up to 10 USD
Hand-made natural soap
I have to admit this is one of my favorites, I make my own soap at home and love to give them as a gift. It’s such an inexpensive gift, but people appreciate it so much every time. I will definitely show you my creations in later posts.
An artisan, handmade natural bar of soap is the best way to wash. It is best for your skin and the best for the environment. Natural soap will not damage your health or the environment, no need for excessive packaging, if any. And I don’t even need to mention the cute soaps that are out there!
There are thousands of options on Etsy, at different price ranges. You can definitely get a bar or two for under 10 dollars. Some of my favorites are Soapyyy Soapsss, The Spotless Barn, Annas Soaps, Joans Gardens. Look around and find other soapmakers that you like.
Luffa / Loofah
Let’s stay in the bathroom for another moment. Not so many people might know what a luffa is. It is a plant from the cucumber family, that is cultivated and eaten as a vegetable in countries like China, India, or Vietnam.
To eat the plant, you need to harvest it very young because as it grows, it gets more and more fibrous. The fully mature plant is used as a sponge in the kitchen or the bathroom. What’s great about it? It’s renewable and it’s compostable. You can even find luffa soaps, so you combine gift number one and gift number two tips in one present.
I have one in the shower and one in the kitchen for the dishes. Once it’s not looking or feeling great anymore, I wash it well, tear it into pieces, and throw it into my vermicomposter. No trash made. Some examples of luffas under 10 USD on Etsy: Organic Natural Loofah, Loofah Batch Kitchen Sponge, Exfoliating loofah, and Loofah Soap.
Beer glass made from a beer bottle
Glass is one of the materials that can be recycled many many times without losing its properties (unlike plastic), but glass is also great re-purposed. You can buy cool glass (and a shot) made out of a bottle. Check out this Corona Glass and Shot. There are other similar makers, feel free to pick the one you most like and its closest to your location.
Eco-friendly gifts 10-20 USD
Sustainable food wraps (bee wax, soy wax or candelilla wax)
We might be too used to seeing plastic or aluminum wraps for food storage. This is very wasteful, as you use it once, then throw it away and it goes to the landfill. There is a much better and cuter way to do this. Look at these food wraps that are made of fabric and wax (bee, soy, or candelilla wax).
They will last for much longer, can be re-waxed, and are definitely nicer to look at. Also, if you like crafts, they are easy to make at home. You can wrap your sandwich, fruits, and veggies, or use it to seal your containers that don’t have a top. These wraps come in different sizes, and you might need several of them at home. That’s why they are a great gift, even if the person already has them, they might just need a few more.
Birdfeeder / Birdhouse Kit
If you are anything like me, you love DYI kits. I find them entertaining, educational, and useful if you pick well. You are not only giving a gift, but also experience or activity. Taking care of nature is part of the eco-friendly lifestyle.
Pick a DYI kit for bird feeder and your friend will get to watch birds feed in their yard every now and then. Chose renewable materials like wood, without plastic parts and you are good to go. Look at Sloped Birdhouse kit or Table birdfeeder kit. DIY crafts or educational kits are usually a great eco-friendly and cheap gift.
Recycled paper jewelry
If you haven’t heard about paper jewelry, there are several techniques. Grimm Dog Art transforms any kind of paper that is not being used anymore. Paper is shredded, then soaked for days in water to become pulp. The pulp is drained then mixed with glues and stabilizers and then made into solid pieces, hand-cut into shape, sanded, and painted over. It sounds exhausting, but the result is worth it, there are many options for less than 20 USD.
UpCycled Chic B Becca makes origami jewelry made of old maps, books, music sheets, playing cards, etc. Each piece is folded, formed, and coated with decoupage to add stability and give it a glossy finish. There are many options of earrings, necklaces for under 20 USD.
Drinking tea from commercial tea bags is something that might not come to your mind when “cleaning up” your lifestyle. But actually discarding all those tea bags is quite bad for the environment.
Let’s think about it, there is the paper box (ok, recyclable, but still unnecessary), which many times is covered in plastic wrap. Inside the box, there are several bags, each individually wrapped in paper, cellophane, or plastic. The teabags are usually not compostable either, because they contain plastic. Compare to buying loose leaf tea. Only one wrap to take care of.
If you buy in bulk in your own container, no packaging at all was involved. But of course, you need to brew the tea the traditional way. So that’s why I added a tea infuser made of natural materials to the list. Check these ones out, to add some more variety, one of them includes the tea, and the other one is a ceramic pot with an infuser. The examples are hand-crafted-bamboo-tea-strainer, Wooden tea infuser, Ceramic pot with infuser, Flower tea+ bamboo infuser.
After using the tea, the leaves can be put in your vermicomposter / worm bin. I have an article that tells you everything about having a worm bin in an apartment. Read it and get inspired to start your own worm bin at home!
Planter from recycled materials
Plants, herbs, flowers are always a great idea. Having plants around a house is healthy, it improves the quality of the air, and add to mental tranquility. A nice planter is a great gift and the new owner can later decide what they want to plant. Unless you add some seeds as well. You can add herbs to make an in-house herb garden, flowers to add color, or any other seed you like. While looking for the perfect planter, I tried to find re-purposed planters. I really love the bottle planter for herbs, as they won’t need so much soil. I also found planters made of upcycled tins, that are painted and decorated with different styles and also easy to make. The last one I will suggest are these planters made of mason jars. They have a drain at the bottom.
After you have chosen the best gift, you might need to wrap and decorate it. I have written a whole article on eco-friendly ways to wrap a gift. Read it and get inspired so you don’t mess your green gift with plastic wrapping. In this article, I cover how to reuse what you already have in your house for wrapping, some non-traditional ways of wrapping including a Japanese traditional way of wrapping called Furoshiki. Moreover, I give tips on how to tie and decorate the gift.
I am not using any affiliate links, everything I recommend is because I like it and think it is useful. Feel free to search for different options in the same products category.