Gifts that will save the planet

Gifts that will save the planet

Gift-giving is such a great experience for both parties involved. Personally, I love giving gifts! I will spend days or weeks thinking about the best present. Honestly, if I put effort into the gift, I will get very emotional when handing the gift to the new owner. 

As great giving or getting a gift is, many times it harms the planet as it contributes to contamination or pollution or brings other adverse effects. My husband and I usually try to avoid buying each other new things as a gift. We will give each other hand-made gifts, experiences, or services.

If you want to learn more about what does it mean to be eco-friendly, check out this article where I cover the product stages, materials, certifications, and much more.

That’s why I will give you tips for gifts that will save the planet, not harm it. This is achieved by giving something that will fulfill at least one of these conditions. It improves environmental quality, saves resources, avoids the use of harsh chemicals, educates about the environment, encourages eco-friendly actions, doesn’t pollute or create unnecessary waste. Read my list of these 9 items, and pick the best option for you! 

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.

Gifts mentioned in this article

Symbolic gifts

Plant a tree in honor of your loved one

Gifts that will save the planet: Plant a tree

As we know, trees improve air quality by absorbing carbon dioxide from the environment and releasing oxygen into the environment. Moreover, trees help us conserve water, preserve soil, and support wildlife.

All of these are so important right now, many places on the planet suffer from severe droughts, soil degradations, and erosion and we are losing animal species. Recently we have lost a lot of native forests like the Amazon rainforest and bush, forests, and parks in Australia to big fires. And lets not even talk about the deforestation occurring in the whole world every day.

Planting trees will appear in every list of what you can do to help out the planet. But sometimes you don’t have the space to plant it, you might live in an apartment, in a big city, and you have no space to do this good deed. Fortunately, there are many organizations and NGOs, that will plant the tree for you, or in the name of your loved one. I have found the following organizations:

Organizations that plant trees

Treedom. You can have a local farmer in Africa, South America, or Italy plant a tree for you and then follow it online. Every tree on Treedom is geo-localized and photographed and has its online page, so the new owner will know what is happening to his or her tree. You can choose a species of tree planted, or how much CO2 you want it to absorb.

They have interesting trees like baobab, cacao, banana, or mangrove tree. They also have annual subscriptions, so according to your needs and budget, you have many options.

The Trees Remember plant the trees in U.S. National Forests. The trees are planted through programs established by and under the supervision of, the U.S. Forest Service. The trees are planted on the grounds where a fire destroyed the tree, so this way you are helping to reforest national forests. The gift will include a card saying where will they plant the tree and who donated it. You can include a separate personal message to the receiver.

The package will also include a small Eternity Memorial Tree charm on a cord, and a small card indicating the spirit in which this memorial gift was given, and the global impact it is meant to achieve.

The National Forest. This UK organization has so far planted almost 9 million trees in a wooded landscape across 200 square miles of central England, 5 hours from London. It is possible to visit this forest and do some hiking, cycling, horse-back riding, or other activities. Each tree comes with a personalized certificate and you can choose from six species.

The available species are oak, lime, hazel, silver birch, rowan, and wild cherry. Their planting season is from November to March each year. 

Donate to environmental charity

Similarly to planting a tree, you would not be giving a physical gift to your loved one, but making a donation in their name to an organization that works hard to save the planet. You might know of an organization that your loved one is fond of. Or you can pick based on the cause. I am not an expert on charities, so I will only mention some of the most known ones, but you can search and pick according to your needs. 

Greenpeace is an independent organization, which uses peaceful, creative confrontation to expose global environmental problems, and develop solutions for a green and peaceful future.

Rainforest Alliance is an international non-profit organization working at the intersection of business, agriculture, and forests, in order to make responsible business the new normal. They are dedicated to issues like forest protection, food and farming, climate change, and human rights. They issue the Rainforest Alliance Certified™ seal to farms, forests, and businesses that meet rigorous environmental and social standards.

Ocean Conservancy is working to protect the oceans, and create a healthy ocean and the wildlife that depends on it. They have several programs focused on diverse areas such as Trash Free Oceans, Protecting The Arctic, Sustainable Fisheries, and others.

Gifts that save energy or resources

Solar charger

Gifts that will save the planet: solar charger

We all use a cellphone and we could all be saving energy if we used a solar changer for them. Instead of charging the phone the whole night, which will actually waste energy, because it is plugged for longer than it needs to be, we could be all charging during the day on our window or balcony, while doing something around the house or office or driving the car.

A great benefit is, now you will be able to charge your phone on your outdoor trips as well. Check out this BigBlue 5V 28W Solar Charge on Amazon, or search for other options. Always check the compatibility with the desired phone before purchase. These chargers could be great gifts that will save the planet!

If you would like to learn more about how to save the planet and save your money at the same time, I have an article with 20 tips on eco-friendly saving tips here.

Pressure cooker

This might be one of my favorites in the kitchen. We eat a plant-based diet, which means a lot of legumes. Legumes take a longer time to cook. Even when you soak them before cooking, they still might take more than an hour to get really soft. Since I bought my pressure cooker, I saved so much energy on cooking. Manufacturers claim up to 70% of energy savings. Now when cooking legumes it takes only around 30 to 40 minutes to cook to perfection depending on the type of legume. 

The high pressure in the cooker limits boiling, and permits cooking at very high temperatures, well above 100 °C or (212 °F). The cooker itself will last for decades. My mom is still using the same one as when I was a child. She just changes the seal every now and then. It is perfectly safe to cook in it when handled properly, read the manual and safety instructions before use, and follow the proper cleaning and maintenance instructions.

I am using a cooker very similar to this one on Amazon, but you can buy something fancier like this one, or pick your own best option.


Gifts that will save the planet: bicycle

This gift might be reserved for a very special loved one and a very special occasion, as it might be pricier. But changing from a car, or public transportation to a bicycle will save a lot of energy and fuels. Bicycles are a pollution-free mode of transportation. And choosing to use a bicycle at least a few times a week is one of the simplest ways to lower your environmental footprint.

Moreover, you are giving your loved one an exercise machine, so you are also improving their health. Riding a bike can build muscle, eliminate fat, strengthen your legs, lower blood pressure, and increase endurance.

I am not going to give any specific recommendation, as this is a very personal choice based on what kind of bike you need, based on the budget and so many more elements. I will only tell you I have been using Merida bikes since we were living in Taiwan and I still have one right now.

Reusable cloth pack

Eco-friendly hand made cloth napkins

Let’s jump from something pricey to something very affordable. You can help your loved one to switch from paper to cloth or as it has been nicknamed “unpaper”.

Instead of paper towels, use cloth towels to clean and dry around your kitchen. Instead of paper napkins, use cloth napkins while dining. At my house, we have a dedicated pair of napkins per member of the house and a few guest napkins. And instead of a paper handkerchief, a cloth one, well, to clear your nose. 

This will avoid so much paper to go to waste. You can just wash them when dirty and reuse. You can either make these if you are into sewing, they are really easy to make. Or pick the ones that you most like to site like As always, when buying online, try to source local makers, so it does not travel around the globe. 

As an example, look at these cute unpaper towels, napkins, and handkerchiefs on Etsy and get inspired!

Gifts that encourage eco-friendly action

If you want to learn in-depth about what to do to become more eco-friendly, I have a series of articles on how to make your house more eco-friendly.
Start with making your kitchen eco-friendly here!
Continue with your bathroom here.
Learn how to green your bedroom and home office here.
Lastly, save energy and the planet!

Eco-friendly cleaning products or cosmetics

How on earth will switching cleaning products and cosmetics help the environment? Well, choosing a natural and eco-friendly product will diminish the use of harsh chemicals in the production of the product. Eco-friendly cleaning products or cosmetics are made using sustainable manufacturing practices and naturally derived, safe, non-toxic, and biodegradable ingredients that don’t negatively impact the environment or your family’s health.

There are so many options right now, that the best would be for you to source a local manufacturer, that can also do refills, so you diminish the packaging as well. 

Recycling bins

This one might sound weird as a gift, but if your loved one isn’t recycling yet, encourage them by giving then a set of recycling bins in order to make it easier for them to start. I found these four bins on Amazon. They are made in the US and are made from recycled plastic. They can start separating paper, glass, cans, and other materials. This makes it so much easier to have the recycling organized.

For more adventurous souls, why not give a worm bin. To learn everything about having and caring for a worm bin / vermicomposter in an apartment, read this article.

Vegetarian / vegan cookbook

gifts that will save the planet: Home made vegan sushi and gyosas

Reducing meat and dairy consumption will reduce greenhouse gas emissions and decrease pressure on land and water use (1). The livestock sector generates as much greenhouse gas emissions as all transportation combined. 

Encourage your loved ones to lessen their consumption by giving them a great vegetarian or vegan cookbook. Even if they just add a few vegetarian dishes every week, or a few vegetarian days a week, that will already help.

Vegetarian and vegan cooking is exciting and tasty, but you might need a little inspiration and practice at first. You can find any possible cuisine made into vegetarian or vegan food. Like traditional home-cooked meals and baking, or do they prefer Asian, Italian? There is a book for every taste. Think about a kindle edition or an ebook to lessen the paper consumption. Look at these options on Kindle: Vegan Indian Cookbook, Southern Vegan Cookbook, Vegetarian Vietnamese Cookbook

Eco-friendly gift wrapping

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.

This list contains gifts for every budget and every taste, I hope you can pick something and that your loved one will be happy with your choice.

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.