What do you get someone who is environmentally friendly?
You and your friend are close, but there is a big part of her life you quite don’t get yet. Lately (or not so lately), she adopted a more environmentally friendly lifestyle and started to use phrases like going zero-waste, clean products, greenwashing, and others you don’t understand. Soon, there is a special occasion, and you want to give her a nice gift that she will really appreciate. So you decide to give her something eco-friendly, but you really don’t know what the best option would be.
What you are looking for is a gift that during manufacturing, use, and waste management causes less harm to the environment. It is made from eco-friendly materials such as bamboo, cork, hemp, linen, recycled glass, among others. It doesn’t use much or any packaging. The production process involves the local community, and they were offered fair wages, the environment wasn’t polluted, water and energy weren’t wasted. It means that the product is reusable and can last a really long time or has multiple purposes. And lastly, the product at the end of the life-cycle is biodegradable, compostable, or recyclable. In summary, a product that is more environmentally, ethically, and socially responsible.
Now, how can you pick the right gift with all these characteristics? To make your work a bit easier, let’s start with what NOT to buy. There are many eco-friendly products that would make a nice gift, but if your friend is in this for a while, she will definitely already have them, so you need to dig deeper.
What NOT to give
Let’s make this short and sweet. Skip any of these items, unless your friend has specifically mentioned them as something she would love to have: reusable water bottle, coffee mug or glass, reusable produce bags, or tote bags for groceries, or any other bag. The reason is she will already have all these items. She bought these items right at the start or got in any other way when she started. Most probably she has multiples, as everyone will give them to her as a gift. These are very obvious choices that will lead the charts in any “what eco-friendly gift to give” list. And let’s be honest, who doesn’t have a reusable water bottle or a mug?
What to give: eco-friendly gift
And now the good part, I will give you a list of 8 items that I think an eco-friendly person would love to have and would use them with a clear conscience in their day-to-day. Here is the list, and later I will explain each product one by one, and give you some real-life examples of where to buy them, but you can also search for yourself and pick different brand or company:
- Products from upcycled skateboards
- House decorations from recycled materials
- Set of organic cotton towels or sheets (or both)
- Hemp or linen placemats
- House plants
- Herb garden
- Hand made soap set
- Cleaning and drying set for the kitchen
Products made from up-cycled skateboard or hardwood
AdrianMartinus Design is a fully-integrated Canadian design studio and creative workshop with a commitment to quality craftsmanship. They use a discarded skateboards and hardwood and turn them into luxury, beautiful products. Using materials that would be sent to landfills and giving them a second chance is an eco-friendly practice that reduces waste, and therefore gas production at landfills (landfills produce methane and carbon dioxide). In their online store, you can find small decorative items such as planters or tea light holders, or lovely jewelry such as earrings, or necklaces, but also rolling pins, bowls, puzzles, and even wall art or furniture. Pick your budget and style.
Recycled house decorations
If you are looking for decorations for your friend’s house, look for and choose upcycled or recycled materials and artisan production. By upcycling materials or products, we reduce trash sent to landfills. Many materials are very suitable for recycling and don’t lose hardly any of their characteristics. For example, look at these products on Amazon made from recycled glass, metal, reclaimed wood, these are great options for upcycled decorations. You can find many similar products on Etsy, where you connect directly with the artisan that made them.
Set of Organic Cotton Towels or Sheets
Who doesn’t love that feeling of a nice soft towel after a bath or shower or a feeling of getting in soft recently washed sheets? Eartheasy uses cotton organically grown in the US. The towel set contains 4 towels, you can choose from 4 colors. The sheet set is available in twin, full, queen, and king sizes.
To learn more about what are eco-friendly fabrics, read this article with all the details on fabrics.
Hemp (or Linen) placemats
One material that is very eco-friendly, and is not very well known yet, is hemp fiber. If you can not find hemp, choose linen. I try to include hemp in my recommendations to spread to word. And as a gift idea, I love to suggest reusable, cloth, eco-friendly placemats, these are from Etsy. Hemp or linen placemats are a great option for a gift! Even if your friend has a set of placemats, different styles will be used for different occasions, and they need to get washed from time to time, so she will need at least two sets.
As we all know, having plants around is beneficial to us. Plants absorb carbon dioxide and release oxygen. Therefore they increase oxygen levels at your home, some plants also remove indoor pollutants and clean the air. Also, plants make our homes look better, calmer, and healthier.
Plants are a great eco-friendly gift if you buy them at local nurseries that propagate the plants themselves from seeds or cuttings. Don’t invest in exotic plants, that will be more difficult to take care of anyways, and might die soon. If you want something really special, look for nurseries or companies that sell plant arrangements similar to this one I found on Amazon.
Similarly, you can get a herb garden, which will have another purpose apart from all the ones mentioned in the previous section: growing your own food. Herb gardens are easy, fun, and provide a nice kick to home-cooked meals. You can either buy planters with the herbs already growing in them or go with a DYI kit like this one I found on Amazon. This way your friend will have to prepare the garden herself and watch everything grow from scratch.
Handmade soap set
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. The process and final result don’t harm 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!
Give her different bars with different scents, add a beautiful ceramic soap dish. There are hundreds of soap makers out there. You can buy nice handmade soap at local fairs, buy online for example at Chagrin Valley Soap Salve, Soaptopia, AWSB, or look at Etsy. There are so many beautiful options. When buying online, please pay attention to where you are buying from, so the soap doesn’t travel across the globe, prefer local brands.
Cleaning and drying set for the kitchen
A not so sexy, but very useful and eco-friendly gift that your friend might not own, and might really want is a set of non- plastic cleaning brushes for pots, pans, bottles and vegetables and fruits. Brushes are entirely made of compostable materials, that can be safely discarded at the end of the life cycle. Usually, these brushes will be made of bamboo, wood, and coconut fibers. I found this set that includes 6 brushes on Amazon. Each has a different use and is made of sisal and coconut fibers and bamboo that are naturally grown. Add some extra unpaper towels made from bamboo fibers, and the set will be complete. Cloth napkins and unpaper towels are a wonderful way to reduce the paper consumption of your household.
I hope you can choose a great eco-friendly gift using my suggestions. When you buy the gift, make sure you don’t use excessive or not eco-friendly packaging. You can wrap it using recycled newspapers or even cloth. Your friend will understand and might be impressed by all your efforts.
If you need more ideas on eco-friendly gift wrapping, I have a whole article dedicated to this topic. Get inspired here!
What does it mean eco-friendly?
I also hope you learned some basic information about an eco-friendly lifestyle. As I mentioned some ecological material, items, production methods, ways to reduce waste, and why it is important, maybe you understand your friend a bit more now. And if you want to learn even more, read this article where I cover the product stages, materials, certifications, and much more.
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.