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14 Top Tips for Giving Eco-Friendly Gifts

1.) Avoid Buying Stuff

The top tip here is not to buy stuff.  Here are some non-stuff ideas

Experience Gifts

There are obviously many companies which provide experience gifts. A quick google search will give you lots of ideas from spa days to adrenaline filled adventures such as go karting and bungee jumping. Or it could be a simple gift such as going out for a meal with your loved ones or cinema or theatre tickets.

Theme Park Tickets 

Kids might love tickets to theme parks such as to Disney. Or here in the UK my kids would love tickets to Legoland, Alton towers and Harry Potter World.
Other ideas suggested by my 11 year old could include laser tag or bowling.

Offers To Help

Busy people such as parents would appreciate offers of help. For example, consider a babysitting offer or a voucher for a cleaning company.

Breakfast  in Bed

Kids who want something to do for their parents instead of give physical gifts could make breakfast in bed. This works well for Mother or Fathers Day.

Online Gifts

Other gifts that aren’t stuff include ebooks, online video games, memberships to sites such as Netflix Spotify and Amazon Prime, online courses (there are online courses for everything from fitness courses to starting up a new business, class or lessons for something they are keen to learn (eg. a musical instrument).

Fitness Experiences

Fitness freaks may appreciate a personal trainer session or a membership to a gym.

2.) Look for products made of recycled materials.

There are lots of companies who make toys from recycled materials. Ones to check out include green toys. Green toys make toys for young children out of recycled plastic mainly from used plastic milk bottles.

Petit collage make lots of gifts out of recycled cardboard such as jigsaw puzzles and crafts.

There are many great gifts you can get for adults made out of recycled materials as well. Ideas include wallets and bags made out of recycled bicycle tubes.

Check out some more awesome gift ideas made out of recycled materials. 


3.) Consumables

Alcohol gifts such as bottles of wine and spirits are often very much appreciated, yet most if not all of the packaging can be recycled.

A food hamper with products which have recyclable packaging is another fab gift ideas. If you have a farmers market and / or zero waste shop near you, it’s a great place to check out food products which you could use to fill and make a unique Christmas hamper.

4.) Consider buying gifts which will help the recipient lead a zero waste lifestyle.

A good quality reusable water bottle will stop many people from continually buying the plastic versions.

Giving gifts such as shampoo soap and solids conditioner can help people make the transition from using products normally contained in plastic bottles to zero waste options.

Lush make a wide range of products without any packaging which make great gifts. They include items such as shampoo and conditioner bars, solid hot oil treatment, zero waste make up, solid deodrants and bath bombs. I bought a Lush bath bomb in the shape of a rocket for my 7 year old son for his birthday and he loved it. I bought direct it from a Lush shop rather than online. You can bring your own container to carry it home in so you don’t have to take their packaging.

A high quality safety razor can help men and women ditch disposable razors. it will also help them save money in the long run too

5.) Look for gifts made out of materials which are easily renewable.

For example, many eco-friendly gifts are made out of bamboo. Bamboo forests can be grown in a few years and pesticides and other chemicals need not be used while cultivating bamboo making it more eco-friendly.

Some ideas include a bamboo lapdesk, solar powered speakers made out of bamboo and a bamboo bed shelfie.

Cork is another eco-friendly material. Cork can be harvested without chopping down the tree. Only the bark is stripped to harvest the cork. The tree continues to live and grow. 

 6.) When you do buy gifts, don’t go overboard.

Make a list of what to buy everybody and stick to it. Avoid falling into the trap of buying last minute gifts that they don’t really need or want.

7.) Buy stuff that people actually need.

 Try not to buy anything they wouldn’t actually buy themselves. Definitely avoid novelty gifts such as bacon toothpaste, which will provide a laugh when opening but will end up in the landfill within weeks.

8) Buy less but with higher quality

If they do need something physical, choose an item which is may cost a bit more but is high quality. You can buy them one thing which is will last for years rather than lots of cheaper items that will need to be replaced in a few years time.

9.) Green-Fingered Gifts

For people who are green fingered, plants and gardening kits make great eco-friendly present ideas.

Packets of seeds can also be fun for young children who will enjoy planting them. Sunflower and cress seeds are popular, easy to grow and inexpensive too. 

10.) Making your own gifts

Making your own gifts can be very eco friendly.

Pinterest have some great ideas about gifts that you can give in glass jars. Glass jars can be ones that you already have. Check out 51 Christmas gifts in a jar ideas.

Also check out a recipe and instructions for a cookie mix in a jar which makes a good gift for young bakers. 

Other homemade gift ideas include making your own food hampers and kits. You can source ethical and eco friendly food and other options to go in your hamper.

Framed photos, children’s handprints, poems, drawings and mementos are other ideas. You can repurpose a second hand frame. My son was given a super hero drawing in a frame for his bedroom which he loved. So it can work for people of all ages.

11.) Buy stuff second-hand.

Very young children in particular will not notice if their toys are brand new or second-hand. There are some great toys available in places such as eBay which are in almost new condition. Second hand shops are also great for toys.

Preloved video games are a good option for older children and adults.

Second-hand bikes also make great gifts. When we were younger it was common to get a second-hand bike for birthdays or Christmas. Second-hand scooters are another option.

Vintage accessories and homeware can be a good option for some. Autographed items are second-hand but will be appreciated by the right person.

“New” second-hand items can be found on places such as eBay. These often can be items that have been gifted to somebody but are not wanted or needed so haven’t been used.

Oxfam online shop offer nice and great second-hand gifts in the USA and UK.

12.) Charity Gifts

Charity gifts are another option for the person that has everything. Obviously caution is recommended as some people may feel that you have given for them instead of for yourself.

However it can be an excellent gift for the right person. I have given teachers charity gifts of donations of books and educational materials for schools in other countries accompanied with a handmade card from my child. They have thought this to be a brilliant idea rather than receiving another mug or box of chocolates.

13.)Buy Locally

If you buy your gifts which are made and supplied locally you are not only helping support the local community, you are also reducing environemental damage caused by transporting goods.

Consider checking out local craft markets and farmers markets where local suppliers often sell their products.

14.)Ethically Sourced Gifts

Ethically sourced gifts can be another option. Against companies such as Oxfam source items that are handmade from communities across the world. It allows you to buy items which will help find work for people in communities where there aren’t a lot of other opportunities.

Tegu is a company which makes toys for young children. They employ people in Honduras, a poor nation where there is 30% of unemployment and it’ll opportunity so it gives people jobs in how to transform their lives.

Their toys are also made from sustainably sourced hardwoods.

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