Gift giving is hard. Seeing friends and family members be wasteful can be hard, too. It’s hard to know when to bite your tongue and when to intervene. Personally, I just became that person who went through the trash during my family’s vacation and pulled out all of the recyclables to take home to our own recycling center.
It can be a struggle to find the right gift ideas as the holiday season approaches. It can also be very overwhelming to try to enter a zero waste lifestyle or even take the first step. We’re here to help with great zero waste gift ideas!
One of the simplest ways to help someone is to upgrade the products they’re already using on a regular basis. Making a gentle swap can be way easier than changing a very ingrained habit. Remember: progress, not perfection!
Here are a few zero waste gift ideas for friends and family members you want to help support but also want to help gently nudge towards a more sustainable path (with minimal plastic involved):
- Dryer balls: Using wool dryer balls is a simple way to green your routine. They’re an eco-friendly alternative to dryer sheets and more importantly, my child loves to play with them. I love Bog Berry’s Dryer Balls. They’re pricey but they’re very long-lasting.
- Plastic-free laundry detergent: Speaking of laundry stuff – I’m a big fan of Dropps as a gate-way gift to sustainability. It’s non-toxic, plastic-free laundry detergent and it doesn’t come in bulky plastic containers. Their packaging is super thoughtful and similar to our own stuff at Plaine Products, you can subscribe and save or just buy the detergent individually.
- A portable, stainless straw: My pick, personally, is FinalStraw. Americans use 500 million straws every single day and the team at FinalStraw is doing something about it. After raising over $1.8 million on Kickstarter, this patented straw is one of the best ways to help a friend get started as it’s super convenient to keep on-hand and feel good about saying “no thanks” to those offers of plastic straws out and about.
- Bees wrap: This is not vegan, naturally. But on the bright side, if you’re comfortable with the concept – you can make it yourself!
- Chocolate: Not just any chocolate – I’m a HUGE fan of Alter Eco and their organic, non-GMO, fair-trade certified chocolates. More importantly, the packaging is more sustainable than anything else on the market. Alter Eco launched the world’s first compostable, non-GMO, non-toxic candy wrappers. They also invented the world’s first compostable stand-up pouch made from renewable, plant-based, non-GMO materials. Did I mention I love them?
- Plastic-free toilet paper: Everyone uses toilet paper. Yeah, it’s a weird gift. But Who Gives a Crap offers 100% recycled toilet paper and their sales help build toilets for people who need ’em.
- Reusable bags: Stasher Bags are pretty fantastic reusable silicone storage bags that can be used for food or other things. One of our team members uses a Stasher Bag to carry her travel-size Plaine Products with her on trips 🙂
There are also a TON of options you can get for friends and family members that don’t involve buying new things. Check out a thrift store or a local Goodwill and you might find great things like cookware, cloth napkins, insulated grocery bags, reusable grocery tote bags, glass jars, reusable water bottles and more!
My mother-in-law wonderfully asked for ways to minimize her own single-use plastics for her birthday this year and this is what my husband and I came up with:
- A half of one of our own boxes of Dropps
- Shampoo, conditioner and hand-wash from Plaine Products (of course!)
- Several different kinds of Alter Eco chocolates (because you have to try them all…and they were on sale at Whole Foods!)
Hopefully, this will be a great introductory bonanza gift for her 🙂