Tons Of Amazing Gifts. A Lot Less Waste.
While the holiday season may be considered “the most wonderful time of the year,” it’s definitely not the most sustainable time of the year. From decorations, which are essentially single-use plastics, to the amount of stuff we’re expected to buy and receive, it can be overwhelming to those eco-warriors among us.
Which is why we’ve created this gift guide. Giving and receiving gifts can still be a meaningful practice—as long as you choose gifts that put people and planet first. While we acknowledge that any type of product has an environmental impact, we’ve partnered with REI to choose items that limit that impact. Whether they’re alternatives to single-use plastics, bluesign® approved, made from recycled materials, or some combination thereof, these items will do right by the most eco-groovy of your friends….Just don’t forget to wrap your gifts in newspaper.
So, read on for some eco-friendly gift ideas!
Help your loved one kiss plastic straws goodbye with one of the best reusable straws on the market. While it does take some time to get used to, the FinalStraw 2.0 quickly becomes a joy to use with silicone tips, a carrying case small enough to clip to a keychain, and an included extendable mini brush for easy cleaning. As if things couldn't get any better, the company donates 1% of their sales to environmental nonprofits.See Full Review & Buying Options
On the road, these lightweight, highly-absorbent microfiber towels make a great catch-all. Literally. Pick up a couple of different sizes and your favorite eco-traveler can use them as a napkin, pillow, or an actual towel. Plus, they’re exceptionally soft and made from bluesign® approved materials. Because they're microfiber towels, it feels a little odd against the body, but their packability and quick-drying nature make them totally worth it.See Details & Buying Options
Patagonia’s entire Black Hole line is ideal for eco-warriors who long to see the world (you can easily get sucked into the black hole of online shopping when pursuing this line...ha). We’re digging these packing cubes, which are made from 100% recycled, bluesign® approved polyester ripstop with a 100% recycled polyester lining. Plus, they’re built to last, so they won’t end up in a landfill by February. Sustainability aside, these cubes are great for organizing clothing and miscellaneous items on the road, ensuring you can pack more stuff more effectively.See Full Review & Buying Options
If you’ve got an eco-groovy Survivor fan on your list, a Buff makes a fabulous gift—if you and your giftee have never heard of Survivor or a Buff before, a Buff still makes a fabulous gift. This nifty gadget works as a hat, scarf, sweatband, sleeping mask, bandana, helmet liner, bathing-suit cover, and approximately a bazillion other things. It’s great for summer—the fabric has an SPF of 50—but also makes a great wind-blocker on those freezing cold days. Plus, it’s made from recycled polyester derived, in part, from plastic bottles.See Details & Buying Options
If your loved one is about to embark on a trip around the world—or a backpacking adventure through the Wilderness—these compression packing cubes will make a great companion. They’re lightweight, water and stain-resistant, and, of course, compressible, so you can pack a ton of stuff in a small space. Backed with Eagle’s Creek’s lifetime warranty, these cubes won’t end up in a landfill anytime soon. And the “tech” versions are made with bluesign® approved materials.See Full Review & Buying Options
Made of bluesign® approved polyester, this handy pouch is a great way to stay organized on the road. Your loved one can toss it in their pack or—if they’re especially hip—use a carabiner to hook it through their belt loop. And because it’s water-resistant, they can bring it to the beach or rock it in a rainstorm without worrying about ruining their stuff.See Details & Buying Options
This seriously-sticky tape seals tears and prevents them from spreading—ensuring an unfortunate run-in with a sharp rock doesn’t send a perfectly-fine jacket to the landfill. Plus, it’s tape, so it doesn’t require the same finesse to work as a needle and thread.See Details & Buying Options
Approximately 100 million disposable chopsticks are thrown away every year. Madness, right? While not everyone on your list will need or want reusable chopsticks, help your favorite sushi aficionado reduce their eco-footprint. These chopsticks from Snow Peak are made from bamboo and titanium, which not only looks classy but makes them easy to use and clean.See Details & Buying Options
Everything from Patagonia’s Black Hole line is ideal for environmentalists—they’re all made from recycled, bluesign® approved materials. This Hip Pack is, of course, all that. Plus, it’s a handy accessory to have while traveling. Your friend will love it for flights, day trips, runs, or whatever other adventures they’ve cooked up.See Full Review & Buying Options
We probably don’t need to tell you why charging gear with the power of the sun is more eco-groovy than plugging into a traditional power grid (hint: carbon emissions). But environmentalism aside, this gadget is super handy for anyone who travels to remote areas where plugging something into an outlet isn’t an option—just make sure there's plenty of sunshine. Perfect for backpackers, road-trippers, or your friend who always ends up on the road less traveled.See Details & Buying Options
Ah, the reusable water bottle—basically the OG of single-use plastic alternatives. This one from Hydro Flask is double-wall insulated, meaning it’ll keep your cold drinks cold and your hot drinks hot for a ridiculously long time. And its stainless steel interior doesn’t add any unwanted flavor to whatever beverage you’ve got inside. It’s rugged too, meaning you can gift it to your clumsiest friend without worrying it’ll break in a month when they’ve accidentally kicked it down a flight of stairs.See Details & Buying Options
An alternative to plastic wrap, these wraps are a cinch to use. Simply use the warmth of your hands to mold it around whatever food item you’d like to wrap up—fruit, sandwiches, basically anything other than raw meat. If you want to win the holidays, bake your loved ones’ favorite dessert and wrap it up in a slice of Bee’s Wrap. They’ll be guaranteed to love you forever.See Details & Buying Options
For the eco-warrior in your life who always forgets their reusable grocery bags, this packable tote made of recycled materials can be tossed in a backpack, sling bag, or whatever, and be forgotten about until needed. And it works for far more than groceries—use it as a lunch bag, work tote, or a personal item on a flight. Better yet, United By Blue says for every product sold, they remove a pound of trash from oceans and waterways, which we can all probably agree is pretty awesome.See Details & Buying Options
Essentially a reusable water bottle for booze, these flasks are available in a few fun designs to match most any taste. Plus, the screw cap is attached so it won't get lost after a few too many fill-ups. Need we say more?See Details & Buying Options
Organic. Biodegradable. Effective. This soap is the triple threat of eco-groovy soaps. You can use it as body soap, shaving cream, laundry soap, shampoo, and mouthwash—yeah, this thing works as shampoo and mouthwash. Not something you see every day. Gentle on the environment, this soap is especially great for your outdoorsy friends...just ensure they’re not bathing in a stream. Sure, it sounds romantic, but it’s not-so-great for fish or anything else in the stream, including the water.See Details & Buying Options
Wrapping It Up
Well, there you have it—some of our favorite eco-groovy gift ideas. A special thank you to REI for partnering with us and caring about our planet. Thirsting for more? Check out our Sustainability Packing List or peruse REI online or in-person. And, remember, sustainability is a journey. It’s okay not to be perfect. So enjoy this holiday season guilt-free!