The mega zero waste gift guide for every person in your life.
With the caveat: support local, BIPOC- or woman/NB-owned businesses first and foremost! Unfortunately I’m unable to recommend specifics for everyone who reads this site, so I’ll be sharing general ideas.
And no, none of this gendered “zero waste gifts for men” or “zero waste gifts for women” nonsense. Let’s break down zero waste gifts by interest – add in a dash of WOC-owned business, a sprinkle of “don’t buy sh*t just to buy sh*t” and we’ve got a guide that might not be totally terrible for the planet.
Use the table of contents below to jump to a section that best describes who you’re trying to shop for…
Some of these links are affiliate links, which means I may earn a small commission when you purchase something, at no cost to yourself!
What's in this post
- Zero waste gifts for the partner who doesn’t really care
- Zero waste gifts for the person who has everything
- Zero waste gifts for the reader
- Zero waste gifts for people who love clothes
- Zero waste gifts for people who love plants
- Zero waste gifts for the food lover
- Zero waste gifts for the person who needs to stop grinding their teeth
- Zero waste gifts for the person dipping their toes into zero waste
- Zero waste gifts for babies, toddlers, and young kids
- Miscellaneous zero waste gifts you might like
Zero waste gifts for the partner who doesn’t really care
And if you’d like to hear from an actual partner who doesn’t care too much (AKA my husband!) he said his #1 gifts were a collapsible Stojo cup he’s brought with him every day for 3+ years – and stainless steel chopsticks. It’s the little things!
- Sustainable clothing basics from For Days, a zero waste take-back company with plain clothes to fill wardrobe gaps.
- Give a gift card to a zero waste store and let them decide. (Another zero waste store gift card available from Done Good!) Not everyone loves the idea of a gift card, but it ensures people can actually get what they want!
- Avoid the clutter with an experience gift that aligns with their interests. Consider tickets to a game or concert, passes to their favorite local attraction, or the promise of a getaway sometime soon.
- A compostable phone case from Pela Case. Everyone can use a cool new phone case every once and a while – why not merge cool design with a low-waste end of life?
- A wireless convertible charger from Nimble. It’s a hyper-practical gift from a company that does tech as ethically and sustainably as possible – win-win! (I wrote a whole post about how cool Nimble is, too!)
- If they do a lot of writing, a refillable fountain pen can be a really classy gift. (Don’t forget to include their favorite color of ink.)
Zero waste gifts for the person who has everything
- This glow & grow candle kit. It’s a really cool concept – burn the candle, then once it’s finished, plant the label in the empty candle and grow some wildflowers!
- Why not send them a little note on a plantable seed card? They can get the message, enjoy it, then plant it and watch different plants pop up!
- Set them up with a subscription to their favorite service. It’s not exactly sexy, but paying for a year of access to streaming platforms like Hulu or other services like Spotify/Netflix can be bought from (ugh) Amazon.
- A window solar panel for phone charging.. This solar panel is adorable and a perfect little baby step into soar energy for people in apartments!
- Consider a quick customized soap (pictured). Take a plain soap and upgrade it with their favorite scents for a quick, affordable gift. Here’s how to customize your own soap bar.
- An experience gift. Why bother people with stuff they don’t want when they probably just want to do something really cool? Give them the gift of experiences! See more about experience gifts in this post.
- How about a “Compost the Rich!” enamel pin made by yours truly?
Zero waste gifts for the reader
- More Than a Plastic Bag: An Action Guide for Environmentalists of Every Level by Polly Barks.
- Not specifically zero waste, but Call Number is an incredible Black-lit subscription box with low-waste packaging. I’ve bought one of their boxes and love it!
- All We Can Save by Ayana Elizabeth Johnson (Editor), Katharine K Wilkinson (Editor)
- A Terrible Thing to Waste: Environmental Racism and Its Assault on the American Mind by Harriet A. Washington
- Braiding Sweetgrass: Indigenous Wisdom, Scientific Knowledge and the Teachings of Plant by Robin Wall Kimmerer
- Doughnut Economics: Seven Ways to Think Like a 21st-Century Economist by Kate Raworth
- The Zero Waste Cookbook: 100 Recipes for Cooking Without Waste by Giovanna Torrico, Amelia Wasiliev
- A second-hand Kindle or e-reader. I avoided one for so long but as someone with a tiny phone, it really does bring a lot of value to my life!
- An Audible gift subscription. (Though maybe encourage them to support libraries instead of Amazon.)
For even more zero waste and sustainability books, check out this full post.
Zero waste gifts for people who love clothes
- A gift card to online thrift shop Thredup! The gift of thrift… who doesn’t love it?
- Sustainable clothing basics from For Days, a zero waste take-back company with plain clothes to fill wardrobe gaps.
- A high-end second-hand score from The Real Real. For that splurge item they might not usually buy themselves – with a sustainable twist.
- Knix period underwear. Sure, we might not buy period underwear for everyone on our list but for the right person? A great gift! (Thinx is another alternative.)
- Support small businesses creating one-off, totally unique, zero waste clothing items.
- For those who love color, this repurposed sari robe made of cast-off fabric is a great loungewear option.
- A cozy loungewear set from Pact – because let’s be honest, we don’t need real clothes. We’re not going anywhere.
- A set of super-comfy Allbirds lounging shoes – or sneakers.
Zero waste gifts for people who love plants
Who doesn’t love plants? Who doesn’t need just a few more dotted around their home in a futile attempt to stave off our collective sense of impending doom?!
- Ship an incredible geode planter from this Black-owned business. They’re out of my price range but constantly in my Etsy cart… a perfect gift!
- This Hyggelight growing candle. It’s a really cool concept – burn the candle, then once it’s finished, plant the label in the empty candle and grow some wildflowers!
- A tree that supports the Arbor Day Foundation! It’s an even better gift if you don’t make them plant it themselves!
- Mason jar herb sprouting kits for super-simple plants that even the blackest of thumbs will have trouble killing!
- A subscription to a plant propagation box. Sign-ups are limited and it looks like spots for 2021 are limited. (Black-owned biz!)
- If they don’t have outdoor space to grow, consider a super-compact option like an AeroGarden kit. Having a connection to food systems with a tiny garden that grows in your kitchen is powerful!
Zero waste gifts for the food lover
Count your lucky starts if you have a food lover or cook on your list to shop for… the kitchen and our diet are such simple, effective ways to begin exploring zero waste with some really cool stuff!
- Coffee drinker? I bought a Japanese pour over setup with a cloth filter and have been loving it. Low-waste and the process forces me to slow down and decide if I really want another cup of coffee!
- While you don’t need much to start fermenting, it can feel intimidating. A fermentation kit for mason jars or this ginger beer kit is a great step into fermentation!
- A set of DIY infused oils. (Bonus points if you infuse it with herbs from your own garden!)
- If your giftee likes baking, you just can’t top a Le Creuset dutch oven. (Yes, maybe I am just manifesting my desire for someone to drop several hundred dollars on a piece of bakeware for me! Check eBay for cheaper used options.)
- A sourdough starter! Help your friend or family member taking their baking to the next level with a lovingly-crafted sourdough starter.
- Lots of baking? This linen cross-back apron is so beautiful. I have several items from this company and really attest to the quality!
- DIY mason jar baking mixes. Not going to lie – I used to think these jars of ingredients for things like brownies, hot chocolate, cookies, etc. were pretty lame (still do, actually), but after making a few as gifts I found people love them. There are tons of ideas on Pinterest.
- A stainless steel container for all of the takeout or leftovers you’ll be enjoying.
- Don’t do coffee? Help them make the switch to loose tea with ethical zero waste tea and an infuser, like this adorable sloth tea infuser.
Zero waste gifts for the person who needs to stop grinding their teeth
Listen, 2020 has been a hard year. If your friend’s jaw is constantly locked and/or shoulders remain firmly near their ears 24/7, I get it. Here are some potential antidotes:
- A homesick candle. They craft candles to represent different states and countries – a great idea if someone can’t make it home for the holidays this year.
- Find a discounted massage session from Groupon. Even in these tough times, a massage can be done safely if everyone is conscientious.
- A luxurious candle or two from WOC-owned companies like BlkOrchidApothecary or MYOBLLC.
- A DIY mix of epsom salts and dried herbs of your choice, neatly packaged in an upcycled glass jar!
- An aromatherapy gift basket from a Black-owned business.
- This under the weather mineral bath soak seems ideal for blocking 2020 out of your mind for a few minutes. Or…
- If they don’t have a bath to soak in, these shower steamers are a nice alternative.
- Everything Hurts All Natural Muscle Rub. Wow, it’s like they made a product directly marketed towards me.
Zero waste gifts for the person dipping their toes into zero waste
If you’re shopping for someone that also appreciates your zero waste ambitions, this is the list for you! And FYI… it’s always best to shop second hand for items like these, but if you can’t find them thrifted, here are some options:
- I have a collapsible Stojo mug from when I backed them several years ago – I cannot recommend a compact mug to travel with more! Their newer collapsible silicone water bottle is on my list of “things I don’t need but totally want”.
- The classic Hydroflask water bottle for people on-the-go.
- Start them off with a zero waste kit pre-selected by the zero waste store Earth Hero.
- I love my glass KeepCup mug. For coffee drinkers, I can’t recommend this more as an awesome “I love this product but wouldn’t normally buy it for myself” gift. (See a full KeepCup review here.)
- A Baggu bag or two. The near-limitless amount of designs on their foldable grocery bags is truly impressive. They work to create as little waste as possible in the design process, use recycled materials, and even offer a take-back program at end of life!
- A small compost bin for holding food scraps if they’ve been curious to get started with composting.
- A set of cloth bags for grocery shopping from women-owned business Eco Bags!
Zero waste gifts for babies, toddlers, and young kids
- The ethically-curated Done Good site has a whole range of kids toys and activities to choose from!
- These stuffed animals are made from recycled plastic bottles and so cute. I kind of want the sloth for myself…
- Junobie silicone breast milk/toddler snack bags. The creator is local to me so I cannot stress how much you should support this Black-owned sustainable business from Indiana!
- These stuffed animals are made from recycled plastic bottles and so cute. I kind of want the sloth for myself…An experience gift that aligns with their interests. What about tickets to a local zoo, children’s museum, or other local attraction they’ve loved going to?
- A mason jar bottle set if you trust a combination of glass and children?
- I’m really into this natural wooden block set. These speak to me so much more than traditional squares do!
- Sidewalk chalk! What kid doesn’t like permission to scribble all over the driveway/sidewalk?
- Or maybe Honeysticks, crayons made of natural beeswax, for the discerning young artist?
- Crocheted vegetables for that Montessori vibe!
- If you’re looking to get gear for a kid who loves sports, check out Sideline Swap, a site that sells new and used sports gear and equipment!
- If you need a lot to sort through, Plan Toys is a whole site dedicated to sustainable toys.
Miscellaneous zero waste gifts you might like
In case I haven’t covered someone you need to give a gift to yet, why not try one of these random-but-cool gift ideas?
- Know someone who’s cutting their ecological footprint through biking? This little bike repair kit could be super handy!
- What about one of these national parks prints that also helps support different organizations?
- If you’re buying for someone in an apartment (and have some serious $$ to drop on a gift), consider this gorgeous living composter.
- What about non-toxic nail polish? A perfect stocking stuffer or little gift that’s less harmful than the traditional alternatives.
- If you have an artist to buy for, consider some of these eco-friendly paint sets from a small maker on Etsy.
- Try whipping up a few quick and easy bento bags! They’re not only low-waste wrapping but great to be reused over and over when shopping.
- For someone who does a lot of yoga, a cork yoga mat may be the perfect upgrade.
Have something that should be added to the list? Get in touch and let me know!