20 Best Eco-Friendly Gifts for 2021
Looking for a gift you can feel good about? These sustainable products can help the planet—and create an eco-conscious domino effect that has an even bigger impact.
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The gift of sustainability
What comes to mind when you think of eco-friendly gift ideas? If you’re worried the options are limited to unimaginative things like reusable grocery bags or composting bins, we’ve got some good news for you: There’s a wide array of beautiful, thoughtful, and unique products that you’ll be proud to gift wrap (in recycled paper, of course) and give to anyone on your list.
We’ve rounded up some of the brands making the greatest strides toward sustainability—and more than half of these products cost less than $50, which means they are budget-friendly too. If you’re looking for a little more inspiration after perusing this list, check out these other eco-friendly products available on Amazon.
For the next generation’s activists: Bella Tunno Baby Bibs
Do you love baby bibs with sassy sayings? How about sayings that’ll make you (and others) think about their choices when it comes to our planet? Bella Tunno’s Little Activist collection boasts FDA-approved, food-grade silicone bibs with sayings such as “100% Organic,” “Save the Seas Plant More Trees,” and “Reduce. Reuse. Recycle. Repeat.” And did we mention the products are free of BPA, PVC, and phthalates? Plus, the brand is on a mission to fight childhood hunger and donates at least one meal for every product sold through a partnership with Feeding America. If you love this idea, check out these other gifts that give back.
For grill masters and campers: Prime 6 Charcoal Starter Pack
Camping and grilling out are two activities even quarantine can’t ruin. But do you know what can ruin camping and grilling? Charcoal made from chemicals, fillers, and binders that leaves chemical smoke on your food and in the air. As seen on Shark Tank, Prime 6’s 100 percent sustainable charcoal is made from recycled hardwood-waste sawdust and has no fillers or chemicals. It’s designed in a hexagonal shape for better air flow and for high, consistent heat that burns four times longer than regular charcoal. Prime 6 is also reusable, which means you can stop and relight it up to seven times until it’s burned away completely (leaving very little ash and no cleanup). For every pack purchased, the brand plants a new tree with One Tree Planted. Before you plan your next cookout, make sure you also have these 17 things for your grilling station.
For fans of sustainable bling: Linjer Karoline Ring
Behind the minimalist modern, chic look of this ring is a tale of sustainability. The true gold vermeil band is recycled silver at its core, topped with a thick plating of 100 percent recycled 14K gold, and the sparkling white topaz stones are ethically sourced and hand-cut. Even the packaging on this great gift for her is made with recycled board, and the company, which has no physical stores, pays to offset the emissions of every shipment.
For a greener seat: Humanscale Smart Ocean Desk Chair
You’d never know that this sleek ergonomic office chair started its life in the sea. The fully customizable desk chair is made from nearly two pounds of discarded ocean fishing nets, which are the most harmful type of fishing nets because they can “ghost fish” for years, damaging delicate ecosystems and the marine animals that inhabit them. As of 2019, Humanscale has transformed over 10,000 pounds of discarded fishing nets into Smart Ocean chairs. Oh, and the chair is also super comfortable—with form-sensing mesh technology that adjusts to the contours of your body. Check out these other amazing products made from recycled ocean plastic.
For everyone’s medicine cabinet: Green Goo Everyday Essential Salves
Cuts. Scrapes. Insect bites. Sunburns. Itching. Scars. Dry skin. Everyone gets them! There are plenty of products to treat these ailments, but most of them involve toxic chemicals that aren’t as healing as they’d lead you to believe. That’s why Green Goo created its Everyday Essential Salves, a collection of four all-purpose, plant-based salves to help heal common skin conditions. They are gentle, safe, and effective without synthetics, isolates, perfumes, or artificial ingredients (and they don’t contain petroleum-based ingredients, parabens, or phthalates). The brand uses only natural, organic plants and herbs, and ensures the farmers who grow their herbs care for the environment by recycling, conserving water, and promoting biodiversity. Find more great organic items in this list of Black-owned beauty products you really should own by now.
For the fresh foodie: AeroGarden Harvest Hydroponic Garden
Imagine growing fresh herbs on your kitchen counter, with no soil, no mess, and virtually no maintenance. That’s why the AeroGarden Harvest is so popular. It can grow up to six plants at one time, and the control panel tells you when to add water and plant food (read: no green thumb required). The hydroponic system uses far less water than soil-based growing, making it a more eco-friendly option; plus, gardening is one of five ways to stay environmentally conscious during the pandemic. While this particular system includes a gourmet seed kit of basil, parsley, dill, thyme, and mint, you can swap them out for any herbs and veggies you fancy.
For yogis and meditators: Sugarmat Yoga Mat
Yoga lovers and those who practice meditation are the perfect recipients for eco-friendly gifts, especially a Sugarmat yoga mat. Featuring 100 percent natural rubber, synthetic suede, water-based ink, and toxic-free materials, Sugarmat offers collections inspired by nature’s beauty. But perhaps even better, the high-density cushion provides excellent support and joint protection, and the ultra-absorbent top magically turns sweat into better grip. The mat is even machine-washable, on delicate! Don’t miss these other Amazon products you’ll use every day.
For reducing reliance on toilet paper: TUSHY Bidet Toilet Seat Attachment
OK, at first glance anything to do with toilets might not seem like a great gift idea—but hear us out. In a world where toilet paper can become scarce overnight (not to mention how toilet paper usage devastates forests), wouldn’t it be nice to offer your recipient an alternative? While you could peruse this list of nine bidet attachments for your toilet, the TUSHY Classic is a modern, designer bidet attachment that can be installed in under 10 minutes. It requires no electricity or plumbing, has a self-cleaning nozzle, and offers the right pressure and angle for a targeted spray. In fact, TUSHY cuts your toilet paper usage by 80 percent. Still not sold? Check out this rave review from a woman who tried this bidet and says she’ll never use toilet paper again!
For the renewable home office worker: Humanscale eFloat One
Did you know that standard wood table tops are harvested from old-growth forests that can take up to 100 years to regrow? Time to switch to bamboo, a sustainable alternative that takes less than 10 years to replenish. That’s what Humanscale uses to make this simple, sophisticated work surface, which is also free of Red List chemicals including formaldehyde and PVC. Besides being kinder to the earth, it’s also kinder to your body—by transforming into a standing desk at the touch of a button.
For staying hydrated: Nalgene Sustain Tritan Water Bottle
Single-use plastic is so last century. Not only are major companies getting rid of plastic for good, but many people are also making the switch to reusable water bottles for their daily dose of hydration. Nalgene’s Sustain Tritan wide-mouth, BPA-free water bottle takes it a step further by using 50 percent certified recycled content—each bottle contains the equivalent of eight single-use plastic water bottles. The bottle is dishwasher-safe, leakproof, and durable (making it perfect for camping or hiking), and the wide mouth makes it easy to add ice cubes.
For at-home manicures: Nailtopia Glitter Lacquer
Glittery nails are as popular as ever, but most nail polish brands use tiny fragments of plastic that never fully break down. On the other hand, Nailtopia’s glitter is made from regenerated cellulose—fitting for a brand that’s natural, vegan, and non-toxic. The formula is infused with primarily plant-based, bio-sourced fruits and vegetables to help harden, strengthen, and nourish nails. What’s more, these polishes are packaged in a branded bag made entirely from recycled materials, and each bottle cap is recyclable. Don’t forget about your toes! Here’s how to give yourself the perfect pedicure in six easy steps.
For Earth-loving fashionistas: Pattern Village Dressing Gowns
Think beautiful clothing only comes from the finest silks, wools, and furs? Amazingly soft, silky fabric can also come from recycled water bottles! Pattern Village has created a collection of dressing gowns made from 100 percent recycled polyester, and one gown diverts approximately 20 plastic water bottles from the waste stream. For every gown sold, the company plants a tree with One Tree Planted. In addition to the company’s eco-conscious gowns, the packaging is sustainable and compostable. Bonus: The gowns have UPF 50 sun protection. And did we mention the awesome hidden pockets? You’ll enjoy this frock for many years to come, unlike the disposable, fast fashion you buy at major retailers. Here are more tiny everyday changes you can make to help the environment.
For roadtrippers and commuters: Nixon Heist Bag
What does every traveler or commuter need? A durable, reliable bag to protect their belongings—but not at the cost of the environment. Nixon meets these needs and then some, as the first company in the United States to launch a bag line using REPREVE Our Ocean, which is made from ocean-bound plastics. Inspired by military pilots’ helmet bags, this bag features a cavernous main compartment, along with internal slip pockets and two exterior zippered pockets to segment quick-grab essentials. The detachable shoulder strap allows you to convert from tote to shoulder bag as needed. Before you plan your next trip, study up on the right way to travel, according to environmental experts.
For sanitizing on the go: Sanibelle Hydrating Hand Sanitizing Wipes
Hand hygiene is incredibly important these days, but most hand sanitizers leave delicate skin rough, dry, and cracking. Switch to Sanibelle’s 100 percent biodegradable antibacterial wipes and your problems will be solved. In addition to being alcohol-free, they contain vitamin E and aloe to moisturize your hands. Not only will these eco-friendly gifts minimize the impact on landfills, but for every product sold, Sanibelle will plant one tree to give back to the environment through One Tree Planted.
For keeping his feet comfy: Reef One Slide Sandal
The casual dude in your life will appreciate these sandals from Reef—and the planet will, too. They’re made with Eco-One, an organic additive that enhances the biodegradation process through a series of chemical and biological processes when disposed of in a biologically active landﬁll. Why is this such a big deal? Rubber-soled shoes are among the 12 everyday items that take the longest to decompose. Reef’s sandals are also crafted without PVC, which means they are better for the feet and for the environment.
The brand is also dedicated to plastic-pollution initiatives through beach clean-ups and environmental legislation via its partnership with Surfrider Better Beach Alliance. Plus, Reef has partnered with Urban Surf 4 Kids to introduce foster and at-risk kids to the positive benefits and healing properties of the ocean and beach.
For luscious locks: HiBAR Shampoo and Conditioner Bar
It’s fun to buy new beauty products, but have you ever stopped to think about how wasteful the packaging is? HiBAR has, and that’s why it’s developed shampoo and conditioner that aren’t packaged in plastic. These salon-quality bars are gluten-free, long-lasting, waterless (making them great for travel), safe for colored or treated hair, and free of sulfates, silicone, parabens, and phthalates. They’re also cruelty-free, and even the shipping is plastic-free. One bar will last as long as a 16-ounce bottle, so you won’t need to use more product to get the same results as your previous brand.
For coffee lovers: HUNU Collapsible Coffee Cup
Do you know how many disposable coffee cups are thrown away each day? Approximately 165 million! And because they have a plastic lining, most single-use coffee cups aren’t recyclable—and, in fact, trying to recycle them is one of 13 eco-friendly habits that are actually worse for the planet. HUNU solved this problem by designing the ultimate in eco-friendly gifts: a collapsible coffee cup that folds down to just 2 centimeters, so it’ll fit perfectly in your pocket or bag. Plus, the leakproof plug means your belongings won’t end up stained or wet. The HUNU holds 9 ounces of coffee (or whatever beverage you’d like to pour in), is BPA-free, and makes it easier than ever to always have a reusable cup on hand.
For outdoor lounging: Coalatree Packable Hammock
There’s nothing like the great outdoors, whether it’s in a national park or your own backyard. And a lightweight, packable hammock from Coalatree is perfect for backpacking through the deep woods, spending a lazy afternoon watching your kids play ball, or hanging out at the beach. Two ropes are included with carabiners, making it easy to secure your hammock anywhere. The products are made with recycled materials to keep scraps and waste out of landfills, and Coalatree works with Bluesign Certified factory partners to eliminate the need for harsh chemicals and ensure that the gear is made with the most environmentally sound textile solutions. The brand also uses any surplus fabric to create blankets for the homeless in Salt Lake City, so nothing goes to waste.
For a better night’s sleep: Cariloha Resort Bamboo Sheets
In case you aren’t familiar, bamboo is one of the most sustainable, renewable resources on the planet because it’s the fastest-growing plant on Earth. And while it’s one of the strongest materials available, it also happens to make for some of the softest bedding around (seriously, it’s softer than 1,000-thread-count Egyptian cotton). That’s why Cariloha sheets are made from bamboo. They are also antimicrobial, hypoallergenic, odor resistant, temperature regulating, and naturally cooling. From its official Cariloha Bamboo Farm in China to its fair-trade partners in the United States, China, Turkey, Mexico, and India, Cariloha strives for sustainability throughout its entire supply chain. Here are another 13 ways to make your bed 10 times cozier.
For sprucing up indoor decor: Costa Farms Snake Plant
Pop quiz: What’s more eco-friendly than a plant? Literally nothing. Plants remove CO2 from the air and naturally complete any room in your home. And you don’t even need a green thumb to adopt a sansevieria, or snake plant, from Costa Farms. This species is super hardy and almost impossible to kill (note: we said almost). It also tops NASA’s list for air-purifying houseplants. The plant, which is the perfect addition to a home office or living room, also ships in a planter that’s made from a 100 percent recyclable material. If your intended recipient is short on windows, you should also consider these 15 low-light houseplants that thrive in near darkness.
For relaxing on the porch or patio: Polywood Adirondack chair
There’s nothing better than chilling in your backyard, sipping a glass of wine or a cup of coffee—unless you’re doing so in a Polywood Adirondack chair, that is. This furniture is constructed of wood made from recycled landfill-bound and ocean-bound plastic containers, similar to these 15 brilliant products made from recycled ocean plastics. It’s built to withstand a range of climates, including hot sun, snowy winters, and strong winds, which must be why these beautiful chairs come with an unheard-of 20-year warranty. They clean easily with soap and water, and they’re available in a range of classic colors to bring a country-home or beach-vacation-vibe to your abode.
For drying off anywhere, anytime: Nomadix Towel
Sure, you probably only think about towels for your kitchen or bathroom, but there’s a whole wide world out there just begging for a portable and durable option for the beach, camping, yoga in the park, and sports. Each Nomadix towel is made using 30 post-consumer recycled plastic bottles and then printed for colorful style instead of using harmful dyes (one of the world’s biggest polluters). The towel is super absorbent, resistant to pet hair and sand, and lightweight. As a member of 1% for the Planet, Nomadix also gives 1 percent of its sales to environmental causes.
For keeping everything organized on your adventures: Vera Bradley ReActive Sling Backpack
We all have that friend who tries to stuff everything into her pockets, but that’s just not ideal. Give her a helping hand with a lightweight, durable, and water-repellent sling backpack from Vera Bradley. Each yard of ReActive fabric is made from 16 recycled plastic bottles, and this collection has prevented 3.5 million plastic bottles from going into oceans and landfills. This particular bag is made from 10 recycled bottles! These eco-friendly gifts come in a wide variety of colors and patterns to suit any style. Buying for someone who takes her computer everywhere she goes? Check out the eco-friendly options on this list of the best laptop backpacks at every price point.
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