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The Ultimate Green Gift Guide

by Meredith Labuda

gift wrapped in gray cloth with a pink flower for a bow

This article contains affiliate links.

Stanford University recently found that Americans throw away 25% more trash between Thanksgiving and New Year’s Day than at any other time of the year. While most of this waste is likely related to food and gift wrappings, it’s important to keep in mind how the gifts that we give others may contribute to this waste. Harmful materials, like plastic, are found in so many gift items, so gifting sustainable items can make a difference.

Keep reading to find sustainable gifts for any person in your life!

For Her

Beach Glass Necklace: Made of recycled glass, this beautiful blue and green necklace is the perfect statement piece. The necklace is 37 inches long and could be wrapped around the neck multiple times. Purchase: $29.99 at Ten Thousand Villages

woman with an 'm' initial necklace
Alice Dainty Initial Necklace from Caitlyn Minimalist

Initial Necklace: Every girl needs a monogrammed necklace. This one is sterling silver, which is a sustainable material, and it has a gold finish. These necklaces are perfectly dainty and would make an adorable addition to any outfit. Purchase: $37 at Caitlyn Minimalist

Honeycomb Knit Scarf: This scarf is made of organic cotton and saved 56 gallons of water. The honeycomb knit style is unique but subtle, making this scarf casual enough to go with any sweater. Purchase: $64 at Pact.

Sequoia Acetate Sunglasses: Not only are these sunglasses polarized, but they are made from cotton-based acetate and are water-proof. They are also the perfect sunglasses for anyone obsessed with early 2000s fashion, they look just like the sunglasses Georgina Sparks wears in Gossip Girl. Purchase: $75 from I Want Proof

Picture of a green handbag with a ruched handle
Women's Gabbi Ruched Hobo Handbag from JW PEI

Shoulder Bag: This is THE bag, it’s been seen on the likes of Gigi Hadid and Megan Fox. These bags are made from vegan leather and recycled water bottles. They also come in a variety of colors and can fit anything you would ever need. Purchase: $72 (on sale) from JW PEI

Colorblock Knit Touchscreen Gloves: These gloves are not only made of vegan yarn, but they have nano-metallic knit fingertips that allow you to use a screen. The gloves also come in the cutest color combinations and are sure to be the perfect statement accessory for winter. Purchase: $35 from Verloop

For Him

Colorblock Knit Touchscreen Gloves: These snug and warm gloves are made of vegan yarn, and the thumb, index, and middle finger are touch-screen friendly. The color blocking on these gloves is unique, but the colors are still neutral and could work for anyone. Purchase: $38 from Verloop

Side view picture of brown sunglasses
Bruneau Acetate Sunglasses from I Want Proof

Bruneau Acetate Sunglasses: These resemble aviator sunglasses, but are more sturdy and have polarized lenses with UV protection. These glasses come in a simple black color that any guy in your life would love as well as tortoise and brown shades for someone who wants to take a risk. Purchase: $80 from I Want Proof

Flannel Fireside Shirt: Men practically live in flannels during fall and winter, so you can never go wrong getting him another. This flannel is made from organic cotton and saved 45 gallons of water. This shirt also comes in a variety of colors and patterns, so you could even get multiple and have a gift for every guy in your life. Purchase: $88 from Pact

Picture of a brown wallet and box with Corkor logo
Slim Cork Billfold Wallet from Corkor

Slim Cork Billfold Wallet: Every man needs a sturdy billfold in their life, and this cork one is simple yet effective. The billfold has 6 card slots, 1 bill slot, and 2 slip pockets. Cork is a great sustainable alternative to the leather that is typically used for wallets. Purchase: $34.50 from Corkor

Snowy Night Hat: This stretchy, warm hat is perfect for winter. Made from wool and banana fiber, this hat will keep anyone plenty warm. The design is simple yet dynamic, and any man would love this hat. Purchase: $29.99 from Ten Thousand Villages

For the Kids

Race Cars: These racecars are made of 100% recycled plastic. They come in a variety of colors and would be the perfect gift for a group of siblings. Purchase: $9.99 each from Green Toys

Picture of a light blue elephant stuffed animal with a white plaid jumper
Fair Friend Stuffed Animals from Ten Thousand Villages

Fair Friend Stuffed Animals: These stuffed animals are made of cotton and Kapok stuffing. They’re also able to be spot cleaned or hand-washed if needed. These animals are unique yet endearing and would make a great gift for young kids in your life. Purchase: $15.99 from Ten Thousand Villages

Stackers: These stackers are for babies and are easy to clean and dishwasher-safe. They’re made of recycled plastic and have no BPA, PVC, or phthalates. Purchase: $14.99 from Green Toys

Stuffed Penguin: This adorable penguin is the best friend a child could have for the winter. It is soft and squishy, made from recycled faux fur and water bottles. The FAO Schwarz line also has sustainable stuffed seals, moose, and polar bears. Purchase: $19.99 from Target

Tea Set: This tea set is perfect for any young host in your life. It contains a teapot, four tea cups, saucers, and spoons, and cups for cream and sugar! The set comes in a wide array of color combinations and is made of recycled plastic. Purchase: $29.99 from Green Toys

For the Beauty Guru

Bamboo Bathrobe: Bathrobes are often made of materials like polyester and cotton, but sustainable alternatives can be just as comfortable. This unisex bathrobe is not only made of bamboo, but it is also a carbon-neutral product. Purchase: $120 from Cariloha

Bohemian Nail Polish Palette: This nail polish kit has the perfect array of eight colors, from nudes, coral pinks, and deep browns to mustard yellow, jade green, and dark blue. The polishes are meant to last 10 days without chipping and are made of clean, natural materials that nourish, hydrate, and repair nails. Purchase: $55 from Static Nails

Body Wash Refills: These body washes are made of plant-based and plant-friendly materials. The soap is purely a refill, to put in a container from the brand or a container that someone may already have at home, so it eliminates the plastic bottle. They come in the scents Waterlily Dew, Raspberry Hibiscus, and Sandalwood Sage. Purchase: $9 per pouch from Blueland

Picture of three blush shades in square containers
Cream Blush Kit from LYS Beauty

Cream Blush Kit: Cream blush is the trendiest makeup product at the moment, and this kit has beautiful red, coral, and pink high-pigment shades. The blushes are made with natural ingredients, like Kaolin clay, avocado oil, and vitamin E. Purchase: $30 from LYS Beauty

Glow Baby Skincare Trial Kit: For a sample kit, this one packs the punch. It includes a full-size serum, a mini face wash, and a pair of under-eye masks. The products are infused with vitamin C and glycolic acid, which help with dull skin. Purchase: $20 from Pacifica

Hair Concentrates Kit: The shampoo and conditioner in this are meant to last 3 months. They are concentrated, not watered down, and are made of natural and sustainable materials. They are also cruelty-free and contain essential oils. Purchase: $48 from Everist

For the World Traveler

Person holding a cream duffle bag
Catalina Deluxe Travel Bag from Lo & Sons

Catalina Deluxe Duffle Bag: This is a great weekend or carry-on bag–it has a zippered bottom pocket great for shoes, a messenger strap, and a pass-through sleeve that allows the bag to sit on top of a suitcase if needed. The bag is offered in material recycled water bottles or eco-friendly canvas, and both are highly durable. Purchase: $215 for small, $225 for large from Lo & Sons

Cork Passport Holder: This passport holder is made of sustainable cork and is also lightweight. However, even though it is made of simple cork, the holder also comes in a variety of designs. The passport holder also has slots for other cards, allowing it to be the only wallet needed on a trip. Purchase: $14.95 from Cork Culture USA Etsy store

Lifepack Backpack: This backpack is not only made of ocean-bound plastic but also has the option to include a powerpack or Bluetooth speaker powered by solar power. The backpack is made especially for traveling, as it is anti-theft and has a practically infinite amount of pockets and pouches. Purchase: $245 from Solgaard

Shower Essentials Travel Kit: This kit is perfect for a quick trip. It contains shampoo, conditioner, and body wash that are all concentrated, waterless, and biodegradable. The products come in recycled aluminum cans the gift includes a canvas travel tote. Purchase: $30 from Everist

Reef-safe SPF 70 Sunscreen: This gift would be great for a friend who goes to the beach often or has a snorkel trip planned. The sunscreen is Hawaii Act 104 Reef Compliant and also protects the skin. It is water resistant and has vitamin E, which prevents premature skin aging. Purchase: $18.49 from Sun Bum

For The Kitchen

Bowls and Plates: For new homeowners, or your clumsy friends and family, dishware is the perfect gift. These bowls and plates are hand-made ceramics from Portugal and were only fired once to reduce emissions. They come in sets of four and a variety of warm colors, like orange, pink, and sage green. Purchase: $64 for plates and $64 for bowls from Year & Day

Picture of a coffee bag with the label Fire in the Belly
Fire in the Belly Blend from Larry's Coffee

Coffee Beans: Larry’s Coffee works with 64 members to create sustainable coffee. Larry’s works to be a zero-waste brand, they reduce the electricity they use, and they use rainwater in their bathrooms and to water their crops. They have a variety of coffee blends, from dark to french to decaf. Purchase: $15.95-$19.95 for a 12 oz bag from Larry’s Coffee

Coffee Mugs: Ten Thousand Villages has the most unique and adorable ceramic coffee mugs. The mugs are hand-crafted, but they are also dishwasher and microwave safe. They have a Toasty Morning mug with a blue, hand-painted design, a fox mug, and a cat mug that has a removable lid with cat ears on it. Purchase: $19.99 for the Fox Mug, Meow Mug, and Toasty Morning Mug

Stone Drink Chillers: These stone drink chillers are perfect for keeping a drink cool without diluting it with ice. The chillers are crafted by third-generation family businesses. They come in a variety of colors and give a drink a sophisticated look. Purchase: $39.99 from Ten Thousand Villages

For The Home

Build Your Candle Kit: The wax in this kit is 100% natural, made of soy, bran, rice, and beeswax. You can choose two scents and make your first two candles in this kit, and refills of scents are available. Purchase: $54 from Notes Candle

Candle Set: This set has a Black Currant, Cedar & Suede, and Lavender & Vanilla candle. It is made of natural soy wax and essential oils, and the lid is plastic-free wood. As well, once the candles burn down, the glass containers can be used to store pens, jewelry, and other trinkets. Purchase: $12.95 from Public Goods

Four bright multi-colored picture frames
Recycled Newspaper Frames from ByAmberAndRose

Recycled Newspaper Photo Frame: While a picture frame made of newspaper may not sound like it would be beautiful, these frames are truly special. They are a sustainable alternative to wood, and they come in a variety of colors and would make a great accent in any room. Purchase: $13.86 from ByAmberAndRose Etsy store

Sweater Knit Throw Blanket: You can’t go wrong with gifting someone a nice blanket. This blanket is made of organic cotton that was not made with toxins, pesticides, or GMOs. The blanket is midweight with a basketweave pattern and comes in a variety of cozy, neutral colors. Purchase: $148 from Boll and Branch

Terracotta Planter: These planters are the perfect size for succulents and come in a variety of animals, from cats and dogs to snails and hedgehogs. The white-washed terracotta has a unique look, and the pots were hand-made in Bangladesh. Purchase: $19.99-$29.99 from Ten Thousand Villages

Brightly colored cacti puzzle
Pretty Fly For A Cacti Puzzle from Puzzedly

500 Piece Jigsaw: When you can’t decide what to get someone, a puzzle is a safe gift. It will keep them entertained, and if nothing else, they can regift it. This puzzle has the cutest design and is made of 100% recycled materials. Purchase: $21 from Puzzedly

For Fitness Fanatic

Natural Cork Yoga Mat: Yoga mats are often made out of materials like PVC, but this cork alternative is much more sustainable. The mat is also antimicrobial, which will help kill viruses and other microorganisms you wouldn’t want near your face during savasana. Lastly, the natural cork and rubber in the mat help it stay grippy, even if you’re sweating. Purchase: $60 from Sidney Byron

InMotion Agility Short: These shorts are made of 90% recycled polyester. They not only have pockets but zippered coin pockets. They’re stretchy and have an adjustable waistband, allowing comfort while doing anything from going on a hike to working out. Purchase: $68 from Ten Tree

Men’s Tree Dasher Sneakers: Made with eucalyptus fibers, these running shoes are breathable and flexible. Every part of this shoe is made of sustainable materials, from the extra supportive sugar-cane-based midsole to the laces made of recycled plastic bottles. Plus, these shoes come in the sleekest color and design. Purchase: $125 from Allbirds

The Perform Leggings: Made 58% of recycled Nylon, these leggings are lightweight but supportive. They are high-waisted, have pockets, and come in a wide array of sizes and colors. What more could you ask of a pair of leggings? Purchase: $68 from Everlane

Women’s Wool Runners: Wool is one of the last materials I would expect running shoes to be made of, but these shoes make it work. Not only do the sneakers come in fun and stylish color combinations, but they are especially soft and comfortable. The shoes are thermoregulating, and the midsole gives extra support. Purchase: $110 from Allbirds

For the Sustainable Friend

Compost Bin: A significant amount of landfills are filled with food waste, and composting can help reduce that waste. This metal bin is almost 12’’ by 8’’, so it can hold a significant amount of food at once. It also comes with a cotton and charcoal filter to prevent smell. Purchase: $24 from Package Free

3 black water bottles - 12, 16 and 20 ounces
Insulated Water Bottle from Klean Kanteen

Insulated Water Bottle: Someone could easily go through 2-3 plastic water bottles a day (if they’re staying properly hydrated), so having a reusable water bottle is an easy way to eliminate plastic use. This water bottle is made of 90% recycled stainless steel, which helps keep cold drinks insulated. As well, this bottle works with a variety of interchangeable lids and comes apart easily for cleaning. The strawberry pattern on this bottle is also to die for. Purchase: $29.95 from Klean Kanteen

Reusable Bags: Most people use plastic and paper grocery bags at least once a week, so reusable bags help stop the use of these bags. These reusable bags can hold up to fifty pounds of groceries, which is about 2-3 plastic bags. As well, they fold in on themselves for easy storage and come in a variety of quirky patterns. Purchase: $42 for a pack of 3 bags from Baggu

Solar Phone Charger: Most people charge their phone at least once a day, so using a solar panel every day would help to save a significant amount of electricity. Not only is the charger solar-powered, but it is waterproof and shockproof. The charger is also supposed to survive all conditions, including mountaineering expeditions. This is the only phone charger anyone could need. Purchase: $59.95 from Stealth Angel

Often, it seems like everyday people can’t make a big difference to help save our planet. But changing our buying habits is a big first step. As well, buying other people sustainable gifts could start a chain reaction and inspire them to live more sustainably. This holiday season, give your friends and family gifts that benefit them and our planet!



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