12 sustainable gift ideas for the holidays

November 16, 2021

A sustainable gift guide from the Sustain.Life team.

The holidays can be a stressful time, especially when it comes to gift-giving. What do you get someone who cares about sustainability, or that person on your list that’s really hard to buy for?  

The Sustain.Life team created this list of unique sustainable gift ideas, which includes a lot of personal recommendations and zero waste options. There are great eco-friendly gift ideas, perfect for Christmas, birthdays, company or corporate gifts, or just to show a loved one you care.

Note: Sustain.Life does not receive an affiliate commission for the recommendations included in this gift guide.

For the kitchen

Bamboo compost bin from Bamboozle


“My dad always used to leave the compost in an open colander in the kitchen—it drove my mother crazy. I got him one of these bamboo compost bins, which solved the stinky situation (and household unrest) especially thanks to the carbon filter. Made from natural materials, the minimalist bins look great and there are plenty of color options to match your kitchen.” —Annalee Bloomfield, CEO

Reusable silicone bags

Starting at $8 from Stasher

“I am a big fan of reusable kitchen supplies to replace single-use plastic bags. There are lots of resealable silicone options out there. These make great gifts for anyone with a kitchen and a conscience. They keep produce fresher for so much longer, so they’re a win-win for reducing both food and plastic waste.” —Alyssa Rade, CSO

Reusable dishcloths

Starting at $12

“There are a ton of great brands out there and I know many of the folks on the Sustain.Life team have their preferences, but at my house, we use Who Gives A Crap and Swedish dishcloths—both excellent for ditching your paper towels and reducing your landfill waste.” —Mike Hanrahan, Founder & CEO of 4Sided Venture Studio

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For the home

Bidet from Tushy

Starting at $99

”My family converted to bidets at home a few years back, and we haven’t looked back. Pun intended. They can cut your toilet paper use by 75% and Tushy makes a nice lower cost, low-tech one that’s pretty easy to install.” —Patrick Campagnano, CTO  

Indoor house plants

Prices vary

“Plants are the gift that keeps on giving and I love this list of best indoor plants. A big plus: house plants help improve indoor air quality for years to come—that is if your giftee is willing to care for them. Plants can be a really thoughtful (and free) gift if you propagate one of your own. If buying, I recommend doing so locally to reduce transit emissions and your carbon footprint.” —Rob Howe, Business Development

For the body

Sneakers from Rothy’s


“I live in my Rothy’s. I’m a huge fan and their sneakers are super comfy. I love that the company uses plastic bottles and recycled materials in its products and its dedication to ‘circularity.’” —Hana Garfing, Product

Bar shampoo from Ethique

Starting at $4

“Since everyone has their own personal preference health and beauty products can be tough, but solid soaps, shampoos, and conditioners make great stocking stuffers. I personally use Ethique’s products and love that they use zero plastic.” —Annalee Bloomfield, CEO

Sunglasses from The Ocean Cleanup


“The perfect gift for anyone looking for some new stylish shades, these sunglasses are made from plastic recovered from the Great Pacific Garbage Patch—sort of the ultimate upcycled product. They also help fund future ocean cleanup and are designed to be recycled at the end of their life.” —Patrick Campagnano, CTO

Off the beaten path

Solar panel and battery from BioLite


“For the camper in your life that still wants to be able to charge their phone on those long camping trips. I've had a rechargeable camping light from BioLite for years and I can’t recommend it enough. The company makes great stuff—from eco-friendly stoves that use the heat of the fire to charge your phone to rechargeable headlamps.” —Jacob Pastrovich, Content Strategy

String art kits on Etsy


“A great sustainable gift idea I tried last year. These DIY kits were a big hit. I love that they offer the giftee the experience of making something, too.” —Constanze Duke, Sustainability


Prices vary

“My family is getting away from physical gifting this year. We’re planning some experiences together, rather than well-intentioned gifts that end up returned or at the local Goodwill. I feel good about this zero-waste option in the first place (no gift wrapping!), and not having to worry about supply chain issues or carbon emissions from shipping.” —Drew Slade, Marketing

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The takeaway

12 eco-friendly gift ideas for anyone on your list.