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  • Writer's pictureMeredith Holland

The Ultimate Sustainable Gift Guide: Focus on Low Waste Gifting and Eco-Friendly Small Businesses

Updated: Dec 3, 2020

Happy Holidays! I can’t believe the holiday season is right around the corner. In the spirit of giving, I wanted to put together a sustainable gift guide with emphasis on low waste gifting and some of my favorite sustainable, small businesses. My intention is not to promote consumerism, but rather to offer alternative business suggestions you can support over big corporations like the Amazons of the world.

Please keep in mind that spending money is not necessary in order to show your love and appreciation for someone! With this in mind, I’ve included some gift ideas that are little to no cost that just so happen to be low waste too ;)

1. Re-gift: Re-gifting items you already have but no longer use is the perfect way to give a new life and purpose to your things, while being easy on your bank account. Think of that special friend who has always loved and commented on that bracelet of yours!

2. DIY: Get creative and hand make your own gift at home! Consider making art, baking or cooking a meal for someone. Gifting a plant you grew/propagated yourself is also a great, personal way to share your love!

3. Donate: Donate to an organization or cause in the recipient’s name. This can be a local nonprofit, animal shelter, local food bank, or a global nonprofit—the number of organizations that need generous donations are endless!

4. Experiences: Although this isn’t as feasible right now due to COVID-19, another idea is to buy concert or sporting event tickets for future events that can be enjoyed once things return to normalcy, or treat them to their next haircut, a facial, massage, mani/pedi, or spa day. For all my daredevils, you could even treat them to bungee jumping or skydiving!

5. Gift cards or vouchers: Give a gift card to a local coffee shop or restaurant, clothing shop, or other small business. Another idea is to give your own IOU voucher, to take them on a date to their favorite restaurant, buy them one item from their favorite Depop seller, or give them two free babysitting nights, etc.

6. Shop sustainable, small businesses: Buy a gift from a sustainable, small business that takes great care in ensuring that their business has minimal impact on our planet/people through ethical production and sustainable sourcing, manufacturing, and shipping. Or buy secondhand gifts from sellers on Depop or Poshmark. Opting to support a local small business is even better because you’re cutting down on the amount of carbon emissions expended to get the gift to you.

To my last point, if you do decide to buy your gift, here are some gift ideas from some of my favorite sustainable, small businesses that are operating in a way that is kind to our planet:

Gifts for Her

  1. Nlumec Beeswax Candle

  2. Radiance Rituals Body Oil

  3. Sunset Marble Tumbler

  4. Guppyfriend Washing Bag to protect garments from breaking down in the wash and prevent tiny plastic fibers that are released from clothing during washing from making their way from the washing machine to our waterways.

  5. Bamboo Toothbrush

  6. Avocado Food Hugger to combat browning avocados

  7. Reusable Food Bags

  8. Reusable Organic Cotton Facial Rounds

  9. Cocokind Sea Clay Mask

  10. A bottle of wine from her favorite local winery

Gifts for Him

  1. Tact and Stone Recycled Cotton Tee

  2. Level up your man’s skincare game by gifting him Cocokind Texture Smoothing Cream

  3. Beard Oil

  4. Fair-trade, Organic Coffee by Red Rooster Coffee

  5. Bamboo Toothbrush

  6. Avocado Food Hugger to combat browning avocados

  7. Reusable Food Bags

  8. Sustainable Socks

  9. If he uses a Keurig, get him a reusable coffee filter! This will help cut down on the plastic waste from using plastic single-use K cups.

  10. A growler from his favorite local brewery

Gifts for Babies/Kids:

1. Under the Nile organic baby products

2.Alf-phi sustainable, beautiful handmade children’s clothing (ages 3 months-4 years) from up-cycled and vintage textiles

3. Eco-kids art supplies and craft kits

4. PlanToys made from sustainably harvested wood with non-formaldehyde glue and painted with non-toxic water-based dyes

5. Green Toys made in the USA from 100% recycled plastic

Lastly, here is a list of sustainable, small businesses to support:


  1. Bug and Lou

  2. Sifted

  3. The Finiti

  4. Saba Mccoy


  1. Radiance Rituals

  2. Just the Goods

  3. Ivy Wild Beauty

  4. Coco Kind


  1. Jewels and Aces

  2. Bare and Golden

  3. Sirkel

  4. Kicheko Goods

Home + Decor

  1. Nlumec

  2. Late Summer

  3. Itty

  4. @Things.pdx on Instagram

Curated Vintage

  1. The Finders Club

  2. Hii Noon

  3. Nuli Goods

  4. @ware_vintage on Instagram

This list is intended to highlight just a few of my favorite sustainable, small businesses and spur a few thoughts on creative gift ideas. I urge you to shop from local, small businesses if you can. Every dollar matters to a small business, and, now more than ever, it is so important that we support them.

Above all, I hope you practice mindfulness when shopping this season! Happy Holidays!

Xx, Mer

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