The Best Zero-Waste Gifts for Any Occasion

Help everyone in your life reduce their plastic consumption and trash creation with these zero-waste gift ideas at every price point.

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March 08, 2019

Photo By: Zero Waste Home

Photo By: Bee's Wrap

Photo By: Casto Photography & Cinema

Photo By: Uncommon Goods

Photo By: Ivy and Wilde

Photo By: Sarah Busby, Styling by Jill Tennant Anderson

Photo By: Morihata

Photo By: Jalynn Baker

Photo By: JOCO

Photo By: Jennie Andrews Photography

Photo By: Ten Thousand Villages

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Photo By: Terrain

Photo By: Sur la Table

Photo By: Courtesy of the manufacturer

Photo By: Pela Case

Photo By: Goal Zero

Photo By: bkr

Photo By: Kaila Jackson @bluegreenpatina

Photo By: Rent the Runway

Photo By: Ten Thousand Villages

Photo By: Society B

Photo By: Fair Trade Winds

Photo By: Society B

Photo By: Lush

Photo By: Lush

Photo By: Ethique

Photo By: GreenUP

Photo By: Elate Cosmetics

Photo By: Kimberly Deprey / Getty Images

Photo By: Girlfriend Collective

Photo By: Jade Yoga

Photo By: Uncommon Goods

Photo By: The Eco Baby Co

Photo By: YETI

Photo By: Honest Pet Products

Zero Waste Home Book

Zero waste is a lifestyle that avoids creating trash through recycling and reusing as much as possible. At the very least, it involves eliminating plastic from daily life — not always an easy feat. Get all of your friends and family started down the zero-waste road with this book full of accessible tips for beginners.

Buy It: Amazon, $12.29

Reusable Bee's Wrap

Replace disposable plastic wrap and aluminum foil with eco-friendly Bee's Wrap, a resusable cotton cloth treated with beeswax and jojoba oil. You can even choose from a variety of sizes, colors and patterns.

Buy It: Bee's Wrap, Starting from $6

Windowsill Herb Garden

Instead of buying herbs in plastic packaging, the chef in your family will appreciate growing their own. With an easy windowsill option, a backyard isn't even needed.

Buy It: Amazon, $39.95

Coconut Hedgehog Planter

On-trend succulents make a great gift thanks to their hardiness. Gussy them up in a handcrafted hedgehog planter made from coconut fibers.

Buy It: Uncommon Goods, $48.00

Chopsticks Set

Replace take-out chopsticks with a stainless steel version that doesn't have to be reserved for special occasions.

Buy It: Ivy and Wilde, $39.95

Countertop Compost Bin

There's no excuse not to compost with this easy countertop version. It's made from ceramic and comes equipped with a charcoal filter to prevent unwanted smells, plus it takes up little space. An added bonus is the attractive, streamlined design.

Buy It: Chef'n, $39.99

Charcoal Sticks

Eliminate the plastic component in charcoal filters by opting for charcoal sticks. Morihata binchotan charcoal from Japan is considered the gold, er, charcoal standard, and is believed to remove impurities from water as effectively as conventional filters. Simply drop one in a pitcher, and replace it every three months.

Buy It: Goop, $16.00

Striped Wood Cutting Board

Besides being a more sustainable choice over plastic boards, wood is also more sanitary as the surface doesn't trap as much bacteria as plastic. With proper care, wood boards not only hold up better, but also beg to be displayed on a counter.

Buy It: Williams-Sonoma, $154.95

DIY Cookie Mix

Sure, it's easy to gift anyone cookies, but if you want to eschew store packaging and don't have the time to make them yourself, simply layer the ingredients in a Mason jar, which the recipient can then reuse. Just find a recipe you like, measure the ingredients and layer them in a way to create a visually stunning effect.

Glass Travel Cups

These adorable glass cups are geared toward hot drinks, with silicone sleeves and stay-tight lids. An array of sizes and colors provide all the more incentive to ditch that daily disposable cup habit.

Buy It: JOCO Cups, Starting from $18

French Press Coffee Maker

Cold-brew coffee is all the rage, and it's straightforward to make at home using a French Press

Buy It: Bodum, $39.99

Breville Barista Express Espresso Machine

To help a coffee fiend kick their disposable pod habit, this model can whip up espressos good enough to rival major chains.

Buy It: Sur La Table, $599.95

Stainless Steel Tiffin Box

Tiffins are a traditional lunch box that are still used in India. This stainless steel one breaks down into three handy compartments and is more stylish than less eco-friendly plastic containers and paper bags.

Buy It: Ten Thousand Villages, $24.99

Stainless Steel Straw Set

Follow the lead of businesses ditching single-use plastic straws with this stainless steel version.

Buy It: Amazon, $9.99

Stainless Steel Cocktail Straws

Sure, colorful party straws are fun, but stainless steel cocktail sippers are a more eco-friendly option for your favorite party-throwing friend.

Buy It: Terrain, $16.00

Copper-Plated Owl Mug

There's no excuse to serve drinks in plastic cups when there are these cute copper-plated mugs on hand.

Buy It: Macy's, $9.99 Closeout Sale

Instant Pot Ultra

Those who like to cook but have limited time (basically, everybody) will appreciate an Instant Pot, a pressure cooker that easily halves cooking time and limits the excuse to order takeout. There's a reason why it's become the latest must-have kitchen gadget.

Buy It: Sur La Table, $119.95-$179.95

Luggage Tag

Give the traveler in your life a plastic-free way to identify their luggage.

Buy It: Tuckernuck, $35.00

Compostable Smartphone Case

Why yes, there are non-plastic case options for protecting smartphones. Pela cases are designed to be compostable, and shopping some of the collections will contribute five percent toward a cause, such as protecting whale and penguin populations.

Buy It: Pela, Starting from $42

Goal Zero Multi-Tool Kit

Reduce electricity reliance with this solar panel charging device that can power up smaller USB-powered devices, including smartphones, cameras and tablets.

Buy It: Goal Zero, $79.95

Metallic Glass Water Bottle

Water bottles make an obvious and easy choice, but splurge for something more eye-catching when gift giving, like this glass bottle covered in metallic spikes.

Buy It: bkr, $60.00

Hyggelight Candles

In response to the number of discarded candle containers, Hyggelight Candles not only provides soy candles in keep-worthy ceramic holders, but the paper label also contains wildflower seeds to plant once the candle is used.

Buy It: Hyggelight Candles, Starting from $28

Clothing Subscription

Gifting clothes may be popular, but there's a high chance that sweater you bought for your cousin will never be worn unless you really know somebody's style. Better yet is gifting a clothing subscription like Rent the Runway, which allows the recipient to rent up to four pieces a month. It's also an eco-friendly way to maintain a fashionable work wardrobe without tossing last season's trends.

Buy It: Rent the Runway, $159/month

Handwoven Palm Tote Bag

Help your loved ones avoid plastic and paper bags while shopping by gifting this handwoven tote made from palm leaves. Bonus: Proceeds support local Indian communities.

Buy It: Ten Thousand Villages, $39.99

Distressed Leather Tote

For something more work appropriate, this distressed leather bag is large enough to carry a day's worth of work, lunch, a water bottle, shoes and more.

Buy It: Society B, $178.00

Upcycled Bullhorn Bracelet

Bullhorn is a material that gets tossed by Vietnamese stockyards, so local artists are upcycling it to create jewelry like this bracelet.

Buy It: Fair Trade Winds, $36.50

Bullet Top Necklace

Bypass mass-manufactured jewelry in favor of repurposed pieces like this Half United necklace made from bullet tops. Each purchase goes toward providing meals for children around the world.

Buy It: Society B, $38.00

Skincare Bars

Naked is Lush's newest line of package-free cleansers and moisturizers made with natural ingredients. Note that biodegradable materials are used for shipping online purchases.

Buy It: Lush, Starting from $5.95

Shampoo Bars

Shampoo bars are becoming a popular alternative to standard plastic bottles, and Lush offers a range of shampoo and conditioner options. As a bonus, the colorful bars are pretty enough to forego wrapping.

Buy It: Lush, Starting from $11.95

Eco-Friendly Hair Sampler

Ethique claims to be the world's first zero-waste beauty brand, and all of its products for the face, hair and body come packaged in plastic-free materials. The brand even sells bars for deodorant, laundry and pets.

Buy It: Amazon, $15.20

Vintage Shaving Kit

Upgrade someone's shaving routine with a kit that includes a safety razor instead of disposable razors, plus shave soap and a stainless steel shave bowl.

Buy It: Amazon, $75.00

Green Subscription Box

Take the legwork out of helping someone along the zero-waste journey with a monthly subscription box of eco-friendly products. Think of it as a starter kit. For example, the morning routine box swaps out plastic for bamboo toothbrushes, reusable cotton pads and a fiber bath mitt.

Buy It: GreenUP, $44.95

Sea Sponges

Biodegradable sea sponges are a great alternative to synthetic shower puffs.

Buy It: Amazon, $15.00

Elate Capsule Beauty Box

It's challenging enough trying to find makeup that's natural, not tested on animals and affordable. But finding plastic-free packaging can seem downright impossible. So, Elate Cosmetics has developed a line of mascara, lipstick, eyeshadow, blush and more that uses sustainable products such as bamboo for packaging.

Buy It: Elate Cosmetics, $128.00

Bike Share Service

If you happen to know someone who lives in a bike-share community and prefers a car-free lifestyle, consider gifting a membership to ones like Citi Bike in New York City, Ford GoBike in San Francisco or Divvy in Chicago.

Recycled Plastic Yoga Clothes

A truly zero-waste gift would involve giving yoga classes or a membership, but Girlfriend Collective is a worthy option if going the clothing route. That's because their line of clothing is made from recycled water bottles, and no, the material isn't any different from your typical workout wear. Plus, the line comes not just in a variety of colors, but a variety of sizes meant to fit all body types. There's even a new LITE legging made from recycled fishing nets.

Buy It: Girlfriend Collective, Starting from $28

Natural Rubber Yoga Mats

You may be surprised how many yoga mats are made from PVC plastic, which contains a highly toxic chemical that's prevalent in many everyday items. Brands such as Jade Yoga make their mats from natural rubber — and they plant a tree for every mat purchase.

Buy It: Jade Yoga, $79.95

Alpaca Wool Baby Mobile

Good luck finding baby toys that aren't made from plastic, especially mobiles. Enter this family of hanging sloths made from alpaca wool, with nary a plastic part in sight.

Buy It: Uncommon Goods, $50.00

The Eco Baby Co. Rubber Duckies

It's not uncommon for rubber duckies to actually be made from a type of vinyl plastic that mimics rubber. However, this rubber ducky is indeed made from rubber, and even safe enough for a baby to stick in its mouth (although, this duck is not a replacement for a teething ring).

Buy It: The Eco Baby Co., $13.99

Yeti Dog Bowl

People always appreciate gifts for their pets, and what better than an indestructible dog bowl from Yeti to replace plastic bowls?

Buy It: L.L. Bean, $49.99

Eco Catty Pillar Cat Toy

Let's not forget our feline friends, who are sure to appreciate this caterpillar made from organic wool and scented with natural lanolin.

Buy It: Honest Pet Products, $16.97

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