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  • Jenica Barrett

Gift-Buying for the Zero Waste Inclined

Updated: Nov 30, 2020

With the holidays rolling around, I'm sure I am not the only one getting calls from relatives and parents asking what I want for Christmas. It was only a little while ago that I received plastic wrapped items fresh and shiny from the store! And although I loved them at the time, I found that often they would go unused and the environmental impact of all that new, sitting-around-stuff was pretty high.

Instead now, I tend to make a list for those insisting on getting me gifts so I receive things that truly inspire me and align with my zero waste lifestyle. If you have anyone in your family that is zero waste, minimalist, or just trying to be more mindful about the environment, here are a few items you might consider putting under the tree...

Eco-friendly gifts

(1) A Reusable Coffee Mug

If that special someone in your life drinks coffee or tea every morning, a reusable mug is a must have! When purchasing one, look for options that are stainless steel or glass to avoid plastic and be sure to personalize it with a fun color or design! Also, you might want to make sure you zero-waste friend doesn't already have twenty of them...

(2) A Local Business Gift Card

One very easy and classic near zero-waste gift is a gift card. These can be purchased for little boutique shops, grocery stores, soap stores, or craft booths. Some farmer's markets even sell them as well! Since gift buying can often be tricky, giving a gift card allows the person a little more freedom! And with local businesses usually providing only paper gift cards, it can be a completely plastic free gift!

(3) Bees Wax Wrap

Another beautiful and practical gift is a packet of bees wax wraps for the kitchen. These beauties are made from 100% compostable material and can even be purchased vegan through Etsy. I highly recommend the brand Bee Eco as their wraps are gorgeously printed and last a really long time!

Bees Wax Wrap

(4) Experiences

Similar to the gift card idea, a really thoughtful present can be purchasing an experience for someone. This could be something like a massage, a spa day, a sky diving trip, tickets to an amusement park, or a weekend get-a-way. Cooking classes are something I have received in the past and loved. Experiences have a wonderful way of creating more memories than just stuff in the house!

(5) Plants

If you haven't already noticed, zero waste and minimalist homes tend to have a lot of plants...and it makes each house so fresh and alive! These could be cacti, flowers, herbs, succulents, or seeds. You can also combine these with some fresh compost from your pile and some secondhand pots from a thrift shop. Another fun idea might be starting some sprouts in jars to give as a gift for the kitchen! A wonderfully written guest post on my blog details exactly how to get some yummy veggies popping up from your window sill!

(6) Homemade "Quick Mixes"

As cliché as it might sound, "quick mixes" are an amazing holiday treat and perfect for the zero waste inclined. Quick mixes can be designed for a variety of cookie recipes, hot chocolate, or even body products. By layering the ingredients, beautiful patterns can be created. And if you place them in a mason jar, the jar itself might be enough to get your friend smiling!

DIY moisturizer

(7) DIY Body Products

Bath bombs, shaving cream, lotion, soaps, moisturizer, make-up remover, body wash, shampoo, cosmetics, and the list goes on and on. All of these items can make really fun and personal gifts for those using homemade and alternative products! I've made bath bombs for many family members (even those who aren't zero waste) and they were a hit! You can take a peek at my DIY section of the blog for recipes I recommend.

(8) Sewing Kit

Even though sewing kits may have been common place for my parents' generation, it is surprising how few millennials have grown up knowing how to sew. Purchasing a small sewing kit can be a great way to extend the life of clothing that would otherwise be donated. If you happen to be handy with a needle yourself, the sewing kit can even come with a few personal lessons!

Produce box

(9) Subscription to a CSA/Produce Box

Although having a produce box show up each week may not seem exciting to the average person, trust me when I tell you that your zero waste inclined friend will love it. Not only are these boxes basically a farmer's market on your doorstep, they are total surprises! Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) and produce boxes come in a variety of options (depending on where you live) so start off with a simple google search to get an idea of the types available in your area.

(10) Tea and Coffee Kit

This year the Starbucks gift card can be replaced with a reusable, bulk friendly alternative! A very cute tea and coffee kit can be made by combining all or some of the following products: (1) bulk coffee, (2) bulk tea, (3) a coffee mug, (4) a refillable Keurig pod, or (5) a reusable tea strainer. Place this item in a decorative basket and the whole house will be smelling like coffee and Christmas!

Looking for more ideas? I've got a list of 50 more zero waste gifts you'll want to check out!

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