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  • Jenica Barrett

25+ Zero Waste Gift Ideas for Students

Looking for gifts for the eco-friendly student in your life? Whether a high schooler or grad student, everyone who's in school is going to need to stock up on office supplies time and time again. Give them a meaningful gift by purchasing from a zero waste company! What better way to make a friend in class then to start a conversation over your pencil filled with basil seeds or your tablet stand made of chopsticks!

This list is curated with some of my favorite school supplies that are eco-friendly, zero waste, natural, and make lovely gifts. Some are office supplies made of recycled materials! Some are products designed with a reusable life-cycle. Others are printed on natural materials with soy-based inks. Take a look down the list of gift ideas and see which one your student will love!

This post contains affiliate links where I earn a small commission on any purchased made through them.

Zero Waste Gift Ideas for the Green Students in Your Life!


pencil pouches made from upcycled feed bags


A small farm in Colorado raises goats to make artisan goat milk soap. With all of their feed bags, they upcycle them into pencil pouches and zipper bags! You can pick from all different types of animals found on the feed bags and from a variety of sizes. Perfect for carrying classroom supplies or stashing toiletries in your backpack!

zero waste planner


This beautiful planner is made from recycled paper processed in a paper mill in Michigan that runs on 100% hydropower. The cover and inside are also dyed with water-based ink!

sprout plantable pencil with basil seeds


Sprout has taken a traditional pencil and made it SO much cooler! At the tip of every pencil is a capsule with a seed inside. Once you have finished using up the pencil, place the end in the ground and grow it like a plant. Who knew you could be so excited about a pencil as a gift?

Recycled Newspaper Colored Pencils

$7.99 Instead of a traditional pencil made from wood, these pencils have graphite wrapped in recycled newspapers (all post-consumer!) which means these pencils were once being read with the morning coffee. They are packaged in carton paper that is printed with soy-based inks, too.


With a body made entirely from recycled PET from water bottles, and packaging from recycled content, these innovative highlighters come in an assorted color four pack.

Natural Watercolor Paints


These water color discs are made by hand from cellulose, dextrose, food grade pigments, silica, magnesium stearate and gum Arabic in New Zealand. They are safe for tiny hands and free of any toxic chemicals or unsafe ingredients. The paint brushes are made of natural wood and it's all cutely packaged in a metal tin. It ships plastic free, too!

eco-friendly glitter


Did you know that glitter is usually made from plastic? It puts tiny microplastics in our environment! This glitter though is made from a special cellulose core are derived from hardwoods, primarily eucalyptus, and is compostable. It's packaged in a aluminum tin that can easily be recycled when empty!


These lego crayons are made out of the crayon scraps from a classroom in North Carolina. They're melted down into lego shapes and then sold on Etsy! When you open these up, every child (and adult!) will want to take a turn coloring. On the Etsy site you can also find different shapes like unicorns, rainbows, bunnies, robots, and more!

Recycled Plastic Ballpoint Pens


Manufactured carbon neutral in Germany, these ballpoint pens are made from 90% post-consumer recycled plastic. They contain black ink and feature a beautiful tri-color hummingbird design on the exterior.

Refillable Ink Refills


If you're going to purchase someone a refillable pen, don't forget the ink! Or maybe you know someone who already has a refillable pen on their desk. This ink can also be used as calligraphy ink and purchase along with a brush as a cute calligraphy set.


These pocket sized notebooks are made from 100% post-consumer recycled paper that is recyclable at the end of their life. It has a sewn bound binding and a unique graphic design on the cover printed with soy-based inks!


This Washi tape comes in a variety of patterns, all dyed with water-based inks. On the back is a natural rubber adhesive that is non-toxic. It's made in a paper mill that operates on 100% hydropower! Great for scrap booking, color coding binders, and decorating your poster boards!


Need a blank sketchbook for art class? This sketchbook has 75 pages of recycled white paper from a Michigan paper mill that operates on 100% hydropower! The cover is designed using water-based inks.


This Earth Day inspired coloring book is printed in the USA on 100% recycled paper. Each design is hand-drawn by female artists and features a variety of important topics from composting to appreciating the wilderness.

Bamboo Push Pins


Say goodbye to plastic push pins! These sustainably harvest bamboo pushpins are better for the environment and look way better on your cork boards!

dual iPhone charging dock made from wood


Spruce of a student's desk with this dual-charging iPhone dock. It's made from FSC Certified wood meaning is comes from responsibly managed forests! The company also plants 1 tree for every order placed. The dock is shipped without any plastic packaging in a cardboard box.

tablet holder made from 500 chopsticks


This tablet holder made out of 500 recycled bamboo chopsticks is sure to turn heads in the classroom! Each holder is made out of 500 bamboo chopsticks that are rescued from being thrown out and glued together with non-toxic adhesives.

light blue cork and canvas lunch bag


This beautiful lunch bag is made from both cork and canvas giving it durability and a fun, natural texture. The inside is insolated with pockets on the outside to easily store napkins. It comes in burgundy, green, light blue and dark blue.

Wool Insulated Organic Cotton Lunch Box


This eco-friendly lunchbox is made of 100% unbleached certified organic cotton canvas and 100% wool sewn in for insulation. The color dyes are non-toxic vegetable dyes. It's 100% plastic free!

Wool Organic Cotton Lunch Box


This version is made of 100% organic cotton canvas and 100% wool sewn in for insulation. Even its metal zipper is non-plastic! It comes in a few colors, all dyed with vegetable-based dyes.

jewel blue recycled leather bike bag


For the commuting student, this bag is made with recycled leather. It can be used as a carry bag, shoulder bag, backpack, or bike bag! Featuring three removable straps for easy use and customization.

light blue recycled ocean plastic backpack


This backpack is not only extremely cute but also has an incredibly story behind it! A network of over 2,000 fishermen off the coast of Indonesia collect ocean plastic as bycatch. Each backpack recycles 5.5 lbs of that ocean plastic! Available in a variety of colors.

organic cotton and recycled polyester backpack


Made from GOTS certified organic cotton and padded with recycled polyester felt made from plastic water bottles, this backpack features an interior 15" laptop sleeve and front pouch for pencils and supplies.

recycled newspaper laptop bag


This stylish laptop bag is made from recycled newspaper and ramie leaf materials. It features a zip top and an adjustable strap for easy carrying!

recycled felt fabric laptop sleeve


Each laptop sleeve is made by hand from discarded felt fabric scraps - with no waste generated in their creation! This Etsy shop features a variety of sizes for different style laptops, too!

reusable silicone snack bags for class stasherbags

$9.99 (snack size)

Every student knows that having a few snacks during class is essential to making it through long lectures. Stasherbags are reusable, durable alternatives to ziplocks and fit easily in backpack pockets! You can get them in a variety of sizes and fun colors, too! Simply wash them after each use and reuse them again!

If you're a green student, which item would you love to be gifted?

649 views4 comments


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