• Jenica Barrett

Zero Waste Gifts for Mother's Day

I love to shower my mother in gifts! She had done so much for me over my lifetime and Mothers' Day is simply an excuse for me to give her a little something to say thank you. I always make sure, though, that Mother Earth is also thankful I chose a sustainable gift.


If you are always keeping sustainability in mind, this gift list is for you! If your mother is a zero waste fanatic or an eco-lover, you can't go wrong with picking one of these gifts! The great thing is that your dear Mom doesn't have to be eco-friendly focused in order to love the sustainable gift you give her, though.


Zero Waste Mother's Day Gifts Pinterest Graphic with book, plant, and chocolate

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15 Zero Waste Mother's Day Gifts


1. Donate to a Charity in Her Name!


Sometimes our Mom's simply don't need physical gifts. They may, instead, appreciate knowing that you are thinking about them by donating to a cause in their name. Last year, I donated to the Bailout Black Mamas fund in honor of my mother.


Whatever your Mom's passions are, I'm sure there is an organization promoting awareness and access to it. If you need some suggestions on environmental organizations to support, I put together a list of places to support for Giving Tuesday.


live plants stacked in the back of a car

2. Live plants


The classic gift of cut flowers simply isn't cutting it any more (pun intended!). Cut flowers are beautiful but hardly ever last more than a few days. They also cost a ridiculous amount compared to the cost of growing a plant. It's way more sustainable and fun to give your mother the WHOLE plant instead!


No need for her to have a green thumb. There are so many plants that do well inside and outside with minimal care! For a wonderful inside plant, consider purchasing a few herbs that can grow on a window sill such as basil, rosemary, and sage. You can also purchase flower bulbs that will come back year after year!


Before you go out and buy a brand new plant, make sure to check out your Buy Nothing

Group as well as Craigslist and Facebook Marketplace to see if anyone is selling a plant at a discounted price. You should also check to see if your city has a plant gifting group - Seattle does and I got my Mom started with a bunch of pothos' cuttings thanks to group members!


Thinx zero waste reusable period undies

3. Period panties


If your Mom has periods and is open minded, she may be interested in getting these super sexy period panties from Thinx! Our bodies change as we age and Mom's can definitely appreciate a little extra coverage here and there (even when it's not period time!).


Moms with incontinence may also appreciate having some fun, light-hearted underwear to use instead of the frumpy, uncomfortable pads so often used. These undies aren't just for period protection!


Never heard of reusable period panties? Read all about zero waste period options and the different kinds to try!

4. Vegan lipstick


Even Moms dress up! For a Mom that enjoys a little makeup, these vegan lipsticks are perfect! The Lip Bar is run by Black women and focuses on simple, stylish products for every day wear. They have shades of lipstick that match every single lip color and the shades range from dark to bright in reds, pinks, browns, and oranges!


My current favorite is their Curlfriend lipstick and their matte lip stain. Psst...I have NEVER worn lipstick until trying this brand but now I'm in love with it!


5. Comfy bras


Sometimes a practical gift is simply the best gift! A nice comfy bra (or underwear in general!) can make or break whether an outfit makes it through the whole day. Ideally, I want underwear that I don't even know is there and that I'm not dying to yank off at the end of the day!


Allbirds soft, double-lined wireless bras are my very favorite for this reason! And they're "mom approved" by my very own Mom!


6. Ethical chocolate


A good chocolate bar can go a long way! The chocolate industry through has a long history of child labor, slave labor, and poor working conditions. It's important to look into the company that makes the chocolate to ensure you aren't supporting any of these practices.


Nestle, for example, has long been known to use child labor overseas when making their chocolate. Look for companies that use Fair Trade Certified cocoa instead! Make sure you aren't getting greenwashed either by checking to see if they have any certifications to back up their claims. If they're not transparent about where they get their cocoa from and who actually makes the chocolate, they aren't getting my money.


The Good Trade has a guide on 11 Fair Trade Chocolate Companies to purchase from. My favorite is Divine Chocolate - a certified B-Corp company that is co-owned by cocoa farmers themselves!


7. Entertainment Tickets


Don't get stuck only thinking about physical gifts - experiences make great gifts too! Movie tickets, museum passes, and gift cards all make lovely gifts that typically come with very little waste.


For some specific "zero waste" themed activities, consider purchasing your Mom a Discovery Pass to use while exploring the parks in your beautiful state. You can also support independent movie theaters in the Seattle area and film makers by purchasing tickets to documentaries featuring sustainability initiatives.


8. Sustainable sheets


Some mothers may prefer a more practical gift. They spend a good portion of their day sleeping, right? To make up for all those nights you kept them awake crying as a baby, sneaking out of bed as a kid, and staying up way to late reading books under the blankets, treat them to a set of new sheets!


If your mother likes a silky soft sheet, definitely go with Ettitude bamboo sheets. For a more classic feel, try Avocado's 100% cotton sheets.


heart shaped lotion bar

9. Homemade peppermint lotion bars


Cracked hands can easily be remedied with a nice lotion. What better way to say "I love you!" to your mother than making her a gift with your own hands. These peppermint lotion bars combine the idea of lotion and soap together to make a portable vessel!


Several years ago I made heart shaped lotion bars for Valentine's Day and gave them out to friends and family!


10. House slippers


Remember all those hours your Mom carried you around as a child? I bet she wishes she had a comfy pair of supportive slippers back then! Slippers make great gifts because they are practical, comfortable, and also encourage a little relaxation.


When buying slippers, look for ones make for natural materials such as wool. These slippers made over in Europe by Krygies as my fiancé's favorite for around the house - and they come in extra large sizes in case large feet run in your family!


11. Skincare Set


Did you know that your skin is the largest organ in your body? And yet, our skin can so often be overlooked! A little pampering is a lovely way to say "I love you" to your Mom and thank her for all the work she's put into raising you over the years.


If you're looking for specific skincare companies with a sustainability focus, check out these Black-owned Skincare Brands.


12. Bird Feeder


This one might seem totally random, but bird feeders can make great gifts! They promote a connection to nature and encourage trips outside. I gave my father a bird feeder to Christmas and it's been his favorite gift in years!


You can find a variety of bird feeders made from 100% natural wood or purchase a bird feeder made from recycled plastic lumber (like the one my Dad has!). Don't forget to also get some organic seed!


13. The Seven Necessary Sins for Women and Girls by Mona Eltahawy


Honestly I think everyone should read The Seven Necessary Sins for Women and Girls! But especially if you identify as a woman, non-binary, or transgender. Eltahawy has a way with words that enthralls the reader and leaves them feeling empowered, even after reading about all the ways the racist, heterosexual, patriarchy squashes them down.


I purchased this book last fall and started a round-robin with it - passing it along from woman to woman in my life so they could all enjoy a little bit of the empowerment I felt after reading it. Passing books is a great way to reduce waste and give the recipient permission to gift it forward after they're done with it. Honestly though, if you can get it on audiobook, DO! Hearing it read in by Eltahawy herself is even better.


Mom holding a mother's day reusable cup
My lovely Mom, Ruth with her reusable mug!

14. Online classes (cooking, crafting!)


Quality time with someone during COVID cannot be overlooked. Although some of these courses may have been more fun when everyone could gather together, virtual courses still offer a way for us to connect with our parents.


Consider checking out whether your local food coop is offering cooking classes online. Here in Seattle, PCC has been offering a variety of cooking classes. My Mom and I took an Insta Pot 201 class and learned how to make crème brulee in an Insta Pot! I also took one on vegan cheese making with my mother-in-law (well, almost mother-in-law).


beeswax wraps covering a bowl of limes

15. Cute homemade beeswax wraps


If you're feeling crafty, homemade beeswax wraps make lovely eco-friendly gifts for your Mom! It's a great way to make sure she has a little piece of you in her kitchen every day (and a gentle reminder to practice that plastic reduction, too).


You can also take fabric that has a special meaning to your Mother but may not be in the best shape and turn it into beeswax wraps. Just make sure it is 100% cotton or it'll get smoky when in the oven!


Read our step-by-step guide to making your own beeswax wraps to ensure your success!

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