Gifts are fun to give and fun to receive. For many it’s a tangible way of expressing appreciation and love. To make sure these beautiful gestures do not cause any harm to our environment, the best gift-giving practice is to go as eco-friendly and sustainable as possible. Why do you want to do eco-friendly gifting? Basically to help the planet thrive for future generations and to help cut down on the catastrophic environmental changes that are currently happening to the planet. Over the last seven decades, over 6 billion tons of plastics have been produced worldwide with only 9% being recycled.  It takes 1000 years for plastic to degrade, meaning our planet is full of plastic pollution with less and less space for biodiversity to flourish. 

Sustainable Gifting

Sustainable gifts help reduce waste and embrace earth-friendly practices. The goal is to use the planet’s resources in such a way that future generations can meet their needs. When you give sustainable presents it is also a way to make a statement about your values and beliefs connected to eco-awareness.

Sustainable gifting: Includes products that are reusable, sustainably sourced, or made from recycled or repurposed materials.

  • Back companies that pay workers fairly and give back to society.
  • Look for items made from upcycled materials (things that have already been used).
  • Minimize the use of resources.
  • Support local artisans.
  • Use natural, biodegradable, and reusable materials.

Top Five Eco Friendly Gift Giving Tips

PRO TIP: Put some thought into what your giftee might truly need or wish for. Do your best to resist impulse buying and being swayed by the latest fast fashion or inexpensive gadget that is lining the aisles at the moment. A more thought-out or personalized gift is likelier to be used to its fullest rather than wasted.

  1. Secondhand– Make secondhand shops your first stop. Not only will you be able to satisfy everyone on your wish list, but you also get to find possibly unique one-of-a-kind items while at the same time avoiding buying new and all the downsides associated with that. 
  • Check out your city’s Freecycle page, your local For Sale Facebook Marketplace group, local flea markets, nonprofit shops, or swap events.
  • There is also a large selection of online second-hand platforms, such as eBay for example. The Local Flea has showrooms in the Bay Area, Phoenix, and Miami that also deliver your purchase.
  • This Sustainable Gift Guide: Secondhand Gifts For Everyone outlines the tips and tricks to make this whole experience fun and easy.
  • Secondhand stores are full of affordable and one-of-a-kind homewares, electronics, children’s toys, shoes, and clothing. 
  • Not only are these gifts cost-effective, but they’re also sustainable alternatives to buying new things. 
  • These unique items are just a quick sampling of what’s available at The Local Flea in the Bay Area.


  1. Shop sustainable sellers- Smallable, Cycle of Good, Green Giving, eTHikel, The Clean Beauty Edit, The Organic Company, and Kauzana all sell their various sustainable products as the perfect gifts. An organic hemp yoga mat might be perfect for someone on your list. Made of natural materials with no chemicals, bleaches, or dyes. Every fiber is hand-harvested, washed in ash water, hand-spun, stitched, and weaved.
  • Etsy has a broad choice of eco-friendly, sustainable, and handmade gift options.
  • While you’re surfing, try out Ecosia– a search engine that uses the profits from your searches to plant trees. It’s a free browser extension and plants trees with every search.
  • Most of all, try to avoid the corporate mass-producing retail chains.
  1. DIY Gifts- there are so many positive aspects to this eco-friendly option. One, you get to control all ingredients so they can be 100% organic, 100% upcycled, etc. This is also a really meaningful way to gift. Homemade takes time, and creativity, and always involves a personal touch. This is felt by the receiver.
  • Pinterest is an excellent site for ideas. Search by materials you already have on hand.
  • Share your hobby. A painter, knitter, sewer? These are great gifts to make for others.
  • Everyone loves food gifts! Jars of chutneys or jams; baked goods; salty snacks; breads; teas.
  • Framed quote – pick out a meaningful famous, or obscure if that fits better, quote, write it out in elegant font, and mount it in a picture frame.
  • Book of letters – this can be for anyone on your list, partner, child, relative, or friend. Write several short letters (not more than 2-3 paragraphs) – can include jokes, important memories, and words of praise and inspiration. Add photos or other keepsakes too, and put them together in book format.
  1. Gift Experiences, Time, & Memories
  1. Gift Donations & Sponsorships

Donating a gift in your giftee’s name is a thoughtful and kind gesture, as well as extremely eco-friendly. This is a great option for that person who seems to have everyone or wants for nothing. 

  • Garden lovers: donate to a charity that supports biodiversity, bee protection, or avian habitats.
  • Animal lovers: donate to a no-kill animal rescue shelter.
  • Nature lovers: donate to planting trees in our national forests program.
  • Charity Navigator can help you find an organization.

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