Best Sustainable Gift Ideas for Him & Her

It's a new decade, and sustainable gifts are starting to gain traction way more than ever.

This is not even because we have more brands in the organic, reusable, and eco-friendly market. It boils down to more awareness and the need to give back, engage in cruelty-free practices while reducing our footprint on the earth.

When considering a present for your eco-conscious friends, we have developed a guide to those sustainable gift ideas you should consider.

To make things easier, we organized the list into sections of what you can get for him or her.

Before you go shopping for the perfect gift ideas, though…

What is sustainable gifting?

There are multiple angles to tackle this question from.

For one, sustainable gifts can be focused on using less to create more. This means that resources are not expended at the cost of other factors – such as the environment.

Speaking of the environment, these gifts can also be seen from the eco-friendly scope. After all, they are focused on the items that are as non-toxic as they contribute to the zero-waste movement, among other things.

The ecosystem is made up of living organisms – plants, animals, and us. This leads us to yet another angle for this definition.

Here, sustainable gift ideas center on those items made from non-toxic materials.

Finally, reusability is a core concept of sustainable gifting too.

That is why we have looked at ethically-sourced products for some of the suggestions here.

Now that you know what the concept of sustainable gifting is…

What are sustainable gifts?

If the subheading above does not already spell it out, we will.

They are gifts that follow one or more of the following regulations:

  • Made from recycled items
  • Are entirely cruelty-free
  • Developed from natural ingredients
  • Fabricated under a zero-waste protocol
  • Do not constitute waste to the environment
  • Free from harmful chemicals – nor were these chemicals used during the manufacturing process
  • Usually plastic-free materials

And, of course, they have to be of high quality too. You wouldn't give your loved ones a poor gift, now, would you?

What are some examples of sustainable products?

Just before we get into the gift guide full-time, we think it is just right that we warm your mind up a little bit.

Some of the most commonly-found sustainable products around you today include, but are not limited to:

  • Reusable bread bags – so you don't have to use plastic bread bags anymore – or as often
  • Cotton bags – organic cotton bags can be taken shopping or as an everyday side bag. They are as natural as they come and don't involve any environmentally-damaging materials
  • Chicken barn – if you live in the countryside or near a farm, you might have come across chicken barns made from recycled plastic.
  • Cups – for those who like to socialize and/ party, chances are that you have used a recyclable plastic cup before

And so much more.

Time to get into the meat of the post. Oops!

Sustainable Gifts for Her: Birthday, Christmas, Graduation and Other Occasions

When shopping for a female friend/ relative, here are some of the sustainable gift items that you want to include in your package – or purchase as a standalone.

We cannot always know your friends and family as much as you do. What we can do, however, is populate your mind with a lot of gift ideas.

Even if you don't get what you want specifically from here (which we doubt), our gift guide should inspire what to buy.

For Cooks

If she likes to spend time in the kitchen, there are a lot of green ideas to pursue. And no, we are not talking about vegetables here.

Some of the most pro-green people that we have seen are also vegans/ vegetarians. Thus, you want to consider cruelty-free items too when making the choices here.

Here are the perfect picks we would love to get if we were the recipient:

Apron

One made from organic cotton will do the job best. Bonus points if you can get the apron customized before you hand it over.

Produce bags

They are not just more natural, but they also perform better than plastic in keeping farm produce fresher for longer.

Cookbooks

Whether to cook those meals with natural ingredients better or learn new vegan/ vegetarian recipes, a cookbook will always be worth it.

Cutting board

This list is hardly complete without a wood cutting board. They are as sustainable as they come, very practical, and get the job done better. There is nothing to not love about these.

Lunch box

A zero-waste lunch box, might we add. After all, how will they take all those amazing meals that they cook with them otherwise?

Fashion Items

It doesn't even have to be for Christmas or her birthday. A lady doesn't need any excuse to add a new pair of clothing or accessories to her wardrobe. You might just be the one to bring in the new spice.

Go shopping for the following picks:

Wristwatches

Giving the gift of time is a timeless gesture. A watch is never out of style. The best part is that you can opt for watches made with faux/ vegan leather bands, letting them know that you care about their choices in this way.

Bags

We mentioned this somewhere up there. Instead of the usual thing, look for brands that sell bags made from recycled products – or made under other ethical conditions.

Clothing items

The choices are only limited by what you choose to pick here. From sweater jackets to denim and proper dresses, always choose something either organic or cruelty-free. This is not the time to go with fur coats, real leather, etc.

Other accessories

The possibilities are almost endless here. We went looking and found headbands, scarves, gloves, socks, and more, all made from recycled materials. Depending on her sense of style, find a piece of accessory that she will love and go for it.

Jewelry

We didn't include jewelry under accessories to discuss it better. Due to the un-green mining processes it takes to get the raw materials for some jewelry, you might shy away. You will find out, though, that some manufacturers use recycled brass (a zero-waste approach) to make more eco-friendly jewelry items.

Pro Tip: before setting out to buy fashion items, look around for local vendors dealing in products made purely by ethical means. The market is fast growing these days so you should not have much trouble finding one.

Shop with them to be sure you're getting the best in the category.

Abstract Gifts

The love, care, and affection that you have for your intended recipient cannot be seen. Still, that doesn't make those feelings less tangible.

That is the same concept that we apply to these abstract gifts' contexts.

Even though they cannot be seen, they still follow the ethical gifting process and will be greatly appreciated.

Virtual adoptions

If your loved one fancies pets and has the bandwidth to take care of them (this is very important), facilitate a virtual adoption process for them.

You could complete the entire process and bring them the pet or schedule them with an adoption agency so that they go through the process while you handle all the costs. Whichever works best for you.

Charitable donations

We cannot discuss sustainable gift ideas and not mention donations.

You can give back and support charitable causes from all around the world in your friend/relative's name.

To make this donation count better, find something ethical/ eco-friendly and put that donation to work. It could be a green movement, a body that eliminates plastic waste from oceans, anything at all.

Plant a tree

Gifting a tree holds a lot of weight on our list of eco-friendly gifts.

You can see a tree, so this should not be abstract. If you don't have the time and resources to plant a tree yourself, though, some charitable organizations allow you to gift a tree with every donation.

Special Tip: plenty of trees have to be cut down during holidays like Christmas. Thus, it is a fine time to give planted tree gifts.

Toys

This is best suited to younger females - and should not only be given at Christmas.

We included toys on this list because we have found some that are made from purely recycled plastics. They are also a perfect way to start teaching a kid about the benefits of going green and doing what's best for the earth.

Look for those companies – new or old – that are making solid strides in the zero-waste toy market and give their business a boost with your purchase.

Fitness-Focused

Is your female friend a fitness buff? Say no more. They would surely love these gifts:

Cork yoga mats

This is as green as they come. Rather than regular yoga mats made from a series of synthesized materials, the material of make here is oak tree barks.

Water bottles

Prevents having to buy water/ drinks in single-use plastic bottles when on their run/ in the gym/ during their exercise

Sneakers

Made from organic materials, no doubt

Beauty Products

Finding true organic beauty products on the market today can be a hassle.

Some brands slap the organic name on their products only to provide a list of chemicals instead of natural alternatives at the back. That can be very frustrating.

If you are so inclined, go shopping for organic beauty products to add to their collection.

P.S. This works best if you understand the recipient's skin type – or have an idea of what beauty products they were using before. You don't want to entertain the chance of buying something that they react negatively to.

General Items

For the sustainable gift items that which we could not slot under any other category, we have brought them all here:

Stainless steel water bottle

On the one hand, the bottle keeps drinks colder/ warmer for longer. On the other hand, they are friendly to the environment and reusable.

Travel Mug

Keeps the coffee warm always - and the plastic bottles away. The best part is that she will always get a discount whenever she goes to get a refill at any of her favorite Starbucks.

Compost bin

Now, they can send even less garbage to the landfill.

Scented candle

Especially when it comes in a reusable jar.

Digital Subscriptions

It could be to a movie, music, book-reading, or any other platform. Any which one it is, they help reduce engaging with the physical stuff that is causing all these wastes.

The best part is that there is a high chance she was using the service you are paying for/ renewing before, so she'll continue to use it.

Zero waste starter kit

You don't even need to know about what should be in a starter kit. Go shopping around popular vendors (online and offline), and you should get something befitting of your friend from anyone of them.

Sustainable Gift Guide for Him: For All Occasions

Ladies don't get all the love in the sustainable gifting department.

We powered through generic items to come up with those gift items that stand out for the men in your lives.

As always, we don't want you to be pigeonholed to these ideas. In the case you don't find a suitable idea here – which we doubt – we would have set you on the path to more options to come up with.

Self-Grooming Kit

Every gentleman needs proper grooming to look their best at all times.

The men in your lives probably have the products that they love for their grooming already. If you know such, get them a refill set for when the current one gets exhausted.

There is a chance, however, that they have not started using some of the grooming materials/ products that we are about to recommend here.

You could just as well be the first person to introduce them to that.

Reusable razor

Especially the two-sided kinds. Instead of a single-use razor that they have to toss away every time, this one minimizes waste, reduces cost, and puts less strain on the environment.

Beard oil

We mean those beard oils with natural ingredients in them. They work better than the others anyway, so it's a win-win.

Full Grooming Kit

Instead of picking off the items one after the other, you could just buy a grooming kit and be done with it. Preferably, go for those grooming kits made via ethical processes.

We don't need to mention that they have to be high quality to make the perfect gift. Finally, ensure it contains things they will need.

For example, we don't see why a shaved man will need a comb, why someone who doesn't keep their beards will need beard oil.

For Cooks

Some men love to spend time in the kitchen.

Whether because they are still in their bachelor phases, for work, or they simply love to cook, it doesn't matter.

Instead of taking up too much time here, we will refer you to a similar section under gifts for her (above this section). Everything there can be gifted to a male friend who loves their kitchen time.

For Vegans/ Vegetarian

Is your male friend a vegan/ vegetarian?

Don't worry. We've got you covered.

Subscription box

A vegan/ vegetarian lifestyle monthly magazine, for example, would make a lot of sense. These subscriptions don't usually cost a lot, and your loved ones will always have something to look forward to from you.

Even when you've forgotten about making such a subscription for them, they are still enjoying every new issue from the subscription plan.

Wine decanter

If he likes to pair wines with his meals, give a wine decanter. Even if you cannot find one made from recycled glass, the material can always be recycled when not in use anymore. That still makes a difference.

Grow Kits

What better way to stay closer to their green plants than with a grow kit that encourages them to plant some at home? Even if they were not making enough to be consumed, the pleasure of seeing their plants grow alone is worth it.

Electronics

Do we even need to spell it out?

Tech gadgets are a natural extension of most men. They don't even need to have studied in the tech line to love their electronics and gadgets. Sometimes, a properly-chosen piece of electronics is the way to a man's heart.

Here are some options to get you started.

Bluetooth headset

If your man loves his music, it is a no-brainer to get him something that allows him to immerse himself in the sound. A better headset would be one that can also be used for gaming, so he doesn't have to switch headsets between music and enjoying his favorite COD missions.

These days, you can find companies that make their headsets from recycled plastics and unconventional, earth-friendly materials like bamboo.

Bluetooth speaker

The same reason as the Bluetooth headset above. Only that, this time, you care about his desire to fill up a room with his kind of music than the urge to keep all the sound to himself. Again, you can find emerging green-focused companies making good units in this niche.

Earbuds

Or, to put it better, plastic-free earbuds. Given that this form of earpieces is more in vogue than their wired counterparts, it wouldn't hurt.

Fashion Items

Thankfully, men's fashion is not too much of an extensive topic.

That limits our choices, but we can surely get creative with things too. Here are some ideas for you.

Wristwatches

Ethical brands like Nordgreen don't only have a collection of men's watches that you can explore. The brand also donates part of the purchase proceeds to make clean water, better healthcare, and education available in disadvantaged regions.

Likewise, there is a whole section of vegan leather watches, ensuring you can focus on being cruelty-free when selecting a choice present too.

Corduroy Jackets

The best corduroy shirts are made from 100% organic cotton. You can pair this with a nice tee for the jacket to be worn over if you are so inclined.

Sneakers

Not the regulars, though. Fortunately, some of the common brand names in the sneaker market are now venturing into eco-conscious manufacturing also. Shop for sneakers made from recycled products to make a sustainable gift.

Socks

A great gift for the classy man who doesn't wear his shoes at home. Socks are also practical gifts if it's cold around there.

Gloves

Best for men who spend a lot of time working outside. They will surely appreciate this present when the temperature starts dropping.

Head warmers

Either for the old soul, artistic type, or outdoor worker, head warmers put a special appeal on the wearer.

Wallet

A nice, stylish packet to carry around spare cash, ticket stubs, important pieces of paper, and cards, among others, sounds great right about now. Like we mentioned with the watches above, the option to choose vegan leather is there these days.

Hoodie

Every guy needs a hoodie. There is a high chance their friends are draining them of the other hoodies that they might have bought themselves. Break that cycle by being the person to add to their collection rather than continue taking from it.

Other Great Items

We found these perfect gifts, but they did not fit into any of our other list categories. We are not willing to pass them up anyway, so here we are.

This is a list of everything and anything else that catches our fancy.

Backpacks

A backpack can be functional and still make a difference in the environment. You could give one of those cotton-made backpacks or opt for the units manufactured in ethical factories from anywhere in the world.

Gift Cards

What do you give someone who seems to have everything – or whom you don't know what to buy for them? A gift card sits well here.

It beats giving them money which just shows that you didn't even put any thought into getting them anything.

Likewise, how much is enough? But with a gift card, you are supporting them to buy things that they like for themselves. You have given them the best set of gifts, indirectly.

Note: online gift cards are a more sustainable pick. They neither require physical printing nor wrapping/ delivery.

Protein Powders

We didn't forget the gym junkies. If you have one of them on your hand, gift them protein powders and watch them glow up right before you.

Perfumes

Find something that smells like a man, and they will never stop wearing the perfume. Trust us on that one.

Reusable bottle

Beats having single-use plastics hold your water every time, we can tell you.

Final Words

Between the men and women, we have more than 40 different sustainable gift ideas on this list for your loved ones. Whether you are celebrating a birthday, promotion, graduation from school, giving during the Christmas holidays, or anything else at all, we are confident that you'll always find what you are looking for up there.

As soon as we find more amazing, ethically-sourced gift items, we will update this list accordingly.

That way, you are never out of options anytime you come back.