How do you show someone you care—like, really care?
When you get an environmentally friendly gift for your eco-conscious friend, you’re showing that you know them well enough to understand their perspectives on life. Your friend will appreciate the extra effort, and you can even bond over your journey into the world of eco-conscious gifts.
Here’s a collection of 8 excellent gift ideas that cut down on packaging and keep a focus on environmental responsibility.
1. Gift an Experience
If you’ve got a friend who values experiences over things, this is a perfect way to gift something so package-free, it’s intangible.
Experts tell us that experiences are actually better uses of our money than objects. They boost a sense of togetherness, involve a period of anticipation, and generate memories for years to come.
If you’ve got some money to spend, you can gift a massage or an adventurous getaway. If you’re on a tight budget, you can take your friend out for a wonderful day at a nearby nature spot. This is great for people whose love language is ‘quality time,’ or even ‘acts of service.’
Just remember to think about the environmental footprint of an experience. A walk through some local waterfalls is going to be different from a weekend stay at a hotel resort.
2. Choose an Eco-Conscious Shop
One way to feel assured that whatever you buy will be an eco-conscious choice is to find a zero waste store or a shop with an eco-friendly business model.
Here, you can find nice home products and lifestyle items, all with the knowledge that you’re going in a more environmentally responsible route. Think soaps, home decor, and eco-conscious clothing.
And after you find the perfect shop, you can keep your focus on what items fit best with your friend’s interests.
3. Reusable Bags
For people who are trying to cut down on their use of plastic, a reusable tote can be a lifesaver. From grocery trips to nature walks, a good bag with a sustainable design can become a pleasant part of a person’s life.
Think beyond the reusable bags your supermarket sells. Consider knit bags, foldable bags that can become compact, and printed bags from the person’s favorite local shop. These eco-conscious gifts can double as fashion statements and expressions of personality.
4. A Piece of Nature
Most gifts come with packaging, but here’s one type of gift that doesn’t have to.
Get your friend a piece of nature with the perfect plant. You can pick it up yourself from the local nursery so it comes with no additional wrapping. A plant gives a person something to take care of and a spot of color to spruce up their home.
And chances are, if your friend is into eco-conscious gifts, they probably already love connecting with nature. Plants clean the air and bring the outside world in. You can even go with an herb or vegetable plant as a way to cut down on unsustainably harvested produce later on.
Before you choose a plant, take a moment to figure out whether your gift recipient has any pets. Some plants (and cut flowers as well) are toxic to cats and dogs, so do a quick web search on the one you’re considering to make sure your gift will be perfect for the person’s home.
Gifting food and ingredients is a great way to show someone you care without adding to their collection of objects at home. If your friend is trying to cut down on their possessions, what better gift can you give than something they’ll use up completely?
And if you want to cut down completely on the packaging, you can gift someone a homemade piece of food. Bake them a pie, or bring them some loaves of specialty bread.
6. A Unique Secondhand Book
How do you give your friend an object without adding more eventual waste to the environment?
One way is to get it secondhand. It might be a bit awkward to gift most secondhand items—your friend could love the idea, or they might think it’s cheap of you. But with secondhand books, you can choose something really unique, making it more likely that the friend will understand your good intentions.
For example, you can find a stargazing book with beautiful illustrations of the night sky. Or a fancy-looking edition of a book from your friend’s favorite author. These are treasures you might not see at a regular shop.
An interesting find at the secondhand bookstore is a perfect gift for a friend who loves to discover new things.
7. Beeswax Food Wrap
Here’s a special gift that can be cute and eco-conscious at the same time.
Sometimes, when you’re getting someone a gift that’s meant to replace disposable items, you can actually end up producing more waste by giving them something they already have.
Let’s say you get your friend a reusable straw set, but then it turns out she already has some at home. She might feel weird about returning, giving away, or re-selling a gift, which would leave her stuck with way more reusable straws than she needs. This means it could take years of straw use to offset the ecological footprint of reusable straw production.
Reusable beeswax food wrap is an option that avoids this problem. The material itself is biodegradable, and people often need more food wraps than they realize anyway. In the United States, the concept is still new enough that lots of people have never even heard of it, let alone have too many.
These food wraps also come in cute styles. You can get a colorful pattern or an image of something the gift recipient loves, like their favorite animal.
8. A Digital Subscription
One way to give a gift with a small ecological footprint is to consider online subscriptions. These can include meditation apps, music listening platforms, movie streaming websites, and online magazines.
If you’ve got a friend who would appreciate a thoughtful and practical gift, a subscription can be both. This would be an ongoing gift, so your friend can think about you and your love multiple times throughout the year. It’s also a way to save someone money on a thing they’d enjoy but don’t have the budget for by themselves.
Now, Go Ahead and Make Your Friend Happy
Giving an eco-conscious gift doesn’t have to be restricting. It can lead you to creative and unique ideas you never would have thought about otherwise. Choose an option that fits with your friend’s lifestyle and interests, and we’re sure they’re going to love what you pick out.
For more tips on green living, check back here!