This might be the first year the holidays are giving you anxiety due to their environmental impact. All the wrapping paper, the excess food, and wasteful gifts add up. Americans send 2.3 million pounds of wrapping paper to landfills annually. A large part of this number comes from holiday gifting. Speaking of waste, one survey also found that 61% of Americans receive at least one gift they don’t like each year. Those undesired gifts have a high likelihood of heading to the trash. This holiday waste is enough to make anyone a scrooge.
Or, perhaps you’ve been shopping sustainably for a while but are looking for some great gift ideas for your loved ones this holiday season. There are so many amazing zero-waste, consumable, eco-friendly, and sustainable gifts out there. The analysis paralysis can be overwhelming. It’s sometimes hard to pick the right gift for someone.
Well, we’re here to help! We’ve found 9 sustainable, consumable, or eco-friendly gift ideas for different people in your life. Many of these holiday gifts hail from our home state of Colorado. Each one supports a local or small business rather than one of the “Big Box Stores”.
There’s something on this list for everyone you’re shopping for!
Definitions for Sustainable, Eco-friendly, Zero Waste and Consumable Gifts
If this is your first holiday season shopping sustainably, we know that the marketing can be confusing. You’re asking yourself… sustainable gifts? Eco-friendly gifts? Zero waste gifts? Consumable gifts? What’s the difference? Here’s a breakdown of what you’re buying when you buy each type of gift.
- Sustainable Gifts: This type of holiday gift often allows someone to live a more sustainable lifestyle. It can also be an item that’s a more sustainable swap for a normal product someone uses. Or, it could be made from an item that might have been tossed in the trash had it not been repurposed.
- Eco-Friendly Gifts: Eco-friendly means the gift that you’re purchasing is not harmful to the environment. At the end of the product’s lifecycle (if it has an end), it’s compostable, recyclable, or reuseable. It also doesn’t include harmful chemicals or additives.
- Zero Waste Gifts: A zero waste gift takes into account the full life cycle of a product. A product’s full life cycle is how it’s made, what waste it creates when you use it, and what happens to it when you’re finished with it. Ideally, these products last forever. They replace single use items and are never thrown away, recycled, or composted.
- Consumable Gifts: Consumable gifts are gifts that you can eat or use until they’re completely gone. At some point, the person who receives this gift won’t have it anymore. Some consumable gifts are also zero-waste, eco-friendly or sustainable, as well as being consumable.
Consumable and Sustainable Gifts for Him
Our first recommendation is our Volcanic Hand Soap. We’re being a little generic here when we say this is a great gift for “him”. This soap is for anyone who works with their hands like wood workers, potters, and gardners. By utilizing pumice in this soap, the hard working hands in your life will be able to scrub grease and grime out of even the tiniest cracks. Given that soap eventually completely disappears, it’s a consumable and zero waste gift. It’s also made without harmful chemicals or ingredients, making it eco-friendly.
If you have a busy guy in your life, who’s headed to meetings, the mountains, on trips, or is zipping around town, consider gifting him a Beeswax Wrap Starter Kit. Gone will be the days of his single use plastic bags or plastic wrap. They’re made of natural waxes, coconut oil and Colorado sourced beeswax. They’re versatile, durable, and perfect for keeping lunch fresh when he’s on the go. These wraps are reusable, and at the end of their lives compostable, making them a sustainable holiday gift.
Consumable and Sustainable Gifts for Her
We’ll be the first to admit that we know that everyone loves a good candle. But, we also recognize that some women have a strong candle game. Which means you can’t give them just any candle. You have to get them special or unique candles, like Rocky Mountain Candle by Elsewhere Candle Co. This sustainable, eco-friendly, and consumable candle can burn for 40 hours and captures 355 miles of Rocky Mountain pine forest hiking trails. This gift will be especially well received by someone who’s feeling a bit homesick for a Colorado trail.
We want to take a moment to recognize that all of us know someone who works really hard. That’s why we recommend gifting the hard working lady in your life Muscle Recovery Mineral Soak. This soak is made with three different types of salt, among other all natural ingredients. The person who receives this gift can enjoy their bath and detoxify while relaxing. The packaging is a compostable tube, meaning from start to finish this gift is eco-friendly, sustainable and consumable!
Consumable and Sustainable Gifts for Employees
Is it us, or is there something about gifts for employees that we’ve never realized could double as gifts for grandparents? Picture the person you sit across from and then picture your grandmother. Now, tell us both of those people wouldn’t love Cinnamon and Almond Butter by PB Love Co. for Christmas? That’s right - you can’t! Because everyone (sans people with nut allergies) loves a unique and fun play on something classic. PB Love Co. recommends this signature spread on… everything! This gift is eco-friendly, consumable, and sustainable given it’s ingredients and it’s reusable glass jar.
Ok now picture someone else you sit next to at work (or take Zoom calls with occasionally if you’re still at home) and your grandfather. Would either be upset about receiving delicious Bjorn’s Raw Traditional Honey? No, of course not. In fact, the only way they both may love this gift more is if you also bought them the almond butter. Plus, if you give this to your coworker with bad seasonal allergies, it can help them adjust to pollen season! All around a win/win. Your coworker will have a clear nasal passage and you won’t have dirty tissues inching towards your desk. Like the almond butter, this gift is eco-friendly, consumable and sustainable.
Win over all your coworkers or become the favorite grandchild. Or perhaps both. The choice is yours.
Sustainable Gifts that are Great for Everyone
Whether you’re from Colorado, have visited Colorado, or are planning a trip to Colorado, our Ultimate Colorado Gift Box is a great gift. We curated two Mountain Time Soap Shop Soaps, an Elsewhere Candle, Bjorn’s Colorado Honey, a funny holiday tea towel, a mug, and a travel poster in this gift set. If you thought every gift we mentioned before sounded awesome, this is the sustainable gift set for you! This gift is partially sustainable, partially consumable, and eco-friendly!
The Northern Lights Blanket might be an especially good gift if you know someone who is having a hard time with their climate anxiety. Giving this Vela Apparel blanket will remind them you’re thinking of them and that everything is going to be ok. Also, if you’re unable to hug someone you love this holiday season, sending them a blanket is a sweet way to do that from afar. This gift is a sustainable and eco-friendly gift.
A Couple Notes for Sustainable, Consumable, Eco-Friendly Shopping this Holiday Season
Each of the gifts listed above are a great clutter-free Christmas gift. If you didn’t find exactly what you were looking for, check out the other products on our website, or any of the product websites mentioned above. If you still can’t find what you’re looking for, don’t give up!
- Look for places that take pride in their sustainable packaging.
- Order early so you can receive your gift in time without needing to pay (and increase the carbon footprint) for rush shipping.
- Shop small. One sale may not make a difference to a large corporation, but one sale could mean everything to a small business owner. Last year, Amazon made $5 billion dollars in sales between Black Friday and Cyber Monday. Let’s spread that money around to our own communities.
- Shop locally if you can! After a very isolating year, it’s nice to stop by zero-waste stores and chat with employees. Who knows, maybe they’ll even be able to suggest a great gift!
- Wrap gifts responsibly by putting them in a reusable bag, or a second gift, like a scarf. Use items that they can use again rather than something that will be torn off and sent to landfills.
Thank you for supporting sustainable shopping and small businesses this holiday season!