With Christmas just around the corner, we all face the challenging task of picking the perfect gifts for our loved ones. If you are haunted by boring and/or useless presents from the past but struggle to find ideas, here’s a small list that not only will go easy on your wallet but also give you the satisfaction of doing something good for our planet.
Welcome to the Eco-friendly gift guide!
- Water bottle
Great gift for anyone who likes living a fast-paced life. I use mine at work, at the gym, at home and when I travel – practically all the time! Irreplaceable during hiking, quick city breaks or tropical holidays. Personally, I like my water close and cool 🙂
- Reusable coffee cup
While picking a reusable cup you should worry about two main things – leaking and keeping the temperature. Every cup that has these two capabilities to start with, will make your life easier which is the key to getting used to it and will translate to a huge relief for the environment – I use rCup cause I like the fact that additionally it was made from recycled cups. For both, the bottles and cups – I placed some useful links here!
- Reusable capsules for coffee machines
Lately, coffee machines with capsules had become very popular. A tasty latte macchiato or a mocha that you can prepare yourself, with a single click. That’s just Brilliant. Who needs baristas, anyway?! Very convenient but most of these capsules are made from plastic. You can invest in a reusable one and fill it with your favorite coffee blend, this purchase is going to save you some money too. Just make sure the one you buy is compatible with your machine!
If to believe this review the SealPod Reusable capsules are your best shot.
A good overview of alternatives from Independent here! – including compostable capsules or ones that are suitable for recycling – Roar Gill coffee pods have been voted the best.
- Coffee maker – Moka Express
I moved to the UK basically with two suitcases so obviously I couldn’t take all of my stuff and this is one of the things I miss the most. My Italian coffee maker from Bialetti. I can’t wait to bring it here so I can enjoy my morning coffee to the fullest! Every coffee lover should have one!
- Good tea + teapot or a tea strainer
English people are famous for their 5 o’clock tea, so a good quality tea (leaves, not tea powder!) in pair with a nice teapot or strainer, had to appear on this list! Also, what is worth mentioning, tea bags are often manufactured using polypropylene to seal them so that they don’t fall apart. This makes them unsuitable for recycle and not biodegradable!
- Eco-friendly cosmetics
Couple of things to consider here:
- Ingredients – always read the back of the bottle! You should know, what are you putting on your face, hair, and body. Watch-out for microplastics! I wrote more about it here,
- Use natural brands,
- Consider the packaging – if possible, use cosmetics without any package (LUSH), maybe try refilling the bottles (Bleach London). Some companies collect packaging after consumers used their products (Kiehl’s) – simply ask at the store about the options!
- Reusable cotton pads
I do not wear make-up every single day, when I stay at home I will just wash my face and put cream on. Most of the days though I need make-up removing pads. Most of the time I used two to three pads a day, which would be around 75 a month – 900 a year, at least. Nine HUNDRED a year! That is how much I use, and I think I might be one of the less demanding consumers. Now I switched to reusable pads from Bambaw and I’m never going back! In the past, I wasn’t paying that much attention if my pads were even made out of organic cotton. And THAT is very important because the fashion industry has the second-biggest carbon footprint after oil! I twitted about it a while ago… + check out this video about the t-shirt life cycle!
- Laundry bags collecting microfibres
Washing machines don’t usually have filters good enough to capture the microfibers released from synthetic clothes while laundering. In one single wash, you are flushing thousands of microfibers. To avoid that from happening you can use laundry bags. They are available online or in Patagonia stores. Another solution is washing balls or choosing natural textiles like cotton or silk.
- Safety razor
Now, this seemed scary to me at first but I love it now! It provides a better effect for a longer period of time and it looks way more elegant than those hideous plastic razors. On top of that, a safety razor is a good investment – the razor itself will last forever and the blades are cheaper and last longer. Mine is from Bambaw and I am very much satisfied.
- Wooden riddles/games
10 minutes’ walk from my apartment there is a Christmas Market and on one of the stands, I found beautiful wooden riddles and games like chess, solitaire, and mahjong. I would choose quality over quantity on any day, so it was a real treat for me. I still remember when my grandfather taught me how to play chess, would be nice to have a set to play again! For kids, wooden toys are worth considering. They can be little, cute masterpieces! Like these adorable handmade animals from T-lab!
- Books/ebooks/audible credits
I believe that a book is always a great gift. Some of my recommendations:
- How to Give Up Plastic, Will McCallum,
- The Hidden Life of Trees, Peter Wohlleben,
- The Inner Life of Animals, Peter Wohlleben
- Or check out this list by Earth Day(many of them landed on my wish list)
- Pela case
A compostable phone case. Yes! And soooooo pretty! They have cases for most popular phones on the market in a variety of colors and designs. I bought mine over a year ago and it is mint-blue with a sea turtle – I absolutely adore it 🙂
- Selfmade gifts – jumpers, scarfs
If unlike me you are gifted in DIYs and manual tasks, you could think about learning how to knit and make a personal gift for someone special to you! I think it is a lovely present because it involves time and work – not only spending money! And the best gift you can give to anybody is your time! One of my friends was knitting a tablecloth for her parents last year and my aunt can knit her own jumpers (or anything, actually!) – so could you.
- The immortal gift – socks
If you still can’t decide, take something traditional and give it a little spice! Choose something colorful and sustainable 🙂 Like these Seriously Silly Socks from recycled cotton or a more classic look from Arvin Goods.
Whatever you choose – remember that the gift bag is part of the present too! There are many ways to keep it environmentally friendly and pretty at the same time!
That’s it! I hope some of you will find some inspiration for Christmas shopping here. If you have any other ideas for sustainable gifts – I’d definitely love to hear about them!