Whether you’re looking for something a loved one can eat or drink, experience-based gifts or homewares, accessories and more, it’s never been easier to find sustainable gift options than it is now.
With an increasing number of people thinking about their environmental impact, web searches for environmentally-friendly gift options doubled between 2018 and 2020. And while I have previously shared lists of ethical retailers you can shop with throughout the year, this post is all about the epic gift options available if you’re trying to shop more sustainably – whatever the occasion.
Looking for something specific? Jump to the section you need:
- Food & Drink Gifts
- Sustainable Homewares
- Accessories & Stocking Fillers
- Ethical Undies
- Experience Days
- The Gift of Giving
Food & Drink Gifts
Blue Coffee Box – The plastic-free coffee subscription
Subscription box gifts are all the rage right now, but many of them involve sending a steady flow of plastic waste to the recipient’s address – and there’s sometimes a risk that they won’t always like what’s inside. For the coffee-lover in your life, why not give the gift of plastic-free coffee deliveries that come with a ‘taste guarantee’, meaning if there’s ever a variety they don’t like, Blue Coffee Box will replace it free of charge?
Featuring 100% home-compostable packaging and coffee sourced via the ethical Direct Trade method, this one’s a no-brainer whether you’re buying for a caffeine fiend or a decaf diva. Pre-pay for 3, 6 or 12 months, or set up a rolling monthly gift subscription, from £7.49 per delivery at BlueCoffeeBox.com.
Earthly Kind – Plastic-free, vegan treat hampers
If one big delivery is more your style than a subscription, look no further than Earthly Kind. With a range of hampers on offer, Earthly Kind are a one-stop-shop for plastic-free, vegan/plant-based hampers filled with delicious morsels from environmentally-aware brands.
There’s express delivery if you’ve left it ’til the last minute, and you’re guaranteed that everything inside is produced in line with ethical and environmental best practices. Want to know you’re gifting food that’s Fairtrade, organic, has low travel miles and comes from brands that give back? Shop at EarthlyKind.co.uk where options range from letterbox-friendly £12.50 snack boxes to supersize deluxe boxes at £39.99.
The Small Home – Candles, mugs, cushions & more
The Small Home is described as an ethically-minded small business, working with small, socially-conscious craftspeople and producers. Utilising waste materials from other industries and sourcing products from small-batch suppliers, you can rest assured that strong ethical standards are front and centre when you gift someone luxurious homewares from this online store.
Visit TheSmallHome.co.uk to explore the full range.
Stasher – The bags with 100 uses, for the person who has everything
After buying a couple of these for myself recently, I’ve now started gifting them to everyone around me. If you’re looking for a practical, multipurpose gift that the recipient can use time and time again, a reusable Stasher bag might be the answer. These nifty creations come in a range of sizes, from pocket clip-ons to megasize bags, ideal for everything from travel toiletry stashes and pencil cases to hiking snack packs. Fridge, freezer, oven, microwave, dishwasher and sous-vide safe, they’re made with food-grade platinum silicone – a planet-friendly alternative to plastic storage bags – which can be recycled into playpark flooring and other fun stuff if you ever manage to damage your bag beyond use.
Eco-Friendly Accessories & Stocking Fillers
Life Less Ordinary – Jewellery, bags & travel accessories
Studio Adorn – Sustainable & zero waste jewellery
I’ve given this brand a shout-out before in a post about independent Norwich shops you can support online, but what you may not know about Studio Adorn is that this indie jewellery studio place an emphasis on sustainable practices, and they even have a zero waste range made from scraps leftover in the process of crafting their core collection. As well as earrings, necklaces, bracelets and other jewellery, you can buy a loved one their very own jewellery-making kit. Explore everything on offer at ShopStudioAdorn.com
Sage Folk – Plastic-free & zero waste toiletries
Toiletries make great stocking fillers and small gifts, especially when they’re really lovely brands. Indie eco retailer Sage Folk stocks a great range of plastic-free and zero waste options, including shampoo and conditioner bars, face cloths, lip balms, swish sustainable deodorant and even planet-friendly curl cream for curly hair. Reasonably priced and posted in fully recyclable packing materials, you’ll find brands like Wild Ona, Zero Waste Path, Bain & Savon and Friendly Soap here – among others. Shop the full collection at SageFolk.co.uk
ELB Handmade – Affordable, sustainable, hand-made lingerie
Giving someone the gift of adventures and experiences is often a more sustainable practice than giving them ‘things’. But what does that look like? If you’d rather give someone a great day out or even a weekend away, than wrap another item that they may not truly love, here are some ideas.
- Creating natural skincare products from a wildflower meadow (Scotland) £50 – Virgin Experience Days
- Foraging and cookery for two people with Totally Wild (18 locations in England) £120 – Virgin Experience Days
- Mini ecosystem (terrarium) workshop with prosecco at Botanical Boys (London) £49 – Red Letter Days
- Sky Wire zipwire over The Eden Project for two (Cornwall) £76 – Red Letter Days
- Glamping getaways for one, two or three nights (Various UK locations) from £45-415 – Buy A Gift
The Gift of Giving
Of course, some of the best ways to gift ethically an sustainably are via ‘giving gifts’, where you make a charitable donation on behalf of a loved one. There are tonnes of brilliant options out there in this category, but here are a few of my favourites:
- Choose Love – Buy vital items for refugees, from hot food to legal support, with a gift card option to buy on behalf of someone else.
- Oxfam Unwrapped – Fund everything from water pumps to feeding families in poverty.
- WaterAid’s Shop for Life – Donate toilets, taps, clean water and more to those in need.
- Save the Children’s Virtual Gift range – All kinds of options from mosquito nets and food baskets to school places for children, with both physical card and e-card options.
If you have any other suggestions for fantastic ethical and sustainable gift ideas to include here, please do let me know! The more the merrier, and I’ll be updating this post with new brands and items I come across as time goes on.