The Eco-Friendly Gift Guide

Gift-giving is fun. But it can also be stressful, especially if you’re waste-conscious. These gifts all represent fun and/or excitingly new ideas in gardening, recycling, sustainability, and more! Your favorite hippie is going to love it!

Bonsai cutting board

Bonsai is extremely sustainable, as far as wood goes. It may not be suited to everything, but it makes a fantastic cutting board. It’s hard, so it comes with a few of the drawbacks of plastic. That is, it’s a little tough on knives, and it can develop grooves that make cleaning tricky. But it absorbs less liquid than wooden boards, which is great from a sanitary perspective. And it’s far and away the most environmentally-friendly choice. Just be sure to maintain it with oil. It’s still wood, after all.

Sprout Watch

These watches are beautiful, but they’re also pretty revolutionary in their construction. Instead of plastic, they’re made of corn resin. Corn resin lasts just as long as plastic under regular conditions. But in a compost situation, it’ll biodegrade in a year. Moreover, making it doesn’t require oil the way synethic plastics do. The watch also incorporates bamboo, cotton, and a mercury-free battery. Their packing is made of recycled fibers, and their diamonds are certified and conflict-free.

Flip-Flop Door Mat

These welcome mats are made from reclaimed and recycled flip flops. They’re bright and colorful. They’re easy to clean. On top of that, they’re durable, and kind to your floors. And of course, they’re diverting flip flops from landfills and turning them into something functional.

Reusable Gift Wrap

If you’ve ever cringed at Christmas watching all that paper get ripped up and thrown out after a frenzy of opening that only takes a few minutes, well, this is for you. These gift wraps are made of a stretchable fabric that looks nice, and is easier to use than traditional wrapping paper.

Rainwater Collection System

Rainwater collection is a great way to save money – and the environment. There are a wide variety of systems available, but this 50-gallon collection barrel from RTS is made from 100% recycled plastic. This barrel is also flat on one side, so it can stand against a wall, or connect with other barrels.

Native Plants

Sometimes nature knows best, and if your friend/loved one is passionate about gardening, you can take your cues from what’s already around. For instance, Texas-native plants tend to thrive with lots of sun and little water. Not only do they enhance the natural beauty, they’re already optimized to be easily-grown with what you have around.

Books on Native Plants

Maybe you don’t want to make presumptions about what your friend wants in their garden. That’s cool, too. But a guide to native plants of their region can also be helpful. Having that information collected in one place – alongside nice, large pictures – can make planning a little easier than other research they might do.

Lawn Gone!

There’s more than one way to approach a sustainable yard. Xeriscaping is the art of replacing the “traditional,” water-sucking lawn with something a little better. Xeriscaping focuses on drought-tolerant, low-maintenance plants that save you time, money, and lawn mower gas. A book on the subject – like Lawn Gone!: Low-Maintenance, Sustainable, Attractive Alternatives for Your Yard is a great place to start.

Grow Bottles

Grow Bottles are a unique approach to an herb garden. This soil-less hydroponic gardens come with a seed, a repurposed wine bottle, and everything else that you need to make the seed grow. You can plant the seed and grow basil, or oregano, or whatever else you need – right there in your own kitchen.

Resusable Take Out Containers

One of the most conspicuous sources of consumer waste is takeout boxes. They literally exist to make one trip – from the restaurant to the house – and then they’re done. But unless you recycle or compost them, they stick around for awhile – or possibly forever. That’s where these reusable takeout containers come in. For the sake of space, consider this set of collapsible bento boxes, instead. Both are BPA-free.