The 11 best zero waste gifts of 2021

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The zero waste lifestyle has gained momentum year after year as consumers personally get rid of waste, and in particular plastic waste. Zero waste can seem overwhelming if you have a habit of pulling out a plastic bag full of trash once (or more!) A week. But as any zero waste guide will tell you, if you really want to reduce your waste footprint, it’s a step-by-step process.

Making your giveaway a zero waste business this holiday season is a great place to start, especially because that’s precisely when more waste is produced than at any other time of the year. Finding, making and buying zero waste gifts is also a great way to start learning how to produce less waste and to turn to products and ideas that can be solutions to single use and disposable items.

Below, we’ve rounded up some of the best zero waste gift ideas, which are either made using zero waste techniques or can help loved ones cut down on single-use waste in style.

What to look for in a zero waste gift

When it comes to giving gifts, start with DIY crafts, as most gifts you make yourself can be put in reused containers. Consider making a scented moisturizer and putting it in glass jars, snacks or treats, or making holiday hanging decorations.

If you are buying a gift, your best option is to go locally. Attend a holiday market, farmer’s market, or local craft fair and choosing unique gifts for your gifts is fun, saves money in the local community, and it’s easy to request items to be unpacked (be sure to bring your own bag or basket to take home your gifts).

Your last choice should be to buy gifts online, simply because you will always have packaging waste with any product that is shipped. If you go this route, consider buying multiple items from one site and shipping them together, reducing packaging. If you are sending gifts, you can also reuse the packaging in which you received the items.

A super easy way to start your zero waste gifting adventure wherever you receive gifts? “Personally, I try to avoid single-use or individually wrapped items,” says Kathryn Kellogg, founder of Going Zero Waste.

When shopping online, be aware that “zero waste” is a buzzword and some companies may exaggerate their claims. “I’ve found that the brands that do great things for the planet are very straightforward and honest,” says Kellogg. This means that you should clearly be able to tell from their website what the ethical good faith of the company is. Any claims they make should be “easy to verify as they are described in very specific terms and often have third-party certifications such as B Corp certification, Fair Trade, Bluesign, or their factories are SA8000, etc.”

You’ll find specific gift recommendations on this list, but for more options, check out sustainable marketplaces that do all of this work for you like Earth Hero, Goldune, Wild Minimalist, Package Free Shop, and of course, Etsy (search ” zero waste gifts ”or the article that interests you).

Why trust Treehugger?

Starre Vartan has been researching and reviewing eco-friendly products for 15 years and has written a book on Healthy, Eco-Friendly Living.

The choices included in this list would make lasting, useful, and thoughtful gifts for people who hope to live more sustainably. Our selections come from environmentally friendly companies, many of our gift suggestions are made with zero waste materials.


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