The Best Sustainable Gift Ideas

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Finding the perfect gift can be a bit nerve-wracking — this is especially true for mindful shoppers. According to an article published by Stanford University, the average American throws out 25% more trash between Thanksgiving and New Year's than any other time of year — that's an estimated 25 million tons of garbage (Part of that trash could be that not-so-perfect gift.) Even so, there are ways to get around the extra and totally unnecessary waste.

For example, in addition to shopping consciously, you could wrap gifts in recycled paper or pages that you tore from an old magazine or newspaper to wrap the smaller gifts (via Small Footprint Family), opt for a real tree (and recycle it afterward), switch to LED holiday lights, or send eco-friendly greeting cards (via One Tree Planted). To help you get started, we've compiled a list of five eco-friendly gifts your recipients will be able to use and enjoy for years to come.

BeeGreen reusable grocery bags

BeeGreen Reusable Grocery Bags are affordable, sustainable, and come in multiple patterns and colors (including unicorns, flamingos, and giraffes, just to name a few). Each set includes five 15 by 16-inch grocery totes, each of which folds into a tiny pouch that's small enough to fit in a pant pocket or purse. According to the product description, these miniature but mighty waterproof totes can hold up to 50 pounds. Plus, they're safe to throw in the washer — just remember to hang dry afterward.

Dooeys sustainable slip shoes

Dooeys sells comfortable, "consciously-crafted slip shoes" made from plant-based and recycled materials. Available in women's sizes 5-12, excluding 11.5, Dooeys come in a variety of colors and styles including House Loafers (Blue/Grey or Blush/Cinnamon) and House Mules (Honey Beige or Black). According to the Dooeys' website, these vegan flats are meant for indoor use but that seems to be a big perk for Dooeys' customers. "Over the years, I've tried a bunch of slippers, but these house shoes are so much better!" writes one online reviewer. "They're supportive and breathable — a real treat to wear around the house."

BLAVOR solar power portable phone charger

With more than 27,000 reviews on Amazon, this solar power phone charger has built up quite a reputation. According to the product description, the BLAVOR Solar Charger Power Bank is compatible with iPhone XR/ XR MAX/ XS/ X/ 8/ 8plus, Samsung Galaxy S9/S9plus S8/S8plus, and all qi-enabled mobile devices. It's also equipped with a bright flashlight and portable compass kit, which may come in handy if the person you are gifting this to likes to travel, camp, or hike.

S'well stainless steel water bottle

Give the gift of hydration with one of S'well's stainless steel water bottles. Choose from a traditional bottle, traveler, tumbler mug, roamer, or barware. Each of S'well's bottles is BPA/BPS-free and reusable. They're also "thoughtfully designed" with a condensation-free exterior, triple-layered, vacuum-insulated construction, and made from food-grade 18/8 stainless steel. Bonus: they're super chic (so, you may want to gift one for yourself, too!). Note: According to the company website, S'well's bottles are not dishwasher-friendly.

Sprout plantable pencils with seed capsules

If your giftee is a creator, consider getting them a tool that serves two purposes. These "plantable" pencils are lead-free pencils that can be "planted" after use. (That's pretty cool, right)? The pencil itself is made from sustainably certified wood and it can be customized with an engraved or color-printed logo or text. Sprout pencils are available in packs of five. The Sprout Mindful Thoughts Edition contains five eco-friendly graphite pencils with decomposable cellulose seed capsules.