What do the words green living, sustainability, and earth-friendly have in common? These are all ways to describe products and lifestyle choices considered environmentally safe or eco-friendly. While these concepts are generally well-known, particularly earth-conscious consumers continuously pursue knowledge about taking these broad ideas and implementing them in day-to-day choices.
Daily decisions such as saying "No, thank you" to plastic straws, lighting your home with energy-saving light bulbs, or taking shorter showers in the morning, go a long way to reducing your carbon footprint. Your small choices add up over time!
“The greatest threat to our planet is the belief that someone else will save it.”
– Robert Swan, Author
WE can do it!
Part of making sustainable choices for you and your household can include educating your friends and family on how they, too, can make their lives more eco-friendly. Keep in mind, no one enjoys a lecture about their lifestyle choices, and we are not suggesting you dust off your podium and soapbox!
We are suggesting that there are things we all do that we might not realize are wasteful, and most people are grateful to learn simple ways by which they can make a big difference.
For example, you are ordering food for delivery and using the plastic cutlery that comes with your meal. That's a common choice, and it's easy to make. Here's a more eco-friendly solution: when you order your food, ask the restaurant to leave the plastic forks and napkins behind because you'll be using your own silverware.
Well, that's easy! Sharing these ideas with friends and family can be fun—especially when they come in the form of eco-friendly gifts!
The best eco-friendly gifts are those that quickly replace a commonly used item that is not eco-friendly. So, you don't have to go out and buy your cousin an electric car for his birthday (though he would probably be happy if you did!). You can choose any number of innovative, stylish, and meaningful gifts that will, ultimately, give the gift of green living.
Replace One Thing with Another
We've scoured the Internet and our kitchens, bathrooms, and living rooms looking for gift ideas for the environmentally-conscious folks in your life. We did the hard work, so you don't have to. You're welcome.
Here's our Top Ten List of Eco-Friendly Gifts:
Replace tissue with handkerchiefs.
These handy little squares might seem like a relic of the past, but they're making a big come-back on Amazon and Etsy. People are coming to their senses and realizing previous generations had the right idea for keeping our noses nice and clean. There is no need to get the landfills involved—simply keep a handkerchief on hand and wash it after use.
Replace dryer sheets with wool dryer balls.
This brilliant invention helps keep your clothes soft without creating waste. The best part is that they're easy to use. Simply throw them into the dryer with your clothes and they have the same effect as dryer sheets. Soft, fresh-smelling clothes-—perfect!
Replace plastic straws with stainless steel drinking straws.
These make excellent eco-friendly gifts for anyone on your list. I mean, we all have to drink, right? Most sets we found come with a handy cleaning tool to keep your straws clean in between uses.
Replace plastic and paper bags with a stylish fabric shopping bag.
Some of our favorite finds under this category come from the company Baggu. They thought of everything! From the way they manufacture their products to the final products themselves—the whole process is sustainable. Plus, their shopping bags come in various patterns to please everyone on your gift list. Bonus: they make grocery shopping fun!
Forgo plastic planters and use eco-friendly planters instead, like these geometric recycled wood planters.
These planters would make good eco-friendly gifts for him, her, or any of the kids in your life. Not only do they create space for oxygen-creating plants in your home, but they're also made of sustainable materials, and you can re-use them again and again. Win-win!
Replace plastic sandwich bags with reusable sandwich bags.
As simple as these quick-dry cloth sandwich bags are, they are one of the best eco-friendly gifts we've discovered because every person we know needs sandwich bags.
Headed out for a long drive, and you need car snacks? Sandwich bags. Packing a lunch for work so you don't end up ordering food that comes wrapped in plastic and paper products? Sandwich bags. Need to keep your child occupied with snacks in the movie theater, church, or another public venue? Sandwich bags.
Use a carbon steel compost bin instead of a plastic one.
Whether the person you're buying for is new to sustainable living or an old pro, everyone needs a compost bin. According to the Environmental Protection Agency, compost "Enriches soil, helping retain moisture and suppress plant diseases and pests. Reduces the need for chemical fertilizers. Encourages the production of beneficial bacteria and fungi that break down organic matter to create humus, a rich nutrient-filled material." This is something we can all do to protect our environment!
We think this is one of the best eco-friendly gifts we've come across. Not only do fabric produce bags save landfills from being burdened by plastic produce bags, but they can also be purchased to fit your friends and family's sense of humor! Our favorites are the eco-friendly produce bags made specifically for onions that say, "Sorry, we didn't mean to make you cry." Whenever we can combine earth-saving products with good comedy, we feel extra happy.
Opt for a cork yoga mat over vinyl or rubber.
The fundamental purpose of yoga is to foster harmony in the body, mind, and environment. How can we do that when we are practicing on mats that are not eco-friendly? When you ditch your rubber mat for a cork mat, you're practicing this centering discipline on oak tree bark, which grows back when harvested responsibly.
- Replace your conventional outlets with a smart plug outlet.
Obvi, we had to save the best for last! And, since we whole-heartedly believe in the product we're producing, we're adding it to our list of eco-friendly gifts. The Teak Power Cube is a smart plug outlet that can cut power to the electronic devices you plug into it when they aren’t in use. This helps save you money on energy that slowly leaks from your devices when they're plugged into conventional outlets.
Even when you turn off your electronics, they still waste electricity. Sure, you hit the off switch, but many electronics, such as TVs, DVRs, and laptops, go into standby mode. The energy lost during this time is called phantom energy, which sounds just as scary as it is! Phantom energy drains our planet's resources by increasing carbon emissions. Eeks!
The Teak Power Cube pairs with your phone and its AI discovers the hours when your devices are not normally not in use. It then asks your permission to keep devices fully turned off (not in standby mode) during those hours, and automatically sets those timers for you. We all love energy saving when it’s set it and forget it!
When you purchase eco-friendly gifts for kids or adults, you are giving gifts that continually give back. Eco-friendly gifts make green living, sustainability, and earth-friendly more than buzzwords—they take a broad idea and turn it into daily practice!