Sustainable gift ideas that will help you bring a little extra green to your holiday celebrations.

From string lights to cinnamon sticks, pine trees, and mistletoe, the holiday season is without a doubt a wonderful time to celebrate all that you have and all those you love. And for many of us, this celebration also involves some gift-giving. Sometimes, though, it can be tough to know just what to get for that special someone on your list, especially if you want to make sure that the gift you’re giving them doesn’t come with a large carbon footprint. Luckily, we have just the sustainable holiday solution for you.

Sustainable Gift Ideas

We’ve put together an Inspire Sustainable Holiday Gift Guide to help you find the perfect gift for the environmentally conscious person in your life (or maybe even for yourself!). The best part is that each of the gift ideas on this list will help you ensure that your gift is not just thoughtful, but is supporting the health and future of our planet.

Here are 7 eco-friendly, sustainable holiday gifts that you can give this season.

1. Help them reduce their carbon footprint by replacing plastic goods with reusable ones

From water bottles to plastic wrap, grocery bags, and ziplocks, the amount of plastic we use on a daily basis has a significant impact on the health of our planet. Not only is the US the largest producer of plastic waste in the world, but of the 35.7 million tons of plastic produced in 2018, only 8.5% was recycled while the remaining 27 million tons of plastic waste ended up in landfills. So, when it comes to finding new ways to live a sustainable lifestyle, minimizing our reliance on plastic goods is an important and impactful place to start. Why not give a gift that truly keeps on giving? Consider gifting someone on your list a reusable stainless steel water bottle, like those sold by Yeti and Hydroflask. Not only do they keep your hot drinks hot and cold drinks cold, but they can last for as long as 12 years — which means 12 years without needing to buy a single plastic water bottle. The same thing goes for other plastic goods, too. For instance, you could gift someone a package of metal straws so they can ditch the plastic ones at the coffee shop. Or if you know someone who relies heavily on using ziplock bags and saran wrap, gift them some reusable ones like the bags made by Stasher or the wrap from Bee's Wrap. Because at the end of the day, using a little less plastic really does go a long way.

2. Research plants and wildflowers native to where they live and gift them seeds or plants

Sometimes supporting the health of our environment’s natural ecosystems means getting your hands a little dirty! In many areas, native plants, wildflowers, and grasses get overrun by invasive plants or are simply lost to urban development. By giving the gift of greenery, you’re giving someone the opportunity to help their local ecosystem repair itself and thrive. Plus, who wouldn’t love to see a few extra flowers in their yard come springtime?

3. Help them cut down on food waste and feed their spring-time garden with a composter

While a composter might not be the first thing you think of when planning out your gift list, it’s actually a relatively simple gift with a big pay off. Being mindful about the amount of food we throw away is important not only for conserving food but for reducing how much ends up in our landfills. By putting your carrot stocks and onion peels into a composter instead of a trash can, you can reduce how much trash you take out each week by a lot more than you might think. Plus, the magic of a composter is that it takes your extra food scraps and turns them into plant food! Gifting someone a composter means their garden or house plants will have a lasting supply of fertilizer that’s eco-friendly and free of charge.

4. Give a gift made of upcycled materials

We all know that recycling is good for the planet, but what about upcycling? Upcycling is essentially taking second hand goods and/or excess materials and using them to make something entirely new. Upcycling is a great way to ensure that no materials go to waste and help reduce the amount of usable materials that end up in our landfills. Upcycled goods come in many forms, too. You can find bags, clothing, art, kitchenware, and even shoes made from repurposed materials. And regardless of where you live, there’s bound to be a handful of local artisans or shops selling upcycled goods that would make a perfect sustainable gift that supports your local economy at the same time. Or if you happen to be particularly crafty, you could consider making an upcycled gift yourself by researching different DIY projects. In the world of upcycling, the sustainable opportunities are endless!

5. When in doubt, donate!

If you have someone on your gift list this year who is a little trickier to buy for, find out what causes they care about most and do a little research to see if there’s a nonprofit organization you could donate to on their behalf. For example, GivePower is a great option for someone who would like to help underserved communities gain access to clean energy. Plus, there are lots of organizations that will even send you a thank you certificate in exchange. And if you want to keep it local, look for a grassroots, local nonprofit that’s working in their community directly. If you’re having trouble finding one, look for a parent organization that can help connect you and get your donation into the right hands. Because one of the best ways to support the health of our planet is by supporting the health of our communities.

6. Give a gift from a conscious brand that gives back

If you’re looking for a gift that’s made sustainably and gives back at the same time, look for brands that have transparent manufacturing practices or that donate a portion of their sales to a cause or organization. There are more out there than you might think! For instance, if you’re looking for eco-friendly clothing that also helps protect our planet, a brand like Allbirds or Outerknown might be just what you’re looking for. Or if you’re hoping to give a gift that is as useful as it is sustainable, consider gifting them sustainable toothpaste or a bamboo toothbrush set from Mable — not only are they biodegradable (keeping more plastic out of our landfills!) but for each toothbrush purchased, they give one to a child in need in the US. There are even home goods stores like The Citizenry that sell artisan crafts, like blankets and furniture, and donate part of their profits back to the communities that produce the goods. If you’re looking for something specific, just search for the name of the item and “sustainable” or “give back” and you might be surprised by what you discover!

7. Find a subscription to something that’s both sustainable and fulfilling

These days there are more subscription services than we can count. From subscription boxes to subscription entertainment, there’s bound to be a subscription offering that’s perfect for anyone on your list this holiday season. If eco-friendly products are on your list, try an Earthlove Box or Grove subscription. If you happen to be looking to treat yourself to something special this holiday season, consider a subscription service that helps you give as much as you receive. And a clean energy subscription is the perfect way to do just this. A clean energy subscription means that every time you use energy in your home, you’ll be supporting the creation of clean energy jobs and infrastructure while increasing the demand for renewables at the same time. And better yet, with an Inspire Unlimited 100% Clean Energy Subscription you can use as much energy as you need without worrying about any extra cost.

No matter which route you decide to take in your gift giving this year, keeping it eco-friendly and sustainable is a great way to give to those you care about while giving back to the planet that cares for you, too.