We’ll let you in on a little secret: Environmentalists don’t want you to gift them unnecessary crap that will end up in a landfill. So, while it might initially feel intimidating, shopping for the environmentalists in your life is actually quite easy.
When shopping for an environmentalist this holiday season, we recommend buying a small number of high-quality gifts instead of lots of cheap gifts. Everyone loves a good trinket, but gifting items that are useful or helpful will go a long way.
And it’s not just about the gift! Here are a few more key tips:
- Be mindful of packaging. There are so many companies that do a great job with reducing unnecessary plastic in their packaging — choose to shop with them. (The most mindful companies usually communicate their packaging upfront.)
- Double check if your recipient already has a similar product — or if they actually want this. A spoiled gift is better than a wasteful surprise.
- If something isn’t a need-to-have, then skip it.
- Sure, a product might be eco-friendly, but is it ethically made too? Are the people who created the product treated and compensated fairly?
- Think about the entire product lifecycle. When your recipient is done with the gift, what will happen to it? Will someone else be able to enjoy it? Will it decompose so it doesn’t end up in a landfill? Or maybe it will be totally consumed so there’s no waste left?
Fortunately, our team of earth-lovers put together some recommendations for you to make your shopping easy.
By the way, some of the links in this article are affiliate links, which means if you make a purchase after clicking a link, we may earn a commission at no extra cost to you. Everything in this article was independently and honestly written by the Good Good Good team. Thank you!
The absolute best gifts for environmentalists:
Chocolate from Tony’s Chocolonely
We wanted to start off this list by highlighting a “consumable gift.” The environmentalist in your life doesn’t want stuff that will end up in a landfill one day; they want gifts that they truly need, or gifts that they can completely use up. And what’s better than savoring something delicious?!
Bars of ethically produced chocolate are a perfect gift. Whether your loved one starts snacking right after they open their gift, or save it for a special occasion — you can rest assured that no crumb will go to waste.
What’s good: Tony’s Chocolonely was named the most sustainable brand in the Netherlands (four times!). And we’re incredibly inspired by its mission to bring awareness to modern slavery, produce only slave-free chocolate, and help push the entire chocolate industry to follow its example.
Explore Good Good Good’s guide to the best vegan and plant-based chocolates
Explore Good Good Good’s guide to the best consumable gifts
Apparel from Toad&Co
Not to shatter the illusion, but it’s time you knew: when an environmentalist receives clothes as a gift, they always secretly look up the company’s sustainability efforts later. We’re going for cuteness, comfort, and conscious consumerism, folks!
Toad&Co is an apparel company you can feel good about.
The brand has a whole range of apparel (from cute sweater vests made from recycled fibers, super comfy hemp loungewear, and organic cotton plaid shackets, to cozy beanies and scarves made with OEKO-TEX certified yarn — all of which is thoughtfully produced with people and planet in mind.
(We especially love all of the incredibly helpful resources about eco-friendly fabrics.)
What’s good: Toad&Co boldly claims on its website: “The apparel industry is the fourth largest polluter of air and water on Earth. The solution? Go sustainable, or go nude.”
Gift Card to a Sustainable Shop
Oftentimes, the most sustainable thing you can do is let your loved one pick out their own gift. They know exactly what they need — and they’ll appreciate that you gave them that opportunity. Even more, they’ll love that you chose a gift card to somewhere that aligns with their values — instead of, say, Amazon.
We recommend gift cards from:
Compostable Phone Case
Few of us are brave enough to use a gorgeous new phone without a case — and even if you have AppleCare or insurance, replacing a broken phone all the time isn’t very sustainable. While a lot of phone cases are boring, ugly, or made with wasteful plastic, Pela has gone out of its way to create sustainable phone cases that you feel proud to show off!
What’s good: Pela makes plant-based, compostable phone cases, and donates a percentage of your sale toward cleaning our oceans. Your phone case isn’t going to last forever — so you should know that it won’t sit in a landfill for the rest of your life when it’s finally time to say goodbye.
A beautiful watch is an incredibly memorable gift that will go everywhere with your loved one. And by opting for a sustainable watch, you show that you understand their values — and have great taste.
What’s good: Solios was the first watch company to become B Corp-certified, and all of its watches are powered by solar energy. Not to mention, Solios uses an innovative cork approach to vegan leather, making all vegan leather watch bands free of rubbers and plastics.
Explore Good Good Good’s guide to the best eco-friendly watches
Hip Pack from Cotopaxi
Whether the environmentalist in your life loves to hike — or just needs a place to keep their phone and wallet while they bop around town — a crossbody bag or hip pack is a must-have accessory.
What’s good: Products from Cotopaxi's Del Día collection use scrap fabric throughout their production process — significantly reducing waste. Plus, every single bag is guaranteed to be one-of-a-kind.
We also love that this B Corp-certified company’s mission is to connect you with the creators who make your products, get you outside to enjoy nature, help you to do good, and help you inspire others to do the same.
National Park Socks
Sure, socks are a bit of a holiday cliché, but that’s only if you gift boring socks. These playful, comfy, and symbolic socks from Parks Project are a wearable reminder of the beauty of U.S. national parks, all while keeping our public lands safe and clean.
What’s good: Every purchase from Parks Project directly funds vital projects on America’s public lands and national parks. To date, Parks Project supporters have raised more than $2.4 million through their purchases.
A Sustainable Backpack
Work, school, travel, adventure: Everyone needs a solid backpack. If your gift recipient is in the market for a sustainably and ethically made backpack, Terra Thread offers a beautiful, spacious everyday backpack to depend on.
What’s good: Terra Threads’ Earth Backpack is made with certified organic cotton canvas in a Fair Trade-certified factory. Your purchase also supports Feeding America’s work to end hunger and donates meals to kids and families in need.
Terra Threads is also carbon neutral and B Corp-certified.
Explore Good Good Good’s ultimate guide to the best gifts that give back
Biodegradable Meditation Mat
While wellness trends come and go, if your gift recipient is a frequent meditator, they deserve an intentional and comfortable space to practice in. This biodegradable mat is the perfect addition to any meditation corner.
What’s good: Made entirely from cork and rubber, this meditation mat should last for a long time. However, if your gift recipient can no longer get use from it, this item can be easily composted. Just like all products sold by Goldune, this blanket’s product page features a sustainability scale and end-of-life information.
Explore Good Good Good’s ultimate guide to the best eco-friendly rugs
Glassware from Our Place
While Our Place is known for its beautiful cookware, the brand also makes stunning, high-quality tableware. And one of our favorite recommendations is the Night + Day Glasses — available in colors “inspired by the earth we share.”
What’s good: In addition to its glassware being made with recycled glass and sand — Our Place is woman- and immigrant-owned, practices ethical manufacturing, celebrates the traditions of BIPOC communities, and donates to organizations “working to create systems-based change.”
Explore Good Good Good’s ultimate guide to the best recycled glassware brands
Eco-Friendly Candle from Grow Fragrance
Candles are always a great gift — but you can go above and beyond by gifting a unique and sustainable candle. Grow Fragrance creates a candle with a reusable vessel and refillable and recyclable candle inserts — helping you reduce waste while you practice self-care.
What’s good: In addition to eliminating the usual waste that comes from throwing out candle vessels at the end of their lifecycle — Grow Fragrance’s candle wax is 100% plant-based and toxin-free.
Explore Good Good Good’s ultimate guide to the best eco-friendly candles
Hemp Sheets from Tuft & Needle
Adulthood means transitioning away from the cheap department store bed sheets and into uber-comfortable, well-made sheets. Tuft & Needle has cozy, eco-friendly bedding on lock, from down alternative pillows, to a hemp duvet cover, and hemp sheets. (Which would all pair wonderfully with an eco-friendly mattress, bed frame, pillows, or other bedding we might add).
What’s good: Hemp is grown with less water than cotton and is a biodegradable fiber that dries faster than cotton (and therefore uses less energy!). They have a linen-like feel and are super breathable, so they’re made for easy sleep, all while being easy on the planet.
Bonus: Tuft & Needle does great work in providing mattresses and other necessities for community members in need.
Everyone can appreciate a beautiful and reliable set of pots and pans. Caraway’s cookware sets are made with kitchens and the planet in mind and feature stunning colors. With non-stick and non-toxic surfaces, this is a great gift for the home chef in your life.
What’s good: All of Caraway’s ceramic-coated aluminum cookware is free of harmful chemicals like Teflon, lead, and cadmium. Because of this, during the manufacturing process, this cookware releases up to 60% less carbon into the environment compared to traditional non-stick coatings.
Ethically manufactured and shipped in packaging made from recycled cardboard and biodegradable cork trivets, these pots and pans are made and distributed mindfully.
Caraway also has a recycling page that helps customers find local recycling options for their metal cookware.
Recycled Throw Blanket
Who said eco-friendly home goods had to be boring and beige? This fun recycled blanket features a deep maroon hue and a fern design that’ll add character to any space. Forget those flimsy Walmart throw blankets and invest in a piece your gift recipient will love.
What’s good: This throw is made from 50% post-consumer recycled polyester and 50% post-industrial recycled cotton. The yarn is made with water-based inks, as well. Just like all products sold by Goldune, this blanket’s product page features a sustainability scale and end-of-life information. (Spoiler alert: Goldune will help you recycle your goods, too!)
Take Back Bag from For Days
This small but mighty bag is the ultimate gift for environmentalists. After you gift them a Take Back Bag, they can then fill it with old clothes they no longer wear and For Days will do the hard work of recycling their old clothes and turning them into something useful.
Usually, these clothes (think overly stained dress shirts, t-shirts with a few too many holes in them, old socks and underwear, etc) end up in a landfill, where precious fabric sits there instead of getting reused.
You can go above and beyond by buying a few Take Back Bags as an easy eco-friendly stocking stuffer or family activity — helping your whole household reduce landfill waste and join into the circular economy.
What’s good: In addition to keeping your old clothes out of landfills, your purchase of a Take Back Bag gives you free “Closet Credits”, which allow you to spend toward the sustainable For Days clothing of your choice! So really, this is kind of like a gift card too!
Small Gifts or Stocking Stuffers
Explore Good Good Good’s ultimate guide to sustainable stocking stuffers
Zero Waste Bite Toothpaste
Toothpaste tubes are notoriously hard to recycle (and nearly impossible to get all of the paste out of). In recent years, companies like Bite have created more sustainable alternatives. These toothpaste alternatives eliminate waste from your loved one’s daily (hopefully twice daily!) routine.
What’s good: Contrasted with traditional toothpaste packaging that ends up in landfills, all of our recommendations come in fully recyclable packaging and ship sustainably.
Rechargeable Electric Lighter
Everybody loves a cool gadget that feels like the future — and it’s even better when that gadget reduces waste and helps you light a favorite candle.
What’s good: In the U.S alone, more than 600 million lighters are sold to consumers every year, 95% of which are disposable single-use lighters. And only 100 million are estimated to be in use at any given time. This leaves a huge number of lighters to end up in landfills every year.
Electric lighters eliminate a significant amount of unnecessary waste, by allowing you to continue using the lighter for years and years.
Explore Good Good Good’s ultimate guide to the best rechargeable electric lighters
Plastic-Free Travel Set
If your gift recipient is always on the go, they likely have a habit of using small, plastic containers for all their toiletries. This plastic-free travel bundle from by Humankind includes shampoo, conditioner, and body wash bars; toothpaste and mouthwash tabs; and cotton swabs.
Make it that much easier to be sustainable on the road or in the air. Plus, it’s TSA-compliant!
What’s good: A great alternative to single-use plastic bottles, every item in this travel set is vegan, cruelty-free and ethically made, and 100% carbon neutral.
The Intersectional Environmentalist by Leah Thomas
In “The Intersectional Environmentalist: How to Dismantle Systems of Oppression to Protect People + Planet,” activist Leah Thomas offers a primer on intersectional environmentalism for the next generation of activists looking to create meaningful, inclusive, and sustainable change.
What’s good: This book can be read chapter by chapter or kept nearby as an easy-to-flip index for exploring the complexities of looking at environmentalism through an intersectional lens.
Explore Good Good Good’s ultimate guide to the best do-good books from this year
Every month, our team of optimists, journalists, and artists makes a beautiful print newspaper filled with good news. There’s something special about holding a physical newspaper — and our readers continue to report that it helps them absorb the positive news better than reading from a screen.
What’s good: Every issue is printed on recycled paper using soy-based inks. We’ve minimized our packaging to reduce waste and are proud to be certified 100% carbon neutral as a company — thanks to Climate Neutral. We’re also members of 1% for the Planet, which means we donate 1% of all Goodnewspaper revenue to environmental nonprofits.
By now, most of us have heard of (or experienced) MasterClass — the platform where the world’s greatest teach next-level classes to help you learn new skills and see the world differently.
We love that MasterClass has expanded its classes to include topics like activism, conservation, gardening, vegetarian cooking, and more.
We’ve been especially excited about the launch of classes with Dr. Jane Goodall (on conservation), Melinda Gates (on impactful giving), Amanda Gorman (on poetry), and Ron Finley (on gardening). And of course there are hundreds more classes to choose from.
One fun trick we recommend: Check out the Duo or Family memberships as a way to save while gifting for the whole family.
What’s good: In addition to hiring diverse instructors to teach classes that help you make a difference, MasterClass makes a difference by donating MasterClass annual memberships to accredited charitable organizations serving communities in need.
Note: While we normally recommend shopping from independent marketplaces with ethical and sustainable track records instead of shopping with Amazon — we’ve also included Amazon links in this article to ensure that these gifts are accessible to more people. Consider Amazon alternatives when you can.