I’ve been hinting for awhile that I’ve been striving to reduce waste and go plastic-free so I got oodles of requests for a zero waste gift guide. And I’m happy to spread the low-waste, eco-friendly, world-saving love!
It definitely feels weird to recommend buying new things to go zero waste, but sometimes you do need to buy a few things to avoid wasting a buuuunch of other things. It also feels odd to gift someone some of the essential zero-waste replacement items like the mensural cup, bamboo toothbrush, and deodorant. So, I’ve collected a few items that are a little more “giftable” and maybe are a special treat for someone that’s already made the low-waste lifestyle change and wants an upgrade to their supplies.
The most accessible way to go zero-waste is to reject single-use items and buy plastic-free. To help folks refuse these items is to get reusable replacements for each. Here are my favorites!
1. Pela phone case: Pela phone cases are made of plants to make them entirely plastic-free and completely compostable! They come in a variety of colors and fit all different phone cases.
2. Earth Love tote bag: When rejecting plastic bags, reusable totes come in handy EVERYWHERE - the grocery store, the mall, the camping bag, the bookstore, the florist, the dentist…EVERYWHERE. This one goes a step further with a nod to the gift recipient’s love for mother earth.
3. Reusable coffee cup: Single-use beverage cups are a big waste generator on-the-go. Traveling with a reusable cup means you - I mean your gift recipient - can refill wherever they go. I really wish I had one of these when the hotel I’m staying at in Seattle had some hot apple cider in the lobby and I refused to use a paper cup. Darn.
4. Pyrex storage: My collection of Pyrex containers is very well loved. I use them at home for leftovers to avoid plastic wrap, plastic bags, an aluminum foil. I also like to take them to restaurants so I can bring leftovers home without getting an icky styrofoam box. Plus, I take them out to places that package food in single-use containers and ask them to prepare it in the Pyrex. I get poke bowls prepared in the se containers at least once a week. The best part is the Pyrex containers are dishwasher, microwave, oven, and freezer safe.
5. Metal straws: Straws are one of the easiest things to give up and also a big polluter. Metal straws are a great replacement while on the go or for a host to serve with their cocktails.
6. Reusable towels: As a clean freak, I used a number of paper towels back in the day. But earlier this year I hid them away and committed to reaching for reusable towels instead, and now I never use the paper ones. I use reusables for cleaning, for drying dishes, and for drying hands.
7. Bamboo cutlery set: This slim set of utensils is made out of bamboo (a highly renewable resource) and are a great replacement for plastic cutlery while out and about. I’m still carrying around my metal utensils from home but they are noisy when they clink around in my bag, and aren’t a slim profile. I think I’m due for an upgrade to these.
8. Metal bento lunch box: Bento boxes have multiple compartments and stack neatly making them a good option for bringing lunch to work. They also work well for all of the scenarios listed in #4.
9. Bee’s wrap: Ditch the plastic wrap for this reusable replacement. The waxy paper molds to bowls as a lid, wraps around veggies, and also keeps bread fresh. I’ve had it for 6+ years and can’t remember the last time I’ve used plastic-wrap. The Bee’s Wrap comes in a variety of designs to fit the aesthetic of your gift recipient.
10. Bar soap: I use this soap as body wash, hand soap, and even on old drawers. It can also be diluted to use as a laundry detergent. Rather than plastic soap dispensers that get tossed after they’re used up, this bar soap is wrapped in paper that can be composted. All of the scents are great, and this set of six makes for a pretty gift.
11. Wooden cleaning brushes: Who says cleaning supplies need to be ugly and plasticky? I guarantee wooden tools will last longer than plastic ones. But, if they break or get worn down, they can be composted.
12. Stasher bags: These baggies are replacements for ziplock bags but do so much more because they can go in the oven, the dishwasher, the microwave, the freezer, and even cook sous vide.
13. Insulated water bottle: There are a billion kinds of reusable water bottles out there to replace plastic single-use bottles. I like this one because it’s insulated to keep things hot or cold for DAYS. Plus, this particular one is made of sustainably-harvested bamboo, stainless steel, and food-grade silicone - no paint, no plastic, and no coatings inside or out.
14. Reusable Produce Bags: Those little plastic baggies at the grocery store for putting produce in? Yeah, don’t need ‘em! For months, I avoided the plastic so I never put produce in bags at all - I just loaded all the produce into one tote bag. But then I got these produce bags that make shopping and checking out way easier. No longer do I have a bunch of mushrooms rolling around in a bag of damp kale.
15. Zero Waste Home book: This book is on living waste free is on my wishlist and came recommended from several zero-waste folks I follow.
I promise to share more of my low-waste tips and experiences soon!
Check out more of my gift guides:
Gift Guide for Anyone with a Coffee Table
Gift Guide for Makers
Gift Guide for Old House Lovers
Gift Guide for Those Going Zero Waste
Gift Guide of My Personal Wish List
Gift Guide for Organizers and Tidiers
Gift Guide for Cooks and Bakers
Gift guide for Homebodies
Gift Guide for Techies and Smart Homes