10 Cute Zero Waste Gift Ideas

Gift giving can lead to a ton of waste. Until a month ago I had a box in my apartment of unused Christmas gifts. As a society we have adopted a habit of giving items that are not wanted as a nice gesture. I know it is hard to stray from those habits but I challenge you the next time you give a gift to try one of these Zero Waste gift ideas!

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Check out my other article  on What Popular Brands are doing for Sustainability

1. Unpackaged Soap

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I gave out homemade soap this year for mothers day and let me tell you, it was a hit! Everyone uses soap but not many people treat themselves to the “luxury” stuff. By luxury I mean non-cheap store brand liquid soap. Knowing that it is made with care and good ingredients is always a plus!

If you do not want to make it, a ton of farmers markets or even whole foods sells unpackaged and cute artisan soaps.

2. DIY Tea Sampler

Zero waste gift ideas
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This idea is easier for people who have bulk bins near them! Something I have done in the past is save up small jars and then fill them up with different teas and then create a sort of DIY tea sampler. 

Bonus points because this is probably cheaper than buying a prepackaged sampler from a name brand tea shop!

3. Pick Wildflowers

I did this in leu of picking up my mother flowers at the grocery store for her birthday this year! While flowers may seem zero-waste, many are packaged with unnecessary plastic at the store.

Just remember to pick your own flowers or ask the owner before you take them. Another option would be to pick up flowers at a local farmers maker. I find that the sellers there tend to package the arrangements in paper as opposed to plastic!

4. Baked Goods

Zero waste gift ideas
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Honestly, food is always the key to my heart. Especially my favorite baked item (homemade banana bread). This is one of my favorite Zero Waste Gift Ideas. Find out what the person’s favorite treat is and make it! 

Bonus points for getting creative with the packaging. Something I’m picturing is homemade cookies stacked on top of each other in a mason jar. Show them that homemade gifts can be chic too!

5. Give an "Experience"

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A gift does not mean a tangible item. I think that the state of our consumer society has brainwashed us into thinking that. Next time opt into giving someone an event!

For example: a concert, tickets to the zoo, comedy show, sky diving, helicopter ride, manicure, etc

6. A Gift Card

I know this may not be an ideal zero-waste gift but hear me out. Giving someone a gift card insures that they will recieve something they actually want and will use. 

A lot of times, people buy random items to give as gifts so they don’t come off as “cheap” or to be seen as polite. By giving a gift card you are preventing an item from sitting in a box only be to donated or thrown away.

Bonus points for giving an e-gift card (plastic free!)

7. DIY Soy Candles

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I think this idea would be something fun you and group of friends could do around this holidays to promote zero-waste gifts!

First off go to your local thrift and pick up all the cute jars or re-use old ones you have. Then follow the insuructions on theis article “How to Make Scented Soy Candles”

I burn candles every day in my apartment and have many other friends that do too! This gift shows effort and customization (you have the power to choose which essential oil to put in and a container that the person would like!)

8. Growler of Beer

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Go down to the person’s favorite brewery and pick them up a growler of their favorite beer. Some places even do this for Kombucha or Hard Cider! Then the person who you gave the gift to can re-use the growler to get more and will probably get a discount.

Bonus points if you buy a used growler at your local thrift. I see them every time I go from numerous brands!

9. Sustainable Swaps

zero waste gift

Giving any sustainable and zero-waste swaps is a great gift! Sure it is something new, but in the long term it will save waste and promote the sustainability movement!

Some ideas (affiliate links):

10. Package Free Beauty Items

By “Beauty items” I mean lip scrubs, face masks, lotion bar, or bath bombs. These items are easily made and there are tons of tutorials on Pinterest!

You can also pick these up from many natural stores such as Lush. They will typically package them in a paper bag (I know not completely package free but at least it’s not plastic!)

How to Package These Items?

Skip wrapping items in products that will immediately be thrown out (i.e. wrapping paper).

Instead opt for re-using paper bags or newspaper. Another idea is to save gift bags others have given to you in the past and regift them. You could also wrap the items in a scarf that could also double as a gift!

Here is a cute sustainable wrapping solution I found on Amazon. The paper is infused with seeds and the person can then plant it for some color in their garden (way too cute)

I hope you enjoyed my 10 Zero Waste Gift Ideas!

What is the best Zero-waste or Sustainable gift you’ve given?

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  1. These are amazing suggestions. Thanks for the ideas. Did you know that there are gift cards made out of paper? They look and feel like the plastic cards. Since I learned that, I look closely at every gift card!

  2. I love these ideas! I’ve been looking for a nice housewarming gift and I think the tea samplers are exactly what I was looking for.

  3. I love this post so much! Gifting can be so wasteful sometimes. Saving this for any upcoming holidays or bdays! Thank you for sharing.

  4. I love these, I would love to give any of these. I really dislike all the cardboard and plastic that usually comes with gifts.

  5. We send e-cards to our nieces and nephews. We used to get hung up on giving something they could open, but they actually love having money to spend after the holidays/ their birthdays! xo Nipa

  6. Yes to this! I love all of these ideas 🙂 Personally, I tend to be a big fan of giving and receiving an experience. Concert tickets, sports games, manicures, facials and more. I love it, thank you for sharing!

  7. Such great ideas!! I especially love the baked goods idea and placing them in something more creative and looks nicer than plastic or a box! Thanks so much for the ideas. I’ll be using these for more upcoming birthdays and Christmas!

  8. Wonderful ideas. I will definitely try the Tea Sampler and soap gifts. Making hand-made paper with floral petals or herbs mixed in can be a great gift card or wrap.

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