Life & Style, Special Occasions

The Best Eco-Friendly Gift Ideas For Christmas, Birthdays & More

Let me take the strain out of ethical gift-giving, with this big guide to sustainable, zero-waste, plastic-free and eco-friendly gift ideas for Christmas, birthdays, and more.

Looking for ethical and eco-friendly gift ideas? Well, the good news is that I have you covered. I have put together a whole host of ethical gift ideas for every possible occasion. Birthdays, Christmas, Mother’s Day, Father’s Day, Valentine’s Day, any kind of day! And, I’ve kept things really budget-friendly, with ideas from £3.50 up to a maximum of £35.

My plan for this eco-friendly gift ideas post is to make it static on my front page, and I will keep it updated with my favourite gift ideas. That way it will be ever-evolving and ever added to, giving you a fresh load of ideas whenever you need it.

Make sure you bookmark it or save it to Pinterest. That way, when you ever need any zero-waste, plastic-free, or eco-friendly gift ideas for any occasion then you know where to look!

I also have guides to secondhand gift ideas and homemade gift ideas, if you are looking for even more sustainable gift ideas.

The Moral Fibres Ethical and Eco-Friendly Gift Guide

Image of an environmentally friendly wrapped gift with a blue text box that says the best eco-friendly gift ideas for Christmas

Whether you are looking for ethical gift ideas for him, for her, or for kids, hopefully, I’ve got something for everyone.

In order to cover the site’s running costs, the links used below are affiliate links. This means I may receive a small percentage of the sale price from the retailer if you buy anything using the links below, but this does not affect the price you pay or your return rights as a consumer.

Zero-Waste Present Ideas

When it comes to buying an eco-friendly gift, something you know that they will use time and time again is always a great option. Here are some of my favourite reusable eco-friendly and zero-waste gift ideas:

Lunchbox

zero-waste gift ideas

I have tried a few different metal lunch boxes, and many of them leak. Not this beauty, from Black+Blum, which has a silicone valve creating a secure vacuum-sealed closure. The silicone band also holds a handy stainless steel fork in place. Handily, it’s oven-safe for heating up food and freezer-safe for storing pre-cooked food. It’s a multi-tasking machine!

Buy it from &Keep for £30.

Food Flask

eco-friendly gift ideas

In a similar vein to above, a food flask is a great addition to a hike or picnic, especially in winter. You can carry hot soup or a chilli or stew with you for something warm when you are out in the cold. It really is the eco-friendly gift idea that keeps on giving.

This Black+Blum food flask is available from Natural Collection for £29.95.

Water Bottle

I have tried a few water bottles in my time, and my absolute favourite is the Hydro Flask.

It keeps your hot drink piping warm, or your cold drink icy cold for a really long time. The robust, powder-coated material is BPA-free, environmentally friendly, and easy to care for. I’ve had mine for about four years now, and there’s not a scratch on it. That’s how durable it is.

Choose from a variety of sizes, and 12 different colours at Alpine Trek. Each bottle costs between £30.95 and £34.95 depending on what size you go for.

Coffee Cup

reusable gift ideas

The Neon Kactus glass coffee cups use only fully recyclable and sustainable materials and look great too. And, unlike plastic or bamboo, glass doesn’t taint the flavour of your drink. Find it at &Keep in a variety of colours for £13.95.

Eco-Friendly Beauty Gift Ideas

Wanting to indulge someone special? Try these vegan-friendly, eco-friendly, and plastic-free beauty gift ideas:

Moisturiser

vegan gift ideas

This £30 gift set from Evolve is a fantastic way to treat someone special. It features a daily moisturiser, plus a hyaluronic serum for extra moisturisation, and a cleansing face mask made from raw cacao.

Vegan-friendly, cruelty-free, and handmade in England, all of Evolve Beauty’s products are packaged in glass. What’s more, all of the packagings from their gift boxes are made from fully recyclable cardboard. 

I’m coveting this one for myself, as Evolve Beauty’s daily moisturiser is my very favourite, delivering intense hydration without greasiness, oiliness, or stickiness. I feel it performs as well as moisturisers 3 times its price and smells amazing too!

Soap

palm oil free gift ideas

2021 has been all about the soap, and the handwashing – all of the handwashing. Make it special for someone with this beautifully scented vegan and palm oil-free soap from Soapdaze, that comes with a hand-knitted facecloth. It comes in plastic-free packaging and is also delivered plastic-free. Find it on Etsy for £15.95.

Pampering

eco-friendly gift ideas for her

Bloomtown is the UK’s first certified palm-oil free company. They specialise in beauty products that are vegan, cruelty-free, palm-oil free, as well as being free from a host of other nasties, including petrochemicals, sulphates, SLS, and parabens – all packaged in recyclable glass.

They’ve put together a fantastic gift set, allowing you to spoil someone you love with this selection of premium products that you can choose yourself depending on the recipient’s tastes. Bloomtown will then beautifully wrap it and personalise it with a card. Buy it for £33 from Etsy.

Ethical Food & Drink Ideas

I always think food makes for one of those really great eco-friendly gift ideas. As such, there are some great ethical gift ideas here. Whether you are looking for a little something for a special someone, a stocking filler idea, or are making up a hamper of ethical goodies. In particular, look out for food ideas with compostable packaging, products made from ingredients that would go to waste, and more.

Chocolate

vegan gift ideas for christmas

For chocolate lovers, Seed & Bean Chocolate is the one to go for. The chocolate comes in loads of delicious flavours, like Cornish Sea Salt or Lemon & Cardamom. Their entire range is also fairtrade, vegan, and certified organic as standard. What’s more, the packaging is fully recyclable and home compostable. Find it from £2.99 for a bar at Ethical Superstore, and look out for boxes of truffles and gift sets too.

Coffee

plastic-free gift ideas for christmas and birthdays

Percol’s certified organic and fairtrade ground coffee makes for another of those really great ethical and eco-friendly gift ideas. As well as tasting delicious, and being vegan, Percol’s ground coffee packaging is plastic-free and completely home compostable. After you’ve finished your coffee, you can place the bag in your home composter. Here the packaging will naturally decompose as it is derived from a range of natural products such as paper, plant fibres, and eucalyptus wood pulp. Find it at Ethical Superstore for around £4.75 a bag.

Tea

ethical gift ideas for her

Want to gift someone some really nice tea? I really rate Teapigs. Their seasonal blends in particular really elevate tea time.

Teapigs have all the certifications. They are a certified B Corp. This is a certification that recognises the businesses that meet the highest standards of verified social and environmental performance, public transparency, and legal accountability. B Corp status helps build a more inclusive and sustainable economy. They are also Rainforest Alliance certified, and a certified Living Wage Employer.

Tea Pigs packaging is also entirely plant-based. This means that the outer carton is fully recyclable. The used tea temples can also be composted with your local food waste collection. And even the inner bag, which looks like plastic, is home compostable. Shop the range at your local supermarket, or buy online from Planet Organic, from just £3.95. Alternatively, find out more about plastic-free tea here.

Beer

vegan gift ideas for him

Last year, I wrote how Small Beer is one of the UK’s eco-friendliest breweries. If you didn’t catch the article, Small Beer makes great tasting, low ABV vegan beers, and is committed to saving water in an otherwise wasteful industry. It typically requires 8-10 pints of water to brew a single pint of beer. However, the environmentally conscious people at Small Beer have got that down to just 1 and a half pints of water per pint. And like Teapigs, Small Beer is a certified B Corp.

Through Not On The High Street, they’ve put together a gift pack of their beer selection, complete with a personalised label. Find it on Not On The High Street for £25.

Gin

eco gift ideas for him

Elephant Gin is a beautiful tasting gin, distilled using 14 botanicals. This gives the gin a floral, fruity, and spicy flavour that can be enjoyed both straight and in a cocktail. What’s more, the company contributes 15% of all profits to two African elephant foundations to support the preservation of African wildlife. Find it on 31Dover for £29.15.

Rum

Rum has also been given the sustainability treatment, thanks to Discarded Spirits. Here they’ve taken finishing rum – rum that was originally created to add flavour to empty whisky casks before maturation before being discarded – to make this sustainable spirit. And not content with that, they’ve also taken the banana peels from flavour houses – which otherwise would have been thrown away – to impart a fruity toffee flavour to the rum. The peel is dried out, fermented, and steeped in alcohol for two weeks, for an intense hit of banana.

Find it at 31Dover for £29.95.

Gift Hampers

vegan gift ideas for christmas

Social Stories Club put together hampers containing products that support different social causes.

This vegan hamper contains a variety of products. From tea supporting education for girls in tea growing regions to relish made from wonky onions that were rescued from landfill. You will also find chocolate supporting farmers in Ghana, and hot chocolate supporting farmers in 14 different countries. Also included is a beautiful bar of soap designed by a community of artists living with complex epilepsy and learning disabilities. 

Find the hamper (or browse their selection of other hampers) for £36. Also, enjoy free delivery direct from Social Stories Club.

Eco Book Gift Ideas

More than ever, there are now tons of books available to inspire you to live a more sustainable life. Here are just a few of my favourites to give you some eco-friendly gift inspiration.

Simply Living Well

eco book ideas

I bought a copy of Julia Watkin’s book, Simply Living Well, at the start of the pandemic, and it was such a lovely balm for the soul at this difficult time. It’s a visually stunning, gentle, feel-good book full of lovely ideas for creating a natural and low waste home. This is a great eco-friendly gift choice for anyone looking for ideas on how to green their home. Find it on Wordery for £12.34 and free delivery.

The Almanac: A Seasonal Guide to 2022

Lia Leendertz The Almanac is a wonderful seasonal guide to the year ahead.

Divided into twelve months, this gentle book provides practical information about the month ahead. From sunset and sunrise times for each day, meteor shower dates, beehive behaviour, folklore tales and songs, seasonal recipes, seasonal gardening tips, and charts tracking moon phases and tide, it’s a great book that helps connect you to nature. It’s such a calming and rhymical read, and I always come away from each chapter feeling like I’ve learned something new. It’s such a beautiful book as well, it’s one to keep to hand all year round.

Find it at Bookshop.org for £12.08.

The Complete Gardener

Let me count the ways in which I love Monty Don (or Montague Dontague as we call him in our house).

If your loved one is into gardening then you could do no wrong and gift them a copy of The Complete Gardener. Packed with beautiful illustrations and practical gardening tips, Monty reveals the secrets of growing vegetables, fruits, flowers, and herbs while respecting the needs of the environment. I love Monty’s stance on peat-free compost, the importance of organic gardening, and looking after nature. He also provides emphasis on gardening for wildlife and the impact of global warming on the garden. 

Find it at Bookshop.org for £25.11.

For The Home

For people that I find hard to buy for or eco-friendly gifts for couples, I quite often veer towards gifts for the home. From soy candles to incense, and other lux objects that have a pretty but practical function.

Sustainable Soy Candles

sustainable soy candle gift

Osie Norfolk’s beautiful sustainable candles are hand-poured in Norfolk and are vegan and cruelty-free, as well as palm oil-free. Made from 100% soy wax, they are also scented will all-natural phthalate-free ingredients and essential oils. And for an added eco-friendly bonus, you can buy a candle refill from Osie for just £7.99 once you’ve burned the candle. Alternatively, you can reuse the lovely terracotta pots for plants in your home or garden.

Find it on Etsy, at £18 for the candle and terracotta pot and £7.99 for the candle refills.

I’ve got more eco-friendly soy candles for you to check out too if this one doesn’t quite fit the bill.

Incense Burner

I bought myself one of these pretty little wooden incense burner houses earlier this year, and it never fails to make me smile every time I walk past it. Simply place an incense cone inside this sweet little handmade house, and sit back and watch smoke gently waft from the chimney and enjoy the fragrance of your choice.

Find it, and other types of wooden houses by the same seller, on Etsy. This one is £21.75 with free delivery.

Pretty Mugs

These pretty mugs from ethical retailer Nkuku would look great in any kitchen, and especially so paired with a bag of plastic-free coffee or plastic-free teabags.

These ceramic mugs are handmade from a selection of raw materials including terracotta and stoneware, brought to life by skilled artisans in Vietnam and China, using a wealth of techniques that are thousands of years old.

Find them at Nkuku for £28.50 for a set of two mugs.

Eco-Friendly Gift Ideas To Wear

Give your loved ones something beautiful but practical to wear with these fun ideas:

Socks

I am one of those people who absolutely loves receiving socks as a gift. If your loved one is too, then try this set of three fun ethical socks from Leiho. For every set of these unisex eco-friendly socks sold, Leiho will be donating another 3 pairs to a homeless person, making this a great charitable gift idea.

Find it at Wearth for £33, or check out my guide to ethical socks for more sock-based gift ideas.

Winter Woollies

I bought myself one of these handknitted lambswool hats from That Lovely Weekend and was blown away by the little box of joy that arrived. I swear, it was so beautifully packaged in plastic-free packaging that I almost didn’t want to open it! Open it I did though, and this lovely hat has been keeping my head so warm and cosy ever since.

Designed and made in Wiltshire, one size fits all. If the hat feels snug to begin with, be assured it will ‘give a little’ with wear.

Find it on Etsy for £34.

Eco-friendly Kids Gift Ideas

Kids are tricky to buy for. I’ve put together a ton of non-gift ideas that might help you out. Otherwise, when buying for other people’s kids I like to keep it to the basics. Think fun clothes, good books, simple toys, or sweet treats. Here are some of my favourite ethical and eco-friendly gift ideas for kids:

Clothes

ethical gifts for kids

Toby Tiger makes wonderfully fun and bright 100% certified organic babies and kids clothes, from birth to six years. They specialise in fun patterns and timeless, almost all unisex, designs that can be worn again and again. Prices are around the £30 mark.

When it comes to buying clothes for my kids, or for other people’s kids at Christmas or for birthdays, then I’m a big fan of Frugi. Frugi ethically makes organic kids’ clothes, in ages 0 to age 10, in fun colours and prints. They are certified organic by both the Soil Association and by the Global Organic Textile Standard, meaning that as well as looking good, these clothes do good.

Toys

Every Christmas and birthday, without fail, my kids always seem to get the most long-lasting enjoyment out of classic games. This vegetable-themed tic tac toe set (£13 from Kidly), made from FSC certified wood, is sure to be a hit with little kids and big kids of all ages! The cotton pouch keeps all the pieces together when you’re not playing with it. However, it looks so good that you may just want to leave it out on your table!

If you’re considering buying a wooden toy as a gift, then do check out my guide to wooden toys, as not all wooden toys are necessarily eco-friendly.

This Bauhaus-inspired fox puzzle from ESNAFTOYS, available via Etsy (£31.72), is entirely handmade. Lovingly crafted with beech and oak, it is then finished with eco-friendly paints. Designed for kids to construct – with magnets making construction that little bit easier. As a clever touch, a fox pendant is also included for kids or grownups to wear.

Books

eco books for kids

Tidy is a fun environmental book for little kids that isn’t too in your face about it, which I think is a great way to normalise environmentalism. Pete the badger likes everything to be neat and tidy at all times, but what starts as the collecting of one fallen leaf escalates and ends with the complete destruction of the forest. Will Pete realise the error of his ways and set things right? This cautionary tale of overenthusiastic neatness delivers its message of environmental preservation with subtlety and humour. This makes for one of those great eco-friendly gift ideas for kids up to around age 6.

Find it on Wordery for £6.99 and free delivery.

nature trail by Benjamin Zephaniah and illustrated by Nila Aye

Another great book for younger kids is Nature Trail, by the poet Benjamin Zephaniah, and wonderfully illustrated by Nila Aye.

This joyful celebration of nature reminds us all to take a closer look at the world around us, and enjoy the wonder of nature wherever we find it. Packed with animals and minibeasts galore, this imaginative rhyming text is perfect for reading aloud. I bought this in the summer, and have had many a great bedtime since then reading this with my 5-year-old.

Find it at Bookshop.org for £12.08

Older Kids

eco book for older kids

Through illustrations, maps, and infographics, bestselling author Rachel Ignotofsky, explains how our planet works. From its incredible ecosystems and the plants and animals that live there to the importance of biodiversity, weather cycles, and more. With additional information on the dangers of climate change and ideas for how to protect Planet Earth, this is a great book for kids aged 8 plus.

Find it on Wordery for £11.37 and free delivery.

Treats

vegan dairy free chocolate for kids

Looking for a little eco-friendly something to stuff in a stocking? These Play In Choc boxes contains two individually wrapped, deliciously creamy, organic, and dairy-free chocolates and a delightful cardboard toy to assemble. The toy is one of a series of 18 to collect, and also comes with its own fun facts educational info card. Find them at Ethical Superstore for £3.50 per box.

I hope you find these eco-friendly gift ideas useful! As I said, I will be adding to this post – so think of this as an ever-evolving post. As such, do check back when you are in need of ethical gift inspiration!

Life & Style, Special Occasions

The Ultimate Guide to an Eco-Friendly & Sustainable Halloween

Have a real ghoul time this year with this ultimate guide to having an eco-friendly and sustainable Halloween. From environmentally friendly costumes to planet-friendly decorations and treats, you’ll be sure to pick up some eerie-sistable ideas!

Do you know what the scariest part of Halloween is? It’s not the talk of ghosts and ghouls in the air, but the sheer amount of waste we collectively produce.

Apparently, an estimated 2,000 tonnes of plastic waste – equivalent to 83m bottles – is generated from throwaway Halloween clothing sold by leading retailers in the UK each year. Meanwhile, when it comes to pumpkins, the picture is no better. 60% who buy pumpkins to carve say they dispose of the inner flesh. Meanwhile, 80% say they don’t consider pumpkins’ primary purpose as a food item.

However, I’m no ghoul. I don’t think Halloween should be cancelled. Far from it. I am all about celebrating and bringing cheer to the dark nights. What I do think is that we can turn these frightening statistics around with a bit of thought and consideration to the planet.

The Ultimate Guide to Having an Eco-Friendly and Sustainable Halloween

Image of black paper bats with a blue text box that says the ultimate guide to an eco-friendly and sustainable halloween

To treat lightly on the planet, but still have some hair-raising fun, here are some truly spooktacular ideas for greening Halloween. From costumes to food, to decor, it’s all here!

Sustainable Halloween Costumes

The most sustainable option when it comes to Halloween costumes is to use what you already have. Can you put together a fun costume from items of clothing you already own? If you’re struggling, can you borrow something from a friend? Or have a Halloween costume swap if you don’t want to wear the same costume as the previous year? If it’s for kids, can you swap costumes with other parents?

If you can’t find what you need in your own wardrobe, or that of a friends, then the next most sustainable option is to buy secondhand. Some of my favourite places for secondhand Halloween costumes are Oxfam Online*, eBay*, and Facebook Marketplace. If you have time, do also try your local charity shops, as many save up costumes they have been donated to sell in October.

If you can’t find what you want secondhand, then renting a costume is another sustainable option. Search online for Halloween costume rental options near you.

If you want to make your own costume, then the only limit is your imagination. Try my guide to homemade Halloween costumes for kids for some clever ideas.

Sustainable Halloween Treats

sustaianble halloween food

It’s Bone-Appetit (see what I did there?!) with these eco-friendly and sustainable Halloween treat ideas.

For Halloween Parties

If you are hosting a Halloween party then you are spoiled for choice when it comes to eco-friendly food. BBC Good Food has tons of vegan Halloween recipes. From vegan nachos, to pumpkin hummus, squash stews, and vegan toffee apples there’s a host of ghoulish treats to choose from. Tangerine pumpkins and banana ghosts also go down well with little kids.

For Trick or Treaters

For a sustainable Halloween, I would normally advocate making your own treats. However, for trick or treaters, I opt for packaged treats. Allergies, viruses, and general safety concerns mean I feel better handing over items that aren’t homemade.

Thankfully, there are many ethical alternatives to regular chocolate and sweets brands. Lookout for products that are Fairtrade (like these mini chocolates*), or are Certified Organic, or have other independent certifications.

If these options are above your budget, or too tricky to come by, then I say it’s totally fine to opt for sweet treats that you find in your local shops. Sweet wrappers can be recycled using soft plastic recycling schemes available at some supermarkets, including the Co-Op and Morrisons.

If you can’t eat any leftover unopened sweets that you don’t want to eat, then consider how you can reduce food waste. Can you pass them on to someone who could? Or a local foodbank?

Planet-Friendly Decorations

two spooky pumpkins

Halloween really lends itself to eco-friendly and sustainable decorations. After all, it has its roots in the transition of summer into winter. The fact that it has always been traditionally held on 31st October is significant because this is the last day of the harvest.  Decorating with fruit, vegetables and other natural materials is a great way to go to honour these traditions.

Pick A Pumpkin Or Two

I grew up in Scotland in the 1980s carving neeps (turnips) at Halloween. These carved jack o’lanterns are eminently spookier than pumpkins, but a total nightmare to carve. If you value your fingers, then pick a pumpkin instead. There are heaps of pumpkin growers across the UK. For the lowest carbon footprint, find a pumpkin patch local to you and pick up a pumpkin or two.

Carve pumpkins to your heart’s content – just don’t forget to use the innards to make soups, stews, or curries. For extra zero-waste points, you can even roast the pumpkin seeds to make a tasty snack. Afterward Halloween has been and gone, don’t forget to compost the pumpkin in your food waste bin or compost heap.

Alternatively, some people suggest leaving your pumpkin outside in your garden for animals to eat. If you do this, make sure to remove any candle wax, paint or other embellishments you may have used. I have read reports that pumpkin may be harmful to hedgehogs, but I can’t find any official information on this. If you wish to err on the side of caution, then popping your discarded pumpkin up in a tree in your garden for birds and squirrels to eat gets round this prickly issue.

Other Eco-Friendly Halloween Decoration Ideas

As well as pumpkins, there are plenty of low waste ways to decorate at Halloween.

The most sustainable action would be to keep using the Halloween decorations you already own. There’s no need to throw items away just because they are made of plastic. Reusing what we already own is the pinnacle of sustainability, so bring out the plastic pumpkins, skeletons, or bats with pride!

If you are looking to add some more Halloween decorations to your life, then another idea would be to source secondhand Halloween decor items that you can reuse year after year. Whether that’s an ornament, banners or decorations for the outside of your home. I would try eBay or Facebook marketplace for these types of items.

Make Your Own Decorations

The other green option is to make your own. The internet is awash with homemade Halloween decorations. If you’ve got an empty tin can and some white fabric then you’ve got a spooky tin can ghost. If you’ve got some black paper, you’ve got some plastic-free bats for your walls. Or if you’ve got some leftover wool, you’ve got some ghost tassels to hang up. Spent 5 minutes on Pinterest and I promise you can gather tons of plastic-free and zero-waste ideas that will leave your house looking spooktacular!

Any other sustainable Halloween tips? Do share!