Eco Friendly Gifts: 5 Last-Minute Gift Ideas

Photo: CC0 Public Domain / Unsplash - Nynne Schrøder (L); Daniel Hjalmarsson (R)

Eco-friendly gifts do not have to be homemade. Check out these environmentally friendly last minute gift ideas – your friends and family will love them.

Every year it’s the same: It’s almost Christmas, Mother’s Day, or our best friend’s birthday and we’ve forgotten to get them a gift. Last-minute selections are also usually close to blatantly obvious. But not this year: we’ve gathered recommendations for nice, meaningful, and eco-friendly last-minute gifts readily available on short notice.

Always a Good Eco-Friendly Gift: Reusable Water Bottles

Reusable Water Bottle like Klean Kanteen
Reusable plastic bottles look great and are sustainable. (Foto © Klean Kanteen, Aladdin, Soulbottle)

A reusable water bottle is a must-have accessory for any responsible consumer. It’s a sign that we’re fed up with single-use PET bottles and are doing our part to fight the global plastic problem – especially that of plastic in the oceans. Buy funky and fashionable water bottles at any well-stocked sport, outdoor, or fair trade store.

Does your friend or family member already own a reusable glass or metal water bottle? No problem. You can go plastic-free in more areas of daily life, e.g. with eco-friendly gifts such as a reusable coffee mug or a stylish new cloth or canvas tote bag.

Just remember: Plastic-free shopping and living is the way to go. Both reusable mugs or bags fit easily into any purse or satchel, so if you have one packed away you’ll always be prepared. Whether for that coffee on-the-go or a spur of the moment grocery run: These eco-friendly gifts simply make life easier.

Be sure to check out Life without Plastic: Easy Tips for Everyone for even more inspiring ideas for eco-friendly gifts.

Eco-Friendly Gift Idea: Annual Magazine Subscription

Eco-friendly gifts magazine subscriptions
Bei on the lookout for paperless magazine subscriptions. (Photo: CC0 Public Domain / Unsplash - Jonathan Simcoe)

The gift that keeps on giving – share an entire year’s worth of information on environmental protection, consumerism, economics, or nutrition with an annual magazine subscription. With a subscription to an environmentally focused publication, your last-minute gift brings not only joy to your recipient, but a good year’s worth of new, sustainable ideas straight to their household (or handheld device).

Subscriptions cost less than you think – anywhere from $10-50/year, depending on the magazine. You can also make this gift as eco-friendly as possible by sending your loved one a digital subscription in order to save on paper. Be absolutely sure that the person you’re gifting the subscription to will actually read it! Otherwise this gift isn’t exactly all too eco-friendly. 

An Eco-Friendly Gift For Foodies: A DIY Meal Delivery Box

Meal box basket ingredients
Eco-friendly gifts you make yourself add a personal touch to sustainable presents. (Photo: Utopia)

Subscription meal delivery boxes are a popular new trend: Delivery services pre-pack all the ingredients you’ll need to whip a tasty dish and drop them off at your doorstep. However, the ingredients often come from far away and with a lot of plastic packaging. Turn this idea into an eco-friendly gift for your friends and family by putting together your own homemade version of a meal delivery box.

Are you friends big on baked goods? Here’s an idea: Throw together a basket full of tasty ingredients for any number of festive holiday favorites such as homemade gingerbread, a scrumptious vegan apple pie recipe or a homemade Lebkuchen recipe (German gingerbread cookies). The possibilities are endless! Keep this creative gift as eco-friendly as possible by only including natural organic ingredients. This way you ensure no harmful chemicals were used in producing any part of your out-of-the-box homemade recipe package.

Since you want to keep ingredients as fresh as possible, it makes sense to pack the box right before you give it – the perfect last-minute eco-friendly gift.

Utopia’s tip: Check out our guide on sustainable Christmas gift wrapping ideas to make your holiday gift exchange waste-free. These sustainable wrapping techniques will give your presents a personal touch.

Donate to Environmental Groups

Eco-friendly gifts sustainable donations environmental groups nature conservancy
Donate to an environmental organization of your choice in somebody else’s name. (Photo: CC0 Public Domain / Unsplash - Tom Quandt)

Most of us already have everything we need. If that’s the case, it can be better to offer a monetary gift in the form of donation to eco-friendly projects in the name of the recipient. There are endless possibilities. Just be sure that the organization or project you choose is eco-friendly and supports a cause you and the recipient of the gift would stand behind.

Are your friends or family fond of animals? One charitable donation option is the Defenders of Wildlife, a wildlife conservancy group based in the United States. They have declared it their mission to prevent species from becoming endangered, protect existing habitats and threatened species as well as restore the health of animals and their environments. They’re involved in numerous projects ranging from conversation efforts of red wolves, Florida manatees and prairie chickens to habitat restoration and protection all over the country. Defenders of Wildlife accepts one-time donations as well as monthly donations.

Another more renowned environmental organization is the Sierra Club. The Sierra Club is the largest grassroots environmental groups active in the United States with over 3.5 million members and supporters. The group is involved in a wide range of sustainable projects concerning clean air and energy, protection of wildlife and and our Earth’s natural resources, social justice and many more. A donation to this conservancy group makes for an eco-friendly gift to your friends, loved ones and our planet’s future.

Additional well-known and respected environmental groups and organizations you want to consider are the Global Footprint Network, the International Fund for Animal Welfare, the Marine Conservation Institute or the National Audubon Society.

The eco-friendly gift of giving will help to make the world a better place. Look into some donation-worthy environmental groups of your choice today and check off that last-minute gift by tomorrow!

Plant Some Trees

Eco-friendly gifts plant some trees one tree planted non-profit organization
Eco-friendly gift that keeps on giving: Plant a tree. (Photo: CC0 Public Domain / Unsplash - pine watt)

This environmental charity sets itself apart from the rest. Just one dollar donated to the environmentalist non-profit One Tree Planted will do exactly what the name entails: Plant one tree. The mission of this respected organization is simple: Make helping the environment easier.

One Tree Planted is busy planting trees in more than a dozen U.S. states and across three Canadian provinces. Their efforts assist in reforestation efforts after significant losses such as those experienced in the aftermath of California’s wildfires.

Not only is this non-profit active in the United States, but they’re currently planting trees in countries across South America, Asia and Africa. How is this for an eco-friendly gift idea that keeps on giving?

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This article was translated from German into English. You can view the original here: 15 nachhaltige Last-Minute-Geschenke.

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