10 eco-friendly gift ideas
Are you shopping for someone who’s serious about sustainability? Check out our pick of planet-friendly gifts, from rucksacks made from recycled plastic to candles created from restaurant waste (yes, really!). Don’t forget to wrap them up in recyclable (or better yet, reusable) wrapping paper.
Make sure to check out our 2020 Christmas gifts hub for personalised gifts, boozy bottles and more top gift picks for food lovers, too.
We all know takeaway hot drink cups aren’t environment-friendly, but reusable plastic are often unsatisfying to use. The solution? A ceramic travel mug. Libby Ballard makes tumbler-sized ceramic mugs (ideal for flat whites and lattes) and larger mugs (for longer drinks), each featuring a silicone band for easy grip and matching lid. Her designs are hand thrown and glazed in Bristol for a unique finish. Available from Libby Ballard (£25-£27).
Millican rucksacks are veterans of adventure: their outer and lining fabric are recycled from plastic waste. The 15-litre Core Roll Pack has a bottle pocket and an internal laptop sleeve, and it comes in a range of nature-inspired colours: night-time black, sunset orange, ocean teal and sky blue. Available from Millican (£70).
Artisan Hazel transforms reclaimed oyster shells from her local seafood restaurant in Cornwall into elegant candles, filled with eco soy and coconut wax and trimmed with gold leaf. She also cleverly incorporates discarded mussel, oyster, lobster and crab shells into her range of terrazzo-style jewellery and homewares (including planters, soap dishes, trays and more), all made from non-toxic, solvent-free resin. Waste not, want not! Available from Badger and Birch (£30).
Help kids interact with nature with personalised seed packets made by Jennifer, a designer/zoologist based in Scotland: plant a wildflower meadow, feed the birds or grow sprouts or carrots for Christmas 2021. Jennifer’s studio is powered by 100 per cent renewable electricity, the cello bags used in the seed packets are plant-based and compostable, and the business has helped plant over 700 trees as part of the World Land Trust’s Plant A Tree project in Borneo. Available from Summer Lane Studio (£5.95-£6.50 each).
Avoid the shops (and all that unnecessary packaging) and craft something yourself that won’t end up in landfill. We’ve got plenty of ideas to inspire you, from classic fudge and shortbread to chilli oil and salted caramel whisky sauce.
If 2020 was the year we first went mad for hand sanitiser, 2021 will be the year we upgrade: Mary Temperley’s luxe version is made with 68 per cent pure apple alcohol distilled at her parents’ Burrow Hill cider farm in Somerset and scented with essential oils. When it’s all used up, send the glass bottle back to be refilled and receive a £5 discount. Available from Make Skincare (£15).
Looking for a sustainable stocking filler? Tala’s new product works just like clingfilm (cut the roll to size to cover bowls or wrap food) but the bright leaf-patterned pieces can be used over and over again. While many reusable wraps contain beeswax, this roll is coated in sustainably sourced soy wax and organic tree resin, making it a vegan-friendly choice. Available from Tala Cooking (£13.99).
This neat stick delivers a cup of full-bodied cafetière-quality coffee or loose-leaf tea directly to your mug, avoiding the need for wasteful coffee filters or teabags. Good for the time-pressed or space-tight (ideal for camping or a quick cuppa when you’re working), the handy pot catches drips and provides standing storage. Available from Barista & Co (£11.99).
Is wasteful wrapping paper your bugbear? Joiful’s cotton gift bags are just the ticket for housing smaller gifts – and can be reused year after year (by either you or the recipient), or to house ornaments or cookie cutters. Printed using sustainable water-based inks, the range features quaint illustrations by independent designers. Festive themes include ‘Cosy Christmas’ (stockings, Christmas trees, candles) and ‘Gingerbread’ (iced cookies, mugs of cocoa and holly leaves) – and you can a add wooden tag with initial for a personal touch (£6). What’s more, a tree is planted for each purchase. Available from Joiful Designs (medium 20x28cm, £11.99, large 30 x 42cm, £17.99).
Give a pre-loved present
Who says gifts have to be new? There are fantastic bargains to be found on second-hand homewares on sites like Ebay and Gumtree, if you’re willing to spend time browsing – set up an alert on Ebay if you’re after something specific. Country House Library is home to a lovely curated collection of vintage cookbooks and there’s retro kitchenware galore available on Etsy.
Subscribe to our magazine
Food lovers, treat yourself this Christmas... Enjoy 12 months of magazines for £29.99 – just £2.50 an issue.Subscribe
Unleash your inner chef
Looking for inspiration? Receive the latest recipes with our newsletter