Maintaining a green lifestyle means incorporating sustainability into every aspect of your life. Sometimes, though, this sentiment can be challenging. For example, your friends or families may not be as accepting of sustainable alternatives when it comes to eating vegan or vegetarian meals. This resistance can make entertaining at your home or hosting a family meal somewhat of a daunting task. Thankfully, giving sustainable gifts is a much easier ground to navigate for the dedicated vegan. Online platforms like Etsy have boosted small business visibility, making finding sustainably sourced gifts much more manageable.
Logging on to Etsy and searching “sustainable swimwear” or “sustainable jewelry” can yield many results that you may struggle to sift through when you have a specific style or aesthetic in mind for your earth-friendly gift. Luckily, The Green Parent has got you covered with some distinctive, sustainable presents that are sure to be loved by whoever receives them. This gift guide covers everything from sustainable swimwear or fine jewelry to sustainable candles—all of which are sure to get a certificate of approval from everyone from Los Angeles to New York! With this blog post, you’ll find the perfect gift for your loved one made with friendly materials and fair wages.
Give the sustainable gift that nearly all women can appreciate.
Grouping the broad demographic of “women” into a single category for gifting is hardly ever beneficial to anyone involved. Pro tip: cleaning supplies are rarely a good route to take, no matter how much your mom seems to enjoy cleaning. Nevertheless, there is one undeniable truth that nearly every woman can agree on: the value of a good candle. The internet is stocked full of artisan candles from talented artists who excel in working with raw materials. If you are searching for a friendly gift with a minimal environmental impact, consider checking out the Candles at Cans shop on Etsy.
Candles in Cans is a small, LGBTQ+ run business that crafts high-quality, all-natural soy wax candles to be placed in up-cycled packaging. Some vegans may be hesitant to use beeswax products for the sustainability of bees, so soy products are an excellent alternative when it comes to raw materials. At this shop, you’ll find artisan scents like summer rain and blood orange sherbet packed into everything from Trader Joe’s coconut milk cans to glass jars that once contained marmalade. These make a perfect gift for the friend concerned about their carbon footprint or anyone with eclectic tastes.
A few notable zero-waste accessories from this shop include their Saharan coconut-scent poured into a sea salt crystals shaker and their peach noir scent nestled snugly in a Campbell’s soup can. In 2019, the EPA estimated that the average person generated 4.9 pounds of trash per person per day. This accumulated to a total of 292.4 million tons of waste over the course of a year! Upcycling waste products like food containers is a creative way to craft eco-friendly gifts, and Candles in Cans executes it perfectly. If your gift recipient is a foodie, consider checking their Etsy page for a candle poured into a pantry staple they love for a customized product that they will cherish. Artisan entrepreneurs can provide earth-friendly gifts that are unique to each gift recipient. Every person is special. Give them a sustainable gift that’s as rare as they are.
Shop an ethical jewelry brand.
Often, when shopping for a best friend or partner, your mind first drifts to jewelry. Jewelry is a thoughtful gift that a person can use daily and can be a sweet reminder of the person who gifted it to them. Unfortunately, the fashion industry can be highly wasteful. The recent rise of fast fashion brands like Shein are not built to last, meaning they will likely end up in a U.S. landfill over time. The jewelry industry is no exception. It can be challenging to find jewelry supply chains that incorporate ethically sourced gemstones and precious metals. So how can you be sure your everyday wear is crafted through an eco-friendly production process? Consider shopping for ethical jewelry with small suppliers, like Wicked Wire Crafts.
Wicked Wire Crafts is a self-taught, woman-owned sustainable jewelry brand that specializes in wire-wrapped gemstones. These gems are used to create gorgeous necklaces, earrings, bracelets, and pendants. These one-of-a-kind pieces are not birthed in a workshop. Instead, each piece of jewelry is crafted by Michaela, the owner. She typically releases weekly product drops by announcing them on Instagram. The Instagram handle for this shop is @wickedwirecrafts, but you can find several sustainable jewelry items ranging from minimalist citrine and copper rings to gold and opal sun and moon pendants on her website, wickedwirecrafts.com. Michaela is a human rights activist in her local community and takes pride in creating durable, unique designs with sustainability and wearer’s comfort in mind.
Not only does Wicked Wire Crafts strictly use recyclable packaging, but each gem or jewel is sourced through cruelty-free means, eliminating the possibility of supporting child labor production. Michaela, the shop owner, knows the miners who carve every gem used in her sustainable jewelry line. This familiarity with suppliers allows Wicked Wire Crafts to gems back to their origin to ensure ethical sourcing and fair trade. Additionally, the metal used for wire wrapping is produced by a fully solar-powered scrap metal processing plant. The best thing about these beautiful pieces is that the means through which they were created were labors of sustainability and love.
Customized sustainability efforts take more time to execute than mass-produced jewelry items, so try to order ahead to ensure your new piece is in stock and ready to ship when you need it. These hand-crafted pieces make a great gift for the person in your life who loves gemstones and jewelry made from natural materials. For tips on longevity for the sustainable jewelry wearer, check out Wicked Wire Craft’s website for jewelry care instructions. Their jewelry care guidelines cover U.V. protection, removal of microscopic dust, and which towel will be safest for gentle gemstone cleaning.
Sustainability practices can make a special occasion even more special.
Depending on your gift recipient’s level of activism, the sustainability of your gift may add something special to the occasion. For example, suppose the friend or family member who will be receiving your gift was born in February and loves jewelry that incorporates her birthstone. A great option for you would be to check Wicked Wire Craft’s website for amethyst jewelry. Amethyst and other gemstones can hold elements of empowerment. Knowing their jewelry was created with a sustainable future in mind will only add to the gems’ inspiration. Telling your gift recipient where their jewelry came from and that the timeless design is one of a kind will be just as special as the sustainable product itself.
Suppose the person receiving your gift loves the ocean. In this case, a sustainable gift, like a bikini from Summersalt (a swimwear brand that reduces ocean waste and benefits the ecosystem), not only shows them that you care about the environment but that you care about their interests as well. Giving the gift of a positive social impact can be much more meaningful than choosing a gift from a supply chain that may end up in a landfill as consumer waste in the long run.
Give the gift of summer readiness by shopping sustainable swimwear brands.
Many people are unaware that some swimwear is made with synthetic fibers containing toxic chemicals. Since your swimwear is directly touching your bare skin, it is beneficial to the environment and your body to seek sustainable swimwear made with eco-friendly materials. Swimwear brands are abundant, so it can be tough to know where to start your search for eco-friendly swimwear. The good news is that earth-friendly swimwear brands are available and affordable, for example, Summersalt and Mara Hoffman. Summersalt’s swimwear is made from 78% recycled polyamide. The fabric scraps used to create eco-friendly swimwear are made from consumer waste materials, like nylon from old fishing nets. The best part about the source of these fabric scraps is that they are pulled directly from the ocean.
Our planet’s oceans are plagued with plastic waste from items like straws and water bottles, nylon waste from fishnets, and even polyester fiber and spandex from old clothing. Your gift recipient will be delighted to know that they are reducing ocean pollution and being sustainably fashionable all in one! According to the Summersalt sustainability FAQ page on their website, they practice responsible sourcing in every aspect of their business. Their sustainability practices begin with their ocean conservancy and end with recycled packaging. A few sustainable materials that Summersalt uses in products and packaging include TENCEL, recycled nylon, and recycled FSC certified paper.
Fishnets are a significant contributor to ocean pollution, so upcycling them into durable swimwear is an amazing practice to become a part of. The planet-friendly swimwear from each of these brands ranges from bikinis to one-piece suits, so you can be sure to find swimwear for any gift recipient, regardless of body type or aesthetics. Their ethical swimwear website provides helpful information about body measurements and the coverage of bodysuits. The signature eco swimwear fabric they use for production offers UPF 50+ protection as an added perk. Sun cream can contain swimsuit material staining properties, so try to avoid any that have Avobenzone to keep your eco swimsuit in tip-top shape.
If you want to shop for eco-friendly apparel but you are unsure that swimwear is the best gift for your person, Summersalt also produces sustainable fashion in the form of loungewear, activewear, and sleepwear garments. For present recipients with a less casual wardrobe, peruse the beautiful garments by New York City-based designer Mara Hoffman for the perfect fit.
Get cozy and creative with your sustainable gift idea.
One idea for a meaningful, sustainable gift is one that incorporates something you and the recipient can do together. For instance, plan a picnic and give them a fair trade, eco-friendly blanket for them to take on your outing. The most comfortable fabric for blankets is cotton. However, according to the New Textiles Economy Report, cotton is responsible for 16% of all pesticide usage in the world. So how can you obtain maximum comfort with sustainable fabric? Consider buying organic cotton from a reputable source.
One fair trade certified option for 100% organic cotton blankets is Boll & Branch. If you and the person receiving your gift are less outdoorsy and more of the stay-in and watch a movie type, check out The Citizenry for handwoven or knit artisan blankets. While these are not all made from organic cotton, they are made from all-natural, cozy fabrics sourced through fair trade practices. These sustainable fabrics range from linen to hemp and incorporate global cultural styles like traditional tribal designs made by local artisans. The Citizenry creates sustainable relationships with these local artisans by traveling to each country and using only natural fibers for small batches of blankets made from friendly fabrics. Then, the sustainable products are sold directly to consumers online, eliminating the middleman and ensuring source traceability and honest labor practices.
What about extra special occasions?
You may be searching for a sustainable gift idea because you are celebrating a wedding, or perhaps you are looking at engagement rings yourself. In this case, you will want to shop with brands that use conflict-free diamonds in their fine jewelry line. Jewelry producers must be transparent about the precious metals and jewels they use. This demand for transparency is due to the growing awareness of unsafe working conditions and ecosystem destruction that has been associated with the production and trade of essential fine jewelry items like platinum, sterling silver, diamonds, and pearls. Finding ethical jewelry retailers isn’t impossible, but it does take a bit of research. Don’t worry, though, we’ve done most of it for you! Consider checking out this Time magazine-backed article from Diamond Foundry regarding the specifics of harmful fine jewelry production for more information regarding the destruction of ecosystems and hazardous working conditions in the jewelry industry.
If you have landed on KBH Jewels for carbon-neutral fine jewelry, you’re in the right place. All of their ethical products are entirely reclaimed. Turning industrial waste into new materials to be cherished for years to come is the KBH Jewels mission statement. Another great option for ethically sourced diamonds is Catbird. Catbird is an NYC jewelry provider that specializes in sustainably sourced diamonds. If you are not New York-based, don’t worry. Catbird can source, supply, and ship to anywhere in the U.S. Suppose you are planning your engagement, and it includes a romantic night out. In this case, wow her with an event-specific sustainable garment from Mara Hoffman. Then, combine the two greatest loves of your life by popping the question with an ethically sourced diamond from KBH Jewels or Catbird.
Why is fair trade so important?
Sustainable living means more than just cutting out meat from your diet and using a reusable shopping bag. Eliminating your plastic pollution by opting to reuse containers and strictly consuming veggies are excellent sustainability practices. However, there is always more to be done for our planet and the people who live on it. Pay attention to the retailers you support. You may be surprised to learn about the practices a specific brand uses to source its materials and textiles. Although a company may boast natural materials, the means through which they acquired them is not always quite as ethical.
Next time you go clothes shopping, look into the source of a company’s dyes, ink, and fibers to avoid contributing to the cycle of poverty that many countries with natural resources fall into due to unfair trade practices. Child labor and workshops without proper ventilation or management of toxins harm innocent people and our environment. Checking for brands that follow fair trade practices and showcase product traceability is a great option for increasing your environmental consciousness.
Choosing to do your research into fair trade gifts for the sake of our planet is a noble cause. Not only does it show thoughtfulness for the person you are shopping for, but an earth-friendly gift idea shows mindfulness of climate change. Protecting biodiversity comes in many forms. It may look like wearing swimwear made from recycled fishing nets. Perhaps it entails sporting wire-wrapped gems sourced from miners and retailers who practice safe and sustainable business practices. Whichever route you choose to go when shopping for a gift, consider looking into eco-safe alternatives. If you are searching for a pair of gold hoops from Mejuri, check their sources! Handmade doesn’t always mean fair trade.
Overall, a planet-friendly gift doesn’t have to be a used gift. Many modern suppliers have been able to upcycle consumer waste or industrial waste into new materials. Fishnets turned bikini tops are not only a wonderful sustainable gift idea, but they make for excellent conversation too. The most important part of your gift isn’t the gift itself but the thought you put into it. Try finding inspiration for your sustainable gift ideas this holiday season by browsing shops like Wicked Wire Crafts, Catbird, Candles in Cans, and KBH Jewels. Giving your support to small businesses that use ethical sources and recycled packaging can help take away support from big corporations that contribute to industrial plastic waste and climate change.