This holiday season, many of us are trying to stay eco, but still give amazing presents. Wading through the multitude of eco (or eco-leaning) companies can be overwhelming any time. And with the added pressure of gift-giving, how do you decide what to buy? Well, we here at Socially Conscious Brands want to help! This curated list of companies not only offer serious eco street-cred, they are also looking to their packaging to reach zero waste gifts goals. Check these out for some unique twists on reusable materials…
These guys love wine! Their beautiful soy candles are presented in upcycled wine bottles and arrive in reusable cloth bags. The carefully balanced scents are designed to reflect your favorite varietals’ tasting notes. They also offer the most adorable matchbox, perfect for keeping those bulk matches on display!
If you’re anything like me, just hearing the word lush evokes the most wonderful olfactory sensations…But did you know, aside from the strides they’ve made towards fair trade measures and responsible ingredient choice, they also offer knot wraps. These sustainably made scarves employ Japanese traditional wrapping techniques known as furoshiki. Many of their gifts even come wrapped in a smaller version of the printed cloth.
Now here’s a business that knows how to double down! ThredUp allows you to resell those never-worns that haunt your closet, while picking up deals on new duds at the same time! But this holiday season they’re really getting into the spirit – purchases come with their limited-edition Merry Making guide, hang tags that double as gift tags (complete with blank to and from spaces), reusable holiday tissue paper, and stickers for all your present-decorating needs! Find a little special something for yourself and then use their packaging on your presents for friends and family, or shop their New With Tags section for the perfectly wrapped gift. Check out our review for all the details as well as insider tips for navigating the platform. Read Part I. Read Part II.
Update: Lite2Go is no longer available for sale, but the idea can still inspire. I leave this entry here in hopes that your imagination is illuminated.
This one is a little different, but a perfect illustration of the kind of outside-the-box thinking that all companies should employ. The light is the package. The package is the light. An all-in-one pendant light that showcases modern design in a truly zero waste gift fashion!
Yes they have beautiful clothing. Yes they manufacture responsibly in the US and abroad. And yes, it comes in velvet. For the lucky recipients of gifts from Reformation this season, they provide reusable tote bags rather than paper or plastic at their brick and mortar stores, and shipping labels are available for recycling their pieces when you’re done with them. But my favorite part is their RefScale – every piece they make includes a breakdown of its carbon footprint as compared to a similar item manufactured using today’s typical standards.
I love boxes! Wood, cardboard, traditional, artisan…but I feel silly, and often wasteful, when I buy boxes. We receive so many of them in our personal lives that it seems like we should repurpose what we have rather than contribute to the demands of making new. CauseBox gets it – every quarter they introduce you to new and covetable products by socially responsible brands, via their subscription service. You can easily set up a subscription for that special someone in your life (or treat yourself to your own), and they’ll receive an array of products in reusable, perfectly-sized cardboard boxes printed in fun colors and patterns. Stay tuned…they also occasionally offer boxes for men.
Not being the kind of person who would usually speak kindly of Walmart, I have to give credit where credit is due. The winner of their Home Entertainment Design Challenge – a contest made to identify and encourage sustainable design of personal computers – HP’s laptop is shipped and sold in a messenger bag made from recycled fibers. Check out all the eco-deets here.
Update: Like Lite2Go, I am leaving the now-closed Zhena’s teas here as a reminder. Creating a business with intention is not enough. We must support the brands that we believe in or positive change will not come.
Tea is calming, and has been known to lead to purring, so it’s the perfect gift during these stressful holiday times! With all the choices available, however, trying to find the right brand can add to the stress you’re trying to relieve. While there are many brands making a difference, I’ve picked out two that offer an exceptional product in a reusable package. The Republic of Tea gets a ton of sustainable kudos, and their reusable tins are, in my opinion, the most beautiful on the market. You can also try Zhena’s tea, socially responsible and packaged in reusable containers made from recycled stainless steel.
Zero Waste Gifts For Your DIY-Obsessed Friends
Wine and liquor bottles can be easily turned into drinking glasses. This one is my favorite how-to, but there are many around – I recommend you gift the bottles in multiples of 2 so that the recipient can make themselves a set once the bottles are empty. Don’t forget to include directions or link to a tutorial so that they don’t miss the point; that would be a pretty quick way to turn zero waste gifts into landfill fodder!
Entering the bonus round, there are a lot of bottles of wine, whiskey, etc., that come in wooden boxes. Purchase one of these and turn the box into a lamp (I love my Booker’s Whiskey box lamp), or buy a lamp kit and get creative with whatever is lying around.
Don’t forget about keeping your footprint, and your money, local! Take a trip to your favorite market, shop, or produce stand and pick up some preserves, dressings, honey, jams, or anything else you can find – if it comes in a reusable glass jar or bottle, and you forgo a store bag in favor of your trusty shopping tote, that’s zero waste gifts success! Don’t forget to decorate jars with dried herbs, flowers from your yard, and that handy homemade hang tag.