woman holding wrapped present

Are you looking for plastic-free gift ideas? Well, look no further! This post will share a few of our favorite eco-friendly gift ideas to help reduce holiday waste.

It’s important to reduce our waste all year through and be especially conscious of it around the holidays when shopping and consumption habits increase. Only 9% of plastic actually gets recycled, the rest of single-use plastic ends up in landfills, waterways, and the oceans. During the holiday season waste in the United States rises to 6.25 pounds per person per day, or 43.75 pounds each week.

To help reduce this number, shop consciously and purchase items that are free of single-use plastic and come in recycled paper packaging.

From beeswax wraps to consumable gifts, there is something for everyone on this list. So let’s get started and spread some environmental cheer this holiday season! Plus, download our free gift tags at the bottom of the blog and print them at home for a personal touch.

Beeswax wraps

For the foodie

Do you know someone who loves to cook, bake, or go out to eat? They’re an all-around food lover and any of these items would make a perfect gift for them. 

  1. Beeswax wraps: Instead of using plastic cling wrap for food storage and freshness, try reusable beeswax wraps. They make a great stocking stuffer!
  2. Produce bags: Single-use plastic produce bags provided by the supermarket are wasteful and unnecessary. Gift reusable ones so they never have to use plastic again.
  3. Snack bags: These sleek and affordable reusable silicone snack bags make a perfect gift for a friend or family member still going to the office or with kids’ lunches to pack. 
  4. Compost bin: A countertop bin for food scraps makes a perfect and functional gift for someone looking to be less wasteful in the kitchen.
  5. Apron: Find a custom apron on Etsy or, if you’re crafty, sew one yourself for someone who loves to cook!
  6. Loose-leaf tea and tea infuser: Purchase loose-leaf tea and a reusable tea infuser for the tea lover in your life. Supermarket brand tea often comes in plastic-lined PET plastic that is deemed safe for food and beverage but releases microplastics into the environment after disposal. 
  7. Restaurant gift card: Find a gift card for a favorite local restaurant in your area.
  8. Cooking class: Cooking classes are a fun way to try new recipes. Look for a local class in your giftee’s city or town. This is extra fun if you attend together!
  9. A gift card to a bulk food store or refill store: Refill and zero waste stores are popping up across Canada and the USA. If there is one near you or your giftee, and you know they’d love something special from the location, pick up a gift for them.
  10. Baked goods made with ingredients that come in paper packaging like eggs make a sweet treat!
  11. Consumable gifts like chocolate, cookies, cocktail ingredients, pasta, or hot sauce. It’s always best to support local businesses when you can, look for shops that carry small business-made products and wrap their gifts in paper.
Reusable Products

For the plastic-free beginner

This set of gifts is essential for getting someone started on their plastic-free journey. The must-have items will be used for a long time to come and are sure to set a good habit in motion.

  1. Reusable water bottles: There are a variety of different reusable water bottles on the market, made from materials such as glass, stainless steel, and bamboo.
  2. Reusable coffee cup: A reusable coffee mug is another great way to reduce their reliance on single-use plastics. They are often made from ceramics, stainless steel, or glass and you can choose one that best fits their personality!
  3. A to-go cutlery set: Wooden cutlery is eco-friendly and stylish, and can be used over and over again. This is perfect for someone who is on the go and makes a great stocking stuffer!
  4. A fabric lunch bag: Find a lunch bag that best suits your giftee’s style. This will encourage them to pack more waste-free lunches and eat out less.
  5. Customized tote bag: You can never have enough tote bags! Find some cute cloth bags on Etsy or at a local shop near you. The tote bag also makes the perfect gift bag for anything else you’re giving them!
Christmas Crafts

For the hard-to-buy-for

There is always someone on your list that is difficult to buy for. They may have everything they need or you’re not familiar with what they like. These gifts are perfect for when you’re wondering what to get them.

  1. Handmade gifts: Nothing shows care and appreciation for someone more than something handmade. You could use recycled materials to make a Christmas tree ornament, a piece of pottery, photo magnets, soap, or bath bombs. 
  2. Children’s paper crafts: Show a grandparent or neighbor some love and have your little ones create cute egg carton crafts like these.
  3. Knitted scarves or mittens: Wool does not contribute to microplastic pollution. Therefore, it is fully biodegradable and makes a cozy gift that everyone can use! Purchase from your favorite clothing store or learn to make them yourself.
  4. A plant: Succulents, cacti, or gardening seeds and bulbs are a gift that brings some greenery and care into everyday life. 
  5. Vegetable grow kit: Encourage your favorite people to waste fewer vegetables from the supermarket and grow their own at home.
  6. Normalize giving second-hand gifts: Toys, thrift clothes, vinyl records, antiques, coffee mugs, preloved board games, classic books, vintage accessories, bikes and sports equipment, collectible items like trading cards, teapots or teacups, and vintage toys are all items that can be purchased second-hand and make great gifts. Find items at local consignment shops, local Facebook Marketplace groups, or on eBay. 
mason jar cookie ingredients

Mason jar gifts

These gifts are for when you want to give something personal that is also fun and practical. Plus, the mason jar can be repurposed!

  1. Spa Kit: Fill your mason jar with items for them to have a relaxing day spa at home! Include items like a face mask, hand cream, nail polish, a nail file, and foot scrub. 
  2. Cookie Recipe Kit: Pick a favorite, simple recipe for cookies, hot chocolate, or brownies. Layer the dry ingredients in a mason jar. Seal and tie the recipe to the outside of the jar.
  3. Craft Kit: For this ‘Art in a Jar’, fill the mason jar with 10-12 small and simple craft items like markers, crayons, colored paper scraps, scissors, washi tape, buttons, and more. Alternatively, include the instructions and supplies for a specific craft.

Though it may seem daunting, recycling is crucial for waste management. By understanding what numbers and types of plastic to recycle, as well as reducing our reliance on single-use plastics through choosing refillable items and paper packaging, we can collectively make a difference. Learning how to recycle properly and consulting your municipal rules and regulations ensures that you are doing your part for our planet. What changes will you make in your everyday life to reduce your plastic waste? Share the ways with #ditchplasticpackaging.

This holiday season, give your loved ones something that will help reduce their plastic waste footprint. From reusable tote bags to compost bins, there are plenty of options for eco-friendly gifts that will make a difference. Not only will they be reducing their impact on the environment, but they’ll also think of you every time they use their new gift! So go ahead and ditch the single-use items this year – your friends and family will thank you for it and might just learn a little more about reducing their plastic waste.

Are you giving plastic-free gifts? Share your ideas with us using #ditchplasticpackaging. Follow us on Facebook, Instagram, or Pinterest.