Thinking about how someone might dispose of your holiday gift before you even buy it can feel a bit... strange. As a gift-giver, it's easy to get into a one-track mindset, focusing only on the set of socks or high-tech gadget you want to give someone. As a gift receiver, though, you know how quickly packaging adds up. That cute holiday present pile can turn into a mountain of plastic in about five minutes flat, making the case for zero-waste holiday gifts all the more appealing for you, the person you're buying for, and for the environment itself.
Since it should come as no surprise that the holidays and "minimizing waste" haven't typically been synonymous. CNN reported in 2010 that American homes create 25 percent more waste between Thanksgiving and New Year's — or an additional one million tons — per the Environmental Protection Agency. (And no, before you ask, gift wrap isn't always recyclable. Sorry.)
There is good news to all of this, though. The zero-waste movement has become more and more mainstream, bringing with it a bevy of giftable products that cut back on eventual waste, are packaged in recyclable materials, or give back to the environment in one way or another. Online stores like Package Free Shop and Zero Waste Store even use plastic-free shipping, so you can scroll, shop, and order with peace of mind.
Or, just keep on reading. Below are 11 gift-ready products that cut back on waste through recycling, reusing, and minimizing the impact of single-use plastic or other environmentally unfriendly materials. Oh, and they look chic and work great, too.
We only include products that have been independently selected by The Zoe Report's editorial team. However, we may receive a portion of sales if you purchase a product through a link in this article.
Dry hands need extra attention, and this luxe all-over oil from Kjaer Weis delivers. Sesame seed, sunflower seed, and moringa oils assist parched skin, while the brand's refillable packaging means you won't have to toss the container itself once you run out.
Break out of the plastic water bottle cycle with a chic option from Corkcicle. The slim "canteen"-style bottles are aesthetically pleasing while still easy to pop into the cup holder of a car.
Recycled cotton is used to create these incredibly stylish throw blankets — plus, a green shipping program with transparent packaging details sweetens the deal.
Sure, you know that you *can* reuse your candle tumblers, but this palo santo and rock rose pick from Esker is made for it. Each one comes with a plantable herb seed paper and a soil pod you can use in the terrazzo jar after the wax is used up.
Like a regular plastic bag, but so much better. It's totally reusable, you won't worry about it busting while you carry your groceries inside, and it can hold twice as much as the standard grocery bag.
According to the beauty brand's website, it practices a zero-waste production cycle by offering crystal facial tools with small defects (think scratches or color variations) at reduced prices. So, they aren't just discarded, and you get a good deal you can also feel good about.
Vegan, cruelty-free, and recyclable, Aether Beauty has become a gold standard within the zero-waste makeup community. And even better, this shimmer and matte palette includes shades that will pop on everyone, whether you love a simple and everyday look or extra sparkle when you're going to the grocery store.
Give the gift of an exfoliating spa night at home. Once this clay and lime mask is empty, everything can be recycled — the glass jar, aluminum lid, and paper box.
Typically speaking, if you're interested in a greener lifestyle, you've probably tested out your green thumb. If you haven't always had luck with gardening — or live in cramped quarters — try this self-watering organic pepper kit.
These scrunchies are made with Fair Trade and organic cotton and natural rubber, with the brand opting to use plastic-free packaging for shipping. Not that anyone could guess they're organic through and through, even the dyes, once you've thrown one into your hair.