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Sustainable Gift Guide that Won’t Break Your Bank

It’s the holiday season (duh!) and if you didn’t start on black Friday you’re probably at least thinking about buying your loved ones gifts by now. This season, so many people get things they don’t want or need, and a lot ends up getting wasted. Not to mention how much waste goes towards packaging alone! This year, give your loved ones things they can really use, and may want/need even if they don’t know it yet! Oh, everything here is under $50, so you can get everyone something without leaving someone with a $15 last minute gift card. Plus, it’s always great to be able to give your loved ones something you know they’ll love, while following your own ethics in the process.

Quick tips:

  • give all your gifts in reusable shopping bags, which are usually sold for about $1 anywhere you can buy groceries. it’s basically a bonus gift that cuts down on gift wrap trash! most gift wrap is not recyclable, although almost all of Target’s brand wrap is 100% recyclable this year!
  • check to make sure any beauty products you give are vegan/ cruelty free (if honey is iffy just skip it all together)
  • buy from small name brands or custom brands, like companies you can find on Etsy, Redbubble etc.
  • I know amazon isn’t exactly the most eco-friendly company ever, but I’m trying to make this list as accessible as possible! If you can find the items that I suggest getting through amazon elsewhere, then good for you! If not, some items on Amazon prime now have a “ship in least packages” option if you end up getting a bunch of things but don’t want a ton of boxes.
  • In these 50 different gift ideas, you will find them listed into these categories: For the foodie, the eco-friend, the pet parent, the beauty guru, the animal lover, the fashionista, the green thumb, the sustainably sexy man, and DIY ideas. For every suggestion there is an embedded quick link (underlined in orange) to get you started!

 

For the foodie:

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Mini Crock Pot $8.99: Everyone should have a crock pot! This one can fit just about anywhere.

Imperfect Produce Box $15-24: A huge issue is food waste, and by buying one of these boxes you can not only save on groceries but help with food waste! These boxes send you the produce you want, it just looks a little wonky.

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Vegan Cookbook $16-$30: Mississippi Vegan, Chloe Flavor, or Vegan for Everybody are a few great books that have recipes that anyone would love (they don’t include too many tofu recipes either). I would check out your local Barnes and Noble or other book store to check out the recipes included in person, then check them on Amazon for a cheaper price. I chose these three because they include delicious recipes that you can’t find anywhere else. Just try to choose a book that doesn’t have too many super complicated recipes, and that doesn’t have too many tofu based meals as most new or non vegans don’t really dig it.

A Bunch of Vegan Candy $5-$30: your local grocery store probably has tons of vegan candy options (smarties, sour patch kids, skittles, sweedish fish, endangered species chocolate, enjoy life chocolate, etc.) but you can check out whole foods for more specialized, or order online through Thrive Market. I like Enjoy Life chocolates, Unreal Foods, Justin’s dark chocolate cups, or Cocomels.

NutriBullet $50: NutriBullets are another thing that I think just about anyone should have, and again they fit just about anywhere! You can make smoothies, soups, sauces, vegan cheeses and even make cookie dough in these bad boys.

Purple Carrot Subscription Box $32-$47: These are weekly meal plan boxes, which give you some really awesome vegan meals that you may not think of otherwise. So these boxes are a little pricey, but you can get your first box at least $25 off, or look for your favorite food bloggers for discount codes (up to $40 off!). Have your friends box delivered right in time for the holidays! I used code “VEGANTRAVELEATS” on my first box, months ago so I’m not sure if it still works but give it a shot!

Starbucks or Chipotle Giftcard + Refillable Cup $15-30: If nothing else, both of these places have tons of vegan options, and you can get your gift-e a refillable cup for discounts at Starbucks.

 

For the eco-friend:

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To-Go Ware $11-$13: These awesome bamboo reusable utensils come in handy all the time. It comes with a fork, knife, spoon and even chop sticks, in a little key chain carry case.

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Metal Straws $1-$8: You can find tons of metal straws on Amazon, even large smoothie straws. Or you can check out these super cute Mermaid Straws, which give out free straws all the time! You could also get them these awesome Net Zero Straws, which come in a compact key chain.

Terra Cycle Bin $40+: These boxes are awesome zero waste options, but very pricey. Pretty much you pay for a box which is specific to an item which is not usually recyclable, and then you send the box back and they deal with your trash. It’s a great idea but definitely needs to rethink their price range. But, you can get pretty much anyone a zero waste beauty products box, one of their least expensive options, since I’m hoping most everyone you know uses soap or shampoo.

Reusable Bottles $5-20: You can find tons of cute metal or glass bottles on Amazon or Target, and Target has sales all the time where they have tons of cute bottles for just $5.

Charcoal Filter Water Bottle $24: This awesome glass bottle has a little charcoal filter inside, which naturally filters toxins from your water and after using it over months you can reuse the charcoal as compost or an air purifier.

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Coconut Bowls $12.95: There’s a reason why these aesthetically pleasing bowls have become so popular! Your eco-friendly pal will probably love being able to go to their favorite smoothie bowl place and ask for no plastic bowls! Plus these are really easy to just rinse out in the bathroom before sticking it back in you bag on your way home.

 

For the pet parent: (Because let’s be real: I would super appreciate things for my pets instead of for myself for any holiday really)

Vegan Dog Treats $4-$10: There’s no denying that us pet parents care a lot about our pets health, sometimes more than our own! The vegan dog diet trend is growing quickly, although a lot of pet parents are iffy on it. But, dog treats are often filled with things that aren’t exactly great for your pets, so opting for something healthier post walk each day could be a great choice. You can try a brand like these or try making your own!

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Recycled Toys $10-$20: Our cuddly friends some how tear through toys in what seems like seconds after you buy them. Not to mention that a lot of the chemicals in rubber or plastic toys, and the dyes in fabric toys can be harmful to your pets health if they’re chewing on them all day! Try one of these super cute P.L.A.Y brand toys.

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A Million Dogs or A Million Cats coloring books $5-$10: When we aren’t taking care of our pets, we’re probably somewhere day dreaming about them. So give the pet lover in your life one of these adorable coloring books to keep them zen and happy thinking about all these cute animals.

Friendship Collar $25-$35: This cute concept of basically friendship bracelets but for you and your pet is to die for. They have options for dogs and cats, and all different kinds of designs. For every purchase, they donate food to animal shelters across the USA, and all their items are cruelty free.

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I.D. Tags $10-$25: So your friends cat or dog probably already has a tag on their collar, but it’s probably real basic! Get them an amazing custom tag, just put their pets name and their owners phone number!

 

For the beauty guru:

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Sunflower Sweets Serum $22: So you may have seen me post about this in my cruelty free skincare post, but I love it so much its going here as well! This serum cures all. If you don’t buy it as a gift, do yourself a favor and buy yourself one.

Pacifica Skin Care $7-20: You can find pacifica products in Target, Whole Foods, Ulta or online. They’re cruelty free and vegan! I love their skincare line and eyeshadows.

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Lush Products $5-$20: You can never go wrong with Lush products. Their bath bombs or naked products are awesome, because they have no packaging but all the awesome benefits of their packaged counterparts. Plus, they clearly label most of their products as vegan.

Kat Von D Beauty $20-$40: Kat Von D beauty is all vegan, and Kat Von D herself is vegan as well! She’s huge into animal welfare, so it’s great to support her brand. The eyeshadows and liquid lipsticks are some of the best on the market. You can buy these products in Sephora stores or online.

Too Faced Beauty $20-$40: Too Faced is another awesome cruelty free brand that recently went all vegan too. They even have a collab palette with Kat Von D. I love their liquid lipsticks as well, and they have the cutest holiday packaging out there. You can buy in Ulta, Sephora or online.

 

For the animal lover:

Adopt a Farm Animal in their name $15-$40: Adopt a farm animal in your favorite vegans name and give them the cute little adoption certificate, pictures or stuffed animal that comes with it. Look for a sanctuary near you or try “Farm Sanctuary” for opportunities. The money you spend goes directly to the care of the animal you sponsor!

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Adopt an Animal through WWF $25+: Again a similar concept but you can choose your recipients favorite animal and make a donation through WWF, you get at least a picture, species information card and certificate, and you can add more to your package, like stuffed animals or gift bags, for more $.

Take them on a tour of animal shelter or sanctuary $0+: Experiences over gifts! Take your animal loving friend to a tour of your local shelter or animal sanctuary or wild life rescue. Most areas have one within an hour drive, and it can be a great surprise and experience for you both! Plus, a lot of these give free tours or for a small donation fee. Google your area, you might be surprised how many you see.

The Soul of an Octopus Book $6-$12: This amazing book about the consciousness of an Octopus and other animals is an insightful read for anyone who believes animals can think or feel like we do. It also gives some interesting and scientific findings, along with life experiences proving it further.

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Sofia Gamand Merchandise $15+: Sofia Gamand is an amazing animal photographer who travels all over the world to photograph shelter pets to raise awareness and hopefully get more adoptions! She has made a couple books, Wet Dog and Pitbull Flower Power, and she also sells things like necklaces, phone cases, pins or art prints of her work.

The Photo Arc Book $22: In an attempt to photograph all the world’s animals, Joel Sartore documents them in this amazing coffee table book made by National Geographic.

 

For the fashionista:

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Pela Case $20-$40: Pela Case is a brand that looks to create a waste free future. Their phone cases are made from bioplastics and plant matter, and are compostable! You can even send your used case back to them for them to reuse the materials to create more cases, and you get a discount code! I love my Pela Case, it’s the first case that I haven’t broken my phone in! They have simple designs and cute colors, and even have a holiday sale going on right now.

Vegan Stickers from Redbubble $2-$7: Everyone loves stickers! They’re small, cute and inexpensive and you can put them on anything from your water bottle to your laptop. Redbubble is an online store where artists can sell their designs on things like stickers, phone cases and t-shirts. Stickers start at around $2, and go up from there, so you can buy a back of 5 and still not break your bank.

Vegan Leather Bag $20+: Finding good quality vegan leather can pose a bit of a challenge sometimes, but vegan leather in general is never far away (did you really think those $10 shoes from forever 21 could be real leather?). You can try searching online for vegan leather bags, or go to Target! Target has recently debuted a new, affordable brand called “A New Day” which has an all vegan leather hand bag line! Prices range but the most expensive bag is about $50.

 

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Wholesome Culture Shirt $27-$45:  This awesome vegan brand sells cute graphic tees with vegan, cruelty free and save the animals slogans. They also have items for men, women and children and have sales all the time.

4Ocean Plastic Bracelets $20: These cool bracelets are made from plastic removed from the ocean, and help remove more with each purchase.

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Pura Vida Bracelets $6-$30: These bracelets are handmade in Costa Rica by local artisans living in poverty. They have tons of cute designs and colors, and start at about $6 per bracelet so you can put together a cute set.

 

For the Green Thumb:

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Terrarium Kit $15-$75: Get your friend a make your own terrarium kit! There are tons of options out there and they change mattering on what you want included. This one (Syndicate Sales) comes with pretty much everything you need besides the plant for about $25 and is made from recycled material, or this one for $30. This H Potter Kit comes with the materials you would put in a terrarium for $15. This kit from The Sill is a bit pricier, but it comes with everything you need including 6 succulents for $75.

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Mini Herb Garden $20: Get them an indoor herb garden that they can grow themselves, and be proud of when they cook with! Back to the Roots sells an easy to use kit, along with other kits like aquaponics tanks, mushroom growers or chili pepper growers.

Succulent Studios Subscription $10-$20: Succulent Studios will send you 2 (or more) live succulents each month for $10. I have gotten a couple months now and I love mine! They are always super cute and good quality.

Kitchen Compost Bin $30: This convenient table top bin is perfect for food scraps in the kitchen.

 

For the sustainably sexy man:

Planet Protein $7-$24: This awesome vegan protein brand is run by “The Sustainable CEO” on Instagram, and it tries to be as low waste as possible! You can become part of their recycling program to help with any waste from your products, and plus they are in the works of making all compostable packaging. Besides all of those great aspects of the brand, these vegan proteins are delicious and pack 20-24g protein per serving.

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United by Blue T-shirts $36: These shirts have tons of cool designs that the laid back or adventurous man in your live is sure to love! Plus, every purchase removes one pound of trash from our oceans.

Bamboo Pillow and Cases $10-$40: For some reason, a lot of men love to sleep but have pretty much the worst pillows or sheets I’ve ever seen. So get them something they can really appreciate, every time they sink in for a good nights sleep. Bamboo is not only much more sustainable than wood or other fabrics, its also unbelievably soft. These pillow cases are neutral colored, made with bamboo and even infused with coffee grounds. You can find bamboo memory foam pillows at stores like Kohl’s, Bed Bath & Beyond or order them online through amazon.

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Reusable Coffee Filters, and a Bulk Bag of Coffee : Wether he uses an old school coffee pot or a more modern Keurig, there are reusable filters for both! If he’s making coffee once a day, getting him these is saving at least 365 pieces a trash each year, and saving him money. Now he can just buy his usual coffee grounds an pour straight into the reusable filter cone or K-Cup. Plus, if you buy a big bag of bulk coffee beans or grounds, (a lot of grocers have small bulk sections, but try your closest Whole Foods or other health food store which will usually have a huge bulk section just for coffee), it might inspire him to get using it right away.

Reusable Water Bottle or Coffee Mug $15-$30: Grab a sturdy reusable water bottle, or travel coffee mug. If you grab a Starbucks brand mug, your gift-e can even get small discounts on their favorite drinks.

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Conscious Steps Socks $14.95-$45: Give a gift that keeps giving! Conscious steps socks gives back for each purchase, and to tons of different causes. Just go to their site and click the menu “causes” and see all these amazing choices, from animal rescue, protecting the oceans, disaster relief and fighting hunger along with many others. Plus, dudes love crazy socks as much as anyone else (and you can get 15% off your first order!).

 

DIY ideas (mostly free, or less than $15 if you have to pick up a few things from the store)

Vegan Baked Goods: Try baking some holiday cookies or pumpkin bread for your loved ones, and package them in those cute holiday tins people always keep from the butter cookies. Try these vegan holiday shaped sugar cookies, these classic fluffy frosted sugar cookies, or these chocolate cake balls for inspiration.

Vegan Dog Treats- Make your own vegan dog treats! Incorporate healthy ingredients like sweet potato, apple, melon, blueberries, oats or peanut butter. My dog also loves veggies like carrots, cauliflower and broccoli. Try my recipe here.

Recycled Pots (plants): Try making cute plant pots out of recycled materials such as plastic bottles or aluminum cans, and give a mini garden as a present! You can find some cute ideas on Pinterest, I love these ideas for using a liter bottle or aluminum can.

Recycled Projects/ Decorations: Like the idea of recycling projects but don’t want to make planters? You can very easily search Pinterest for “recycled crafts” and find anything from purses, chandeliers, bird feeders, to desk organizers all made from items you might otherwise discard as trash.

Skin Care Kit- DIY a cruelty free and vegan skin care kit for your friend! Grab some mini 4 oz. mason jars from amazon or your closest graft store, and fill each with things like coconut oil, Shea butter, apple cider vinegar, rosemary water or oil, turmeric mask, or other cruelty free items (you can get a couple small sample size masks or washes at Lush for free and you can throw those in there too!). Check out my skin care post for some ideas!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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