The Best Eco Gifts for 2020
Do you sometimes struggle to find a variety of eco gifts for friends and family? We've done the legwork for you. Explore 25 of 2020's best sustainable, ethical, and zero waste gifts for everyone in your life.
For those trying to make more sustainable choices, gifts for children can be tricky. We're often presented with pink and blue plastic. We bring you some more planet-friendly alternatives.
Fair Trade Cotton Farm Fun
This zip-up farm play pouch is super-cute and a fun and tactile alternative to plastic farm toys. It's sustainably made in Sri Lanka, preserving ancient skills and providing Fair Trade work and education for women in rural areas. The 11 farm animals, plus pen all fold up into a zippable carry pouch with handle. It's also vegan-friendly as it's PETA-approved! Farm Play Set Toy Pouch in Fair Trade Cotton, £32
Plastic-Free Space Exploration
Sustainably sourced, plastic-free and great for challenging young minds. This space station play set was developed in partnership with the Science Museum. Pop out the 102 playboard pieces and follow the visual instructions to construct your space station, including dockable capsule. Playpress Build and Play Space Station, £15
Art for Eco Warriors
This gift set is a brilliant eco present for kids of all ages. It includes six non-toxic natural earth paints that are plastic-free too; three vegan-friendly paintbrushes and a gorgeous blank fabric notebook made by hand as part of a Fair Trade enterprise in Tanzania. Eco-Friendly Art Gift Set, £35
Royalty Without Costing the Earth
Non-plastic crowns can be hard to find. Here's a Fair Trade cotton alternative that's also reversible and washable! Pleasing for any monarch and robust enough to be passed down for generations. Reversible Crown in Fair Trade Cotton, £18
Reclaimed Ocean-bound Plastic
This play set is something special. Great for the beach or the bath, it's made entirely from plastic prevented from entering our seas. It's fab to teach little ones about the importance of protecting our precious marine life and the good news is that it also supports the development of recycling programmes in countries that don't have them. Green Toys Recycled Ocean-Bound Plastic Beach Play Set, £25
The teenage years can be a trying time - particularly for a gift-giver! Here are some of our top gifts for teenagers that are bound to please and they're all plastic-free too!
Build a Paper Pet
If you're not able to have a pet (or are looking for one that doesn't eat too much!) then look no further than Paper Pets. Created by an engineer with a passion for wildlife and papercraft, this kit give you all you need to create a contemporary and architecturally impressive deer's head for your wall. It's a great mindful activity for teenagers and the kit is completely plastic-free. Deer Craft Kit from Paper Pet Shop, £14
Bridge from one side of the board to the other using your pieces and before your opponent, bridging, blocking and counter-blocking your way across the board. This beautiful handmade wooden game is crafted from sustainably-sourced Sheesham wood and comes in an organic cotton bag. Better still, it comes from a Fair Trade supplier in India who reinvest their profits to provide workers and their families with healthcare, education and sanitation. Bridget, £26
10 Deep Breaths
Slow things down and take a moment with this mindful bracelet. Breathe in and out once for each bead; start with seven seconds in and 11 seconds out. Take longer and slower breaths as you move along. A great gift for teenagers managing exam stress or anxiety. 10 Deep Breaths Mindful Bracelet, £14
The Coolest Kid on the Block
This gorgeous linen block print cushion will brighten up any teenager's room. The screen-printed cover was handmade in Tanzania by a Fair Trade enterprise that empowers deaf and disabled people through work, skills and adapted housing. Comes with natural feather inner sourced in Europe. Block Print Cushion in Yellow, £23
A Moment of Gratitude
This gratitude journal encourages young people to note the things that make you smile. Studies have shown that keeping a gratitude journal can result in benefits including better sleep, greater confidence, happier relationships and increased resilience. Made from sustainably-sourced materials. A Record of Good Things Journal, £10
For Zero-Waste Eco-Warriors
Finding zero-waste gifts for your favourite eco-warrior can test the imagination. Check out these ideas for inspiration.
Drink up and Save Lives
Why not give your favourite zero waster a reusable Jerry water bottle? They keep your water cool for 24 hours, drinks hot for 12 hours, and come with either metal or bamboo lid. Jerry is a not-for-profit selling eco-friendly stainless steel water bottles that fund clean water projects in India and Tanzania. Jerry bottle, from £17.99
Bird Sunglasses create ethical and sustainable sunglasses. Choose frames made of wood, alloy or acetate from cotton. The sunglasses are delivered in recycled cardboard boxes too! Better still, Bird donate one SolarAid lamp for every pair of sunglasses sold. These provide safe, clean and affordable light for families in Africa. Bamboo Sunglasses, £65
Bags of Goodness
This cute bag is an excellent gift because it has so many uses: pencil case, makeup bag, wash bag, paintbrush holder - you decide! It's made from screen-printed linen and is part of a Fair Trade project upskilling disabled people in Tanzania. Neema use profits to build adpated housing for their disabled employees too. Leaf-Print Bag: Handmade and Fair Trade, £10
Sustainable Soap with Social Impact
The Soap Co. create natural and cruelty-free products using locally-sourced ingredients and package them in recycled and compostable materials. Their new plastic-free collection is a great place to find eco gift inspiration. The social enterprise provides jobs, training and opportunities for people who are visually impaired, have disabilities or are otherwise disadvantaged so your purchase makes a social impact as well as an environmental one. The Soap Co. Plastic Free Collection, from £7
Celebrate Human Emotions
We love this one-metre long poster that celebrates human states of mind through 44 different ink illustrations ranging from sheepish to vacant. Printed on 100% recycled paper and presented in a cardboard tube with metal ends. Human States of Mind Illustrated Poster, £15
Cycle Some Good
Cycle of Good create products from recycled waste inner tubes from bikes. All the products are vegan-friendly (great for those looking for eco leather-alternatives), and they're made in Malawi by tailors who are paid fairly. Gift options include key rings, luggage tags, backpacks, and this cute coin purse. Recycled Inner Tube Coin Purse, £8.50
Gifts for Nature Lovers
Become a Friend to the Bumblebees
Bees play a crucial role in maintaining our natural habitats and even producing much of our food. Sadly all bees are under threat. 35 UK bee species are at risk of extinction and eight of these are bumblebees. Help them out with this Bumblebee Nest Box. Made from natural timber and recycled plastic, the house is the perfect size for a bumblebee colony. Did you know you first need to attract a mouse, in order to lure in a queen? Bumblebee Nest Box, £53.99
Let it Grow
Not all nature-lovers are lucky enough to have their own garden. You can start an urban floral uprising with this biodegradable Seedbom Gift Box. The set includes an urban Seedbom designed for urban landscapes, plus Seedboms for pollinators, birds and bees. All the Seedboms require is bare soil, natural light and some moisture. Birds, Bees and Butterflies Seedbom Gift Box, £14.95
For the, ahem, less green-fingered nature-lover, or those who might be away a lot, try this felt cactus. It comes in a felt pot and makes a gorgeous addition to a desk or windowsill. It's completely biodegradable and is made using natural dyes too. These cacti are made in Nepal where they also provide Fair Trade accredited work which protects and promotes ancient skills. Hand-felted Fair Trade cactus, £18
Dedicate a Tree
Also a good option for those who don't want 'things', with the Woodland Trust you can dedicate a tree in one of 50 locations around the UK. Planting trees helps combat climate change and supports Britain's wildlife. Select your exact grove on the map and find out which type of tree will be planted. You can dedicate a tree for lots of special occasions including a birthday, Christmas, mother's day and for a new baby. Dedicate a tree, from £20
For Those Who Don't Want Stuff
Many people are keen to avoid accumulating 'stuff' just for the sake of it. So what are some alternative gift ideas?
Migrateful cooking classes
Here's a brilliant idea: cookery classes led by refugee and migrant chefs. Migrateful offer classes in London and Bristol and have a huge range of cuisines on offer, including Ukrainian, Ecuadorian and Eritrean at the time of writing, with lots of vegetarian and vegan classes too. The classes enable refugees, asylum seekers and migrants to integrate, access employment and share and celebrate their cultural heritage. Cookery class, including meal £40
Write a Recipe Book
It's not as hard as it might sound! Just handwrite a few of your favourite recipes and bring them together in a journal or folder. Extra marks for creatively decorating the cover. Top of the class if you have a secret recipe, passed down through the generations to include. If I ever give you my Grandma's chocolate brownie recipe you'll know it's true love.
Grow Your Own Forest
A houseplant doesn't just look good, it also improves wellbeing and productivity, and may contribute to better indoor air quality. Good options include peace lilies, rubber plants and ivy. Peace Lily, £9.99
Give an Experience
For someone who doesn't want a thing, why not create a voucher for a special occasion together. A gig, theatre trip or inexpensive options like a picnic or day out are thoughtful and something to look forward to. To go all out, create a series of clues, leading to your chosen activity.
A Pile of Poo
Oh we're serious! For £12 Oxfam Unwrapped provides training to families in eco-friendly composting which supports people to grow and sell more food. Alternative gifts include seeds, beekeeping training, or a chicken. At checkout you can personalise a card (or e-card) for your friend or family member, it will explain exactly what their gift has supported and the impact it makes. Pile of Poo, £12
Have we missed anything? Comment below if you think there's an eco gift or alternative we should include.
Good Things seeks out innovative, fair and eco-friendly gifts that do great things. Like toy boats made entirely from recycled milk bottles, or cards that are changing the lives of orphaned young adults in Rwanda. Have a look at our collections.