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Eco friendly gifts. A challenge aren’t they?
We want to live a sustainable, ethical lifestyle BUT still want to gift generously to family and friends at Christmas and birthdays.
Giving gifts is after all an important tradition. So, can we be eco friendly AND gift generously?
Well, it has to be said the biggest eco friendly thing we can do full stop for the planet – and our wallets and sanity – IS buy less clutter.
Lots less. It will slash waste & pollution fast.
BUT the amazingly great news is, there are now more and more totally ingenious recycled products that make brilliant eco friendly gifts.
And they can change the world.
Recycled & Upcycled Gifts
When we use the power of our purse to chose eco friendly, recycled and upcycled gifts we:
- Keep waste out of landfill
- Reduce pollution from extracting and producing new materials
- AND say a big “Oih you, we aint giving you our cash to trash the planet” to producers.
And fantastically, lots of small producers have been empowered by that message and are creating incredibly innovative eco friendly gifts out of recycled and upcycled :
- Cans, plastic & glass bottles,
- Newspapers & paper
- Chucked out cotton and wool clothes
- Discarded coffee cups & granules
- Old iron, brass & silver
- Old tyres
- Old fire hoses
- Long forgotten vinyl records
- Ancient circuit boards
- Old plastic tarpaulins from trucks
- And more … wow!!!
They’re basically taking all our trash and turning it into lovely gifts we can give everyone from tiny kids to teens as much more sustainable and eco friendly Christmas and birthday presents.
How amazingly cool is that?
So this year, let’s us all do our bit and:
- Buy less, lots less
- But when we do buy chose gifts that reuse waste NOT create it.
And to help you on your way I’ve got a big list of lovely recycled and upcycled gifts for the whole family. And many of them are extra eco friendly because they’re fair trade, zero waste or made by proud skilled producers not machines.
I’ve also included notes on recycled materials so even if the specific product I’ve listed isn’t available where you are, you can very easily search for something similar near you.
I do hope you find what you’re looking for, let me know if not. And for more eco friendly inspiration check out these :
50 Recycled & Upcycled Gifts
Recycled Gifts For Kids
- Chunky toys for toddlers : super cute fire trucks, boats, planes, bath toys,submarines, shape sorters and tea sets created from old plastic milk bottles.
- Warm winter jackets : every kid needs a great winter jacket that will keep them warm without being bulky and these ones made with recycled wadding and recycled shells do just that.
- Stuffed toys : plastic bottles can even be turned into stuffing for adorable cuties like this bunny and lion.
- Bead maker : kids love making stuff with beads but most beads are plastic so get them this kit so they can make their from scrap paper.
- Mushroom kit : growing mushrooms is super fun for kids and this kit lets them grow their crop in the leftover coffee from a hundred expressos.
- Super cool clock : designed by a former Dyson inventor this clock will not only help kids learn the time but also follow the phases of the moon and the weather. And it’s all made from recycled paper by the seaside in Cornwall.
- Dinosaur jigsaw : if you know a little kid who is dino mad this recycled jigsaw is the perfect Christmas gift.
- Recycled skateboard jewellery : for slightly older kids – or grown ups – these necklaces made in Cornwall from old skate boards are also totally genius.
- Fair trade bracelets : as are these fair trade bracelets made from fabric scraps in India.
- Paper earrings : and also these cute little earrings hand made in Scotland from recycled paper.
Recycled Gifts For Him & Her
- Bags, belts & wallets : incredibly stylish bags, belts, wallets and more you would never believe are made from recycled fire hoses – seriously cool.
- Thongs : slip on thongs – or flip flops – hand made from old tyres.
- Affordable jewellery : simple, stunning earrings, necklaces, bangles, rings and cuff links made from recycled silver and brass.
- Fair trade wine glasses : there are more and more recycled wine glasses available including these fair trade set made by a small family business in Bolivia.
- Fair trade decanter : and for a big wine lover you can also get fair trade decanters made from recycled glass in India.
- Fair trade jug : or if they’re not drinkers gift a lovely recycled glass water jug.
- Mirrors : recycled glass is now also available in mirrors and this one also has a frame recycled from old iron.
- Picture frames : as do these lovely little picture frames.
- Picnic rug : these traditional style picnic rugs made good use of all the fabric and yarn from the crazy mountains of cheap clothes we trash.
- Capsule wardrobe dress : a where-anywhere, stylish-forever dress is eco-friendly in its own right and in recycled cotton or recycled hemp even more so.
- Great backpacks : Patagonia have been product leaders in offering recycled clothing and outdoor wear and have a range of super useful backpacks made from 100% recycled polyester and for more recycled PET backpacks of all sorts try Lefrik.
- Great jackets : you can also get super cool, seriously hard wearing jackets with recycled polyester shells and filling for men and women.
- Smart coats : and these classic winter coats that look like wool are also actually made from recycled PET i.e. plastic bottles!
- Sweat shirts : and classic sweat shirts are now available made from recycled polyester with 18 plastic bottles going into each sweater.
- Swimwear & surf wear : yes it’s winter but if you’re gifting to an all year around swimmer or surfer check out Deakin & Blue, Rubymoon and Finisterre who have swim and surf wear made from Econyl a closed loop nylon made from waste including ocean waste.
- Yoga wear : or if yoga’s the thing there’s recycled PET yoga wear available too.
- Rain jacket : OK so not the most glamorous idea for a Christmas gift but this is a lovely one in bilberry red made again from recycled polyester, i.e. old plastic bottles.
- Chunky shirt : and those plastic bottles mix well with wool in this must have men’s shirt from Komodo.
- Winter woollies : wool can be pretty eco friendly in its own right. Its anti-bacterial properties cut down on washing big time & help you turn down heating. But recycled pullovers are even better.
- No logo cap : say no to the endless waste of freebie and logo caps with this classic his and hers recycled polyester cap.
- Wash bag : another winner for those with minimalist style is this wash bag made from old truck tarpaulin covers. Again genius.
- Save The World T : help spread the word by gifting this Save Our Planet t-shirt made from cotton from recycled clothes.
Recycled Stocking Fillers For All The Family
- Fun toy bags : handy storage bags for toys of all sorts made from recycled plastic bottles.
- Lunch bags : you can also get kids lunch bags made from all those plastic bottles we’re trying to quit buying.
- Fun socks : polyester has a bad name environmentally but recycled polyester from plastic bottles is great and used in this range of funky socks.
- Plant labels : if you’ve got a gardener in your life these handy plant labels are made from recycled coffee cups.
- Pens & markers : there’s a debate about whether we should be using disposable pens full stop or trying to stick to fountain pens, pencils and crayons. But if you are buying pens, you can now buy ballpoints & gel pens plus markers & highlighters made from recycled polyethylene terephthalate know as RPET.
- Grass pens : and you can even buy pens made out of grass – seriously – and recycled plastic!!
- Coloured pencils : if you would rather skip the pens you can now get coloured pencils made from recycled newspaper.
- Pencil case : and you can now get a cute recycled kids pencil case to put all your pens and pencils in. Or for older kids and grown ups try this recycled cotton case.
- Notebooks : if you know someone who’s a notebook lover, you can now find plenty with recycled paper and covers, and if you look further you can find lovely smaller companies like Fa Vo who support traditional paper making and binding skills. Or for the techie in your life buy one with a cover made from an old circuit board.
- Key rings : or a key ring made from a cut down circuit board instead.
- Cool cups : these cool unbreakable cups which are perfect for camping and outdoor fun are made from recycled stainless steel.
- Funky face cloths : in all sorts of fun colours from recycled yarn
- Soap dish : if you’re going zero waste and swapping soaps for your old plastic bottles in the bathroom, this soap dish crafted in Spain from recycled glass is handy.
- Vinyl record bowl : old vinyl records no one plays any longer have been given new life as everything from bowls to bookends.
- Make up brushes : great sets of make up brushes can be tools for life and these ones are made from bamboo and recycled aluminium.
- Lip liner : all those little bits of disposable waste in the bathroom add up, so its great to know you can now get organic, fair trade products like this lip liner with a recycled metal cap.
- A rubbish purse : yes, you can actually get a cool little purse made out of rubbish or old juice cartons that is.
- Cat toys : and last but certainly not least you can even give your cat a recycled gift for Christmas with little catnip toy, made yet again, from old plastic bottles.
So there you go, loads and loads of ideas for more eco friendly, recycled gifts for the whole family. If you found the list helpful please do share with all your friends and help them use the power of their purse to change their world.