10 Zero Waste Gift Ideas

Giving generously, without waste!: 10 zero waste gift ideas

Are you in need of a gift idea, but want to give something less wasteful? At Waste Not, we understand your desire to give generously, but sometimes a simple change can make huge difference. We’re collected some of our favourites and have listed 10 zero waste gift ideas below to get you thinking outside the (recycled cardboard) box..

1. Experiences, not things!

Instead of contributing to life clutter, why not give the gift of an experience? When was the last time you did something for the first time? Get that bonkers friend of yours an hour zorbing, or a trip down a zip line.

Send the foodies in your family to a cookery class, or a wine/spirit tasting. Even a cinema ticket would make a great gift and doesn’t cost the earth…

2. Subscriptions

We live in the digital age! Let’s make the most of the zero waste gift options this gives us. What about getting your loved one an E-book for their kindle, a digital magazine subscription for a year, or spotify or netflix subscription? Even better if you live with them, because then you can benefit from it too!

3. Charitable donations

Want a gift that does good for the world? Why not give to a charity in their name? I would personally love this as a gift. It shows kindness and compassion, and I know that someone who needs the money more than I do is benefitting from it. Some ideas below –
Sponsor a child
Plant a tree
Toilet twinning

4. Sustainable and ethical gifts

There are lots of sustainable products that take part in a one-for-one donation scheme for those in need. You get the product, AND the satisfaction of knowing your choice is doing good for someone else too!
For every organic reusable sanitary pad you buy from EcoFemme, they will send one to a woman or girl in need. Likewise, RubyCup do a similar scheme with menstrual cups. More information about pads and cups can be found HERE.

You could also start someone off on their zero waste journey with a collection of sustainable products they may not have tried yet. Browse our categories and put together a zero waste ‘bathroom’ or ‘on-the-go’ kit.

Reusable Metal Safety Razor in the bathroom

5. Pre-loved

Pre loved and vintage items are totally acceptable gift these days, especially if your friend is conscious about waste. Perhaps a pair of vintage jeans, a beautiful second hand jacket, or a sparkling pre loved bag? What’s better than a unique present, thoughtfully chosen by you, that no one else will have. You could even gift your own unwanted clothes, jewellery or bags to someone who gets your style. For extra points, drop the wrapping paper and instead wrap in a second hand scarf and do up with a knot.

6. Go Home made!

Sometimes the best gifts aren’t the most expensive, they’re the most thoughtful. What about exploring some DIY bathroom ideas, and giving some home made lotions or balms and a set of reusable wipes? Or got lots of people to buy for? Why not impress them by knocking up some simple 3 ingredient beauty product that are easy and cheap to make, often with things you already have in your cupboards, but look like really generous gifts! We recommend a simple coffee face scrub with almond oil, a light coconut oil cleanser, or a lavender essential oil room spray. All of which cost just pennies to make, and would look great in our mini glass jars.

DIY zero waste beauty products


7. A gift for life

Buying new is an extravagance; so let’s think of the life of the object we’re buying. Something built from quality materials should last a life time, and better still, your friend will always think of you when they use it!

What about a French press or percolator for those friends who need a coffee kick in the mornings? If you really like them, you could get them a subscription for regular coffee deliveries from Plastic Free Pantry too, or a KeepCup to take on their travels!

8. Your time!

I’m a firm believer in generously giving time to those you love. No, I don’t mean wrapping yourself in a bow and jumping out of a box, although that would be hilarious (if the box gets recycled). But a voucher for an afternoon with you is a great gift, and you get to catch up at the same time! Perhaps your friend is in need of a bit of peace and relaxation, so giving them a spa token would go down a treat. What about that restaurant you know they wanted to try? Take them there! Or keep things simple with a picnic in the local park, complete with bunting and silly games, or a treasure hunt for the kids.

9. Digital photoshoot

We might be biased (as photographers), but giving photography as a gift is a brilliant zero waste gift idea. Give your friends and family a gift that lasts forever, and get them a voucher for a family photoshoot, or a makeover shoot and make a day of it. They will come away with some brilliant memories and they will thank you in the future!

10. Vouchers

Buying for someone you don’t know well? Or for someone who already has everything? There’s nothing worse than receiving a gift that’s just not you, or receiving yet another pair of sock/scarves/bathbombs to add to the collection. Avoid this unnecessary waste but giving someone a voucher so they can choose something they really love. Even better if the voucher supports local businesses, for example for beautiful hand crafted items on Etsy, or cough cough, a fine gift from Waste Not’s Store!

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