The holidays are one of the most consumeristic times of the year. Think about the carbon footprint of the gifts you exchange this year - from their production to transport, to shipping and wrapping. Do your part to lower that footprint with something that you can control - your own wish list! Here are 10 ideas for eco-friendly gifts for you and your loved ones.

1. Reusable Cotton Rounds

One of my favorite zero-waste buys was a set of reusable cotton rounds! I use them daily, which totally eliminates my need for disposable cotton pads. Plus, being cloth, they're much more effective, and they're easy to wash by popping them into their bag and into a cycle in the washing machine! Find them on Amazon here.

2. Reusable Produce Bags

Now, I'm sure we all have a few grocery bags lying around, but we still tend to opt for those plastic produce bags. Why not buy a whole set of nice mesh produce bags to make shopping for fresh fruits and veggies and bulk goods much easier? They can be shoved into your other grocery bags and rewashed as frequently as needed. Buy a set of nine bags here.

3. Bamboo Toothbrushes

Used to getting a toothbrush as a stocking stuffer? Ask for bamboo ones this year instead of a standard plastic one. They're an easy way to reduce plastic waste in your daily routine. Get them on Amazon.

4. Wool Dryer Balls

Not too exciting of a gift, but these dryer balls are a great household item. They save you from buying disposable dryer sheets but work even faster to soften clothes. Buy them online from Amazon.

5. Reusable Sanitary Pads

This is a gift I'd be happy to get! Sanitary pads may be a bit of a necessity, but these provide an alternative to disposable ones. Pair them with a menstrual cup and you're set for a zero-waste period! They're comfortable, easy to use, and can be washed for long time use. Find them here.

6. Reusable Coffee Tumbler

It seems like everyone acquires random mugs and water bottles, but it just may be time to find a nice, sturdy coffee tumbler to have on hand. They're so great for daily coffee use, whether you make your own or order it at the coffee shop - just ask them to refill your mug! That'll usually get you a discount, as well! Try this one from Amazon.

7. Highlighter Pencils

These are so fun! If you need new highlighters, why go for another set of plastic pens in plastic wrapping? Instead, try these fun highlighter pencils that are effective but much more sustainable! Buy them on Amazon.

8. Sustainable Pencils

As with the highlighters, these are eco-friendly alternatives to standard store-bought pencils. One fun type of pencil comes with a seed pack on one end, so that once you use up the graphite, you simply plant that end and watch it grow into an herb or flower! Get a pack here.

9. Bento Box

I don't really view Bento Boxes or fancy Tupperware as necessities for my day to day life. However, they make a great gift, because they really do come in handy! They can be used for just about anything, and will last you forever! Find some here.

10. Books!

I always love getting books as gifts, especially if they're ones that will inspire or teach me! So, check out these environmental books to reference for a less wasteful 2020: "The Story of Stuff," "Kiss the Ground," "Zero Waste Home," "101 Ways to Go Zero Waste," and "Give a Sh*t: Do Good. Live Better. Save the Planet."

Although the holidays are a time of fun and festivity, they also cause a huge amount of waste. Keep that in mind when doing your holiday shopping this year, and ask your loved ones to keep it in mind as well. Gift experiences or handmade objects. Use recycled wrapping paper or simply reusable bags and boxes.

It's a busy time of year, so any environmental effort you put in will make a difference! Happy holidays to all and to all little waste!

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