Feel good gifting: Eco-friendly gift ideas for the people in your life

By Former Agent

If the secret wasn’t out on climate change and its effects on life as we know it, it is now. Dizzying statistics are surfacing all the time, revealing how far we’ve swung in the direction of consumerism-at-all-costs. The good news is that more companies than ever are keeping Mother Earth in mind. And this holiday season, you can scratch your shopping itch in an eco-conscious way.

I’ve been hunting for brands that allow consumers to shop responsibly without sacrificing on quality and local businesses that offer unique experiences. Sharing is caring, so read on for some ideas I’ve found.

For the style conscious

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The trend setter: Reformation

While I’d like to suggest grabbing one of everything on the site for your girlfriends, this season’s winner is the Maurita Dress. It’s perfect for holiday parties, New Year’s Eve, and basically every day of 2019. Reformation produces their clothing using sustainable materials, reclaimed dead stock fabrics, and repurposed vintage clothing. Learn more about how they make it happen here.

The adventurer: Patagonia

A favorite of the technical apparel crowd, Patagonia is a pioneer of sustainability. For me, this season’s must-have is their Retro Pile Fleece Vest. It’s perfect for layering and is Fair Trade Certified™ sewn. (Some of the money spent on a garment goes directly back to the people and communities that produce it.) Read up on how Patagonia maintains environmental responsibility here and keep an eye out for their Worn Wear section, which allows customers to donate pre-loved Patagonia gear back to the company for refurbishment and resale so nothing ends up in a landfill! In recent news, the company donated their $10 million dollar tax break to climate change initiatives.

The free spirit: Girlfriend Collective

The breakout it-kid of the athletic fashion crowd, Girlfriend Collective began with an online campaign that gave away hundreds of pairs of free leggings — no strings attached. Their popularity has led them to expand their activewear line to include things like sports bras and tanks. My go-to gift is the Lily Bodysuit. It can be used for workouts, nights out, and days at the beach — all in one. Did I mention each piece is made from recycled plastics and nylons like found fishing nets? Every step of the process is consciously determined and made transparent. See for yourself here.

The creature of comfort: Outdoor Voices

There’s a lot to love about Outdoor Voices for both men and women, and the Men’s Rec Kit is a slam dunk for nearly every guy you’re shopping for. It’s designed for “everyday activity” and pairs a t-shirt made of their CloudKnit fabric (yes, it is as soft as it sounds) with what they call Sunday Shorts, which are made for relaxing as much as they are for sports. OV products are ethically produced and sourced from responsible materials like recycled polyester — learn more about their efforts here.

The appreciator of details: Soko

For the jewelry lovers in your life, check out Soko. Their wow-worthy pieces are too many to name but I’m currently eyeing the Tulla Statement Threader Earrings, which are inspired by nature and handcrafted in brass by Kenyan artists. As a brand, Soko considers themselves ‘Ethical Fast Fashion’ pioneers — they use locally-sourced and eco-friendly materials to create their pieces and they help artisans grow their businesses. More deets here.

For the practical

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Produced since the 1950s en masse, plastic — both production and resulting discarded material — is one of the biggest threats to the environment. Help your loved ones avoid single-use plastics with these useful everyday items.

The caffeine addict

Takeaway coffee is typically served in single-use paper and plastic cups. Give the espresso fiend in your life a way to minimize their impact by gifting them a reusable mug and gift certificate to their favorite coffee shop. We love Keep Cup, the original barista-standard reusable cup. They follow responsible business practices and, bonus points, on their website you can customize a design specifically for the recipient’s favorite drink size and color scheme.

The workout buddy

Working out often comes with a side of plastic water bottles, which are not only bad for you, but for the planet as well. Gift your favorite gym rat a reusable bottle like BKR, and set up a walking or running date so you can get the endorphins flowing together.

The cocktail connoisseur

Plastic straws are a big no-no. If you’re looking for a gift for a friend that appreciates a good drink at the end of the day, how about going for a cocktail shaker with a side of metal straws? Looks chic, stays eco-friendly.

The workaholic

These ice cubes don’t require plastic trays (or water) and are perfect for freshening up a drink during long nights at the office. They’re called drink rocks — simply chill them in the freezer, then add them to a beverage.

For the doer

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You could always forego the traditional gift route and opt for a shared experience or DIY kit. Take photos (#forthegram), create something new, and remember it forever.

The amateur chef

Places like La Scuola at Eataly Flatiron host cooking classes year round. Choose one that suits the person you’re thinking of (for me, it’s a pasta class) and you’re all set!

The writer

Take a creative friend to a learning-to-letter course.
They’re local, fun, and on trend. There are tons of different lettering types — from
calligraphy to hand-lettering and embroidery — so choose what’s best for your bud.

The outdoor enthusiast

Creating a memorable, personalized experience doesn’t have to involve classes. Treat your loved one to their favorite outside activity — hiking, biking, skating, boating — and a picnic with their favorite foods. Keep it local and head to their park of choice or take a day trip to the Catskills.

The metal head

If your loved one likes to build things, there’s nothing more fun than a metal workshop. Metal Shop Fantasy Camp in Brooklyn offers beginner and advanced welding classes that are sure to spark their fancy.

The green thumb

A DIY Succulent Terrarium Kit from The Sill is perfect for a friend that craves some nature, but doesn’t have time to leave the city. Bonus: succulents are pretty easy to take care of!

The crafter

For the decor enthusiast, a macrame kit will help your friends learn a new skill and add a special touch to their home.

If you have other resources for great brands and ideas to watch this holiday season, share them by tweeting @nooklyn, reaching out on Facebook or finding us on Instagram @nooklyn.stories — I’m always looking for more!

Photo Credits:
Cover photo by Caley Dimmock on Unsplash
Collages by Reyna Clarissa
Last photo by Alex Robert on Unsplash