A Sustainable Shopping List for the Holidays - Public Goods

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A Sustainable Shopping List for the Holidays

This holiday season, make the conscientious effort to buy gifts that contribute to a sustainable earth.

public goods classic care gift set

With such a demand for more environmentally-sound products, the possibilities are endless. Here is a list of some of our favorite gifts for the eco-friendly people on your list.

ECOlunchboxes Stainless Steel Containers and Lunch Boxes

ecolunchbox containers

$9.99 and up

Reduce waste, eliminate toxins from leaching into foods and practice portion control with ECOlunchboxes, made of 100% food-grade stainless steel and non-toxic silicone lids. These durable containers and lunch boxes keep food from squishing. Because they are made with stainless steel, food can stay cool or warm during commutes.

The three-in-one lunch box set keeps items from touching, and ensures mindful eating with its careful proportions (5, 12 and 14-ounce cups). Perfect for picnics, beaches, tailgating and everyday use.

Note: To learn more, check out our interview with ECOlunchbox Founder Sandra Harris.

Stasher Reusable Silicone Bags

two stasher bags, smartphone, purse

$9.99 – $11.99

These reusable silicone bags are revolutionary. Made of 100% pure platinum food-grade silicone, Stasher bags first became popular after appearing on Shark Tank and have garnered a following ever since.

They come in unique colors such as stardust and supernova. Each bag is flat, lightweight, easy to wash and can be used to cook and store food in a multitude of ways. You can steam vegetables, boil rice, freeze fruits, bake fish, sous vide rosemary chicken — and much more.

Buy one or a variety and color-code meals. Take snacks on the go and prepare meals beforehand to eliminate time in the kitchen.

Best of all, they eliminate the need for wasteful resealable plastic bags. Stasher bags are not limited to food: store toiletries for overnight trips, or organize makeup.

Note: New email subscribers will receive a 10% discount on any first purchase. To learn more, check out our interview with Stasher Founder Kat Nouri.

Sprout Plantable Pencil

sprout pencils

$12.95 – $18.95

Once Sprout pencils have been whittled down to stubs, they can be planted to produce colorful flowers, vegetables and sweet-smelling herbs like rosemary, basil and sage. At the end of each pencil is a biodegradable seed capsule, containing non-GMO seeds.

Be sure to not place the capsule near any wet surface because it will disintegrate, and the seeds will be loose on your counter until you decide to plant them. Customized pencils are available, too, but the minimum for order is 500 pencils.

Klean Kanteen Reusable Straws – 4 pack

klean kanteen metal straw with green tip


These reusable straws cut back on one of the most ubiquitous plastic perpetrators known to man. With Americans using millions of drinking straws a day, this gift has far-reaching effects and hardly requires much effort.

Keep reusable straws at work and in purses, backpacks or briefcases. Whenever you end up in a coffee shop or restaurant, tell the barista or waitress to spare the straw.

Instead whip out one of these stainless steel straws. To clean, use the accompanying straw scrubbing brush made of natural palm fiber bristles, along with a diluted solution of baking soda and vinegar or warm water and soap.


woman holding finalstraw


FinalStraw also makes a great product that is not only reusable, but also collapsible. This straw bends into a compact compartment you keep on your keychain, comes in a variety of colors and with a lifetime guarantee.

Note: To learn more, check out our interview with Final CEO Emma Rose Cohen.

Pela Biodegradable Phone Case

pela cases on iphones, christmas holly, ribbon


Coined as the “phone case for those who believe in a plastic-free future,” Pela has created the world’s first 100% compostable phone case. These phone cases are made of plant-based and recycled materials and will not clog up landfills or pollute oceans like other plastic phone cases. Currently, 197,662 individuals have made the switched to these biodegradable phone cases, which translates to some 109,812 pounds of plastic never having to be made, according to Pela’s website.

Pela cases are compatible with various iPhone and Android models and come in a range of colors: lavender, sky blue, ocean turquoise, beetroot red, sunshine yellow, rose quartz and shark skin. Special edition cases are engraved with quotes (“Be the Change” or “Believe in Better”) or marine life (sea turtles or penguins).

Each phone case comes with a handwritten note thanking you for contributing to a greener planet. Even better, Pela has partnered with eco-friendly organizations such as Save the Waves, Oceana and Surfrider Foundation and will donate 5% of gross sales on special edition items. Take advantage of free global shipping on orders over $25 and their buy-one-get-one-half-off deal.

Full Circle Scrap Collector & Freezer Compost Bin

full circle scrap collector, jar of jelly


Composting is a challenge, especially if you live in a city. Then there’s that odor and the presence of those pesky fruit flies.

But composting is manageable thanks to Full Circle. Recycle food scraps from the kitchen and reduce landfill waste with this innovative compost bin made of silicone and recycled stainless steel.

To use, simply attach the bin’s built-in wire rim to a drawer and collect egg shells, coffee grains, banana peels, pits, tea bags or any other compostable food waste generated from food preparation. Afterward place the bin in the freezer to eliminate funky odors and flies. Once the half-gallon bin has been filled, bring it to a local compost drop-off location or use the compost in a garden.

Its flexible silicone material is dishwasher-safe and conveniently flips inside out to make cleaning simple. Food waste that ends up in landfills can create noxious greenhouse gases like methane. Composting avoids this problem by creating nutrient-rich soil that plants thrive in.

Biodegradable/Compostable Recool Cooler from Igloo

igloo recool cooler, ice, fruits, beverages

$6.99 – $9.99

If you want a cooler you can throw out without worrying about plastic pollution try a Recool cooler, Igloo’s new fully compostable version of their classic product. To learn more about how the product works, read our full Recool review.

Antique Shop

antique shop shelf, picture frames

There is nothing quite like finding a relic from the past that so perfectly matches a person on your shopping list. If you love the thrill of rummaging stores rich in history and sentimental value, head to an antique shop and peruse the shelves until something speaks to you.

Perhaps you’ve got a rock n roll sister, and that framed “Rolling Stone” cover of Neil Young from 1993 is just what she needs in her apartment. Or maybe your nephew, the writer, would love that perfectly weathered collection of John Steinbeck stories.

When you gift these types of items, explain the reasoning behind them. If the gift relates to a specific occasion, walk down memory lane and share a moment in time with that person. Another benefit to consider: purchasing products that have already been made avoids having to deplete the earth of its natural resources.

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Holiday Sustainability Tips

Aside from these earth-conscious holiday gift ideas, here are a few other ways you can practice sustainability through the holidays:

  • Instead of buying wrapping paper, use brown paper bags to wrap gifts.
  • Cut each bag along the folds and use inside out to keep store logos hidden. For a more personal touch, paint on snowflakes, poinsettias, little red and green cacti, or any other holiday pattern you wish.
  • Wrap in 100% recyclable twine and top off with a sprig of thyme or rosemary.
  • Make your own holiday cards.
  • Save gift bags and reuse them for upcoming birthdays, celebrations or next year’s holiday season.

The holidays tend to be a time of excess and waste, but we can avoid that trap. Gift giving is about being kind to people, so why not be kind to the planet, too?

Download Our Free Guide to Sustainable Living.

From reducing waste to recycling and upcycling, our e-book shows simple ways to make choices you can feel good about.

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