The Gift That Lasts

The holidays are upon us, and at its heels the New Year full of resolutions and time to change for the better. But first you gotta get through that dreaded White Elephant at your office holiday party, right? Where do you even begin? Well, in the spirit of Going Green, here are 6 inexpensive, waste-reducing gift ideas perfect for anyone on your list.

Wool Dryer Balls

These beauties are a revelation. How often do you reach for a dryer sheet to find the box empty? And there you are with wet clothes on your hands and the choice to either let them dry and live with the static, or run to the store fast as you can hoping that by the time you get there, find your brand, get through the line and back to your house that they haven’t started to kinda stink. No. Fun. Not to mention the waste they create. Dryer sheets can be used after their initial laundry use in a variety of ways, but at the end of the day they land in the trash can. Wool dryer balls, on the other hand, soften clothes and keep them free of static. You can even find a set with a cute storing bag to give the gift a little extra flair. Best of all, they can be used again, and again, and again…

Reusable Cotton Rounds

Whether you use them for toner or astringent, or removing makeup or nail polish cotton balls are another one of those household items that have many uses, but create tons of waste. If only there were a better alternative? Well, you’re in luck because there is! Reusable cotton rounds are often made from bamboo, machine washable, and in some cases come with cute storing totes, or even fun designs on the rounds themselves. Available online or in major retail stores, these inexpensive gifts can eliminate an item from your shopping list as well as your waste basket.

Water Canteen

Admittedly, this might not be the most original it’s an easy failsafe of a gift. Even if the receiver already owns a water canteen, having a spare can never really hurt, can it? You can keep it generic with a simple color, or if you have a specific person in mind, personalize it to their tastes. Canteens are literally everywhere you look and come in a variety of styles and sizes. And one more person in possession of a canteen is one less bottle of plastic going into our environment. There’s a reported 8 million metric tons per year of plastic waste that ends up in the oceans. While plastic bottles are only part of the plastic problem, every effort helps. Plus, it encourages hydration. Win. Win. Win! 

Coffee Tumbler

Holiday Mugs are fun to gift. What’s more comforting that a large, cozy mug of hot cocoa or cider by the fire on a cold winter night? Not much. But better than a festive mug that really only helps at home, coffee tumblers can go anywhere and keep your morning joe hot and delicious through your commute. Sure to be a big hit at any office party, these mug – like the water canteens – can be as generic or personal as your gift needs to be. And, if your morning coffee routine includes a stop at Starbucks, handing your tumbler to the barista will get you a discount at the register. Say it with me, Win!

Reusable Coffee Filters

Are you sensing a pattern? Whether you make the traditional pot of coffee or prefer a single-cup brewer, reusable filters are available for any coffee maker. The reality of coffee is that the grounds are compostable, but especially for the K-Cup, the containers are not. And each year they create enough waste to wrap around the entire earth 10 ½ times. Reusable filters, however, take yet another item off your grocery list, and reduce waste. If you wanna go the extra mile, gift a reusable filter with a coffee grinder. Coffee grinders enhance the taste of your coffee and can cost as low as $12. Better tasting coffee and a smaller carbon footprint? Sign me up.

Tupperware/Lunch Bag

Tupperware has come a long way since its introduction in 1946. You can buy glass bottoms with locking lids. You can buy tupperware that comes with an air pump to lock in freshness of the food they contain. There are specialty pieces designed for salads, soups, veggies with dip, or entire Bento Box style meals with pieces that lock together in a neat little stack. Tupperware can be used for simply storing food, or taking yesterday’s dinner to the office for today’s lunch. You can even find lunch bags that come with their own matching tupperware. So for the person who wants to save a little money and eat a little healthier, tupperware and a lunch bag will set them on the right path while reducing waste.

The dread of gift exchanges need plague you no more. These simple, thoughtful, reusable gifts are sure to please any who receive them. Something practical that saves you time and money? What’s not to love? Go out and spread the holiday cheer without spreading your carbon footprint.


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