The ultimate Earth-friendly gift guide: 30 stylish presents for the eco-conscious on your list
Spread the spirit of sustainability this Christmas by giving these planet-positive gifts.
'Tis the season of indulgence and gifting is a big part of it – a practice that isn’t always Earth-friendly. We’ve all had the experience of receiving unwanted gifts or novelty items that we aren’t quite sure how to put to use. Not to mention all those Christmas wrappers and trims that are going straight into the bin once they have served their short-lived purpose.
We don’t mean to put a damper on the festivities, of course, but instead would like to do our part in turning gift-giving into a planet-friendly activity. When shopping for gifts, go the extra mile to shop for products that are made with eco-conscious or bio-based materials, feature recyclable packaging, can be upcycled, or are by brands that actively contribute to a circular economy.
Here are 30 such items that possess these qualities, and on top of these, are desirable.
DANNA ABSTRACT NAIL POLISH WRAPS, S$12.90, NAIL WRAP
No nail polish or nail decal is truly zero-waste, but going for toxin-free options will benefit in some way – whether it’s the user’s health or the environment. These nail wraps are 10-free, which means they are free of 10 of the most common chemicals found in some nail polishes.
The brand also offers a Go Green shipping option, in which one can opt to have extras that may not be needed – like printed instructions, nail files and cuticle pushers – left out of their package. They have boy-friendly designs too.
VERA MISMATCH EARRINGS, S$43, WOON HUNG
Know someone who loves jewellery that's both a fashion and eco-friendly statement? This conical earrings made by a Singapore-based designer will delight her. Woon Hung’s jewellery is crafted out of wild mamalis wood from Cebu in the Philippines and sourced via a sustainable environmental programme that supports the planting of new trees there.
KOMBUCHA ANTI-POLLUTION EXPERTS SKINCARE SET, S$55, FRESH
A facial treatment essence and no-rinse cleansing treatment packed with the antioxidant benefits of kombucha, and thoughtfully complemented with a five-piece set of reusable cotton rounds in a mesh bag.
REFLECTIONS IPHONE 14 CASE WITH MAGSAFE MODULE, S$69.95, PELACASE
Most phone cases aren’t recyclable, unlike Pela’s cases, which are made from Flaxstic – a combo of compostable bioplastic elastomer and flax straw materials. Up to 40 per cent of the brand’s material is bio-based, and it is working to get that number up to a full 100. Best of all, the cases come in an array of cool designs.
MINI HOLY GRAIL DISCOVERY SET, US$48 (S$66), TRESTIQUE
Trestique, from the United States, is all about putting makeup products in sustainable packaging, which the brand produces in the form of refillable crayons. Introduce someone special to the brand with this set of mini crayons that comprises an eyeliner, eyeshadow, highlighter, blush and lip colour, which can be recycled when they are used up and are also carbon-neutral.
CONTENT SCENTED CANDLE, S$68, PASS-IT-ON
Part of a line of “plantable candles” by pro-sustainability brand Pass It On, this soy-wax scented candle comes in a stylish holder that can be repurposed as a planter or bowl for your knick-knacks. Scented candle refills are also available, should you wish to use the same holder to experience a new scent.
PREMIUM SLIM CARD HOLDER, S$84, OLIVER COMPANY LONDON
A sleek, simple and functional cardholder that’s crafted with leather made from apple waste and also has a 100 per cent recycled polyester lining will make a unisex gift. For a small fee, you can have it personalised with embossed initials.
INDUSTRIOUS GIFT KIT, S$93, AESOP
Say yes to eco-friendly gift-wrapping by opting for an Aesop holiday gift set like this one that houses a Resurrection Aromatique Hand Wash, Resurrection Aromatique Hand Balm and Resurrection Rinse-Free Hand Wash in a recycled paper pulp case.
EMILY EARRINGS, S$105, ANALUISA
Who said jewellery can only be made with gemstones? These innovative hoop earrings are crafted out of recycled glass and don’t look like it.
LIMITED-EDITION MATTE LIPSTICK IN ROUGE CINABRE, S$118, HERMES
This limited-edition lippie in a new Fall/Winter 2022 shade has a case that is practically an objet d’art – a chic collectible for anyone who’s a diehard Hermes fan. It’s refillable, too, making it a planet-friendly Christmas gift.
KORA ORGANICS BY MIRANDA KERR TURMERIC SUSTAINABILITY SET, S$127, SEPHORA
A skincare set that is packed with anti-inflammatory and anti-microbial turmeric and also comes with a refill pod (which can also be purchased separately) makes for a thoughtful and presentable gift. It also doesn’t hurt that Kora is a certified-organic and climate-neutral-certified beauty brand.
X2 – SCUBA SNEAKERS, S$139.90, ANOTHERSOLE
Every guy needs a classic pair of white sneakers – why not get him these, which are made with as little impact to the environment, as far as possible? The leather is sourced from responsible tanneries certified by the Leather Working Group, meaning that they comply with environmental certification standards, while components such as the footbed lining, backstrap at the heel and shoelaces are produced with recycled PET.
ARIA 5° POINTED-TOE BALLET FLATS, S$133.22, VIVAIA
Vivaia specialises in sustainable footwear that also rates high on comfort. These flats are made from recycled plastic water bottles and are even machine-washable, so that they’ll last for a longer period.
TIGER PRINTED ORGANIC COTTON PYJAMA SET, US$130 (S$179), DESMOND & DEMPSEY FROM NET-A-PORTER
Quirky PJs make a fun gift. Here’s where you can fearlessly go for a loud print, since these are meant as nightwear or loungewear to be worn at home. Pick a set made with organic cotton that’s produced without the use of harmful chemicals.
SOAP COLLECTION, S$170, JO MALONE
Bar soaps are possibly the most sustainable bath option. These wonderfully scented soaps come perfumed in a mellow fruity whiff of Jo Malone’s signature English Pear & Freesia fragrance.
STARA ROBE IN SPIRAL SKY, S$179, NOST SHOP
Nost is a local clothing brand that supports heritage textile crafts and uses raw fabrics that are produced and sourced sustainably, including organic cotton and surplus fabric from overstock production. Each clothing piece features architecture-inspired motifs that are designed to be seasonless and worn over and over again.
RETREAT BACKPACK, S$189.90, HERSCHEL
Bag maker Herschel has an eco collection that features industry-leading recycled materials from the lining to the label. You won’t go wrong with one of these bags that are designed to be classic and long-lasting.
CAMPO NUBUCK STEEL NAUTICO SNEAKERS, US$170 (S$234), VEJA
Veja uses a range of different eco-friendly materials to produce its sneakers, and these include recycled plastic bottles, recycled polyester and rubber, cotton recycled from textile industry cuttings, and even corn and rice waste from the food industry.
THE CASHMERE BOXY CREW, S$259, EVERLANE
A chic Breton-striped sweater is a wardrobe essential made for chilly days or travelling. This one is luxurious and yet earth-friendly, being made from a premium blend of recycled Italian cashmere and wool.
ISSA 3 SILICONE SONIC TOOTHBRUSH, S$299, FOREO
A sustainable, high-tech alternative to using plastic toothbrushes with nylon bristles. The brush head only needs to be replaced once a year, while a single charge provides up to 365 days of usage.
VELVETINES CAT-EYE ACETATE SUNGLASSES, US$243 (S$335), VELVET CANYON FROM NET-A-PORTER
A chic, vintage-styled pair of sunnies made from tortoiseshell bio-acetate that's biodegradable and compostable, and fitted with recyclable lenses.
STARTER KIT, S$348, RE:ERTH
Give a gift of great-looking skin – this “discovery” set contains a cleanser, toner, serum and moisturiser made with gentle formulas and natural skincare actives, such as the brand’s signature Japanese white turmeric, that boost skin’s vitality. Re:erth’s takes in the emptied bottles and works with a partner that recycles them into virgin-quality recycled plastics and non-fossil-derived fuel.
SOLAR WATCH, S$360, SOLIOS WATCHES
No more need for single-use batteries with Solios’ solar-powered watches that charges up under both artificial light and sunlight. Two hours of light exposure gives this timepiece up to six months’ worth of power reserve – how impressive is that? The strap is, of course, similarly eco-friendly and made out of vegan leather.
THE MATCHA 26 EAU DE PARFUM, S$394 FOR 100ML, LE LABO
This calming unisex perfume that combines matcha tea accord with fig, vetiver, cedar woods and bitter orange notes is made for those who love subtle scents that “stay close” to the skin. Best of all, the bottle can be reused and refilled at either of the two Le Lebo stores located here. The service is also available for 50ml and 500ml Le Labo fragrances.
SHINIES EDIT COLLECTION LAB-GROWN DIAMOND EAR STUDS, S$468 A PAIR, AUTHICA
Lab-grown diamonds are the same as natural diamonds – meaning that they are real diamonds – except that they are, well, grown in a lab. This benefits the environment since they do not have as much of a negative impact on the planet as that generated by diamond mining. These simple studs make a versatile gift for women of practically any age, and are made with lab-grown diamonds that are rated D to F in colour and VVS to VS in terms of clarity.
AUGUSTINUS BADER THE HYDRATION HEROES WITH THE RICH CREAM (CHRISTMAS EDITION), S$495, SEPHORA
A gifting set comprising the famed German skin brand’s popular face cream and a body cream – both promising to rejuvenate the skin. Augustinus Bader uses ingredients that are sustainably sourced, eco-friendly packaging and is moving towards being carbon-neutral by the end of 2022.
ANEMONE WHITE HANDBAG, £310 (S$515), MASHU
Every component of this bag is made with eco-friendly materials with origins that are fully traceable. The leather is produced from apple skin, the lining is made with recycled polyester, while the handles are repurposed from wooden offcuts from a furniture company.
SIREN MUSE LARGE HOOP AND PEARL EARRINGS, S$605, MONICA VINADER
These chic hoops that come with detachable pearl drops can be worn in three ways – with a single pearl charm on for an edgy asymmetric look, both charms on, or off. They are crafted in 100 per cent recycled gold vermeil and solid sterling silver, which translates into a reduction in carbon emissions during the production process, as compared to using newly mined metals.
ARIA BELT BAG, S$615, SENREVE
Cactus leather has arrived on the eco-fashion scene and American brand Senreve is among the first bag makers to start using it. The supple leather is made from Mexican cactus plants and rates better on planet-friendliness than vegan leather that’s made of plastic.
AVIATOR GRAND VEGAN LEATHER-TRIMMED RECYCLED HARDSHELL SUITCASE, US$549.77 (S$758), PARAVEL FROM NET-A-PORTER
Jet-setting isn’t exactly earth-friendly, we know, so why not help reduce a loved one’s travel carbon footprint by gifting him or her this suitcase that’s made from recycled polycarbonate, vegan leather and upcycled water bottles?