Each year our staff and contributors round up their best gift ideas for cooks, eaters, and the kitchen curious. Read on for our favorite sustainable gifts.
The holidays are all about generosity and goodwill, and what better way to celebrate the season than with sustainable gifts that also give back to the planet? While the impending climate crisis isn’t the cheeriest holiday party conversation starter, the fact of the matter is that Americans annually produce. We all have a responsibility to look after our planet, so we’re helping you give the green way with this roundup of waste-saving, tree-planting, eco-friendly gift ideas.
For extra credit, pop your holiday gifts intorather than swaddling them in gift wrap and swap out plastic-coated ribbons for more sustainable products, like . For stocking stuffers, bundle small items into , which can be used again and again in the kitchen in place of plastic wrap. Whatever you decide to do, recyclable packaging is only as good as the contents inside—so here are our picks for the best sustainable gifts for an Earth-friendly holiday season.
A stunning cutting board made from recycled materials
Reducing plastic use is a crucial step in creating a sustainable kitchen, and—stay with us—these plastic cutting boards can actually help. BA editors love the Material reBoard, which is lightweight, BPA-free, and made entirely of plastic scraps from kitchen tool manufacturing and renewable sugarcane. Find the reBoard in five colors, including mustard and teal. Another stunning option we stand behind? This heavy duty chopping block from. It’s speckled with multi-colored, confetti-like flecks made from the recycled plastic scraps from solid color cutting boards.
A waste-reducing food vacuum sealer
Save your leftovers from an untimely end with this handy vacuum-sealing system. This starter kit comes with a mini-vacuum pump, reusable zip bags, and dishwasher-safe storage containers designed to slow spoilage and keep food fresh up to five times longer. Contributor Alex Beggs even swears it keeps her avocado halves from turning brown. It’s a great gift for every kind of cook, from bread bros who can’t bear to toss another stale sourdough to meal-prepping parents who want Thursday’s apple slices to be just as crisp as they were on Monday.
A set of hand-blown glass tumblers
These gorgeous drinking glasses aren’t just green in color. Each tumbler is hand-blown from 100% recycled materials, and Oaxaca-based glass studio Xaquixe uses renewable energy sources—namely, burnt cooking oil salvaged from local hotels and restaurants—to power up its furnaces, reducing its carbon footprint. Even if you choose to gift them in turquoise, fuchsia, or saffron, these glasses are as green as can be.
A luxury boxed wine
Boxed wine has an 84% lower carbon footprint than conventional glass wine bottles—and Juliet, a news-ish brand offering luxury boxed wine, takes the eco-friendly factor a step further with their proprietarypackaging. All the wines are made in a winery (meaning they follow sustainable winegrowing practices), and come in a chic, fully recyclable cylinder that holds 1.5 liters (about two wine bottles). Bonus: They stay fresh for six weeks after opening. This holiday season, consider the or the .
A minimalist recycled bread box
Some of the best eco-friendly gifts are also the prettiest. This minimalist bread box from Italian maker Guzzini is made from recycled plastic water bottles, and it’s fitted with a bamboo lid that will keep your sourdough, brioche, and other loaves fresher longer. The lid also doubles as a cutting board when you’re in need of a quick slice. Available in three neutral colors (white, clay, and taupe), it makes an aesthetically-pleasing addition to any kitchen counter.
Reclaimed tie-dye table linens
Atelier Saucier upcycles surplus fabric from fashion vendors in Los Angeles, CA, transforming it into psychedelic hand-sewn table linens while also minimizing energy and water consumption. Fromto , they have dozens of designs and prints to choose from. We love the retailer’s best-selling and . All of the packaging is made from recycled materials, too.
A sleek countertop composter
A high-tech upgrade from your standard, the Lomi Classic countertop composter will seamlessly break down a glut of food scraps, including fruit and veggie bits, grains, eggshells, meat scraps, and soft bones—along with compostable paper plates, bags, cups, and approved bioplastics. All this with very little prep and maintenance on your end. What’s more, it’s proven to limit funky smells, even after a few days. This appliance is quite an investment, but we think it’s worth every penny—especially for green cooks with limited space.
Fair-trade chocolate peanut butter cups
We once taste tested a heap of “healthy” candies, and the Unreal dark chocolate peanut butter cups were among our faves. Don’t let the health element scare you—they’re everything we want a chocolate peanut butter cup to be: creamy, rich, and just sweet enough. Plus, they’re made with a simple list of plant-based, sustainably-sourced, fair-trade ingredients. Toss some into a basket with Unreal’sand , and you’ve got a delicious gift set of eco-friendly products. Sustainable living never tasted so good.
Upcycled bamboo nesting bowls
This set of seven bowls has all the benefits of plastic—fun colors, durability, no chance of metallic flavoring—without the planet-destroying downsides. They’re made from upcycled bamboo fibers bound together with 15% melamine (a food-safe organic compound), and they’ll degrade in a landfill in 22 years. The baker in your life will adore that they’re deeper than the average mixing bowl, which makes for both aesthetic appeal and splash-free whisking.
A better-for-the-earth bottle of booze
Unfortunately, hard alcohol is hard on the planet—but some brands are making strides to become more sustainable. Here’s the rundown: To distill whisky, a fermented liquid gets heated until the alcohol evaporates. Then, that vapor gets siphoned off and cooled, turning it back into a liquid. These processes take tremendous amounts of energy, and, as part of its goal to lower its carbon emissions,is experimenting with hydrogen combustion technology to heat the copper stills that produce its Islay single malt Scotch whiskies.
An indoor herb garden
Made for aspiring green thumbs without garden access, this compact countertop planter (which is the smallest model of the AeroGarden lineup) is fitted with built-in grow lights and a self-watering tank, taking the guesswork out of growing fresh herbs and veggies at home. Watching little leaves of basil and lettuce sprout from their pods makes us feel more connected to the earth, even from our cramped Brooklyn apartments. It’s perfect for keeping single-use plastic clamshells of wilted herbs out of your kitchen and, subsequently, out of our oceans.
A curated box of sustainable seafood
Give the gift of good eating with this curated box of certified sustainable seafood. Featuring only wild-caught fish processed near the source to reduce emissions, Vital Choice subscription boxes are a great choice for high-quality wild salmon, halibut, and tuna, and more. Each box also includes three seasoning blends and a beautifully light fish broth for spectacular soups and stews.
A stylish reusable shopping bag
A statement tote is a terrific gift for the friend who’s all about sustainable fashion, and this one is ideal for a day in the park or a trip to the farmers market. She’s got pockets, which means you can safely tuck away a (reusable) water bottle or silicone coffee cup and keep your phone, keys, and wallet easily accessible. Junes’ special Bio-Knit fabric is produced with post-consumer plastic bottles and an innovative material called CiCLO, which makes plastic fibers biodegradable with a little help from naturally occurring microbes. We’re also big fans of Baggu’s reusable bags, which have fun print designs and are made entirely from recycled nylon.
A porcelain teapot with a reusable infuser
Nylon tea bags are notoriously non-recyclable and release microplastics right into your teacup, so help your loved one make the switch to loose leaf with this teapot with a built-in stainless-steel steeping tube. It makes better tea in addition to being more sustainable. (If green isn’t your color, see our full list of the best teapots.) Vahdam is a plastic- and carbon-neutral company and invests in the communities where its teas are produced.
Patterned reusable paper towels
The Swedes know a thing or two about furniture (IKEA), music (ABBA), and, apparently, dishcloths. Skip the roll of single-use paper towels in favor of these charming cellulose and cotton towels. They’re machine-washable, so you can throw them into a washing machine or dishwasher to give ’em a little refresh after they’re done wiping up messes. Beggs warns that the pivot into reusable towel life is a bit of an adjustment, because the dishcloths will likely get stained and stay a bit damp from constant use. But that’s a small price to pay to kick that paper towel habit for good.
Silicone food storage bags
What sustainable gift guide would be complete without a set of Stasher bags? These colorful silicone bags have long been a BA staff favorite—thank you, next, single-use plastic bags—and will cheer up any friends who have had to return to the office. They’re perfect for toting snacks or reheating leftovers in the microwave. Can plastic bags do that?
Read more Bon Appétit gift guides:
- The Best Grilling Gifts for Cooks Who Play With Fire
- 23 Highly Caffeinated Gifts for Coffee Lovers
- The Best Gifts for the Baker in Your Life
- The Best Gifts for Gardeners According to a Chef-Turned-Green-Thumb