By Madeleine Kates

What do you give the person who has everything, and who also wants to adopt a greener way of life? Here are some creative gift ideas:

For the homeowner: We all have drawers full of cooking utensils that are past their usable life, and the person you’re shopping for is no exception. Pans with a non-stick coating that are scraped and worn, or plastic spatulas that have seen better days, can contaminate food with chemicals you do not want to ingest. Products made from stainless steel, wood, or glass make great options for someone who cooks. There are also sustainable replacements for single-use items, such as reusable cloth bags instead of disposable plastic bags, or beeswax wraps as a substitute for plastic cling wrap. Wool dryer balls for the laundry room can replace dryer sheets, and are chemical and fragrance free.

For the gardener: Instead of chemical-based plant foods, give the gift of Sea Magic, which provides nutrients for the garden, and is sourced from kelp! This is a usable gift that keeps harmful chemicals out of the soil where they can travel to water sources, or harm children and pets. Think about creative tools that can replace chemicals, such as a good quality weed digger.

For the beauty enthusiast or traveler: Put together a gift basket filled with natural personal care products. Not only are they friendly to the user and the environment, but they also come in eco-friendly packaging! There are many companies transitioning to plastic-free, fair-trade, plant-based products such as solid shampoo and conditioner bars from Viori or Lush, toothpaste tablets from Bite, and hand soaps from Blueland. These are also an easy travel option since many sustainable products are solid and do not need to be stored as liquids in a plastic bottle.

For the student: While stainless steel, reusable water bottles are now a common sight, think outside the box at what supplies can make a student’s life more convenient. Look for solid or pencil-based highlighters that won’t leak, or pencils from Sprout that can be planted to grow flowers or herbs after use. Find stainless steel food containers for a lunch box that are easier to clean by hand, and won’t degrade after washing.

For the athlete: For gym bags that have seen better days, consider replacing them with cotton that can be washed, or even ones made by Rareform, from recycled sheets of vinyl billboard faces. They are durable, easy to wipe down, and are one-of-a-kind.

For anyone: When in doubt, everyone loves a nice pair of socks, so why not find some that also do some good beyond the sock drawer! At Conscious Step, you’ll find socks whose proceeds benefit a wide range of charities, from dogs to koalas, and meals or books for those in need.
For more gift ideas visit, or search online for any of the companies mentioned above.

Madeleine Kates is a Senior at Niagara University pursuing Majors in Life Sciences, Psychology, and Environmental Science.