Eco-Friendly Gifts for Environmentalists (That Also Heal the Planet and Save Animals)

By Jazmin Murphy | Updated on September 15, 2021

Don’t know what to get your friend or relative for the next birthday or holiday? It can be stressful to come up with something that appeals to a specific interest… but not for an environmentalist.

These friends mainly want to see the world become a better place, and for climate change to slow (or stop entirely). These eco-friendly gifts for environmentalists will serve their daily needs and help them progress toward that very goal.

An image of a man holding an 8 Billion Trees Steel Water bottle in a nursery in Brazil, with 8 Billion Trees watermark.

1. Earth-Friendly Steel Water Bottle

Water bottles make up a significant portion of the single-use plastic items harming wildlife worldwide. The United Nations Environmental Programme (UNEP) reported that, out of the 300 million tonnes (330.7 million tons) of plastic produced every year, single-use plastics are among the worst offenders, partly because people use them every day.

Specifically, products containing polyethylene terephthalate (PET) are of critical concern, as they make up a significant portion of daily use items, such as water bottles, of course, and dispensers. Some experts call this “stomach plastics,” because of additional – and surprising – goods you’ll find them in, including:1,2

  • Salad dressing
  • Juice and soda
  • Margarine
  • Vegetable oil
  • Cosmetics and hygiene products (e.g., mouthwash)

However, plastic items containing PET can harm human health when heated. High temperatures can trigger the release of toxic compounds like antimony, which is a possible carcinogen.2

Single-use items containing this and other chemicals are filling up the oceans faster than many realize. Humans throw out so much of this material that the sea may have more plastic than fish by 2050.1

Replacing single-use plastic water bottles for your environmentalist friend will help them reduce their carbon footprint in a major way. Merely swapping out their plastic water bottle with an eco-friendly reusable bottle can keep them from using over 160 disposable plastic items each year.3

This Gift is Best For…

Any of your loved ones can benefit from receiving a double-insulated steel water bottle. After all, everyone drinks water, right?

There are two sizes available, each of which may be better for specific uses: The 16 oz models are best for use around the home and office, making a versatile gift for anyone, from acquaintances to close friends. However, the 40 oz version is ideal for active friends who might want to take water along on a walk or hike.

Product Highlights

  • Reusable, helping reduce excessive plastic waste
  • Highly durable, thanks to the steel construction
  • Supports the planting of 10-15 new trees and the preservation of 100-150 existing trees

2. Eco-Friendly Reusable Canvas Tote

Plastic bags… the bane of many environmentalists’ existences. These present a much more complex climate threat than many people realize. The disadvantages of the continued global use of plastic bags are not simply issues of littering on city streets, or even risks to the ocean’s health alone.1

Instead, plastic bags are extremely damaging to human infrastructure, leading to cascading consequences for public health and wildlife safety. When they clog up sewage systems, this attracts mosquitoes and other pests, increasing disease transmission rates for several species. Even domestic animals – especially livestock – are prone to eating plastic bags or inadvertently swallow plastic particles.1

Additionally, plastic bags are up there with single-use water bottles in terms of leading the impact of daily plastic use worldwide. While people buy one million plastic water bottles every minute, they use five trillion single-use plastic bags annually.1

Offering your friend a reusable tote bag to use as an alternative to such a destructive item will surely make them happy.

(Plus, it comes with the added bonus of supporting the planting of ten new trees and conserving 100 more.)

This Gift is Best For…

This is another generally appealing item that you can gift to almost any of your eco-conscious friends. Plastic bags are in all sorts of stores, including clothing shops and grocery markets. Anyone who wants to go shopping plastic-free would appreciate this canvas bag, as it helps shrink their carbon footprint with hardly any effort at all.

Product Highlights

  • Supports the planting of 10 new trees
  • Machine washable
  • Made of highly durable 100% canvas

A view of a man standing on a tree trunk under the snow at the Sequoia National Park with an 8 Billion Trees Watermark.

3. Sustainable Hygiene Necessities

Many would be surprised to learn just how much their toiletries and hygiene appliances are affecting the environment. Everything from your toothpaste to your washing and drying machine imposes an indirect threat to natural habitats in some way.

Toothpaste! Yes, you read that right. Many brands use palm oil as a primary ingredient in their formulas, a substance that has long been known to be a direct driver of deforestation, especially in Indonesia, the world’s leading palm oil producer.4

Many companies have been trying to label their palm oil products as “sustainable” as a form of greenwashing. In reality, the Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil (RSPO) recorded only about 20 percent of all the world’s palm oil as of 2017.4

(“Greenwashing” means giving the appearance of a product or service being environmentally friendly without any action to back it up.)

So, how can you be sure that your toothpaste isn’t a contributor to global forest loss? By switching to more sustainable alternatives, such as dry tooth powder and biodegradable dental floss.

The 30 g container (made from recycled materials) of activated charcoal tooth powder will last you for months with daily use, eliminating any worry of feeding into global climate change via palm oil extraction. As a bonus, each purchased container of the powder helps plant five trees, along with conserving 50 existing trees.

Plus, the 100 percent corn fiber eco floss is a much better alternative than most plastic-based floss on the market. You can repackage it in a small glass container – eliminating plastic waste – and support the planting of two new trees and 20 trees’ conservation at the same time!

This Gift is Best For…

These hygiene gifts, including the extras listed below, are great for friends looking for creative, yet minimalistic ways to reduce their carbon emissions.

Furthermore, anyone with a sensitivity to fluoride (a primary ingredient in most toothpastes) would deeply appreciate the tooth powder, as it lowers the risk of adverse effects. This gift is also ideal for parents with young children, as most cases of fluoride toxicity are in children below six years old.5

Product Highlights:

  • Fights deforestation due to a lack of palm oil
  • Made with biodegradable materials
  • Supports the planting of 2-5 new trees and the protection of 20-50 existing trees

4. Additional Eco-Conscious Hygiene Set Gift Ideas

Dental hygiene tools may not be enough on their own. If you think your loved one would want to up the ante on their everyday sustainable action, you can go all in and get them a full self-care gift set. Options include:

  • Bamboo bathroom bundle: This includes an exciting variety of hygiene items, including bamboo washcloths, a bamboo toothbrush, 200 BPA-free, biodegradable cotton swabs, and more. Along with this, you’d be gifting your friend 16 freshly planted trees and support for the preservation of 60 existing trees.
  • Bamboo self-care bundle: Encourage your friends to treat themselves to a spa day with this bundle, complete with a tote bag, 200 bamboo cotton swabs, and three organic 100% bamboo washcloths. Plus, this gift set isn’t just carbon neutral. It supports the planting of six new trees and preservation of 24 trees as well.
  • Sustainable shiny whites bundle: Help your buddy keep their pearly whites beautiful and clean with this eco-friendly dental care pack. It comes with a jar of activated charcoal tooth powder, 30 yards’ worth of biodegradable floss, an eco-friendly canvas tote bag, and an organic bamboo toothbrush.

An worm's eye view of trees and the sky at the Sequoia National Park, with 8 Billion Trees Watermark.

5. Carbon Offsets for the Family

What’s with all the talk about trees? Planting and conserving trees are just two activities that characterize initiatives known as forestry offset projects. This is one of many different types of forest-focused climate mitigation activities that involves establishing or restoring the world’s forested landscapes to improve global carbon-sequestering capacity.

This is a critical step toward progress against the present, growing climate threat, offering these key benefits, among others:6

  • Restoring and sustaining biodiversity
  • Preventing flooding and erosion
  • Increasing carbon dioxide absorption

Supporting offset programs is an excellent way to reverse or neutralize the carbon emissions you’ve already produced, or can’t avoid releasing. For instance, all your home appliances consume energy, meaning your household uses a substantial amount of electricity – and therefore, fossil fuels – every year.

In fact, a recent report by Forest Preserves revealed that the average US household produces about 7.5 tons of CO2 every year.7 Even if you don’t fully comprehend the extent of your energy consumption day-to-day, it’s essential to neutralize the effects as thoroughly as possible.

With all this said, you can help your friend offset their environmental impacts by giving them a goldmine of offsets for their family and household. The Family Earth Defenders Carbon Offset will neutralize your home’s emissions for an entire year! But how?

Each package supports the planting of a whopping 355 trees, covering these aspects of a family-sized (two adults and one baby) carbon footprint:

  • Two vehicles
  • An average-sized home (about 2,000 sq ft)
  • Balanced meals
  • Much more

In all, you’ll save your loved one over 65,746 lbs of CO2 emissions.

This Gift is Best For…

As you might have already guessed, this gift is ideal for families of three. The past year-and-a-half has been rough on everyone worldwide. Environmentalist parents would be forever grateful to friends who extend a helping hand by offsetting their household emissions for a full year, easing their concerns about their impact on local ecosystems.

Product Highlights:

  • Neutralizes a family of three’s carbon emissions for an entire year
  • Covers several facets of everyday life
  • Offsets 65,746 lbs of CO2 per year

An 8 Billion Trees graphic showing environmentalists saving the planet and the animals.

Gift Your Loved Ones a Healthier Planet

The best gift you could give anyone is a safe, healthy planet to call home. With each of these eco-friendly gifts for environmentalists, you are doing just that.

No matter their interests, nationalities, or anything in-between, all people worldwide are facing the same climate crisis. Let your loved ones know that we’re all in this together by showing your love and care through an eco-friendly gift that actively contributes to Earth’s restoration and protection.


References

1United Nations Environment Programme. (n.d.). Our planet is drowning in plastic pollution – it’s time for change! https://www.unep.org/interactive/beat-plastic-pollution/

2Okunola A, A., Kehinde I, O., Oluwaseun, A., & Olufiropo E, A. (2019). Public and environmental health effects of plastic wastes disposal: A review. Journal of Toxicology and Risk Assessment, 5(2). https://doi.org/10.23937/2572-4061.1510021

3Habits of Waste. (n.d.). Plastic bottles. https://habitsofwaste.org/call-to-action/plastic-bottles/

4Carlson, K. M., Heilmayr, R., Gibbs, H. K., Noojipady, P., Burns, D. M., Morton, D. C., Walker, N. F., Paoli, G. D., & Kremen, C. (2018). Effect of oil palm sustainability certification on deforestation and fire in Indonesia. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America, 115(1), 121-126. https://doi.org/10.1073/pnas.1704728114

5Ullah, R., Zafar, M. S., & Shashani, N. (2017). Potential fluoride toxicity from oral medicaments: A review. Iranian Journal of Basic Medical Sciences, 20(8), 841-848. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5651468/

6American University Washington. (2020, June 24). What is forestation? https://www.american.edu/sis/centers/carbon-removal/fact-sheet-forestation.cfm

7Champaign County Forest Preserve District. (n.d.). Forest Preserves: Champaign County. https://www.ccfpd.org/Portals/0/Assets/PDF/Facts_Chart.pdf