Bubble Wrap Who? Each of These Gifts Ships With Low-Waste Packaging
And is a present to Mother Earth, too.
Published Dec 8, 2021 1:41 AM
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It’s not necessarily a news flash to say that the holiday season, with all its packages and mailings, isn’t the most sustainable of holidays. Even as an editor who receives many generous press packages a week (sometimes a day!), schlepping all that Bubble Wrap to my shipping center so it can reuse it is just another thing on my to-do list. (Yep, most places will use your leftovers for other customers—just ask!) It’s through that experience that I’ve learned sometimes the greatest gift you can give someone is a thoughtful item with minimal packaging. (Even Emma Roberts, who wraps presents in newspaper, is on board.)
With sustainability in mind, we’ve rounded up the best holiday-worthy items that come in compostable, recyclable (or recycled), and low-waste packaging. Are they perfect solutions to eliminating your carbon footprint? No, as most of them will come by air or truck. But each one is a small gift to your loved ones—and gives Mother Nature a bit of a break, too.
The Chill Zone
Girlfriend Collective makes its supersoft joggers from 50 percent recycled scraps and 50 percent organic cotton—and they come to your door in slim paper envelopes. Better yet, there’s a zippered bag inside that you can reuse for traveling, cosmetics, and organizing.
I haven’t used plastic wrap in years thanks to these beeswax food wraps, which Package Free Shop ships in a 100 percent recyclable and compostable paper box.
Not only are Pela’s rainbow-hued phone cases completely compostable, they’re durable enough to last until your next upgrade. Plus they ship in recyclable cardboard envelopes.
Teenagers and skin-care nerds alike will appreciate this vegan brand’s kit of three of its best brightening products: a cleanser, serum, and moisturizer. Best of all, the company doesn’t use plastic in its shipments, and it gives suggestions for recycling the glass bottles when you’re finished with them.
Not only does Soft Services offer chic bathing products like this skin-smoothing set, its website has step-by-step instructions on how to recycle its paper packaging and the products themselves.
This Instagram-famous makeup brand is known for its sheer tinted moisturizer and cheek colors. But the lip balm is a sleeper hit that also comes in a recyclable tube—and in a cardboard box that’s padded with usable cotton balls not Bubble Wrap.
Upcycled truck tarps make up this color-blocked tote that’s as stylish at the farmers’ market as it is at your office. Or it makes a great gift bag that’s a gift within itself.
Spice Up Your Life
All of Diaspora’s spices—favorites among in-the-know chefs—come in glass jars and cardboard packaging that you can throw in the recycling bin.
Plus Body Wash is the definition of low-waste packaging. Each sudsy sheet is totally dissolvable in water, along with the sachet (made of wood pulp from FSC forests) that it comes in. And the zip pouch is compostable, as is its mailer. (Hot tip: The brand also makes a dissolvable gift wrap!)
At Brooklyn shop Rue St. Paul, everything is sustainably and ethically made, including these sweet porcelain bud vases, which come to your door in plastic-free packaging that can be recycled.
Show your love with a pair of 14-karat gold heart-shaped earrings that come in a little book that’s 100 percent recyclable.
Best Foot Forward
Not only are Thousand Fell’s leather-free sneakers completely recyclable and zero waste (you put down a $20 deposit when you buy a pair), they don’t come with tissue paper or any single-use plastics. Instead you get an organic cotton tote (for reusing!) in your shoebox that’s also the shipping box. Even the tape and stickers can be recycled.
One of our favorite kitchen brands (I’m a fan of the Perfect Pot) now makes stylish knives that just so happen to come in sustainable packaging that’s plastic-free, recyclable, and biodegradable.
These drinking glasses are handmade in Montreal, will hold up in your dishwasher, and come in a box that’s filled with 100 percent recyclable materials.
No more plastic straws here. These glass ones come with a pipe cleaner for easy sudsing and are shipped in cardboard that’s sealed with paper-based tape.
These clever stoneware mugs feel good in your hands and in your heart: They come in disposable packing peanuts, and care instructions are printed on wildflower seed paper.
So much prettier than a Chemex: This ceramic pour-over cup is a chic way to make your morning brew. Dissolvable peanuts and Kraft paper ensure it gets to your door in one piece.
Almost too pretty to cover with a hot dish, Flotsam and Fork’s extendable enamel trivet is a total statement piece. We also love that it ships with paper and reused materials as much as possible.