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My journey of reducing waste happened almost by accident. Last year, I decided to thrift 100 percent of my clothes as a way to help ease up on my excessive shopping habits.  It was hard at first, but eventually, it got easier and it became really fun.

The deeper I got into my world of buying used clothes, the more I noticed just how much I had wasted before. While my waste reduction is not where I want it to be, I’m trying to slowly change my habits. My current mountain to climb? Christmas presents.

During this time of year, it’s especially important to me to be more aware of the gifts I give and the gifts I ask for. Yet, it’s hard to know what to invest in.

Here is the ultimate gift guide for a zero-waste friend, and (hopefully) it’ll convince you to reduce waste that comes your with Christmas list this year too.   

The Beauty Aisle 

It started with wanting face moisturizer that wasn’t filled with a bunch of ingredients to clog my pores. Hours of research later, I had a list of beauty products that I needed. It took one month to move from rubbing my mascara off with water to now a six-step routine. 

Honestly, I’m still working on letting go of my current makeup line, but there are a lot of other products that can help someone get started on reducing waste. 

1. Antonym Blush Brush

The whole Antonym line is awesome so don’t limit the recommendation to just this brush, but this Blush Brush is just so soft! The winner is the bamboo handle that can be composted once it’s been brushed one too many times. 

2. Kjaer Weis Lengthening Mascara 

Mascara is an easy one to buy cheap, but it is also the one product that has a ridiculous amount of packaging. The Kjaer Weis Lengthening Mascara has a recyclable tube! Bonus: They do have refillable pencil eyeliner if you’re into a little bit more than just the quick mascara in the morning. Even better—it all comes in compostable packaging.

3. Erase Your Face Make-Up Remover Washcloth

I swear by these Erase Your Face cloths because not only do they take off all my makeup, but they effortlessly wipe away my waterproof mascara. To clean it, all I have to do is throw it in the washing machine with my towels at the end of the week. 

4. LUSH Soaps & Face Masks

In my world, LUSH wins at the no-waste beauty game. They have so many options for bubble baths, body wash, shampoo bars and face masks. It looks and smells good, and there’s even a LUSH Christmas line. I’d recommend bringing your own linen to wrap it up so you can walk out of the store with no waste.

The Clothing Department

There are so many incredible companies who are focusing on recycled materials while also trying to reduce waste in their production. 

1. Allbirds

Allbirds makes comfortable and cool runners using recycled material and New Zealand wool that requires almost 60 percent less energy than other products! 

2. Recover Hoodies

Recover is another one that makes great outerwear like these pullover hoodies. This one, in particular, is 100 percent recycled materials, and they give some of the profits back to sustainability efforts. 

3. Coal Hardware Beanies

Coal Hardware Beanies are a combination of recycled scraps and new yarn. As a native Portlander, the fact that they’re a Pacific Northwest brand warms my heart.

4. Online Gift Card

If you’re buying for someone who gets excited about thrifting, I would recommend a gift card from an online store like Thredup rather than trying to choose a thrifted piece for them yourself. Most pieces are unique and a little loved, meaning standard sizes might not fit the same after being worn prior.

The Too-Expensive-But-I-Just-Need-Them Things 

Sometimes the practical gift is exactly what someone may be looking for because reducing your waste requires more investment in long-term (and sometimes more expensive) products.

1. Zero Waste Store Produce Bags and Kitchen Supplies

One of my favorite shops is the Zero Waste Store. You can buy so many affordable things especially for the kitchen, like beeswax wraps, produce bags and reusable lids and straws. (They have a great grocery package too).

Another tried and true gift is a Zero Waste reusable mug which you can get almost anywhere and an easy way to cut down on Starbucks to-go cups. If they aren’t a hot coffee drinker, then these EcoJarz lids fit on any wide-mouth mason jar for cold drinks or as a plastic water bottle alternative. 

2. Razors and Toiletries

This definitely is not a gift you give just anyone, but great bathroom items are actually one of the best investments for the long haul. Things like the Zero Waste’s Safety Razor or their bamboo hair brush are a great way to stop using plastic alternatives that have you have to keep replacing. You can also get a complete shaving kit if it’s weird to just wrap up a razor under the tree. 

As a cheesy side note, I’m guessing whoever is receiving this gift would also love not receiving “things” this Christmas as well. Maybe they like glow in the dark bowling or going to the theatre. Fun times can be great too! Plus, you don’t waste wrapping it up in paper. 

How can you help cut down on waste this holiday season? What environmentally conscious gift ideas do you have?

Image via Chaunté Vaughn, Darling Issue No. 24

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