I’ve been actively trying to reduce my at-home waste footprint for about eight years now.
Efforts to bring waste-reducing changes to my former workplace were met with a lot of poorly camouflaged resentment, but I am now happy to observe from afar that this very same workplace has implemented the changes for which I advocated and more.
Having blogged about eco-friendly lifestyle choices for almost as many years, I have also noticed an uptick in folks asking me to recommend “zero-waste” products and practices. There’s no denying it, zero-waste is becoming trendy, and that’s a good thing! Market demand is sufficient so that companies are innovating and striving to produce closed loop products, products that can be refilled, products that can be composted, products whose components won’t spend 500+ years in a landfill and products that make thoughtful and ethical gifts.
So whether the person on your gift-shopping list is just dipping their toes into waste reduction or if they’re a militant greenie (an epithet I try to take as a compliment), I’m sure you’ll find something here to offer them. Remember to use reusable wrapping!
Unwrapped Life Solid Shampoo
Made here in Calgary, Unwrapped Life is my favourite solid shampoo among the many I’ve tried over the years. I use Bora Bora, and it smells delightful, lathers beautifully and lasts a long time. I don’t personally use the conditioner, but I’ve also heard great things about it.
Abeego Beeswax Food Wraps
Guess what you can stop buying in 2020 (if you haven’t already)? Plastic wrap.
Think about it: give someone Abeego and you aren’t just giving them a Canadian-made, beeswax food wrap to keep cucumbers crisp and create lids for all those lonely containers in their cupboard; you’re also saving them money!
We’ve been using Abeego for at least five years now: it covers an unfinished bowl of apple sauce, tucks a half a zucchini in for the night, keeps our block of parmesan cozy and wraps up the third of a bell pepper till it’s needed next.
Créations Lillipop Earrings
I wear almost no jewellery. In fact, I almost never wear my wedding rings because with so much handwashing and dish doing, the skin under them gets too irritated.
It had been a long time since I’d bothered wearing earrings, until I decided it would be super fun to have some bling to spice up the #momlife. Not being a jewellery aficionado, I’m also not going to drop hundreds of dollars on bling. But cheap costume jewellery is typically laden with lead and destined to be worn once before winding up in the trash.
Enter Creations Lillipop. Their delightful and unique earrings are made from recuperated acrylic plastic with stainless steel posts. You get fun designs you won’t see anywhere else, your ears don’t get itchy AND you’re only spending $10!
There’s a design for everyone on your list, and if they don’t have pierced ears, why not a little pin for their backpack or lapel? I have maple syrup cans, wolves, snow globes and Harry Potter-inspired studs. They match everything, they’re whimsical, they put me in a good mood when I look in the mirror, and they’re total conversation starters. Also, they’re handmade in Canada!
Purchase on Etsy.
Routine Cream Deodorant
I do believe that offering a friend or loved one deodorant for Christmas implies a reasonably high level of intimacy. But if you offer Routine Cream and explain that Maman Loup is obsessed with this stuff and you know they’re a huge fan (rather than you think they smell bad, even if you do), they’ll totally appreciate the sentiment.
Routine Cream is a delight, even for sweaty mamas like me. Sweating is an important bodily function, and this a product that lets us sweat and still smell sweet. My two favourite formulas are Like a Boss and Superstar. If you’re really not sure what to choose, a sampler pack would make a great gift!
The ingredients are downright edible and the jars are refillable at participating retailers.
KMH Flosspot Refillable Floss
I am the kind of person who will exaggerate out of shame how often I floss when the hygienist asks me.
I usually say that I floss every second day, but let’s face it, what that probably means is once or twice a week. But guess what? Since buying myself this beautiful little jar of floss, I am flossing every day and I am not lying!
The amount of plaque and tartar scraping that went down at my last dental check up was significantly less. (Because the dentist is right … flossing really does make a difference! And apparently aesthetics and zero-wastiness motivate me to floss more than just dental guilt.)
Something about pulling this compostable silk floss out of this pretty little jar is just so satisfying, and I feel so good about no longer tossing plastic floss dispensers that I’m now a daily flosser. Give your pal a jar plus a package of refill floss and they’ll almost have enough till next Christmas!
I am striving to never buying coffee in a takeout cup again. If you’ve got a takeout coffee (or smoothie) addicted friend with a guilty conscience, this is the WOW gift of the holiday season!
My StoJo collapsible cup fits in my coat pocket so I can still spontaneously grab a latte or even an Orange Julius (it comes with a straw that folds inside) but without the trash. When I’m done, I collapse it back down and toss it in my pocket or backpack without taking up valuable real estate.
No more excuses for not bringing your own cup!
Purchase at Lil’ Monkey Cheeks.
Öko Creations Reusable Coffee Bags, Bread Bags and Produce Bags
Most of the coffee I drink is made on my stove, because I cannot afford $5 lattes on the daily. I buy my coffee beans in bulk, typically at Bulk Barn, and now that I have this reusable hemp coffee bag from Öko Creations, my home-brewing routine is certified zero waste.
When it comes to buying other dry bulk goods, Öko’s hemp bread bag is my favourite! I use it for croissants (which I bring home to freeze for school lunches) and also for a variety of dry goods from Bulk Barn.
Perhaps the easiest switch for the reluctant zero-waster who already brings their own reusable bags to the grocery store is to give them a few of Öko’s mesh produce bags. Perfect for purchasing fruits and veggies and no more hassle than remembering to bring your shopping bags!
Hint: Use Öko’s bags to wrap up the rest of the present! Then the wrapping IS part of the present!
Nelson Naturals Crush & Brush
Toothpaste tubes were one of the last things to go in my zero-waste bathroom.
I tried powdered and cream toothpaste in a jar but wasn’t a big fan. Nelson Naturals toothpaste tabs are where it’s at! They fizz and foam as you bite into them. No more overshooting the bristles on your brush, no more arguing with your partner or children about where to squeeze the toothpaste tube … honestly, these things are a revelation.
Many refilleries stock Crush & Brush tabs in bulk, so let your recipient know they can fill their jar again once it’s empty!
Les Produits de MaYa CoKa Whipped Body Butter
Divinely creamy, CoKa body butter is the thirst-quenching salve that dry hands deserve, and its metal tin is perfect for all kinds of different purposes once emptied.
Purchase at The Baby Footprint.
Mason Jar Lids Perfect Pump Lid
Mason jars are so hot right now! I’ve been using mason jars in lieu of drinking glasses for years now, and the Perfect Pump Lid has helped me unlock another zero-waste goal: refillable soaps and moisturizers.
We use bar soap in the tub, but kids are kids and I need to make it as easy as possible for them to wash their germy little paws. Liquid soap at the sink it is!
Right next to my tub I have a Perfect Pump Lid on a jar with a filled with almond oil to apply liberally post-shower, and I plan to start using a jar to refill body lotion at my local refillery—a Perfect Pump Lid on it will make for easy dispensing.
Purchase at Lil’ Monkey Cheeks.
TruEarth Laundry Strips
I’m now onto my second package of laundry strips in lieu of powdered or liquid detergent for our family’s laundry. (Note that I am sticking with Tide Powder for cloth diapers because diaper laundry is next level.)
I am fully satisfied with the cleanliness and light “Fresh Linen” smell of our clothes and linens, and if you don’t like scent, they also have unscented and baby formulas.
The amount of plastic packaging and fossil fuels from transport that you eliminate by switching to laundry strips is enormous—even just the space you save in your laundry room is huge. The strips come in paper packaging, and there’s just no chance of wastage since you literally just tear off a strip and pop it in the wash. I’m converted for sure.
For the curious, TruEarth ingredients and certifications are available on their website.
Öko Creations Cloth Menstrual Pads
Like the deodorant, you do have to know your audience when it comes to offering menstrual products as holiday gifts. But if you’re a loyal reader of my blog or you love someone who is … then receiving super soft organic cotton and hemp pads embellished with beautiful fabric backing will be an absolute delight.
Öko’s pads are, in my green opinion, the absolute best on the market. They’re also made in Canada and last for many years. I have pantyliners that are only just now ready to be retired after bi-weekly washings for the past 5 years.
Öko Creations Reusable Makeup Pads
If you want to give pads but want to keep it above the belt, how about Öko’s delightful reusable makeup pads?! I use them for applying oil cleanser to my face, but they’re also perfect for removing makeup or cleaning minor wounds.
Simply Merino Wool Women’s Top
My husband gave me this amazing top for my birthday!
Before you give him credit for his excellent taste, note that he was forwarded the exact link and sizing by yours truly. But he still managed to place an online order without my help and ship it to his work so he could surprise me!
Our clothes are full of synthetic fibres that make their way into our waterways. It’s honestly depressing to think about, so I tend not to. But slowly I am trying to add sustainably and ethically made, timeless pieces to my wardrobe, and this merino long sleeve top (with thumb holes) is one such piece. It is cozy, flattering, and brings us all the magical properties of merino wool such as odour and stain resistance and body temperature regulation in a cute, cardboard box (no plastic garment bags, hurray!).
Purchase at Simply Merino.
Giving zero-waste gifts this holiday season means giving a gift to the people you love and to the planet we all do!