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How to find sustainable gift ideas: 5 ways to rethink how you buy

Sustainability is THE buzz word for many at the moment. Climate change occupies kids, and parents minds on a daily basis, and it is vitally important that when we are buying gifts we focus on it too. Sustainable gift ideas for birthday and for Christmas are a great way of helping the planet. Why not think harder about your gift choices this year with a little help from KiddyCharts? We aren’t talking specific gifts here, but just a greater awareness of what you are doing when you choose your gifts. Everything from how you research them, to what you choose.

1. Do your sustainable gift ideas research on the right search engine

Before you even start your search for sustainable gift ideas – let’s make sure you are using the right search engine for your browsing – check our Ecosia, which plants a tree for every search you make on it.

Yes, really.

They have approximately 15 million users, and have planted 160 million trees. That is a lot of sustainability right there. So try and use them from time to time, and you are already well on your way to thinking more about the planet every day.

2. Go bamboo bamboo bamboo!

Bamboo is a fantastic alternative to plastics, and some fabrics that reduces the need for landfill. It offers an accessible and affordable to anything from Bamboo socks to toothbrushes. Obviously, you might think twice about buying a toothbrush for a gift, but socks are the stable for any Christmas or birthday treats!

We love a bit of bamboo, and we hope that you do too. In fact, focusing more on alternative materials for gifts generally, and not just specifically to bamboo is a great way to rethink your buying, and your overall lifestyle. From reusable coffee cups, to not using disposable razors. It’s worth extending this to your lifestyle and not just your sustainable gift ideas; every little helps.

2. Focus on recycled products and packaging

You would be surprised at how many people don’t think about what they are buying, and whether there is a recycled alternative. For example, if you decide that you’d love to get some new glasses for the other half, why not see what recycled alternatives there are, or quirky products. For example, Etsy is a wonderful place to check out gift products that have been handmade, and there are plenty of alternative ideas to the traditional on there as a result. Anything from glasses made from recycled beer bottles, to dresses created from old Sarees. The best thing about this idea? It is so much fun exploring what is available.

In addition, what packaging does the product have. Is the packaging recycled? Or recyclable? Is there too much of it?

How many parents fight with removing the toys from their products? Some toys now are really focusing on using the packaging within the toy sets. Scuff-a Luvs, for example, use the box as part of the play sets. There is still plastic within these toys sets, but there is also an element of acknowledgement that the toy industry has work to do on making toys, and the manufacturing process more eco friendly.

Learning Resources Design and Drill playset is another toy that uses the packaging as part of the product. We are hopeful that more companies will do this over time, so watch this space.

3. Buy a service and not retail goods

The best gifts are often experiences, rather than things. Why not buy something special as a gift that doesn’t actually have much packaging at all, because you are either offering something to someone you love yourself, for example some coupons for them? Or you are providing them with a gift that enables them to go somewhere, or have a service provided to them. For example, how about a well-earned massage from a tired parent? Or a night out?

If you expand your thinking, you’d be amazing at the kind of services that parents might like to get; how about a week’s ironing done for them?

4. Sponsorship or charitable giving

We are a social enterprise, so we are biased (!) towards our fellow charities, but a wonderful way of being both kind, socially conscious and environmentally aware, is to buy or sponsor through a charity. Perhaps you can sponsor a child for someone, or plant a tree through the Woodland Trust, or another local organisation to you? This is a wonderful, meaningful gift, and can be a lovely way to mark a specific event too; for example an anniversary.

Don’t forget to check out our shop while you are in the giving mood 😂. We give 51%+ of our profit to charity on KiddyCharts, so every view on the site, and purchase in our shop counts to supporting our partners.

5. Buy “used” items as gifts

Yes, we said it. This is becoming less taboo, but it is still something that is frowned upon. You could even go one step further, and keep a draw of unwanted gifts at home, and pass these on as gifts over time. Some people will be cringing at this idea, BUT it really IS a perfectly reasonable focus for our sustainable gift ideas.

Why throw something away, or let it gather dust in your house, when you think someone else will find it useful? Do make sure you don’t give it back to the person that gave it to you of course though… 😂

If this is something you can’t quite face, there are a lot of sites that let you buy second hand goods at excellent prices. Pre-Loved is a “thing” and a much nicer way of referring to second hand items. Check out the DvD, Books, and Clothes sites for suitable items. There are plenty of options on, eBay, and even Amazon. Explore, and you might just find a bargain.

Don’t forget to check out parent specific sales and sites too, such as the NCT, and the Mum2Mum marketplace (for the UK), with plenty of others if you look in your local markets too. Your local charity shops are worth a visit as well.

We hope that you like these ways for rethinking your sustainable gift ideas – we know its a gradual change, but it all counts. If you like this article, do sign up to our newsletter:

We do have other ideas around the environment on KiddyCharts, so why not take a look at these too?

Other articles relevant to being green on KiddyCharts

Here are more ideas from KiddyCharts that focus on being green, and the environment.

And here are some wonderful upcycling activities as well to help support the sustainable gift ideas we have given you:

Upcycling activities to do with children from around the web

Looking for even more upcycling activities to do with your kids, check these out!

Thanks for reading this, and we hope to see you on the site again soon.


This is a collaborative post.

Helen is a mum to two, social media consultant, and website editor; and this site is (we think) the only Social Enterprise parenting magazine! Since giving up being a business analyst when juggling travel, work and kids proved too complicated, she founded KiddyCharts so she could be with her kids, and use those grey cells at the same time. KiddyCharts has reach of over 1.1million across social and the site. The blog works with big family brands (including travel) to help promote their services, as well as offering free resources to parents of kids under 10. It gives 51%+ profits to Reverence for Life, who fund a number of important initiatives in Africa, including bringing running water and basic equipment to a school in Tanzania. Helen has worked as a digital marketing consultant (IDM qualified) with various organisations, including Channel Mum, Truprint, Talk to Mums, and Micro Scooters. She loves to be creative in the brand campaigns she works on. Get in touch TODAY!

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