Planet, people and profit: three pillars on which the complex concept of sustainability is built.
The small choices we make as consumers every day can make a big impact on the planet and our community. Whether that’s in our kitchens, where single-use plastics such as sandwich bags are notoriously prevalent, or in the gifts we choose to give the people we love.
Supporting brands that give conscious weight to sustainability can help us meet the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to do the same.
We’ve brought together a selection of sustainable gifts from brands big and small that are doing their bit – from ethical standards of production and transparency in the supply chain to using eco-friendly materials and minimising waste.
Discover everything from eco-friendly kitchenware to zero-waste starter kits and the best eco gifts for under £10.
Confused? It’s a tricky topic. Check out our sustainability glossary for expert definitions of the buzzwords and terminology used when talking about environmental issues.
Best sustainable or eco-friendly gifts
Recycled wine glasses
Hand blown from recycled glass, these unique pieces are a beautiful alternative to traditional wine glasses. Each will be slightly unique in shape due to the nature of production and two designs are available; clear glass and green. Dishwasher safe. Discover more unusual wine glasses to pep up your glass collection.
Available from: Spicer and Wood (£14)
LP vinyl placemats
The shape and texture of old vinyls lend them well to be upcycled into quirky tableware. This set of six come in optional 7” or 12” sizes, fitted with little rubber feet and laminated labels. It’s potluck on what LPs you’ll get in your set, which we think adds to their fun as a sustainable gift. Vinyl coasters are also available.
Available from: Protect the Planet (from £21.99)
Medium smoked cork fish trivet
Every kitchen needs things on which to rest hot dishes and pans. This trivet by Graham and Green is made from sustainable cork that’s been smoked to create a darkened marble effect. Cork is not only a great insulator but also lightweight and durable plus the smoked effect will hide any singe marks made from super-hot casserole dishes or pans.
Available from: Graham and Green (£22.95)
Recycled glass cake dome
We think the quality and build of this hefty glass dome more than justifies the price. Its size is perfect for storing anything from cakes and bread to cheeses, with the lid creating a seal that’ll compete with traditional bread bins. As a kitchen storage idea, it’s not just functional but would also be something of a centerpiece for your table.
Available from: Nkuku (£69.95)
Recycled 800ml glass carafe
To continue the theme of eco-friendly tableware, a water carafe with a broad spout for easy filling is a perfect addition. This carafe is embossed with a ‘100% Authentic Recycled Glass’ stamp. When not using it, stand some flowers in it.
Handmade recycled craft beer bottle glasses
Upcycled from used craft beer bottles in the UK, these tumblers would make an apt sustainable gift for anyone who loves their hops. Our experts have taste tested hundreds of craft beers. Read our definitive guide to craft beer right here.
Available from: Etsy (from £9.99)
Eco placemats, Natural Gift Store
Laser-cut to resemble the natural structure of coral, these placemats made from sustainable oak plywood will bring a touch of the tropics to your table while protecting it from hot dishes and pans.
Available from: Not on the High Street (£9)
Bike-shaped pizza cutter
There’s something really fun about using bike wheels to cut a pizza into slices. This Fairtrade copper-coated gadget offer two circular cutting blades, making it easier to get the perfect slice every time. Rest your hand against its seat and frame to apply pressure while cutting.
Available from: Ethical Superstore (£19.99)
Bamda bamboo cutlery and travel set
You get a lot for your money with this reusable bamboo cutlery set. A bottle opener, mineral water clip, rainbow straw plus cleaning brush, round spoon, knife, fork, chopsticks and an activated charcoal toothbrush fit into this ergonomically designed roll pouch, that secures with a popper. Plus, you can put them in the dishwasher.
Tabitha Eve watercolour multi wipes x3
Each towel in this pack of three has smooth organic cotton on one side and scrubby bamboo on the other – features designed to make them a durable reusable alternative to single-use kitchen roll and wipes. Each is 17cm square and can be popped in the washing machine. The water colour designs are far more exciting than plain kitchen roll, don’t you think?
Available from: Planet Organic (£12.99)
Colander light pendant
Yes it’s a quirky idea, but why not use a colander as a lampshade? These colourful colanders have been transformed from kitchen essentials to light fittings with fantastic results. The natural patina has been kept intact for a durable, sleek finish plus the light shining through the drainage holes creates a beautiful dappled effect. Available in multiple colours.
Available from: Etsy (£58.90)
Kambukka ETNA Thermal Mug
The Kambukka ETNA was voted best all-round travel cup and awarded 5/5 stars by the BBC Good Food experts when tested against the best reusable coffee cups. Not only will its insulation keep your drink hot for 11 hours but its nifty design features, including the watertight ‘Snapclean’ lid, can be easily washed.
Kami glass serving bowl
Made from clear recycled glass, this serving bowl has a rustic, organic design with a rough texture that would add character to any table. Load it with classic potato salad and then pop it in the dishwasher for easy cleaning. Dimensions: 6.5 x 27cm.
Available from: Nkuku (£32.95)
Chapra two-tier lunchbox
This stainless steel lunchbox has two tiers and snap closures, ideal for filling with two dishes or mixed snacks for lunch on-the-go. It’s a robust lunch box that would withstand being thrown around inside a bag and is dishwasher safe.
Available from: A Slice of Green (£15)
Nkuku Jahi brass candlesticks
These elegant Fairtrade candlesticks are hand forged using traditional techniques. Standing at just 16cm high and 5cm wide, they’re perfect for smaller tables and would be a great gift for those looking to make a positive social impact through their purchase.
Available from: Trouva (£22.95)
Bambu bamboo travel utensil set with cotton pouch
For an eco-friendly, plastic-free set of reusable cutlery this one by Bambu ticks all the boxes. The fork, knife and spoon are each made from organic bamboo and slip inside a cork travel pouch. Each element is natural, plastic-free, biodegradable and sustainable so for a low-impact present that can be used again and again, look no further.
Available from: Peace with the Wild (£13)
Recycled woollen rug
Made from recycled end-cuts of yarn by Tweedmill on the edge of the River Dee estuary, every one of these 120cm x 150cm rugs is different as colours vary depending on the off-cuts. Perfect for wrapping up on chilly winter evenings.
Available from: National Trust (£20)
Eco living kitchen kit
This is for anyone looking for simple ways to start swapping out the plastics in their daily routine. Included is a natural bristle wooden dish brush, a replacement brush head, a dishwashing soap bar that’s free from SLS, fragrance and parabens, a bamboo soap dish rack and a 4-pack of compostable sponge cleaning cloths. The pack is customisable for added flexibility.
Available from: Peace with the Wild (£22.60)
LIGA eco cork and ceramic mug
This ceramic eco coffee mug from Liga’s Earthware collection is available in cream or storm grey and is a contemporary little mug for your favourite brew. The cork grip can be removed for easy cleaning and is sustainably sourced. If coffee is your loved-one’s drink of choice, find a host of inspiration in our guide to the best gifts for coffee lovers.
Available from: Not on the High Street (£11)
Zero waste starter kit
This plastic-free starter gift would make a great gift for someone curious about the practicalities of a zero-waste lifestyle. Included is a peppermint shampoo bar, travel tin, cotton shopping bag, bamboo toothbrush (with 100% bio bristles) and holder, a bamboo cutlery set, bamboo straw and a coconut husk straw cleaner with organic cotton pouch. More than enough to get them started.
Available from: National Trust (£30)
LARQ self-cleaning water bottle
This filter-free solution to getting purified water on the go uses UV-C LED technology to kill bacteria, germs and viruses in water in just 60 seconds (99.9999% of E Coli bacteria when in Adventure Mode.) It’s a chemical, ozone and mercury-free gift for those looking for an alternative to buying bottles of filtered water.
The Organic Company lunch bag
Made from 100% GOTS (Global Organic Textile Standard) certified organic cotton, this heavy weave canvas lunch bag rolls down and closes with a cotton strap. The standard guarantees consumers that the fabric’s production is free from toxic and polluting chemicals and also that a series of international workers’ rights are met. Organic cotton is a renewable and biodegradable natural fibre, so if you’re looking for a plastic-free gift for foodies, this is one to consider.
Available from: Silver Mushroom (£16.50)
Klean Kanteen 800ml steel bottle
Super lightweight, dishwasher safe and with an easy-to-open sports cap, this stainless steel bottle was named best reusable water bottle in our recent test, scoring 5/5 stars. It’s a consciously made, high-quality bit of kit made for lifetime use. Climate-neutral certified, Klean Kanteen is a B Corporation and a member of 1% for the Planet.
Pizza Parlour toy set
Pizza is a classic meal to make with kids and with this Pizza Parlour toy they can build their very own creations. Each piece is made from 100% recycled plastic milk containers and is BPA-free, along with other common chemicals often found in children’s toys. These are slices of fun to discover with or without a toy kitchen.
Available from: Green Toys (£23.99)
Greenpan Venice pro Frying Pan
Named best eco-friendly frying pan by the BBC Good Food team, this is a tried-and-tested favourite for chemical-free cooking. GreenPan uses a unique Thermolon ceramic coating that’s PFOA free; a chemical often found in traditional non-stick pans. Suitable for all hob types, this bit of kit is not only good value for money but also produces evenly cooked ingredients.
Stainless Steel lunchbox
Stainless steel offers a durability that’s hard for plastic lunchboxes to compete with. This one by Planet Organic holds two stacked sandwiches and leaves just enough space at the end for a handful of snacks. Though not 100% water tight, the lid slots on snugly and is secured by two flick-hinges at either end creating a leak-resistant seal.
Available from: Planet Organic (£16.99)
FRoG unpaper towels
A great substitute for disposable kitchen roll, these reusable towels by Friends of Gaia (FRoG) are made from organic cotton that’s 100% biodegradable. The brand aims to make ethical products that are functional and kind to the earth. With such colourful fun designs including tropical pelicans and watermelons, we think these would be a great eco-friendly kitchen gift.
Viners organic green five-piece knife block
Made from 80% recycled steel and organic wheat fibre (a natural by-product of the farming industry that’s traditionally burnt by farmers) this set of five knives by Viners would make a unique sustainable kitchen gift. Along with the knife block, this set contains a 20cm chef’s knife, 20cm carving knife, 20cm bread knife, 13cm utility knife and 9cm pairing knife.
Available from: Silver Mushroom (£34.36)
Zero waste kit
For those wondering how to go about switching to a zero-waste journey, this kit contains some essential bits of kit to help them. Included are one natural bamboo bowl and brush, a stainless steel straw set, an Olivant vegan olive oil body soap, an organic cotton net bag and two silicone food bags. The kit is designed to help you reduce your use of plastics.
Available from: The Clean Market (£32)
Eco-grocery starter set
Containing two drawstring linen bags, two organic cotton mesh grocery bags (one small and one medium) and a choice of turtle string bag, this set will help you reduce plastic waste when shopping.
Available from: The Wise House (£27.50)
The Beeswax Wraps Co kitchen pack
A certified B Corporation and living wage payer, The Beeswax Co’s flexible food wraps are a tried and tested favourite with the BBC Good Food team, used daily as sustainable alternatives to cling film and foil. Made from GOTS certified cotton, each wrap is coated with UK-sourced beeswax and can be molded around food or containers to produce a hygienic seal. The result is food that stays fresher for longer.
Husk plastic-free set of three pots
Husk has combined coffee husk, bamboo fibre and chaff with cornstarch and resin to create a plastic-free and biodegradable trio of plant pots, perfect for growing an indoor kitchen garden.
Available from: National Trust (£12)
Lifefactory 17-oz glass wine tumblers with silicone sleeve
The silicone sleeves on these glass wine tumblers give them an extra layer of durability for taking on picnics or adventures, as well as a grippy surface for when filled with ice-cold vino. Bung them in the dishwasher after use for easy cleaning.
HERD tote bag
We love the bold, arty designs of HERD’s recycled tote bags, made from recycled bottles and built to be durable.
Available from: Herd Bags (from £12)
Personalised marble and mango wood coaster
We love that you can personalise these contemporary coasters by Rustic Flitch, made from sustainable natural materials. Plus, they’re delivered in a smart little gift box.
Available from: Etsy (£10)
Wooden tea set
Made from sustainably sourced linden wood and birch plywood, this beautiful wooden tea set is a great choice if you’re buying a gift for kids. Included are two teacups, two saucers, two plates, two teaspoons, a tea pot with lid, sugar pot, two spoons and a wooden tray, plus the minimalist design can be customised with neutrals, pastels and metallics. All paints and varnishes are non-toxic.
Available from: Etsy (£38)
Chad Valley wooden kitchen with breakfast bar
This play toy kitchen would make a duluxe present for amateur foodies and comes brimming with interactive features made using sustainably sourced materials. Included is a breakfast bar and tiled splashback, wood-look worktop and wipe-clean fittings.
Available from: Argos (£120)
KIND BAG reusable shopping bag
Six used plastic bottles make up these 100% recycled pieces, a fun eco alternative to single-use shopping bags. Each bag will hold up to 20kg and the brand also donates 10% of its profits to Just One Ocean, a charity helping to clean our seas.
On the rocks set
Made from granite found on New England beaches, these disks can be kept in the freezer and will chill your drinks without diluting the way ice does.
Available from: Uncommon Goods (£28.64)
Pom pom seagrass storage basket
Made from natural, sustainable seagrass, this Fairtrade basket with multicoloured pom poms would bring a pop of colour into any home. When not in use it can be folded down for easy storage.
Available from: Ethical Superstore (£29.95)
Eco gifts under £10
Crab salt and pepper shakers
We love the cheerful colour and playful design of these salt and pepper shakers. Simply refill with ground seasonings and have them to hand for any dish, rather than needing to use single-use salt and pepper grinders.
Available from: Graham and Green (£9.95)
Lemonaid upcycling oil pourer
Such a simple idea, but screw this reusable pourer tool into empty Lemonaid and ChariTea bottles and you have yourself repurposed, upcycled decanters for cooking or leaving on the table. 5p of every purchase goes towards the Lemonaid & ChariTea Foundations, started with the vision that every person has access to an independent, self-determined and sustainable livelihood.
Available from: Ethical Superstore (£2.45)
Eco-friendly tie dye planter
These recycled planters are perfect for brightening up a window sill and holding an indoor kitchen herb garden.
Available from: Etsy (£20+)
Cork wave placemats and coasters
Made from natural sustainable cork, these placemats come with matching coasters and feature a wave design that’s conveniently wipe-clean. Add character to your place settings or pop them beneath hot casserole dishes in the centre of the table. Sold separately.
Available from: Graham and Green (£2.95+)
Honeycomb decomposition notebook
Every page of this notebook by Honeycomb is made from 100% post-consumer-waste recycled paper. Its styling features a sewn spine and is a twist on the classic composition notebook, using soy ink used to print its 180 lined pages. We’re fans of having a notebook to hand in case dinner inspiration strikes or simply for writing shopping lists, so think this eco-conscious jotter would make a great sustainable gift.
Available from: Waterstones (£9.99)
Joie rainbow reusable coloured straws
This colourful set is not only bright and cheery, but also super cost effective and firm favourites with the BBC Good Food team, awarded best plastic reusable straw when pitched against other brands. At 23cm, they’re perfect for use in tall glasses and will last years, even with daily use.
Earth MOB: Reduce waste, spend less, be sustainable
If a straight-talking handbook filled with hacks and recipes sounds like your cup of tea, Earth Mob tackles the topic of our current ecological climate in bite-sized, constructive chunks. Sustainability, zero-waste, plastic free and seasonality are all explored with handy tips around how we can live and eat green.
Kilner 0.35 litre soup jar set
Kilner has a great reputation for its durable, reusable glass kitchenware and jars. This soup jar also comes with a silicone disk for microwave use which acts as a seal once its metal lid is screwed on.
Reusable cotton pads, pack of eight
These little beauties are a great alternative to the disposable cotton pads we know so well. Made from recycled 100% cotton fabric, use them to take off your makeup and throw in the wash when you’re done. At the end of their life, you can chop them up small and add them to your compost bin.
Available from: Etsy (£9-11.50)
Cork key ring
Because finding the key to the back door can be a nightmare and dropping keys when in the garden is so easy to do, particularly when rummaging in a veg patch. The cork for this keyring was sustainably sourced and would stand out nicely amongst your fresh produce.
Available from: Graham and Green (£5.50)
More on sustainability
BBC Good Food sustainability glossary
How to have a greener Christmas
10 ways to eat out sustainability
10 ways to cut your carbon footprint
What biodegradable really means
How to compost food at home
Six pieces of food packaging to avoid
Top sustainable wines for 2020
This review was last updated in October 2020. If you have any questions or suggestions for future reviews, or spot anything that has changed in price or availability, please get in touch at goodfoodwebsite@.