3 Sustainable Birthday Gift Ideas Your Friends and Family Will Love

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"Have a friend or family member's birthday coming up? These sustainable gift ideas are affordable, low- to zero-waste, and straight from the heart."

If you have a friend or family member’s birthday coming up, there’s no need to stretch your wallet in order to find them the perfect present. You can celebrate the important people in your life with one of the most special gifts of all—something sustainable, thoughtful, and handmade.

Jules Acree, founder of Om and the City, is always sharing ways to be more sustainable in your everyday life. So it’s no surprise that in a YouTube video, she went through a list of her favorite sustainable gift ideas that aren’t just great for the holidays, but for birthdays and any other celebrations that pop up throughout the year.


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♬ Dreamy – Elijah Lee

Everything Acree shared is zero- to low-waste, as well as low-cost. “They’re perfect for someone who’s more minimal who’s trying to reduce their clutter, or maybe they’re kind of tricky to buy for,” she says. “Amongst my family, I’m considered someone who’s really difficult to buy for because I ‘don’t want stuff.'”

These sustainable gift ideas are sure to be a hit for all—even the minimalists in your life. Here are three options to start with.

3 Sustainable Gift Ideas That Won’t Disappoint

1. Something Consumable

sustainable gift idea
Photo: Jules Acree

A baked good—or even a pre-made mix of any kind—is always a good idea, no matter the occasion. If you can gift it in an upcycled jar or container, even better. “I love making homemade granola, putting it in a glass jar that I saved from my yogurt, and tying a cute twine bow around it,” Acree says.

2. Living Decor

sustainable gift idea
Photo: Jules Acree

Plants are definitely the gift that keeps on giving. And if you have your own indoor jungle at home, you don’t even have to pay a cent. Simply propagate a branch off one of your own plant babies.

If that’s not an option, stop by a local nursery or plant shop and buy one there. “Whether it’s from a local nursery or a propagated clipping from your own collection, plants are a beautiful gift,” she says. “Especially when it’s paired with a beautiful ceramic pot.”

3. An Experience

sustainable gift idea
Photo: Jules Acree

Experiences never get old—even though COVID-19 definitely limits things. Luckily, Acree points out, you can opt for either a digital experience or a safe, COVID-friendly in-person option. “I love gifting digital experiences, like a subscription to a meditation or fitness app,” she says. “Another idea is a subscription to a CSA or an audiobook app.”

You can also do a physical experience, like going on a hike or picnic. “Quality time is such a great gift to give,” she says. No matter which sustainable gift idea you go with, your recipient is bound to appreciate all the thought that went into choosing something special for them.

Curious about a zero waste lifestyle? Want to know what the “circular economy” really means? Subscribe to Brightly’s top-rated podcast, Good Together. Every 30-minute episode features daily, actionable tips to help you live your life more sustainably.

Have a friend or family member's birthday coming up? These sustainable gift ideas are affordable, low- to zero-waste, and straight from the heart.

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