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Unique Eco-friendly Gift Ideas That Are Anything But Boring

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Unique Eco-friendly Gift Ideas That Are Anything But Boring

So, we all know that climate change is a big deal these days, right? No need for a lecture on that. But when it comes to picking out gifts for my loved ones, I like to keep things eco-friendly. I mean, why not, right? That’s why I am writing this blog post about unique, eco-friendly gift ideas.

I always ask myself a few questions: Does the brand care about where they get their materials from? Do they treat their workers fairly? And do they try to avoid making too much stuff that just ends up in the trash?

If you’re like me and you want to support brands that are all about fair wages and good working conditions, then you’re in the right place. I’ve put together a list of my favorite brands that tick all those boxes. 

Plus, I’ve found some really unique eco-friendly gift ideas for every budget, from super affordable stuff, including some sweet steals under 30 bucks to splurges that are totally worth it.

So whether it’s a cute cardigan for a bestie or a unique Bolga basket for that friend who seems to have everything, I’ve got you covered with the sweetest, most thoughtful gifts for your eco-conscious crew.

Owala FreeSip Insulated Water Bottle

Got a friend who loves staying hydrated? They'll absolutely adore the Owala FreeSip!

This fantastic water bottle was voted the best straw bottle by CNN Underscored, and tons of Amazon reviewers swear by it for workout classes, work, and hiking trips.

When I saw the Owala FreeSip, I was pleasantly surprised by how good it looked. It's probably the prettiest water bottle I've ever seen. This bottle makes an amazing gift because it comes in a rainbow of colors, from bright and bold to cool and neutral. Plus, it's available in different sizes (24-, 32-, and 40-ounce) and even has a 16-ounce kids' line!

And the design? Genius! You can either unscrew the cap to chug or flip up the straw to sip. 

 African art sculpture of 3 women

Woven U Shopper Basket Tote Bag

Are you searching for a cute summer basket bag? Say less! It’s a Rufina Designs U Shopper.

No matter where your adventures take you, this bag will be by your side in style.

Crafted by hand using elephant grass, leather, and dyed materials, this tote is not only fashionable but also eco-friendly. It's the ideal choice for shopping, beach days, or even as a stylish storage solution at home.

I'm not kidding when I say it's my absolute favorite for any outing. From beach days to farmers' market trips, this bag is incredibly versatile thanks to its unique low-cut design.

This African tote will never go out of style on you, so your giftee will have it forever!

Best Handmade African Gifts: Ankara fabric

Tentree Oversized Button Cardigan

When the weather gets chilly, what's the one clothing item we all reach for? You guessed it: a cozy sweater or cardigan! (I mean, is there really a difference? Let's not overthink it.) Whether you're shopping for a friend or treating yourself (no shame in that), this eco-friendly cardigan is the perfect gift.

What I love most is that Tentree creates their sweaters ethically using organic cotton and recycled fibers. People  rave about how versatile this cardigan is – you can dress them up or down for any occasion! Talk about guilt-free fashion!

With sizes ranging from XS to XL, you'll find the right fit for your lucky recipient. Plus, there are four fabulous colors to choose from, along with two limited-edition shades. So many options!

So, if you want to wrap your loved one in warmth and sustainability, the Tentree Oversized Button Cardigan is the way to go

Best Handmade African Gifts: Rufina Designs basket

Conscious Step Fair Trade Organic Cotton Ankle Socks

Everyone needs socks! And that's what makes them such a brilliant gift idea.

These fair trade and eco-friendly socks from Conscious Step are not only great for the environment but also come in fun, colorful designs. You’ll find the perfect pair for anyone on your list, whether they're into sports, fashion, or just love comfy socks.

One of my favorites is the bright orange pair that supports the fight against violence against women . They're not only stylish and meaningful, but they're also crazy comfortable with their extra cushioning.

And here's the best part: for every pair of socks you buy, $1 goes to support one of their amazing partner organizations. So you're not just giving a cool gift – you're also giving back to causes that matter!

Kenyan Sisal Planter Basket

Whether your loved one has a green thumb, an eye for design, or simply appreciates a versatile and eco-friendly accessory, the Kenyan Sisal Planter Basket is sure to delight.

Straight from the heart of Kenya, this sisal basket will elevate the look of any room in an instant!

I've found so many uses for mine – it's been a lovely home for my plants, an eye-catching display piece, and even a handy storage solution for small items.

What makes it extra special is that it's made from strong and sustainable elephant grass, so you and your giftee can feel great about using it.

Plus, when you buy one, you're directly supporting the families of the skilled artisans who pour their hearts into crafting these lovely baskets. It's a gift that gives back and brings joy in more ways than one!

Paravel Aviator Carry-On

The Paravel  Aviator is a dream come true for travelers who want to look good, feel good, and do good for the planet. 

This New York brand made waves as the world's first carbon-neutral luggage company – pretty awesome, right?

Their carry-on is made from durable recycled materials inside and out.

The bag's lining uses 15 upcycled plastic water bottles, and its vegan leather details, wrapped steel handles, and aircraft-grade recycled aluminum handle make it super stylish.

African hanging wall basket

These ethnic wall baskets are a unique gift for art lovers.

In my experience, these baskets look stunning when grouped together on a wall or simply displayed on a coffee table or nightstand. Not only do they serve as a striking visual centerpiece, but they're also perfect for holding small items like trinkets, keys, or jewelry.

But what really makes them special, I think, is their backstory.

Each one is handcrafted by women in rural Uganda, providing them with much-needed income to support their families and cover essential expenses like medical bills.

By giving one of these baskets as a gift, you're not only sharing a unique piece of art, but you're also making a real difference in the lives of these talented artisans.

P.F. Candle Co. Candle

Looking for candles that smell divine and are kind to the planet? P.F. Candle Co. has got you. This LA-based company is all about creating eco-friendly candles that'll make your home smell amazing.

Their dedication to sustainability is impressive: the entire collection is vegan, cruelty-free, and phthalate-free, plus, they come in reusable jars so you don't have to toss anything out. And who would want to throw away such a beautiful jar?

If you're looking for a recommendation, I suggest trying their bestselling  Teakwood & Tobacco  scent. One happy customer described it as "sunrise in a dewy forest" – dreamy, right?

Large African laundry basket with lid

Imagine giving a gift that's not only functional but also tells a story of skilled craftsmanship from a world away. That's exactly what you get with this basket, handwoven by talented artisans in Northern Ghana.

Made from elephant grass and dyed with natural, non-toxic materials, this basket is an eco-friendly and sustainable choice that anyone can feel good about using.

It's easy to carry even when it's loaded with laundry – and trust me, it holds a lot!

But what I love most about this basket is its versatility – it's not just a laundry basket!

It can be used as a stylish log basket, a storage unit for pillows, towels, blankets, and storage for children's toys, helping you keep your home organized and clutter-free. It's like giving multiple gifts in one!

Handwoven Dog Basket

Do you have a friend or family member who adores their furry friends? Are you searching for a unique and eco-friendly gift that'll make both the pet and their human companion happy? 

This small and traditional basket is fit to hold dogs under 14 pounds, but you can also use it as a picnic basket, a cozy bed (I suggest adding an extra towel for comfort), or even as a stylish storage solution for toys, blankets, and other pet essentials.

Plus, the handwoven nature means that each basket is one-of-a-kind, just like the special pup in your loved one's life.

Thoughtful, eco-friendly gifts are hard to beat!

Finding the perfect eco-friendly gift doesn't have to be a challenge. With the diverse range of options we've explored, there's something for everyone.

By choosing an eco-friendly gift, you're not only bringing joy to your loved ones but also making a positive impact on our planet. You're supporting businesses that prioritize sustainability and ethical practices, setting an example for others, and contributing to a greener, more conscious world.

So embrace the power of gift-giving with these eco-friendly options, and let your thoughtfulness shine through in every present you choose.

Looking for more inspiration on ethical gifts? Feel free to visit our store! We've curated a collection of unique and sustainable presents that we personally love and believe in.

Hi, I’m Rufina,

Back in 2018, I turned my love for crafting African accessories into  Rufina Designs  , right from my bedroom. It’s been an exciting ride ever since as I’ve delved into the vibrant world of African accessories. For me, it’s more than just a business venture – it’s a celebration of my Ghanaian heritage and a way to support our talented local artisans across Africa.

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