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8 recycled-plastic gift ideas you can feel good about giving


Your go-to sustainable holiday gift guide, featuring gifts made from recycled plastic for everyone on your list.

This holiday season, you’ll spend hours searching for that just-right gift for your dad, your best friend, your roommate. It’s a joy to give to the people you care about. But what if you could also make sure your thoughtfulness extends to the planet?

Researchers estimate that at least 87,000 tons of debris — everything from abandoned fishing nets to discarded plastic bottles — is currently floating in the Pacific Ocean alone. Holiday gifting in the traditional sense, with its heavy carbon footprint, can’t help. Between wrapping paper, over-the-top holiday decorations, and ever-more packaging, Americans generate 25% more waste than normal between Thanksgiving and New Year’s. Concerns about pollution — and specifically plastic pollution — only continue to grow.

But it has never been easier to shop for gifts that not only don’t harm the environment, they help. Eco-friendly goods have come a long way in recent years, in large part thanks to organizations like environmental consortium NextWave Plastics and sustainability incubator Lonely Whale. These entities and others partner with companies like HP who develop manufacturing technologies and products that will help clean up the ocean — not only by finding ways to use the plastics currently polluting them, but also by preventing plastics from getting there in the first place. The end goal? To create a global supply chain based on recycled materials for everything from sneakers to surf boards, keeping plastic in use and out of the ocean.

Here are eight gifting ideas for ocean-friendly presents you can feel good about giving.

Totes on a mission

Do your part to help banish single-use plastic bags for good while contributing to the fight against childhood hunger around the world. The thoughtfully tailored totes, packs, and pouches from FEED’s collaboration with National Geographic are made from recycled water bottles, and your purchase helps provide school meals to children in need.

Boots that battle waste

Whether you’re clomping up a mountain path or marching down a city street, Timberland’s classic men’s boots are required footwear. Help your loved ones tread a little more lightly with boots developed in partnership with Thread International, which are made from plastic bottles collected in Haiti and Honduras.

A game with a cause

Jenga Ocean is a reimagining of the classic block tower game made in collaboration with sustainable goods manufacturer Bureo. Instead of wood, the blocks are created with 25 square feet of fishing net material, which are sourced through Bureo’s Net Positiva recycling program. Each block is embossed with a hand-drawn image of a threatened marine animal, and a special-edition set of rules drives home the importance of ocean conservation.

Home printing with less pollution

Digital images are no replacement for vibrantly hued family snapshots you can print at home and display on the wall or cards that you can actually hand to someone. Made from more than 30% recycled plastic, the HP Tango Terra Printer is the most sustainable home printing system on the planet — perfect for printing photos, recipes, activities and more. It also comes in plastic-free packaging made with materials that are 40% recycled. The HP Tango Terra is certified carbon neutral and uses cartridges made from up to 73% recycled content, including plastic that could have otherwise landed in the ocean, and they can be recycled easily through the HP Planet Partners program.

Stylish and sustainable sportswear

The sneakers, jerseys, skirts, and T-shirts in Adidas’ collaboration with environmental organization Parley turn used plastic into high-performance sportswear. Everything in the collection features Parley Ocean Plastic™ yarn, which is sourced from recycled plastic collected from trash washed up on remote beaches and in coastal communities.

Towels that make a splash

Keeping our beaches pristine is a requirement for surfers and sun worshippers alike. That’s why your favorite beach bum will love the ultra-soft beach towels from Nomadix, made from recycled plastic bottles and available in a variety of eye-catching patterns.

Sleepwear for the future environmentalist

Environmental impact will be a daily consideration for the next generation. Give your favorite tot their first chance to make a difference with a cozy pair of baby pajamas from Me O My Earth, which are made with certified organic cotton, polyester engineered from recycled bottles, and Repreve, a durable performance fiber spun from recycled materials. Some even feature prints of endangered animals, and proceeds go to organizations that support the animals’ survival.

Stuffed animals with a message

Shore Buddies’ uber-adorable stuffed sea animals are made from shredded plastic bottles, and a dollar from every purchase goes straight to clean-ocean nonprofits. Characters like Sammy the Seal play authentic seal sounds recorded by a real-life marine biologist.


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