For the zero-waster (and the wannabe), consider a present that’s both practical and inspiring. Here are 15 ideas from workshops devoted to using only natural, renewable materials (scraps included)—and to marrying utility with beauty. If you’re like us, you’ll shop this list for yourself, too.
Better Bowl Covers
Above: Award for the prettiest palette. Lots of companies make beeswax-infused food wraps (for use instead of plastic) and we ourselves are true converts. Wax Atelier of London stands out for its Waxed Linen Wraps in botanically dyed colors. See their other products in our post Artisanal Candles (and More).
Cult Cast-Iron (Made in Charleston)
Above: The Smithey Cast-Iron Skillet, $160, is forged in North Charleston, SC, and made to be used for generations. Sustainable fashion leader Alabama Chanin offers it with a very useful padded Canvas Handle Cover, $28, of organic cotton.
The New Sinkside Essential
Above: At Remodelista several of us have recently made the switch from liquid to solid dish soap. We particularly like Ardent Good’s Solid Dish Soap in a Refillable White Porcelain Bowl, $36, and its companion Pot Brush, $8. The duo is especially good for cleaning plates; to tackle more challenging pots and pans, add a puddle of water to the soap and use the brush to create a lather. Go to High-Quality Eco-Friendly Goods from San Francisco to see more by Ardent.
Above: Good on Boston’s Charles Street sells a well-edited selection of wares made in New England. Shippee Turning Co.’s Salad Fork and Spoon Set, $150, is crafted in Providence, RI, of “sustainable domestic cherry blackened through natural ebonization.”
Napkins from Scrap Denim
Above: Atelier Saucier of Los Angeles turns surplus fabrics into napkins, placemats, and tea towels stitched in Downtown LA. Its Dark Denim Set, four for $66, is one of several that put reclaimed denim to good use.
Small-Batch Olive Oil
Above: The koroneiki olives used to make Oracle Oil’s extra-virgin olive oil come from a collective of farms in Laconia, Greece, including one belonging to the family of Oracle’s founder, Cristiana Sadigianis. A 16.9-ounce bottle is $40 and comes with illustrated Greek recipe cards. (Alas, the Sister Ceramics pourer shown here is currently sold out.)
Fridge and Market Bags
Above: From Food52’s own Five Two line: a set of eight Organic Cotton Reusable Produce Bags, $29, includes mesh and solid cotton bags in three sizes, all in an appealing organically dyed gray.
Make Your Own Butter
Recycled Wool Blanket
Above: Blacksaw of Canada offers a line of soft, heavy blankets made from 100-percent recycled materials, such as factory offcuts—instead of ending up in a landfill, the fibers are shredded and spun into yarn. The Siempre Recycled Blanket is $298.
One Size Fits Most
Above: The Charlie Collection of cotton-blend socks by Thunders Love is also made from recycled yarn. The unisex designs are €25 directly from Thunders Love of northwest Spain. Mr. Porter offers Thunders Love Socks for $28.
Pretty Pouches as Gift Wrap Alternative
Above: New York artist Sandra J. Constantine’s startup, James C. Butterfly, specializes in hand-painted linen napkins. Her Striped Linen Pouches, $38 for a set of two in pink (shown) or green, make a great gift on their own, and can also be used as gift bags.
Above: UK shop Toast specializes in ethical collaborations with artisans in the UK and beyond (and has a U.S. shipping flat rate of $15). The Toast Wellbeing Basket, $150, is stocked with a hand-thrown Edmund Davies ceramic beaker, facial oil from Troll Farm of Lancashire, Rhoeco Greek herbal tea, and more.
Mats from Men’s Suits
Above: Lostine of Philadelphia has recently begun offering an array of Olly’s Rectangular Rag Rugs; $300 each, no two exactly alike. They’re the work of artist Olly Williams who weaves his mats from old suiting fabric, hence the combinations of navy, gray, and charcoal.
A Beautiful Bike Basket
The Latest from La Berea College Crafts
Above: Back in July, we spotlighted the student-made Appalachian brooms and other designs from Berea College in Berea, Kentucky: see Crafts and Kinship. The school has recently begun rolling out some new work created under the mentorship of designer Stephen Burks. These handwoven wool and hemp throws, $250, come in three patterns, from left: Rise Throw Cool Colorway, Full Stripe, and Warm Colorway.
Browse our holiday gifts guides for more ideas:
- Cookbooks To Give (and Cook From) This Winter
- Holiday Gift Guide 2020: For Beloved Dogs and Cats
- Remodelista Guide: Gifts for the Home Fragrance Snob
Also see our Holiday Gift Guide 2019: 15 Gifts for the Waste-Free.