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Sustainable Living and Eco-Friendly Gift Ideas

sustainable living

The sun was setting on the horizon; the sky was bursting in a vibrant display of oranges and pinks as it dropped into the water. My stroll along the shore should have been all about nature’s beautiful announcement of nightfall. Instead, I tripped over plastic bottles, dodged large pieces of metal, and tiptoed around debris washed up on shore.

Plastic pollution is one of the biggest threats to earth. Our planet is drowning in it. Every year, 8 million tons of plastic get into our oceans. It comes from us littering nondegradable waste. When the plastic doesn’t decompose, it affects both marine and human life. Tiny pieces of plastic that are swallowed by animals then get into our food and we consume it. Thousands of birds, fish, and turtles die each year from plastic pollution.

pollution on the beach

What can you do? First, recognize we can each make an impact. Together, we can reduce waste by reusing and recycling. It’s not too late to minimize our environmental footprint.

I checked in with my team to see how they are practicing sustainable living. And, because we like to fill our feeds with inspiration, we are sharing a few of the Instagram accounts encouraging us to stay environmentally accountable.

We also put together a list of eco-friendly products to help you take simple steps towards reducing waste. Don’t know what to get the eco-conscious person on your holiday shopping list? Look no further.



We save our kitchen scraps for compost in our garden. ~Katy Matello

I conserve the environment by reusing and repurposing items. Besides reusable ziplock bags, water bottles, coffee cups...things I use daily, I try to reuse grocery bags or shop with cloth ones. We also save kitchen scraps, fruit and veggie cuttings, eggshells, coffee grinds, etc. to put in our compost bin and then use that compost in our garden to grow vegetables, fruits, and herbs.


Resale shops are where I try to buy clothes and household goods. ~Stokes O'Shields

I am all about the reuse of materials whenever possible, and avoiding single-use plastics! I take a reusable water bottle with me everywhere I go; I have a few different ones. I add stickers from artisans I have shopped from to personalize it, and it makes it more fun to carry and remember the bottle! Water bottle companies aren’t selling water, they sell plastic, and the more we can all do to stop purchasing them, the better. A filtration system on your tap is a great investment towards putting better and safer water in your bottle.

I’m also a big glass user! I have several jars for keeping dry goods and leftovers sealed and fresh. I also hang on to plastic to-go containers and reuse those.

Resale shops are where I try to buy clothes and household goods. Two I have supported, thanks to their diversity of styles, size-inclusivity, and thoughtful selection of clothing, are Ecologie Vintage and Resale in Kennesaw, GA (They do online sales through their social media!) I also like Sundell Eclectic. They host a “thrifteasy,” where you can shop from a group of sellers in a unique venue, while enjoying specially crafted cocktails. I love supporting small businesses because they are almost always sustainably conscious and you are putting money back into your local economy, not giving it to a big-box corporation that is typically wasteful to our environment.

Ecologie Vintage

Sundell Eclectic


I am an advocate for sustainable living. ~Michael Duncan

I am an advocate for sustainable living. Most of the products I use are eco-friendly. I use a bamboo toothbrush, PĀPR deodorant, bar soap, and reusable grocery bags.

I am a huge fan of 4ocean. It is a company that recovers a pound of trash from the ocean for every product bought from their website. The plastic they recover from the ocean is used to make their products.


I enjoy getting products with meaning and intention. ~Abbi Stickels

I love using reusable trash bag liners for my recycling bin! In my city, if the recycling is in a plastic bag they won’t accept any of it (since plastic is not recycled here). It’s been really helpful to just toss my empty cans and cardboard into the larger recycling bin at my apartment complex!

If you’re looking to purchase sustainable products for women, check out the Alltrue subscription box. I enjoy getting products with meaning and intention each quarter!

I was glad to volunteer for beach cleanup on a recent trip. ~Gina Duncan

I was fortunate to meet and travel with the co-founder of Buy the Change. It is a socially conscious retail brand that partners with women in the developing world. They bring their handmade and mostly repurposed goods to the American market.

I try to do community service when visiting a place for an extended stay. I was glad to volunteer for beach cleanup while living in Thailand. Every little bit helps.

Buy the Change
Kari Hughes, co-founder of Buy the Change in Morocco


RECYCLE Y’ALL! It’s so easy. ~Chelsea Craig

I am a big believer in bringing your own bags when you go shopping. I have so many cute reusable totes, and I always make sure to have one on me when I’m going out.

I love finding creative ways to use all of the food product so there is little to no waste when you’re done cooking! A great example is making a veggie stock with leftover “bits” from vegetables. I also try to find the “ugly” produce at the grocery store. I don’t want it to go to waste just because they’re not the cutest produce in the bin.

RECYCLE Y’ALL! It’s so easy, take the extra step to help the environment.

I love thrift shopping for trendy used clothes. ~Julia Duncan

I love thrift shopping for trendy used clothes. My favorite online store is Princess Polly's. They are dedicated to creating a sustainable future.

I am inspired by climate advocates who tell stories that matter and promote climate justice. I am especially a fan of the Harries brothers. Check out their latest docuseries, Seat at the Table on YouTube.

Jack Harries

Finn Harries


Our Top 10 Eco-Friendly Gifts

Shop for the Environmental Conscious Person on Your Holiday List

1. Repurposed Book Cover Journal or Recycled Paper Notebook

2. Reusable Water Bottle

3. Metal or Silicone Straw

4. Reusable Food Bags

5. Bamboo Toothbrush

6. Sustainable Products Subscription Box

7. Reusable Produce Bags

8. Repurposed Handbag or Pouch

  • Buy the Change Messenger Bags and Pouches- Sewn by women in Cambodia, from recycled cement bag.

9. Bracelet and Phone Case

10. Compost Bin

There are so many gift ideas that are eco-friendly. These are just a few of the ones we like.


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