The Eco Friendly Holiday Shopping Guide – 2016 Edition


Happy (early) holidays everyone!

I don’t know about you, but I’m getting a huge head start on my holiday shopping this year because I never, ever start early enough and then I’m running out at the last minute trying to put everything together.

Now, since this is a site that focuses on an eco-friendly lifestyle and gardening, I’ll also be mentioning some non-profit idea to donate to if you prefer to go that route over the holiday season.

These are items I personally love. I could go the route that most bloggers to and include gifts I’ve never tested myself, but that just feels icky. Instead, this is a shorter list with my absolute favorite products.

If you have any eco-friendly holiday favorites, leave them in the comments! I’m always trying to keep an eye out for quality, earth-friendly products especially if you know about eco-friendly fashion (that’s definitely not my expertise).

Here are my suggestions:


Glass straws


As I’ve mentioned, I love glass straws. I worked for a glass straw company in my last year of college and I realized how quickly I use these things in absolutely everything.

My favorite ones are Simply Straws, which you can buy: click here, but there are a ton of glass, metal, and bamboo straws on the marketplace to choose from.

World’s Healthiest Foods


This book is my life. I came across one and thought it was 100% unnecessary to need a book this large about fruits and veggies, but you guys, this book is a lifesaver.

It has all the nutritional information about most of the fruits and veggies out there, but it also has recipes, how to cook each of them, and how to store them.

Every single recipe has been 100% dead-on and I refer to it so much that I’m on my second copy now. (Plus people keep “borrowing” it aka keeping for months.)

I’m always cooking and when I have some leftovers or just want to cook something simple, I whip this book out. Plus, the storage knowledge and the tips on knowing when something is ripe has saved me all kinds of money by keeping my food fresher longer. Throwing away food is the worst feeling, and this book has helped me stop storing my veggies in a way that made them rot faster.

You can buy it: click here.

Roots, Shoots, Buckets and Boots


I initially received this book years ago from Johnny’s Seeds when I put in my very first order of veggie seeds. It was beyond cool of them to do so, and this book is a true treasure.

Actually, all of Sharon Lovejoy’s gardening books are just amazing, but this one is especially cute because the ideas in side are truly backyard goals. For example, one idea is a “pizza” setup where you grow all the things you would need to put on a pizza.

I haven’t had a backyard with enough space (ah, city living), but the day I do I’m doing all of these.

This book is mainly for kids, but let’s be honest, a lot of us adults are kids at heart so don’t let that deter you.

You can buy it: click here.

Johnny’s Seeds


I have been on Johnny’s Seeds mailing list since I was a teenager and through my dozens of moves since then I always keep my catalogue address updated (maybe in a past life I was a farmer?).

As I mentioned with the above book, when I placed my first order as a youngin’ with Johnny’s Seeds (actually, TBH my mother did because I was around 12 or 13), they sent me a free book with all these great imagination-stirring ideas. Rarely do companies go above and beyond like this, so it’s something I haven’t forgotten and I’ve put in an order almost every single year.

Not to mention, the quality of seeds always exceeds expectations.

Maybe it’s weird that I love getting seeds at Christmas, but maybe there’s a few people out there who are the same.

Visit Johnny’s Seeds: click here.

Ball glass jars


I know, I know, these are on everyone’s eco-friendly lists, but that’s for good reason. These are amazing. I have over 20 in my house and I use them for everything. Brewing tea, drinking water, iced coffee, storing leftovers, etc.

Out of all the ones I’ve purchased, my Ball ones seem to actually stay together. Too many out there start to get rust all over the lids, but so far so good with these ones.

Buy Ball jars: click here.

Mini Greenhouse

I won’t rave about these again since I already wrote a huge post on how I use my mini greenhouse in my apartment: click here.


This section might be hard to really cover since there are thousands and thousands of non-profits out there doing the hard work that needs to be done.

Donate to your local animal shelter. (On a side note, a lot of people want pets for Christmas and I’d highly encourage you to adopt a pet and not shop for one. Here’s why: click here.)

Adopt a farm animal. Farm sanctuary has a great program for this: click here.

You can buy jewelry from people in small countries (where your money has a way greater impact than one of these huge jewelry stores here). Some examples: click here.

There are so many causes and issues, but depending on what matters to you it would help them all a lot if you even received one less gift and donated that money instead. For some of these programs even $20 can help a lot. I decided to do this last year and cut back on a few gifts (because most of it isn’t really a necessity) and donated to a few causes I care about instead. Honestly, the donating felt better.

Final Notes

Above all, the holiday season is heavily focused on buying so much, and while there’s nothing wrong with shopping, taking a second to reflect on each item you’re buying and looking around to see if there is a healthier alternative out there.

Keep an eye out for certifications like the Leaping Bunny to make sure they’re not tested on animals. Little steps made by a lot of people add up to huge steps.

Happy Holidays!


August 2016 Challenge: Go Without Plastic Straws

Few items beat the plastic straw in terms of pollution.

With plastic straws, you only use them once and they go immediately in the trash.

Some estimates say that over 500 million straws are used in the US every single day. That’s just the US. I can’t even imagine the numbers if the whole world was included.

I never even recognized this problem until I worked for a glass straw company.

Then, I realized how often plastic straws are used in the day to day world. At every fast food place, many restaurants, schools, sports stadiums… Everywhere.

Rarely are the straws available biodegradable. Instead, the plastic straws just break down over time into smaller plastic that generally ends up in our oceans and waterways.

Along with the plastic pollution from straws, it also requires oil and gas to create these straws in the first place.

Hot straws can cause the plastic to leak certain chemicals into your body as well. This isn’t always the case, but it’s something to keep in mind if you choose to drink something like coffee or tea through a straw every day.

Here are some more reasons that plastic straws shouldn’t be in your life.

What to Do Instead

There are so many alternatives to the cheap, common plastic straw.

There are some biodegradable straws on the market. Although those still require a whole process to create, they’re still a better alternative.

There are so glass, bamboo, and stainless steel straws.

As I mentioned earlier, I worked for a glass straw company and still use my glass straws every single day. I know it seems strange to spend $10+ on a reusable straw, since we have been conditioned to believe they’re cheap/free everywhere we go, but one straw can last years. Most companies also have a return policy if you break them.

It’s a small price to pay for the benefit of making my small, small, small dent of helping the planet.

So, for August try to avoid using a plastic straw all together or better yet, invest in a reusable one.

Feel free to share this with your friends and challenge them to go plastic straw free this month!

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