It’s the age-old question that manages to stump people in the workforce every year: what to buy coworkers for the holidays? With many people working from home this year, navigating what to buy for your teammates can be trickier than ever. Inhabitat has you covered with 11 thoughtful and eco-friendly gifts for the coworkers in your life.
For those who are unfamiliar, coffee that is certified as “Fair-Trade” has been vetted to ensure that the product has been produced to a certain set of ethical standards. When you buy Fair-Trade coffee, you’re not only supporting farmers who receive a fair price but supporting communities and their local environment as well. A gift of certified Fair-Trade coffee is the perfect present for the coffee-lovers in the office. Choose from some popular favorites like Cafedirect, which makes 90% of its farmers shareholders in the business, or Higher Ground Roasters, which has established partnerships with non-profits that protect important wild areas.
Rok espresso machine
Chances are, you have more than one coffee-lover in the office, so we just had to include this zero-waste and zero-energy espresso machine by Rok. The hand-operated machine produces a strong, double shot of espresso with no plastic pods or paper filters needed. Simply add coffee grounds to the steel portafilter, add boiling water and pull the steel arms of the machine down to produce either one double shot or two single shots at once. Its minimal design is perfect for an office kitchen or on top of a desk, and the device itself is light enough to carry around.
Zero-waste lunch kit
Switching to a waste-free lunch box is one of the easiest ways to go green in the office. Package Free makes a zero-waste lunch kit complete with a silicone sandwich bag, organic cloth napkin, a bamboo cutlery set and an airtight stainless steel container. Everything inside the gift set is reusable and comes inside a handy drawstring produce bag to make it completely package free. At about $50 for everything, it won’t break the bank, either.
Choose an eco-friendly or ethically sourced spiral notebook for meetings and conferences (in-person or virtual!), like this one from Marie Mae that’s designed, printed and packaged in the U.S. by family-owned production partners. All notebooks are fully recyclable, and a percentage of the paper composition is made from either post-consumer waste or sourced from certified sustainable and renewable wood.
The Growing Candle
It’s no secret that candles always make great gifts, no matter the occasion. Opt for one made from essential oil and sustainably sourced soy wax, coconut wax or beeswax for an eco-friendly flair and non-toxic fumes. The Growing Candle is made from 100% pure soy wax and a lead-free cotton wick with additive-, colorant- and phthalate-free fragrances. Even better, the candle comes in a beautiful ceramic holder and wrapped in paper embedded with wildflower seeds, so it can be repurposed as a flower planter after it has been used.
ChopValue phone stand
Give your coworkers a cute little home for their phones on their desks with this phone stand made from repurposed chopsticks. The ChopValue phone stand boasts 150 chopsticks recycled with 220 grams of carbon stored per product. With custom engraving available as well, this piece is sure to be a conversation starter.
Featured everywhere from CNN and Vogue to Bon Appetit and Goop, this reusable bottle from Welly is made from bamboo and stainless steel. The company donates 1% of sales to charity:water to bring fresh water to those in need around the world. Choose from five different sizes and three different models plus various colors and patterns to accommodate everyone on your list.
Biodegradable wood planters
These biodegradable wood planters from Etsy shop MinimumDesign are 3D-printed using a sustainable blend of recycled wood and bioplastic made from corn. Available in a variety of shapes and sizes, choose the perfect style to sit on your coworker’s desk and add a little low-maintenance succulent or bonsai tree to top it off. Is your coworker lacking in gardening skills? The company also makes flower vases, coasters and even wall decorations.
Upcycled circuit board supplies
Another unique Etsy find (and who doesn’t love those?), these gifts from DebbyAremDesigns are made from recycled circuit boards. Perfect for the IT department or resident coworker who is always stuck fixing computer problems around the office, choose from budget-friendly bookmarks made from a recycled vintage circuit board or a more elaborate wall clock crafted from circuit board, vintage brass jewelry stampings and a recycled vintage vinyl record.
Recycled plastic backpack
Environmentally friendly and stylish, these $27 recycled plastic backpacks from Earth Easy come in three different colors and roll up into built-in pouches, making them lightweight, compact and convenient. The fabric is made from 100% post-consumer recycled plastic bottles and is machine-washable. With a zippable front pocket and a fold-over main compartment, it’s much more professional-looking than a standard school backpack.
GoSili reusable straws
Although plastic straws and single-use beverage cups are (hopefully) on their way out, there are bound to be one or two office mates who just haven’t gotten the memo yet. Along with cups and food storage containers, GoSili makes universal silicone straws tops that fit onto a wide range of different reusable cups, making them spill-proof and reusable. Kits even come with travel tins for sipping on the go.