Austin’s Ultimate Eco-Friendly Gift Guide

Christmas Present
via Creative Commons

With the holiday season in full swing, there’s pressure from television, commercials, and social media to purchase the perfect gift for every single person you know. Well, we’re here to help you take a step back from the madness. You don’t need to spend a lot of time and money buying a bunch of new things this December. Instead, get creative this holiday season by gifting experiences and one-of-a-kind reused items.

Here is our gift guide for keeping the holidays simple (and waste free).

For the foodie

A Sustainable Food Center cooking or gardening class

The Sustainable Food Center just published their full list of classes for the upcoming few months, and they’re chock full of goodies, including Introduction To Food Gardening, Spice It Up: Thai Street Food, and Intro To Beekeeping. Make the gift even sweeter by buying a ticket for yourself as well, so you can go to the class together. Perfect for you mom, dad, or even a significant other!

Thai Street Food

You can look through the entire list of upcoming Sustainable Food Center classes here.

Wine and cheese bundles from in.gredients

Austin’s zero waste grocery store is overflowing with local food, drink, and goodies just waiting to be gifted to your favorite foodie friend. This holiday season, they’re even offering wine and cheese bundles, which you can order directly online.

in.gredients cheese bundle

Or you can stop by the store on Manor Road to pick up everything from locally-made jams to Austin Beer Works soaps.

in.gredients soaps

A meal delivery subscription from Lettuce

You’ve probably heard about all of those meal delivery services (like Blue Apron and Hello Fresh) which have become so popular lately. But, did you know there’s a local and environmentally-friendly version based right here in Austin?

Lettuce grows their food on unused pieces of land throughout the city. Then they harvest it, package everything in reusable containers, and deliver all the ingredients you need to make a delicious meal right to your door. When you’re finished, you put your food scraps back in the containers and Lettuce picks them up and composts them. It’s a completely closed loop system! You can look through their meal plan options here.

Lettuce Meal Kit

Lettuce Meal Kit

 

For the fitness guru

A Castle Hill Fitness exercise class

Austin’s eco-friendly gym hosts classes on everything from pilates, to cycling, to self defense. Get the fitness fiend in your life the perfect gift, by purchasing a class (or two) for them to enjoy. You can scroll through all of them here. 

Castle Hill Fitness Class

 

For the outdoorsy type

A Westcave Outdoor Discovery Center annual pass

Have a nature lover in the family? Give them the gift of access to one of the most beautiful places in Central Texas – the Westcave Outdoor Discover Center nature preserve on Hamilton Pool Road. Complete with a stunning waterfall and collapsed grotto, Westcave doesn’t disappoint. You can purchase a pass here. 

Westcave Grotto

A REI outdoor skills class

Both of Austin’s REI stores offer classes on everything from bike maintenance, to wilderness first aid, to water filtration and camp stove cooking. Look for the perfect class for the adventurer in your life at the REI Downtown store or the REI Gateway store.

Bike Maintenance Class

Crux Climbing Center 5 Day Punch Pass Or Intro To Outdoor Climbing Class

Give the gift of a new skill, with a 5 day punch pass to the Crux Climbing Center. Your adventurous friend will be able to climb all day long.

Crux Climbing Gym

Or you can take things to the next level and get your friend an intro to outdoor climbing class. They’ll learn  safety skills, basic climbing technique on real rock, and how to top rope belay.

 

For the Fashionista

Shop at one of Austin’s amazing thrift stores using the Austin Reuse Directory

The Austin EcoNetwork’s new Reuse Directory is designed to help you find a second life for everyday items that you don’t want any more. But, did you know that it also allows you to search for reuse business where you can shop as well? All you have to do is check off the “Reuse Shop” box in the “Filter By” dropdown list and you’ll have your pick of the best thrift stores in town!

Reuse Directory Reuse Shop

That way, you’ll be able to find unique, one-of-a-kind, and non wasteful gifts for your friends and family, like these pants from Bloomers and Frocks.

Reuse Directory Cover Image

 

For the artist

Anything from Austin Creative Reuse

Austin Creative Reuse is the perfect place to shop for the artsy, creative person in your life. Each and every day, new and unique items are donated to their shop, just waiting to be transformed into a new art project. This can be anything from records, to lampshades, to fancy markers.

ACR Mannequin

 

For the homeowner

Home decor from the Austin Habitat for Humanity ReStore

Know someone who’s obsessed with home decor? The ReStore specializes in salvaged home goods, including chairs, tables, fans, bathtubs, and a wide array of unique oddities. Plus, they sell everything at bargain prices and 87 cents of every dollar spent there goes back to Habitat for Humanity’s affordable housing programs.

Habitat for Humanity ReStore

High tech gadgets from TreeHouse

Often dubbed the eco-friendly Home Depot, TreeHouse is a wonderland of green living products. Everything they sell is both aesthetically-pleasing and a great way to help people live more eco-friendly lives. At TreeHouse you can find Nest thermostats, rainwater barrels, the Tesla Powerwall, and even a wall planter. 

 

For the philanthropist or activist

Donate to their favorite nonprofit organization.

For the hardcore activist, one of the greatest gifts is being supported in your work. Show them that you care by donating to a local environmental nonprofit, such as the Austin Parks FoundationTexas Campaign for the EnvironmentColorado River Alliance, Save Barton Creek AssociationSierra ClubTreeFolksKeep Austin BeautifulPublic CitizenWestcave Outdoor Discovery CenterCitizens’ Climate Lobby350 Austin, National Parks Conservation Association, SOS Alliance, Environment Texas, and many more.

Treat them to a little relaxation.

Keeping up the good fight can be exhausting work. Convince your favorite rabble rouser to take a little “me time” at a local spa. Try Organic Spa, Massage, and Skin Care.

Don’t have the cash to splurge on a full spa treatment? Buy your friend some 100 percent vegan, all natural, and locally made skincare products from Vida Green.

Vida Green

 

And if all else fails, keep things local at one of Austin’s many great holiday craft and artisan markets.

Here’s a list of a few of our favorites coming up:

 


Please note – several of the businesses and nonprofits mentioned in this post are EcoNetwork Partners. You can look through a full list of our partners here.

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