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Popular Science Holiday Gift Guides 2018

Gifts to save the planet

Give 2018 a proper send-off by doing some good.

a gift wrapped in brown paper and leaves

Don't give trashy gifts.

The planet is getting hotter, autumn is dead, there are mosquitos everywhere, hurricanes are getting worse ... you get the idea. Everyone loves giving gifts for the holidays, but the best gift we can give to one another right now is a leg up in the fight against climate change and other pending ecological doom. On that cheery note, here are some environmentally friendly gifts to help your loved ones help Earth:


A Zojirushi

a dark blue travel mug

They won't even realize they're helping the environment.


Let's start off with something fairly universal: a reusable coffee mug. The United States throws out around 108 billion disposable cups per year, so there's a lot of room for improvement here. Several PopSci staffers insist—quite passionately—that the Zojirushi is far and away the best travel mug in existence. It comes in a whole bunch of snazzy matte colors, and costs $24 on Amazon.

Mason jars

a case of blue mason jars



If your hipster cousin has already eschewed travel mugs in favor of mason jars, get them some real pretty mason jars. Actually, just buy everyone mason jars. Mason jars are genuinely great. And these are a nice retro shade of blue. $61 on Amazon.

A portable solar charger

a portable solar charger

Let there be light.


Something else you don't have to be a huge eco-nerd to appreciate: a way to charge your devices on the go. Anker is a reliable brand for thing kind of thing, and their 21W Dual USB Solar Charger is the top seller in its category on Amazon. It's on the bigger side—clearly designed to drape over a backpack during a hike—but folds down small enough that anyone who commutes with a backpack or tote could bring it around for everyday use. Give the gift of going off the grid. $150 on Amazon.

Silicon lids

A glass with a silicon lid over it



Look, not every gift has to be super glitzy. Some of the best gifts are just incredibly useful. Silicone stretch lids definitely fall in that category. Use them to seal up bowls of leftovers—or half-cut-up fruits and veggies—so you waste less food! Use one as an impromptu mason jar lid! Go wild! $16 for a pack of seven on Amazon.

A reusable Swiffer pad

A swiffer mop with a reusable crocheted pad on it

Remember when we just used mops?


OK, so, yes, the point of a Swiffer is that it's like a mop, but the gross part is disposable. But if your giftee owns a washing machine, why not encourage them to find a happy medium? $20+ on Etsy.

Reusable make-up wipes

a stack of black cotton pads

At least it's not reusable toilet paper.


Sometimes it doesn't even occur to us how wasteful the products we use every day are—or how easy it would be to make a reusable version. Case in point: make-up removing pads. Get this eco-friendly version for the eyeliner-lover in your life. And if they balk, just make sure they know that the same company also sells reusable toilet paper. They're getting off easy. $11 on Etsy.

A bidet

the adjustable knob of a bidet attachment

Some greening measures you've got to take day bidet.


A responsibly used bidet will clean your bum using just a few gallons of water per week. The alternative is to use about half a roll of toilet paper, which takes around 18.5 gallons of water to produce. This one pops right onto existing toilet hardware. Give the gift of a cleaner tochus. $35 on Amazon.

Homesteading gear delivered each month

a box of homesteading supplies

Go off the grid (figuratively).


Homesteading is all about becoming more self-sufficient—and that usually means becoming more environmentally friendly in general. If you have a friend who's interested in growing more of their own food and making more of their own stuff, the Homestead Box can give them helpful tools and pointers for just $25 a month.

A better way to hand-wash clothes

a blue tool for hand washing clothes

No, it's not a plunger


If you're shopping for someone who either likes to go camping or lives in an apartment without a washing machine, you can get them a useful little present that just happens to also be eco-friendly. Hand washing small batches of clothes uses a lot less water than running the washing machine, but it's also less effective. You can buy a fancy pod to slosh your washing around in—the agitation gets it cleaner—but those aren't as portable or cheap as a Washing Wand. It's literally just a tool for poking your clothes around in a bucket, but it's the right tool for poking your clothes around in a bucket. And it's just $19 on Amazon.


three bags of cricket chips

Not slimy, but satisfying.


Eating bugs: it's good for the planet. Like, really good. And it doesn't have to be even a little bit gross. It can actually be super tasty. Give your loved ones a sweet and gentle introduction to entomophagy with Chirps. These protein-packed chips are yummy—and they're also made from crickets. Everybody wins. Get a bag for Variety six-pack available $42 on Amazon.

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