A Guide to Sustainable Gift Giving

Whether you are shopping for Christmas, Valentines or a birthday, it can seem daunting trying to buy a sustainable present. Getting sustainable right can be hard with the amount of greenwashing there can be, and even worse when you are on a student budget. But fear not, here is a list of 12 cheap and sustainable gifts that you could get for anyone!

Bee Hotel:

Bee’s and other insects are under serious threat because of Climate change, so if you have someone who is an animal lover this is just the gift to get them! There are plenty out there, but this one from Woodside is made from natural materials and is super cosy!

Sustainable Bee Hotel Click here

Reusable coffee cup:

There is nothing better than a warm cup of coffee to hold when your hands are freezing, whoever you get this for will always be grateful! Ecoffee cup is a great business which makes its cups from bamboo fibres.

Reusable Cup Click here

Eating out:

If there is something that this year has taught us, eating out is a luxury. Plus, you will be supporting local businesses which right now they need more than ever! Groupon and other websites have lots of good deals to get.

Plate of Cakes Click here

Recyclable yoga mat:

A cork yoga mat is an amazing gift to get someone who is sporty, not only is it sustainable, its also got great grip and is anti-bacterial. Mirafit is selling one for only £24.95!

Yoga Mat Click here

Water bottle:

In the UK 38.5m plastic bottles are used every day, so gifting someone with a reusable water bottle will do the world of good – literally! Also, you can never go wrong with getting someone a water bottle, and Bambaw’s stainless steel one is perfect.

Water Bottle Click here

Eco-friendly kitchenware:

As a student, kitchenware is always needed. So, if you have a friend in need, get them some cute bamboo bowls and cutlery that will liven up their kitchen

Kitchenware Click here

Plastic free toiletries:

There are plenty of plastic free toiletries going around, but Samaritans is selling a range of sustainable toiletries which is not only eco-friendly but would be helping out a great charity!

Bag of toiletries Click here


As boring as it may sound, bedding is one of those things that everyone needs and is a pain to buy. So, these bamboo bed sheets by Bambaw are perfect!

Bedding Click here

Baked Goods:

It may be simple, but no one can be disappointed in cake. There are millions of recipes to choose from, but if you are stuck, these Mary Berry Lavender cookies are just fancy enough to give someone on a special day.

Cookie Click here

Support local businesses:

This year more than ever is more reason to support local business. Here are a few good ones based in Aberdeen!


Small Stories

Big Up The Deen

A good book:

You must have known this one was coming! Books are always a staple gift, and you could even get one to help people on their sustainability journey! Lighthouse: Edinburgh’s Radical Bookshop is a great online bookstore with lots of good options to choose from!


If someone doesn’t need or want anything in particular, getting them an experience is a great option, and can even mean you get to do something fun too if you go with them! Many businesses have started operating in a Covid-safe way, and also helps to keep local businesses and afloat throughout this hard time.

Pottery courses

Paddle boarding

A guided walk with Hillgoers

Aberdeen Performing Arts voucher

Just because typical wrapping paper is bad for the environment, doesn’t mean you should skip it! Brown Kraft paper can be bought from most stores, and still looks classy! Giving your gift in a cute tote bags are also a great option!

Imperial College researchers have shown that a total of 1.5 billion Christmas cards are thrown away by UK households each year. With this in mind, maybe it would be best to send a virtual celebration card, or make your own using recyclable supplies!

Published by Students, University of Aberdeen


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