2018 at EarthHero

2018 is quickly coming to an end. With all the holiday craziness that happens each year, we wanted to take this time to look back and reflect on some of the amazing things we’ve accomplished together over the last 12 months. We’re so grateful for all your support, encouragement, and feedback as we continue to grow and develop what it means to be an Earth hero. 2019–we’re coming for ya!


While EarthHero launched back in late 2017 (with our favorite launch product, the Chico Travel Pack!), we entered 2018 excited to take on our first full year as a team. Now I may be biased, but January was a pretty great month for us. We got started with a bang–hiring our fourth full-time team member, myself! We started the year strong by partnering with awesome brands like Earth Mama, RADIUS Toothbrushes, and S.W. Basics, expanding into the personal care categories you suggested, thanks!


February brought with it a pretty huge milestone for our team! We hit 1,000 uniquely sustainable products from 50 ethical brands.

On February 4th, while everyone was celebrating the Super Bowl, the EarthHero team was celebrating something of our own. Celebrity and reality TV star Lauren Conrad, who recently had her first child, took to Instagram to share one of her (and our) favorite non-toxic finger paint companies– eco-kids! This sent tons of ethical mamas to our site, and we like to consider it the first time we went “viral”… even if Lauren Conrad had no idea!

We continued adding several new brands… including Tree-Free Greeting Cards just in time for Valentine’s Day, Colorado-local skincare company Lily Farm Fresh Skincare, and Simply Straws reusable drink accessories. And the response to reusable straws was amazing! So amazing in fact, we put our booties in gear to round up every reusable straw option we could find: including bamboo, glass, compostable paper, and stainless steel. This even inspired next month’s theme, as we put a huge focus on a growing category of ours… zero waste!


In March we turned our focus to help the Zero Waste movement. We found that most people had either never heard of the concept, or, had been living a zero waste lifestyle for years.

To bridge this gap, we launched our first annual “Zero Waste March”–an entire month dedicated to showing our community how to reduce their waste through daily actions in four main sub-groups: traveling, home waste, food waste, and overall day-to-day zero waste actions. We posted several blogs, hosted our first major giveaway, and interviewed Zero Waste Guru Andrea Sanders of BeZero.

While the marketing team held down the fort, our intensely-talented product manager, Becki, and our fearless founder Ryan headed to EXPO West to seek some of the best and brightest brands in sustainability. And they hit the jackpot–bringing on bestselling brands like Badger Skincare, Haiku Bags, All Good Sunscreen, Stream2Sea, United by Blue, and tons more. This was our first debut into the world of coral-friendly, mineral-based sunscreen, and we got to work expanding the EarthHero catalog to include our top options!


Our favorite day is in April… can you guess what it is? Yep–Earth Day! We love it so much we expanded it to Earth Week. Honestly, if we had it our way, it would be Earth Month… Earth Year….you get the picture!

To gear up for “Recycling June” (learn about that down below!), we headed to a very magical place called Recycling Row. Just 10 minutes from our office, this is the holy grail of waste diversion–and contains the Boulder County Recycling Center (BCRC), Eco-Cycle, the Center for Hard to Recycle Materials (CHARM), and the Hazardous Waste Recycling Center. We took a very deep dive into how things are recycled, some common recycling mistakes, and learned a helluva lot about what happens after you toss items in the blue bin. We also had the opportunity to sponsor one of our favorite partners, 1% for the Planet, at their annual event in our hometown Boulder! This was such a great opportunity to meet many like minded brands and companies and brainstorm about how to create bigger and better impact.

At this point, we really wanted to connect at much deeper level with our favorite group of people: YOU. This led to the creation of a Facebook Page called EarthHeroes, where we cultivate conversation and community around the world of sustainability.

But that’s not all! We also uploaded some wonderful brands that are shaking things up in sustainability, including UKonserve, Brush with Bamboo, and bambu home. If you’ve shopped with us before, you’ll know, we’re a huge fan of all of our bamboo products!


In May, there were some serious environmental events–such as the world’s largest recorded wave (28.3m) at Campbell Island, NZ. Plus, Hamberg, Germany became the first city to ban diesel cars on some roads. There were also several natural disasters including heat waves over 110F.

With all of the craziness happening across the globe, we surveyed you, our EarthHero community, about what matters most to you–and we learned a lot. We confirmed that one of your biggest shopping concerns is plastic (both in products and packaging!). You also let us know that two of the biggest barriers to shopping sustainably is trusting the claims companies make, and of course, the cost of authentic eco-friendly goods. We’re always taking notes, and have made some changes thanks to your feedback!

We’re in the fight against plastic with you! While we work with almost 100 unique brands, it’s a work in progress for us to guarantee that every single item ships plastic free. To help you choose, however, we mark the products that ship 100% plastic free in our “Shipping Information” section on every product page! We continue to encourage and educate our brands on the importance of plastic free shipping, and believe that this is something we can achieve together.

While we’ve always valued transparency, we took it a step further this month and broke down exactly what does into our products. Then we gave it a super fancy name: the EarthHero Methodology, which you can learn allllllll about… here!

From there, we tackled the issue of price–looking for ways to bring you the best products, at the most sustainable (for your wallet, that is) prices. We dove into how reusable products actually cost less in the long-run, the unseen cost of single-use goods, and of course, added new features to make it easier for you to shop discounted goods such as the Deals Page!

We also, as usual, uploaded some seriously sustainable brands–many of which quickly became EarthHero bestsellers, like TerraCycle and Plaine Products. Plus, EarthHero was the first American company to launch a Netherlands company called BiOBUDDi, which makes sugarcane based LEGO-style building blocks. Then, we further expanded our personal care & sunscreen category–bringing on the fan-favorite Goddess Garden.


Recycling is one of our favorite topics. In June, we highlighted awesome new brands that are using recycled or upcycled materials to make their products, like the folks over at Preserve & Indosole. We wrote blogs all about upcycling, downcycling, and things you can’t recycle but probably assumed you could (whaa?)

New plastic-free brands like Maderacraft and Crimson Goods were added, and we began gearing up for our next big theme, which is actually a global theme nowadays: Plastic Free July.


With the rising global movement around Plastic-Free July, and plastic-free living in general, we decided to use this month to “choose to refuse” plastic-waste alongside the rest of the world. And the impact was astounding! In this month alone, some major global players made commitments to reduced plastics–such as Disney banning single-use straws and stirrers at all of its theme parks and resorts, which is estimated to reduce 175 million straws and 13 million plastic stirrers. Starbucks made major news by committing to ban plastic straws by 2020, alongside UK and EU based McDonald’s, and even several airlines like American Airlines. Our personal favorite story comes from Seattle, where on July 1st they made headlines for banning the use of plastic straws and utensils at bars and restaurants.

EarthHero has always been committed to reduced plastic, both in products and packaging, and this month was no exception. We added a feature to our site called Sort By: “Minimal Plastic Packaging” and “Plastic Free Packaging” for our Beauty + Care products, to indicate products that have a touch of plastic packaging (think a plastic lid, or pump), or 100% plastic-free products (they are packaged, and ship, totally plastic-free!)

We also brought on some brands that are great solutions for reducing plastic in your own life, such as BioBag, a compostable Ziploc-bag alternative, Khala Cloths, a vegan food storage wrap to replace seran wrap, and personal care companies like Seed Phytonutrients and Bestowed Essentials–both of which have been revolutionizing personal care packaging through unique packaging materials, like compostable cellulose and recyclable plastic liners.


August marks the end of summer. As we said goodbye to sun hats and and aloe vera, we started to look towards the fall… and of course, the return to school for many. We focused on a totally new form of waste that often gets neglected: school and office waste! We looked far and wide to find products that the modern student and parent can use–from lunchtime to arts & crafts and research papers alike. For pens, pencils, and even notecards, staples and notebooks we brought you Onyx and Green, a company using alternative materials like bamboo, recycled plastic, and recycled newspaper to make functional, yet fun school supplies.

But we didn’t stop there. With thousands of students, teachers, and professionals headed to work or school each day, we knew we wanted to tackle one very important part of the day: the brown-paper-sack-Ziploc-bag-filled lunch on-the-go that we all know and don’t-really-love. Not only is it wasteful in the long run, but does nothing to keep your food protected or a certain temperature, and oftentimes will just break–leaving you with a PB&J on the floor.

To tackle this, we turned to our new favorite material, silicone! Brands like Food Huggers, Stasher, and ECOlunchbox all utilize this fabulous non-plastic material, as it’s extremely durable, long lasting, practically unbreakable, and can be used in high temperature situations without leaching plastic chemicals into your food. So, we gathered up all the awesome silicone products we could find, and brought them to you. You’re welcome :-).


Drum roll please….

The EarthHero team was beyond proud to welcome the 5th full-time member (and partner) of the team, the wonderful, fabulous, talented Jeff Day, our COO. With 20 years of experience in eCommerce, we’re so lucky to have had Jeff join us, and look forward to many more years to come!

EarthHero was reviewed by some gurus in the sustainability world, like Shelbizleee, Style Wise, Sustainably Chic, Litterless, Mama Eco–and many more! We also brought on new products from brands you know and love, like more Klean Kanteen, SOL Organic sheets, and Plaine Products!


Sustainability made spooky. While that may not be our actual slogan, in October, it is. As the leaves changed and the days got shorter in our hometown of Boulder, CO, we added tons of new fall fashions from brands like tentree, United by Blue, and SEEK Dry Goods so that you could stay cozy all season long.

After months of planning & prepping, October was the month we finally launched our “Green Gift Boxes”, including our New Mom Box, Zero Waste Box, Spa Box, and Home Box–all chock full of eco-friendly goodies from some of our favorite brands. Whether you’re shopping for your sustainable friend, looking for your own one-step sustainability set, or looking for a impactful gift for a business client, these 4 boxes launched our gift box program. Shhh, insider secret…. There will be more types of boxes coming 2019, so you can have even more green gifting options!

But no product, brand, or event could compare to one of our favorite events of the year–the addition of Callie to the EarthHero team, our newest Sustainable Sourcing Manager with a background in fashion merchandising, textiles, and supply chains. With all the new brands and products that we already uploaded in 2018, and a long, long list of brands we aim to add in 2019, we knew Callie was the right gal for the job!


November felt like a blur. Between preparing for Christmas by adding tons of new sustainable stocking stuffers, gifts, toys, and holiday card, to preparing for our “Give Back” Friday campaign on Black Friday, it was quite a month!

Instead of just offering great deals this Black Friday (which we also did!), we transformed this day of classic overconsumption into one that allowed you to donate to one of three environmental non-profits. At checkout, it was up to you to decide what percentage of your 20% discount was applied to the order, and what percentage went to an amazing cause. We partnered with the Ocean Conservancy, Friends of the Earth, and the Sustainable Packaging Coalition–learn more about our Give Back Friday campaign here!

We also expanded into some new categories with brands like Conscious Stories’ ethical children’s books, Sustain’s intimate products, and 4Ocean’s charitable jewelry–getting us even closer to having a sustainable alternative for anything and everything.


‘Tis the season to be sustainable… that’s how it goes right? After all the engagement we saw around our “Give-Back Friday” campaign on the weekend of Black Friday, we decided to dedicate this entire month to getting as many amazing, eco-friendly gifts, goods, and essentials up on EarthHero so that you could find the perfect gift for everyone in your life. This included holiday season essentials like recyclable wrapping paper from Wrappily, and over 300+ new toys from brands like PlanToys, Green Toys, and Under the Nile! We gathered sustainable stocking stuffers from brands like Solmate Socks, and EcoNuts, and of course, relied on some of our old favorites like EarthHero Bamboo Utensil Sets and all sorts of reusable straws. We promoted our Green Gifting Boxes, and made all sorts of sustainable-Santa-deliveries to families, friends, and businesses alike.

Now, we don’t want to get ahead of ourselves, but I’d love to include that we hit 10,000 followers on Instagram… there’s just 600 more to go. No pressure or anything, but you definitely should follow us on Instagram here! 

That’s not the only place our community grew. however. Checkout our year, by the numbers, at the end of this blog!

As the year winds down, please excuse us if we get a little emotional. We’re not crying, you’re crying. But on a more serious note, as a team we learned so much this year–both about our amazing community (that’s you!), and about what EarthHero stands for, and where we want to go as a company from here. There’s been sweat, tears, more sweat, more tears, and sure, maybe some blood. But it has all been worth it to be able to serve such an amazing community of changemakers. So, from the entire EarthHero team, thank you, and we cannot wait to spend 2019 changing the world with you.

How YOU Helped Us Grow in 2018!

We brought on over 45+ new brands!

We sourced over 2,000+ new products!

Through tentree’s Plant-a-Tree program, we planted 2,990 trees!

Through our carbon offset program with Carbonfund, we helped restore deforested areas across the midwest!

We partnered with 3 awesome nonprofits–the Sustainable Packaging Coalition, Friends of the Earth, and the Ocean Conservancy!

We got three fabulous new full-time employees, Juliet, Jeff, & Callie, and two new very furry doggos, Baby & Bodhi!

We made 14,000 new friends on Facebook, and 10,000 new friends on Instagram!


So, happy new year, EarthHeroes! Bring on 2019 🙂

Interview with ECOlunchbox

Everyday you pack your child’s lunch for school. But lately it has turned into a tedious late night activity that you dread at the end of your work day. You have yet to invest in a lunchbox because your child is picky and you haven’t had the time, and instead use a plastic bag for packing lunches. Every new day another plastic bag goes to waste, contributing to the thousands of single-use plastic bags in our landfills. But there is a better way! With reusable supplies from ECOLunchbox, you can transform lunchtime from wasteful to sustainable! Read on to learn how, and why, to make the switch.

What You’ll Learn:

  • What inspired Sandra Ann Harris to found ECOLunchbox
  • How is silicone different and better than plastic
  • Which ECOlunchbox products work for your lifestyle

An interview with the founder of ECOlunchbox & Blue Water Bento, Sandra Ann Harris

We’re delighted to share with you an interview we did recently with Sandra Ann Harris, the founder and CEO of ECOlunchbox and Blue Water Bento! Her company, which is based in Lafayette, Calif., is celebrating its 10-year anniversary this year, so we wanted to learn more about this mission-based company that has sold hundreds of thousands of plastic-free lunchboxes worldwide! Their community is averting the use and disposal of 10’s of millions of pieces of plastic trash annually, according to ECOlunchbox’s recent environmental impact study. Read on to take a sneak peek into the mind of this eco-preneur!

EarthHero | ECOlunchbox

What inspired you to start ECOlunchbox?

We protect what we love, right? For me, the impetus to start ECOlunchbox stemmed from my love of my kids and our oceans. It really struck me when my kids were in pre-school and I was packing lunches regularly for the first time in a long time, how much plastic waste was being generated at lunchtime. It was really shocking to see the garbage cans at the pre-school where my kids were going in the early 2000s literally overflowing with pre-packaged waste from cheese sticks, yogurt squeezes, juice sacks and boxes, etc. At that time Klean Kanteen stainless water bottles were on the market, but there were not plastic-free food containers available for purchase. I looked high and low. I didn’t intend to start a company myself. I was a former journalist and humanitarian aid worker. Consumer products weren’t my thing, but when I realized there was  such a huge hole in the marketplace I decided to fill it by starting ECOlunchbox as a first-to-market-brand specializing in plastic-free food containers that are healthy for people and the planet.

What’s your favorite item in the ECOlunchbox collection?

Oh my gosh, that’s like asking me to pick between my kids. (Laughing!) This is a tough question. I love each and every of my ECOlunchboxes and especially our Seal Cup Trio, which is part of our Blue Water Bento line we launched on Kickstarter back in 2015. I love our Seal Cup Trio and rely on it every single day because it’s leakproof and the three containers can pack compactly with me where ever I go, nesting inside each other. The Seal Cup Large features an orange lid with a sea urchin design. The Seal Cup Medium has a blue lid embossed with a pattern reminiscent of ocean waves on a beach. And the little Seal Cup Small is teal with a nubby shell design. We also have a Mini, XL and Jumbo size that coordinate to make a set of six nesting containers. The Jumbo, which holds 6 cups food, is amazingly useful for veggie grain bowls, which I totally love. I feel so happy every time I use these containers and think about how much I love our oceans and how I’m reducing my dependence on plastic every time I use one of our Blue Water Bento containers.

You put a lot of work into having truly sustainable product and shipping materials. Tell us a little about the materials you’ve chosen for your non-toxic lunchboxes!

Thank you so much for acknowledging us. The heartbeat of what we’re up to is showing the world that it is possible to make choices to reduce dependence on plastics. When I started the business 10 years ago, people, even family members and friends, thought my concerns about plastics when it comes to threatening human and planetary health, were a bit far fetched. But as a former investigative journalist, my research showed that while there may be medical uses and other specific instances when plastic is still the best material available for the job, that’s not true when it comes to food containers.

I see absolutely no reason why people would choose to continue to use plastic food containers, which are known to cause issues with human health due to the prevalence of BPA in all plastics, including BPA-free plastics, when ECOlunchboxes exist. Seriously, in my opinion, we offer a no compromises product that is non-toxic, unbreakable, leak-proof, and dishwasher safe, including the silicone lids, which are safe to be washed even in commercial dishwasher as high heat.

For me the whole point of ECOlunchbox is to innovate and bring to market food containers that check all the boxes. Are we perfect, no, but we are mindful of our choices. As you mentioned, we have also continued to eliminate plastic from any of our packaging and stick to a minimalist approach when it comes to the paper bands and stickers we use on our products for shelf displays. From the beginning, we’ve said no to plastic. Our commitment to remain plastic-free gives us such joy and we love sharing about why we feel so strongly about keeping plastics out of our products. Thank you for this opportunity to tell our story!

What do you think the biggest barrier facing sustainability is today?

Evolving the collective mindset is the biggest challenge facing sustainability. People are usually resistant to change. They’ve gotten used to the throw-away, single-use culture and they can’t envision changing their ways. Last year my husband, who is from Vietnam, and I took our kids to visit villages in northern Vietnam where the Hmong live. We trekked with a local guide, staying with her family in a thatched hut with a mud floor, through communities that were littered with plastic bottles, candy wrappers and other non-biodegradable debris. The young woman guiding us was 32-years-old and she could remember as a child a time when plastic bottles didn’t exist in her community. When she worked in the rice fields she made herself a bottle using a hatchet out of a bamboo stalk. She even made a bamboo bottle with us so we could have this retro experience with her. She could remember a time without plastic in her own lifetime and she was committed to raising awareness in her village that it was time to turn back the clock on modernity and re-embrace the traditions of her parents, grandparents and ancestors. I found our visit very inspiring and it stirred up memories of visiting my grandparents in Palo Alto, California in the 1970s and noticing their refrigerator was filled with glass containers with glass lids for food storage and they were re-using, re-purposing and up-cycling everything possible. No matter whether our roots lie in the East or the West, we can benefit from the wisdom of the pre-plastic generations.

What is silicone, and why did you choose to use it in many of the ECOlunchbox products? How is silicone different from plastic?

This is a great question. I think a lot of people are on a steep learning curve when it comes to silicone, especially since it looks similar to plastic. It took me about three years to research silicone and decide to move forward with our no-leak Blue Water Bento containers. For starters, plastic is a petroleum-based material. Our high-quality, food-grade silicone is made from silica found in sand.

When it comes to offering a highly durable and reusable food container that doesn’t leak and doesn’t contain the estrogen-mimicking chemicals commonly found in plastics, we believe that silicone is currently the best answer. It would be awesome if it were biodegradable, but sadly, like plastic, silicone must be recycled at end of life. This isn’t ideal, but for now it’s the safest, most non-toxic material we have found for our lids.

When it comes to the environment, silicone is highly durable and more ocean friendly than plastic. If one of our silicone lids were to get lost in the ocean, for example, it’s not going to break down into little particles and get ingested by marine life. It resists degradation in sun and sea. We have a lot more info about this question on our website for those who are keenly interested in learning more about silicone.

EarthHero | ECOlunchbox

What’s one thing someone might not know about your products?

I take so much inspiration from Tomales Bay in the Pt. Reyes Peninsula. See if you can guess what the embossed pattern is on our 3-in-1 Splash Box and Mini Splash Pod, which we introduced in 2018. Every time I use this fabulous powerhouse of a lunchbox, I smile recollecting so many good times kayaking, hiking and camping on Tomales Bay, which is filled with eel grass and seaweed.

The eel grass, which is a critical food for marine life at the bottom of the food pyramid in Tomales Bay’s ecosystem, is featured in the embossed celadon green lid of the upstair level of the 3-in-1 Splash Box modular container. The seaweed is celebrated in the dark green motif on the Mini Splash Pod tucked inside the upstairs of this two-level container. Sailors, kayakers, surfers and other ocean lovers notice these details about our products and smile for the love of Big Blue! Jacques Cousteau once said, “We only protect what we love, we only love what we understand, and we only understand what we are taught.” What do you love?

**Want to get your own plastic-free products? Take 15% off ALL ECOlunchbox products with code: ECOlunchbox!**



11 Tips for a Sustainable Holiday Season

It’s the most wonderful time of the year…. right? While we deck the halls and prepare for the holiday season of gratuity and giving, the planet is busy preparing for something much less festive: thousands of pounds of trash and pollution, plus significant emissions and energy usage. In fact, Americans toss 25% MORE trash from Thanksgiving to New Years than any other time of the year–amounting to an extra 25 million tons of garbage in total. What’s meant to be a time spent with family and friends has transformed into Black Friday brawls and doorbuster sales.

But there is a better way. The holidays should (and can!) be a time of giving love, sharing experiences, building connections–and most importantly, respecting the planet that we call home year after year. Read on to learn 11 easy ways to add a little bit of sustainability, and a lot more gratuity and giving, into this holiday season (you might already be doing some of them!)

Deck the Halls

Holiday decor: for some, it goes up on November 1st… while for others, it’ll get pushed off until December 24th. Whichever way is your jam, it’s important to deck the halls with the planet in mind! From your choice of Christmas tree, to holiday lights, and even dinner-party decor, every decision you make this season can have a sustainable impact.

Buy a real tree!

Believe it or not, buying a real Christmas tree is more eco-friendly than having a reusable fake one. A 2009 study by the Montreal consulting firm Ellipsos took into consideration the greenhouse gas emissions, resource usage, fertilizers, pesticides, and human health impacts that go into growing a Christmas tree versus creating a fake one. What they found is that the same artificial tree would have to be reused every year for more than 20 years to be more sustainable than buying a fresh-cut Christmas tree once a year.

Better yet, be prepared for Christmas year-round by purchasing a potted live tree! You can keep it outside, or inside, for a touch of greenery the rest of the year–then decorate it sustainably over the holidays. But when the season is over, don’t just leave your real-tree on the curb–many cities have post-holiday tree mulching programs that transform Christmas trees into usable materials.

Side note: never burn Christmas tree branches in your fireplace! It can cause the buildup of creosote, which is highly flammable.

Use energy efficient lights & a timer!

When it comes to decking the halls, one of the most wasteful, yet ignored, parts of celebrating the season comes from the twinkling lights that seem to magically pop up everywhere–from the tree lights at your local mall to the Christmas inflatables and light-up nativity scenes that proudly sit outside homes. And let’s be clear: we love the magic that comes from Holiday lighting decor. There’s just a more sustainable way to do it.

If you need to buy new holiday lights, buy LED lights! They use 1/10 as much energy as conventional holiday lights, and last years longer. If you still have some old holiday lights or plastic decor characters, use and reuse them until they’re caput–then look at your cities recycling center to see how to properly dispose of them.

Whether you’re lighting classic string lights, a whole Christmas tree, or even a “Christmas with the Kranks” style entire light-up house, a timer will help you save a ton of energy and emissions as well. Set the timer to keep all your lights off during daylight hours, as well as in the wee hours of the night (think after 1 or 2am!) when your neighbors are sleeping. This will save you money spent on electricity, but also reduce some of the major energy waste that happens over the holidays.

A study by the Florida Solar Energy Center found that the average household energy usage for lighting increases by 130 kilowatt hours during December. That’s the same amount of energy that would be used if every household in America left an electric oven on high for 2.5 days! By setting up lighting in a smarter way, you can still enjoy the magical holiday decor, but in a way that won’t wreck the planet.

Try recycled content holiday cards!

Holiday cards, created back in the 1800s, are one of the most wasteful traditions ever–with 2.65 billion traditional paper holiday cards sold each year, just in the US. In fact, if you stacked all the holiday cards we buy, sent, and then toss (or keep in a drawer for years!), you could fill a football field 10 stories high. By choosing to send just one less card each year, we could save 50,000 cubic yards of virgin paper.

But when it comes to holiday cards, you don’t necessarily have to minimize to make a sustainable impact. E-cards and digital cards are awesome too, but for those who prefer the feel of a physical card, try post-consumer recycled content cards. Tree-Free Greetings prints their holiday cards on 100% post-consumer recycled paper, which saves 2,405 mature trees, 1,121,858 gallons of water, 1,078 million BTUs of energy, 75k pounds of solid waste, and 206k pounds of greenhouse gas emissions every year–woohoo! They also meet the standards for Process Chlorine Free (PCF) coding, ensuring less harmful production byproducts than traditional cards, and no added bleaches or chlorines. And if that wasn’t enough, the Tree-Free factory has 200 solar panels on their roof–providing 65,344 kilowatt hours of renewable energy each year (reducing their carbon footprint by 60k pounds of carbon pollution annually!)

We get it though–none of that matters if the cards aren’t cute. Luckily for you, we have an assortment of touching, funny, cute, and meaningful Christmas and holiday cards that are perfect for any occasion. So grab a 10 pack, and get to sending your holiday cards the sustainable way!

Set the Table

Throw a party with no throwaways!

According to the USDA, Americans throw away 25% of the food they purchase–aka 52 billion pounds per year, or 171 pounds per person. And that number doesn’t even take into account the single-use utensils, plates, cups, and napkins that usually accompany large get-togethers like holiday meals. This season, say no to single-use and food waste by hosting a sustainable meal–not only is it a great way to educate your friends and family about environmental issues, but can make a huge impact on holiday waste.

When it comes to dining, swap out plastics for reusable or compostable alternatives. Reusable bamboo utensils and stainless steel pint glasses are easy to clean, and store, so they’re great for large parties. You can make it easy for your guests to help you clean up by leaving out a “dirty dish bucket” near the sink, or even simply providing lists by your recycling, compost, and trash–so your guests know what to dispose of and what is compostable. By composting food waste instead of sending it to the trash, you can greatly reduce the amount of methane emissions in our landfills!

With leftovers that are still “good” (well, all leftovers are good) you can send them home with friends and family in reusable bowls covered in potluck beeswax wraps for maximum freshness days later. If everyone is too stuffed, take a note from tip 5 and look for organizations that would accept your leftovers to give back to those in need!

Give it back!

Holidays are known as a time of excess, but the truth is, many families will be in need over the holiday season–and amazing non-profits across the globe step up during this time of year to provide warm food, jackets, clothing, and support to those who need it.

This holiday season, we’re challenging you to not only set your own table, but set the table for someone in need! Whether that means donating time and service, or even bringing canned food or holiday dinner leftovers to local shelters or organizations. But, be sure to do some research or call ahead to see what your local organization will accept–and what their community is asking for. Not only is it a great way to get the family involved in your sustainable holiday goals, but will leave everyone feeling warm and fuzzy afterwards.

This is also an awesome way to teach little ones about the power of sharing and donation! Ask your kids to put aside the toys and books they’re no longer interested in, and the clothing and shoes that don’t fit so great anymore. By teaching them the impact that giving can have on others, they’ll go into the holiday season with a greater appreciation for what they do have–and then, the new presents they get!

Green Gifting

Try recycled content gift-wrap!

In the US alone, we produce about 4 million tons of gift-wrap and shopping bag waste a year. In fact, 50% of all the paper we consume as a country is used to wrap and decorate consumer goods–and often is used just for a short period of time before becoming non-recyclable waste. But there are better ways to wrap, keeping your gift looking great, without the environmental impact.

What if your wrapping paper wasn’t just paper… but was a gift itself? If you’re giving products like kitchen towels, clothing (shirts are great!), or scarves, simply use the item to wrap up the other part of your gift. If you’re just giving one item, look around your house for old tablecloths, unusable bed sheets or ripped towels, linens, or other fabric scraps–then tell your giftee to reuse your “wrapping paper” when they’re done!

If you’re not about the hunting and gathering method of green gift wrapping, we have the perfect solution for you: Wrappily. Printed with non-toxic soy-based inks on newsprint made from recycled content, this wrapping paper utilizes old newspaper presses that would otherwise be idle due to lack of demand. Plus, each post-consumer recycled sheet is double-sided, reversible, and created in collaboration with local artists. And unlike some other wrapping papers (we see you, glittery gift wrap), Wrappily is 100% recyclable at the end of its life.

Another great way to keep gift wrapping green is to reuse things like ribbon, bows, and gift bags! If every family reused just two feet of holiday ribbon the next year, then 38,000 miles of ribbon could be saved–enough to tie a bow around the entire Earth. All you’ve gotta do is keep a “reuse-it” bag in your storage closet, and whenever you’re given a gift, keep what you can reuse the next year!

Shop for a story!

According to a national survey, 70% of Americans would welcome reduced gift giving and spending over the holiday season. As Dr. Seuss taught us through The Grinch, “What if Christmas, he thought, doesn’t come from a store. What if Christmas, perhaps, means a little bit more.”

And we totally agree. In fact, that’s kinda our whole thing. When you shop based on story, and sustainability, instead of just looking for things that are “cute” or “looks like them”, it means more–both to the recipient, and the people who were involved in creating that product. Does your gift for your mom give-back 10% of profits to women in need? Why not give your ocean-loving friend the gift of removing a pound of trash with their new bracelet?

When you choose a gift with a charitable impact, your giving goes further. Look for companies that take a stand to donate to nonprofits, plant trees, or support seed diversity with every purchase! When you shop with companies that are truly proud of their products, they will want to tell you everything about the product– from sustainable features to eco-friendly packaging. Look for companies that make sustainability part of their mission (like all the EarthHero brands!)

Not only does a sustainable story mean your product is probably better for the planet, but it’s also more enjoyable to share a gift you feel a connection to! And your friends and family are sure to remember it for seasons to come!

Look for plastic-free packaging!

One of the biggest issues around holiday gifting isn’t even the products themselves–it’s the excessive product and shipping packaging that most companies use to wrap up their goods. And while some notoriously-wasteful companies have started offering “Minimal Plastic Packaging” for shipments, you’re most likely still going to end up with some non-recyclable packing peanuts. So this holiday season, whether you’re shopping online or in-store, be sure to look for truly plastic-free or minimal plastic packaging! Companies who are doing packaging the sustainable way will want to tell you about what they’re doing. On EarthHero, you can just scroll down to the sustainability features on each product page and look for Packaging to get all the info you need!

Share the Spirit of Sustainability

Re-gift or make DIY gifts!

Fact: about 60% of Americans (will admit) that they receive unwanted gifts during the holidays, with about 52% of them eventually regifting them. Some estimate that this equals about $9.5 billion dollars spent, and wasted, on unwanted items. This year, tackle unwanted gifts in a few ways: starting with making it clear with friends & family what you do want to receive, and then re-gifting things in your own life you don’t need. When you make it clear to others that you don’t want “just stuff” for Christmas, you’ll likely end up with less “unwanted” items at the end of the season. Then, for the presents you’ve already been given and don’t love, see if anyone in your life would appreciate the re-gift. If not, check with local shelters and organizations to see if it is an item they could use!

When it comes to DIY gifts, there is truly no shortage of options for everyone in your life. From making your own personal care products like lotion or lip balm, to simply planning a weekend trip for the special someone in your life, “do it yourself” presents are becoming more and more popular.

Give battery-free toys!

Did you know that over 40% of battery sales occur during the holidays? And most of these batteries are single-use batteries, that when they run out of juice in roughly half a year, will become waste that sits in our landfills. While companies like Best Buy or Target once accepted single-use batteries to be recycled, that became cost-inefficient, and so now the typical rhetoric is to simply “throw your batteries away in a Ziploc bag”. This basically means that your semi-toxic batteries need to be wrapped in non-biodegradable plastic to be thrown away, as they can leach chemicals into the landfills and impact nearby waterways and habitats.

Our first tip for tackling this is simple: rechargeable batteries. If you’re going to give a gift that requires batteries, be sure to include rechargeable batteries and a power-box so they can reuse their batteries again and again. It doesn’t cost much more, and in the long run, will save the recipient a lot of cash–and trash.

You don’t need batteries to have fun. Yep, you heard us! Our second tip for tackling battery waste is simply to buy toys and tech that don’t need batteries at all. Sustainable technology companies like House of Marley are building products that use upcycled batteries that last for years, and can be charged with a single power cord. Toy companies like Green Toys and PlanToys make cognitive, memory, mobility, and education toys and games from materials like wood and recycled plastic–encouraging natural play in young ones that isn’t just staring at a screen.

But our favorite battery-free children’s gift actually isn’t a toy at all–but a series of children’s books called Conscious Bedtime Stories. Conscious Stories aren’t just FSC-Certified children’s books–but a collection of stories with wise and approachable characters who teach core life lessons on the world and environment to everyone. Each story begins with Snuggle Breathing, which helps both parents and kids to step into a space of relaxation and concentration, then ends with reflective questions and activities to help your little one process the life lesson they just learned! Gifts like this actually promote interaction between friends and family, as opposed to many battery-operated gifts, which focus on the individual.

Set goals, and share them!

With all the fast-paced sales and last minute promotions, it can feel like you almost have to “over-shop” during the holiday season to get the best deal. But don’t let it get to you! One of the biggest issues in keeping up with your sustainability goals over the holidays is feeling like you’re being left out, so look for family and friends you can share your goals with–and work towards them together!

Make a list, check it (twice), and simply stop shopping once you’ve gotten a gift for everyone on your list, or hit your budget, depending on what goal you’ve set. You’d be surprised what an impact this has!

Now, this may sound silly, but our final tip is to actually ask your friends and family what they not only want, but need. Some of the best presents aren’t necessarily just “gift” things–but can be experiences, gifts of service (who doesn’t need help cleaning their closet?), or even plain old necessities (socks, we’re looking at you!). By tuning into what those in your life can really use, you’re sure to give a more sustainable gift. What are some of your favorite ways to reduce your waste over the holidays? Comment them below!  

Click to shop all our sustainable holiday gifts for her, him, baby, and kids–plus Green Gift Boxes and Gift Cards!