2020: What a ride it’s been, right? It feels safe to say that this was, to put it mildly, a truly bonkers year.
While 2020 is packing up and plotting a course for its next stop (which we hope is a history textbook), many of us will be spending these last several weeks figuring out safe ways to celebrate the winter holidays with as much of the familiar trappings as possible. The joy, sparkle, generosity, and giving spirit are a happy reminder of what has remained unchanged during this unusual year. Many of us are also trying to make their holiday spending more meaningful this year, too. Small businesses need your support more than ever before, and this wild year has also changed what “community” means in a lot of ways. Additionally, we all know how important it is to focus on environmentally friendly gifts.
In this spirit of community support, giving, and maybe some determined spite, we wanted to put something together to help boost other small businesses who are adding their voice to the eco-friendly chorus. To heck with you, 2020: you will not break us!
We’ve broken this guide into two key sections: Eco friendly gifts, to help you make 2021 your greenest and most conscious yet. And Beautiful gifts, to help you enrich your space and give your eyes something to delight in while we spend more time at home again this winter (and of course each has an eco-angle!). Everyone in our guide shares a brilliance in what they’re doing--we are inspired by each and every one of them. We hope you’ll consider supporting some of these fine folks in your holiday shopping.
We are here for the Earth—that’s part of our core mission. These folks? They get it, they share it, and they are living that mission too. 2020 has thrown a lot of things at us, but there seems to be a pretty clear message coming from our planet: we’ve gotta step up for her. Maybe one of these brands will be the inspiration for the next step you take for our little corner of the galaxy. These friends’ products are all available nationally.
Skoy makes environmentally-minded home care products, including Swedish dishcloths to replace your paper towels and kitchen sponges with a reusable and compostable option, super-powered scrubbies made with remnant fabric and natural resin, and wildly absorbent towels made from recycled polyester. These are fantastically functional, and they’re one of our favorite sustainable gifts!
Enjoy your drinks as you like without contributing to the environmental issues caused by plastic waste. Sux Straws are telescopic (meaning they can extend to fit most sized drinks!), stainless steel, and the travel set includes a snazzy and clippable carrying case, cleaning brush, and a silicone tip for the most comfortable sipping experience. Plus they’re available in a bunch of very stylish finishes!
OK, we hear you: who gives trash bags as a gift? YOU DO, that’s who! Bio Bags are fairly self-explanatory: they’re a biodegradable bag that feels and functions very much like plastic. We believe that for eco-friendly options to become the norm, we need to see them in use. Why? It goes back to that old “phenomenon”- once you key in to something and really notice it, you can’t stop seeing it everywhere. If making a switch to a new kind of trash bag helps someone to start seeing the effects of plastics around them, that eco swap was doubly effective! Whether you’ll go all in and replace your kitchen trash bags with BioBags, or start yourself a countertop composting system, you’ll definitely want to check these out.
DishBlock by No Tox Life
Liquid dish soap is a two sided problem: it’s got that pesky plastic bottle that ends up in the trash and always gives you way more soap than you wanted, and the soap itself is mostly water! That inefficiency just won’t work for you and your eco-conscious home. DishBlock by NoTox Life is for you! It’s essentially a super-dense solid block of very concentrated soap that’s free of dyes and perfumes, vegan, cruelty free, and so much more. They last a long time, and are a great multipurpose cleaner as well. And YES, they will play nice with your Z Wraps!
Noissue Mailers and Custom Goods
This one is more for our fellow makers and business owners, but a great suggestion for anyone who ships things! In their own words, “Noissue was founded to provide makers, brands and businesses of all sizes access to custom, sustainable packaging. The noissue difference is characterized by our commitment to sustainability for all our products, our simple online design platform, and our low minimum order quantities.” Compostable mailers AND custom branded sustainable tissue? Yes, please!
Plastic is sneaky—it’s everywhere and we often don’t realize it! One place it’s especially prevalent is consumer tech and related goods. Think about your phone: the case, your AirPods, the band on your smart watch, all plastic. Now there’s a compostable option: meet Pela! Cases for almost every phone make and model, and new items like smart watch bands, AirPods cases, sunglasses, and more. The texture has a supremely satisfying feel in your hands. The company is also very passionate in their eco-mission and has made supporting environmental efforts a core component of their organization.
Our beauty picks aren’t actually cosmetic—they are also stunning in their own right. We believe that beautiful things enrich our lives and enhance our spaces, and can be the deciding reason we choose one product over another. So whether you’re making your home beautiful or you’re making yourself feel beautiful, check one of these out!
Peterman’s Boards and Bowls
Spencer Peterman and his team make jaw-droppingly gorgeous wooden tableware. But you know we couldn’t recommend them unless there was an additional eco-aspect here, and boy do they deliver: all their wood is sourced from naturally fallen and sometimes decaying trees! No living tree was ever cut down to make something in the Peterman shop. Most of their wood is “upcycled”—it was already starting to decay when it was dried and turned on a lathe into a totally unique and beautiful piece. Because of the natural variations that nature has infused into the wood as it began to break down, no two pieces will ever be exactly alike. This crew also calls western MA home: their home shop and showroom is in Gill, MA. Well worth the drive out.
We couldn’t resist the shared connection to bees with Farmacy. The fact that their “farm-to-face” line of eco-friendly, mission-minded skincare is the perfect blend of natural and luxurious. Made without GMOs, mineral oil, parabens, formaldehyde, or artificial dyes, and never tested on animals. After all, you and your skin made it through 2020 together… we think some pampering is in order.
There is so much we could say about Prosperity Candle! Their mission lights a fire in our hearts, their products are gorgeous, natural, AND fair-trade, and the opportunities they provide to refugee women are wide-reaching. These are some inspiring people right here, and we would know: Prosperity Candle has been a long-time fixture, and our literal neighbor, here in the Eastworks building since well before we arrived! Beautify your space, delight your senses, and make the world a little brighter.
Book: Living Without Plastic by Brigette Allen and Christine Wong
Link to IndieBound, which includes local bookstore recommendations: https://www.indiebound.org/book/9781579659400?aff=workmanpub
Want an illustrated guide to a plastic-free way of life? This new book might be for you! There are over 100 ideas in here for easy swaps to help reduce or eliminate plastic from your daily living, beautifully illustrated.
What will you gift this year? Whatever and whoever is on your list, and no matter the way you celebrate, we wish you and yours all the best that 2021 has in store. Happiest Holidays, with all our love. To you, from Z Wraps.