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Zero and Low Waste gift ideas laid out on a white table.

Low and Zero Waste Gifts for Sustainable Living

When holidays roll around each year, it’s like a race against the clock. You fumble through your gift recipient list over and over again. And every year it gets more difficult to come up with the perfect gift idea for each person. Not to mention all the other gift giving occasion throughout the year. Birthdays, anniversaries, housewarmings, and more. And what do you get the people who already seem to have everything? (I’m assuming you know some of those people, too.)

Big gifts, small gifts, boxes, bags and wrapping paper – it can become so cumbersome to put it all together! This year, why not think outside the [gift]box? Leaning toward a more sustainable and eco friendly gift idea.

Going completely zero-waste can be time-consuming, costly, and challenging in a world full of plastic and one-use items. Many zero-waste shops are expensive and inaccessible to many who want to make a difference just as badly as those who can afford these options. Striving towards zero-waste should be the goal, but it should not be something that causes guilt or stress. At True Citrus, we advocate for low-waste! Low-waste is about doing the best you can. It’s about being intentional, but non-judgemental towards yourself and others in their waste-free journeys. 

Reducing your waste needs to look beyond plastics and whether something is “recyclable” (in the US last year, only 5-6% of plastics were actually recycled). Food waste is a huge issue in the United States, with 108 billion pounds of food wasted each year. Unfortunately, our favorite citrus sidekicks are part of this problem, as cut lemons and limes tend to only be good for a few days in the fridge before they’re too old to use. True Lemon helps to reduce food waste by providing the same fresh-lemon taste without tossing out what you didn’t use. 

Low-waste also takes into account that just because something is in glass or paper or wrapped in linen, does not necessarily mean it’s better for the environment than plastic. Taking into account the full life-cycle of different forms of packaging shows that there are drawbacks to each kind. It’s an imperfect system, with imperfect sollutions. Minimizing your harm doesn’t have to mean clearing your pantry of all plastic items. Rather, consider what you can do to reduce all single-use packaging (yes, it’s single-use even if you can recycle it).

For example, while True Lemon products are kept in small, plastic packaging, when poured into a glass or reusable bottle, they use significantly less packaging than already-bottled beverages, whether that bottle is plastic or glass.

True Lemon


True Lime


True Orange


True Grapefruit


Gift ideas for a more sustainable lifestyle.

Spread a little cheer without spreading more waste. (Or maybe just as little waste as possible.) There are plenty of wonderful sustainable gift ideas that will make anyone happy. 

Items that can be recycled or reused are also a great idea. Upcycled gifts, homemade items, and compostable items check the criteria box. Bonus points if you can find a creative way to wrap the gift. Or use zero waste gift wrapping! (One of my go-to options is recycling newspaper as gift wrap. You can use markers or crayons to personalize it and make it more festive. Sunday comics also work great!)

Here is a list of low-waste gift options to get you started.

For Kids
·       Reused Toys. It’s always better to reuse something than to buy something made out of new, virgin materials. Check out local thrift stores or online trading platforms and see what you can find! Show your kids the value of having a few, meaningful toys rather than lots of toys they’ll get bored of in a month.
·       Membership to a local attraction. Kids love a field trip to a local museum, zoo or aquarium! Not only are these experiences fun for them, they’re also educational. A day at your local children’s museum can help your child pick up new skills, learn critical thinking and spark their imagination!
·       Tickets to a musical or show. Again, experiences always make great gifts. Just like memberships, these are enjoyable and wonderful activities to get kids out of the house.
·       Kids gardening kit. Teach them about sustainability and get them involved in growing plants. The more hands-on children are, they more likely they are to take care of things. Learning to plant and garden will give them a sense of responsibility and pride when they see all the fun stuff they can grow!

A young boy pouring True Lemon Kids into a glass at the kitchen counter.

·       Reusable Water Bottle and True Lemon Kids Drink Mixes.

Get your kids excited about drinking more water! Give them a cool new water bottle they’ll love so much, they won’t want to put it down. True Lemon Kids Drink Mixes also make a great stocking stuffer. They come in kids’ favorite fruity flavors and pack a punch of vitamins A, C and E. With 92% less sugar than other kids’ drinks, parents can also feel good about it.

·       Recycled reads. As kids get older, the books they want to read will also change. Used books are a great way to save a few dollars and swap out books more often. Donate your old books to a thrift store and pick up a few new ones while you’re there. Even better, find a Little Free Library in your area to pick up a new book and leave an old book for someone else!

For Adults
·       Candle making kit. For the candle lovers on your list, this can go a long way! It’s fun for anyone who loves to DIY. But it’s also a good way to repurpose empty jars and other containers you have at home.
·       Plants and plant accessories. Everyone has that one friend that’s a natural-born plant parent. (At least one, maybe more!) Plants are naturally resourceful and create a beautiful aesthetic inside or outside the home.
·       Herb garden starter kit. A starter kit is great for beginners who want to dive into the green thumb life. And herb gardens are more sustainable because it allows someone to grow their own herbs, saving money at the grocery store and helping the environment. Plus, fresh herbs from your own garden are so much more flavorful!
·       Eco-friendly cookware. Pots and pans that are eco friendly may be non-toxic, made from sustainable materials, or just better for the environment because of longevity. Cast iron cookware is durable and when cared for properly can last a long, long time. For newlyweds, a new home owner or kitchen aficionados, environmentally-friendly cookware makes a great gift.
·       Digital memberships. Give the gift of entertainment or wellness through a digital format, no physical waste involved. Digital subscriptions are great for pretty much everyone! There are endless options - Spotify, Pandora, Headspace, Audible. Choose a platform you know they will love.

A box of True Lemon Original Lemonade and Strawberry Lemonade on a yellow background with cut lemon slices.

·       Reusable water bottle and True Lemon favorites.

Hey, the adults like cool stuff too! These water bottles even have convenient markings to guide you to increased hydration throughout the day. And True Lemon drink mixes give the perfect essence of fruit flavor to make it easier to hydrate deliciously. Using flavor enhances make it more convenient than cutting, squeezing and wasting produce at home. And rather than throwing out plastic bottles from lemonades and sports drinks, you can have fruity water anywhere you go with convenient packets that fit in your pocket.

·       Acts of service. This is an especially great idea for the person who asked for nothing. Offer to do a chore for them or take a task off their hands. It can be as simple as walking their dog, cleaning their house or making their favorite home-cooked meal. This is also an easy way to get the kids involved and teach them about gratitude.
·       Donation on their behalf to a local charity or charity. Another good option for someone who asked for nothing, or for the person who has everything. Donate to a local charity (bonus points if it’s something close to their heart) and make the donation in their name. This is also a heartwarming way to honor loved ones who have passed. 

Amy Cimo Avatar

Written by

Amy Cimo is a Nutrition Coach, Personal Trainer and Wellness Enthusiast based out of Baton Rouge, Louisiana. After going through her own health journey, she found her passion in helping others find balance between nutrition, physical activity and mindset to live healthy and be truly happy. Amy attended Louisiana State University where she received a Bachelor of Arts in Mass Communication and a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration. She became a Certified Personal Trainer in 2021 through the National Academy of Sports Medicine (NASM) and a Certified Nutrition Coach in 2022 through Precision Nutrition.