Tis the time of the year when we compile lists for gift-giving (and for some of the best annual deals). It’s also a great time to introduce some healthier options into our homes, via green gifting. Since we spend the majority of our time in our living spaces, it’s important that the items we surround ourselves with are safe and nontoxic. From cleaning supplies that are human and pet safe, to organic sheets and sustainable storage options, we’ve got eight gifts for a greener home that anyone on your list will love.
Green Cleaning: Branch Basics
An easy way to eliminate a wide swath of potentially harmful chemicals from your home is to green your cleaning routine. Not only can traditional cleaning products lead to headaches, skin irritation, and respiratory issues, but they can also be linked to longer-term issues like endocrine disruption and cancer. Skip the toxins and instead reach for Branch Basics, a cleaning concentrate that you can use in your dishwasher, for your bathroom, in your washer, and as a hand soap (yep, it’s that multi-purpose). It’s completely nontoxic, safe for kids and pets, and cleans as well as your traditional brands. We recommend the Starter Kit as a great gift.
Green Home Goods: Parachute, Coyuchi, and Brooklinen
Unfortunately, home goods can often be the culprit of releasing potentially hazardous gases and fumes. Off–gassing occurs when new, manufactured items in our homes release volatile organic compounds (VOCs) and other chemicals. To avoid that, shop organic, and OEKO-TEX® certified products. OEKO-TEX® is an international, independent certification process for textiles that tests for harmful substances and sustainability practices in production. Reaching for pillows, sheets, blankets, shower curtains, towels, and other home linens with either the OEKO-TEX® or certified organic labels ensures you avoid potentially harmful off-gassing. We love Parachute, Coyuchi and Brooklinen brands for safer home goods options.
Green Storage Options: Stasher, Bee’s Wrap, and FreshPaper
We’ve talked before about greening your kitchen and cookware, but we also think sustainable storage options that replace plastic are a must-have for a greener home. Plastic wrap is often used for food preservation, but did you know that when plastic is cooled (e.g. in your fridge) or heated, it can release hazardous greenhouse gases? We say skip it, for that reason and for the fact that it’s often a single-use product that piles up in our landfills. Instead, consider a silicone-based storage like Stasher, which can be refrigerated or placed in the freezer without the side effects of plastic. Bee’s Wrap, a beeswax-coated paper, can be used as an alternative to plastic wrap too, to go over your leftovers, preserve half-eaten fruits or vegs, or keep bread fresh. And we’ve recently started stocking up on FreshPaper, a herb-infused paper that helps keep produce fresher—all you have to do is add a sheet of the paper-towel-like paper to your produce drawer or spinach bag.
Green Bedroom: Birch by Helix, Avocado Green, and More
You spend about one-third of your life sleeping—shouldn’t it be on a nontoxic mattress that also isn’t off-gassing or treated with harsh flame retardants and hazardous chemicals? Tuft & Needle and Avocado Green are two of the more popular nontoxic mattress brands on the market today, but we’ve also had great luck with Birch by Helix. All of these brands avoid the polyurethane based foams and harsh chemicals that are often found in traditional memory foam mattresses and pillows, all while providing a cooling, comfy sleeping environment for you and your loved ones.
Green Home Scents: Woodlot, Lite & Cycle, and Nontoxic Retailers
Artificial fragrance is often hiding numerous types of potentially hazardous chemicals. With Trade Secret laws in place, companies don’t have to reveal what combination of ingredients they use to get to their proprietary scent—which means they can be using even banned ingredients to concoct that beachy-breezy scent, and potentially cause headaches, respiratory irritation, and more (if you’ve ever sat on a plane or stood in an elevator with someone who had a strong scent on them, you know what we mean). Since candles and home fragrance are great gifts for the holidays (especially for hosts!), we recommend sticking with clean-burning, naturally fragranced scents to avoid getting anyone sick. Woodlot and Lite & Cycle are two brands we love, that use only essential oils to scent their candles. If you want even more variety, consider a retailer that is dedicated to sourcing only safe scent options, like Integrity Botanicals or The Detox Market.
One Final Gift-Giving/Shopping Tip
Another great way to provide sustainable gift options and avoid potential off-gassing of new home goods is to shop second-hand. Items that are gently used have already had a life where they could have released hazardous gases. Giving them a new home keeps them from landfills and gives you the option of a safer textile to complete your living space