Eco-Friendly - Zero Waste Gifts for Teachers
Is it just me or do you feel like doubling down to find your child’s teacher the perfect gift this year? With all of the stress & chaos of 2020 teachers have my respect and total appreciation more than ever.
When school shut down and we needed to suddenly learn at home, they adapted. When fall came and all things changed and looked different for each grade, school district, and state, teachers did what they always do… they showed up, and shared their heart with our kids. I still think of how much my kids look to their teachers for guidance, calm, and even love. Since my kids are in elementary school; they require more, and spend more time with one teacher throughout the day.
I’m lucky to have some very good friends who are also teachers and they were kind enough to share their opinions with me. So here is a list in no particular order of gift ideas that will spoil your teacher without spoiling the planet!
- Self Care Kit - I know I’m biased here because this is our kit but we absolutely put this together with teachers in mind. Self care is the absolute name of the game this year, and anything we can do to help teachers relax is our goal. So we love this mix of a nontoxic 100% beeswax candle, hair ties that are plastic free, a beautifully smelling bar of soap that is small batch made in NYC by Vegans who would never use chemicals, palm oil, or test on animals, combined with an XL Lip balm that should last throughout the entire year. A bit of pampering combined with lots of practical.
- Keep Cup - These reusable glass coffee cups are made to travel, but still provide the luxury and taste of drinking out of glass. These are cute, reusable, and made to fit your typical coffee shop standard sizes.
- 30 oz. Greens Steel BEAST Tumbler. These come with 2 stainless steel straws and a straw cleaning brush, and they will keep your teacher’s drink hot/cold for hours. These tumblers have rave reviews and we can see why. So whether your child’s teacher uses their tumbler to stay hydrated and fill up with water throughout the day, or coffee to be caffeinated so they can function, these cups will keep the temperature for hours without the plastic waste. Remember that plastic tumblers or to-go coffee shop’s plastic cups could contain chemicals that could release toxins when heated. These stainless steel tumblers are double wall vacuum insulated and include a lifetime warranty.
- Beeswax Candles - Hopefully you are already aware of what to look for when choosing NonToxic Candles for your home. In summary, choose 100% beeswax for the purest candles and be sure to choose those that are scented with essential oils vs. fragrance.
- Teachers pay Teachers gift certificates - This website is built for teachers and the resources provided are created by teachers. There is a plethora of inspiration on this marketplace for any teacher and the best news is: 1) Your gift is supporting other teachers & 2) The gift certificate can be emailed or printed meaning no plastic card waste.
- Organic Calendula Salve - Washing hands all day long, combined with hand sanitizer, make for a pretty tough combination on winter skin. So spoil your teacher with a homemade calendula salve. We would love to carry these zero waste salves in our shop but they are small batch made and sell out quickly; so Deanna only sells these on her own site at the moment. However, Calendula flowers are very healing for the skin, and the simple other ingredients are all organic. Did we mention she grows the calendula flowers on her ¼ farm? We also wrote a blog about some other things that make this homestead gardener awesome, Inspiring gardeners who will make you want to grow your own food. By purchasing from her you are supporting a small business, homestead gardener, and blogger! You can feel good about knowing where your ingredients come from too.
- Beeswax Wraps - Have you heard of Beeswax wraps, or seen them in person? These are a super cool gift that are reusable and made to replace ziploc bags in many instances. These wraps are organic cotton coated in pine resin, beeswax, and jojoba oil. These reusable wraps fold flat, but when opened up and wrapped around your food item the heat from your fingers makes these wraps stick to themselves. They can be washed in cool soapy water and set out to dry, then folded up and put away. Not every teacher has these we assure you, so these could be fun!
- An essential oil bracelet - This one was a special request from teachers we spoke to this year. A drop or two of essential oil onto your bracelet can bring calm (lavender) or energy (sweet orange or peppermint) in an afternoon slump. It can also just provide an option for a scent to follow you around all day.
- Body or lip scrub, or even a zero waste bath kit - Nothing feels more like pampering than a long bath, soaking, exfoliating, and sweet smelling soaps & shampoo bars (that’s not just me right?!!!) The thought alone is relaxing to me. So spoil your teacher with some zero waste (and chemical free!!!) body scrubs!
- Donate to an organization in your teacher’s name. If you know your child’s teacher has a love for saving the whales, or caring for animals in shelters, planting trees, or growing fresh produce in the classrooms for the community (Thank you Green Bronx Machine and our hero, Stephen Ritz….) Whatever the cause, send in a donation in your teacher’s name to remind them of what a difference they are making by sharing their knowledge and love of learning each day.
- Make Your Own Gift - Since self care is the theme for teachers (in 2020 especially) there are quite a few gift ideas that won’t add to the plastic problem in the world. Have you considered making a homemade Rice Heating Pad, homemade Elderberry syrup, lavender eye pillow, or even some homemade Bath bombs? There are quite a few homemade gifts that could be a very welcome gift for your child's teacher while caring for the teacher and the planet are one in the same.
***Gifts to Avoid for Teachers in 2020
- Say NO to plastic gift cards. Did you know that consumers waste up to $3 billion on unspent gift cards each year? That means that your hard earned money may go unused and your teacher doesn’t actually receive a gift at all. Now when you combine that with the fact that those plastic gift cards are just pure waste, it makes you want to choose a different gift entirely. Alternatives to Plastic Gift Cards: Did you know many small businesses will allow you to email a gift certificate? This would save so much plastic in our landfills and on our planet. So see if there is a plastic free option when letting teachers choose their own gifts.
Alternatives to Gifts from Big Box Cosmetics Stores: Shop from websites that offer safer alternatives! Here are a few of our favorite:
- Natty Naturals - Although there are some plastics in some of the packaging, these natural ingredients are sure to help your teacher feel pampered; body oils, bath salts, herbal steams, and body scrubs.
We hope you and your family are making the most of this holiday season and enjoying time with one another. If you happen to be one of the many teachers who are working tirelessly and continuing to share your passion for education with our children, thank you. The world is a better place because of your strength and compassion.
Hopefully this list of eco-friendly gifts for your child's teacher has given you some great ideas to help you spoil the teachers in your life!