Ask Eartha: A holiday gift guide for the environmentally conscious

Shauna Farnell
Ask Eartha
Headquartered in Steamboat Springs, Grass Sticks produces custom-made ski poles out of bamboo.
Grass Sticks/Courtesy photo

Dear Eartha, The looming wastefulness that often comes with the holidays puts a damper on my festive spirit. How can I mitigate the waste yet still make the holidays extra special for green-minded loved ones?

Beyond profuse consumption and the myriad of plastic-based gifts that will inevitably spend the next thousand years in a landfill somewhere, there are many holiday gifts that put sustainability at the forefront. Here are some ideas.

Picture Organics

Sold in a few local stores, Picture Organics is a leader in revolutionizing sustainable clothing and outerwear. Every piece of the brand’s Expedition Collection is made with bio-sourced shell fabric from sugarcane waste. Its snow jackets and pants are made of a recycled, PFC-free membrane comparable to GORE-TEX as far as technical, waterproof protection. The B Corp company’s key mission is to fight climate change, noting that 7% of the world’s carbon emissions come from the textile industry. Thus, it uses sustainable, recycled materials in every one of its products.


Another earth-minded B Corp brand, Cotopaxi has led the charge, producing 90% of its outerwear, backpacks and bags with material that is either recycled, repurposed or environmentally responsible. The company has announced that by next year, 100% of its products will meet one or all of these green standards. One of its most useful items has met this criteria from Day 1: The Bataan Del Dia fanny pack is feather-light and fits all the necessary items for a quick Nordic ski or morning skin, including your phone, tissues, snack and a small water bottle.

Eddie Bauer Astrolite jacket

Designed for high-aerobic winter activity and crushable to pocket size, the Astrolite is made with recycled materials. Eddie Bauer also Responsible Down Standard certifies its down jackets, which ensures humane treatment of animals that produce the down, and recently announced a new sustainability road map with huge green goals to hit in the coming years. It aims to build all relevant products with 50% Bluesign-approved — meaning safe and sustainable textile production — materials, recycled or organic cotton and recycled nylon or polyester by 2025 and 100% by 2030.

Sitka Salmon Shares

Whether you’re skipping the traditional holiday turkey or accommodating a crowd of pescatarians, you will be hard-pressed to find tastier or more sustainably harvested seafood. Sitka is a community supported collective of small boat fishermen that delivers wild-caught Alaskan seafood in biodegradable containers that include frozen food-protective foam made from corn starch that completely dissolves in water. Each box of fish is labeled with the boat and fisherman that harvested it.

Miraflora Naturals

With all of the cannabis products on the market, it’s difficult to know where sources originate. One of the few fully integrated CBD farms in Colorado, Miraflora’s operation team oversees every step of the CBD extraction process from the seed-planting phase. The Boulder farm grows organic hemp using fertilizer from 10 resident alpacas. Hemp flowers are harvested by hand and extracted into full-spectrum CBD oil, then used to formulate CBD-rich pain relief salves, sparkling water, dog chews and relaxing bath bombs — all excellent stocking stuffers.

Saola shoes

Saola is a pioneer in sustainable footwear and recently added a couple of waterproof models to its collection (Women’s Mindo and Men’s Cannon). Soft, comfortable and easy to slip on, you’d never guess these kicks were made out of recycled plastic bottles (there are three to seven PET bottles used to create each pair). Other materials include organic cotton laces, natural cork and insoles/outsoles made from toxic algae foam harvested from lakes and rivers.

Grass Sticks

Headquartered in Steamboat Springs, Grass Sticks produces custom-made ski poles out of bamboo, which is much more sustainable than carbon fiber or aluminum in addition to being lightweight and strong. Per acre harvested, bamboo produces more oxygen and three times as much material as trees and absorbs more CO2. Grass Sticks are also made with 100% recycled polyester straps and come with an unlimited two-year warranty.


Working with sustainable tea farmers and Rainforest Alliance Certified farms, Chariteas creates custom, comforting winter tea blends and plants a tree with every purchase.


Regardless of what gifts you buy, this affordable wrapping paper is pretty, durable and 100% carbon neutral, as it is made entirely of post-consumer recyclable materials and is itself 100% recyclable.

Shauna Farnell

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