Image: Made Trade
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When it comes to gifts for the little loved ones in your life, shopping sustainably seems like a no-brainer. After all, buying something sustainable is like a tiny deposit in a brighter future for the planet they will inherit.
Plus, making sure that kids’ clothing and toys are made with non-toxic materials is incredibly important because small, developing bodies tend to be more sensitive to the potential negative effects of various chemicals used to make kids’ products. Even though the laws surrounding the toxicity of children’s toys are much more strict than they were several decades ago, the problem hasn’t gone away. So, we’ve rounded up the brands that you can trust to make and/or curate safe, planet-friendly gifts for the youngsters in your life.
What to look for in Ethical and Eco-Friendly Gifts for Little Ones:
Non-Toxic: The toxicity of the products is probably the most important factor when it comes to buying gifts for babies and kids. Little humans are more sensitive to smaller amounts of potentially harmful chemicals that are found in plastics, dyes, and manufacturing chemicals.
Earth-Friendly Materials and Processes: Most of the brands below use materials like organic cotton, sustainably-sourced wood, and natural silicone. Also look for brands that implement things like energy-efficient manufacturing processes, low waste packaging, and carbon offset shipping.
Ethical Manufacturing: Needless to say, you don’t want a child making your children’s toys. You also don’t want a mother being kept away from her children, forced to work in dangerous conditions for an absurd number of hours for very little pay so that she can make your kids’ toys. The brands below prioritize transparency and fair, safe conditions for their workers.
Durability and Resell/Regift Value: Most kids put their toys through the wringer, so look for gifts that can take a beating. Even better: give your little ones pieces that can be resold or passed down after they’ve grown out of them in order to give them a second life and keep them out of the landfill.
Here are the Best Places to Get Eco-Friendly and Ethically Made Gifts for Babies & Kids:
A certified B Corp, EarthHero carefully curates from brands that are using more natural, biodegradable, and/or recycled materials and eco-conscious processes. It seeks to reduce waste whenever possible and offsets its footprint through 1% For the Planet and Carbon Fund. All of the toys for babies, toddlers, and growing kids are made ethically out of non-toxic materials. Committed to transparency, EarthHero provides its customers with in-depth details about each toy on its product pages.
Made Trade is a curated online shop with a wide selection of products that are eco-conscious, fair trade, vegan, and/or made in the USA. On each product page, you can find out a lot about the brand’s values and ethical practices, materials used, etc., so you can be an informed consumer (without spending a bunch of time researching). Read more about why we love Made Trade here!
On a mission to make shopping ethically easier, DoneGood is a marketplace that curates brands that are doing good. Every brand is vetted for things like ethics and sustainability, along with affordability and quality.
Lovevery offers stage-based play essentials that are designed by experts and built for babies and toddlers up to age three. You can gift a subscription, starting at $36/month, and Lovevery will send your little loved one “wonder-inducing” toys appropriate for each stage of their growth. These Montessori-inspired play kits are made with non-toxic materials like sustainably-sourced wood and organic cotton, and shipping is carbon-neutral.
These super cute gift boxes from Cariboo Gifts on Etsy come with a selection of natural, BPA-free teething toys made from beechwood, 100% cotton muslin wraps, and soft leather booties.
These wooden toys are made by hand in Seattle, Washington out of locally sourced wood and sealed with the maker’s own organic jojoba oil/beeswax blend. This family business was born out of the desire to offer natural, safe, and challenging toys, and sustainability is central to their work: they “build toys to sustain their family, to sustain play, to sustain learning, to sustain the local community, and to sustain the environment.”
Started as a brick and mortar gift shop for down-to-earth gifts, Green Roost has expanded into a large online store filled with handpicked gifts that are truly unique, on-trend, and most importantly, eco-conscious and socially responsible.
The team at Green Toys transforms recycled milk jugs into imaginative playthings—everything is 100% recycled. Plus, it’s all made in the USA out of completely non-toxic materials.
Most consumer goods are of low quality and meant to break, which leads to a lot of wasted resources and more trash in our landfills. BuyMeOnce is a marketplace where you can find the highest quality goods in just about every category. To decide which products are sold on BuyMeOnce, they look at the materials and craftsmanship used to make the product, customer reviews that confirm the item’s durability, whether or not the product was made as ethically and sustainably as possible, the maintenance support offered, and timeless design. Some of these children’s toys even come with lifetime warranties!