Gift Guide

Local, Eco-Friendly Holiday Gift Ideas from Portland Shops

Be kinder to the planet with upcycled backpacks, beeswax wraps, reusable coffee filters, and more.

By Isabel Lemus Kristensen November 25, 2022

Image: Way of Being

It’s that time of the year again: Black Friday, Cyber Monday ... the start of the holiday shopping season when people flock to outlet malls and the internet to buy gifts at discounted prices. The holidays are consumer-driven and excessive to say the least. And between all of the shipping, layers of Styrofoam, cardboard, plastic, disposable wrapping paper, and ribbons, well, there’s a lot of CO2 and landfill waste that is produced. The Environmental Protection Agency estimates that American household waste increases by 25 percent between Thanksgiving and New Year’s. 

Looking to reduce your environmental footprint when gift-giving? Focusing on local businesses is a good first step, and we have plenty of ideas for kitchen, home, suitcase, and stocking. Or take it even further with a gift that’s upcycled, reusable, or compostable. We’ve got you covered with ideas for eco-friendly products from shops around Portland.  


Ombre Flannel Shirt, Unless Collective  

The flannel, lumberjack look is a stereotype we Portlanders hear all too often, but this plaid number from the local streetwear brand Unless Collective is just too cozy to ignore. Plus, it’s 100 percent plant-based—Portuguese cotton flannel, cotton thread, and corozo nut buttons—making it entirely biodegradable and compostable when you’re done with it. $119, 1022 W Burnside St

Image: Looptworks

Kasum Upcycled Backpack, Looptworks  

Before textile waste ends up in the landfill or the incinerator, Looptworks sets out to recover and turn it into products like this upcycled laptop backpack, made out of excess polyester materials. The bag comes with a separate compartment that accommodates a 15-inch laptop or tablet, and has lots of pockets. Bonus: it’s water-resistant, so you and your laptop are always prepared for Oregon’s rainy days. $70, 2410 SE 11th Ave 

Botanical Bath Salts, Tender Loving Empire  

Downtown, Northwest District, Sunnyside, PDX Airport 
Made by Rise Up Remedies, a women-owned, certified organic herb farm in Gresham, these bath salts include ingredients such as clary sage, mugwort, feverfew, wormwood, and calendula for soothing soaks in your tub. The farm tends to over 40 herb varieties without the use of harmful chemical pesticides, fungicides, fertilizers, or additives, focusing on building soil, conserving water, and encouraging biodiversity. $22.50, various locations  

Organic Beeswax Wraps, Replenish Refill Shop  

Your plastic wrap may keep your food fresh, but it’s probably made out of PVDC, PVC, and polyethylene, which don't degrade. Instead, plastic wrap sits in the landfill, releasing toxic chemicals into the environment. And if that’s not alarming enough, National Geographic reported that Americans buy enough plastic film each year to shrink-wrap Texas. Olsen & Olsen food wraps are plastic-free and compostable, made of organic beeswax, jojoba oil, and pine rosin. Beeswax wraps can be molded around your leftover food or containers, and typically last a year or more. Just be careful not to stick the wrap in the dishwasher or microwave. $20, 7834 SE 13th Ave #G 

Camila’s Organic Coffee, Nossa Familia  

Since opening in 2004, Portland-based coffee roaster Nossa Familia has strived to create meaningful relationships with farmers and minimize its environmental impact through actions like green coffee sourcing and reducing its roasting energy and emissions output by over 85 percent with eco-friendly Loring Smart Roast machines. Keeping with that mission, this medium-dark organic roast comes from the Asociación Unión de Pequeños Caficultores in Huehuetenango, Guatemala—the cooperative, which was formed in 1998, uses organic farming methods. $16.50, various locations 

Reusable Coffee Filters, Way of Being 

Lloyd District 
The average American will drink about two to three cups of coffee a day. For Portland, one of the most caffeinated cities in the US, it's not so hard to believe. But if you use disposable filters for your morning pot of coffee, consider the environmental costs of how they are produced or discarded. CoffeeSock, an Austin, Texas–based company, estimates that 1.5 million trees are used annually to make paper filters. These CoffeeSock filters are made out of cotton and last at least a year—replacing about 500 single-use, paper filters. And when oils from the coffee beans build up in the filter, all you have to do is boil it in water for 10 minutes and let it air dry. While you’re shopping, find different sizes of colorful, reusable wrapping paper also from Way of Being. $14, 1027 Lloyd Center 

Simple Salve, Ecovibe  

This tin of unscented hand salve might just be the answer to your winter skin woes. Portland Bee Balm’s “Simple Salve” is made with beeswax from Pacific Northwest hives and organic California extra- virgin olive oil. Available for pickup at Ecovibe’s location in Southeast Portland. $12, 2380 SE Hawthorne Blvd 

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