12 Thoughtful and Sustainable Graduation Gifts to Inspire the Next Chapter — Sustainable Review (2024)

Graduation marks a significant milestone in everyone’s lives. It represents the culmination of years of hard work, the end of one chapter, and the dawn of a new era.

As we celebrate this achievement, choosing gifts that help commemorate the occasion and align with sustainable and ethical values is essential. Whether your loved one is entering the professional world or embarking on further studies, thoughtful and sustainable gifts can inspire and support them in their next chapter.

Hop in as we explore twelve sustainable graduation gift ideas that are meaningful and environmentally conscious. For additional tips to sustainably celebrate graduations, continue reading further into this guide.

Key Takeaways

  • Many graduates today value sustainability, incorporating different eco-friendly practices in their lives.
  • Graduation is a significant milestone, and gifts should reflect the celebration and the graduate’s values.
  • Sustainable gifts include those made from recycled materials, those that encourage eco-friendly practices, and items from ethically responsible brands.
  • Choosing a sustainable gift expresses care for the graduate’s achievements and the health of planet Earth while also reflecting your values as a gift-giver.
  • Giving an eco-conscious loved one with a special sustainable gift will ensure they’ll appreciate the thought and cherish the item for years.

Why Choose Sustainable Graduation Gifts?

Choosing sustainable graduation gifts reflects the values held by younger generations, who are increasingly eco-conscious and environmentally aware.

Generation Z, also known as Gen Z, and Generation Alpha are at the forefront of this shift towards sustainability. These generations, born into a world facing pressing environmental challenges, are driving demand for eco-friendly products and ethical practices.

According to research by McCrindle, Generation Alpha, born from 2010 onwards, is set to be the wealthiest, most educated, and most technologically connected generation yet. Yet, alongside these advancements, there’s a growing awareness and concern about the state of the environment.

They are being raised with heightened environmental awareness and are actively seeking solutions to create a more sustainable future. The study also indicates that this generation significantly influences their parents’ purchasing decisions and drives demand for products and brands that prioritize sustainability.

12 Thoughtful and Sustainable Graduation Gifts to Inspire the Next Chapter — Sustainable Review (1)
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source: https://mccrindle.com.au/article/topic/generation-alpha/the-future-of-sustainability-for-gen-alpha/

Similarly, Forbes identifies Generation Z, born between the mid-1990s and early 2010s, as the “Sustainability Generation.” This demographic is characterized by their strong environmental consciousness and social activism, showcasing a concerted effort to reduce carbon footprints and minimize waste. Likewise, their purchasing behavior reveals a willingness to pay more for products that align with their values, driving businesses to adopt sustainable practices.

These tendencies of the younger generations shed light on why choosing sustainable grad gifts is a thoughtful and deeply meaningful gesture that echoes the environmental values of graduates. Whether it’s a gift made from recycled materials, products designed to reduce single-use plastic consumption, or items from ethically responsible brands, these sustainable choices inspire continued commitment to a lifestyle that emphasizes sustainability and ethical consumption.

10 Sustainable Gifts for Graduates

Embracing sustainability in gift-giving empowers recentgraduates in your life to become agents of positive change and contribute to a more sustainable future. If you’re still looking for sustainable gift ideas, look no further than our top 10 recommendations below. Each product in this gift guide has been carefully selected to delight the recipient and make a meaningful impact on the planet.

1. Ethically Sourced Jewelry from Bario Neal

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Bario Neal is renowned for its commitment to ethical sourcing and sustainable practices in the jewelry industry. For an eco-friendly giftthat sparkles with ethical brilliance, consider a handcrafted piece from Bario Neal. Whether a sterling silver bracelet or a bespoke necklace, each piece is crafted with recycled metals and ethically sourced gemstones, ensuring your thoughtful gift champions style and sustainability.

2. Eco-Friendly Smart Notebooks by Rocketbook

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The Rocketbook is an innovative, reusable smart notebook perfect for the eco-conscious graduate. With pages that can be easily wiped clean after use, this notebook combines digital convenience with traditional note-taking. It reduces paper waste and is a great alternative to bulkier devices like a laptop, offering a practical solution for graduates moving into the professional world or pursuing further studies.

3. Sustainable Fashion from Patagonia

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Patagonia is one of those fashion brands that has long championed sustainable and ethical fashion. Whether it’s an organic cotton t-shirt, a long sleeve, or a jacket made from recycled plastic bottles, a piece from its collection makes for a stylish, practical, and eco-friendly graduation gift. Patagonia’s commitment to environmentally responsible manufacturing practices means that each purchase supports conservation efforts and the fight against climate change.

4. Upcycled Bags and Accessories by Rareform

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Rareform is a brand that repurposes billboard vinyl into one-of-a-kind, eco friendly bags, wallets, and accessories. The brand’s unique process diverts materials from landfills, reducing waste and creating durable, eye-catching products. An upcycled messenger bag or backpack from Rareform makes a great gift for your graduate who’sready to embark on their next adventure.

5. Handcrafted, Sustainable Footwear by Allbirds

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Allbirds creates comfortable, stylish footwear with sustainability at its heart. Made with natural materials like merino wool and eucalyptus fiber, Allbirds shoes are breathable, lightweight, and designed to minimize environmental impact. They’re perfect for recent grads embarking on a new phase of life, symbolizing their readiness to step forward, literally and figuratively, with purpose and determination.

6. Organic Cotton Bedding by Coyuchi

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For graduates setting up a new home, organic cotton bedding from Coyuchi promises comfort and sustainability. Made with 100% certified organic cotton and produced following fair labor practices, Coyuchi’s bedding sets are soft, durable, and eco-friendly—ensuring restful sleep with a clear conscience.

7. Reusable Water Bottles by Hydro Flask

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Hydro Flask water bottles are a staple for anyone looking to reduce their single-use plastic consumption. Crafted from durable stainless steel, these sustainable water bottles offer superior insulation to keep drinks hot or cold for hours. They are also designed to last a lifetime, reducing the need for disposable plastic bottles. With various sizes and colors available, you can find the Hydro Flask water bottle to suit your graduate’s style, helping them stay hydrated on the go or during long study or interview sessions.

8. Solar-Powered Watches by Solios

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Solios watches combine elegance with eco-friendliness, featuring solar-powered movement and sustainable materials like certified recycled stainless steel. With a sleek design and a commitment to reducing environmental impact, a Solios watch is a timeless gift that symbolizes a brighter future, making it the perfect gift for graduates as they embark on their journey into the next phase of life. Just as the watch’s design stands the test of time, so too does its message of sustainability and responsible living.

9. Ethical Skincare Products by Lush

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Lush is famous for its handmade, cruelty-free, non-toxic skincare products. Packed with natural ingredients and free from harmful chemicals, Lush’s products are perfect for pampering your graduate while supporting ethical and sustainable business practices.

10. Biodegradable Phone Cases by Pela

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In an age where everyone is inseparable from their smartphones, a biodegradable phone case from Pela offers protection with a purpose. Made from plant-based materials, Pela’s cases are compostable, reducing waste and the carbon footprint associated with traditional plastic cases.

To date, Pela has prevented the equivalent of 48,433,866 plastic bags from polluting our oceans, thanks to its products and the unwavering support of its customers.

11. FSC Certified Wooden Journal from Woodchuck USA

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Help your graduate mark the beginning of their next chapter with a beautifully crafted wooden journal from Woodchuck USA. Made from FSC certified wood and recycled paper, the brand’s journals are sustainable and support reforestation efforts worldwide. Each journal can be personalized with engraving, making it a thoughtful and unique gift for any graduate keen to take notes and record experiences.

12. Ethical Gift Card from DoneGood

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If you’re unsure what gift to choose, consider giving an ethical gift card from DoneGood. DoneGood partners with ethical and sustainable brands to offer a wide range of products, from clothing and accessories to home goods and personal care items. With a DoneGood gift card, your graduate can choose the perfect sustainable gift that aligns with their values and preferences.

Beyond Sustainable and Ethical Graduation Gifts

While sustainable gifts are a wonderful way to celebrate a graduation, they’re not the only avenue for promoting eco-conscious practices during this milestone event. Graduation celebrations offer numerous opportunities to incorporate sustainability into various aspects of the festivities, from decorations to food and beyond.

  • Eco-Friendly Decorations: Opt for decorations made from recycled materials or items that can be reused or repurposed after the event. Consider using potted plants as centerpieces instead of cut flowers, or opt for biodegradable balloons made from natural latex.
  • Zero-Waste Parties: Host a zero-waste graduationparty using reusable tableware and utensils instead of disposable ones. Encourage guests to bring their own cups or bottles to reduce single-use plastic waste and set up recycling and composting stations to minimize landfill waste.
  • Plant-Based Catering: Choose a catering menu that emphasizes plant-based options to reduce the event’s environmental footprint. Incorporating locally sourced and organic ingredients can further minimize the carbon footprint associated with food production and transportation.
  • Digital Invitations: Opt for digital invitations instead of paper to save resources and reduce waste. There are numerous online platforms that offer customizable invitation templates, allowing you to send stylish and eco-friendly invitations with just a few clicks.
  • Carbon Offsetting: Consider offsetting the carbon footprint of the graduation ceremony or party by supporting carbon offset initiatives. This can involve investing in renewable energy projects or reforestation efforts to balance out the emissions generated by travel and venue operations.
  • Community Service Projects: Instead of traditional gifts or party favors, consider organizing a community service project for the graduation celebration. This could involve volunteering at a local environmental organization, participating in a beach cleanup, or planting trees in a nearby park.


As we celebrate the achievements of our graduates, let’s do so with sustainable and ethical graduation gifts that reflect our commitment to helping the planet. Whether it’s a reusable water bottle, a solar-powered watch, or a biodegradable phone case, every sustainable graduation day gift is a great way to commemorate the occasion and inspire the next generation to live in harmony with nature. Likewise, gifting your loved one with an eco-friendly gift lets you contribute to reducing waste, supporting ethical labor practices, and encouraging a lifestyle that prioritizes the health of our planet.

Frequently Asked Questions

How can I celebrate agraduate in my life in a sustainable way?

You can celebrate their achievements with sustainable graduation practices. Opt for sustainable gifts such as eco-friendly options like organic cotton products or reusable items.

Why are sustainable graduation gifts important?

Sustainable graduation gifts support waste reduction and promote environmentally friendly practices, aligning with the values of their recipients and supporting a more sustainable future.

How can I ensure that a gift is truly sustainable?

Look for products made from recycled materials, organic fabrics, or renewable resources. Additionally, research the brand’s sustainability initiatives and ethical practices to ensure that your gift aligns with your values.

Can I find sustainable gifts for different budgets?

Yes, there are sustainable gift options available for every budget. From handmade artisanal products to eco-friendly gadgets, you can find a sustainable gift that fits your budget and celebrates your graduate’s achievements.

Where can I purchase sustainable graduation gifts?

Many online retailers specialize in sustainable and ethical products, ranging from fashion and accessories to home goods and personal care items. Additionally, local artisan markets and eco-friendly boutiques may offer unique and sustainable gift options for graduates.

When is the best time to buy a graduation gift for thegraduation season?

The best time to buy a graduation gift for thegraduation season is before graduation day to ensure you have a thoughtful gift ready for the graduate on their milestone occasion.

12 Thoughtful and Sustainable Graduation Gifts to Inspire the Next Chapter — Sustainable Review (2024)


Is $500 too much for a graduation gift? ›

Ideally, an appropriate monetary gift for graduates should range between $100 and $500,” he says. One reason money is so desirable is that the graduate may be facing daunting student loan debt. A bulk of cash can help ease the looming repayment pain.

What is sustainable gift giving? ›

Give gifts that encourage low-impact lifestyle habits! There are various items on the market, from big to small, that can help everyone live more sustainably. Consider options like reusable water bottles or cutlery, reusable shopping bags, composting kits, beeswax food wraps, or *splurge item* an electric bike.

How do you choose a sustainable gift? ›

Nature Based
  1. Grow something to gift, such as herbs or microgreens!
  2. Propagate cuttings from your plants.
  3. Gift a planter kit by bundling seeds, soil and a planter.
  4. Make an upcycled planter by painting a container (such as a tin can or glass jar), or repurposing a mug or tea cup.

Is $20 dollars a good graduation gift? ›

High School Graduation

A good range to consider is: $20 - $50: For acquaintances or distant relatives.

Is $100 enough for a high school graduation gift? ›

For high school grads, the average gift is around $50 to $200. To decide an amount, consider if this is a close friend or family member.

What is a sustaining gift? ›

Sustaining gifts are ongoing donations to a fund. They differ from pledges because they are considered “forever gifts” that never expire. Sustaining givers commit to donating a specific amount to a fund on a recurring basis, for example, monthly, quarterly, or biannually—with no end date.

What are sustainable offerings? ›

Sustainable products are products who are either sustainability sourced, manufactured or processed that provide environmental, social and economic benefits while protecting public health and environment over their whole life cycle, from the extraction of raw materials until the final disposal.

What are the 5 gifts of giving? ›

What is the five gift rule? In the five gift rule, the first four gifts are pretty straightforward - something they want, something they need, something to wear and something to read. Then, the last gift is where you can really have fun. The fifth gift is something they didn't know they wanted.

What is sustainable giving? ›

Giving to a cause you care about can be rewarding and impactful, but how can you make sure your donations are effective and consistent? Sustainable giving means supporting organizations and projects that align with your values and goals, while also managing your budget and time.

What are the most sustainable things? ›

48 Eco Friendly Products You Can Buy Today to Help Stop Plastic Pollution
  • Pod Star reusable Coffee Pods. ...
  • Vegan Leather Tote. ...
  • Toilet Paper. ...
  • Sustainable watches. ...
  • Wombat Steel Kitchen Compost Bin. ...
  • The Carry-on closet. ...
  • The Happy Sparrow Silk Dental Floss. ...
  • Modibodi period underwear.
Jan 20, 2024

How do you give sustainably? ›

You can also give food, better yet food that's sustainably sourced, like wine, plants, chocolate, and so on—things that people can actually use or eat. If you do give new, give thoughtfully: make sure it is sustainably sourced, well made, repairable, and of course, something your loved one actually needs or wants!

What is the appropriate amount for a graduation gift? ›

Close relatives like grandchildren, nieces, nephews, and siblings: If you're a close family member of the graduate, expect to give around $50 to $200. Close friend: If a good friend is graduating, a $50 to $100 gift is a good choice. Acquaintance or co-worker: Spend less for someone you don't know quite as well.

Is it OK to give cash as graduation gift? ›

Help fund graduate school.

With that type of financial commitment staring them in the face, cash for graduation will be a welcome gift. Come to think of it, cash is probably a good idea for birthday and holiday gifts while they're completing their graduate studies.

What is the etiquette for high school graduation gifts? ›

While some parents splurge on a car or computer, many choose less elaborate, but still meaningful, gifts to commemorate the day. Jewelry (often engraved with the date), books, cash or stock certificates, luggage, a camera, or graduation rings are all presents the graduate will appreciate in the years ahead.

What is an appropriate high school graduation gift from parents? ›

“Consider gifting tickets to a concert featuring their favorite artist, a cooking class, or a mystery holiday to have fun, unwind and recharge,” she suggests. Bucketlist makes epic experiential gifting easy: It lets your grad choose between 8,000 exciting events and activities in over 100 countries.


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