It’s no secret that most traditional-style weddings are not that eco-friendly. From all the paper products and single-use items to the plastic wedding favors that guests likely throw away or leave behind, weddings can wreak havoc on the environment without even trying.

And although it’s unlikely couples are intentionally creating waste and large footprints (of the eco sort), it’s important to consider the environmental impact each part of the wedding will have when planning for the big day.

For a general idea and practical tips, you can read my blog post on how to have an eco-friendly wedding. But for this post, I’m getting more specific with the kinds of eco-friendly wedding favors you can give that both your guests and the planet will love and appreciate.

Related: How to Have an Eco-friendly Wedding and Eco-friendly Wedding Send-off Ideas

Photo of a hand holding a reusable grocery bag

1. Reusable Bags

Reusable bags help cut down on plastic usage and can be found nearly everywhere, from your local grocery store to online retailers. And there are different kinds of bags you can choose from: canvas tote bags, shopping bags, cooler bags, waxed canvas bags (that look like old-school paper bags), foldable storage bags, and the list goes on. They come in all shapes, sizes, and styles, so you’re sure to find some that your guests will enjoy using.

Photo of an opened bag of coffee beans

2. Local Treats

Gifting your wedding guests with local goodies like coffee beans, sweets, or savories helps support local businesses, gives your guests a taste of the region, and lowers your carbon footprint since the products don’t have to be shipped long distances.

3. Reusable Straws

Did you know that Americans alone go through about 500 million plastic straws a day, most of which end up in our precious oceans? In an effort to cut down on single-use products, many places are banning the use of plastic straws as a starting point. Help your wedding guests get ahead of the curve by giving them reusable straws made from stainless steel, silicone, or bamboo. They’re travel-friendly, easy to clean, and in the bamboo straw’s case, can be tossed back to earth guilt-free.

4. Bamboo Coasters

Bamboo is an amazing natural product because it’s sturdy and grows in abundance. Plus, when you purchase products made from bamboo, you don’t have to worry about them taking up space in a landfill for years to come. A set of bamboo coasters - personalized, customized, or simply styled - would make for a great eco-friendly wedding favor.

5. Reusable Dish Scrubbers

Think about all the dish sponges you use and toss within a month. Now think about how easy it would be to purchase a few twine, crochet, or recycled material dish scrubbers that you could clean and use over and over again. Extend that eco-friendly favor to your wedding guests by giving them reusable sponges. You can find them in all shapes and styles on Etsy, so you may even be able to match them to your wedding theme and colors.

6. Pinecone Fire Starters

For a more seasonal, eco-friendly wedding favor, consider setting out a few baskets filled with pinecone fire starters. You can find them in scents like lavender, cinnamon, vanilla, and pumpkin pie. 

Photo of a hand holding a metal reusable water bottle

7. Travel Mugs/Reusable Water Bottles

Everyone can use a water bottle or travel mug. Find them in your wedding colors or go the extra mile and personalize the bottles/mugs if you have a small guest list. People love personalized items and reusable bottles are a practical gift that you know will get used.

8. Beeswax Food Wraps

It might not sound like a glamorous wedding favor, but they’re definitely eco-friendly and beat the alternative plastic food wrappers most consumers use. They’re zero waste, reusable, antibacterial, compostable, and 100% plastic free! Plus, you can find them in packs of different colors and styles, giving them an aesthetic edge over their plastic competition.

Photo of a wooden bamboo reusable toothbrush

9. Bamboo Toothbrush

Most people don’t consider how much of an impact their toothbrush has on the environment, but all that plastic adds up and creates waste that’s toxic to our planet and wildlife. Bamboo to the rescue...again! Just like other bamboo products, the toothbrush handle can be easily composted, unlike the plastic handles on regular toothbrushes, and does the tooth-cleaning job just as well.

10. Dryer Balls

Forget those single-use dryer sheets that are made of synthetic materials. Instead, introduce your wedding guests to natural dryer balls made from wool. They’re environmentally friendly and do a much better job of reducing drying time (they absorb larger amounts of moisture), reducing wrinkles, and softening fabrics. Plus, they’re hypoallergenic and can be reused hundreds of times.

Dryer balls and toothbrushes are probably the last things your wedding guests will expect to receive as thank you gifts, but I’m betting they’ll appreciate them more for their eco-friendliness and practicality. Because who really wants another keychain or koozie with a wedding date plastered on the front?

Looking for ways to make your wedding a bit more eco-friendly? Let's chat!

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