Looking for sustainable gift basket ideas for a charity raffle or a fun gift? Check out these themed gift basket ideas that include a handful of specific items to include in each basket while also doing a small favor for the planet.
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Aren’t all those themed raffle baskets for charity fundraisers so cute? I love the creativity that goes into curating a basket of gifts to auction off to support a meaningful non-profit organization. I definitely appreciate the art of this task because it’s not something that comes naturally to me.
This year, however, I was tasked with preparing one of several raffle baskets for the annual fundraising dinner for our local library, an organization for which I sit on the Board of Trustees. I decided to go all in on making a sustainable gift basket for our fundraising raffle that reflected my values (so as a non-drinker, this was not another wine basket).
Preparing these themed raffle baskets really pulls at my sustainability heartstrings. I want to create a sustainable gift basket people will love without feeling like it’s a bunch of stuff for which their love will be short-lived. I also prefer to use this consumption opportunity to support local small businesses, promote sustainable brands, and encourage an eco-friendly lifestyle. These parameters offered unique guard rails within which I hoped to pull together a charitable raffle basket that would raise a meaningful amount of money for our local library.
While the basket I made was for a raffle, the same sustainable gift basket ideas work for holiday gifts, birthday gifts, and so much more. Some of these might even make great eco-friendly baby shower gift baskets or sustainable wedding shower gift baskets.
19 Sustainable Gift Basket Ideas for Raffles and Holidays
To help come up with some ideas, I reached out on Instagram to ask for your suggestions and you definitely stepped up to the plate. There were so many ideas that never occurred to me! As I said, this is really not my forte, so I was thrilled to have support from so many of you with your great green ideas.
General Tips for Sustainable Gift Basket Ideas
Some people provided very specific ideas while others offered more general tips about how to more sustainably source items for your charitable raffle baskets like:
- buy items from local small businesses
- purchase directly from vendors and artisans
- choose items people might buy for themselves anyway
- choose consumable items
- purchase items secondhand (if they are in new or like-new condition)
- purchase through small and sustainable marketplaces, and
- avoid the quick fix of Amazon (they really don’t need your business anyway)
Favorite Places to Buy Sustainable Gift Basket Items
I’ve included some of my favorite places to buy a lot of the items on the list below. But there are some online marketplaces that have lots of options for sustainable alternatives to the things we buy.
It’s no secret I’m not a huge fan of Amazon. They have more than their fair share of questionable ethical practices, and the United States government is suing them for anti-trust violations for a reason. Amazon doesn’t need our money and really doesn’t care about us as customers.
How about supporting smaller shops instead? Many small shop owners appreciate each and every order we send their way to support their families and livelihoods. Check out online marketplaces like:
- Etsy – they have so many small vendors and shops but a large enough marketplace to find many things in one spot
- Tiny Yellow Bungalow – one of the OG online zero waste shops, you’ll get a note directly from the owner when she sends you your order
- Simple Switch | This online marketplace curates things you need for everyday life from vendors with a mission to have a better impact on the world.
- Mightynest | With a focus on items for your home, this company offers all sorts of better-for-you and better-for-the-planet alternatives to basic supplies like kitchen items, cleaning supplies, and more.
- Uncommon Goods | This online market has so many neat and novel items, mostly with a focus on gifts. You will surely find some great options that will make your sustainable raffle basket like none other.
Without further ado, let’s dive into several more specific sustainable raffle basket ideas sorted by theme, each including a handful of items you might consider including in each of the respective baskets.
Screenfree Storytime Basket for Kids
This is the basket (minus the LEGO bricks) I ended up doing for the library. It’s a mix of new items that I think can be reused again and again. I purchased most of the supplies from Target (except the Yoto Mini and Yoto cards which I got online). I got the magnetic tiles from the discount section at a store because they were an older model.
I built the basket around the Yoto Mini Player, a screen-free audiobook and music player for kids. I’ve only heard rave reviews about it, and I figured it would be a big hit for the library’s patron group, many of whom are parents of young children.
Most years, the raffle baskets cater to adults, so I thought it would be fun to do something parents could buy for their kids. Heck, this could even be a good holiday gift if the kids haven’t seen it yet!
- Yoto Mini Player
- Yoto Cards
- DIY Melted Crayons
- Coloring Books
- Art Supplies (clay, paper, scissors, etc…)
- Magnetic tiles
- Building block sets (like LEGO or Knex) – these are a great option to purchase secondhand and wrap up nicely in a cloth bag or fun box
Composting Kitchen Basket
Composting. You knew I was going there, right? This is like a little composting starter kit. It includes the supplies to get started in your kitchen as well as some everyday compostable kitchen items, something the basket winner can use once they start composting!
Shameless plug: you can even encourage them to come back here to our Composting Resource Hub for all sorts of information on how to get started composting at home!
- Compost collection countertop bucket – I recommend one that has charcoal filters built in (I like this one and also this one).
- Compost bin liner bags
- Gift certificate to a local curbside composting service (if you have one in your area)
- Compostable dish scrubbers or sponges
- Compostable parchment paper
- Compostable Swedish dishcloths (more about Swedish dishcloths vs. traditional paper towels)
- Dish soap in compostable packaging
Zero Waste Kitchen Basket
Zero waste living often is about using what you already have just as much as buying new reusable alternatives. But if you’re giving a gift of sustainability, why not help them with some fun and lovely reusable kitchen items?
- Reusable silicone food storage bags
- Beeswax wraps for food preservation
- Stainless steel or bamboo utensils (fork, knife, spoon, chopsticks)
- Compostable dish scrubbers or sponges
- Compostable Swedish dishcloths
- Sponge drying holder (This one is simple and minimalist and this one is a really neat handmade alternative)
- Glass or stainless steel water bottle
- Organic cotton produce bags for shopping
- Eco-friendly dishwashing soap or powder in a refillable container
Natural Spa and Self-Care Basket
I doubt anyone will complain about a little at-home spa day, and it’s even better when it’s green. All of these sustainable alternatives for self-care will not only look beautiful and
- Organic cotton bathrobe or towel
- Natural and handmade soap bars (this lavender soap bar, shower steamer, and scrubber set are really neat! You can also find lots of handmade soaps at farmers’ markets and local artisan craft markets.)
- Bath bombs and bath salts from a local artisan (or you could even make your own DIY bath salts)
- All-natural lip balm or DIY lip balm kit (or ingredients to make their own lip balm)
- Bamboo or wooden bath brush, natural loofah, or compostable sponge
- Sustainably sourced soy candles
- Reusable silicone face masks
- Zero-waste shampoo and conditioner bars (I use Ethique and Brixy has received great reviews as well)
- Biodegradable cotton swabs or reusable makeup remover pads
- This handmade Spa Tower includes a natural scrub, soak, mask, body butter, and candle so everything is already put together for you!
Gardening Enthusiast Basket
Got a group with a bunch of green thumbs? They’ll love a sustainable raffle basket with gardening tools, seeds, and other accessories to hone their garden artistry.
To keep it sustainable, consider looking for garden tools in great condition from local thrift shops or purchased secondhand on sites like Mercari or Facebook Marketplace. So long as they are in like-new condition, the raffle basket recipient will never know (and likely won’t care). You can also be sure to include seeds for plants that are native to your area.
- Heirloom and native seeds or seedlings – here are some of my favorite places to buy native and heirloom seeds and seedlings.
- Biodegradable plant pots or seed starter trays
- Gardening gloves made from recycled materials
- Handmade gardening shears
- Organic compost or natural fertilizer
- Recycled plastic or metal watering can
- Wooden or reusable plant markers
- Gardening book with eco-friendly practices – I really liked this book High-Impact, Low-Carbon Gardening: 1001 Ways to Garden Sustainably by Alice Bowe
Green Cleaning Essentials Basket
Start your raffle basket winner on their way to fewer chemicals in their cleaning routine (or majorly appeal to the natural cleaners already in the habit) with some ingredients, tools, and supplies to make their cleaning routine more eco-friendly.
- DIY cleaning recipe book with natural ingredients
- Refillable spray bottles
- Eco-friendly all-purpose cleaner concentrate (Blueland has some great options!)
- Bamboo or reusable cleaning cloths
- Natural bristle scrub brushes
- Non-toxic and biodegradable laundry detergent (I’ve tried several and Meliora laundry powder is my favorite so far)
- Compostable or recycled plastic trash bags (which one is better depends a lot on how you use them, something I’ve shared more about here)
Outdoor Adventure and Picnic Basket
Picnics in the park are romantic but rounding up all the things can feel like a slog sometimes. Prepare this set of all the gear so they can just toss in their snacks and meals and enjoy some time together outside. An outdoor picnic doesn’t need all of these accessories, but they are definitely fun to have and help reduce use of single-use plastic alternatives.
- Reusable picnic set – plates, cups, utensils (We have a set of these that we use for birthday parties as well that I got from Target. That they are sturdy and will last is more important than where you buy them from.)
- Eco-friendly picnic blanket made from recycled materials
- Stainless steel or bamboo food containers
- Beeswax food wraps for snacks and sandwiches
- Solar-powered portable charger for gadgets
- Reusable water bottles
- Biodegradable sunscreen and insect repellent
Upcycled and Handmade Crafts Basket
For the artist community and those who like to use their hands to create, consider a gift basket filled with materials and tools to make handmade crafts.
- Handwoven basket made from natural fibers
- Upcycled stationery or journals
- Handmade beeswax candles
- Eco-friendly art supplies (pencils, brushes)
- Organic cotton or hemp fabric scraps
- Upcycled glassware or vases
- Sustainable craft guidebook or magazine
Mindful Meditation and Wellness Basket
This basket offers the winner tools and supplies to relax and spend a few moments focusing inward. In today’s fast-paced world, this could be great for a community looking to slow down a bit.
- Organic and fair-trade herbal teas
- Meditation cushion made from natural materials
- Aromatherapy essential oils in glass bottles
- Sustainable yoga mat or strap
- Handmade gratitude journal
- Natural incense sticks with a bamboo holder
- Mindfulness or meditation book
Farmers Market Bounty Basket
If you don’t need to plan the basket too far in advance of your event, a basket full of goodies from your local farmers’ market is a great way to support so many local food producers and introduce your basket recipient to new artisans and farmers.
- Fresh, organic produce from local farmers
- Handmade jams and preserves from a local artisan
- Artisanal cheese or dairy products from a nearby farm
- Locally roasted coffee or tea
- Handcrafted bread or baked goods from a local bakery
- Natural honey from a local beekeeper
- Handwoven market tote made by a local artist
Handmade and Local Crafts Basket
If you have local farmers’ markets or even a seasonal holiday market in your area, that’s a perfect place to find items for a basket like this. The items in this basket basically sum up the goods found at my local holiday markets which are chock full of the neatest handmade mugs, candles, jewelry, and wood crafts.
- Handcrafted pottery or ceramics
- Local artisanal candles made from natural materials
- Unique hand-knit or crocheted items (scarves, mittens, etc.)
- Handmade soaps and skin care products from local artisans
- Wooden crafts made by a local carpenter – a cool mini cutting board or set of coasters could be really neat.
- Hand-painted artworks or prints from a local artist
- Handmade jewelry from a local artisan
Local Outdoor Adventure Basket
If your likely recipients appreciate spending time outside, consider putting together a basket to help them enjoy the best of what your community has to offer in terms of green spaces and outdoor adventure.
- Guided tour or experience voucher with a local adventure company
- Handmade outdoor gear (e.g., paracord bracelets, leather goods)
- Locally sourced snacks and energy bars for hiking or camping
- Eco-friendly sunscreen and bug repellent from a nearby brand
- Reusable stainless steel or silicone water bottle from a local store
- Sustainable outdoor gear cleaning products from a local supplier
- Tickets or passes to local nature reserves or parks
Neighborhood Dining Experience Basket
Many local restaurants and shops will provide small gift cards to include in a basket to get their name out in the community and support local organizations. This could be a great way to help them garner interest and create a basket that doesn’t necessarily cost too much to prepare.
- Gift certificates to locally-owned restaurants or cafes
- Locally roasted coffee beans or ground coffee
- Handcrafted wine or craft beer from nearby vineyards or breweries
- Artisanal chocolates or desserts from a local patisserie (no one will be upset about chocolate, right?)
- Gourmet condiments or sauces from a local producer
- Handmade serving platter or cutting board from a local artisan
- Cooking class voucher with a local chef or culinary school
Green Gardener Kids Basket
If you have kids involved in your organization for which you’re raising money or parents and caregivers who might be interested in winning a raffle basket for the youngsters in their lives, consider a basket designed just for kids spending time in the garden.
- Organic, non-GMO seed packets for kid-friendly plants (e.g., sunflowers, cherry tomatoes)
- Biodegradable plant pots or seed starter kits
- Child-sized gardening tools made from sustainable materials
- Eco-friendly gardening gloves
- Children’s book about gardening and nature
- Reusable water bottle featuring kid-friendly designs
- Recycled paper and non-toxic crayons for drawing garden scenes
Eco-Explorer Adventure Basket
If your gift recipient or raffle basket community enjoys the great outdoors, consider an eco-explorer adventure basket. Give them a bunch of tools and resources to spend time outdoors, explore nature, and find the hidden treasures Mother Nature has to offer. The items below are geared towards kids, but you could modify them to be more adult-focused if that appeals to the people entering to win the raffle basket.
- Nature exploration kit with a magnifying glass, bug-catching tools, and field notebook
- Eco-friendly binoculars made from recycled materials
- Sustainable and toxin-free sunscreen for outdoor adventures
- Kid-sized reusable water bottle with nature-themed graphics
- Children’s books about wildlife and conservation
- Plantable wildflower seed paper for kids to grow their flowers
- Backpack for carrying exploration essentials
Creative Recycler Kids Basket
The basket might feel like it contains a bunch of trash, but if you’ve got the right audience and the right presentation, the basket is really a bunch of supplies to create. Breathe new life into old things when you recycle materials to make something new. This basket has a bunch of items to spread that idea.
It’s also worth noting that many of the basket ideas are new items made from recycled materials, not materials you are grabbing from your own recycling bin (though your bins probably have more crafting supplies in them than we might think).
- Recycled paper and eco-friendly art supplies (markers, colored pencils, paints)
- Recycled rainbow pencils for drawing and creating
- DIY craft kit using upcycled materials (e.g., cardboard robot or milk carton birdhouse)
- Children’s book about recycling and upcycling
- Reusable cloth tote bag with fun designs for shopping or crafts
- Eco-friendly modeling clay made from natural ingredients
- Recycled plastic building blocks or construction sets
- BPA-free and reusable snack containers for waste-free lunches
Green Tech Savvy Kids Basket
My younger son is totally into tech and would love something like this basket. He’s the tech department in our house – always fixing things much faster than any of the rest of us can despite being the youngest in the house.
- Kid-friendly solar-powered gadget or toy
- Energy-efficient LED night light with cute designs
- Eco-friendly and non-toxic tablet or screen cleaner
- Reusable silicone keyboard cover to protect electronics
- Electronic puzzle games with eco-awareness themes
- Biodegradable phone case with playful designs
- Recycled plastic or bamboo headphones
Sustainable Storytime Kids Basket:
- A collection of children’s books with eco-friendly and conservation themes (here are a bunch of lists to help you find the right book)
- Plantable bookmark made from recycled paper (these ones are really neat)
- Reusable cloth book bag featuring kid-friendly artwork (This one is super cute, just don’t put a name on it if it’s for a raffle basket. You could say “My Library Bag” or something similar.)
- Eco-friendly and non-toxic crayons for coloring
- Handmade storytelling puppets made from sustainable materials (another simpler and more affordable option)
- Children’s audiobooks on a reusable USB drive or downloadable to a tablet or smartphone
- Recycled paper journal for creative writing and drawing
Lottery Ticket Gift Basket
So this one is pretty self-explanatory. You probably don’t need a list of what to include. Head to your local convenience store and grab a half dozen or dozen lottery tickets (or whatever amount fits within the budget you want to spend on the basket). Attach the lottery tickets to popsicle sticks, chopsticks, or wooden skewers (or display them however you’d like), and let people enter to win a chance to win some cash.
Lottery tickets aren’t sustainable, per se, but they’re simple and don’t create much waste. And they almost certainly ensure that the winner of the basket will actually put the gift to good use!
Eco-friendly Gift Basket Wrapping Ideas
Once I decided what to put in the gift basket, my sustainability adventure still had some juice left in it. I needed to wrap everything up so that it looked appealing to raffle ticket buyers and nothing fell out. Last year, I didn’t wrap up the gift basket, and I’m pretty sure the largest gift card fell out before it got to the final recipient. What a bummer!
Baskets Abound at Thrift Stores
If there’s one thing I recommend you get secondhand, make it the basket. Thrift shops have tons of baskets in great condition! Head straight to the home goods section, and I bet there will be tons of options available.
I got the basket for my Screenfree Storytime theme gift basket from my local Goodwill store. It was sturdy enough for everything I wanted to include in the basket and large enough to hold everything. Last year, when I donated a gift basket of gift cards to local restaurants and shops, I found a much smaller gift basket at the same Goodwill store.
Sustainable Plastic Wrap Alternatives
Although I would prefer to limit the plastic on any gifts, I know it’s important to have the gift basket wrapped in some type of clear plastic cellophane or thin mesh so that items don’t fall out. In our case, we also had to ensure items were not stolen (or innocently taken by curious children) because they were on display at the library for several weeks before the fundraising dinner.
I didn’t have any eco-friendly gift wrap on hand that I could use for clear wrapping paper, and I really didn’t want to buy a whole roll of plastic cellophane. So I reached out to my Buy Nothing group to see if anyone had some extra cellophane I could have. While it’s still plastic, I wasn’t adding to the consumption cycle, so that felt like a small win.
One of my neighbors happened to have a bit left on a roll in her home, and it was just enough to cover the basket. The perfect fit was a clear sign that I made the right choice to ask to borrow from a neighbor!
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About The Author
Jen Panaro, founder and editor-in-chief of Honestly Modern, is a self-proclaimed composting nerd and an advocate for sustainable living for modern families. In her spare time, she’s a serial library book borrower, a messy gardener, and a mom of two boys who spends a lot of time in hockey rinks and on baseball fields.
You can find more of her work at Raising Global Kidizens, an online space to help parents and caregivers raise the next generation of responsible global citizens.