Sustainable Gift Guide

A good gift is a sustainable gift. That will often mean recycling, repairing or reusing existing things but when it comes to buying new, there are ways to choose more sustainable options. So we’ve tried to put together a selection of products that lean in the right direction – whether through the production process, their longevity or their ability to inspire positive changes to daily life.

The brand name “Sa-sa-sa” means hassle-free and their original product (Wazarashi roll) is a multi purpose cloth on a roll, perforated so you can take as much as you need, for use around the house whether cooking or cleaning. Instead of throwing it away, simply wash and reuse. It can be used and reused in so many ways as a more sustainable alternative to traditional paper and cloth options. eg steaming, filtering (eg coffee), polishing, drying, wiping and wrapping. It also won the prestigious Good Design Award in Japan in 2020.

Launched in 2014, Saredo uses recycled cotton spun only from “fallen” fibre from domestic spinning factories to manufacture socks, hats and other accessories. The name Saredo comes from four keywords; Sustainable, Alternative, Renovation, DOmestic. They focus on the Japanese artisan philosophy of trying not waste anything from the production process, re-using materials and connecting with people through their philosophy.

Aomori Hiba is a slow-growing, cypress tree, the wood from which is revered in Japan. It has been used in the construction of temples and important buildings throughout Japan for centuries and is famed for its naturally antiseptic, water-resistant and insect-repelling properties, as well as its calming aroma.

Since 2015, from its store in Nakameguro, Tokyo, Cul de Sac has been creating a range of products derived from Hiba wood, including their signature essential oils and mists. Company founder, Muraguchi Mineko, the daughter of the owner of a timber mill, specialising in Aomori Hiba wood, is committed to promoting sustainable development in forestry. Cuttings and scraps from the lumber process are used to create their products with the natural Hiba oil coming from the wood waste. So despite the fact that the trees are highly protected, the business is inherently sustainable.

The wood blocks are great to use around the house for their aroma, while the chopping board is a beautiful and functional kitchen luxury. Or just fill a bath with hot water, add a sachet of salts and enjoy a good soak.

Visible mending has been practised in Japan for centuries and is know as sashiko – literally translated as ‘little stabs’. It fits with the Japanese concept of wabi sabi, seeing beauty in imperfection, and much like Kintsugi (ceramic repair) the result can often be more beautiful than the original.

Darning is a stitching technique that can be applied to repair holes or to enforce worn areas in the woven or knitted items using a needle and thread alone. Both darning and Sashiko adopt the concept of visible mending and you can use the same type of needles and threads for both stitching techniques.

Some pieces of clothing are hard to part with – be it a pair of jeans that have developed the perfect patina or a favourite jumper that has comforted you through uneasy times. If they were well made and looked after then instead of throwing them out on the first appearance of holes consider repairing them.

Stainless steel Camping Cutlery set – Throwaway cutlery is already on the way out so better to pack a bento box and a compact, stainless steel, cutlery set for your lunch.

Wax Atelier – Despite the popularity of cling film it was never even suited to preserving some foods – much better to wrap your cheese in wax linen then reuse it.

Kinto Travel Tumbler – A travel tumbler will mean you’ll never need to buy a plastic water bottle or use a take away coffee cup again.

Kamawanu, Tenugui – Tenugui have a multitude of uses in Japan and one of which is for wrapping presents – no need to use paper that will need to be thrown away or recycled.

Noda Horo – Enamel is known for its longevity – the butter dish by Noda Horo is a ‘classic’ design that could be passed down from generation to generation.

and more.