15 Eco-friendly & Zero Waste Baby Shower Gift Ideas

Are you in that stage in life where everyone you know is having babies and baby showers?! It definitely happens at some point. But you might be thinking that baby gifts are usually so plastic heavy and unsustainable! What can I gift that’s more eco-friendly and zero waste? Well, we’ve compiled a list of some eco-friendly and zero waste baby shower gift ideas for you!

Updated 7/07/2023

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So maybe you have a baby shower coming up soon and you’re looking for baby shower gift ideas. Attending baby showers is the fun and easy part, but buying gifts can always be a little challenging. Especially, if you or the parents-to-be are looking for more eco-friendly or zero waste baby gifts. The idea is not to shame other gift options but just to provide a few more eco-friendly baby shower gift ideas.

Also, if you’re looking to host a baby shower, then check out our 14 Ways to Host An Eco-friendly Party.

Now time for those zero waste baby shower gift ideas!

Zero Waste Baby Shower Gifts

1. Stick to Their Registry

If it’s on their registry, then the parents-to-be see themselves using it and keeping it. If you buy them something that’s not on their registry, it’s more likely to end up returned to the store, donated, or trashed (hopefully rarely!).

However, I will say this usually mainly applies to bought items. Handmade items like blankets or heirloom pieces from your grandparents are a different story and are a gift that holds a special place (and not on the registry!).

2. Cloth Diapers

Unless the parents-to-be have told me or cloth diapers are on their registry, I don’t gift cloth diapers. Reusable diapers are awesome, but sometimes it is not feasible or possible for everyone. Though I always find it important to share our journey with cloth diapers and why we do it for environmental and cost reasons.

If you’ve read any of our other parenting posts about our cloth diapering journey, you’ll know we love and use an assortment of these three: Mama Kola, Alva Baby & Bum Genius Freetime.

3. Bamboo Disposable Diapers

If they aren’t going to be into the whole cloth diapering commitment, then offer another more eco-friendly option for disposable diapers. There are several bamboo disposable diapers out there that are better at biodegrading than your standard disposable diapers. Some even have diapering services where they will take the dirty diapers and compost them for you!

We’ve personally used the Andy Pandy bamboo diapers with our little one a few times when we had to use diaper rash meds that would damage our cloth diapers or when we just knew washing wasn’t going to be an option where we were going. They’re super absorbent, 86% biodegradable, made of natural bamboo material, and don’t have any harmful chemicals/toxins. As a disposable diaper option once and a while, we loved them.

4. Plastic-Free Essentials

Ah, there are so many plastic-free options now for baby items like wooden teethers, wooden toys, etc. If the parents-to-be have plastic options on their registry, maybe just bend the rules a little and get a non-plastic option that’s a similar look. Here are a couple of adorable non-plastic options:

Etsy has many eco-friendly toy options as well that support small business owners. You can also gift a development and play box as a subscription they’ll receive. KiwiCo. has a great little subscription box called Panda Crate that we loved having for our child. It came with several wooden toys that were fun and helped his developmental learning!

Wooden toys as a Plastic-free option – Kiwi Co box subscription

5. Baby Books

Baby books are a wonderful zero waste baby shower gift idea as they can be used for a long time. There are so many amazing authors/illustrators out there that create amazing baby books now. Pssst baby books are great re-gifts too when all your children outgrow them!

Check out our suggestions for the Best Eco-friendly and Nerdy Baby Books that we love for teaching little ones about science, climate, and even nerdy superheroes!

Additionally, you could sign the parents-to-be up for a Library card to give with the baby book as a way to encourage them to borrow books too. You may first want to sneakily find out if they already have a library card by casually bringing it up in a conversation. Good luck!

Baby Books are a great gift!

6. Cotton or Bamboo Burp Cloths

Wiping up spit-up, protecting your shirt, a tissue to clean up snot (parents/baby), cleaning up spilled milk from a bottle or breast, etc. Burp cloths are a necessity when there’s a newborn baby due to messes. There are a lot of cotton and bamboo burp cloth options out there with adorable patterns. However, we keep it simple and use Gerber cotton pre-folds as they’re soft cotton and super absorbent!

Non-Registry Zero Waste Baby Shower Gifts

Okay, I know I said stick to the registry, but there are a few good zero waste baby shower gifts that most parents-to-be never think of that would be worth diverting from the registry! Most likely you’re pretty close with the parents-to-be, so don’t be shy and just ask if you’re worried about gifting one of the following items. Or if you truly want to make it a surprise gift, then make sure to have a gift receipt for returns or a plan to exchange for something else.

And guess what?! You can combine some of these items, put them in a basket or cute reusable bag, and have an AWESOME zero waste baby shower gift set!

secondhand baby clothes as a zero waste baby shower gift idea
Secondhand baby clothes are great gifts if in good condition

7. Secondhand or Eco-friendly Baby Clothes

People inevitably buy baby clothes that are not on the registry. Usually, it’s fine and many parents-to-be expect it to happen. So why not thrift some adorable secondhand baby clothes and give them another life!? Or you can look to purchase a few expandable clothes that grow with a child and last three times longer.

I personally will look if the parents-to-be have a certain style and aesthetic to baby clothes/items on their registry. Then you can try to find some secondhand baby clothes that would fit well within that wardrobe style. Please make sure to wash them though before gifting!

8. DIY Toys For Lifelong Play

If you’re a DIYer or maker like we are, then a handcrafted gift might appeal to you as a way to show your love to your family member or friend. Consider making a toy or learning item that the future child can play with for a long time. We’ve made and gifted a DIY writing salt tray and remade parts of my hubby’s childhood wood train set. Although these gifts aren’t typically on a registry, they become valuable and sentimental to the parents-to-be. And you get to watch the little one grow up and enjoy something you made!

9. Reusable Nursing Pads

For those mama’s going to breastfeed their little ones, this is a great gift as it’s sometimes forgotten, but is a necessity! Firstly, if you don’t know, boobs leak milk (sometimes a lot!) when nursing, when boobs are full, or even from hearing a baby cry.

Until I became a mama, I’d only heard of the disposable nursing pads that you put into your nursing bra to protect it from the constant leaking. But that’s so wasteful as it happens a lot! So reusable nursing pads are a great gift and staple to new mamas. These organic bamboo reusable nursing pads are the ones I used and loved. They even came with a little bag for the wash so you didn’t lose them among the clothes!

10. Cloth Baby Wipes

If your parents-to-be are going down the eco-friendly route, then consider gifting them cloth baby wipes! We didn’t even know this was a thing until after our first year with a new baby. It’s a great zero waste baby shower gift that removes the need for all those disposable baby wipes.

You can even get creative and fold them or tie them into some cool shape. I mean you’ve probably seen disposable diaper cars and cakes, so why not cloth baby wipe cupcakes and mini-cars!? OsoCozy cloth wipes are our favorite to use. They’re thick to keep your hands clean, but soft for little ones bottoms. So check them out!

11. Postpartum Panties Or Pads

Okay, I know you’re probably like wait….what? A little context for you. After a mom gives birth she continues to bleed (A LOT) for like a week. Usually, the hospital will give you these giant mesh underwear with giant pads. They work, but make you feel frumpy and weird and are disposable which isn’t the best eco-friendly option.  Personally, as a mama, I would much rather wear some comfy postpartum underwear and it’s a less wasteful option. I so wished I had got some before my first child!

This zero waste baby shower gift would be great as part of a mama care package set. It let’s her know you are thinking of her needs too when there’s a new baby! I personally love these Bambody Panties as they absorb and hold a lot whether for postpartum or a normal menstrual cycle use. You can also find a lot of great handmade cloth pads and support a small business.

12. Eco-friendly Laundry Detergent Sheets

Let me tell you as a parent with a newborn, there’s always a ton of laundry! Babies inevitably create a mess and get dirty. And if the parent-to-be are going the cloth diapering route, then there’s also some seriously soiled diapers that need a deep clean. So why not give them a practical gift that will for sure get used quickly!?

Earth Breeze’s laundry detergent sheets are a fantastic practical gift that is eco-friendly and eliminates all the excess plastic packaging and unnecessary water in typical laundry detergents. Earth Breeze has a Fragrance Free that’s perfect for sensitive baby skin and is safe for cloth diapers. You could give the parents-to-be one pack (60 loads) as a gift to try or do a subscription option for a year (saves 40%!). We use them for all our laundry now!

how to wash a cloth diaper using eco-friendly laundry detergent sheets

13. A Plant

Plants are great for a baby nursery as they help clean the air and bring a little nature inside. The parents-to-be can watch the plant grow as their baby grows! (Mushy gushy, I know!). My little one loved to look at the vibrant green leaves when I was changing him. I am also a lover of plants, so gift a plant because it’s awesome!

Non-physical Baby Shower Gifts

As a new mama sometimes I just wanted help, to see another adult besides my husband, or simply just take a shower. One of the best zero waste baby shower gifts are not physical gifts. Gifts of time or experience can be so amazing too!

14. Gift Coupon For Your Time

I know some people might find the idea of a coupon book or gift coupon as an actual gift to parents. But seriously, I called my sister-in-law one time when my husband was traveling for work, and we still had a newborn. I literally just wanted her to hold my little one for a while so I could take a shower and breathe for a minute.

So create a gift coupon for something specific like babysitting, cooking a meal, 2 hours of house cleaning, doing a few loads of laundry etc. Even if they don’t physically “use” the coupon, it’s more of a statement to let them know you’re there for them when they need it. Make sure your friend knows that they can seriously use it though and make sure you’re actually willing to do it! Check out these pre-made gift coupons for holidays or any time!

15. Experience Gifts

I’m all for gifting money/certificates for an experience rather than buying something that might eventually be forgotten or thrown out. Depending on the parents-to-be there are a ton of experience gifts you can give for the baby shower. For example, a gift certificate to the spa (pre- or post-pregnancy) to relieve that mama’s stress levels. Or maybe pool some money towards a family photoshoot to remember the first few precious months of the new baby’s life.

16. Diapering Service

Usually, people are hesitant to cloth diaper because of having to wash them themselves. It’s truthfully not that bad once you establish a laundry routine, but it’s not feasible for everyone.

Cloth diapering services will drop off a load of cloth diapers, wait a week or so, pick up the dirty diapers, and exchange them for new ones. Seems like a wonderful way not to worry about dirty diaper laundry. As I mentioned previously, there are also disposable diaper services that will take the bamboo diapers and compost them! Take a look at what’s available in your area!

So we have not personally used a diapering service, but I can totally see the value and desire to do this as days with a newborn can be SUPER overwhelming and you can’t think straight. This might be a group gift if it’s too pricey alone or if you’re hosting the baby shower and it’s something your parents-to-be want, then do it as a “diaper fund/raffle” with the invitations for people to pitch in.

Cloth diapers are a great zero waste solution

More Sustainable Living & Gift Ideas

Hopefully, this list helps you start to think of ways to consciously gift to others. If you’re looking for some more inspiration on gift ideas or ways to improve your sustainable living, then check out some of our other posts.

Hope this roundup of eco-friendly and zero waste baby shower gift ideas gives you a lot of fun options! Let us know what you think and if you have any suggestions in the comments below!

Disclaimer: This post includes affiliate links, and I will earn a commission if you purchase through these links. Please note that I’ve linked to these products purely because I recommend them and they are from companies I trust. There is no additional cost to you.

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