Sustainable Teacher Gifts: Ideas for Your Child’s Teacher

By Dr. Manasa Mantravadi

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Time to Read: 9 min

Every year, as the school year ends, a universal tradition unfolds—giving thanks to those remarkable individuals who shape our children's minds: their teachers. These gifts are more than mere tokens. They're a warm expression of gratitude for the patience, dedication, and inspiration teachers provide all year round. This year, we can extend our appreciation in a way that also cherishes our planet by selecting sustainable teacher gifts.


Opting for sustainable gifts expresses thoughtfulness that extends beyond the classroom. It reflects a commitment to protecting the environment and supports the very lessons about sustainability and conservation that teachers impart to students daily. 


Sustainable gifts are not just beneficial for their low impact on the planet. They serve as practical artifacts of learning, embodying principles that can inspire both teachers and students to continue making environmentally conscious choices. Choosing a gift that is both useful and eco-friendly can show our educators that their lessons resonate deeply, influencing even the way we express our gratitude.

About Ahimsa

Founded by a pediatrician and mom of three

Stainless steel is the only kid-friendly material recommended by the American Academy of Pediatrics 

We are guided by a Scientific Advisory Council comprised of environmental and medical experts, guiding us in creating the safest products, following the latest science and promoting policy to protect human health and our planet

Want to know more? Check out our story and our products

Why Go Green with Your Gifts?

When selecting a gift for someone as important as a teacher, the thought truly counts. By choosing sustainable teacher gifts, we're not only showing appreciation but also demonstrating care for our planet.


Sustainable gifts often come from materials that are either recycled or designed to reduce waste. This might include items made from renewable resources or those that encourage a shift away from single-use plastics. By selecting these kinds of gifts, we contribute less to landfill waste and decrease our environmental footprint—a lesson in itself that reinforces the educational messages teachers share about sustainability.


They can also spark conversations about environmental responsibility in the classroom and beyond. They can inspire students to consider how even the smallest choices can have big impacts. This ripple effect of awareness and action is perhaps one of the most powerful outcomes of giving a gift that keeps the Earth in mind.

Mealtime Essentials

10 Creative and Practical Sustainable Teacher Gifts

When it comes to picking out the perfect sustainable teacher gifts, the options are both charming and practical. These gifts not only bring joy but also serve functional purposes in a teacher's daily life, both inside and outside the classroom.


  1. Reusable Classroom Supplies: Consider items that can replace their disposable counterparts. Bamboo rulers, recycled notebooks, and refillable whiteboard markers are excellent choices. These supplies reduce waste and can be used year after year, making them a wise investment in a teacher’s toolkit.
  2. Pot and Seed Set: Ideal for teachers who love gardening, a pot and seed set allows them to grow their own plants, either at home or even in the classroom. This is not only a gift of beauty but also one of ongoing engagement with nature.
  3. Eco-Friendly Tote Bags: A practical and stylish gift, eco-friendly tote bags made from recycled materials help reduce waste while offering teachers a handy way to carry supplies, groceries, or personal items.
  4. Thermal Travel Mugs: Perfect for teachers who are always on the go, a thermal travel mug keeps coffee or tea warm for hours, ensuring they can enjoy their hot beverage even during busy school days.
  5. Reusable Water Bottles: Encourage hydration and sustainability with a reusable water bottle, which helps reduce plastic waste and keeps teachers refreshed throughout their day.
  6. Organic Plant-Based Desk Organizers: Help teachers keep their desks tidy with organizers made from sustainable materials. These not only serve a practical purpose but also add a natural aesthetic to their workspace.
  7. Stainless Steel Dishware: Durable and eco-friendly, stainless steel dishware is a practical gift that can be used both at home and in the school’s staff room, promoting sustainable eating habits.
  8. Gift Cards to Local Shops: Opt for a gift card from a local bookstore, coffee shop, or restaurant. This approach emphasizes support for community businesses while giving teachers the flexibility to choose what they genuinely want or need. It also reduces the risk of unwanted gifts, aligning with sustainable practices by minimizing waste.
  9. Essential Oil Diffusers or Oils: Ideal for creating a calming atmosphere in the classroom, essential oil diffusers or a selection of essential oils can help maintain a serene learning environment. Opt for sustainably sourced oils to ensure the gift aligns with eco-friendly values.
  10. Sustainability-Focused Books: Adding a book focused on environmental stewardship to the classroom library can be both educational and inspirational. Choose titles that engage children with important topics like recycling, conservation, and the importance of protecting our planet, making this a gift that keeps on giving in educational value.


Each of these sustainable teacher gifts not only serves a practical purpose but also sends a message of thoughtfulness and care for the environment, reflecting the values that are often taught and appreciated within educational settings.

Personal Touches Make Sustainable Gifts Memorable

One of the joys of giving sustainable teacher gifts is the opportunity to add a personal touch. Customizing your gifts not only adds some uniqueness but also deepens the sense of connection between students, parents, and teachers.


Personalizing sustainable gifts can be something as simple as picking out an item in the teacher's favorite color (great if you choose a water bottle, coffee mug, or anything else that could come in several color options) or including a handmade card crafted by students. 


For items like tote bags or stainless steel water bottles, you can usually add customization options such as monograms or inscriptions. These small personalizations can transform a useful item into a cherished keepsake.


Another thoughtful way to personalize a gift is to include a small, handwritten note explaining why you chose a sustainable gift. This can communicate the thought behind the choice and reinforce the shared values between the teacher and the giver regarding environmental care and responsibility.


For those who want to go the extra mile, assembling a small package of various eco-friendly items can make the gift even more exciting and personal. Combine a few smaller items like reusable snack bags, a plant in a biodegradable pot, or a selection of organic teas.

Sustainable Teacher Gifts | Woman and Child Holding Ahimsa Set

The Final Touch to Your Sustainable Teacher Gifts

Presenting your sustainable teacher gifts with an eco-friendly touch underscores thoughtfulness from start to finish. Opting for environmentally conscious wrapping materials like recycled paper, reusable fabric wraps, or upcycled newspapers and children's artwork not only personalizes the gift but also minimizes waste. This practice extends the message of sustainability further, turning the act of gift-giving into a lesson in environmental responsibility.


Employing creative wrapping techniques, such as traditional cloth wrapping methods from cultures that value sustainability, adds a unique flair and offers materials that teachers can reuse. This thoughtful approach to packaging enhances the message of your gift, ensuring that every aspect, from selection to presentation, reflects the values of care and environmental stewardship that are central to both teaching and sustainable living.


Shop Ahimsa today for plates and more.

Dr. Manasa Mantravadi is a board-certified pediatrician whose dedication to children’s health drove her to launch Ahimsa, the world's first colorful stainless steel dishes for kids. She was motivated by the American Academy of Pediatrics’ findings on harmful chemicals in plastic affecting children's well-being. Ahimsa has gained widespread recognition and been featured in media outlets such as Parents Magazine, the Today Show, The Oprah Magazine, and more.

Dr. Mantravadi received the esteemed “Physician Mentor of the Year” award at Indiana University School of Medicine in 2019. She was also named a Forbes Next 1000 Entrepreneur in 2021, with her inspiring story showcased on Good Morning America. She serves on the Council for Environmental Health and Climate Change and the Council for School Health at The American Academy of Pediatrics. She represents Ahimsa as a U.S. industry stakeholder on the Intergovernmental Negotiating Committee (INC) for the Global Plastics Treaty, led by the United Nations Environment Program. Dr. Mantravadi leads Ahimsa's social impact program, The Conscious Cafeteria Project, to reduce carbon emissions and safeguard student health as part of a national pilot of the Clinton Global Initiative.

She is dedicated to educating and empowering people to make healthier, more environmentally friendly choices at mealtime. Her mission remains to advocate for the health of all children and the one planet we will leave behind for them through real policy change within our food system.

Dr. Manasa Mantravadi

Dr. Manasa Mantravadi

Dr. Manasa Mantravadi is a board-certified pediatrician whose dedication to children’s health drove her to launch Ahimsa, the world's first colorful stainless steel dishes for kids. She was motivated by the American Academy of Pediatrics’ findings on harmful chemicals in plastic affecting children's well-being. Ahimsa has gained widespread recognition and been featured in media outlets such as Parents Magazine, the Today Show, The Oprah Magazine, and more.

Dr. Mantravadi received the esteemed “Physician Mentor of the Year” award at Indiana University School of Medicine in 2019. She was also named a Forbes Next 1000 Entrepreneur in 2021, with her inspiring story showcased on Good Morning America. She serves on the Council for Environmental Health and Climate Change and the Council for School Health at The American Academy of Pediatrics. She represents Ahimsa as a U.S. industry stakeholder on the Intergovernmental Negotiating Committee (INC) for the Global Plastics Treaty, led by the United Nations Environment Program. Dr. Mantravadi leads Ahimsa's social impact program, The Conscious Cafeteria Project, to reduce carbon emissions and safeguard student health as part of a national pilot of the Clinton Global Initiative.

She is dedicated to educating and empowering people to make healthier, more environmentally friendly choices at mealtime. Her mission remains to advocate for the health of all children and the one planet we will leave behind for them through real policy change within our food system.

More Mealtime Essentials

Frequently Asked Questions

Why should I use stainless steel instead of plastic? Is stainless steel better for health?

The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) released a report in July 2018 suggesting ways that families can limit exposure to certain chemicals at mealtime, including “the use of alternatives to plastic, such as glass or stainless steel, when possible.” The report explained that “…some additives are put directly in foods, while “indirect” additives may include chemicals from plastic, glues, dyes, paper, cardboard”. Further, “Children are more sensitive to chemical exposures because they eat and drink more, relative to body weight, than adults do, and are still growing and developing.” While stainless steel items meet the recommendation to avoid plastic products in children, Ahimsa® products have the obvious advantage of not breaking like glass.

Is stainless steel better for the environment than plastic?

According to the Steel Recycling Institute, steel can be recycled over and over and over again without losing its integrity and requires less energy to recycle than to make anew. Most plastic unfortunately ends up in landfills and it is estimated to take 700 years to decompose. Our special coloring process that allows Ahimsa® products to be fully metal is environmentally friendly, so it does not produce toxic run-off into the ecosystem.

Will Ahimsa products break or peel?

No. Our steel is durable, so it won’t break or shatter with everyday use, like glass. And it won’t peel, like other colored stainless steel products you’ve seen. We use a special process that allows the colors to naturally occur in the metal.

Which Ahimsa products are best for my little one(s)?

Our products are meant to last, you can use Ahimsa at ages 1, 8 and 18! We thoughtfully design our products to be safe for little ones and our planet while reducing consumption. Once your child outgrows the Starting Solids Set  and can use regular cups and utensils, the training cup is the perfect size rinse cup in the bathroom, the infant spoon doubles as a tea stirrer and the bowl is great for snacks or as an additional compartment to our modular divided plate. Our plates are great for any age as they encourage choosing a variety of healthy foods at each meal and help visualize portion sizes easily. It’s the lasting beauty of stainless steel - grows with your child and reduces waste.

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