Holiday shopping can be a daunting task with so many options for gift giving, which is why we’re in full support of Austin Resource Recovery’s Shop Zero Waste initiative that encourages us to Give a Great Story this holiday season. Giving a great story means thinking outside the box about showing you care, not just about your loved ones, but about the planet, too.

Giving a Great Story could be gifting in the form of an experience that provides lifelong memories — such as signing up for an art workshop or cooking class with a loved one or offering tickets to a ball game, concert or theatrical performance you can attend together.

Share an experience together for a gift that offers lasting memories.

Giving a Great Story can also mean giving new life to something old — such as repairing a beloved piece of jewelry that broke or finding a treasure at an antique store.

The concept of “shopping zero waste” challenges us to seek unique gifts from Austin-owned vendors that sell recycled, upcycled, or reused items — or simply skip the buying frenzy altogether and give your time teaching a new skill or running errands for someone you care for.

Plants from your garden, or pottery from a local artist are ideas for gift giving with meaning.

If you’re in need of some gift-spiration, visit, an online directory that includes listings of Austin businesses that provide fun alternatives to buying new, featuring holiday gifts that are [Re]made, [Re]paired and [Re]shared — all helping reduce waste & clutter while save money, as well.

Some of our favorite places to Shop Zero Waste include:

Toybrary Austin: A toy lending library is a brilliant way to reduce clutter, waste and save money on toys! At Toybrary, you can give the gift of a membership (available for 3, 6, or 12 months) that allows you to play and borrow toys as often as they like. When toys are shared, it helps reduce the negative environmental impact. Its a win win for everyone!

Yellow Bike Project: At Yellow Bike Project, you’ll find a selection ready-to-ride used bikes at affordable prices along with bike parts & frames, too. With twelve fully equipped work-stands, this local bike advocacy group teaches you how to maintain and fix your bike. They also accept donated bikes and parts to rebuild them to get them back on the road for the community.

Austin Creative Reuse: We are huge fans of this mecca of all things crafty. Austin Creative Reuse includes a retail shop, workshop space and a gallery. Here you’ll find a wide assortment of materials (from textiles to art supplies to little knick knacks) that will inspire your next arts or crafts project.

Recycled Reads: Get bargain prices on books, DVDs, CDs, and more at Recycled Reads, Austin Public Library’s used bookstore. With a great variety of children’s and adult titles, you’re sure to find something here for everyone. Take note that Recycled Reads also hosts lots of fun, free events including storytimes and more. Click here to view their calendar.

Recycled books make a great gift!

A few more meaningful holiday gift giving ideas include:


  • Rent paddle boards or bikes and see Austin sights in a new way.
  • Loan your tools and teach someone woodworking or knitting.


  • Restore photos that are damaged or faded.
  • Repair a favorite leather bag, boots or jacket.
  • Repair an old family heirloom.


  • Craft some upcycled tea cup planters.
  • Turn a worn shirt or sweater into a pillow.
  • Shop for first edition books or antique furniture.


  • Take a class to learn something new.
  • Buy tickets to a favorite sports activity or concert.
  • Plan a trip together to build memories that last.
  • Donate to a charity or organization in someone’s name.

Share your time and your skills as a very special gift.

–> Visit for creative and unique gift ideas for everyone on your list this holiday season that no one else could give, and be sure to check out Shop Zero Waste for more ideas on ways to benefit our local economy while supporting our environment.

Happy gifting!