Gift giving in America is a huge business, so do your part to make it eco-friendlier by giving green gifts. With the internet and a little ingenuity, you can give meaningful gifts with a lower environmental impact.
HOW TO GIVE GREEN
According to UK’s Guardian News, landfills gobble up 8,000 tons of wrapping paper alone just at Christmas time. That’s 50,000 trees worth, not to mention the plastic packaging and disposable trinkets often found inside.
So, how do you give a gift that’s green inside and out? Let’s start with the gift itself. You’ll want to consider your budget and the person the gift is for. You’ll want to give something they’ll love, or it’s destined for that landfill.
Here are a few green ideas for modest budgets. Give them alone, or bulk them up with various add-ons.
REUSABLE BEVERAGE CONTAINERS
Sports bottles, ceramic travel mugs and hand painted coffee cups are always great eco-friendly gifts for many reasons: They reduce disposable use, are easy to find, and simple to adapt to different people and various holidays. For example, this Glass Water Bottle With Silicone Sleeve by Ello ($9.99) comes in a rainbow of colors, is inexpensive and found at Target or on Amazon.com, and can be dressed up by filling it with various packets of iced tea. Finish it off by wrapping it in a drawstring cloth bag.
If your gift is for a coffee drinker, pick up a travel mug or for an even more personalized gift… paint a mug at a local ceramics-painting shop. Accompany the mug with some organic, fair trade coffee for $13 a tin from Brooklyn Roasting Company, where the basis of their business is sustainability.
If this special someone has a sweet tooth, add some home made cookies in a pretty cello bag tied with natural raffia for a complete coffee break gift set.
WINE AND CHEESE LOVERS
For the wine enthusiast on your list, why not pair a bottle of organic wine with a recycled wine bottle cheese board ($15 – $25)? The beautiful glass platter is made from heating and pressing a wine bottle otherwise headed for the recycling station. If you don’t want to give the wine, or if you’d like to make a wonderful, larger gift basket, add in some grass-fed goat cheese and organic crackers. For the foodie, culinary adventurer-type you could even include a cheese making kit ($24.95).
If this gift is for a couple, or for a really special occasion calling for a hundred dollar budget or more, pack it all up in a nice picnic basket with a table cloth and reusable picnic dishes.
JUST FOR KIDS
With the pressure of consumer advertising and the convenience of big box stores, it’s really getting tough to get kids eco-friendly gifts anymore. While for older kids, iTunes, MP3 music or just green cash might fit the bill, what about the younger ones (or the young at heart)?
This Hape Eco Toys baby instrument set ($20.41) for babies ten months and up is made from Forest Stewardship Council certified wood, non-toxic paint, and comes shipped in completely recycled materials.In fact, Hape Eco Toys makes quite a few eco friendly toys for babies and toddlers, including everything from scooters and building sets to play grills and wooden kitchen sets.
For the older kids, especially those boys and girls into everything punk and on top of the hottest trends, try out the recycled skateboard furniture by Deckstool. Starting at $10 for a mini magnet or keychain, skyrocketing up in the hundreds for the decked-out furniture, gifts of this kind are completely original and incredibly eco-friendly.
WRAPPINGS AND TRAPPINGS
Now that you’ve got your green gifts, how are you going to make them look pretty without contributing tons of paper to the landfill? Don’t worry, there are “a ton” of options.
Easy earth-friendly wrapping can be make from:
- the comics section of the newspaper
- inverted paper grocery bags
- cloth cut from old clothing, curtains, or tablecloth
Reusable packaging includes items like:
- tin lunch box
- drawstring cloth bag
- decorative pillow case tied with a fabric bow
- canvas tote bag
Eco-friendly trim ideas:
- fresh or dried flowers
- reusable hair ribbons
- silk or cloth scarves
Don’t end your commitment to conservation once the present is purchased. You’ve done all the work researching, starting with the suggestions here, and now with a little imagination you can make the outside of your gift as green as the inside! Now, you can feel good about giving again.