New York-based HITC Life friend, Liza Dunn, is a green consultant. In her business, she helps people lower their environmental impact, and at this time of year, give greener gifts. For you last minute shoppers, a few suggestions.
As Liza says, if it can be done, it can be done green.
So let's get started.
Firstly, what constitutes a green gift?
- Consider what materials are used. Look for gifts made of organic, highly renewable, and/or recycled materials. Organic cotton is popping up everywhere from cute onesies at Gossypium to mainstream retailers like Ralph Lauren sheets and Levi's jeans. Highly renewable bamboo is a material which is used in everything from bedding and clothing (very soft!) to kitchen items and home accessories.
- Pay attention to the number of 'carbon miles' associated with a gift, i.e., how long has it travelled to get to you. Buy local when possible. Also try to favor companies which use sustainable practices in their production.
- Look out for packaging. Paper, cardboard and metal are much more easily recycled than most plastics, and styrofoam is not recycleable at all. Look for smartly packed gifts.
- Not every gift needs to be a tangible object. A charitable donation (especially to an environmentally-focused organization), or a museum membership are 'carbon-neutral' gifts which can be gratifying for both the giver and receiver.
- Finally, consider carefully the gift and the recipient. The best gifts are ones which will be used and appreciated.
What are some specific green gifts you're encouraging people give this year?
- Tickets for a concert, play, sports event, film festival, or lecture series
- Museum and zoo memberships
- Gift Certificates to restaurants, spas, or iTunes
- Green & Blacks Organic chocolate from almost anywhere
- Organic, Fair Trade Tea & Coffee from Whole Foods
- Fair Trade clothing from People Tree or Adili
- For kids, a copy of Dr. Seuss's The Lorax, The Gift of Nothing, or The Everything Kids' Environment Book
- Sigg Reusable Water bottles
- The Eco Kettle (boil only what you need)
- Patagonia's Capilene long underwear line, which is made from recycled polyester
- American Apparel's Sustainable Edition
- Levi's Jeans in organic cotton, a coconut button and an eco-friendly finish
- Luxury organic skincare and beauty products from Jo Wood
- Any number of fabulous things from The Natural Store
And if people want to take advantage of the exchange rate and do some charitable giving?
- For a donation of $399, one XO laptop will be sent to empower a child in a developing nation and one will be sent to the child in your life in recognition of your contribution.
- Heifer International's gifts include stingless bees, trees, oxen, ducks, chickens, dairy cows, and water buffalo to needy families in developing nations. Organic gardening is also underway in many locales.
- Adopt an endangered animal at the World Wildlife Fund's site.
- Or dedicate a tree to someone special with Tree People.
And when it's all over, make sure to recycle your Christmas tree!
Learn more about Liza's business here.