7 Tips for Gifting Green
- Tuesday, 22 December 2009
Standing in a store surrounded by dozens of other shoppers, that claustrophobic, panicked feeling that washes over many of us at some point in December can have even the greenest tree-hugger blindly grabbing for the closest toy and a roll of wrapping paper.
At home, we'll notice that the plastic toy was made overseas and the wrapping paper is not made from recycled paper . . . and it's about that time the eco-guilt kicks into gear.
But there are ways to keep your sanity and shop green. Simply knowing what to look for and where to look can go a long way to keeping your shopping trips short, sweet and sane. Here are Naturally Savvy's seven tips for green gifting:
If holiday crowds drive you up the wall, why not avoid them altogether? If you know exactly what your partner, child, aunt, cousin or friend wants, then there's no need to brave the masses-just head for your computer. Shopping online reduces the carbon footprint of many goods, because warehouses and individual producers can store more stock per square foot than stores. Don't forget to ask retailers or even individual sellers to box and ship gifts directly to out-of-town recipients to cut down on that carbon footprint (chances are the fee for prettying the gift up is what you'd pay on extra shipping anyway!).
Buy Recycled or Salvaged
Buying products made with recycled or salvaged materials is one of the best ways to show manufacturers that green business practices are important, while diverting valuable materials from landfills. Clothing, glassware, books, furniture, notebooks, purses, toys-all sorts of things are made with recycled or salvaged materials. Your choices have never been better.
Do Your Electronics Homework
Before you shop, do a little research to find out which electronics are the most energy efficient. If you can't sort it out on your own, head to the store and ask staff to point out the most energy-efficient options and explain the differences. Tip: If you're asking a lot of questions, avoid shopping at a store where its staff work on commission unless you know you won't be hurried . . . or you plan to spend a bundle.
Homemade Says 'Thoughtful'
For small gifts with a big impact, think homemade. You don't have to be a serious green crafter or artist to create a homemade gift-you just have to make it personal. Does your friend love a picture from when you were kids? Scan, print on high-quality photo paper and frame it. Does your co-worker love your cookies? Layer the ingredients in a mason jar, write out the recipe on cardstock or a pretty recipe card, and attach the card to the jar with a pretty ribbon. The gift may be simple, but the effort makes it special.
Handmade is Special
Handmade goods have made a resurgence in recent years, and with sites like Etsy.com, craft fairs, and seasonal craft bazaars, buying one-of-a-kind, handmade gifts has never been easier. So what makes handmade green? Many goods are made with eco-friendly or recycled materials, and the goods are shipped directly from the maker to the buyer, reducing the carbon footprint.
Rechargeable Batteries Included
If you're buying a gift that requires batteries, pick up a set of rechargeable batteries to pair with the gift. You'll keep batteries out of the landfill or toxic waste stream, and teach others the value of waste-reduction.
Skip the Wrapping Paper
Wrapping paper is unnecessary and a huge waste of paper resources. Wrap gifts for adults and teens in reusable materials-think storage boxes, hatboxes, photo boxes, fabric remnants, fabric bags, or tea towels. Add satin ribbon or bows to make the boxes extra festive. Many people use plastic bows to save some money, so if you must, save the bows and reuse them next year. If you simply can't deny your kids the pleasure of ripping open a gift, look for recycled wrapping paper and be sure to recycle it.
With these simple tips, eco-friendly holiday shopping is a breeze!