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|December 4-10, 2008
• Experience the holidays
A Guide to Giving Green
by Marti Matsch
Buy, buy, buy! Stuff, stuff, stuff!” It’s hard to resist the siren song of the holiday season, especially when serenaded with holiday ditties and wooed by tinseled window displays. Whether you’re someone who goes big on buying over the holidays or keeps it to the essentials, you’re no doubt somehow part of the holiday shopping frenzy. So here to help make those buying decisions a little friendlier on the Earth is a Guide to Green Gifting.
But first, a word to the why
When we make a choice to buy a product — over the holidays or every day — it’s a critical decision for the environment. Every dollar we spend on products is essentially a “vote” for the kind of world we want to see. As consumers, we have tremendous power. If we buy it, they will make it; if we don’t, they won’t. There’s no time like the holiday season — when all eyes are on the consumer — to send a message to the manufacturers of the world that we want to see products that are reusable, recycled, organic and that aid an environmentally friendly lifestyle. But, before you buy...
Package your talents
Rather than wrapping up a present, give a “mock” gift certificate for your talents, like cooking or sewing. Or give a gift certificate for a service, like shoveling snow, baby-sitting, cleaning or helping with yard work.
Like they say, one person’s trash is another’s treasure. Find your next treasure at local consignment stores, thrift shops, used sporting goods retailers or antique dealers. You can find all things reuseable at Eco-Cycle Exchange (www.ecocycleexchange.org), where you can swap free reusable items among community members and check out local listings for reuse stores and organizations. It will also link you to other online resources, such as craigslist.org or freecycle.org.
Give gifts that help the planet
Choose holiday gifts that will help your loved ones reduce their resource consumption all year long, such as a reusable tote bag, reusable water bottle, energy- or water-saving devices, a compost bin, a pack of rechargeable batteries and a recharger or a case of compact fluorescent light bulbs. You can find many of these products as well as recycled holiday cards and 2009 calendars at the Eco-Cycle eStore (www.ecocycle.org/estore). You’ll also find recycled paper and other office products, safe kids’ products and much more. Our staff have researched and separated the truly green products from all the rest so you can shop comfortably knowing you’re buying an environmentally sustainable product (and not one that just says so on the package).
Contribute in their name
For the person who has everything they need, consider giving a donation to someone who is in need through a favorite organization or group.
Take them out to the ball game
Give the gift of an activity, such as a movie, museum visit, dinner at an organic restaurant or a snowshoe outing. To make your gift even greener, purchase carbon credits to offset the greenhouse gases created during your travel.
Buy from businesses that support environmental values
Purchase presents from businesses that use sustainable resources, such as reused, recycled or organic materials. Check companies’ websites for information on their environmental policies and practices and support those businesses working toward a sustainable future.
Green Gifts Online
The following are online sources to help you find green gifts in our community and around the country. Whenever possible, buy from a locally owned and operated business. This will support our local economy and reduce the amount of resources needed to get your gift.
www.gaiam.com is a Broomfield-based company and a great place to find organic, free-trade and earth-friendly products.
www.greenheartguide.net lists local businesses that offer sustainable or healthful products and/or operate in an environmentally responsible way. Call 303-444-4323 for a printed guide.
www.ecocycle.org/estore has products for the home and business ranging from 100-percent-post-consumer recycled paper to 100-percent-organic baby clothing.
www.vivaterra.com has a selection of handcrafted gifts made from sustainable resources by environmentally friendly suppliers.
www.abundantearth.com offers a variety of environmentally sensitive products and services, such as gifts made from recycled materials and natural personal care and home products.
www.ecobaby.com provides environmentally and health-friendly items for children and parents, including toys, books, bedding, diapers and clothing.
www.greenhome.com has an online shopping center for natural, organic and non-toxic household products as well, as a checklist for greening every room in your house.
www.thegreenguide.com has a buying guide for everything from appliances to cosmetics to kids’ supplies. Each entry shows you “What to look for,” “Shopping and Usage Tips,” “Product Comparisons” and more.
www.ecomall.com is a directory of organic and earth-friendly goodies. The site also provides resources for those interested in becoming involved with environmental issues and networking with others who support the environment.
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