Green Gifts

December 5, 2007 at 8:24 pm Leave a comment

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Here are some more tips for holiday shoppers who aren’t prepared to deal with the guilt of buying environmentally-unfriendly gifts this year…

1. Buy used gifts

Although some may scoff at the idea of giving a used gift, I, personally would be very happy to receive second-hand goods this year. Look around on Craigslist, Amazon, or at your local antique/thrift shop for books, movies, furniture and pretty much anything on your loved one’s wish list. There are also lots of sites that sell refurbished electronics (I got my new/used laptop here: www.techforless.com), which means that you get a really great price on partially-used (but high quality and waranteed) tech stuff. Why are used things “green”, you ask? Answer: re-using is 100% efficient, which is better than recycling things, and way better than sending old things to the landfill and making something entirely new.

2. Buy energy-saving devices and carbon offsets

Don’t know what to give that person who already has everything? Get them a carbon offset! You can offset their car or home at the Terra Pass website (and learn more about offsets at the same time).  The same site also offers energy saving devices that make great gifts – especially along with video games, stereos and other electronics that you might be giving this year. And for those who love gadgets (and really, who doesn’t?), you can find amazing doodads like portable solar chargers online – definitely much sexier than fluorescent lightbulbs.

3. Give the gifts that last forever

Diamonds? No, not diamonds, but rather high-quality, long-lasting and repairable gifts. It’s important to avoid giving gifts that aren’t destined to end up in the garbage within a few days, weeks, or even years. Many companies offer lifetime warranties on their goods, allowing you to send in a broken or torn item so that they can repair it and send it back to you. Patagonia, for example, allows you to send in damaged items and they’ll fix them and return them to you free of charge. The company also recycles old items, so you can send old clothes to them and they’ll make something new about it (Patagonia is just super rad, basically). Basically, don’t get any gifts that are cheaply made (it’s better to get one high-quality gift than three crappy ones), or that are not reusable or recyclable.

 4. Wrap it with green paper

No, that doesn’t mean you should only buy green colored christmas paper. Don’t give me sass, boy. It means you should reuse paper (newspaper, etc) or buy recycled gift wrap. It also means you should make sure to recycle the paper after the presents have been opened, or – even better – save it for next year.

I’m not the only one writing about this, and I encourage you to read more about green giving elsewhere:

Treehugger

Gift Rap  

NY Times

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Entry filed under: clothes, shoes and other goodies (or badies), conservation, recommended.

My Uncle’s Farm Our first snow and last harvest

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