Green Gift ideas!

Various ideas to consider with the holidays coming….

  •  World Wildlife Fund, National Wildlife Federation, The Sierra Club, Nature Conservancy and others allow you to adopt an animal or buy gifts that benefit the organization and its conservation work.
  • Give the gift of outside! Such as membership in an outdoors club, rock climbing lessons, a deluxe tune up for their bike, or maybe even that kayak they have always wanted to buy.
  • You can give all kinds of water- or energy-saving tech that’s fun to use and green. Learning thermostats or smart light switches can be a good choice for people who love gadgets.
  • Give someone a living plant! A terrarium, herb plants, plant a tree, etc.
  • Make a gift, reuse, upcycle it! Candles, lip balm or jewelry (i like the spoon rings!) Some great ideas off the Fun in the Making Blog “green” crafting. 
  • If you struggle with making it yourself, buy from others who did such as Uncommon Goods.
  • Find something local to give.
  • Give the gift of experiences such as wine tasting, bike tour, pottery class, cooking class, movie tickets or show tickets.
  • Gifts that cut back on waste like reusable snack bags, bamboo utensil set, reusable water bottle, etc.

Understanding Ecolabeling

Wonder if what you are buying that is labeled eco_, natural_ or earth-friendly_ is really what is claims to be? How “green” is “green”? What do the over 500,000 eco labels on the market today really mean?   This site ecolabeling.org is meant to help you determine what the these labels really mean by attempting to add all eco-labels to their database, provide standards of transparency and trustworthiness, and then help companies w/ selling their eco-friendly products (or you to buy these products). They look at when the company was established (aka the standards that existed then), a verification and audit of the company (to determine if it’s really being monitored and how often), and the standard criteria to obtain this label.   You can search the labels by type (retails, food, etc), general region or a country.

SustainLane

SustainLane is a  people powered, social network guide to sustainable living, with news,  jobs, search for local business, product reviews, and how-tos, with  personal stories and pointers on better, greener living.  One popular aspect of this site  is their City Rankings – includes top cities, most improved cities, or search by category such as air & water quality, transportation, waste management, etc . The Product Reviews tab offer searches by zip/address or browse categories such as Food & Drink, Health & Wellness, Beauty & Fashion, etc. I personally enjoy the How-to sections’ ideas such as Learn How to Make your own Household CleanersHow to Organize your Garage with Recycled Laundry Bottles, What to Look for When Choosing your Lotions, or How to Green Your Pets or Your Pregnancy – and you can search this section  for various topics or browse.   Don’t miss the discount coupons for sustainable products.   You can sign up on SustainLane, so you can post reviews, add green products  & business, find members, receive their e-newsletters, etc.

Find Greener Options with EVO

The first thing I did on EVO’s site was take the Green Your Tree quiz to answer the question “how green are you?”  Though its not perfect answer of  how green you really are (for ex: yes, I drive a fuel efficient car to work daily but my husband works at home; and yes I have nylon or polyester clothes but from thrift stores, not bought by me) its intended to be a fun, engaging way to give you a sense of their environmental impact and offer some good recommendations for daily habits and choices.

EVO ‘s goal is to connect you directly with online sellers and present the user with  valuable content along with green products and services in an easy and accessible way. Every product  is assigned a number of leaves to represent how green it is –  the more green leaves, the greener the product. Registration is free, quick and easy and for every person registered EVO has partnered with Trees For The Future to plant a tree.

Since they only get paid when a successful connection between buyers and sellers occurs, its also a good venue for small, local green business who cant afford advertising large scale.  Read an interview with creator and CEO Dan Siegel to find out more about EVO.

Looking to buy green?

logo-buygreen

BuyGreen.com is a secure Web site to shop for green and eco-friendly products. They offer a variety of products ranging  from commercial to consumer.

On of the cool things about this site is their  Green Standards program, applied to all products available through their website. As a consumer this is a tool to help you understand why a product is ‘green’ and to what extent it is eco-friendly. Buygreen.com requires their suppliers and manufacturers to complete a questionnaire on every product before being considered for sale and then they apply a green standard to the product based on its  lifecycle  (source, manufacturing, impact, disposal).

The Web site also offers a good list of other organizations and links and green living tips.