It can be hard, come holiday time, to stick to your eco-guns when purchasing gifts for others. After all, even though you LOVE your NatureMill composter and would like to buy one for the world, to your auntie Mary, no matter how well you explain the concept, it’s just plug-in box full of trash. So unless you want some serious regifting going on, you might want to find some products that sneak your eco-conscious sensibility in the back door, while your none-the-wiser fam revels in their tasty and chic gifts.
For some eco-chic clothing that doesn’t slack on style, check out nau.com, a socially conscious outwear company that offers coats galore for the dark days of winter. They offer all sorts of other great clothes too, but hey, it’s cold out there! I especially like the Shroud of Purrin Hoodie (yes, they have a good sense of humor!), which takes the classic hoodie and adds some super soft lovin’ to the inside, while sporting class it up cut details that take it from the gym to your dinner date without a change of clothing. For urbanites, they also offer the super soft coat in a trench version, shown below. The best thing about nau.com is that for any purchases made, 2% of the sale price will be donated to your choice of five eco-conscious causes.
Of course some people are receptive to getting green gifts, and for them, please, promote away! Perhaps you could send a sheep or cow (in their name, not to their doorstep, can you imagine the shipping?) via Heifer International, an organization that lets you adopt a livestock animal or flock of birds for a family in a developing country. Or maybe buy a TerraPass with carbon offset points for someone you love, helping them to green their whole year. It’s a little less cute than a smiling cow, but promotes alternative energy development and comes with a convenient calculator that will let you offset individual actions such as that holiday plane flight to visit Grandma. And if you’re stuck for green ideas, they also have a gift store on their site which makes it easy to pick up eco-gadgets for anyone in the family.
And finally, if you want to give a present to your whole town, visit RecycleBank.com and express your city’s interest in joining their recycling program, which actually PAYS YOU TO RECYCLE (which you do anyway, right? So it’s free money!!!) When a city signs up with RecycleBank, the company puts RFID tags on your curbside recycle bins and on the trucks that come and pick up their contents. For every pound you recycle, the truck logs the weight of your bin, and you earn points and coupons which can be redeemed at local businesses for free or discounted stuff, thereby stimulating your local economy and encouraging recycling at the same time! Some cities currently using the program have seen recycling rates go up from around 3% to almost 30%, and the cities themselves save hundreds of thousands of dollars annually in reduced waste transport costs to the landfill, which they split with the company. So next year, there will finally be enough money in the town budget to buy LED lights to power the annual light festival, or switch to CFLs in city buildings, saving money (and landfill space!) for generations to come.