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Eco-Friendly Gift Ideas

Choose gifts that have a positive environmental impact or help people in need; for example, donate a life-saving piece of equipment. Buy items from locally based merchants that needn't be wrapped to prevent used paper and bows in landfills.

Excerpted from A Greener Christmas

Gifts for Telecommuters:
Staple-Less Stapler: This gadget punches two holes through sheets of paper and creates tabs that lock the papers together.

Recycled Notebooks and Stationery: Choose paper products that have been produced from 100 percent recycled paper.

Natural Desk Light: The high-efficiency natural spectrum florescent bulb in this desk lamp imitates natural daylight, helping to reduce glare and eyestrain. The bulb lasts five times longer than an ordinary incandescent bulb.

Intelliplug: Choose an energy-saving adapter plug for all computer and television equipment.


Gifts for Food Lovers:
Organic Fruit and Vegetable Box: Pay for a month's supply of home-delivered, fresh, locally grown produce.

Indoor Winter Herb Garden: Provide an attractive container or windowbox, packets of herb seeds and potting compost for a constant supply of fresh herbs.


Gifts for Homeowners:
Bath Towels and Robes: Buy fairly traded, organic cotton bath towels and bathrobes or choose organic cotton and bamboo fiber towels, which have a 30 percent higher absorbency than cotton-only towels.

Furniture-Making Class: Select a class that teaches students how to make chairs and baskets from elm and willow or how to reupholster furniture.

Recycled Glass Homewares: Buy wineglasses, jugs, decanters and bowls in stylish colors and designs.

Eco Kettle: This kettle boils only the amount of water you actually need, saving water, energy and time.

Bamboo Serving Bowls: Choose streamlined, chic tableware made from bamboo — one of nature's greatest renewable sources. Fewer pesticides and chemical fertilizers are necessary for growing bamboo because it grows so fast.


Gifts for Babies and Children:
Cloth Diaper Starter Kit: Reusable cloth diapers are easy to use and wash and avoid potentially harmful super-absorbent gels, deodorants and chemicals.

Organic Cotton Clothes: Clothes made from organic cotton cause less harm to the environment, and to children's skin.

Natural Toys: Avoid plastic and PVC toys, which can contain harmful toxins. Instead, choose toys made from natural wood, cotton and wool.


Gifts for Gardeners:
Tree: Give a "grow-a-tree" kit or have a couple of fruiting trees delivered by a local nursery.

Water Barrel: Invaluable for collecting and storing rainwater to water plants in dry weather, it also reduces water consumption and water bills.

Butterfly Feeding Station: Buy a nectar feeder to attract and feed butterflies and early-pollinating bees. Include a book on butterflies as part of the kit.

Cold Frame: A perfect gift for a gardener to raise seedlings and cuttings, or over-winter young plants.

No-Dig Potato Planter: This tough, woven, polyethylene planter with drainage holes holds about nine gallons of compost in which to grow potatoes.


Gifts for Adventurers:
Recycled Wool Picnic Blanket: Look for rugs made from 100 percent pre- and post-consumer recycled wool.

Wind-Up Gadgets: Choose a wind-up radio or a media player for music, movie clips and photos. One minute of winding gives one hour of radio listening or 40 minutes of media-playing time.

Recycled Backpack: Buy a backpack that is made from 98 percent recycled PET plastic bottles.


Gifts for Sports Fans:
Sports Shares: Contributing to a local sports association can entitle a shareholder to club infor-mation and an invitation to games.

Fair-Trade Sporting Goods: Balls and other gear made by a fair-trade agreement ensures that workers have better wages and improved working conditions.

Eco Mat: A synergy eco mat for yoga and Pilates is free of latex, PVC, and phlates, which all contain potentially harmful toxins.

Eco Surfboard: Many modern surfboards are toxic pieces of sports equipment; give an eco-friendly surfboard made of wood and plant-based resin instead.

Excerpted from A Greener Christmas

© Dorling Kindersley Limited 2008

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