Top 10 Environment-Saving Gifts
The Gift of Green Charity
Charities provide fantastic opportunities to contribute to both the planet's and society's health. Through Heifer International, an agency committed to sustainable agriculture, you can give a friend the pleasure of knowing that lasting aid was given in her name to a community in need. A gift of seedlings costs only $10.
Composting turns garbage into a treat for your garden, and it's easy to do. Buy your friend an attractive kitchen compost pail for around $20. He can put food scraps in the bucket and take them out to a compost pile in the yard at his convenience. A composter with a charcoal filter will cut down on kitchen odors. For the ultimate in composting ease, get your friend an automatic composter, like this one for $300 at CleanAirGardening.com. Food goes in and useable soil comes out.
Plants are always a welcome present to the green of thumb. Trees are particularly appropriate for the green-minded recipient: In addition to looking beautiful, trees can help conserve energy and promote a cleaner atmosphere. When you buy this Baby Tree Kit ($20 at EcoExpress.com), some of the money is donated to organizations that plant trees.
You'll probably be surprised to learn that using a diaper service can actually be less expensive than buying disposable diapers. Eco-Baby Cloth Diaper Service in Colorado, for example, costs $68 for the first four weeks. Cloth diapers also generate less waste than disposables and don't pollute water. Start new parents off on the right track by paying for a diaper service that uses earth-friendly practices. You can find one near you through the Real Diaper Industry Association.
If your giftee likes to read, give him a book about green living, like The Home Energy Diet by Paul Scheckel ($14 at Amazon.com). Scheckel's book involves readers in the process of learning about their own homes as they examine their home energy usage. Not only will you provide interesting reading to a family member or friend, he might also learn how to cut costs at home!
Seeds make another great gift for the garden-lover. Purchasing organic seeds is especially good for the environment, since the seeds are grown and harvested without using pesticides or other harmful practices. The Garden Ecology Collection ($15) from SeedsofChange.com contains seeds for plants that will provide habitat for diverse species while discouraging pests.
A folding bike will turn an eco-conscious friend into a happy commuter. Instead of locking her bike up at the train station and worrying about it all day, she can fold this bike up and take it with her. The Strida folds easily and is a light burden, especially since it can be rolled along in a folded position. You can buy version 3.2 at Areaware.com for $499, or version 5 for $799.
Imported grapes appear in the Environmental Working Group's (EWG) "Dirty Dozen" of foods with the highest levels of pesticide residue. To promote a healthy Earth, buy your loved one organic wine. Bonterra's Cabernet Sauvignon Organic -- 2005, can be had for $15 at Astor Wines & Spirits in NY, or online at AstorWines.com.
Most cosmetics contain a long list of incomprehensible chemical and non-chemical ingredients. If you're considering a gift for someone who cares about avoiding chemicals, makeup with natural ingredients is a good choice. A Getting Started Kit from bareMinerals costs $60 at Sephora.com. The kit includes foundations, powders, brushes, and a how-to DVD.