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Cool Planet: The Benefits of Eco-Minded Gift Giving

Dec 01, 2007 11:37AM

The Benefits of Eco-Minded Gift Giving

Each week between Thanksgiving and Christmas, Americans collectively toss out an extra 2 billion pounds of garbage, reports Robert Lilienfeld, coauthor of Use Less Stuff: Environmental Solutions for Who We Really Are. That’s 25 percent more trash than during the rest of the year according to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. “So making more with less during the holiday has enormous impact,” says Lilienfeld.

To cut the volume of things headed to a landfill, The Green Guide suggests that we consider giving homemade edible gifts in reusable containers, gift certificates for wellness services, gift cards for movies, tickets to concert and theatre performances, or dinner at a favorite organic restaurant. Or make a donation to a favorite cause in the receiver’s name. Instead of writing cards, use email to send holiday wishes, or make a phone call to spread holiday cheer.

When wrapping gifts this season it helps to keep eco-principles in mind. Thoughtful items can look pretty in recycled or reused wrapping paper; reused gift bags; funny paper; or any unused clothes, scarves or pillowcases lying about. Creative gift-givers can even make a cloth wrap a part of the present using an organic-cotton dishcloth or bread basket napkin, echoing the Japanese custom of furoshiki.

If new packaging is really the only option, look for 100 percent post-consumer waste content. And choose processed chlorine-free (PCF) paper products in which no additional chlorine or chlorine derivatives were used to bleach the final recycled-fiber product. Or try a tree-free variety of paper made from hemp, flax or organic cotton fiber.

Since lighting up the holiday gifting tableau with candles is a likely part of the fun, it’s good to know that petroleum-free options are readily available. Favorites include soy pillars and beeswax tapers.  Here’s to happier and healthier holidays for everyone.

For shopping suggestions visit and Natural Awakenings advertisers.

Source: by Lisa Pencraft

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Date: 2007/11/28 04:05:00 US/Pacific

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