Green living has become the wave of the future, and as a result a new market has developed. Greener options are available in just about every sector; cars, appliances, and even gifts. Here is a list of the top green gifts to give.

Re-usable Shopping Bags

Plastic bags are a major environmental offender, as they can take hundreds of years to degrade. They often find their way to the ocean where they have been known to kill birds and marine life who get entangled in them or they mistake the pieces of plastic as food. Give the green gift of reusable bags, many people have integrated these reusable bags into their grocery shopping routine. EnviroSax has created a variety of bags in many colours and sizes. These gift worthy bags are not only fashionable but are also made of sustainable fabrics such as

Green I-Phone Apps

For the I-Phone user there’s a slew of green apps to gift, to help anyone live a greener life.

  • GetGreen – sends a green living tip every day.
  • The Find Green App- locates Eco-friendly businesses such as spas, and restaurants. Some users have touted it as the green yelp.
  • GoodGuide – Want to know which product is the greenest? Try this app.
  • Carticipate – Looking for a carpool? This social app helps link people who are going to the same place.

Eco-Friendly, Re-usable Water Bottles

Re-usable products are one of the easiest ways to reduce ones carbon foot print. TreeHugger.com reports that the United States consumes 1,500 plastic water bottles every second. Plastic is not only bad for the environment but also for the consumer as it leaches toxins into the water that have been linked to health problems such as reproductive issues and cancer. For a greener choice, give a reusable water bottle like the Swiss-made Sigg water bottles, they are Eco-friendly BPA-free.

Kindle- The Electronic Book

There is no doubt that the printing and distribution of books leaves a giant carbon footprint. Rather than gifting a book try a greener option; the Kindle. It’s an electronic device that allows you to download and read books often at a discounted price. Recently released books typically go for £9.99 each and older books for closer to £5.00.

Sustainable Household Goods

Looking for a great organic gift? Try handmade kitchen towels and napkins from Branch. The towels are handmade in Transylvania, Romania by local women. According to BranchHome.com, the collective that manufactures these napkins works to preserve traditional Romanian handicrafts while providing jobs for women that allow them to stay home and raise their children. The towels are made from organic hemp and cotton grown on family farms, then harvested, processed and spun by hand.

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Whether it be Christmas, a birthday, or other occasion, there are some great choices for gifts for someone who is concerned about the environment. There are a lot of eco-friendly products on the market. However, consumerism and buying beyond your needs is not an environmentally friendly notion. Check out the ideas below for all kinds of gifts, with tangible items plus non-traditional options that won’t eventually add to Earth’s great rubbish heap.

Food-Related Gifts

Everyone needs to eat. The best food that is also kind on the environment is that which is grown locally. What can be more local than from your own home? A window box herb garden or a potted tomato or pepper plant will provide them with delicious meals and a reminder of you every time they cook with these ingredients. For a bigger bounty, buy your recipient a share in a community garden or farm cooperative. This will provide a wider range of produce, all organically grown. Or you could simply buy them a basket of organic locally grown food to enjoy right away. And because some items still need to be bought from the store, consider a handful of canvas shopping bags. This solves the problem of paper versus plastic. You don’t need either if you bring your own washable reusable bags to transport your goods. And they will be the first on a trend, because some stores are now doing away with paper and plastic all together and issuing their own reusable bags to customers. One last food-related idea is an attractive bucket to keep under the sink. When cooking, the chef can place it on the counter and dispose of food waste inside, and also scraps after a meal, to be carried outside afterward and dropped into the compost pile. This reduces food waste in the water system or garbage heaps and provides a rich source for next year’s plantings.

Organizations/Activist Groups

Memberships to different environmental groups can help people make a difference all year long. The Sierra Club has a long history of protecting the environment. It lobbies for environmental causes and distributes a regular magazine to members to update them on news stories, club outings, relevant books and products, an Ask Mr. Green column, and much more. The Nature Conservancy buys up land around the world to be protected, providing crucial habitats for wildlife. It also puts out a magazine to regularly update members on what’s happening. The World Wildlife Fund concentrates on saving the species around the world, but particularly giant pandas, tigers, whales, dolphins, rhinos, elephants, marine turtles and great apes. Education is also an important element in the organisation. The Environmental Defense Fund is another option. Founded by scientists, this organisation influences national policy and works with business to develop cleaner technologies. It has a more corporate and market-driven focus.

Media: Books and Videos

There is a good chance that a true environmentalist on your list has already read these books or seen the videos, but for those who are new to the subject, these are great educational and riveting pieces. Three excellent books on climate change are The Weather Makers by Tim Flannery, The Winds of Change by Eugene Linden, and Field Notes from a Catastrophe by Elizabeth Kolbert. A book about how drastically humans have shaped all aspects of Earth and how it would change if we were to suddenly disappear is documented in the brilliant book The World Without Us by Alan Weisman. Also look for local hiking guides or gardening books. A movie that most every environmentalist has seen by now is An Inconvenient Truth, with Nobel peace prize winner Al Gore. But it’s still a good movie to have on hand for review or to share with those who are not yet enlightened. Also look for Who Killed the Electric Car? on DVD.

Other Non-Consumer Gifts

Tickets to a show, whether it be a play, the movies, a concert, or a special exhibition coming to town. Yearly passes to a museum or other local entertainment. A sticker for entry into state parks or national parks, if your recipient lives near one. A gift certificate to a green inn for a getaway. Try a member of the Green Hotels Association. Make housework lighter and safer with a gift certificate to an eco-friendly cleaning service.

Practical Gifts

If you want to buy “stuff,” then make it something the gift recipient can actually use. A cover for their old water heater or even better, a new water heater. In fact, any energy-efficient appliance would make someone happy. Not only are they good for the environment but they work better in general than the older models. A low-flow shower head to conserve water or CFL bulbs, especially if you can get them in the harder to find soft light shades, odd sizes that fit unusual fixtures, and with traditional shapes for exposed locations. A bike is great for those who need to travel short distances and also a big benefit to their health. And for longer distances, who wouldn’t love a hybrid?

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