Eco-friendly Christmas Gifts

7 11 2010

I’m brazenly breaking my own rule about discussing Christmas before Thanksgiving. However, it’s fun and often necessary to think about the presents we’ll give to others well in advance – especially when making them. In that spirit, I give you a sampling of ideas you could use with little prior crafting or cooking experience. All are a great way to reduce the price tag and wastefulness of holiday gift giving.

  • A Storybook Life has an easy-peasy idea for ornaments or gifts that look and smell fantastic.
  • Right@Home is the source for simply elegant jar gifts. Not seen on that page are their inventive cocoa mix jars.
  • Consider gift baskets! My husband and I had a fun and impromtu date night one Christmas making a basket for extended family members with dollar-store items. There was something in it for everyone, and the creativity involved kept us entertained.
  • For many more homemade gift ideas, visit Martha Stewart’s Santa’s Workshop.

Obviously, the degree to which a handmade gift is also environmentally friendly depends both on the source and type of materials needed and the alternative gift you would have given. Some things to consider:

  • Source. Do I or someone I know already have some or all of the materials I need, or things I could substitute for them? Not consuming new materials is always the gentlest choice for the earth.
  • Type. If you must purchase materials, are there some that are made of recycled goods, and/or that can be reused or recycled when the recipient is done with them?
  • The Alternative. What would you likely have given that person instead? Would this object require more energy waste or pollution than what you will make?

Finally, if you are interested in reducing the “stuff” focus of your holiday season, check out this refreshing guide from Postconsumers.

Do you have any signature handmade holiday gifts?

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KFC Getting Green Praise

2 10 2010

This just in: KFC, maker of the controversial “Double Down” sandwich, is getting positive press for replacing most of its Styrofoam with truly reusable take-home containers. The tubs are dishwasher and microwave safe, require 25% less energy to make than foam, and produces 50% fewer greenhouse gases. For their efforts, KFC even won the 2010  Greener Package Award.

This isn’t a new idea, but it is one that may be over-due for a comeback. In the 80s, some restaurants issued reusable dishware as an incentive, like toys in a Happy Meal. The idea has good and bad points: on the one hand, the containers still use non-renewable petroleum, but KFC plans to limit this somehow. On the other hand, preliminary studies are showing that customers are reusing them, at least for several weeks. Some might argue that biodegradable plastic is the only way to go, but the material is still cost-prohibitive for many companies.

What do you think – is this a step in the right direction or just a step sideways?





New Tips for Winterizing Your Home

14 12 2008

Oh Ranger! has some great tips and surprising facts for improving the heat retention in your home. Several ideas cost nothing to implement, and one insulation idea runs as low as 4 dollars in some stores. To check it out, visit this link, and stay warm!





Lower bills and energy use

13 11 2008

TheNest.com has some novel tips for reducing energy loss in your home, as well as lowering other bills:

10 Ways to Cut Monthly Bills








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