New Leaf: Eco-friendly gift ideas

By Lindy Almony |

With the holidays approaching, it is time to begin purchasing gifts for family and friends. I encourage you this season to break away from your typical Target purchases and strive to make environmentally-friendly gift purchases. When you add in transportation, paper and packaging waste it increases our holiday environmental impact; so let’s counteract this by making our gifts environmentally conscious and friendly!

Another thing to consider during the holidays is paper and packaging materials. Save and reuse wrapping paper from previous years, or make some from reused brown paper bags, newspapers and fabric. You can also shop for recycled-content holiday wrapping paper.

This holiday gift list provides unique gifts that will please your family, friends and Mother Earth.

For the holidays, let our gift to the environment be a few less plastic bottles reaching landfills. The CamelBak Better Bottle is made from Tritan, a material that is very durable and BPA free. The Better Bottle costs $11. You can choose from a variety of CamelBak bottles online or at Gander Mountain at the Prime Outlets in St. Augustine. Why purchase bottled water when this option is more convenient and cost efficient?

Green Mountain Coffee is Fair Trade Certified, which “guarantees consumers that strict economic, social, and environmental criteria were met in the production and trade of an agricultural product,” according to This coffee sampler includes Organic Ethiopian Yirgacheffe, Organic French Roast and Organic Sumatran Reserve for $24.95. (Includes three 10-ounce bags)

Emagazine, the environmental magazine, has had twenty successful years as an information source on national and international coverage of environmental issues. A subscription will provide your loved one with a years worth of useful knowledge pertaining to the future of our planet. The cost for a one-year (six issues) subscription is $24.95 and can be purchased online.

This gift idea is fabulous for the man in your life. The Organic Shave and Skin Mojito Man Gift Set includes the Mojito Man prep scrub, shave gel, moisture mist and old fashioned shave brush, packaged up in a reusable gift bag made from natural fibers.
For $35 you’ve got a great gift that’s organic, natural, renewable and made in the United States, straight from California.

According to The Daily Green, a consumer’s guide to the green revolution, there are several great ways to help cut fuel consumption. A clean air filter, oil change, new oil filter or tire rotation are all ways to improve gas mileage. While this gift may seem unconventional, it is great for someone who spends a lot of time on the road. Contact local automotive shops for promotions, coupons and gift certificates.

One of my favorite holiday gift ideas is pet adoption. While it may not be possible to bring a dog or cat into your home, you can still adopt and care for animals from a distance. You can adopt an orphaned elephant in someone’s name for only $50. You will play an important role in the much needed care and dedication that a baby elephant needs. According to the website, your gift will also include a certificate with a profile and photograph of your adopted orphan, a map indicating where your orphan was found, a description of the habitat and a “Keeper’s Diary,” which will highlight the progress of your orphan.

Make a statement with your gift in support of the Earth and humanity. Toms shoes has a great, fashionable collection for men and women. Toms products use no animal products, only materials that are recycled or natural. And, Toms donates a pair of shoes to a child in need for each shoe purchase you make. Goldfinch, a local boutique, carries Toms shoes or you can visit them online to see the complete collection.

For the chess player in your life — a chess set made from recycled car parts. The designer, Armando Ramírez, shapes scrap metal into pawns, horses, kings, queens and bishops. Even the board is made from recycled sheet metal. This gift can be purchases through NOVICA, in association with National Geographic, for $109.95.

Matt and Nat produce fashionable, designer handbags in a socially responsible and compassionate way. “MATT & NAT products have never used animal by-products. That said, the brand is more than just vegan,” said Rather than buy another Coach or Michael Kors leather purse, why not purchase a unique and environmentally friendly handbag? The Billie handbag is made from black vegan leather with 100 percent recycled faux suede lining. This handbag costs $150.50. Visit Matt and Nat’s website to see the entire collection.

These gifts are all two-in-one; a wonderful and unique gift for the receiver, and also for the Earth. This list is only the beginning of many possibilities.

Happy shopping and happy holidays!

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