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Give a Green Gift

Copyright (c) 2008 Virginia Ginsburg

Giving a gift can increase your sense of well-being and happiness, and giving green gifts can take that to a whole new level. What could be better than making someone happy while also making the world a better place? Today's green gift options are beautiful and make a powerful statement while also taking less of a toll on the environment than comparable products on the market.

The options abound when considering green gifts. With more and more green options on store shelves, it is becoming easier to be environmentally conscious with your gift giving.

Clothing & Linens: If you are considering buying clothing, linens, or other fabric-based gifts, consider products that have a low impact on the environment; ideally those that come from a renewable resource. Here are some options:

1. The toxic chemicals and synthetic pesticides typically used when processing cotton can end up in the ground, air, water and food supply. Organically-grown cotton is a better choice because it reduces our impact on the Earth and exposure to these chemicals. Organically-grown cotton is increasingly easy to find and looks and feels just like chemically-assisted cotton.

2. Bamboo Fiber requires less energy and water to grow and sustain than any other fiber-producing trees and plants. It can be grown without pesticides or chemicals and is a high-yield renewable resource. Bamboo fabrics are often described as "silky" when compared to cotton.

3. Hemp Fiber is created from the longest and strongest plant fiber available to man. It has been used for centuries as a primary material in canvas, sail, rope, twine and webbing fiber. Hemp crops require no herbicides or pesticides. The combination of its easy growth requirements and strength makes hemp a fiber choice with an extremely low environmental cost.

Paper Products: Whether you're considering stationery, journals or pretty storage boxes, all can be made of recycled paper. A simple Google search will turn up hundreds of recycled paper products that you can use as unique gifts that have both meaning to the recipient and a positive impact on our Earth.

Home D?r: There are many options when buying home d?r items that are made from sustainable sources. The overall idea is to limit the impact on the Earth, so finding recycled or re-purposed materials is the best way to go. Here are some options:

1. Recycled Glass. Quarrying glass from raw materials is a much more energy-intensive process than recycling it into new products. Recycled glass products range from simple candle holders to elaborate dishware, vases and lamps.

2. Teak from colonial-era railroad ties. As demand for hard woods damages more and more forests each year, finding alternatives can make a significant impact. Teak is a beautiful hard wood that was used for railroad ties in African and Indian colonies. The wood is reclaimed and fashioned into beautiful, unique pieces that have both a long history and a long life.

Virtual Gifts: You don't have to give a physical gift to make someone happy. In fact, you might make people much happier if you give them on of countless "virtual gifts" that benefit the environment or other causes that are important to the recipient.

There are many options for these types of gifts, and they can be completely customized to the recipient's personal interests. For example, if you know someone who likes children and art, you could make a donation in her name to an inner-city children's art program. If you know someone who enjoys scuba diving, you can make a donation to a reef-protection program or provide him with information about how to donate his old gear to a Pacific Island. You can give a donation to almost any type of organization in almost any part of the world.

Whatever you do, keep in mind that eco-friendly gift-giving is usually just as easy (or as hard!) as mainstream gift-giving. When choosing a present for a friend, you can simultaneously do a good deed for the Earth.
About The Author Virginia Ginsburg writes about sustainable products, green living, and her quest for a socially-conscious lifestyle. She is founder of Green Baby Gifts (http://www.greenbabygiftsonline.com), which offers beautifully-wrapped baby gifts made of bamboo fiber and packaged in completely recycled and recyclable packaging.
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