Archive for the ‘Green Gift Ideas’ Category

Bugs and Drugs – The Extra Ingredients in Your Valentine’s Bouquet?

Monday, February 7th, 2011

You may have realized by now that buying your Valentine a bouquet of cut and refrigerated flowers for Valentine’s Day may be a nice thought but its not a very eco friendly one. The fact that they are often grown with pesticides is a problem, as is all the fuel wasted to transport them for mile after mile.

There is another very good reason though that some cut flowers are a very eco unfriendly choice for Valentine’s Day or any other time of the year.

You may find it hard to believe but more than eighty percent of the cut flowers imported to the U.S. during Valentine season pass through Miami International Airport, with Colombia and Ecuador by far being the largest sources of roses, chrysanthemums, gerbera daisies, Peruvian lilies and the dozens of other flower varieties that are so very popular every time February 14th rolls around.

The problem with that is that these blooms also sometimes carry little illegal immigrants – bugs and pests that have no natural place in the US and if allowed to escape they could wreck havoc with US crops and gardens in American backyards, especially in the sensitive eco system that is the nearby Florida Everglades.

Agricultural inspectors usually spend hour after hour spot checking the boxes of flowers rolling in, searching for these little pests but its inevitable that they cant catch them all. To make matters worse cut flowers are now a favorite place for drug smugglers to stash their wares to get them past customs. Drugs and bugs, what a romantic sounding combination.

So instead of supporting some Columbian drug cartel or helping some new strange strain of bug (some of these flower borne critters are so unusual customs officers have to send them to the Smithsonian Institution in Washington to be identified) gain illegal entry if you really must give flowers then buy them locally from a farmer’s market. Or alternately be a little more original in your Valentines gifting this year and check of the green gift ideas at Tip the Planet instead.

Giving the Holiday Gift of an Experience

Monday, December 6th, 2010

I recently read an article decrying the giving of holiday gifts altogether. The author offered helpful suggestions for making the move and although they were indeed very good I am afraid for most of us they just wouldn’t fly – tell my significant other that they weren’t getting a Christmas gift this year as an eco friendly gesture? I’d be in divorce court. Tell the kids that Santa isn’t coming this year? Bit tough to do.Scrooge wouldn’t even have the nerve.

However I certainly agreed that we really don’t need to keep giving the types of gifts we are used to. Most of them barely ever get used, or shoved into the back of a closet. Even that great game console the kids want so badly will become obsolete in months. And all that wasted wrapping paper! So the idea of giving an experience, one of that authors suggestions, actually really appealed to me.

Of course coming up with the right experience to gift might be a bit harder than charging another tie but I actually found a site that helps a great deal. offers hundreds of different ‘experience gifts” that are perfect for almost any taste.

The best thing is that each “Giftybox” offers a choice of different local activities for the recipient to choose from so they are not completely stuck with your vision of what they might enjoy. From a professional family portrait to a weekend at some of the nations finest hotels to a NYC Broadway show there really is something for everyone and some gifts are less than $40.

Of course you do not have to go to a special website to pick a good experience gift. Just think about the person you are choosing a gift for. What do you know they would love to do, but never allow themselves to? It could be as simple as going out for a meal with their spouse without the kids which means a gift certificate for a restaurant and your services as a personal babysitter will probably be the best gift they get all season, leaving the others in shade.

Green Alternatives to Traditional Holiday Gift Wrap

Thursday, September 30th, 2010

Yes, it is only the beginning of October but the fact is that most of us have begun (or at least thinking about) holiday gift shopping already. When you do go out gift shopping the one thing you should skip on if you want to be a little more environmentally responsible is store brought gift wrap. Instead ease the paper load in landfills (and the load on your wallet as well) by choosing one of these great green gift wrap alternatives.

Last Year’s Gift Bags – Many of us have a stash of gift bags in the basement or a kitchen drawer saved from gifts we’ve received. Instead of leaving them there cut the old tags off and reuse them. And if you are one of those people who simply cannot give a present in a gift bag without a filler use the paper from the paper shredder at work instead of tissue paper

A Gift within a Gift – Why not wrap the earrings you have bought for your sister in law in a nice cozy winter scarf? Or the video game for your nephew in a trendy t shirt? All it takes is a little clever folding and a few pieces of scrap ribbon to secure it all and you have the ultimate no waste holiday present(s).

Make Your Own Gift Bags – Have some scraps of material lying around? Or an old blouse or pair of jeans that you haven’t worn in years? Put them to good use by using the fabric to create re-useable cloth gift bags. Here’s how to make a simple one but if you have a basic knowledge of sewing you could really go to town:

Determine the desired width and length of your bag, then calculate fabric total width (width + 2 cm/3/4 in) x total length ([length x 2] + 14 cm/5-1/2 in); with right sides together, fold in half so the short edges are even; using 1 cm (3/8 in) seam allowance, stitch each side edge and then simply turn the right side out. Easy enough for anyone to do and can be adapted to make any size bag.

Magazines and Newspapers – A great picture from a magazine or an interesting page from a newspaper may be able to be reused as great gift wrap.

One final note – Even if you decide to go green this year and use an alternative to traditional store bought gift warp chances are that many of your friends and family will not. Instead of ripping those wrappers off this year though remove them carefully and save the wasteful wrap to be reused next year, making the whole season a little greener.

Have a great green gift idea? Share it with everyone at the most useful green Wiki on the Web.