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Giving Green Gifts

Gift giving is a strong part of our culture, and while it may not always seem like the easiest thing to do, the very act of giving can increase of overall happiness. Imagine, now, if you could extend that sense of happiness if, in the course of giving a wonderful gift, you also made a positive impact on the Earth's health? There are lots of options when it comes to green gift-giving. It is becoming much easier to be environmentally savvy when giving a gift now that more and more green options are available. Clothing & Linens: If you are considering buying clothing, linens, or other fabric-based gifts, consider products that have a low impact on the environment; especially if they are sourced 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 Décor: There are many options when buying home décor 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. There is no limit to the number of times glass can be recycled, and it is a simple and less energy-intensive process than quarrying glass from raw materials.

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 are completely unlimited by geography when giving this type of gift, so get creative and you'll find some wonderful options. 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. Copyright (c) 2008 Virginia Ginsburg.

Virginia Ginsburg is an expert on green living and socially-conscious investing. In addition to writing about sustainable products, she runs Green Baby Gifts http://www.greenbabygiftsonline.com , which provides ready-to-go, beautiful gifts for new babies.

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