Green gifts that save energy and help the environment
If you lean to green, you are not alone. Today's holiday shoppers have more choices than ever when it comes to gifts that save energy and help the environment.
First, consider doing your shopping online. It eliminates pollution from car travel and the stress of driving. You can see if local businesses have a website to buy from, especially for items such as gift cards and certificates. If you prefer to shop in stores, rather than online, bring a reusable shopping bag or two to hold your purchases.
Buy products from companies that support the environment. Look for gifts made of natural components such as grown cotton or hemp, especially for clothing, bedding, and towels. In addition, look for products that are recyclable or have been made with recycled content.
Each holiday season, Americans throw away roughly 25 percent more trash than any other time during the year. So, when it comes to gift wrapping make sure to be environmentally conscious as well. You can use wrapping paper made from recycled paper or wrapping paper you've saved from previous gifts received. Or be creative and use leftover fabrics or a newspaper's Sunday comic strips. Here are some specific items to consider giving this year:
Environmentally friendly golf tees and golf balls
Look for ones made of organic, recyclable materials. A recent price check on Amazon showed 100 biodegradable tees and a dozen golf balls made from recycled materials sold for $8.57 and for $20 to $30, respectively.
These help beat "phantom" energy use and make it easy to cut power to designated electronics when they aren't in use. If constant power is needed, say, for satellite TV boxes, smart strips can handle that task, too. Smart strips are sold online or at electronic retailers and generally cost between $22 to $34.
Savvy power tools
For that handyman or handywoman on your list, consider power tools with Energy Star battery chargers, which means that they are the most efficient available. The EPA now qualifies products with popular tool brands such as Black & Decker, Makita, Bosch, and others.
Earth-friendly body soaps and lotions
Burt's Bees, based in Durham, is among numerous green companies today that sell natural products and gift sets to soothe and pamper those on your holiday list. (For more North Carolina companies, see the sidebar.)
Energy Star qualified televisions are, on average, more than 40 percent more energy efficient than standard models. The label can be found on everything from standard TVs to HD-ready TVs, to the largest flat-screen LCD and plasma models.