- Always carry a reusable bag with you, for grocery shopping and for other shopping too. There are many compact or fish net bags available that can easily be stored in your purse (or car if you don’t carry a purse).
- Use the buddy system. They can help you carry
- If you have to use plastic bags, be sure to return them to a location that will collect and recycle them.
- Plan your trip. Choose your destinations and plan the most efficient route before you leave. This will save gas and time. Another option is to shop on way to and from regular route: work, place of worship.
- If you do your ordering online, be sure to be aware of the amount and type of packaging used. If possible, use vendors that have a carbon neutral footprint.
- In most cases, the cheapest and greenest way to ship your items is with USPS. They have regular route delivery as opposed to Fed EX and UPS. They may be able to pick up from your location and deliver stamps too.
- If you are traveling anytime during the year to visit someone you will gift, plan ahead and self-deliver for later gifting.
- When your gift requires batteries, include a set of rechargeable ones (and charger too if possible) with it.
Cards and Invitations:
- If possible, send your holiday and special occasion cards online. This not only saves resources, time and effort, but gives you the opportunity to help others in the process. A couple of great sites are:
- When hosting an event, use online sites to send out invitations. They will also be able to help you keep track of who received the email invitations, who opened them, who RSVP’d and also is able to bring a dish Some online evite websites are:
- Encourage your businesses and faith communities to utilize these online services for their correspondence.
- If you still like to make your own cards and invitations, be sure to use recycled and recyclable materials.
- Reuse any old cards, papers, mailings for interesting backgrounds and decorations for homemade cards. Have a container easily accessible so that these materials find their way into there instead of the garbage!
- Encourage gift exchanges that lessen the focus on the gifts and more on the giver and receiver relationship: draw names, exchange gender/age specific gifts, set a price limit, use a theme: (Goodwill, color green, fair trade); draw numbers to see who picks first and allow bartering to create an interesting “being together” dynamic.
- Attend classes or workshops to make gifts, such as cards, crafts, etc.
- Have a book exchange – each participant brings in a wrapped book they are done reading and ‘exchange’ it with others for new books.
- Grandparents - give memorabilia or family heirlooms to the kids and grandkids, perhaps with a short story included. Even if the grandkids don’t like it now, they will treasure it later.
- Buy a cow! Purchase animals and other forms of support for areas in need in honor of someone (ie www.heifer.org).
- Shop locally to support our communities; shop fair trade when possible.
- Give people the gift of time, one of the most precious gifts we can give. Consider gifting services such as babysitting, cleaning, or computer help.
- If you are purchasing items, make sure they are well made so that they will last a long time. Also, consider giving handmade items and/or practical green items, such as reusable cleaning clothes.
- Shiny gift wrap is not recyclable.
- Other more earth friendly wrapping material is: newspaper/comics, magazine pages, scarves, handkerchiefs, scraps of fabric, or even your kid’s artwork!
- Instead of using bows, use the ends of the fabric to tie together in a bow itself.
- If you need ribbons and bows, there are biodegradable options available (ie Cream City Ribbon).
- If you don’t want to wrap, you can just use brown paper bags (decorated with markers, stamps, etc.) or any interesting baskets or containers you have around the house.
- For gift tags, use old cards, wrapping paper or any other ‘fun’ paper material you can find. If you purchase tags, there are biodegradable kinds available, some even with plant seeds embedded in them.
- See the additional wrapping informational flyer for more ideas and instructions!
Food & Entertaining Ideas:
- Buy foods or ingredients from a local source whenever possible.
- For coffee, use fair trade; for milk, choose an organic source.
- You can use tail-ends of fabrics to make your own napkins.
- For those napkins and/or tablecloths that are stained, you can (re)color by soaking them in hot water with tea bags.
- Use ‘real’ plates and silverware.
- When you do use paper products, be sure they are compostable. A great source is www.ultragreenhome.com (also available at Sam’s Club).
- If you are going to update your kitchen, whether at home or in your faith community, choose to install or upgrade your dishwasher. New models only use 2.9 gallons of water to clean a whole load!
- When waiting for the water from the faucet to warm up, collect that running water to be reused elsewhere (water plants, coffee pot, pets, etc.).
*Almond Biscotti Recipe
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