10 eco-friendly holiday gift ideas for friends

November 27, 2020 by  
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Too often, the giving season feels like a mad rush to check tasks off a list. It’s all too easy (and embarrassing) to wind up giving our friends and family junk gifts that we regret buying. Our  shopping  guide makes it simple to find sustainably made, easy-to-purchase presents that you can feel good about giving over the holidays. Spent grain pancakes Everybody has to eat, and anybody sane likes a good pancake. This  spent grain mix  is low carb, high  protein , contains lots of fiber and uses recycled grains. What?! That’s right, these pancakes are called “spent” because the barley flour comes from microbrewery castoffs. You and your pancake gift recipient will feel even better about breakfast knowing that Grain4Grain donates to a food bank every time somebody purchases a box. Related: How to make soy wax candles for a cozy, autumnal home Shoes by Allbirds Buying shoes can be intimate, so this one is for your close friends.  Allbirds , best known for its sneakers, also makes boat shoes, slip-ons and flats. Choose from shoes made from wool — supposedly these New Zealand sheep have a fabulous life — or, for your  vegan bestie, choose shoes made from responsibly sourced eucalyptus fiber. As a carbon-neutral company, Allbirds puts eco-thought into all aspects of business. The laces are made from recycled plastic bottles, the insoles use castor bean oil and even the shipping boxes are made from 90% recycled cardboard. Digital thrift store gift card Some friends are easier to shop for than others. For some particular people, it’s best to let them pick out their own  gifts . Help them shop sustainably with a digital thrift store gift card from Rent the Runway or thredUP. Upcycled clutch from Jungalow Jungalow  specializes in bright colors and bold botanical patterns. The company is the brainchild of  design  blogger Justina Blakeney. Now you can get Jungalow’s super lush upholstery fabrics in a clutch purse. These clutches use upholstery scraps that wound up on the cutting room floor. Your friend can carry it as a small purse, or keep important things organized inside the clutch while tossing it in a larger bag. Darling little tassels adorn the clutch’s zipper. Girlfriend Collective activewear Through  fashion  alchemy,  Girlfriend Collective  turns old fishing nets, plastic bottles and other trash into chic leggings, bras, socks, sweatsuits and shorts. The company has already sidetracked about 4.5 million plastic water bottles bound for a dubious fate. You can find clothing for all sizes, and even a maternity section on their website. Homemade sugar scrub For a low-cost yet personal gift with a sweet scent, make your friend a sugar scrub. All you need is  sugar , coconut oil (or similar) and a few drops of essential oil. Use the essential oil straight out of the bottle, or make a special blend for your friend. Scoop the scrub into a mason jar, tie a bow around it, and it’s ready to gift. Full details on making sugar scrubs are available at  The Simple Veganista . Malala Scrunchie With a  Malala scrunchi , your friend can secure her hair while simultaneously promoting  education  for girls. When you buy these hair holders, the money goes to the Malala Fund, named for the brave and beloved Pakistani heroine and kick-ass activist Malala Yousufzai. The scrunchies are made from sustainably sourced bamboo fabric and dyed with natural plant dyes, like turmeric for yellow, indigo for blue and madder root for pink. We like the pumpkin color for fall and winter. Cruelty-free, 10-free nail polish from Pear Nova Ten what? Bad ingredients: toluene, formaldehyde, formaldehyde resin, DBP, xylene, parabens, camphor, fragrances, phthalates or animal ingredients. Not sure what all those ingredients are? The bottom line is you probably don’t want them on your nails.  Pear Nova  products are 10-free, designed in  Chicago  and look much more stylish than your average drugstore nail polish. The inventive colors have fun names, such as Cleo F*ckin Patra, Rub My Temples, It’s Summer Somewhere and Rooftop ‘Til You Drop. Wine barrel Apple Watch strap In another clever example of  upcycling ,  Uncommon Goods  offers an upgrade for your Apple Watch strap. Your oenophile friend will feel good knowing that her new watch strap was once a French oak wine barrel. These straps are made in Austria and compatible with Apple Watch Series 5, 4 and 3. Eco travel kit In this pandemic  holiday  season, everybody wants things to go back to normal ASAP. Give the gift of optimism with this  eco travel kit . Your friend will smell delightful with naturally flavored lip balm, deodorant, moisturizer and perfume in grapefruit, bergamot and rose scents. She’ll nap beneath a silky eye mask and wake to note her thoughts in an artisan-crafted kite notebook. The kits come in a vegan leather case and also include earplugs, q-tips, hair ties, disposable face masks and Emergen-Cs. You can upgrade and personalize the Aria Kit with extra add-ons. Images via Grain4Grain , Katherine Gallagher / Inhabitat, thredUP , Jungalow , Girlfriend , Pixabay, HARA , Pear Nova , Uncommon Goods , and Aria Kit

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10 eco-friendly holiday gift ideas for friends

Ukraine’s Unusual Friend House Hotel is Made From Clay, Reeds and Wood

May 7, 2012 by  
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Read the rest of Ukraine’s Unusual Friend House Hotel is Made From Clay, Reeds and Wood Permalink | Add to del.icio.us | digg Post tags: Architecture , biomimicry , clay , eco hotel , eco-tourism , reed , Rufous Hornero , Ryntovt Design , shell stone , Sustainable Materials , ukraine , Wood

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Ukraine’s Unusual Friend House Hotel is Made From Clay, Reeds and Wood

AIA San Francisco’s Marin Living: Home Tours Returns This Weekend!

May 7, 2012 by  
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A special announcement for San Francisco Bay Area Inhabitants: AIA SF’s Marin Living: Home Tours are back! It’s well-known that the hills of the North Bay are overflowing with architectural treasures — you just have to know where to look. Every year, the San Francisco chapter of the American Institute of Architects gives tour-goers an opportunity to take a peek at some of the most innovative residences in the area — inside and out — and this year will be no exception. On Saturday, May 12 from 10:00AM to 4:00PM you can tour homes in Sausalito, Mill Valley and San Rafael, meet design teams, and learn more about the design process. Want to get in on the fun? Head over to AIA SF and register now ! + 2012 Marin Living: Home Tours + AIA San Francisco Permalink | Add to del.icio.us | digg Post tags: AIA san francisco , AIA SF , AIA SF Home Tours , bay area , Ewald Tajbaksh Architecture , Jay Behr Design , marin county , Michael Rex Associates , Miers Architects , mill valley , Ohashi Design Studio , San Francisco , San Rafael , sausalito , YamaMar Design

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AIA San Francisco’s Marin Living: Home Tours Returns This Weekend!

How can I reuse or recycle the nets you get around wine bottles?

March 12, 2012 by  
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Long time Recycle This friend (and very frequent commenter!) Anna has a question about the protective sleeves slipped around wine bottles: Any ideas what to do with the plastic nets they put for wine bottles for protecting them when you buy one? I don’t drink wine so I had to turn to my friend Google to see what those nets are like – some have big holes and look foamy, whereas others have smaller holes and look more like the thin plastic netting you get garlic bulbs in (a smaller version of orange/onion nets ). I think the former are to provide some “bounce” protection while the latter just keep all the big bits of glass together in the event of a breakage. (Please correct me if I’m wrong about those assumptions.) Either way, the first suggestion has to be reduce if you can: if they only add the netting at the shop after you’ve bought the wine, don’t let them: either take an old net to reuse or throw caution to the wind and just go nude 😉 As for reusing them for other things, the thinner/smaller holed nets can be filled with bird seed to make your own bird feeders, filled with the ends of old soap bars and hung on an outside tap for garden clean-up, or bunched up to make washing scrubbies. I’d be tempted to throw a few of the foam type ones in with our reusable shopping bag stash for when we go to the supermarket for a big shop – they could cushion glass jars and other glass bottles to save them clinking together all the way home. Opened out flat, the foam ones would also be useful as cushioning under heavy plant pots (so they’re less likely to damage/dint the surface they’re stood on) or between occasionally use crockery to save that knocking together too. How do you reuse or recycle those nets?

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How can I reuse or recycle the nets you get around wine bottles?

Photo of the Day: Polar Bear Plays King Of The Hill

September 15, 2011 by  
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Friend and conservation photographer Rebecca Jackrel recently went to Svalbard to photograph polar bears. This is one of the images she captured — and quite possibly my favorite photo of a polar bear ever. … Read the full story on TreeHugger

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Photo of the Day: Polar Bear Plays King Of The Hill

Timeshare A Backyard? Yes A Piece Of Summer In The LES

August 22, 2011 by  
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photo by Bonnie Hulkower Only in New York, where space is scarce and summer is brief, would one be able to pay to rent a backyard for a few hours. But that is what my friend Ben Pomeroy , of Now or Never radio, did last week. He rented a space called ” Timeshare Backyard .” Timeshare Backyard is a formerly vacant lot at 145 Ludlow Street in Manhattan’s Lower East Side , which for the month of August has been transfor… Read the full story on TreeHugger

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Timeshare A Backyard? Yes A Piece Of Summer In The LES

Hacked Up Barbie Dolls Make Cool but Ghoulish Jewelry

August 13, 2011 by  
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All Images Courtesy of Margaux Lange When I was little, my friend and I tore the heads of his sister’s Barbie dolls. After that, the game was pretty much over. Designer Margaux Lange shows a similar penchant for tearing apart Barbie and Ken dolls, but she doesn’t stop there. She takes the dismembered heads, arms, legs, breasts and accessories, and makes some very unique- if somewhat macabre- jewelry…. Read the full story on TreeHugger

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Hacked Up Barbie Dolls Make Cool but Ghoulish Jewelry

GiftRocket and the Art of Green Giving!

June 13, 2011 by  
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Gift cards take the hassle out of gift giving. Every year Americans spend billions of dollars on gift cards for special days like Father’s day

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GiftRocket and the Art of Green Giving!

Put Some Bark in Your Green Efforts

June 9, 2011 by  
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Whether you’re a business owner, an animal owner or both, you’d be surprised what you can do in caring for your friendly pooch, feline or other animal in helping the environment out.

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Put Some Bark in Your Green Efforts

Mickey Mouse: Ravager of Rainforests?

May 19, 2011 by  
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Activists from the Rainforest Action Network are targeting The Walt Disney Company for a slack paper-buying policy that allows children’s books to be printed from rainforest-destroying pulp.

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Mickey Mouse: Ravager of Rainforests?

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