9 ways to have an eco-friendly Valentine’s Day

February 8, 2019 by  
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While there is no truth to the rumor that Hallmark invented Valentine’s Day, there is no denying that many people think of it as a manufactured holiday designed to sell cards, flowers and chocolate. Every February 14th, millions of people buy cards and roses, and drop a ton of cash on diamonds, gold and silver. In 2019, Americans are expected to spend almost 20 billion dollars for the romantic holiday, and that breaks down to nearly $150 a person. All of that consumer spending leads to a lot of waste . A holiday dedicated to love shouldn’t be about how much money you spend. You can still do a lot of romantic things that don’t destroy your budget and the environment. Rethink your chocolate choices Instead of picking up a last minute box of chocolates from the nearest convenience store, plan in advance to buy organic or local chocolate. Then, opt for minimal packaging instead of heart-shaped boxes or plastic molds. Go green with your Valentine’s cards Even though everything seems to be digital these days, more than 180 million paper cards are still exchanged on Valentine’s Day. Paper mills use huge amounts of water and emit loads of chemicals, not to mention, the trees that have to die to make these cards. Even recycled cards will emit methane when they decompose in a landfill. This year, skip the traditional paper card and make one yourself out of old magazines or give a card made from plantable seed paper. You can also send a custom E-Card or chalk a sidewalk where you know your significant other will see it. Related: 6 ways to reuse your Valentine’s Day roses Pick organic bouquets The flower industry is surprisingly destructive when it comes to the environment because of the heavy pesticide use. So, minimize your impact this Valentine’s Day by giving your loved one an organic bouquet or pick some flowers out of your own garden or visit the local farmer’s market. If you do visit your local farmer’s market, that is also a great place to find local, seasonal treats instead of buying something that’s been shipped from thousands of miles away. Stick to vintage jewelry There are numerous environmental and human rights problems that come from mining gold and diamonds. So, instead of buying brand new jewelry, opt for a vintage piece that makes a statement. Or, consider something that has been made from recycled metal, paper or other repurposed materials. Skip the restaurant Many of us look at Valentine’s Day as an excuse to dine out at a fabulous restaurant and drop a little extra cash. However, there is nothing more romantic than making a meal together at home in your own kitchen. Not only is cooking a meal at home better for your wallet, but it is also better for the environment because it will mean less food waste and no to-go boxes. Donate to a cause Instead of exchanging gifts or indulging with an expensive night out, you can go eco-friendly this Valentine’s Day by making a donation to an environmental cause or animal shelter in your loved one’s name. Or, you can go further than a donation and save an animal from a shelter by giving a shelter dog or cat as a gift. Just make sure that your significant other actually wants a pet. Related: Green Valentine gifts for Earth-loving sweethearts Make your own bath products A hot bubble bath with your Valentine is a great way to spend the evening, but there is no need to buy bath and body products from chain stores or big box stores. Instead, make your own bath salts, bath bombs, sugar scrubs or bath oils. There are plenty of recipes on the internet and most of them use natural ingredients. Plant a tree Skip the cut flowers this Valentine’s Day and instead plant a tree together as an ongoing reminder of your love and your relationship. If you aren’t ready for a tree, you can opt for a plant. And, if you still want to see beautiful flowers on the holiday, visit a botanical garden or nature reserve and take a romantic stroll. Use eco-friendly protection and undies Go green in the bedroom this Valentine’s Day with vegan condoms from companies like Sustain Natural, Glyde, L. or Lovability. Traditional condom companies aren’t very forthcoming with their ingredients, so we don’t know how long it takes for them to biodegrade. So, to stay eco-friendly this Valentine’s Day, go vegan — at least in the bedroom. Via Sierra Club Images via Sharon McCutcheon , Shutterstock

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9 ways to have an eco-friendly Valentine’s Day

4 Fresh Holiday Gifts for Easier Breathing

December 13, 2018 by  
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The holidays are a wonderful time to cook like Emeril, … The post 4 Fresh Holiday Gifts for Easier Breathing appeared first on Earth911.com.

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4 Fresh Holiday Gifts for Easier Breathing

A guide to the best eco-friendly holiday gifts for family

December 11, 2018 by  
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When it comes to family, we want to offer the best of the best. The smartest way to gift high-quality gifts to your loved ones is by shopping sustainably. Eco-friendly products (and experiences) are made with love and care for people and the planet. Here are some of our top picks for everyone in your family. For mom: Eco-friendly yoga mats Mom deserves some ‘me’ time. Whether she is an avid yogi or is just getting started, this plant-based yoga mat is made with cork . It’s also free of harsh chemicals, antibacterial and odor-free. The cork is sustainable and helps provide a stronger grip. Hobby classes Does your mom love to cook? Maybe she could spend hours making pottery , or perhaps she enjoys painting. No matter her preferences, buy a pass or certificate for classes that interest her. This is a thoughtful gift of experience, which will leave her with lovely memories for years to come. Sweaters Who doesn’t love a snuggly sweater? We love the various options from Patagonia — the company is a champion for the environment, plus their products are built to last whether Mom likes to sit on the couch in her sweater or explore the great outdoors. Sustainable jewelry Add a little extra bling to your mom’s envy-inducing jewelry box with eco-friendly, ethical accessories. There are many beautiful, unique options from 31Bits , which works with women artisans in Uganda, Indonesia and the U.S. to provide fair working conditions and wages as well as healthcare, mentorship, counseling and more. For dad: Organic skincare There is no better way to show your love for someone than by giving them the gift of healthy skin. Whether it is something to moisturize the rough patches under a beard, something to soothe cracked knuckles or a myriad of products, gift Dad with organic skincare that will allow him to pamper himself daily. We love this line , which is made from recycled coffee grounds and only uses plant-based packaging. Watches Adorn Dad’s wrist with a new watch that will keep him punctual and stylish. Be sure to choose a brand with the environment in mind, like WeWood . WeWood offers wood watches free of toxic, artificial materials. Plus, WeWood plants a tree for each watch sold, and these wooden watches are sure to stand out among a sea of their metallic counterparts. Related: Inhabitat test drives a gorgeous WeWood watch Wool shirts Wool is incredibly durable with the ability to withstand the coldest of temperatures and wick away moisture with ease. Add a sleek wool shirt to Dad’s closet with options like Ramblers Way , a family-owned business in the U.S. that is dedicated to respecting the sheep, the environment and the people. The company uses 100 percent wool and donates time and money to local causes ranging from environmental conservation to human need to arts and education. Vegan or recycled leather jackets The jokes might be lame, but Dad can at least look cool in an environmentally responsible leather jacket. There are many vegan options on the market, or you can embrace reuse with a jacked from Better World Fashion . These jackets are made from recycled leather and the buttons are made with recycled metal. The certified B corp also relies on responsible production methods, uses zero water or chemicals and creates zero waste. For siblings: Eco-friendly subscription boxes Subscription boxes are the gift that keeps on giving, but it is important to find ones that advocate for the environment. Surprise your siblings month after month with a subscription to companies like the Bloomin’ Bin , Feeling Fab , KloverBox , MightyFix  and more. Everlane clothing With a commitment to ethical, sustainable fashion, Everlane offers eco-friendly unisex clothing, shoes and accessories that are sure to please. Be sure to browse the ReNew collection , which offers puffer coats, pullover sweaters and parkas all made from recycled water bottles. Zero-waste kit Help your siblings lower their carbon footprints (truly the best gift of all) by gifting them a zero-waste kit. Specifically, we recommend the {Zero} Waste Kit , which includes a glass jar with a leak-proof, organic bamboo lid; a sustainable cork sleeve for mugs; a reusable, ethically-sourced bamboo dual utensil; a stainless steel straw with an eco-friendly cleaner; a napkin made from upcycled fabric scraps; a knife with a ceramic blade and a bamboo handle; and organic cotton produce bags. Whew! That’s a lot of bang for your buck, and everything your loved ones could need to really embrace the zero-waste lifestyle. Indoor garden With a snappy indoor garden , your siblings can grow their very own food for weeks, months and years to come. We love Click + Grow , which is energy-efficient, small space-friendly and easy to use. In our own tests, we had sprouts from seed in just two days! It’s a great gift for those who would love to grow their own food, but might not have a lot of time or space to do so. For grandparents: Natural candles Nothing beats visiting your grandparents and taking in the comforting scents that fill their home (especially if they love to bake!). Add to the aroma with natural candles. Standard, store-bought candles can be toxic, so be sure to find sustainable candles made from responsibly sourced soy, coconut or palm wax. Also, ensure the wick is lead-free and made with cotton. Check Etsy for a wide range of handmade, eco-friendly candles. Related: Making soy candles for the holidays Birdhouses We all get a bit of joy from hearing birds chirp and watching as they soar above us. Gift this joy to Grandma and Grandpa by giving them a beautiful, handcrafted birdhouse that will spruce up their yard and bring cheerful birds around each day. Reading subscriptions Another gift that continues long after the holidays are over, a subscription for books, magazines or newspapers are an excellent present for grandparents who love to read. If they are open to going digital, it’ll save paper — otherwise, encourage them to recycle or upcycle the products when they have finished them! Choose their favorite media and topics, or introduce them to some reading that focuses on sustainability. Family photos Most grandparents would love to receive pictures of their family to place around their homes. Have your images printed with eco-friendly ink on sustainable paper , and then frame it in reclaimed wood or recycled materials. If you really want to go all out, organize a photoshoot with the whole family, and then frame those photos for a sweet sentiment. Images via George Dolgikh , Urbivore , Cally Lawson , Rocknwool , Artem Bali , Grums Aarhus , Ramblers Way , Franklin Heijnen , Kloverbox , Everlane , Alex Mortensen / {Zero} Waste Kit , Click + Grow , Joanna Kosinska , Nora Vellinga , Jonas Jacobsson , Shutterstock and Inhabitat

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Top Eco-Toy Brands

December 10, 2018 by  
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The toy industry is much better known for shilling cheap … The post Top Eco-Toy Brands appeared first on Earth911.com.

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A guide to the best eco-friendly holiday gifts for foodies

December 7, 2018 by  
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Food is an important aspect of our daily lives, but many of the treats we love are wrapped in single-use plastics or come from pesticide-ridden conventional farms . This year, show the foodies in your life how much you care with sustainable gifts that improve their cooking skills and make the planet a better place to live. Stainless steel straws After reviewing several types of reusable straws, we fell in love with the stainless steel variety. As the war on plastic straws wages on, give everyone you know a pack of stainless steel straws to keep on them anywhere they go. Related: Plastic straws are a thing of the past, but which reusable straw is the best for the future? Yogurt maker Many people love yogurt, but the individually packaged options on the market only contribute to the global waste crisis. Instead, create your own flavor combinations in reusable glass jars using this handy yogurt maker . Make yogurt-making part of your weekly routine, and you’ll see it is as easy as “set it and forget it.” Stasher bags Although quite wasteful, you have to admit that plastic, resealable baggies are incredibly handy for storing extra food and other miscellaneous items. Luckily, Stasher has taken this idea and made it even more useful and sustainable. These reusable , resealable bags are made with BPA-free silicone and can be boiled, frozen, baked in the oven, microwaved and more. They last much longer than their single-use counterparts, but when they reach the end of their life, Stasher will recycle them into playground pebbles. Beeswax food wrap Avid cooks and bakers can find many uses for plastic wrap, but unfortunately, it is a single-use item that goes straight to the landfill. Gift your favorite foodies these reusable food wraps made using beeswax. These are a natural, zero-waste alternative to plastic wrap, and they come in an adorable pattern for wrapping sandwiches, leftover produce, cheeses and more. Reusable water bottles If you’re friends or family still haven’t converted to carrying reusable water bottles over plastic, it’s time to make the change. With a wide variety of colors and patterns, these S’well bottles make a great gift for everyone on your list. CSA subscriptions For the most serious foodies, nothing is better than cooking with fresh, local produce . Get in touch with farmers in your gift recipient’s area to set up a CSA subscription, which will deliver fresh fruits and vegetables to your loved one’s door. Start your search here . Fair trade chocolate Chocolate always makes a great gift, but make sure your present is being harvested ethically and sustainably. Check out some of these brands to add to stockings this year. Metal tea strainer A hot cup of tea soothes the soul… or at least warms you up during these cold, chilly days. Put together a cute and functional gift for every foodie you know with a mug, some local and organic tea (packaged sustainably, of course!) and one of these metal tea strainers , which eliminate the need for single-use tea packets. Images via Amazon ,  Stasher , Abeego , S’well , Jill Wellington , Nawalescape , Drew Coffman , Pexels and Shutterstock

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A guide to the best eco-friendly holiday gifts for foodies

Holiday Tip: Don’t Recycle Gift Wrap

December 7, 2018 by  
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In the case of gift wrap, it’s better to reuse, or not use at all, than to try to recycle. The post Holiday Tip: Don’t Recycle Gift Wrap appeared first on Earth911.com.

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Holiday Tip: Don’t Recycle Gift Wrap

11 charitable green gifts that give back

December 12, 2017 by  
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Turn your holiday shopping into an act of kindness this year with our picks for festive and charitable gifts that give back. The National Wildlife Federation dedicates proceeds from its holiday birdseed wreaths to protect American wild animals, and you can  adopt an African elephant for just $25 from the World Wildlife Fund. Check out our favorite gifts that give back here ! GIFTS THAT GIVE BACK >

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2017 Gift Guide: Green gifts under $20

December 4, 2017 by  
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  Looking for a green gift that doesn’t break the bank? We’ve got 15 unique and affordable gifts that will wow everyone on your list for under $20. There’s something for everyone on your list, from a mushroom garden that grows right on the counter for the chef, to a recycled-paper photo album for the Instagrammer in your life. GIFTS UNDER $20 >

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2017 Gift Guide: Green gifts under $20

5 Great Grad Gifts That Are Meaningful and Green

May 19, 2017 by  
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Note: This post contains affiliate links, which helps fund our Recycling Directory, the most comprehensive in North America. With graduation season rapidly approaching, many parents are racking their brains to find a gift for the happy grads in…

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9 Valentines Day gifts that last longer than a bouquet of flowers or box of chocolates

February 9, 2017 by  
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If you are feeling like you are in a Valentine’s Day gifts idea rut, we’ve got some good, green suggestions for you. While some are simply more eco-friendly and sustainable versions of traditional Valentine’s presents, we’ve also rounded up a few other unexpected ideas, gifts that benefit others. Whether helping to fund solar energy projects in Chad, empowering women, or employing artisans around the world, these presents are made to last, and that is good for everyone. 1. Succulent garden Long-lasting and harder for brown thumbs to kill, succulent plants make a lovely gift for homeowners and Lula’s Garden takes in-home and easy gardening to the next level with its Valentine’s Day collection . The SoCal-sourced succulents come in their own planter gift box and are pre-planted, eliminating packaging waste. Cali residents have even more options for a selection. 2. Lingerie with an eco ethos Lingerie isn’t exactly a novel Valentine’s Day gift idea, but these aren’t your average bra and underwear offerings. Naja’s gorgeous lingerie is made using digital and sublimation printing, drastically reducing the amount of water used in the manufacturing process. They also include fabrics made from recycled plastic bottles and are experimenting with other eco-friendly fabrics and technologies. The majority of Naja’s garment factory employees are single moms or female heads of households; in addition to flexible work policies, above-market wages, and healthcare benefits, the children of every Naja garment worker receives books, school supplies, uniforms, and school meals paid by Naja. Naja is serious about empowering women, but the brand is happy to toe the line between playful and sophisticated with cheeky knickers printed with adorable animals as well as elegant nude lingerie options for a variety of skin shades. 3. Artisan gift box Subscription gift boxes have exploded in recent years, and the monthly gifts from Globe In bring a socially conscious and artistic bent to the trend. Each themed “box” comes in a handwoven palm leaf basket filled with a variety of goodies. The Cozy Box, for example, includes a fair trade scarf from Thailand, a hand-painted Tunisian mug, and fair trade cocoa powder from Ghana . Whether you buy a one-off box or a monthly subscription, your gift is guaranteed to be a hit and to help artisans and makers around the world. 4. Hand-poured candles that help provide solar energy Starling Project candles come in four fragrances ranging from sultry Juniper + Saffron to comforting Vanilla + Hemlock. Soy-based and hand-poured in Brooklyn, the candles come in handmade glass containers and last up to 60 hours. Starling candles help bring light to homes across the world: the company has donated over $100,000 to UNICEF solar energy projects in Chad. 5. Sustainable and sophisticated jewelry Philadelphia-based jewelry brand Bario Neal is known for creating classic and cutting edge pieces that use ethically-sourced and recycled materials and for using low-impact environmentally conscious practices (which you can read about here ). Whether you go the custom route or grab a pair of modern diamond studs , the jewelry wizards at this proudly feminist company will create a piece that is traceable and responsible. 6. The gift of education The quickest way to make a $58 gift last a whole year? Make a donation to the International Rescue Committee and sponsor a girl’s education for a school year . The IRC works around the globe to help people whose lives are affected by conflict and crisis and to improve communities through education, economic wellbeing, and health efforts. In 2015, the IRC helped educate more than 13,000 girls in Afghanistan alone! 7. Hand-crafted home goods made from reclaimed and repurposed materials The husband and wife team that formed Peg and Awl have a gift for creating  practical and durable heirlooms for both the home and people. Their ever-expanding line of handmade goods includes roomy waxed canvas weekender bags with vintage zippers ,  macabre recycled metal rings , and a tree swing . Every piece is crafted in an old casket factory, and many are reclaimed from materials that are over 100-years-old. Image via Tamar Nahir Yanai’s Etsy page 8. A crafting kit Give the gift of creativity…and perhaps a little peace and quiet. An embroidery kit is a perfect, easy entrée into the world of crafting ; it’s also a balm for the soul during turbulent times. Whether you choose a kit with a wildflower theme, a mandala design, or something unexpected , getting your love’s hands moving in another way besides working their thumbs to a frenzy on their device is rejuvenating and restorative, not to mention fun. If you are gifting this to a mom or dad with young ones, be sure to include a “coupon” to watch his or her little ones so that crafting time is blissfully uninterrupted. 9. Recycled glass barware Elevate your after-dinner drinks with recycled glassware from Bambeco . Pick your poison and sip it thoughtfully, perhaps from the five beer flight  which includes a reclaimed wine barrel stave holder as well as five glasses made from recycled wine coolers.  Or knock back a cold one in a recycled   lager glass crafted in a factory that uses recycled cooking and engine oil to fuel the furnace and reuses gray water and collected rainwater in the production process. Lead image via Lula’s Garden

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9 Valentines Day gifts that last longer than a bouquet of flowers or box of chocolates

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