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Eco-Friendly Gift Ideas

December 16, 2008

Looking for just the right holiday gift for someone?  Trying to make your gift choices more eco-friendly?  If you want to gift the gift that makes a positive impact on the environment, go no the further.  We have polled members of the Global Warming Solutions Group of Central Illinois for some of their choices for this holiday season, and here is what they came up with.

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For home efficiency

  • Compact Fluorescent Bulbs – Not only have these bulbs improved over the years, but now you can change the mood in the room with colors like green and purple!
  • LED lights – the heir apparent to CFLs.  They have made their way into the maintstream specialty bulb market, but the standard size bulbs are a few years away from being competitively priced.
  • “Smart” Power Strips.  If you have an entertainment center or computer system with a lot of electronic components, they are all drawing power even in their “off” mode.  Add a “smart” power strip and the device will cut the power to all periperals when a main control device – like a computer or television – is powered off.  The APC Power-Saving Surge Protectors are available for computers at Office Depot and Office Max.  The Smartstrip is not currently available in stores in this area, but you can find them online here.
  • Can of spray-foam insulation – Use this to seal gaps and cracks around the home to tighten the home and reduce the workload of the furnace and air conditioner.
  • Programmable thermostat
  • Battery charging kit
  • Chico Reusable Bags – a great stocking stuffer

Cool gadgets and other items…

  • Kill-A-Watt device – easily measures the electrical charge of almost any device or fixture in the home.
  • Tire gauges – keeping tires properly inflated can increase your miles per gallon
  • Recycled paper pencils that use no wood – just tightly wrapped paper
  • Bamboo cutting boards
  • Solar charger for a cell phone
  • Low-flow showerhead
  • Reusable bags
  • Ceiling fan
  • Kiersten provided this tip:  “every year we have hand-squeezed orange juice for breakfast and I use the halves of the empty oranges to make bird feeders.  Everyone loves them!

For the Garden

  • Bamboo gloves for gardeners
  • Mushroom compost (instead of fertilizer) for the garden

For the Reader

For a unique gift that has a far-reaching impact:

  • The Natural Resource Defense Council offers a rainforest tree planted in someone’s name for $10
  • Seventh Generation has a list of great “conscious giving” gift guide here.

Shop locally

  • Forest Park Nature Center Gift Shop – They have a unique selection of gifts for kids, adults, men, and women.
  • For Sierra Club members, Second Chances in Washington offers a 10% discount.
  • Heritage Farmer’s Market – 20235 Illinois Route 9, Pekin, Il.  Featuring all natural, locally raised and grown, Illinois products including angus beef, pork, rabbit, chicken and eggs, turkey, bread, cheese, wine, fruit, vegetables, honey, jams and jellys, pickles, salad dressing, fudge, and more!
  • Bread from the Peoria Bread Company – available from Naturally Yours Grocery in the Metro Center in Peoria

Some other green gift buying guides to consider:

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