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Twelve Steps to Making Green Gift Choices
Here's a handy checklist when you're making your green purchases for the holiday season.
Remember that each of us working together makes a huge difference in terms of the overall impact of resource consumption on the planet.
1) Is it recycled/upcycled?
There are many beautiful options, from recycled cards, to re-purposed bags and shoes, that can be bought online or at your farmer's market. Consider buying from recycled sources rather than from new resources.
2) Is it handmade?
By supporting a local artisan, you keep money in your local community and support your local artists, providers, and vendors. Make a conscious choice to buy handmade and you make a conscious decision to keep the art of making beautiful things alive.
3) Is it organic?
A choice for organic means a healthier option in terms of less pesticide use, less waste, and more bio-energetic, sustainable production methods.
4) Is it locally produced?
By keeping jobs and producers in your local economy, you help keep money circulating. Rather than supporting a big-box store, you can support a local family. Women are often breadwinners for their family, so your purchase from a local woman artisan or cooperative makes a huge difference to individuals directly in your community.
5) Is it made using sustainable processes or materials?
Reward those businesses that are making an effort to be more sustainable by purchasing from them. Groups like 1% for the Planet, Green America, or city and county-wide green initiatives can help you find the companies that have made an explicit promise to increase sustainability.
6) Is it eco-friendly?
You can always find a biodegradable, compostable, or less-resource-intensive option. Choose an eco-friendly product over something that is not able to be easily broken down or recycled later downstream. Your choices could end up in the next generation's drinking water or breathable air, so choose wisely.
7) Is it necessary, useful, or valuable?
Justify your purchase by making sure that this is a necessary or useful or valuable item, that brings joy to the receiver (rather than something that will be junked within 3 months)?
8) Is it made by an individual or a small team?
If your purchase is made with care by someone who takes pride in their work, you are supporting that individual. Find out the name of the producer.
9) Is it beautiful or will it give enjoyment to the end recipient?
Not everything is utilitarian, but make sure that the purchase is valuable enough that the recipient will use it and appreciate it. Bring joy.
10) Does it make you feel good to buy it?
Be conscious and aware - make sure you feel good about your purchase.
11) Is it made of natural materials?
Items made from glass, steel, beeswax, raffia, bamboo, and other natural materials will be better for the planet than those made from plastic or petroleum by-products.
12) Do you really need to make this purchase?
Love and affection can be show in many ways, but if it's impossible to spend time with your loved one, make sure your purchase is something thoughtful and beautiful, instead of something you haven't really put time and attention into.
Monica S. Flores is a co-founder of The Greater Equator, the premium luxury marketplace devoted to eco-friendly living. Make your holiday purchases there and be confident that you are supporting local, organic, sustainable, and artisan alternatives.
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