Environmentally Friendly Ideas For the Holiday Season
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The holiday season can bring good cheer to many people, but could have a stressful impact on the environment, and can be partly negated by buying eco-friendly gifts for loved ones, using recycled gift wrap, or simply not buying anything at all.

Americans throw away about 25 percent more trash between Thanksgiving and New Year’s Eve – an additional 5 million tons of garbage – according to the University of Vermont’s Recycling & Solid Waste Program.

“I think buying nothing for Christmas is an excellent idea,” said SF State business major Vanessa Aguilera. “I’m actually ‘adopting’ an abused animal in my cousin’s name. They will send her a picture of the animal, a life story and monthly updates. But donating to charity in someone’s name is also a wonderful thing to do.”

Another way to reduce this 25 percent increase of trash is to bring your own bags while shopping, said Robert Lilienfeld of Use Less Stuf. Also, while shopping, consolidate your gifts into one bag instead of receiving a new bag at each store.

Others have additional ideas of how to buy nothing for the holidays and still give heartfelt gifts.

“Vouchers for community service done in someone’s name, tasks around the house, or even just acknowledging a mutual agreement to buy nothing” are all environmentally friendly gift ideas for this holiday season, said SF State environmental studies major Jim Eagan.

According to a recent poll conducted by the Center for a New American Dream, 82 percent of Americans would rather receive a photo album of times shared than a store-bought gift.

For those holiday shoppers who have no time to make gifts or personalize photo albums, there are environmentally aware stores online and even in your local community.

Here are a few wallet-friendly suggestions:

Product: Patagonia Freestyle Whirl Disc (a flying disc to toss around)
Eco-friendly factor: made from recycled plastic
Cost: $10.00 from Patagonia stores, $8.99 from www.amazon.com

Product: Diaries and journals from Nepal
Eco-friendly factor: Free-trade, organic and tree-free
Cost: $X.XX from SFSU Bookstore

Product: Jimi iPod Nano Case
Eco-friendly factor: Made from recycled plastic and Jimi donates 1 percent of its profits to environmental initiatives.
Cost: $19.95 from www.thejimi.com

Product: Razor Shaver
Eco-friendly factor: Sharpens disposable razors so it can be used again, and there’s less to throw away.
Cost: $12.00 from www.thesustainablevillage.com

Product: Solar Spark Lighter
Eco-friendly factor: A pocket-sized solar lighter. It is actually a stainless steel parabolic mirror, which is designed to focus the sun's energy to a precise focal point.
Cost: $9.95 from http://store.sundancesolar.com.

Product: Autumn gold-leaf earrings
Eco-friendly factor: These two-toned earrings are made from recycled materials, according to Buenostyle.
Cost: $14.00 from http://buenostyle.etsy.com

For more eco-friendly gifts and information: visit www.greengiftguide.com,
www.ecomall.com and www.greenshopping.com, www.treehugger.com and www.idealbite.com.







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