Four Green Gifts that Keep on Giving
Searching for some creative ways to give green with style? Have a friend who loves to step up to the green plate, but doesn't have the cash to make the next couple of eco-transitions they are wanting to? These ideas will help you both save money and the planet with pizazz.
Wine box herb gardens.
This was an idea I ran across recently while shopping at a local home / garden / hardware store. On one of the rolling carts where they were selling individually potted herbs, they also had mixed herb gardens planted in recycled wooden wine crates with wood-burned label info. These. Were. Precious!
Various full and lush herb plants were planted together in the wine crates to create gorgeous combo gardens of companion flavors. I suppose any combination would be acceptable, but I noticed they had used combinations that went with various “wine country” styles of cooking such as Italian or French. These looked fresh, neutral and completely suited to the home décor of a variety of different lifestyles and tastes. Broke college student? You'll be totally hip. Wine tasting yuppy? It'll work for you too.
Even better than the look was the price. Interestingly enough, the combined three-herb crate garden was just under ten bucks. Individually potted herbs were nearly four dollars a piece in the biodegradable temporary pots. How often do you get to skip some DIY work and still save money? I'm sure there are ways to do this at home on your own if you have the time, skill and patience to start the plants from seed. But for a quick, less than ten dollar gift for a house warming or hostess gift? These are tough to beat.
Eco-Me greening kits.
I recently discovered this company while researching material for another post. These are basically “go green” kits for the cheap and lazy. When I discovered them, I knew I immediately wanted to test drive a few of their kits for Wise Bread readers. The company was happy to send along some review samples of their home, dog and body kits. (There are also kits for baby care and cat lovers.) The kits are definitely a “go green in a snap” type of product. Provided are the containers, supplemental tools, premeasured essential oil blends and recipes for each item in the kit. You supply your own olive oil, baking soda, vinegar and sugar / salt for the various recipes.
As packaging goes, I think this company has done a pretty decent job. Yes, all the reusable containers are plastic. But if you're less than coordinated and have tile floors, this may be a good thing. And since you are reusing them instead of tossing them in the trash, I think the universe will give you an eco-pass. Aside from the mixing containers and stirring sticks,the only extra plastic I saw was the bag that contained the toweling inserts to make the dog wipes. Even the glass bottles of essential blends came protected inside one of the screw top containers. The overall packaging for each kit is an exceptionally high quality burlap drawstring bag with embroidered lettering. The drawstrings also appeared to be made of natural fiber and even the little do-hickey that connected the product tag to the bag was made of some sort of unbleached fiber twine.
As far as mixing up the recipes goes, it doesn't get much easier than this. The recipes are on the labels of each reusable container, so you can't possibly lose them. There are also measuring lines for each ingredient up the back edge of the label with an empty space between each sticker end to see how far each liquid is filling up the jar. (If you've ever used those salad dressing cruets from the grocery store, you'll be familiar with this concept.) Even the jar of mixed essential oils is marked off in individual units so you won't over-use the product when mixing up the recipes. This is literally so easy even a child can do it, which makes it a great family activity to mix up the various products.
Respectful request to the company? Consider swapping out the plastic mixing stirrers for sustainable wooden or bamboo craft sticks, and using a non plastic wrapper for the DIY wipes supplies. Recommendation for the product? Yes. Absolutely. Those who already have a host of essential oils and spray bottles in their home may not feel the need to go there. But for those currently paying extra big bucks for pre-made cleaners who feel intimidated by researching individual recipes, this product line should seem very appealing. Comparing the overall annual cost, many will save money by not having to buy replacement cleaners. Even replacing the blended oil jars is a cost savings over having to buy multiple types of oil to combine into one cleaner. The extras included in the kits such as the cleaning towel and natural material scrub brush in the home kit, large loofah, velvet puff and spa towel in the body kit and precious dog bone shaped cookie cutter in the canine package really go the extra mile towards making these gift worthy in my opinion. Check them out further on their web site.
Green items that continue to save funds and the planet over time.
When looking for an affordable gift to give, consider something that will help the recipient immediately start saving funds and the planet for the long term. When pennies are super tight, even dishing out for a one time money saving eco purchase can be an issue. And yet, if the person had that particular item, they could start making an immediate impact on both planet and pocketbook. Produce bags, reusable travel mugs, or a cook book with simple healthy recipes for Indian food, artisan bread and simple soups would all be great ways to go.
Your own blog on green issues.
Remember when I talked about being generous on a budget? Sharing your knowledge and research efforts with anyone who needs it is a huge gift. One example is our own Elizabeth Sanberg's green travel blog. Trust me, plenty of people want to know more and just don't have the time to do the research. If you're tackling the topic anyway, share it. You might even rake in a few ad dollars.
Looking for more gift giving ideas in the affordable or green arenas? Check out my previous post on green gifting, and Julie's slam dunk post on affordable gifts for under five dollars. Got another great green gift tip? You know where to let me know. I love hearing from you.