Sunday, April 18, 2010

Shopping to Save the Earth??????

This is not now nor will it ever be a site that encourages wanton shopping. But there are occasions when we just have to shop. With Spring and Summer weddings coming up fast, it’s Shower Season—gifts needed.

The Environmental Task Force (ETF) of the United Church on the Green in New Haven recently put together some “Green Living Bags” for an Earth Day Silent Auction (proceeds to buy a new, energy-efficient dishwasher and some stainless so we can forgo paper and plastic at church events). These bags include a number of our “small steps best in show” discoveries of the past year.

It struck me that these bags could be an inspiration for do-it-yourself shower gifts.

The Green Living Bag pictured here (total value $45) contains:

• One reusable shopping bag (from Whole Foods)
• Two heavy-duty spray bottles filled with green cleaners (made by the ETF) + recipe so the recipient can make his or her own refills. Get the most durable bottles you can find. These came from Home Depot.
• One, two-pound box baking soda (a main ingredient in many do-it-yourself cleaners)
• One can Bon Ami polishing cleanser (found at the supermarket in the cleanser section)
• One dishwashing brush (from IKEA)
• One pack Super Amazing Kitchen Cloths (found at Trader Joe’s)
• Two books:
      • Green Cleaning for Dummies
      • Food Rules, by Michael Pollan
• One, two-pack 11 watt CFL lightbulbs (from IKEA)

This bag is a great base, but you might want to add a few more things or mix it up for a shower gift.

Here are some useful tips:
• Consider the recipient (s). Do they cook, for example?
• Be mindful of your budget.
• Try to give useful things, and if at all possible, include at least one something that will last for years. I have been married for a long time and can still recall those who gave me some of my most treasured wedding gifts.

The following suggestions are all in the “affordable” range.
Goodbye Detergent GDB101 Original Spaghetti Scrub, 2 Pack, Gentle• You might consider this cute product I have only seen online. The original Spaghetti Scrub is partially fabricated from recycled materials and comes in course (corn cobs) and gentle (peach pits). It is available in some stores, but none local to me. The quick-drying scrub will last 3-6 months and can be sanitized in the microwave. It just has that wedding shower look.
1l (Approx 34 Oz) Round Italian Swing Top BottleLodge Logic 12-Inch Pre-Seasoned Skillet• Or an elegant Italian water bottle with a swing stopper for the dining table.
• Or a cast iron pan (see my post of February 21.)
• Or a cookbook. Cooking in Season is a great one that not everyone knows.
William Bounds GP TW Pepper Mill, American Black Walnut• Or a pepper mill from William Bounds, Ltd. Made in Torrance, CA, these mills  have an “innovative mechanism" that functions by crushing, rather than by grinding the peppercorns. They have a lifetime guarantee and are a thing of beauty.

The possibilities are endless. Have some fun thinking of ways to encourage the new couple to join you On the Road to Greenness.

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