Environmentally Friendly Gifts for the Holiday Season

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By Rich Adams

Sometimes a holiday gift is more than just a gift. If you have a family member or friend who is passionate about a cause, a gift that accentuates that cause would be a perfect under-the-tree addition.

Say, for example, you know someone who is concerned about climate change, supports environmental causes and is working to clean up the mess we have made of the Earth. There are gifts – even the smallest of presents – that you could give to show you understand their passion.

Here are some ideas:

Reusable straws: These come in different materials – stainless steel and bamboo are two examples – that will do a little to keep plastic straw waste out of our landfills and our oceans. Most come with a cleaning brush and can also be cleaned in a dishwasher.

Beeswax wraps: These are eco-friendly sheets of cloth covered with beeswax that works similar to cling wrap but is not as airtight. You can find these online and probably in local retail shops, or you can use the recipe at the end of this article to make your own to give as gifts. Again, these are not airtight, but can be used to cover leftovers for a short period of time or to wrap a sandwich in.

Reusable foldable grocery bags: Sure, we all have a bunch of cloth or other reusable bags, but can yours fold into a size that fits in a purse? Do an internet search for folding reusable garbage bags and I bet you get a ton of hits. A set of five and the pouch in which to store them sells on Amazon for $12.99.

 Bamboo cutlery sets: Plasticware is not only flimsy when you try to cut food, it also is a contributor to the current plastic waste catastrophe. Bamboo cutlery is nontoxic, lightweight and durable for long-lasting reliability. Most sets come with a slim carrying case.

Reusable paper towels: Yeah, I never heard of them either. There are 32 sheets of bamboo paper that is absorbable, and each sheet can be used about 80 times. You hand wash them in cold water with mild detergent, hang them to dry and not only are they ready to use, they get softer with each wash. Amazon’s price is $8.99.

The list goes on to include bamboo toothbrushes with charcoal brushes, a wallet made of cork, reusable mesh produce bags and a welcome mat fashioned out of discarded flip-flops.

Now here’s that recipe for beeswax wraps:

DIY Beeswax Wraps

From Good Housekeeping

Ingredients:

Cosmetic-grade beeswax pellets

100% cotton fabric

Scissors or pinking shears

Paintbrush

Parchment paper

Baking sheet

Hanger (optional)

Binder clips or clothespins (optional)

Ruler (if you want exact measurements)

Directions:

Preheat the oven to 200 degrees or the lowest setting. Cut the fabric into sizes that will fit on your baking sheet. For a snack bag, use a 7-by-14-inch piece of fabric. A 14-by-14-inch square will cover most sandwiches. Pinking shears will help prevent your swatches from fraying, but scissors will also get the job done.

Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and place the fabric on top. If your fabric is one-sided, place the patterned side facedown. Use a fresh piece of parchment paper each time you make another wrap.

Evenly distribute a liberal amount of beeswax pellets all over the fabric. Don’t forget to put pellets near the edges too.

Place the sheet in the oven for about 4 to 8 minutes. When the pellets melt completely, take the tray out and use a paintbrush to spread the wax evenly over the entire fabric. The wax will stick to the paintbrush, so save it for the next batch of DYI wraps instead of throwing it out.

Using tongs, remove the fabric from the baking sheet. It should feel cool to the touch after waving it for a few seconds in the air. Hang the fabric up to dry using the hanger and the clips or clothespins or set it on the back of a chair with the beeswax side facing up.

Include care instructions with your gift: Wash the wraps by hand in cool water with a mild dish soap. Place them on a drying rack or clothesline to dry. Avoid any heat such as hot water, microwaves or ovens that will cause the beeswax to melt.


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Tags: environmentally friendly, gift ideas

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