(printer-friendly version)
    

Great green gifts that do good 12/11
(This article is adapted from the December 2011 ShopSmart magazine.)

It feels good to give the perfect gift—and this year, it can feel even better. The gifts and websites described here aim to make the world better by protecting the planet, promoting fair trade, or donating to an environmental cause, or all of the above. All of the gifts listed cost under $45; several cost under $25.

Many sites will include a note with your gift, describing the nonprofit work that the site helps support. Each website meets Consumer Reports’ requirements for privacy, contact information, disclosure, and customer services, and each guarantees delivery by the holidays if you order by a certain date. Some sites even offer free shipping.

BeadForLife.org
The brilliantly hued beaded jewelry on this site is so beautiful you’ll never guess it’s crafted from recycled paper. The artists are Ugandan women who start their own businesses after training and start-up funds provided by this nonprofit organization. Musana bangle bracelets are $5 each.
Order by: Dec. 16
Gift wrap: Yes
Shipping: Starts at $5.95
Returns: 30 days from shipping

Ecoist.com
Recycling goes chic on this site, with handbags and other items crafted from candy wrappers, old albums, and more. The company plants a tree for every handbag sold. A cool recycled bicycle chain bottle opener is $12.
Order by: Dec. 19 (West Coast) Dec. 21(East Coast)
Gift wrap: $5
Shipping: Free for orders of $50 or more
Returns: 45 days from purchase

EConsciousMarket.com
This virtual mall is filled with eco-friendly gifts for everyone on your list. You’ll find clothing, accessories, children’s furniture, beauty items, home décor, fitness, and fair trade products. The site donates up to 10 percent of each purchase price to nonprofit partners that you select at checkout. An Areaware iPhone clock and alarm docking station made from sustainably harvested new growth Beech wood costs $40.
Order by: Dec. 10
Gift wrap: Varies by vendor; average is $5
Shipping: Varies by vendor
Returns: Varies by vendor

FairTradeSports.com
Forget pigskin. These footballs, soccerballs, rugby balls, and basketballs are vegan and made using fair-trade practices. And 100% of after-tax profits on all items are donated to children’s charities. A vegan football costs $24.
Order by: Dec. 18
Gift wrap: $4.99
Shipping: Starts at $4.99
Returns: Anytime

GreenGlass.com
The groovy glassware on this site is all made from recycled glass, like the old Boylan Bottleworks soda bottles. You’ll find lots of serving pieces (pitchers and carafes), decorative items (vases and candleholders), and drinkware (wineglasses and tumblers). A set of four, Boylan Diet Black Cherry tumblers costs $32.50.
Order by: Dec. 19
Gift wrap: No
Shipping: Starts at $7
Returns: 30 days from shipping

MirasaDesign.com
The colorful, adorable handmade toys, pillows, and clothing from this site are inspired by the owner’s Indian culture. They encourage creative play. Purchases of these fair-trade items are used to help educate girls in India. My Monkey clothing and toy set costs $42.
Order by: Dec. 4
Gift wrap: All items come in colorful totes
Shipping: Free
Returns: 14 days from purchase

OliveGreenDog.com
Give the dog lover on your list a treat from this site with everything from organic shampoo, brushes and combs, to little doggie hoodies and fair trade pet toys. The site is organized by acitivity ( like eat, play, walk, and sleep). A ball toss toy made from sustainable bamboo and reused cork costs $20.
Order by: Dec. 19
Gift wrap: $5
Shipping: US Postal rates; free for orders of $75 or more
Returns: 15 days from receipt

OrganicBabyGiftsBoutique.com
Head here for unusual baby-related items, like shopping cart covers made from organic cotton, nail polish that mom can rock during pregnancy, and adorable frog, duck and monkey washcloth puppets that cost $10 each.
Order by: Dec. 16
Gift wrap: Free
Shipping: Starts at $6.95
Returns: 15 days from receipt

OrganicBouquet.com
Say it with organic flowers, grown using sustainable and fair-trade practices and packaged with recycled paper and nontoxic ink. The site also sells beautiful fruit, chocolate, and food baskets. A gorgeous Culinary Three Herb Wreath costs $44.
Order by: 3PM Eastern Dec. 22
Gift wrap: No
Shipping: Starts at $14.95 for flowers
Returns: 30 days from receipt

OwlRecycled.com
Every home and office-ready gift on this site is made of recycled leather or water bottles and tinted with lead-free dyes. The leather trays are lovely for any desk; the "padfolios" (for 81/2 x 11-inch paper pads) are sure to inspire brilliant works of art.
A men’s recycled leather billfold is $25.
Order by: Dec. 17
Gift wrap: Free; allow an extra day for processing.
Shipping: Starts at $2.71
Returns: 30 days from receipt

SniffPetCandles.com
Organic candles for dogs sound wacky, but these are designed to provide aromatherapy for the four-legged and two-legged alike, and a portion of the sales benefit various animal rescue groups. Scents include: Splendor in the Grass and Day in the Hamptons. Each scented organic candle costs $32.
Order by: Dec. 16
Gift wrap: No
Shipping: Flat $10
Returns: 7 days from receipt

SokolBlosser.com
This business aims to do good and make wine that tastes good. The organic vintages are grown sustainably and harvested with tractors using 50 percent bio-diesel fuel. Buy single bottles, a gift set, or an annual membership. The divine goddess gift set is $28.
Order by: Dec. 14 (East Coast) or Dec. 19 (West Coast)
Gift wrap: No, but wine sets come in a custom box.
Shipping: Starts at $25
Returns: Anytime if flawed or damaged

Vickerey.com
For the aspiring yogis in your life, this site has a zero-waste recycling policy, minimal packaging, all recycled. Besides yoga items, there are beauty products and stationery sets.
A Prana Reversible ECO Sticky Mat costs $42.
Order by: Dec. 19
Gift wrap: $4.95
Shipping: Starts at $4.95
Returns: 30 days from receipt

VivaTerra.com
All of the stylish housewares at this site are earth- and people-friendly. Shop for presents by recipient, occasion, and price. Exotic plants, mugs, and organic candy. The under-$50 section has lots of great ideas. A recycled glass trio server costs $24.
Order by: Dec. 20 in continental U.S.
Gift wrap: $6.95
Shipping: Starts at $4.95
Returns: 30 days from receipt

WearYourMusic.org
The music lover you love will adore a gift from this site where you’ll find unisex bracelets made from recycled used guitar strings, as well as custom recycled record bowls and coasters. Sales help their favorite music charities. A Rock Recycled Bracelet costs $20.
Order by: Dec. 15
Gift wrap: Starts at $3
Shipping: Starts at $4
Returns: 30 days from receipt

Related links for gifts

For additional retailers and charities that support green causes, go to www.filanthropists.com for more ideas.

Consumer Reports special electronics guide. 12/11

Holiday shopping: 12 tips for getting the best deals. 11/11

Holiday shopping mistakes. 11/11

Green America’s “Holiday Green Gift Guide”.
 
Copyright © 2003-2012 by Consumers Union of United States., Inc., 101 Truman Avenue, Yonkers, NY 10703, a nonprofit organization. No downloading, transmission, photocopying, or commercial use permitted. Visit www.GreenerChoices.org.