Wondering what to get dad for Father's Day? Not sure what a freshly minted graduate might want or need? Running out of thoughtful birthday gifts? Why not think green next time you need a gift. Even if your gift recipient isn't very eco-conscious, you can still give a gift that they'll find useful and that you can feel good about.
Some green gift options:
Experiences. Sometimes the best gift you can give is your time. You could plan a scenic hike that includes a gourmet picnic, take someone to a concert or show, or offer to teach something you're an expert at (cooking, knitting, computers, etc.).
Provide a service. Green clean their home. Babysit for the day or for a night out. Cook them an organic dinner.
Classes. Give your foodie friend the gift of a cooking class or the fitness fanatic in your life a session of their favorite yoga class. If your loved one is really into a sport like tennis or golf, buy them a one-on-one consult with a pro to help them improve their game.
Charitable donation in the person's name.
CSA Farm Share. Give the gift of local, seasonal food that comes straight from the farm. A Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) is basically a membership to a farm that includes a parcel of seasonal produce each week throughout the farming season. Find a CSA near you at http://www.localharvest.org/csa/.
National Parks and Federal Recreational Lands Pass. For $80 this pass provides up to four adults access to federal recreation sites that charge an entrance fee for a year. Learn more at http://www.nps.gov/fees_passes.htm.
State Parks Pass. Many states offer some sort of pass that grants access to most or all state parks. Click here for a list of all fifty states with a link to their official state park website and information on their state park entrance pass program.
Plants. Give an air-cleaning plant (some of the most effective are philodendron, English ivy, spider plants, dracaena, Chinese evergreen, bamboo or reed palm, and peace lily) or herbs in decorative pots.
Clothing and accessories made of organic cotton, bamboo, or hemp.
Sheets or towels made of organic cotton, bamboo, or hemp.
Cast iron skillet. This durable and versatile cooking tool can be a great replacement for questionable non-stick cookware.
Food containers made of glass, ceramic, porcelain, Pyrex, bamboo, or stainless steel to replace plastic containers which may be unsafe.
Home Water Filter. Filtered tap water is purer than bottled water, not to mention less expensive and better for the environment.
Fair Trade, Organic, Shade-Grown Coffee. Eco-friendly coffee, a reusable coffee filter, and/or reusable coffee mugs would make a great gift basket for the coffee lover in your life.
Organic, fair-trade chocolate.
Organic beauty products made without synthetic fragrances, dyes, parabens, or pthalates.
Jewelry, accessories, artwork or housewares made from recycled materials and/or made by local artisans.
Once you've selected your green gift, opt for wrapping paper and a card made of recycled paper. Or, even better, use materials you already have on hand like fabric or the newspaper comics to wrap gifts and make a homemade card or send an online card.