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Green Gifts: Earth-Friendly Ideas for 2012

Give gifts with a big impact, not a big footprint during this new year.

Wrapping paper, packaging, bows, decorations — Americans throw away 25 percent more material from Thanksgiving Day to New Year's than at any other time of year.

To put a little more "green" into gifts for 2012, here are some suggestions from the St. Louis County Department of Health:

  • Think about gifts that make a big impact without any packaging: tickets to the symphony or sports events, a membership to a museum or the zoo, a subscription to a magazine. One local, option would be season passes to , for example.
  • Wrap your gifts in scarves, handkerchiefs or bandanas — which become two gifts in one! Ask the team at in Wildwood for suggestions.
  • For the person who has everything, give a gift to help them help the environment, such as a can crusher, cloth napkins, a cloth shopping bag or curbside recycling for the year. sells cloth bags for reusing.
  • Have a geography lover? Use an old map or travel poster instead of wrapping paper.
  • Consider providing nature-oriented products, such as bird seed or suet from the or in .
  • Newspaper makes great wrapping paper and can go right into the recycle bin afterward.
  • Reuse gift bags and boxes until they are worn out. Then, recycle!

Note: Eureka-Wildwood Patch editor Julie Brown Patton contributed to this article.

Margaret Poynter January 02, 2012 at 03:07 PM
Great suggestions! Another tip... keep reusable bags in passenger seat so you don't forget them when you go in stores. Washable bags best, and the kind that roll up can be kept in purse or on belt when at mall or traveling.
Julie Brown Patton (Editor) January 02, 2012 at 04:24 PM
Good recommendations, Margaret. Although I always keep reusable bags in the back of my vehicle, I sometimes do forget to grab them before walking into stores. It's a sad discovery when already in the check-out line.
Geri Greene January 02, 2012 at 05:16 PM
When you give a baby gift, wrap it in a baby blanket and secure it with an old-fashioned baby safety pin!
Julie Brown Patton (Editor) January 02, 2012 at 05:19 PM
Geri Greene: Love your suggestion!

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