Tag: sustainability

Brown Paper Packages Tied Up with String

Eco-friendly gift wrapEco-Friendly Wrapping Options

I love wrapping paper. Each year I love finding artistic paper options that aren’t typical Christmas designs (like the ones below!). But I definitely do not love throwing away the packaging after the gifts have been opened. For a few years now I’ve worked on my collection of pre-wrapped boxes that can be used year after year. There is a downside to those, and that’s storage space. This year, I experimented with the trend of minimalist, nature-inspired wrapping techniques. Here are my Eco-friendly gift wrap solutions to try.

Gift wrapBrown paper Packages, twine and greenery

They look elegant and well-designed, but these packages are covered with things you probably already have in the kitchen! All you need is brown paper, twine and greenery sprigs and you’re golden!

eco-friendly-gift-wrap-with-sprig-of-greenery“But where do you get these sprigs, Abbie?” You may be asking. Mine are taken floral arrangements. Greenery usually lasts longer than the blooms themselves, so you can  re-purpose it on your gifts. If you have a real Christmas tree you could also take a piece off of that in a place that’s not very noticeable…just throwing out ideas here!

eco-friendly gift wrappingFor the paper, I used a brown grocery bag, but you could also try newspaper or the beige paper than comes in shipping boxes. Eco-friendly twine and re-purposed ribbon tied them off. There’s something very personal about the appearance of these packages, don’t you think, like they’re designed with the recipient in mind.

Plaid and greenery: eco-friendly gift wrappingAnother option I discovered this year for re-usable gift wrap is a reusable shopping tote. They’re no more expensive than paper gift bags, and the recipient can use it again and again. I found a Minnesota-themed tote at Trader Joe’s this year and it was perfect for large gifts.

Want even more ideas? Another blogger has some for you – I especially like her idea of using last year’s Christmas cards to make tags!

What are you wrapping your gifts with this year?


Uncommon Gifts

uncommon giftsToday I’m sharing one of my favorite gifts ever, which came from my uncle. It’s a make-your-own tea sampler that lets you mix and match different flavors of green tea and herbs to come up with flavors you love. It’s from the online shop Uncommon Goods, which is a great source for birthday gifts for people who are hard to shop for. And you can make a registry there too for wedding or baby shower gifts.

The products are made my craftsmen and small business owners. I like this because it means the goods are high quality and each purchase supports the artists. In addition to handmade products, there are also organic and recycled choices. I feel good supporting this company for all these reasons, plus the fact that it uses environmentally friendly practices in everything from the catalogs to its workplace.

I chose some gifts ideas from Uncommon Goods to highlight. There are so many great uncommon gifts that it is almost impossible to choose favorites!

1. Box of Flowers Soaps Made from pure ingredients and dried flowers, this is a fun twist on high quality soap.

2. Himalayan Salt Plank Perfect for someone who loves to grill, this beautiful block of salt seasons the food it’s served on while looking amazing.

3. Reclaimed Wine Barrel Serving Tray Upcycled oak wine barrel staves are transformed into this unique tray, giving it a unique and vintage look.

4. Trophy Head Wouldn’t this look great at the cabin? Celebrate nature without harming any animals!

5. State Cheese Slate Adorable and functional! Slate cheese boards can be written on with chalk to specify the which cheese is which.

6. Hand Embroidered Country Pillows This brings back memories from my own trip to Italy seven years ago. I bet it would be a great gift for anyone who has a favorite place to travel.

7. Envelope Wall Vase Add this to the list of things you didn’t know you needed until you found out that it existed.

8. Letters to My Future Self Did you make time capsules growing up? This is a time capsule to yourself! I picked this one because anything airmail always seems to make its way into my gift guides.

9. Banyan Leaf Table Lamp This one makes the list because of my childhood favorite book Tales Told Under the Banyan Tree. Also because of its recycled materials and organic dyes. Plus it just looks plain awesome.

10. Personalized Travel Map Just think of the satisfaction of placing a pushpin when you finally make it to that dream destination. Personalized gifts like this are always a nice gesture.

11. Upcycled Sari Duffel Bag I love upcycled goods so it’s no surprise to find this one on my list. This colorful bag is handmade by a Fair Trade Cooperative in India. It reminds me of that time I wore a sari.

12. Literary Scarf Made by Storiarts, an Oregon company I am newly obsessed with, these scarfs have excerpts from your favorite books! Watch for a post about my own Storiarts scarf soon.

Thanks to Uncommon Goods for sponsoring today’s post! They have so many fun and unusual gifts that I could never fit them into one post. Which one is your favorite?

4 Ways to Be an Eco-Friendly Pet Owner

eco friendly pet

Taking steps to be more environmentally conscious is probably something you think about in your life. But what about your pet? Have you thought about the impact your pet is making on the environment too? There are a few simple ways to be an Eco-friendly pet owner. Get ready to go green with your pet!

eco friendly pet

Eco-Friendly Cat Litter

Clay litter is the least Eco-friendly of all the litter options. It doesn’t decompose and is often sourced from destructive strip mines. Luckily there are plenty of environmentally friendly cat litter options available. After being disappointed in the corn and wheat options available, I finally found an Eco-friendly option that I’ll continue to buy. The Blue Buffalo Co. Naturally Fresh is made from crushed walnut shells. Chewy.com provided me with litter samples to review, and this was by far my favorite.

Pros – Environmentally friendly, it clumps, and has great odor control. Virtually dust-free.

Con – The clumps break apart easily while scooping and it makes a bit of a mess. Other litters are simpler to scoop, but the pros outweigh the cons for me and I’ll continue to get this one.

If you have a favorite litter, let me know in the comments.

Ditch Plastic Poop Bags

Or at least re-use old plastic bags for cleaning up after the pup. I try to minimize my use of plastic bags, but the ones I do have I collect and use for dog walks. I’ve also heard you can use paper bags but I’d rather not do that when we’re on a long walk! The Environmental Protection Agency advises flushing as the best way to get rid of dog waste. You can also compost dog waste in soil that isn’t going to be used for growing food. I don’t do either of those things – for now I’m happy to use plastic bags that aren’t bought new. We all need to start somewhere.

Buy High Quality Pet Food

I pay a lot of attention to what I eat and how and where it’s grown. What about what our pets eat? Support responsible pet food companies that aren’t contributing to pollution, treat animals humanely and don’t use animal byproducts. This usually means paying more, but your pet is getting a better product. Raw and grain free diet options are usually good places to start.

Benefits of grain free pet food

Support Animal Rescues

Lastly, the best way to be an Eco-friendly pet person is to support the work of animal shelters and get your pets from them!

What are some ways you try to be Eco-friendly in your daily life?