Greenbacks from Live Green

Guest post by Claire Lafave

Want to save some green while enjoying a more eco-friendly lifestyle? Live Green has a solution.

The membership organization just launched its new Greenbacks site, which offers weekly discounts at Live Green spots (DC businesses screened for sustainable practices and products).

This week’s deal (starting Tuesday) is $50 off yoga at Flow Yoga Center, a $50 value for $25. Other recent offers include discounts at Holeco Wellness Medi Spa and Java Green.

The way it works is simple. Register for a Greenbacks account and you’ll you’ll receive weekly emails explaining the deal of the day/week. Follow the link in your email to cash in on your Greenbacks for either the member or non-member price. Then, print your voucher under the ‘My Account’ tab and bring it to the deal location to start saving.

3 Eco-Friendly Gift-Wrapping Ideas

Guest post by Carrie Madren.

Now that you’ve shopped for sustainable gifts, make sure to wrap them in an eco-friendly fashion. Forego flimsy one-time-use wrapping paper, and instead opt for holiday wrapping that’s as sustainable as it is beautiful.

1. Pack it Green
In your gift exchanges this year, keep the good, thick tissue paper for future use. Simply smooth it out on a couch cushion or carpet, and fold it neatly and store for another time. Shreds from your home office paper shredder can be used for fragile items packed up for friends and family.

2. Wrap it Green
Old maps, brown paper, cloth, and foreign newspapers make wonderful outer wrappings.

Consider making a gift box that can be reused. Wrap a sturdy box and its lid separately in traditional wrapping paper. Then fold the edges into the box’s interior and use a glue stick to secure the paper’s edges. The recipient can reuse the box in his or her own gift giving.

Gift bags in good condition can be reused multiple times. Store them flat until next year, and add your own tag and tissue paper when needed.

3. Trim it Green
In place of garish plastic bows and curling ribbon, use twine (which can be composted or cut up for birds’ nests in the spring) or real ribbon (can be ironed and reused). Slip a sprig of juniper or holly in the wrapping, or tie on a small ornament to make a package festive — and green.

Check out more green holiday tips from our friends over at Green Living Consulting.

Low-Impact Gift Ideas

This guest blog post was written by contributor Alison Drucker.

The greenest holiday gift of all is the one that doesn’t come in a box. Reduce the environmental impact of your holiday shopping this year with gifts that don’t require wasteful packaging, have not been shipped from China, and won’t add more clutter to your loved ones’ lives.

Try some of these non-material gift ideas – which can be experienced, consumed, and enjoyed with a lower environmental footprint.

For your significant other

Take your better half on a weekend getaway to a D.C. bed and breakfast. Also within a short drive or train ride into neighboring states are farms, wineries, ski areas, lakes, and other locations where romantic B&Bs abound. Look for environmentally-conscious lodging through the U.S. Green Building Council, ENERGY STAR, Virginia Green Lodging, or iStayGreen.

For a friend

Give your pal some tickets to a concert or sporting event – if you’re lucky, maybe you’ll be invited along. Check the schedules for local venues like the 9:30 Club and Black Cat, or get an open-ended gift certificate redeemable for any show at Wolf Trap. There are also still plenty of Caps and Wizards games left this season. If you don’t want to commit your friend to a specific date, an IOU always works. 

For your parents

Get Mom a gift certificate for a spa treatment, or treat the folks to a good meal out with a gift certificate to a local restaurant. For ideas, check out our list of local eco-friendly spas and restaurants, or search the LocalHarvest and Green Restaurant Association databases for establishments in other areas.

For the kids

Savings bonds have always been a common gift for kids, but Planting Empowerment puts a new twist on them with the Forest Savings Bond. $100 buys 5 ½ hardwood trees, which are planted on deforested tropical land to help restore it; when Planting Empowerment begins to sustainably harvest and sell the timber, your gift recipient will receive the returns from the investment. Or, adopt a species at the National Zoo – the donation supports animal care, medication, and equipment.

For your office Secret Santa

For a caffeine junkie, get a gift certificate to a local coffee shop like Java Green or a selection of organic teas from D.C.’s Teaism. An iTunes gift certificate can go a long way even if you only spend ten bucks; if you’re looking to spend a bit more, get an eMusic gift subscription of 60 song downloads for $30.

Totally stumped?

What do you get for the person who has everything? How about the absence of something – the greenhouse gas emissions from her holiday travels or a year of her life? You can buy carbon offsets from companies such as Native Energy, Terrapass, or Silver Spring-based Carbonfund. Your purchase supports renewable energy projects or methane capture and storage, helping to balance the environmental impacts of your gift recipient’s lifestyle.

2nd Annual Going Green DC Gift Guide

The greenest gifts you can give may be your love and undying gratitude. But for those of you who also want to give something a little more, um, tangible, we suggest the following local and eco-friendly gifts:

Tea for Tots

It’s never too early for kids to learn about the environment, or how to serve a perfect cuppa tea. This delightful miniature tea set from Green Toys is made from recycled milk containers and is available at Greater Goods (1626 U Street).

Price: $24.50

Special offer: Mention GoingGreenDC and get 15% off all purchases from Greater Goods (in store only, may not be combined with any other offers).

Scents & Sensibility

Now you can enjoy candy cane, eggnog, and strudel without the calories. A holiday gift set from Our Butterfly Effects includes a six-pack of soy melts, a spa candle, room spray, and a six-piece tea light set in four delicious scents. The eco-friendly soy candles are made without color additives or dyes, GMOs, paraffin, pesticides, or herbicides. The Winter/Holiday Collection is also packaged in recyclable materials and features a festive message tag.

Price: $26

Special Offer: Get 15% off orders over $30 with discount code GoingGreenDC.

Pillow Talk

Lounge in style with beautiful wool pillows from local artist Gretchen Cook. The wool is imported from Germany and dyed using eco-friendly practices. Nature-inspired motifs make these perfect for the stylish interior design diva. Available at RCKNDY (1515 U Street).

Price: $85-$95

Body Buzz

Wake up and smell the Hazelnut Coffee Body Scrub from Perfect Organics. This luxurious extra-gentle all-natural scrub is made with invigorating coffee beans, replenishing plant oils, and soothing botanical extracts.

Price: $24.99. Add a reusable, sustainable fiber gift bag for $7.

Special Offer: Use the “greendc” discount code and receive 15% off online orders.

Man O Man

For the groovy green guy in your life, Herban Lifestyle’s new men’s grooming products—shaving oil, facial soap, facial lotion, aftershave–are completely natural, with no artificial fragrances or preservatives, and scented with organic spices and essential oils. Plus they come in manly eco-friendly packaging.

Price: Varies

Special Offer: GGDC readers get 20% off on all orders. Please put “WDCGG20” in the notes/messages to seller at checkout.

Strike a Pose

Tranquil Space, one of our favorite eco-friendly yoga studios, offers a variety of gifts including owner Kimberly Wilson’s TranquiliT line of lifestyle bodywear made from organic, sustainable, luxurious bamboo fabric. You can also purchase personalized gift cards and class passes online or at the studio for the yoginis on your list.

Price: Varies

Happy Baby

The eco-baby gift set from holeco life is ideal for the new parents on your list. It includes eco-baby body lotion, eco-baby multi wash, eco-baby body oil, and eco-baby powder, all made with natural and organic ingredients. All products are completely non-toxic, eco-friendly, and come in earth-friendly packaging.

Price: $40

Special Offer: Get 15% off products over $20 (in-spa only, offer valid through December 31 2009.

Bath Time

Biggs & Featherbelle’s holiday bath soak duo includes Snowtopia and Citrus Cheer fragrances and is created with nourishing salts, herbs, buttermilk, and essential oils. The salts are great for soothing achy muscles and itchy skin or just relaxing. Made without synthetic fragrances, dyes, or additives.

Price: $9.99

Special Offer: Get 15% off your purchase when you use the “GREENDC15” code at checkout.

Save the Bay

Be the Bay recycled gift cards are printed on 100% post consumer recycled paper using soy-based inks. Each clear-top box of eight cards includes two Rockfish cards, two Blue Crab Cards, two Deadrise cards, and two Sailboat cards. The company donates at least 10% of profits toward environmental restoration and education projects around the Chesapeake Bay.

Price: $10.50

Special Offer: Get 10% off online store purchases with code DCGREEN. Offer good through January 31, 2010.

Smart Art

On Eco-Artware, you’ll find recycled silver jewelry by Washington artist Courtney Gillen, who works with recycled metals. The site also offers many other environmentally friendly gifts such as earrings made from vintage game tiles and multi-color tote bags handwoven from cleaned plastic fruit juice packs.

Price: Earrings (pictured) are $48.

Green & Clean

Terraessentials offers a trial-size set of four organic body washes (Lavender Garden, Cool Mint, Left Coast Lemon, and Sultry Spice) made from gentle, detergent-free, coconut and organic olive castile, naturally-occurring clay minerals, organic botanical extracts, and organic essential oil. The set is packaged in an attractive gift box with real plant-based cellophane and a reusable sparkling gold bow.

Price: $18.50

Special Offer: Free trial size organic soap with orders of $30 or more. Please put “GoingGreenDC” in the comment box of the shopping cart. This offer may not be combined with any other offers and is good through December 31, 2009.

Grape Finds

Uncork a rare and sustainably farmed wine from Washington, DC-based Farmstead Wines. The company sources wine from small, family-run farms in Europe that produce hand-crafted wine.

Price: Varies

Special Offer: For a limited time, Going Green DC readers will receive 25% off purchase–  enter promo code “holiday11” at checkout.

In a Lather

For the Love of and Greater Goods have teamed up to create District Suds, a special line of soaps available at Greater Goods or online. The beautiful, faintly lavender scented soap is a great stocking stuffer.

Price: $6.50

Special Offer: Get 20% off all For the Love of products (online only) when you mention GoingGreenDC.

Lip Smacker

Don’t let dry, cracked lips ruin your holiday fun. Stock up on vanilla + anise flavored Brew lip balm from Skincando and while you’re at it, get some for your moisture-challenged friends as well.

Price: $8.00

Special Offer: Mention this gift guide and get $1.00 off Brew lip balm at Apres Peau (in-store only).

Last but not least, consider giving the gift of a membership to Live Green so that your friends and family can enjoy discounts to local companies all year round!

More local gift guides worth perusing:

We Love DC’s Cool Artsy Gift Guide

Metrocurean’s Local Food Gift Guide

Stay tuned for our non-material gift-giving guide later this week featuring gifts that don’t come in a box, and check out the Etiquette Advocate’s tips on regifting.

Eco-Friendly, Local Gifts at Downtown Market

It’s not even Thanksgiving yet but we know that some of you already have shopping on the brain. To find local and eco-friendly gifts for the holidays, consider stopping by the Downtown Holiday Market, which opens on December 4, 2009.

The market runs from noon to 8:00pm through December 23, 2009 and is produced by the Downtown DC Business Improvement District and Diverse Markets Management.

Here are some of the fair trade and eco-friendly items that will be on sale:

  • Harun’s African Art (MD) – Handcrafted tableware and jewelry made of copper and brass alloys from South Africa; sales support upwards of 70 families of the Ndebele culture in the Lowveld of South Africa near Kruger National Park
  • Figs & Ginger (NC) – Eco-friendly sterling jewelry
  • Jenafusion (VA) – Handcrafted fashion accessories made from recycled, reclaimed, vintage, and new material. Products include hats, purses, scarves and wallets.
  • The Devil Made Me Do It (MD) – One-of-a-kind clothing from 99% “upcycled” materials.
  • The Red Persimmon (MD) – Fair trade and handmade gifts from India, Bali, Uganda, Mexico.  Items include clothing, linens, silk and cotton purses, ornaments, and accessories.
  • Three Stone Steps (MD) – Eco-friendly and fair trade accessories imported from Cambodia, Vietnam, the Philippines, and Haiti. Products include bags, wallets, silk scarves, and jewelry.

Some local food vendors of note will include:

  • Guata-Java (MD) – Specialty fair trade, organic Guatemalan coffee.
  • J. Chocolatier (DC) – Handmade luxury truffles and buttery caramels.
  • Tea Co (VA) – Organic loose leaf teas and tea wares.
  • Terre de Provence (MD) – Specialty olive oil.