The Only Green Holiday Shopping Guide You Need

The only green shopping guide you need for the holiidays
Green holiday shopping can be confusing if you don’t know what to look for or understand what the green claims on manufacturers’ labels actually mean.

But when you shift your spending to greener products and services, don’t you want to know that your dollars are really making a difference?

Use this simple green shopping guide to help you make healthier and more eco-friendly choices when you shop for the holidays.

Green Holiday Shopping Guide

√ Nix “natural.” Everybody likes the idea of “natural” – which is why marketers slap the words on products that couldn’t be further from their natural state. Don’t get sucked into buying something just because the packaging claims it’s “natural.” Instead…

BGP-Purse-OnlyGreen Shopping Solution: Buy certified. While “natural” doesn’t mean much, products whose environmental attributes have been certified to meet rigorous standards by organizations independent of the manufacturer can more readily be trusted.

organic labelLook for companies whose claims that their goods are organic, Fair Trade, humane, non-toxic, or designed to help protect forests and wildlife have been independently certified.

We put together a list of labels you can trust here.

√ Banish battery-powered gadgets and toys. Batteries leak cadmium, lead and other heavy metals when they’re thrown away. They usually come wrapped in plastic and cardboard, creating more trash as soon as you buy them. Plus, you have to keep replacing them; in some cases, the cost of batteries over the life of a product ends up amounting to more than the product itself.  

Avoid toys, gadgets and appliances that require short-lived, throwaway batteries. If you must give a battery-powered gift, include rechargeable batteries and the recharger to go with it.

green holiday shoppingfrench press coffee potGreen Shopping Solution: Buy solar- or hand-powered. Among your options: hand-cranked radios, coffee grinders, blenders and juicers. Vintage-style razors with replaceable razor blades.

A French-press coffee pot that uses no electricity (we sell a few in our Amazon store, like the one pictured here.)

More interested in solar? Try solar-powered chargers for cell phones, flash drives, and radios.


√ Revise wrapping paper. Americans throw away 25% more trash during the Thanksgiving to New Year’s holiday period than at any other time of year, reports the Stanford Recycling Center. The extra waste amounts to 25 million tons of garbage, or about 1 million extra tons per week!

If every American family wrapped just 3 presents in re-used materials, it would save enough paper to cover 45,000 football fields. Plus, if every family reused just two feet of holiday ribbon, the 38,000 miles of ribbon saved could tie a bow around the entire planet.

green holiday shoppingreusable holiday gift bagsGreen Shopping Solution: Use reusables. Can you wrap your gift in cloth? Try decorative towels, large napkins, festive scarves and bandanas, tied up with shoelaces or ribbons.

Use reusable shopping bags, lunch boxes, and cookie tins, too. If paper is your only choice, choose wrapping made from recycled paper.


√ Skip synthetic fragrances and air fresheners. Ironically, even though these products are supposed to make things smell better, they actually make it more difficult for many people to breathe, especially those who suffer from asthma or other respiratory problems.

Want your home to smell like Christmas? Simmer a small pot of water, cloves and cinnamon sticks over the stove. Need to smell better yourself? Dab a drop of essential oil from your favorite flower (mine is lavender) behind each ear and on the inside of each wrist.

green holiday shopping Green Shopping Solution: Buy phthalate-free. Phthalates are often the building blocks for synthetic fragrances. They’re also found in nail polish and many other personal care products.

phthalate-free fragranceThe downside? They’re nasty chemicals considered a reproductive hazard in Europe and the state of California.

You can find a wonderful variety of phthalate-free nail polishes, perfumes, make-up and other personal care products in our online store, for starters.


√ Bump BPA specifically and plastic generally. Bisphenol A, or BPA, is like phthalates – an “endocrine disruptor” that could destabilize your reproductive system. It’s usually found in plastic, especially plastic water bottles, some baby bottles and nipples, and rubber and plastic toys. If what you want to buy is plastic or rubber, check the label for the words “BPA Free.” Better yet…

green holiday shoppingwater bottle SafiazGreen Shopping Solution: Buy stainless steel, aluminum, glass, or wood. Instead of plastic water bottles, choose stainless steel, aluminum, or glass bottles that come with a protective sleeve to reduce the chances of breaking.

Choose glass or stainless steel food serving and storage containers, too.

You can find wonderful toys made from wood and decorated with lead-free paint from many American companies.


Green holiday shopping guide infographic

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