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Green Purse Alerts!

Why My Purse is Green

Because I believe…

  • the fastest, most effective way to stop polluters is by pressuring them in the marketplace
  • women can be the world’s most powerful economic and environmental force if we intentionally shift our spending to the best green products and services
  • women have the power right now to solve many of our most serious environmental problems by using our green purses to make a difference
  • women must act – intentionally, collectively, and with the full force of our purse power behind us – if we hope to leave our children and grandchildren a better world.
  • December 07, 2012

    Holiday Gift Bags Make Wrapping a Snap - and Reduce Use of Plastic Bags, Too.

    Why do I love reusable holiday gift bags? Let me count the ways:

    EnvirosaxOne, they save me a lot of time. It could take five minutes to wrap a gift the "normal" way: cutting paper to fit, folding and taping it, then swirling some ribbon around it to make it look extra pretty. With a gift bag, I just open the bag, put a little tisue paper in, plop in the present, and put a little more tissue paper on top. Ta-da!! It's wrapped.

    Two, they save me money. How? Because I re-use bags I've gotten in the past. I have always been one of those annoying people who tries to save and re-use wrapping paper. But let's be honest - reused wrapping paper tends to be wrinkled and a bit torn. While it CAN be re-used, it's not the prettiest way to wrap. On the other hand, most gift bags are pretty durable, whether they're made of cloth, thicker paper or cardboard, or recycled plastic. I never throw away a good bag. Plus, most places where I shop credit me a nickel for every reusable bag I use in place of one of the store's plastic bags. It's not a lot of money, but still, it makes me feel good!

    Three, reusable bags save trees, in the form of paper. Sandra Ann Harris of EcoLunchBox reports that, "When it comes to paper waste over the holidays, keep in mind that a whopping half of the paper consumed in the U.S. annually is used to wrap and decorate consumer products." Whew! When you think of all the natural resources that went in to growing the trees, turning them into pulp, printing the paper, and shipping it all over the country, doesn't it seem a little ridiculous to waste all that on wrapping that will be ripped up and thrown away?

    Fourth, because they can be used over and over again, reusable bags can take the place of lots of plastic bags. I have a tendency to wrap gifts in bags that can actually be used for shopping regardless of the season. And that's a great gift in and of itself. Take a look at this graphic, produced by reusable bag manufacturer Factory Direct.  It shows just how many states have banned plastic bags. Even if you live in a community that hasn't yet banned plastic bags, it's probably only a matter of time before they do. Here's more info on why plastic bags are a big environmental non-no.

    HOLIDAY GIFT BAG OPTIONS

    Continue reading "Holiday Gift Bags Make Wrapping a Snap - and Reduce Use of Plastic Bags, Too." »

    February 07, 2012

    Think Twice Before You Buy Hershey's Kisses for Your Valentine

    This Valentine's Day, before you cover your sweetheart with Hershey’s kisses, or toss a few of those treats into your kids’ lunch box, consider the alternative: organic, fair trade, bite-size bars made from cocoa produced by companies that care about people and the planet.

    Hersheyhaveaheart_small_0-300x186Why not Hershey’s? The company has been under fire for years from international organizations that monitor child welfare. Most of the world’s cocoa is produced in West Africa, where cocoa farmers typically live in poverty and where forced labor, especially among children, and human trafficking, are tragically common. Reports from concerned humanitarian groups describe how children often work long hours on cocoa farms performing hazardous work like using machetes, carrying heavy loads, and coming into close contact with toxic pesticides.

    Several non-profit groups organized a “Raise the Bar” campaign to ask Hershey to take meaningful steps to combat child, forced and trafficked labor in its supply chain, and an online petition drive generated over 100,000 letters to the company asking it to improve its cocoa sourcing practices.

    Happily, the company announced recently that it will commit to sourcing independently certified cocoa for its Bliss line by the end of 2012. However, Hershey’s produces many products that contain chocolate, including Almond Joy, Kit Kat, Whoppers Malted Milk Balls, and Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups. What about responsibly sourcing ALL the cocoa it uses in all these products? Eighth grader Jasper Perry-Anderson has created a follow-up campaign on Change.org to ensure that the Hershey Company expands its commitment to certified cocoa to all its products in the future.

    Which gets us back to alternatives to Hershey’s Kisses for Valentine’s Day. Look for chocolates that are certified both fair trade and organic. Fair trade helps protect kids, and organic helps protect the environment. Here are some yummy options you should be able to find in your grocery store, at food co-ops, and at chains like Whole Foods that have made a commitment to carry more sustainably produced products.

    Dag-tsmoonDagoba – Ironically, Hershey owns this company, which was already organic and fair trade when it was acquired. Dagoba sources cacao, the primary ingredient used to make chocolate, from Latin America, South America and Madagascar. Their entire line of drinking chocolate, syrup, and cacao powder has been certifed Fair Trade by Transfair. You can buy a box of "bites" or choose full-fledged bars.

    Endangered speciesEndangered Species ORGANIC DARK CHOCOLATE CHIMP MINTS They're certified organic, vegan, gluten-free, kosher Non-GMO and the cacao is sourced from Rainforest Alliance Certified™  ethically traded cacao farms ensuring fair trade, responsible labor practices and sustainable farming. Plus they taste good!

    Wei of Chocolate -  This organic and fair trade chocolate, also certified by the Rainforest Alliance, is infused with "energetic" flower essences that they claim lead to greater tranquility, peace and joy. They're beautifully wrapped; a box-ful would certainly enhance my peace and joy, at least as long as they lasted!

    Lake Champlain Chocolates makes some delicious organic chocolates - but they're NOT Fair Trade: Organic Chocolate Truffles from Lake Champlain Chocolates -  or organic chocolate squares in flavors that include cinnamon, sea salt and almonds, milk, and dark.

    Then there's Ghirardelli. It promotes some of its bars as "100% all natural," but offers no explanation of what that means. There's no mention of Fair Trade or organic on its website, either. What gives?

    If you prefer chocolates from these companies, please go to their websites and encourage them to adopt certified fair labor and organic practices.

     RELATED POSTS:

    Fill Your Heart With Organic Chocolate

    Environmental In-Box: Seeds of Change Chocolate

     

    Later this year, look for Hershey’s Bliss® products made with 100 percent cocoa from Rainforest Alliance Certified farms. Rainforest Alliance Certified farms have met comprehensive sustainability standards that protect the environment and ensure the safety and well-being of workers, their families and communities. Hershey’s Bliss® chocolates are available to U.S. consumers at more than 35,000 retail outlets. Meanwhile, you can read more about Hershey’s sustainability plans here.

    What Did I Miss?

    If you make an organic, Fair Trade chocolate we didn't mention here, please leave a comment with all the pertinent information. If you love an organic, Fair Trade chocolate we failed to notice, please let us know! Thanks.

    December 14, 2011

    Avoid Post-Christmas Clutter: 15 Things You Can Easily Recycle After Christmas

    Now's the time to think ahead to the day after Christmas -- and all the stuff you may want or need to throw away. Instead of trashing it, here's a list of what you should easily be able to recycle:

    Wrapping paper1) Wrapping paper and ribbon (keep a paper bag or box handy when you're unwrapping presents to make the job easy and efficient) - Shred paper to use as packing material, put aside for your kids' art projects, or recycle with the weekly newspapers and junk mail.

    2) Cardboard and paper boxes - Line smaller boxes with soft towels to create a new bed for a cat or small dog; flatten any boxes you don't need for easier recycling.

    3) Cell phones - Take to Best Buy, Staples, or Office Depot, or send to Collective Good, which will refurbish them, re-sell them, and share the profits with the charity of your choice.

    4) Computers, laptops, notebooks, monitors, keyboards - Any of the office supply stores should accept them at no cost to you.

    5) Cameras - (same)    

    6) Fax machines (same)

    7) Clothing - Most shelters will take t-shirts, pants, long-sleeved shirts, jackets, underwear and socks. Donate fancier clothes to the local theater company or school drama department to use as costumes.

    8) Christmas lights - These links will show you where you can recycle old lights and find new, energy-efficient LEDs.

    9) Beverage cans, bottles and jugs - Glass, aluminum, and plastic beer, soda, juice and bottled water containers can all be recycled.

    10) Plastic food containers - Many community recycling programs now accept plastic food trays and cartons, along with containers from yogurt, sour cream, dips, and spreads.

    11) Toys - Clean, working toys your kids have outgrown can be passed along to the children of neighbors, family, friends, day care centers, and shelters that help house children.

    Xmastree512) Christmas tree - if your community doesn't pick up used trees, recycle this yourself: cut the boughs off to create mulch, and use the needles to make potpourri.

    13) Televisions and Major appliances - If you got a new appliance, ask your installer to recycle the one he removes. Or check these links to get specific guidance on recycling your tv.

    14) Christmas cards - Cut off the part containing the signature (usually the back page), and use the front, decorated page as a Christmas gift tag for next year.

    15) Food - Combine leftovers into stews and soups, or freeze in lunch-size portions to take to work or send to school with the kids; simmer meat and turkey bones until they make a rich broth that can be used for gravies and stock; freeze cookies, breads, and dessert bars to use over the next three months.

    Click here for suggestions on recycling tinsel, ornaments, and other Christmas decorations.

    Holiday Traditions That Mean the Most to Me: Family, Friends, Food!

    Free, Mostly Green, Holiday Gifts to Keep Your Christmas Green

     

    NEED LAST MINUTE GIFTS? VISIT OUR AMAZON STORE!

    November 08, 2011

    Use Black Friday Sales to Try New Green Products

    PurseIf the high price of some green goods has prevented you from buying them in the past, Black Friday - and Cyber Monday, the online shopping spree that happens four days after Thanksgiving - may offer the opportunity to finally give them a try. Retailers usually slash prices 30-50%, which helps make eco-friendly products more affordable. As we get closer to the big day - November 25 - I'll let you know about bargains I think are worthwhile, not because it's Black Friday particularly, but just because I think it's a smart way to use the power of your big green purse to send a message to manufacturers that green is the best "black" there is. For now, here are categories to consider if you want to make a shopping list.

    FOOD

    Organic food can cost as much as 30% more than food that's been conventionally grown using pesticides or under inhumane conditions for animals and people. Unfortunately, it's unlikely that staples like organic milk, meat, poultry and fresh vegetables will be on sale just because it's Black Friday. But specialty foods - like chocolate, tea and coffee, nuts, and dried fruits - are likely to have their prices slashed, particularly at more conventional grocery stores where they're seen as a premium item. I expect online retailers to offer bargains on gift packs of these items - but there's no reason why you can't buy them for yourself.

    ELECTRONICS and APPLIANCES

    I hate to encourage anyone to buy more electronics, given how much e-waste is piling up. However, if you're truly in need of a new phone, tablet, computer, or printer, Black Friday is the day to buy it. Do your research now so you can aim for the most energy-efficient, eco-friendly equipment; check this Greenpeace Guide to Greener Electronics to pick the most environmentally responsible company for the item you want. Plan now to recycle your old equipment when you replace it; stores like Best Buy, Staples, and Office Depot accept almost any electronic device, regardless of the manufacturer. If you still don't have an energy-saving power strip, get one of those while you're at it. Appliances will include the federal government Energy Guide sticker to help you choose the refrigerator, freezer, washer or dryer that uses the least amount of energy.

    CLOTHING

    VestWhile you'll find fashion bargains galore on November 25, not many of them are likely to be green, especially at the mall. Sadly, stores like Macy's, Target, Ann Taylor, Chico's, Express, Coldwater Creek, and the Limited are embarrassingly limited when it comes to dresses, shirts, pants, and other couture made from organic or eco-friendly fibers. You might have some luck at H&M; the last time I was in there, I found skirts and blouses made from organic cotton, and some sweaters made from recycled polyester. If you're not looking for dressy work clothes, head over to Lands End, Northface, Patagonia, and REI. Patagonia has done a particularly good job of using recycled fibers to make its vests and jackets; plus, you can recycle old t-shirts and other clothes at Patagonia when you shop.

    JEWELRY

    More and more fine jewelry stores are offering bracelets, rings, necklaces and earrings made from recycled gold, reclaimed stones, and diamonds sourced from humane and fair trade mines. Before you buy, ask to see certification that shows where the jewels originally came from.

    TOWELS AND SHEETS

    Organic towels and sheets are a real luxury, and their usual high price shows it. But even their cost might come down on Black Friday; if it does, go for it! JC Penneys, Target, and Wal-Mart stock organic linens regularly; hopefully, they'll put them on sale November 25 along with the conventionally produced items. Check online or in the newspaper for "money off on anything" coupons.

    WINE, BEER, SPIRITS

    Most liquor stores sell organically produced wine, beer, vodka, gin, and possibly other spirits. Whether you're stocking up for the holidays or want to refill your fridge or wine cellar, take advantage of storewide discounts or sales on individual brands.

    SOAP, SHAMPOO, PERFUME, PERSONAL CARE PRODUCTS

    Stores like Bath & Body Works, the Body Shop, and Origins increasingly sell soaps, shampoos, lotions, and cremes free of parabens, phthalates, and synthetic fragrances. Read labels carefully, and look for products packaged in paper, cardboard and glass rather than plastic.

    YOGURT AND BREAD MAKERS

    If you buy a lot of yogurt and bread, chances are you're throwing away a lot of plastic yogurt containers and paper bread wrappers. Pretty much every department store will have these two items on sale on Black Friday.

    WRAPPING PAPER AND HOLIDAY CARDS

    The "greenest" option is to use paper you saved from last year and to send e-cards. You can also wrap presents in fabrics, towels, or table cloths and napkins or bundle them into reusable shopping bags. But if it's paper you must have, look for 100% recycled paper or tree-free paper options in both wrapping and cards from Hallmark and Papyrus, among other shops.

    Don't forget your own shopping bag... your reusable one, of course!

    Related Posts:

    Recycling Your Computer Just Got Easier

    What if You Buy Nothing?

    How to Shop for Eco-friendly Clothing (Parts 1, 2, 3)

    Top Ten "Green" Thanksgiving Tips

    Give to Your Favorite Charity Whenever You Shop - At No Extra Cost to You

    For more ideas on how to be a green consumer this holiday season, check out the Green Moms Carnival this month, hosted by Betsy over at Eco-Novice.

     

    June 29, 2011

    Meatless Monday is on July 4th; How About These Veggie Burgers?

    Before you fire up the barbecue for your 4th of July picnic, take a minute to read Ten Reasons Why You Should Eat Less Meat. Then, instead of automatically serving up hamburgers, hot dogs, steak or chicken, get creative! Need some help? Try this recipe for a delicious veggie burger courtesy of the wonderful vegan cookbook, The Happy Herbivore, by Lindsay S. Nixon.

        Black Bean Burger-Nixon Black Bean Burgers

    Ingredients:

    1 15-oz can black beans, drained and rinsed

    1/4 c fresh cilantro, minced

    1 tsp ground cumin

    1/2 tsp dried oregano

    cayenne, salt, and pepper to taste

    Breadcrumbs (buy at store or make your own - toast whole-grain bread until dry, then pulse in food processor)

    Whole-wheat hamburger buns

     To do:

    * Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Grease grill pan, or cookie sheet if you prefer to use your oven.

    * Pulse beans in food processor until mashed well, or mash manually using a potato masher or fork.

    * Transfer to a mixing bowl and stir in cilantro and spices, plus salt and pepper.

    * Add breadcrumbs as necessary until the mixture can be handled and isn't terribly sticky, about 1/4 cup.

    * If after 1/4 cup it's still too sticky and difficult to work with, refrigerate 5 to 10 minutes

    * Shape mixture into three patties.

    * Lightly spray each patty with cooking spray and grill or bake 7 minutes.

    Happy Herbivore * Flip, re-spray,and bake 7-10 minutes more until crisp on the outside and thoroughly warm.

    * Serve immediately on buns, along with lettuce, tomatoes, and whatever other condiments you prefer.

    Note: This recipe makes three burgers; double to make six.

     (Photo courtesy of The Happy Herbivore Cookbook, p. 87)

    Related Posts:

    Meatless Monday: Here's How You Can Do It

    Want to be Almost Meatless? These Cookbooks Can Help

    Charcoal is Out. What's In - And Eco?

    December 03, 2010

    Holiday Traditions that Mean the Most to Me: Family, Friends, Food!

    This weekend begins a chain of traditions I've been building with my family for twenty years.

    Holly berries Early Saturday morning, I'll climb up in the attic and pull down the holiday lights, bunting, evergreen trim, and ribbons and bows we use to decorate our house for Christmas every year. I'll tap my "inner Martha Stewart" as I weave the trim around the staircase and across the balcony railing, then thread white lights through the trim to turn our day-to-day home into a holiday wonderland. 

    While I'm trimming the stairs, one of the kids will be out in the yard cutting holly branches bursting with bright red berries. The holly goes everywhere - in vases of other yard cuttings, around the base of lamps, behind framed photos on the walls, around the candles that are now sitting on the window sills and in the middle of the dining room table. All the while, apple cider, infused with cinnamon sticks and whole cloves, will simmer on top of the stove. In a matter of a couple of hours, it will look and smell in here the way it does every year about this time: which is to say, just like Christmas.

    Sunday, we'll get our Christmas tree. We have a high ceiling, so we usually aim for a fir about seven feet tall. When we can, we buy our tree from a local farmer who grows it organically on his farm in Pennsylvania. It is not perfectly shaped; a stray bird's nest may be hiding in the crotch of a couple of tall branches. No matter. "Oh...that smells sooooo good," everyone says in his or her own time. We'll trim the bottom to fit into the Christmas stand, and save the branches to add more Christmasy smells to the house or put on the porch to make a bed for the candles we'll light there on Christmas Eve.

    Continue reading "Holiday Traditions that Mean the Most to Me: Family, Friends, Food!" »

    November 30, 2010

    Ten "Buy/Don't Buy" Rules for Greener Shopping

    Ornament2 Make "green" shopping easier this holiday season by following the ten straightforward rules below.

    1) Don't buy anything that requires a throwaway battery. 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. Solution? Avoid toys, gadgets and appliances that require short-lived, throwaway batteries. If you must give a battery-powered gift, Usbcell include rechargeable batteries and the recharger to go with it. One of my favorites is a reuseable AAA battery you can recharge in the USB port of your computer.

    2) Buy solar- or hand-powered. Among your options: hand-cranked flashlights, coffee grinders, blenders and juicers. Vintage-style razors with replaceable razor blades. A French-press coffee pot. More interested in solar? Try solar-powered chargers for cell phones, flash drives, and radios.

    3) Don't buy 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 waft 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.

    4) 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. The downside? They're nasty chemicals considered a reproductive hazard in Europe and the state of California. Luckily, you can find a wonderful variety of phthalate-free nail polishes, perfumes, make-up and other personal care products in stores like Whole Foods and the Body Shop or online here.

    Continue reading "Ten "Buy/Don't Buy" Rules for Greener Shopping" »

    November 15, 2010

    Recycle Holiday Lights and Replace with Discounted Energy-Saving LEDs

    LED light Holiday lights brighten up everything except your electricity bill. They're so twinkly and tiny, you probably string them up without giving much if any thought to how much energy they use.

    Turns out, the energy they use is A LOT. That's because standard holiday lights are just mini incandescents, one of the most ineffecient ways we light our homes today.

    These little lights are annoying for a couple of other reasons. They break very easily; and if one bulb burns out, you often have to throw away the whole strand.

    The alternative? LEDs.

    Light emitting diodes, or LEDs, are exceptionally energy efficient; depending on the design, LEDs may use up to 90% less energy than an incandescent bulb to produce the same amount of light.

    For example, the amount of electricity consumed by just one 7-watt incandescent bulb could power 140 LEDs — enough to light two 24-foot (7.3-meter) strings.

    LED Features & Benefits
    • Use 80% - 90% less energy than traditional incandescent holiday lights
    • ENERGY STAR® qualified models help consumers choose efficient lights
    • Can last up to 10 times longer than traditional incandescent lights
    • Cool to the touch, reducing the risk of fire
    • No filaments or glass, so they are much more durable and shock resistant than other lights

    According to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, if all decorative light strings sold in America this year were ENERGY STAR qualified, we would save over 700 million kWh of electricity per year and reduce greenhouse gas emissions equivalent to those from about 100,000 cars!

    Like several other appliances, energy-efficient LEDs are somewhat more expensive to buy than their energy-wasting counterparts, a fact you might find hard to over look even though you'll make up the extra costs over time on your energy bill. To help ease the pain, several companies are offering discount coupons that encourage you to recycle your existing, energy-wasting bulbs and replace them with LEDs.

    Continue reading "Recycle Holiday Lights and Replace with Discounted Energy-Saving LEDs" »

    February 02, 2010

    Six Ways to Green Your Valentine's Day

    Valentine's Day heart Here at Big Green Purse, we love love. So naturally, Valentine's Day is one of our favorite days of the year.

    As it turns out, it also presents one of the best opportunities to shift your spending to greener goods. Of the billions of dollars spent on Valentine's Day gifts every year, more than a third are spent on flowers.  As beautiful as they may be, conventionally-grown cut flowers are usually doused with toxic pesticides that are damaging to people as well as the environment.

    Solution?

    • If you're planning to give a bouquet of classic red roses, order organically grown flowers to avoid those harmful chemicals.  Plenty of businesses offer organic roses as well as other flowers
    • Choose flowers and greens grown locally. 
    • Your gift will leave a smaller carbon footprint than a bouquet that was flown in from South America or another tropical clime.  Visit Local Harvest to locate the flower grower nearest to you.
    • Forage your own blooms.  Spend your money on a reusable vase rather than throwaway flowers, then fill it with holly branches, red twig dogwood, pine boughs, dried hydrangea blooms, cattails, or whatever else you can find in your yard. Garnish with a re-usable red ribbon.
    • Give a potted plant instead of cut flowers.  The live plant acts as a mini carbon sink, and will last longer longer than any cut bouquet. Focus on plants that are particularly good at purifying indoor air, like chinese evergreens, spider plants, and peace lilies. 
    • Make a basket.  Stock a garden basket with an assortment of flower seeds, a trowel, some gardening gloves, and maybe a new pair of clippers. In the spring, help your beloved sow the seeds, then enjoy the blooms all summer long.
    • Dish up some bulbs. Fill a shallow bowl with small pebbles; place five or six narcissus bulbs on top. The bulbs will begin to grow as soon as they're watered; in six weeks, they'll have sprouted beautiful foliage and fragrant blooms that keep Valentine's Day alive long past Feb. 14.

    Where's the chocolate, you ask?  Right here!

    (Image credit)

    December 18, 2009

    Eco-Friendly Greeting Cards

    HallmarkGreetings Sending electronic greeting cards is definitely the greenest way to go, but there are times when nothing will do but an "old fashioned" paper card.  Fortunately, you have a nice variety of environmentally-friendly choices. 

    Recycled Paper:

    When buying paper cards, search out options made from recycled paper printed with soy-based inks. Ideally, the card would be made from 100 percent post-consumer waste. Look for specific recycled content on the back of the card, not just the recycling symbol, which could simply mean the card is recyclable. Also look for cards made from bamboo, elephant dung (no kidding!) and other kinds of paper-free materials.

    Tiny Prints cards are made from 30 percent post consumer waste or paper certified by the Forest Stewardship Council

    Hallmark's Shoebox line is printed on recycled paper, but only with a minimum of 20 percent recycled fiber - not a standout in the recycled card line, but better than no recycled content if you don't have another choice. Cards from environmental groups like the Sierra Club are also made from recycled paper with soy-based ink.

    Some cards are so eco-friendly, you can plant them. Green Field Paper makes cards embedded with seeds so the recipient can plant them. The company also offers cards made from junk mail, garlic paper, and coffee chaff. Peaceful Valley sells a boxed set of eight "plantable" cards.  

    Hallmark's Business Expressions Line uses paper made with 50 percent sugarcane by-products and 50 percent recycled paper content. "No new trees have been cut down to make these cards," claims the company.

    Returnable Cards:

    Nationalwildlifecard Then there are cards, like the National Wildlife Federation's Zero-Waste line, that are designed to be  returned so they can be recycled into a new card. Each envelope includes an integrated postage paid method to make it easy to return; materials are made from certified non-toxic plastic and printed with healthy UV cured inks.

    Postcards:

    Zazzle and many other "u print" companies let you customize your own postcards, but they're usually not printed on recycled paper or with soy-based ink. The only advantage to using a postcard is that it skips the envelope (and postage will be a bit cheaper).

    Make Your Own:

    If you can't find a card you like among these, why not make your own? It's easy to find recycled paper at any office supply store. Use non-toxic markers and crayons to personalize a design on one side of an 8 1/2 x 11 sheet, then fold it into thirds, tape the top closed, and write the address on the blank outside. No envelope necessary! Or, rather than buy paper new, recycle wrapping or cards you've received in the past. My mother and her cousin have sent the same card back-and-forth to each other for years, in a tradition that makes both of them laugh when they send and receive the card.

    Recycle and Reuse:

    I do try to make the most out of every card I receive. If it's a postcard, it eventually ends up in my recycling bin. If it's a regular greeting card, I often cut the card in half, recycle the signed part, and re-use the decorated part as a gift tag - it works like a charm.

    If greeting cards have got you thinking about gift wrapping, check out theseenvironmental wrapping tips

    EcoCentric Mom
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