Black Friday Eco-Style

Looking for a sustainable way to shop this season? Here are a few ideas to get you started:
-Instead of buying desktop water fountains and massage slippers to friends and family that seem to have everything, try donating to a charity or micro-enterprise venture. The websites below let your friends choose where and whom they’d like to help.
-Instead of traditional gift exchanges, which are increasingly shifting towards “gift card” exchanges, why not make it a little more fun by exchanging items you already own? Try a “white elephant” gift exchange. Each person wraps up something they own that they are willing to give away and places it under the tree (a re-usable plastic tree or potable tree, of course). Everyone draws a number in a hat to figure out who goes first. When it’s your turn, you have the option to trade for a previously opened gift or choose a new one to unwrap.
-If you must buy something new for your loved ones, choose eco-friendly options. Beautiful travel coffee mugs/water bottles, massage certificates, organic teas/coffee, and organic lotions/soaps all make great gifts. Shop from eco-gift expos in your local area if you can.
-For sustainably produced jewelry, try:
-For gift wrap, try an out-of-date map, sheet music, a decorated paper bag, or recycled vintage containers such as cigar, shoe, or hat boxes. Use natural gift box fillers like leaves, straw, corn popcorn, or straw.
Happy Holidays!

Shannon Arvizu, Ph.D., is a clean tech educator and cutting-edge consultant for the auto industry. You can follow her test drives in the cars of the future at