Low-impact gifts can make holidays more eco-friendly

This year, holiday sales in the U.S. are projected to hit $219 billion — up 4 to 6 percent from last year. That’s a lot of ties and trinkets. And while that might be good news for some retailers, it’s anything but a holiday for the earth; between Thanksgiving and New Year’s Day, Americans generate an extra 5 million tons of trash — not to mention emissions from all those trips to the mall. So this season, many green-leaning folks are getting creative and giving non-material gifts. Whales are adopted, acres of rainforest are saved, blocks of wind power are acquired on behalf of family and friends, and even pollution credits are purchased for loved ones so power companies can’t use them to pollute the air. But if someone on your list insists on a tangible gift, this year’s hot eco-friendly items include recycled rubber-tire handbags, canvas shower curtains, organic textiles, and LED outdoor holiday lights that use 1/50th of the electricity and last 20 to 30 years.