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Green Shopping Guide


By Keri Greenwald

So you're thinking to yourself that it is that time of the year again and although you love the parties and seeing everyone looking their best, shopping for the holidays is a total pain in the *ss!

Have no worries: I am here to help with a timesaving and earth-saving Green Shopping Guide. Now, breathe in that clean Twin Cities air and let me do the work for you.

Before you even leave the house:
If you are going to do your shopping on foot (who am I kidding - you'll be in your car in Minnesota when it is 10 degrees) don't take a plastic bag. (Don't take a paper bag either: producing a paper bag uses 7 times more energy than producing a plastic bag!) Instead, bring your own reusable tote for your shopping.

Did you know that the average family of four uses 28 plastic bags a week? tThat is almost 1500 plastic bags a year and they never decompose! Our favorite is the Original Reusable Tote from Responsible Mommy™ Responsible Mommy. At only $7.00 and the size of a paper grocery bag, this tote is stylish, durable, washable, lightweight and even includes a zippered pocket. The totes are perfect to scrunch up and keep in your purse or diaper bag while you shop.

Where to Shop in person?
For those who like to get out and battle the crowds, we recommend heading over to Twin Cities Green on Hennepin Avenue in Minneapolis. There you'll find eco-friendly finds for the kitchen, garden, and even 'Green' pet supplies. If you prefer to shop from your own couch (think how much gas you'll save!), order online from their website at Green Gifts Online.

The Greener Way - Where to Shop Online?
For some really funky gifts for the people who already have everything, try Green With Envy. From Green golf tees, to candy wrapper purses and bracelets, to cool coffee table bowls made from old LP records, this site is both affordable and different.

For good-looking, practical, organic toys and clothes for the entire family, shop at Our Green House. I especially like the Kids Bamboo Dishes with a little dinosaur imprinted on them. These dishes are an environmentally friendly, fun alternative to paper or plastic.

For your nature-loving friends:
Honor someone by adopting an acre or reviving a reef from The Nature Conservancy. Go to nature.org and click on the Gift box on the left side of the page.

Did you know you can save $500?:
Families in the US today are spending upwards of $500 dollars per year buying plastic disposable water bottles from the grocery store and Sam's Club. Save that money by investing in a few safe, high-quality reusable water bottles for the whole family. What to look for? BPA-free, aluminum, dishwasher-safe, leach-free bottles such as SIGG or Kleen Kanteen. Buy them at 20% off retail from (Responsible Mommy. Ballerinas, horses, Hello Kitty, racecars, and tennis players are among the styles available for kids. For more mature audiences, check out the Modern Art prints, flowers, running water styles and slick silver bottles.

Nix the Wrapping Paper:
Skip the wasteful wrapping paper this year and either put your gifts in a great looking, reusable tote or wrap the gift in the comic section from your newspaper.

Outdoor Gifts:
Don't you always feel better when you are playing outdoors? Give the gift of Nature by either purchasing a park pass for your friends, or giving them a tent (winter is a great time to buy tents at a huge discount). For your child, send him or her to camp by creating a Camp Coupon to be redeemed this summer.

Green cars:
Even if the person you love is not buying a car, you can certainly rent someone you love a hybrid for a day. What a great way to gain some 'Green' appreciation and save them some gas money!

Green Christmas Lights:
LED (light-emitting diode) holiday lights are quickly becoming a tradition in public spaces across the country and make an energy-smart and safe gift. They save up to 90 percent of the energy used by regular mini holiday lights and last 100 times longer, saving the hassle of having to replace bulbs frequently. And since they don't heat up or break, these lights reduce the risk of fire and help protect children's hands. Look for them alongside standard lights in many stores and search the Internet.

Green Reading:
For our reader friends, go to your local bookstore and buy some environment books for kids and adults. Spreading the 'Green' word is easy when a person understands the problems and solutions.

You have now educated yourself on shopping 'Green' this holiday season. Moms control 80% of household spending so spend it wisely by spending it Green. You can make a BIG difference!

Educational Fundraising with a Purpose: For schools, clubs, and people looking to make a difference. What if you could earn money for your organization, make a big difference in the environment, AND set a great example for your kids? Responsible Mommy™ helps schools, PTAs and clubs do just that...Sign up now to have your 'Green' fundraiser ready for Earth Day - April 22, 2009. See www.responsiblemommy.com and go to the School Fundraising page for details.

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