Do Your Part

Choose housewarming gifts with care

January 11, 2013 

LIFE SELF-ENV-DOYOURPART MCT

Create an eco-friendly housewarming gift that is useful and unique with products that are safe and gentle on the environment. Include white vinegar for all purpose cleaning, baking soda for non-abrasive scrubbing, borax for fighting mold, or plant-based cleaners off store shelves. (MCT)

HANDOUT — MCT

Housewarming gifts are always a nice touch. Keep the planet in mind the next time you’ll be giving one.

If you usually get cut flowers, try swapping them out for a potted plant. A plant with roots intact will last years instead of days and are usually grown in nurseries just miles from where you live.

Choose gifts that provide food, such as mushroom-growing kits or herb gardens. Homeowners can watch them grow and then use them in all kinds of recipes. Packets of seeds are fun for families of all ages. Present the packets tied up in a ribbon or in small growing pots. For those families that don’t mind going the extra mile, food composting containers for the kitchen make an ideal gift.

One of my favorites to give is the gift of a healthy home. Creating a green cleaning kit as a housewarming present is useful and unique. Include white vinegar for all-purpose cleaning, baking soda for nonabrasive scrubbing, borax for fighting mold, and plant-based cleaners. Add some reusable cloths or eco-friendly paper towel alternatives, and you’re good to go.

You can still find safer and eco-friendly options if you want to give a more traditional housewarming present. A few sweet-smelling soy candles are a better choice over petroleum-based products. A local wine is a better choice than an out-of-state bottle. A traditional food basket is easy to make with local and organic goodies.

Be creative when giving housewarming presents in the new year. You’ll be kind to your friends and the planet at the same time.

Terri Bennett is the author of “Do Your Part:: A Practical Guide for Everyday Green Living.”

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