The holidays are fast approaching and already I am starting to see advertisements for popular gift ideas from the big box retailers. Fliers are coming in the mail that show off all the flashy gifts you could buy your friends and family. When they start passing along coupons and free shipping deals, it is hard to resist. If you think about the environmental impact that most of these products have it is enough to make a person cringe! One way to reduce your ecological footprint in the coming months is to find local retailers, crafters, bakers, and farmers who can provide a wonderful selection of products for your holiday gift giving and entertaining! Homemade chocolates from a local artisan or jam from your local orchard would be creative and ecofriendly gift ideas!
Here are just a few ways that supporting your local business is good for the environment:
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1. Less transportation required: It is getting harder and harder to find products that are made right here in the USA. That means the majority of gifts advertised in those flashy fliers are coming from overseas. Whether by boat or by plane, it takes a lot of fossil fuels to transport goods from across the world!
2. Less packaging: If you have ever tried to get a child’s toy out of it’s box after it has been unwrapped you will understand just how much packaging waste these products produce. Small, local businesses do not have the extra money to invest in labor intensive packaging which makes your trashcan much less full after all the gifts have been opened.
3. Small businesses reduce sprawl: By supporting your local, small businesses you help ensure their success. Big box retailers take up a lot of space and those huge parking lots are an ecological nightmare. The more local businesses we have, the fewer new huge department stores will be built!
What are some other great gift ideas from local vendors? Many local artisans make candles and soap. You could also look for local carpenters for a beautiful bookshelf or an afgan made by a nearby quilter.
Supporting small, local businesses is not only good for the environment but it keeps your money within your own community!
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Diane has a Bachelor’s degree in Microbiology with a Minor in Health Management and Policy. She spent many years working in cancer research, academics, and biotechnology. Concern over the growing incidence of human disease and the birth of her children led her to begin living a more natural life. She quickly realized that the information she was learning along the way could be beneficial to many others and started blogging as a way to share this knowledge with others. While passionate about health and the environment she can’t quite give up her favorite Cheetos and Diet Coke! Learn more about her HERE.