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Nine Gift Ideas to Turn Your Black Friday Green

Are you planning to muscle through the hordes for some deals this Friday? How about cutting a deal for the environment while you’re at it?

Add some green to Black Friday this year by scoping out some eco-friendly gift ideas everyone on your list—and the air—will love.

Give a gift that keeps giving...and giving and giving. Few things are as rewarding as growing your own food or a beautiful garden, and fewer things are better for the air than more green. Just because there may be snow on the ground this Christmas doesn’t mean you can’t gift a bit of life to the green thumb on your list.

  • Windowsill gardening kit - purchase one or make your own. All you need are some pots or a windowsill tray, some starter seeds, and potting soil. Herbs are easy and edible. There are even some vegetables (including peppers and greens) that will grow well next to a sunny window.
  • Native plant kit - Order online and plant in early springtime. The Indiana Wildlife Federation offers entire ecosystems in a box—perfect for marshy, shaded, or sunny yards. Native plants are especially good for local pollinators and native wildlife.

Know someone who’s always on the go? Help them get there, and clear the air at the same time by encouraging active commuting.

  • Cold weather accessories will keep your biker riding throughout the winter season. Check out any of Central Indiana’s local bike shops for ideas on gear and accessories.
  • IndyGo bus passes make great stocking stuffers, and are a great way to introduce your Indianapolis friends to the growing IndyGo system.
  • Pacers Bikeshare annual memberships are an easy and long-lasting gift for anyone who enjoys being active in downtown Indianapolis. They’re especially useful for students or anyone who lives or works downtown. Purchase a gift membership here.

Eco-friendly gifts for others on your list might not be so obvious, but here’s where you can get creative.

  • For that hard-to-buy-for person on your list, consider a quality set of reusable to-go containers. Everyone has to eat, right? They’re handy for storing leftovers at home or packing lunches, but are also perfect for taking out to dinner to bring home restaurant leftovers—without the disposable to-go box.

    Not only is there speculation around the health impacts of styrofoam food containers, manufacturing those disposable to-go boxes is bad for air quality. They then overwhelmingly end up in landfills where they further contribute to air and water pollution.
  • For the avid reader, tech geek, or news junkie on your list, consider a digital magazine or e-book subscription. They’ll enjoy learning about their favorite things, and you’ll enjoy that no trees got chopped down in the process.
  • It might surprise you to know that much of the time, the air inside your home or office is full of more harmful toxins than what you breathe outside. An indoor air purifier can clear out those toxins, and makes an especially great gift for anyone who has recently moved into a new home. Make sure that any air purifier you purchase is HEPA certified.

    On a budget? An air-filtering houseplant works wonders too, and is in style.
  • Know someone that already has it all? Spread the love, and consider donating to an environmental cause in their name. Everyone likes to be a part of something bigger. Sierra Club, the National Parks Service, Moms Clean Air Force, and The Nature Conservancy are good places to start. At a local level, IndyCog, Indiana Wildlife Federation, Keep Indianapolis Beautiful, and many others make a deep impact on Central Indiana communities.

The holidays are meant to be a time for giving thanks, and showing friends and family you care. However, they can quickly turn into a time of over-consumption, leaving all of us—and the environment—overwhelmed. By giving environmentally conscious gifts, you can make this holiday more meaningful while making it easier on the air we breathe at the same time.