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Those who imagine all environmentally-friendly gifts to be blandly-colored, no-frills items may be surprised to learn that as of the 21st century, it is possible to purchase green presents in almost any conceivable category. In fact, with the vast variety of environmentally-friendly gifts available, it is difficult to narrow them down into a few types. To get a sense of the different kinds of eco-friendly gifts, however, it may be helpful to divide them into three groups using terms familiar to almost anyone with a basic knowledge of environmentalism: gifts which reduce, gifts which reuse, and gifts which recycle.
Some environmentally-friendly gifts can be classified as items intended to help reduce mankind's impact on the planet by limiting the creation of pollution and waste and supporting efforts to reverse environmental damage. An example of this type of gift would be a book which educates the recipient about different ways in which he can minimize his environmental impact. Also in this category are gift donations to organizations which seek to protect the environment through such initiatives as wildlife support and carbon footprint offsetting.
A wide variety of potential environmentally-friendly gifts can be found among gently used pre-owned items, which fit the environmentalist’s core principle of reuse. While the idea of gifting used items may seem strange to some, note that it need not involve chipped or holey garage-sale finds. A fashionable friend may find a piece of vintage jewelry to be quite glamorous, while a book lover may be delighted with a first edition or signed copy of a novel by her favorite author. Serious music fans might appreciate a used record player along with some classic albums on vinyl. Internet-based auction sites can be a good resource for those looking to purchase used gifts.
Finally, a great many environmentally-friendly gifts are comprised of old objects which have been made into something new, and therefore are in keeping with the green principle of recycling. Some recycled gifts are designed to retain part of the essence of the thing from which they were created. For instance, it is possible to purchase handbags made from soda can tabs which have been joined together, and woven jewelry made from plastic bags. Other recycled gifts provide no visual indication of their source. For example, some fleece apparel is made from recycled plastics, and many sophisticated-looking barware sets are manufactured from used glass bottles.