For many of you, Cyber Monday has become the holy grail of holiday shopping. The coveted deals day that also allows you to be a smarter, greener shopper. For the most part, shopping online is smarter and greener, and a great way to finish up those holiday gifting loose ends you likely didn't cover on Black Friday. Not to mention, shopping online can be a more relaxing and an eco-friendly experience.
Ensure your Cyber Monday shopping is as eco-friendly as possible by following these tips:
1. Shop with companies who share your eco-friendly values.
The most important advice I can give you is to support the environment with your wallet. Let your money follow your values. Shop with companies who incorporate eco-friendly values at all levels -- in production, shipping and beyond.
2. Shop with local companies first, then online.
Do most of your holiday shopping locally with sustainable, eco-friendly companies -- using Cyber Monday to fill your remaining gifting needs. When you do shop online, request that each company not include catalogs, printed invoices or other unnecessary non-recycled materials with your order.
3. Cut out the middleman.
Organize your gifting list by ordering all gifts for those you can personally give, then shop at the least number of online stores possible. Ordering 1 gift at 10 different stores has a larger eco footprint than ordering 10 gifts, shipped in one box, from one store. In addition, cut out an additional shipment route by shipping directly to recipients who are not local to you.
Now that you've made your list and checked it twice, consider these green gifts from eco-friendly companies offering Cyber Monday deals and beyond.
Gift the gift that changes lives:
Kiva offers a gift card that allows the recipient to select an entrepreneur for start-up funding. I have found that this is a gift that my children's teachers really appreciate.
Seva Foundation offers "Gifts of Service" and gift card packs. These special gifts fund a specific, compassion service and provide a stunning photograph card to give.
Just Give offers an a customizable gift card, that allows the recipient to donate to their favorite charity.
Give the gift of ethical fashion:
Stewart+Brown is an ethical fashion brand, founded in 2002 in sunny Los Angeles. They donate a percentage of sales to non-profit environmental and social welfare programs. Save 10% on orders over $200 (code: holiday1020), 15% on orders over $350 (code: holiday20) and 20% on orders over $500 (code: holiday20).
Nau is a sustainable outdoor, urban clothing brand located in Portland, Oregon. You can save 25% off two or more styles from the men's or women's gift sections (code: 2for25), through 12/6/2011.
Hessnatur is an ethical fashion brand, featuring sustainable and luxurious materials like Yak wool and unbleached cashmere. Through 11/30/2011, you can receive 25% off site wide, plus free shipping on all orders (code: MSA255).
Give the gift of recycled and upcycled:
Ecoist handmade bags and jewelry are made from recycled candy wrappers, food packages and other recycled materials. You can receive 15% off all candy wrapper bags the entire day (code: CYBERMONDAY).
Speesees is fun, fair and organic children's clothing -- featuring the best recycled clothing you can find. For the entire day, save 30% off entire site (no code necessary).
Give the gift of natural beauty:
Of course, any Cyber Monday green guide would not be complete without mentioning the 25% off our own natural skincare products -- Marie Veronique Organics -- for the entire day (code: CyberMonday). Rated by the EWG as one of the safest skin care lines on the market with natural, organic and fair trade ingredients whenever possible, packaged in recyclable materials and 10% of company profits are donated annually to support the environment and create better opportunities for women and children in Third World countries.
Follow Hillary Peterson on Twitter: www.twitter.com/truenaturelife