Green Looks Good on you this Holiday Season

TIP OF THE MONTH – December 2011

BY RACHEL EGAN

As the holiday season quickly approaches, many people are developing lists of presents to give loved ones. From toys to clothing, it’s easy to go to the mall and check off everything on your list without giving it a second thought – but gift giving is sweeter when the gift is exactly what the person wants and also helps our environment and community.

If you have ever watched the AMC show Mad Men, and then gone out in Danville, Alamo and even San Francisco, you might notice that there is a similarity between the fashion on the streets and in the show. That’s because fashion comes full circle. Checking consignment stores for high quality clothing and accessories is the perfect place to start. Purchasing used items is not only environmentally friendly, but it is also a great way to say, “I saw this and thought of you.” Our community has a wonderful collection of consignment and antique stores, including Danville Area Sustainable Businesses ConsignIt Couture and Cottage Jewel that offer a plethora of unique fashion choices for holiday gifts.

Purchasing items made in the USA is a great way to get quality items and boost our economy at the same time. Companies located within the United States are held to much stricter environmental and pollution standards than many of their foreign competitors, which means the factories are more environmentally friendly and the quality of your clothing is higher.

Just like any other organic product, growing cotton organically prevents pesticides from entering groundwater, a large contributor to the world’s fresh water supply. In fact, today 50 percent of groundwater is contaminated with pesticides from agricultural production – including cotton. Companies such as Adidas, Pottery Barn, and Levi’s (to name a few) are making commitments to help alleviate groundwater pollution by using organic cotton in their product production.  Locally, Danville Area Sustainable Business Olive Boutique offers sustainable fashion for all occasions made with 100% organic materials.

Do you recycle at home, but wonder where those plastic bottles ultimately go? You may not have to look much further than your closet. By doing some minimal research online, you can find companies that use partially or 100 percent recycled material for their fleece products.  Not only will you help the environment by purchasing fleece clothes made out of recycled plastics, but you will keep your loved ones warm and cozy all winter.

While you are online searching for eco-friendly fleece, you might also want to check out other sustainable clothing companies. Many items from these companies can be purchased through Amazon, or any other number of online retailers.

The holidays are not only a time for giving and receiving from your loved ones, but they are also a time to give back to the world that we live in. One way to help the planet and assist those who are less fortunate than you is to go through your closet so you can donate clothes and recycle shoes. Nike’s Reuse-A-Shoe program (www.nikereuseashoe.com) takes your old athletic shoes and reuses them for athletic grounds or apparel. Another way to give back is to buy a pair of Tom’s shoes (www.toms.com). For every pair of shoes (or glasses) you buy from Tom’s, a pair is donated to a child in need. As of September 2010, over one million pairs were donated to children around the world, including here at home in the United States.

Of course, we always encourage people to shop locally. There are many wonderful stores in the area that sell locally- and/or organically-produced goods, including clothing. For the list of Danville Area Sustainable Businesses, visit the Sustainable Danville Area website at www.sustainabledanville.com – you will find clothing stores, restaurants, home furnishing studios, and more. By shopping at these local businesses you will not only be helping the environment, but you will also be supporting your neighbors and helping the local economy.

Sustainable Danville Area wishes our friends and supporters a happy and peaceful holiday season.  There will not be a forum in December, but we hope to see you in the New Year. For more information, please visit us atwww.sustainabledanville.com, on Facebook or @greendanville on Twitter.

Reprinted with permission from Alamo Today/Danville Today News

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