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The best green gift shopping

Here are 10 award-winning socially responsible companies for your green gift shopping this holiday season.

When we heard that New York City's Sustainable NYC won the 2011 People's Choice Award for Green Business of the Year from Green American's Green Business Network (GBN), we wanted to see what other green businesses were in the running. With our holiday shopping in full swing, having a list of the top green businesses on hand makes our socially responsible gift giving lots easier. Here are the top 10 green businesses to shop for the holidays and into the new year.
When we heard that New York City's Sustainable NYC won the 2011 People's Choice Award for Green Business of the Year from Green American's Green Business Network (GBN), we wanted to see what other green businesses were in the running. With our holiday shopping in full swing, having a list of the top green businesses on hand makes our socially responsible gift giving lots easier. Here are the top 10 green businesses to shop for the holidays and into the new year.

Winners of GBN's 2011 People Choice Award for Green Business of the Year

Sustainable NYC, New York City, NY

The New York City-based operation is a combined Web site sales operation and traditional brick-and-mortar store.  Functioning more like a community center for concerned shoppers, the retailer is a one-stop shop for a diverse range of green gifts, from organic clothing to Fair Trade jewelry to solar backpacks. Its Brooklyn, NY store also features a café that serves Fair Trade coffee and hosts green-minded events and workshops.

Bella Luna Toys, Rockland, ME

Owned and run by a Waldorf teacher and mother of two boys, Bella Luna Toys sells a variety of playthings made of ecofriendly materials like wood and silk—no plastic toys here! The toys are all held to the Waldorf standard, meaning they must be “beautiful to behold” and “inspiring to the imagination.”

Seven Hopes United, San Francisco, CA     

Looking for an alternative to Pier 1 Imports and World Market? You can find the same type of imported, artisan-created gifts from Seven Hopes United that you would find at these stores—with the major difference that your purchases support artisans in the Fair Trade system. Offerings include everything from sparkling jewelry to handmade duvet covers and sheets to stunning home decor and kitchen pieces, all with an international, artistic flair.

Divine Chocolate, Washington, DC (Editor's Choice!)

Conventional chocolate companies like Hershey buy cocoa from plantations in Western African countries, where child and forced labor is a major problem. Divine Chocolate, on the other hand, sells only 100 percent certified Fair Trade chocolate, meaning that its supply chain is independently monitored to ensure that farmers earn a fair, living wage, and that no forced labor goes into growing or harvesting the cocoa beans. Divine milk, dark, or flavored chocolate bars make perfect stocking stuffers, as do its special holiday-themed candies.

Faerie’sDance.com, Harbor City, CA

For eco-friendly fashions for men, women, and children, Faerie’s Dance is the place to shop. The company offers attractive clothing made from sustainable soy, organic cotton, and renewable hemp. The company also has a line of jewelry made from recycled metals.

EarthKind, Bismark, ND

EarthKind provides a healthy alternative with its eco-friendly air fresheners made of corn cob chips, odor-absorbing volcanic ash, and essential oils. Scent your loved ones’ stockings with Fresh Adventure, Woodland Escape, Sweet Clover, or Pomegranate & Tangerine.

Hazelnut Kids, Traverse City, MI

This green company offers all the variety of a Toys “R” Us toy store, without the plastics and toxic chemicals. All of Hazelnut Kids’ toys are made from natural materials like sustainably harvested wood and organic cotton, and they’re selected by owner Tracy Coe for their ability to stimulate a child’s imagination and sense of fun.

Purple Dragon Food Co-op, Glen Ridge, NJ

Operated by its members, this co-op sends out a mixed basket of locally sourced and organic fruits and vegetables to its members every other week, all across the northern half of the state. Members pay $46 to $53 for every delivery and work one hour every three months to help keep the co-op running smoothly.

DivaCup, Kitchener, ON

Want an unusual but practical stocking stuffer for the women in your life? The DivaCup is a menstrual alternative for eco-minded women on the go. Instead of contributing to the more than six billion disposable tampons flushed away each year—and the plastic applicator waste they generate—DivaCup’s enthusiastic customers use the company’s reusable tampon alternative. Made of health-caregrade silicon, the DivaCup can be safely worn for up to 12 hours, making it perfect for eco-minded women with busy lives.

Reach and Teach, San Mateo, CA

Reach and Teach, “a peace and social justice learning company,” aims to transform the world through its products that are tailor-made for gift giving. They offer books, games, puzzles, toys, curriculae, music, posters, DVDs, maps, and more for people of all ages.

Check out many more green holiday shopping ideas and awesome savings in in the Green Pages Holiday Gift Guide.

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