It’s become more and more of a priority for me to tread as lightly as possible in the world. There are things you can do on a daily basis. I think a Voltaic solar-powered messenger bag that can charge your cell phone, PDA, or MP3 player ($239 at Flight 001) would be a great gift.
I’d buy one of my girlfriends a pair of natural indigo-dyed jeans from the Japanese clothing store 45rpm ($754). You can customize the washes and the hardware. They’re expensive, but if you have the right jeans, you can wear them for ten years. Thinking this way is becoming more mainstream. Patagonia’s High-Wire Hemp men’s jacket ($175) has a sleek urban cut.
One of my favorite stores is Gomi on East 6th Street. They have great retro jewelry; I’d get my friends some bangles ($80 for six), and one of the sweaters made from bamboo ($198), which is really soft when it’s processed differently. My friends with kids would get wooden crates from Scrapile; they’re great to store toys ($650 for two at Vivavi). They’re made by these two guys in Brooklyn out of repurposed wood scraps.
For a bachelor friend who never cleans, I’d book Zenhome, a cleaning service in Brooklyn that uses nontoxic products. They burn essential oils while they clean and leave organic chocolates on your pillow ($150 for 5 hours; 4-hour minimum).
A great friend of mine always brings his dog when he comes to visit. I’d buy him Le Dogue Bites holistic treats and biodegradable pet-waste bags ($15 and $8, respectively, at IIKH), which are not the most glamorous gift, but I always think that’s just so many plastic bags every day that people are throwing in the trash. Oh, and I’d buy him a Nest dog bed made of recycled-fleece scraps ($150 at Vivavi). He’s a rascal mutt from the pound. So, actually, he’s recycled, too!