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Earth-Wise Gift Ideas
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Just in time for the holiday season, the California Department of Conservation (DOC) has launched an updated and enhanced version of its online guide to help consumers find eco-friendly gifts and decorating tips.

The DOC created the Green Gift Guide (available exclusively at to promote one of the simplest ways to incorporate sustainability into consumer lifestyles - bottle and can recycling - and also provide information and ideas on environmentally preferable products for the home, office, children, pets and the outdoors. Many of the products are made from recycled bottles, cans and other materials, or otherwise incorporate sustainable practices into manufacturing, thereby saving energy and natural resources.

"Beverage container recycling is on the rise, and the Green Gift Guide is an easy way for each of us to close the recycling loop by buying recycled," said Bridget Luther, director of the DOC. "Shopping for recycled content products and other innovative items helps us move toward a more livable world. People may not realize how many wonderful options there are for not only buying sustainable holiday presents, but for year-round shopping as well."

Shoppers can browse through a catalogue of websites that feature "green" gifts such as tableware made from recycled glass bottles, a cell phone charger that uses solar energy, low flow shower heads, organic clothing and more.

The site provides tips for the holidays, including eco-friendly ideas for entertaining and New Year's resolutions to help Californians' reduce their carbon footprint. An interactive blog is available for visitors who are looking for additional ideas on how to be environmentally conscious throughout the year. Visitors are encouraged to participate and add their own ideas.

The site allows visitors to suggest additional websites that offer eco-friendly products. Users can simply fill out the "Suggest a Product" form and submit it for approval.

Guests are also encouraged to send a Green Gift Guide postcard to their friends and families to encourage sustainable purchasing practices.

Californians recycled 7.6 billion beverage containers during the first six months of 2008, 76 percent of the 10 billion sold in the state. That was a 5-percentage point increase over 2007. By recycling billions of aluminum cans, glass and plastic bottles during that time, Californians decreased greenhouse gas emissions equivalent to eliminating the energy consumption of 11,000 households for one year. and all other aspects of the state's beverage container recycling program are paid for with unclaimed refunds of CRV beverage containers, at no cost to the state's general fund.

In addition to promoting beverage container recycling, the Department of Conservation maps and studies earthquakes and other geologic phenomena; classifies areas containing mineral deposits; ensures reclamation of land used for mining; regulates oil, gas and geothermal wells; and administers agricultural and open-space land conservation programs.

For more information about DOC programs, visit