Household waste increases by 25% between Thanksgiving and New Year’s Day, sending an additional 1 million tons per week to our landfills. It doesn’t have to be that way. If you are not already awash in Amazon boxes, plastic, paper, and receipts from big box stores, we have some ideas for a more sustainable holiday giving season.

  1. Shop local – Consider locally made gifts to keep your dollars cycling in the local economy and support our local talent. Local art, crafts, foods, restaurants, and services can all be located by walking around Downtown Bloomington, or check with Local First Bloomington to find gift certificates.
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2. Gift of harvest – Consider giving a City of Bloomington garden plot, or heirloom seeds from the Wylie House Museum. Visit the Local Growers’ Guild to give a Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) share.


  1. Gift of knowledge — skills classes, experiences, or subscriptions

IU, Ivy Tech, and the City of Bloomington all offer a range of continuing education experiences. Bloomington Cooking School, Ivy Tech, The Olive Leaf, and Muddy Fork Bakery offer cooking classes for the foodie in your family. If you aren’t able to gift a cooking experience, you and your family can still partake in nutrition education…our friends at Mother Hubbard’s Cupboard offer free classes for families and children. Learn how to cook with whole foods and fresh produce, and make a donation to their food pantry if you’re able.


  1. Get active getting around – It may have been a long time since you found a bike under the tree, but perhaps this is your year to get more active and enjoy the enhanced biking opportunities around Bloomington for fun, exercise, exploring the countryside, or for a more pleasant commute to work without the high costs. Zip Car, Campus Commute, GoExpress, and Bloomington Transit are good alternative transportation options too, visit our website for more information.
  1. Get outside – Give a State Park annual entrance permit, or State Park Inn gift card. Passes, gift cards, and more can be found at the Indiana State Parks store.


  1. Get smart – unplug! Consider giving wooden toys, toys that don’t require batteries, or non electric gadgets. The techie in your life will love a solar powered phone charger, solar powered battery recharger for rechargeable batteries, a smart thermostat, or LED flashlights. You can find a collection of fun solar gadgets here.
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  1. Give a Donation to a local sustainability organization in someone’s name – Visit the IU Foundation and select Bloomington Sustainability in the drop down menu.



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