Give Your Grad Some Green! And We Don’t Mean Money

It’s that time of year. For many parents and their children that means graduation – time for family and friends to shower the graduate with love, congratulations, and gifts. So when looking for the perfect gift for these newly independent, and optimistic young adults, it is important to encourage them to keep their environmental values at the forefront as they make their way in this world.  And what a better way to keep them on the green living path, then with some green graduation gifts!

Here is a list of great green gifts sure to please any soon-to-be grad.
For the Fashion Grad

Gift cards for green retailers. Online stores like Patagonia and Nau offer up everything from organic cotton pants and shirts to jackets made out of recycled soda bottles. offers up a ton of suggestions for green clothes and retailers.

For the Exploring Grad

For a fascinating learning experience, the high school or college grad might like to try “wwofing,” (from the phrase “working weekends on organic farms”), the recently-coined term for an organic farm stay. You can find hundreds of prospects around the world by going to

For the Organic Eating Grad

How about a Gift card  for organic food? These days organic food stores are everywhere. A reloadable gift card for a nationwide grocery store like Whole Foods or Trader Joe’s will keep your student in healthy, fresh food for a month or even a semester. You could even get a gift card for a local organic restaurant. (Whole Foods also has a wide variety of tasty, healthy microwaveable food, perfect for quick dorm dinners.) To go along with those green groceries, pick up some reusable canvas bags to carry all that good food back to the dorm.

For the Coffee Drinking Grad

If there’s one thing every student seems to need, it’s coffee. Today most major coffee importers and chains (like Starbucks, Caribou, Seattle’s Best) have Fair Trade brands, which ensure fair wages for workers. Look for other marks of environmental coffee practices – Shade Grown, Organic, Bird-Friendly. Peace Coffee ( roasts excellent coffee, and they’ll deliver anywhere.

For the “Sweet” Grad

Chocolate. Second only to coffee, chocolate is at the top of the college brain-food list. Chocolate comes in Fair Trade and Organic varieties, and chocolate bars that are high in dark chocolate content are full of healthy antioxidants, not to mention delicious. ??For the “Clean” Grad? Shampoos and soaps. More and more bath products come in green varieties. Aveda and The Body Shop are leaders in this movement, producing natural products that are good for the planet as well as for personal hygiene.

For the Music Loving Grad

Online music and digital music players. Give your grad a digital music player, like the Apple iPod or Creative Zen, and a gift card for an online music store, like iTunes or eMusic.

For The Electronic Grad

A computer is vital for college living and working these days. Why not make it green? The Electronic Product Environmental Assessment Tool is a certification program for computers and other electronics. Check out the EPEAT’s standards and computers that make the grade at Don’t forget to pick up some recycled printer paper to go with that green computer.

For The Charitable Grad

Give a gift in your grad’s name to a charitable organization. Heifer International ( is a fun one. The money donated is used to buy livestock and other needed goods for families and communities in developing nations. For example, a $20 gift gives a family a flock of chicks, $60 gives a trio of rabbits, $120 gives a goat or a sheep, and $500 gives a whole cow.

For the Forward Thinking Grad

Start a retirement account with eco-friendly mutual funds. To help your child prepare for his or her future, start up an IRA in their name with shares of socially responsible stocks and mutual funds. Learn more at

For the Traveling Grad

Many grads want to do some traveling before they start work.  Talk to them about some fabulous, and inexpensive eco-tourism options including volunteerism, hiking, biking or visiting a faraway nature preserve to learn about the species there and the people who manage it.  For more ideas check out Sustainable Travel International.

There is a green option for almost anything you could buy for your impressive graduate. These alternatives are worth seeking out, to ensure your grad develops good habits that will last the rest of their life.

And if you have other great ideas, be sure to write them in our comments section!

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