2006 Really is a Green Christmas
More retailers, customers, shopping for green alternatives this holiday season
San Francisco, CA, December 13, 2006 --(PR.com)-- From global warming to the energy crisis, one of the big news stories for 2006 was environmentalism going mainstream. From Elle to Newsweek to Wired, virtually every major magazine published stories on environmental trends this year, including an entire "green issue" from trend-setting Vanity Fair in May. Martha Stewart and Oprah both featured Treehugger.com on environmentally-themed shows this year. Indeed, the news was dominated by stories of Americans, traditionally the laggard among industrialized populations to adopt green values, finally reacting to eco-issues on a large scale.
But if the media focused through this last year on the huge problems facing our planet, the impending holiday season is focused on one of the solutions: Americans searching for and embracing an eco-conscious lifestyle, and buying a new generation of alternative products that are chic, stylish, attractive...and green.
"Green has finally arrived," says Lawrence Comras, President of Greenhome.com, a leading Internet retailer of eco-conscious merchandise. "Lots of people are looking for environmentally friendly gifts for their loved ones this holiday season," says Comras. "When Green Home first started in 1999, we had perhaps a few phone inquiries about how to go green each day. Now we have several inquiries every hour," he adds.
His point seems to be apt. Someone doing a Google or Yahoo! search for "green products" or "environmental products" will find literally thousands of new eco-stores and products. More important, these products are not your parent's version of eco. That plush bright white cotton terry cloth robe? 100% organic and bleached with hydrogen peroxide, a non-toxic chlorine substitute. The hottest tech gadget this Christmas? An ultra-hip Solio all-in-one portable charger that powers virtually any portable battery-powered electronic device, more versatile and effective than a plug in charger.
Media sources are doing their best to keep up with the trend. "Green has really taken off in the last year. My editors are showing much more interest in eco-products in general. It's something out there we want to respond to," says Kate Auletta, a researcher for In Style magazine.
Mainstream retailers are seeing a strong increase in the requests they receive for organic, sustainably made, less-toxic products as well. "We've definitely seen an increase in interest in environmental products," says Ed Buechel, the Store Manager of Macy's at Mall of America in Minneapolis, MN. Experts attribute the interest to a better-informed consumer base.
"I've had 4 people come into our store today asking if we have PVC-free toys," said Anastasia MacDonald, Manager of Nest, a store focusing on eco-friendly goods in Columbia, MD. "Last year I don't think 4 people in Columbia knew what PVC was." PVC is poly-vinyl chloride, also known as vinyl, and is commonly found (often with a related chemical, phthalates) in soft squeeze toys for young children. In manufacture and use these plastic toys have been shown to increase the risk of asthma, allergies, and some cancers.
More of the new batch of alternative products include the first generation of home lighting made from light emitting diodes (LEDs). LEDs use a fraction of the energy of traditional lighting and last over 20 years. Also new this year are women's fashions made of hemp that are designer-made and high-style. Hemp is still illegal to grow in the US, but is legal to weave into clothing for purchase here.
Comras thinks the increased awareness is more than just a fad. "The environmental crisis isn't going away. But just as it's getting serious, people are making the connection between personal health and the planet's health, and acting accordingly." He adds, "And I think this is what the holidays should really be all about. Not just buying stuff, but sharing our values, which is what we really care for, with our loved ones."
About Green Home
Green Home, Inc., is the premier online resource for consumers interested in environmentally conscious living. Green Home provides information, products and services that promote a healthier, more ecologically sound home environment. Currently, www.greenhome.com offers more than 1,500 products in over 150 categories. Useful information and articles written by the country's leading authors and experts in the areas of healthy and environmental living are also featured. Headquartered in San Francisco, CA, Green Home was founded in 1999 and is a privately held company. Visit www.greenhome.com for more information.