Last year we provided you with tips on how you can be ever green during the holiday season, and provided you with sustainable gift wrapping ideas. Last week we shared with you regifting tips and etiquette.
The fact that Hawaiʻi is located in the middle of the Pacific puts us at a disadvantage in terms of the environmental impacts of our consumption. According to a 2015 piece published by Civil Beat, Hawaiʻi imports more than 80% of its goods and approximately 90% of its foods.
One of the best ways to go green, and save green, is to support local businesses and purchase items that are locally sourced. To help you give more “greenly” this season another suggestion is by supporting local businesses, or giving “ono” gifts using locally grown produce.
Supporting locally owned and operated business, and buying locally sourced items is more responsible because:
- Locally grown foods lowers the risk for food contamination since they are fresher and usually safer from foodborne illnesses such as E.coli;
- There is a higher return on investment. For every $100 spent at a local businesses, $68 remains in the city compared to only $43 from a chain store;
- When you support local businesses you are helping to strengthen the local economy because local businesses provide the most jobs for local residents; 
- Locally owned and operated business donate more per dollar to local non-profits, events and teams compared to nation chains. Supporting Hawai’i based businesses also maintains the unique look and characteristics of our communities.
- Since local businesses are owned by people who live in the community, they are less likely to leave; and
- Locally owned shops typically require fewer public services and infrastructure. Small businesses may require a license and a permit, while malls, shopping center and chain stores are more demanding on the cityʻs planning department.
One of the easiest ways to support local artisans and merchants this holiday season is to purchase your gifts at a craft fair. Gifts that are locally made are generally cheaper and you can find gifts for friends and family that will have a sentimental value because you are purchasing directly from the artisan and the origins of the items are known.
If you enjoy giving homemade food items as gifts, you can be more green by buying locally sourced ingredients.
In lieu of buying brand new mason or canning jars, reuse your glass food jars such as mayonnaise, jelly, olives, pickles and relishes. Remember to clean, air out, remove labels and sterilize your jars before packing them with your homemade treats.
Other goodies like mango bread, banana bread, papaya seed salad dressing, pickled mango, mango salsa and ulu chips can be made using fruits from trees in your yard or the yards of your friends, family and neighbors.
Floral Gift Giving
When going to someoneʻs house for a holiday gathering consider giving a gift of local, tropical flowers.
Using flowers that you can find in your neighborhood you can make a lei which can be given to the host/hostess, or presented wrapped around vases, platters or draped along a mantel, bookshelf or table.
Floral arrangements can be created using tropical flowers such as green and red ti leaves, sprays of orchids, red ginger, bird of paradise, red, pink and green anthurium, and heliconia.
In addition to arranging flowers in a heavy vase, they can be made into a larger arrangement. With Our Aloha provides instructions on how to create a variety of arrangements including:
Making your own gifts is not only greener, it may keep more “green” in your wallet. Personally hand crafted gifts are also more personal, one of a kind creations and allows you to give in a thoughtful and meaningful manner.