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Give your holiday shopping a sustainable edge with all things local, recycled, organic

Once there were only limited ways to gift people in an enviro-friendly manner. You might donate money in your friend's name to the Sierra Club, make a hemp plant hanger or create a lumpy coffee mug in a craft class.

But it's easier being green now that more manufacturers and retailers are leaping on the eco-consciously correct bandwagon.

Probably the easiest way to buy green in Wine Country is to hit the local wineries and farmers markets and fill a natural-fiber basket with pesticide-free vegetables and organic wine.

But we went looking for other responsibly chic items. The criteria were that they be locally made and also use organic, natural or recycled materials.

Or they at least come close. It's still not easy being pure.

If you poke around and ask, you can find some treasures, ranging from a $3 key chain bauble made by Joe Szuecs in Occidental out of a used wine cork (Renga Arts in Occidental) to $88 vintage bead and feather earrings made by Geyserville jewelry designer Morgania Moore (Arboretum in Healdsburg).

Szuecs, co-owner of Renga Arts, has also come up with garden art made from old LP records (Wayne Newton, Liberace and Herb Alpert vintage) that he turned into vinyl pinwheel flowers. There's even one made from a 1961 recording of the Napa County Senior High Choir.

"I think people feel good when they buy something that's been recycled," said Szuecs, whose shop specializes in functional items made from old typewriter keys, baling wire, road signs and other salvaged treasures.

Arboretum in Healdsburg is a clothing store that specializes in what it calls "ethical designer labels."

Many are Bay Area-made, such as organic cotton denim trousers from Oakland and T-shirts made out of bamboo cloth and handcrafted in San Francisco.


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