Danny's focus in Simply Green Giving is the re-use of items that are easily available to create beautiful gift-wrappings, or even gifts. The book is split into four sections covering gift tags and cards, boxes, wraps and bows and handmade gifts. These chapters cover the range of ingredients you need to make or present the perfect gift. With beautiful photos by Jennifer Levy the ideas are really shown to their full effect.Throughout the book Danny reuses everything from business cards, to old videotape to produce all kinds of gift wrap ideas. By reusing items you already have you avoid the energy cost of turning them into something else. Rather than using water, chemicals and electricity to re-pulp paper for example, why not simply restyle and reuse the paper as it already is? This principle is what makes Danny's book really great. He demonstrates ideas that use smaller gifts as gift wrap meaning that the wrapping won't be discarded when it's received.
This does however bring me to one of the two small gripes I have with Danny's book. I am surprised that he would advocate wood boxes from craft stores as being inexpensive. Perhaps I am being pedantic but I doubt such wood is from sustained forests. The same occurs when he advocates the use of bandanas as wraps. I love the idea, I wear bandanas myself. I also happen to know it's pretty darn hard to find organic hemp or cotton ones for less than $5 at the least. While this won't stop you using the excellent ideas Danny provides, it does mean it might cost you a little more to buy from sustainable sources. Given this, I found the tone of the book was slightly self-righteous. Danny Seo may have found a great way to help the world through environmentalism; I just don't need him to remind me so much. He has some great ideas, and I am grateful for them, but a little less sanctimoniousness would go a long way.
All in all though, this book is an excellent read, it gives you an excuse to give more. It gives your friends an excuse to get interested in the environment when you give them a wonderfully (and environmentally) wrapped gift. Oh, and one last thing, the book is printed on recycled paper. Well done Harper Collins! ::Simply Green Giving: Create beautiful and organic wrappings, tags, and gifts from everyday materials
[This is a guest post by Tom Hughes-Croucher. -Ed]