DetroitIsIt 2

Go Green for the Holidays, with Green Living Science

Last Minute Ideas for Giving to Save Baby Penguins and Show People You Care

Green Living Science HQ

Green Living Science is a Detroit-based non-profit committed to teaching kids about sustainability through science and art, at their New Center campus and in the classroom.

We recently paid them a visit to learn all about it. We toured the Art Park, visited the shipping container classroom, and even scored some gifts of our own from the Recycling Center’s Junk Hole aka free thrift store. 

It was a real education. Look out for the full report coming soon. In the meantime, we bought back some knowledge that you can use right now—two days before Christmas.

Procrastinators rejoice! From gift wrapping to gift-giving, we’ve broken down the classic Reduce, Recycle, Reuse into some handy tips for the holidays & beyond.



Buy less gifts? Not a bad idea. Does the world need more stuff?  

Hold that thought. Before we crush all your holiday dreams, we’ll start with the basics: no foil tissue and no glitter.  

Neither can be recycled and the latter causes potential harm to sea creatures. Close your eyes and imagine a baby penguin—choking.  

That might not be a fact, but we hope it’s a deterrent.  

Skip the store-metallic paper and opt for reusable options instead. Newspaper is classic. If you’re feeling crafty, places like Arts & Scraps carry a ton of overstock paper in all textures and patterns as well as crayons, paint, markers custom designs.  

Make your own wrapping paper and gift bags, using this fun Internet tutorial!  

As for glitter, have you ever broken it down? If you did, you’d discover infinite plastic bits that never, ever go away. Which is why scientists have proposed banning these shiny villains.  

But since we promised not to be a bummer, we present guilt-free glitter from Eco Glitter Fun 


We don’t need to tell you that Detroit has a ton of fun vintage stores like Eldorado General Store, Boro and the Velvet Tower, but we might need to remind you these are great places to shop for gifts!  

And, not to sound like that relative, but you often find items with the tags on! If that matters to you. It shouldn’t matter to you. 

It’s 2020, and we are living in the cyberpunk dystopian shade of “plastic is fantastic.” Everyone has to do their part. For some that might mean buying their sister a sweater on Poshmark instead of H&M or a vintage brass pony book holder from Eldorado General Store instead of wherever people by brass animals new these days.  

Anthropologie? Don’t even think about it. They spell their name funny. The only Anthropology we’re down with makes coffee. Which leads us to the interlude.  



No, it’s not one of the three “R”s, but when it comes to gift-giving—it could be categorized under Reduce, but we already wrote that section, so… 

This one’s pretty easy: gives experiences instead of things. 

Gift card experience your loved ones coffee, dinner, massage, an astrology reading for the new year.  

An invitation to a skydive experience with your 74-year-old mother! We have a friend…Perhaps the experience of urban spelunking with your father? Or something more chill like sauna passes for all your siblings. 

Can you gift card a bag of weed?  



We’re going to break it off real fast like a week-old band-aid: those green bottles your wine comes in are no good. 

OK, so not ‘no good’ like Styrofoam ‘no good,’ but not great either. Our friends at Green Living Science tell us colored glass is difficult to recycle because it can’t easily be made into other colored glass, and it’s definitely not being made into clear glass.  

It turns out those aluminum beer cans are alright green, and those 40oz wine cans might be pointing to something more profound than bad taste. 

Here is the hierarchy of green packages from best to OK: 

  • Aluminum — *the best! 
  • Clear glass 
  • Colored glass 
  • Plastic — *requires petroleum 

When you’re entertaining this season, remember the best dish options are reusable—not recyclable. Bring out the good china! Or pop by the thrift store for some mixed matched wine glasses that you can guilt-free break.