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Sierra Magazine: Explore, enjoy and protect the planet.
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ENJOY | The Green Life

Eco-Spices | Trendsetter: Maggie Q | Born-Again Presents

BORN-AGAIN PRESENTS

These gifts are all made from something that obviously used to be something else. To boost the good-cheer factor, they're not just upcycled—they also help someone, somewhere, rise above poverty. —Avital Andrews

upcycled, photo frame, picture frame, green gifts, ecofriendly gifts

Haiti
Display memories in a hand-hewn, tree of life-inspired "Heart of Haiti" picture frame. They're made from discarded oil drums, and each piece is signed by the metalworker, who gets half of the wholesale price. $32 to $60, macys.com


upcycled, birdhouse,  green gifts, ecofriendly gifts

Thailand
Show birds—and trees—some love with this handmade, reclaimed-wood birdhouse. It's made from planks that skilled Thai artisans salvaged from defunct boats and buildings (many downed by the region's 2004 tsunami), so no two are identical. $45, bambeco.com


soy candle, upcycled,  green gifts, ecofriendly gifts

United States
This long-burning candle contains scented soy wax encased in half of a used glass bottle (soda or beer, you choose). It's prepared, poured, and packaged by low-income new mothers in Chicago, many of whom are homeless. A program called Bright Endeavors recruits and trains the women, and the proceeds go toward keeping them afloat and helping them find better jobs. $15, hipcycle.com


upcycled, pencil case, green gifts, ecofriendly gifts

Turkey
In the village of Ayvalik, women holding their first paying job sift through thrown-away rice sacks to find ones that can be turned into small notions cases. Each piece, great for storing makeup or spare change, is unique and comes with its maker's signature. Proceeds benefit the group Coep(m)adam (translation: "garbage women"), which combats unemployment by hiring workers to refashion would-be waste into useful things. $16, namasteinc.com


jewelry, bead necklace,  green gifts, ecofriendly gifts

Uganda
This five-strand Moyo necklace is sold by BeadforLife, a nonprofit that teaches impoverished Ugandan women how to transform discarded paper into richly colored jewelry. Profits go directly to the craftspeople and to African anti-poverty programs. $30, beadforlife.org




Photos by Lori Eanes (4); birdhouse: courtesy of Bambeco


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