Holiday Sustainability Tips

At Solo Real Estate, where sustainability is a year-round commitment, we want to help you celebrate the joys of the season while keeping the environment in mind. Here are some tips for a more sustainable holiday.

Keep It Real: Avoid Artificial Trees

If you are concerned about the environmental impact of Christmas trees, read on! A real tree spends around eight years growing in the field before it is harvested. So instead of being manufactured and shipped from China like an
artificial tree, a real tree converts CO2 into Oxygen, provides a habitat for wildlife, and keeps large tracts of space green across North America.

Unlike artificial alternatives, when you are done with a real tree, it is 100% recyclable and 100% biodegradable. When you choose a real tree, you put money back into the local economy. It supports your retailer and their
employees, as well as the growers who provide the trees.

After the holidays, recycle your tree at one of the Streets Department’s tree recycling drop-off locations throughout Philly or any one of the City’s Sanitation Convenience Centers. Local compost services like Bennett Compost and Circle Compost will also pick up and compost your tree for a fee. Remember to remove all lights and decorations before you recycle your tree!

Use LED lights to decorate your tree

Use LED lights to decorate your tree. They use at least 75 percent less energy than traditional lights and last 25 times longer. Avoid plastic decorations. Instead, visit Ten Thousand Villages, 1315 Walnut, for an excellent selection of Fair Trade Christmas tree ornaments. West Elm, 1330 Chestnut, also stocks  Fair Trade products including tree ornaments, Christmas stockings, tree skirts, and more. We love the hand-crafted, felt Silk Road tree ornaments at Moon & Arrow, 742 S. 4th Street.  Another place to find recycled tree decorations is at a thrift shop. If you have holiday lights to dispose of, take them to Mom’s Organic Market for recycling. They will accept holiday lights from November 26th through January 31st.

Choose Eco-Friendly Wrapping Paper

Forego commercial wrapping paper which sacrifices our already endangered woodlands. This year, consider using newspapers or magazines instead. For fashionistas, get creative and wrap gifts in the colorful New York Times Style Section. For investors, use the Wall Street Journal Stock Report. Or pick up a roll of recycled brown paper at a local shop and add a decorative touch with snippets of fresh ferns, holly berries, or candy canes.

Shop Local

Supporting local businesses is good for the environment in many ways. It reduces the transportation costs associated with your goods, and your carbon footprint while also helping the local economy and strengthening our communities. Here are a few more places to shop locally this holiday season:

Good Buy Supply on East Passyunk – Photo: goodbuysupply.co

East Passyunk’s Good Buy Supply is dedicated to plastic-free home, kitchen, and bath alternatives. Their offerings include all-natural bath bombs, beeswax food wraps, and a bulk bar of pretty refillable soaps. For foodies, consider a Minimalist Utensil Set or the No-Waste Vegetarian Cookbook.

United By Blue, 205 Race St, cleans trash from the ocean for every item purchased. Thoughtful gifts at every price point include recycled cashmere sweaters, backpacks, and pom beanies.

Moon & Arrow offers a selection of socially responsible, handmade, and vintage clothing, jewelry, accessories, and home furnishings. 

Moon and Arrow Ornaments

Nice Things Hand Made, LLC, 1731 E. Passyunk, is a creative boutique and gallery with ceramics, jewelry, clothing, and art by indie artists.  

Downerss 2026 Frankford Ave, is a women-owned and operated boutique in Fishtown, specializing in young contemporary clothing, vintage, vegan leather, handmade jewelry, and all-natural skincare products.

For more businesses to support, check out our Small Business Saturday guide highlighting local small businesses owned by Solo tenants.

However way you decide to celebrate this special season, Solo Real Estate wishes you a happy, healthy, sustainable New Year!

Shop Local: Solo Real Estate 2020 Holiday Gift Guide

This holiday season, Solo Real Estate is sharing its commitment to the environment with a guide to local, sustainable holiday gifts from Philadelphia businesses. All of our suggestions below may be purchased online in the comfort and safety of your home and shipped directly to the lucky recipient.

We love the selection of unique fair trade crafts at the Barnes Foundation Shop. Give a child a gift, not found at any big box store, that will be passed down for generations with a hand-carved Noah’s Ark set. It comes with fourteen charming animals made from sustainably harvested jacaranda wood in Kenya. The Ark’s roof serves as a lid to house this collection which includes small sculptures of Noah and his wife. The Ark measures 12” long, 7.5” high. $120. 

For the adult art lovers on your list, the Barnes Shop offers a large selection of fine art books, apparel, accessories, and distinctive jewelry.

Barnes Foundation: hand-carved Noah's Ark set, $120
Barnes Foundation: hand-carved Noah’s Ark set, $120

Remark Glass is a local company based in the BOK building that keeps glass out of landfills by making beautiful homewares out of recycled post-consumer bottle glass. They have a great selection of glassware on their website and also custom-made lighting. For the beer-lover on your list, we love the draught glass, made from beer bottles sourced from Philadelphia. Each glass holds 28 oz and is dishwasher safe. $15.

Remark Glass: Draught Glass, $15
Remark Glass: Draught Glass, $15

If there’s someone on your list who has been very good, dazzle them with custom-designed, ethically sourced jewelry from Bario Neal. They offer gold extracted by responsible, artisanal miners. Their diamonds are traceable and primarily recycled.  All of their gemstones have been repurposed without impact on the environment. 

Our pick? The Knottedrush Ring, handcrafted in Bario Neal’s Queen Village workshop in 14 carat yellow gold, starting at $115. This delicate golden knot ring connotes friendship, love and bigger things to come. If you are really ready to the tie the knot, Bario Neal can redesign family heirloom gemstones into a spectacular contemporary setting. Their 524 S. Fifth Street showroom is open by appointment only; they also offer virtual appointments.

Bario Neal: Knottedrush Ring, $115
Bario Neal: Knottedrush Ring, $115

For the globetrotters on your list, temporarily grounded due to the pandemic, give them a taste of adventure from Bali to Bala. This online market, curated by local artist Laura Cohn, presents a collection of crafts by Indonesian artisans. A portion of the proceeds supports the South Philly Indonesian Community and non-profits in Indonesia. Choose from hand-painted sarongs, home décor, housewares, and jewelry.

Bali to Bala: Melted Glass Wine Carafe, $88
Bali to Bala: Melted Glass Wine Carafe, $88

Oenophiles will covet this Melted Glass Wine Carafe on Driftwood  Unique to Bali, the carafe is made from recycled glass and found driftwood. This one-of-a-kind carafe is created by blowing molten glass directly into driftwood. The carafe may be removed for cleaning purposes. 12” High, 8” Wide, 11” Long. $88.

Fashionistas of all genders will covet a gift from Lobo Mau, a Philly-based, slow fashion clothing line specializing in original silk-screened prints and innovative textile designs. Headquartered in the Bok Building in South Philly with a boutique at 6th and Bainbridge, Lobo Mau was named Philadelphia Magazine’s Best Sustainable Local Brand in 2019.

You will find a wide range of super comfy, head-turning casual wear for men and women. Our favorite?  The vintage inspired Scribble Pom Jacket. This has been their best-selling jacket for six years and is now available in a limited edition, hand-drawn print by Philly artist Ben Jones. 92% Cotton. 8% Spandex. $398.

Lobo Mau: Scribble Pom Jacket, $398
Lobo Mau: Scribble Pom Jacket, $398

Imagine a retail store dedicated to saving our oceans. That is the mission of United By Blue which removes one pound of trash from waterways for every product purchased. Based in Philly, their flagship store is located in Old City with a branch in University City. Their products are made from sustainably sourced materials and are created to last.

For the vegan on your list, check out their best-selling 25L Transit Pack. 100% vegan, water-resistant, and stain-resistant. 100% recycled polyester with recycled nylon straps. Oodles of expandable compartments for holding cell phones, laptops, you-name-it. 19” High, 14” Wide, 7.75” Deep. $68.

United by Blue: 25L Transit Pack, $68
United by Blue: 25L Transit Pack, $68

Has your best friend been baking bread during quarantine? Get them the beginner’s bakers bundle from The Kitchen Garden Series. Designed to make kitchen projects easier from start to finish, this bundle is part of a holiday set that includes a bread bag and a linen kitchen tea towel. Linen has anti-bacterial qualities that help keep your bread (or cookies, or muffins) fresh longer. $38

The Kitchen Garden Series: Bread Bag from Beginners Baker's Bundle, $38
The Kitchen Garden Series: Bread Bag from Beginners Baker’s Bundle, $38

We saved the best for last. Handmade chocolates from Philly’s own John & Kira’s. As seen in the New York Times, Oprah’s Magazine, and Martha Stewart, these are chocolates that raise the bar. Using organic ingredients from carefully selected sustainable artisan food growers, John & Kira’s offers chocolate lovers a decadent selection from which to choose. We were totally seduced by their Chocolate Figs featured in Wine Spectator. Each dried fig is filled with a silky smooth, whiskey infused Valrhona dark chocolate ganache. Then, they are hand-dipped in 62% dark chocolate and gift boxed. Six pieces for $24.95. Buy one box for someone special and another for yourself.

John and Kira's Chocolate Figs, $24.95
John and Kira’s Chocolate Figs, $24.95

Gift cards to your favorite Philly restaurants and bars are also a good option to help support local businesses who have experienced a hefty dip in revenue this year and have limited seating as COVID restrictions continue. Bennett Compost now has gift cards as well. If they’re within the pick up areas, encourage your friends to keep food waste out of landfills by getting them a gift card they can apply towards a subscription.