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First World, first class

Gifts for the ecologically-minded

First World offers a wide selection of environmentally friendly cards and other gifts. Photo credit: First World

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First World aims to be a world-class producer of ecologically sound art products.

The company believes in the good stewardship of the earth, it honors the indigenous peoples on the planet, and it understands and accepts the idea of making a reasonable profit.

Begun by Jeff Patterson in 1994, the Portland, Oregon-based enterprise derives its names from the indigenous people of Africa, Europe, Asia, the Americas and the Pacific Islands.

Patterson brings a great deal of experience to his business.  An artistic designer since age 12, he studied at the Columbus College of Art & Design in Columbus, Ohio.

His talent evolved into a respect for early art.

"I selected the name First World based on the original first people of this planet," explained Patterson, a visual artist, designer and Vietnam veteran, in an email. "They were in harmony with Mother Earth.  We fuse being socially responsible of the earth's natural resources with innovative ideas for our products."

With this vision in mind, the company focuses on environmental sustainability by producing and selling products that are organic and environmentally friendly.

"As a company, we believe in protecting our natural resources by using less paper and resources," Patterson wrote.

Paper products present a problem that Patterson has mastered in producing his product line.

For the past three decades, paper has been a staple in most recycling programs, yet it is still one of the most common items found in landfills.

In 2012, more than 24 million tons of paper was thrown out with the garbage.

First World converts paper products like office paper, copy paper, construction paper, newspaper, cardboard, junk mail, envelopes, paper bags, cereal and cookie boxes, frozen food boxes, juice boxes and cardboard into gifts.

"Every year, approximately 150,000 tons of paper and four million trees are used in the production of the greeting card industry alone," Patterson said. "Our goal is to help minimize the amount of paper being wasted and save millions of trees."

In putting more than just wind behind his words, First World's paper products are made in America from 100 percent post-consumer recycled paper that emits 25 to 50 percent less greenhouse gases during the manufacturing process.

"All of our printing is done with non-toxic, low vox (volatile organic compound) vegetable-based ink," Patterson explained.

Utilizing his skill as a visual artist, designer and inventor, Patterson also offers a variety of other products such as handmade and organic designed colorful motifs on jute, burlap, organic cotton and thread.

"In being environmentally responsible, I also use my creativity to show beauty and to empower the masses to appreciate the talent of artists," concluded Patterson.

He encourages consumers to support small businesses and go organic this holiday season.

First World Products is showcasing its holiday products on its newly launched website,

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