Your 2009 Holiday Eco-Gift Guide!
Much of the global news has taken a more serious tone lately. Climate Change talks are happening in Denmark, more reports are being published and the natural world seems so catastrophic these days. Luckily for you, this article is about none of that.
Christmas time is drawing near (or Solstice, Chanukah, Kwanzaa, etc.) and time is running out to find your loved ones gifts that would be perfect for them. You may want to shop for greener or more eco-friendly items this year, but you don’t know where to look. You’re not sure what to check for on the labels and how do you know which products you can trust? Well, I’ve compiled a list of eco-friendly items you can check out. I have to say one thing though: narrowing this list down certainly was not easy! There are a lot of great, green products on the market now.
CHEAP ITEMS: Great for those on a budget
Biodegradable Golf Tees ($6)
Do you know someone who likes to golf; maybe a spouse, older relative or co-worker? If so, get them these awesome golf tees. They are corn-based tees, so they will biodegrade quicker than their wood or plastic counterparts. Check them out at GrassRootsStore.com.
Chico Bag Messenger ($18)
Many people are seen with messenger bags these days, and this awesome design is made from old bottles and other recycled material. Best of all, it’s compact. You can fold it up and put it in your pocket or purse and then just whip it out when you need to go shopping—goodbye “paper or plastic?”. Check it out at GreenFeet.com.
“This Economy Sucks” Coin Purse ($4)
A funny—yet true—message is written upon this nifty little change purse. Being that it is on a coin purse actually adds to the amusing side of it, but on a more environmental note: this coin purse is made out of 95% recycled material. So, even if someone may be down on their finances, their green spirit can still shine through—and they’re available on BlueQ.com.
Flip-Flop Doormat ($20)
How many times have you gone to a store and seen expensive doormats made out of fancy, shmancy stuff? I know I’ve certainly seen my share and I’ve always wondered—why? Considering what a doormat is for—wiping dirty feet that could be caked with mud and who knows what else—why would you want something so extravagant? Thankfully someone had the sense to create a doormat made out of surplus flip-flop material taken right from the factories. The mat adds a splash of color to your home and keeps more waste out of the landfill, courtesy of GreenFeet.com.
FASHION AND BEAUTY: Simple accessories to green any style
Circuit Board Cufflinks ($34)
Have a man in your life that likes to dress up or at least a bit snazzy sometimes? These would be great for him—especially if he’s also into electronic devices. The cufflinks are exactly what they say: made from used circuit boards. You can find them at BoysStuff.co.uk.
Ecoist Bags ($12 – $180)
Mentioned in a previous article, I certainly can’t forget to suggest these awesome items. The people at Ecoist create a variety of bags from used candy and food wrappers, soda labels and more. On top of that, for every bag they sell they plant a tree! How awesome is that? Check them out at Ecoist.com.
Organica’s Deluxe Weekend Scarf ($59)
Given the cold weather that’s been coming through lately, this scarf would be great for keeping warm. It’s hand-woven from cruelty-free Indian silk, plus every scarf that is made and sold helps to feed tribal families for 2 weeks. Check it out on OrganicaDeluxe.com.
Preserve Triple Razor ($8.50)
Yes, razors. They do tend to have an important part (for some) in style upkeep. The handle of these particular razors are made from recycled Stonyfield Farm yogurt cups! Talk about a sweet deal. To make it even better, when you are done, you don’t have to throw it away. You can return it to the company with their supplied postage-paid label, so it can be recycled again. Find out more at PreserveProducts.com.
Vintage Body Spa Natural Skin Care Gift Sets ($64.99)
I am sure there are some ladies you know that absolutely enjoy indulging in home spa treatments. Vintage Body Spa offers products that use all-natural and organic ingredients—not health damaging ones like sulfates or parabens. Find out more at GreenAndMore.com.
FOR THE HOME: Bringing green in where it belongs
Envirocycle Composter ($126.50)
This composter does double the work that most others may do. First of all, it composts (of course); however, this device also creates compost tea. Compost tea is the equivalent of liquid plant food, which can be great if you have a garden. It is capable of holding 7 cubic feet of compost and 5 gallons of compost tea. Check out GreenFeet.com to learn more about it.
Pet Beds ($77.99)
Your furry little friends deserve the best in eco-friendly products, too! I certainly wouldn’t want to use anything that’s been tested on or harmful to animals for my dog. These beds are made from organic materials and the stuffing is actually recycled stuffing made from recycled plastic soda bottles. Check it out at GreenAndMore.com.
Re-usable Water Bottles (prices vary)
This is one important item that’s been sweeping across markets everywhere this year. Some include filter systems. Some are made from stainless steel, recycled products or are BPA-free. Many are great for you and the environment, as they can be used over and over again. Check out these bottles by WaterGeeks, CamelBak and BioGreen for a start.
Wonder Wash ($43)
This is great for anyone who needs to do laundry on-the-go. The Wonder Wash is a portable washing machine that uses less water than hand washing or a conventional washer. It can be operated by electric or manual (hand cranking) power. Check it out at Laundry-Alternative.com.
GADGETS: For the techno eco-geek in your life
ATP EarthDrive ($16 – $50)
Introducing the world’s first recyclable USB drive! This little gizmo is made from completely biodegradable materials and thus, can be recycled in the end—and it’s available at Wal-Mart. Drive space ranges from 4gb to 16 gb and it is also water proof, dust proof, ESD proof and can tolerate extreme temperatures (though I’m sure if you tried to set it on fire it wouldn’t last very long). Find out more about them at EarthDrive.AtpInc.com.
The Energy Detective ($200 – $320)
This gadget may be the Sherlock Holmes of energy consumption. It monitors your home electricity usage so you can learn how to cut back on energy waste, live more sustainably and have cheaper bills. Find out more on this gadget at TheEnergyDetective.com.
HYmini ($50 – $75)
This device is a charger. It’s an adapter. It’s a charger/adapter device that harnesses the power of wind, sun and conventional wall electricity. It also comes with a hand crank generator and a bicycle hub dynamo generator. Learn more about this at Hymini.com.
TOYS: For the little green sprouts in your life
Natural Eco Dough ($20 – $30)
This awesome product is the green equivalent of play-doh. It is made entirely from plant, fruit and veggie extracts. The containers they come in are also 100% compostable (they’re made from cornstarch). If you happen to leave it out overnight, you can just add a few drops of olive oil to make it usable again. Find out more at EcoArtworks.com.
Green Toys (prices vary)
This company makes all of their toys from recycled plastic milk jugs. What exactly can you make from milk jugs? Cars, Recycling Trucks, Tea Sets, Tool Sets, Sandbox Toys, Cooking Sets, and a lot more. You can learn more from their website at GreenToys.com.
Matchstick Garden ($3.50 – $12)
This is perfect for any kids in your life that have a green thumb. It is a book of matchsticks that you’ll definitely want them to play with (and they don’t cause fires). Each matchstick tip contains a mixture of seeds. Simply plant the matchstick and watch it grow. You can choose from herbs, flowers, Italian garden or mixed greens. Check out RompBklyn.com to find out more.
The Power House Green Essentials Kit ($90)
This awesome set will teach your little green scientist all about sustainability. Kids can build their own lemon battery, hydrometer and greenhouse—amongst other things. They can also conduct experiments on solar and wind power, as well as home heating and cooling methods. Find out more at EcoToyTown.com.
That’s all for the gift list this year. I hope it will help you (or at least give you ideas) towards having a great, green holiday season!
By Heidi Marshall