Giving gifts has always been my favorite part of the holiday season. Sure, receiving a gift is great, but seeing the look on a loved one’s face when you surprise them with something that makes their life better is priceless!
Gift giving can be a strange time for those who try to live an eco-conscious lifestyle. It’s easy to get caught up in the spirit of the holidays, and that can lend itself to spending money on things that aren’t necessary or kind to the environment.
This year, be strategic. Give gifts that not only look cool, but also serve an important purpose. Instead of giving gifts that will break or be obsolete within a few months, select presents that will help your loved ones get one step closer to a waste-free life.
Hydros water bottle
Thirty-eight-billion disposable plastic water bottles end up in landfills each year. Most people drink bottled water because they think it’s cleaner, but studies have shown that most tap water is held to higher health standards than bottled water.
The Hydros Bottle comes with a built-in quick filtration system, so no matter where you fill up you’ll know that you’re drinking clean water. The Hydros bottle is BPA-free, antimicrobial and made in the U.S. And, $1 from each purchase helps fund sustainable water infrastructure projects around the world! (From $29.99)
The use of paper towels alone sends 3,000 tons of waste to the landfill every day. Many of the most popular brands use virgin timber to create these disposable cleaning tools. Depending on the size of your family and level of messiness, using paper towels can add an extra $120 to $200 to your annual budget.
PeopleTowels are a great way to curb paper towel and napkin use. Made of 100% organic fair trade cotton, these stylish towels save trees, save money, reduce landfill waste, cut CO2 emissions and conserve water. Clipped to a book bag or slipped into a purse, these towels are also an easy way to keep hands clean without sacrificing the environment. (From $6.99)
The average 10-minute shower uses 25 gallons of water. That’s 2.5 gallons of water a minute rushing down the drain, never to be seen again. While taking a 30-minute shower might not seem that expensive, it’s extremely harmful to the environment and disrespectful to the millions of people who live without access to safe, clean drinking water.
Water Pebble is an ingenious little device that will be sure to please the gadget lovers on your list. Once you've programmed the pebble, it signals a yellow light at your half-shower mark and flashes red when it's time to turn off the faucet. The next time you shower the Pebble will flash red just a few seconds earlier. In this way, the device will train you to take shorter showers over a period of just a few weeks! (From $10)
There’s nothing quite like curling up with a good book on a snowy day, or reading an interesting magazine article to help pass the time during a cross-country flight. But printed books and magazines are a drain on our natural resources and a hassle to recycle.
An e-reader eliminates paper waste, and the carbon emissions needed to transport books and magazines around the country. Instead of waiting to order a new book online, you can simply download it for the fraction of the price. Some libraries are also getting into the e-reader game, lending out electronic books for free. And you aren’t just limited to books: many e-readers are optimized for magazines, newspapers and blogs as well. The Kindle from Amazon is arguably the most popular, and its basic model is one of the cheapest. (From $79)