10 Great Sustainable Tech Holiday Gifts

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10 Great Sustainable Tech Holiday Gifts

Gifting presents in general can be tough, and it’s especially difficult around the holidays. First there’s the “Deadweight Loss of Christmas; University of Minnesota economics professor Joel Waldfogel’s theory that showed recipients valued the gifts less than someone paid for them. According to Waldfogel’s estimates, the loss accounts for between $4 billion and $13 billion a year in economic waste. Then, there’s the tangible waste. From wrapping paper to unwanted presents themselves, many facets of the holiday celebration are simply tossed away after January 1, destined for the landfill. Americans toss out approximately 2.3 million pounds of decorative paper yearly.

To help ensure your gift doesn’t end up in the garbage or the return pile (or at least cut down those chances), Paste has assembled a list of eco-friendly or sustainable gifts to give this year. At the very least, if your spouse, friend, parent or crush doesn’t like their gift, you’ve made the holiday a little greener. Plus, anything beats a gift card that’s destined to sit in the family junk drawer.

Tokki Gift Bag
Although wrapping paper starts out as wood pulp, it’s often laminated and contains non-paper additives such as gold and silver coloured shapes, glitter and plastics, which means it can’t be recycled. In 2019, Jane Park discovered this disturbing fact which led her to create Tokki.

Translating to “rabbit” in Korean, Tokki makes a reusable alternative to traditional gift wrap, one that can “hop” around from friend to friend, spreading joy with every reuse, according to Park. Tokki’s sustainability factor is two-fold. The bag itself is made with recycled water bottles, and the traditional card has been replaced with a proprietary digital QR Card (no app needed), which allows users to pass along a personal video, picture and/or written note.

“Tokki embodies my belief that we can all do better each day. It’s helpful to ask, ‘What’s the most impactful thing I can do to prevent climate change?’ but it’s also useful to ask, ‘What’s an easy thing I can do starting today?,’” Park said.

Gomi Wireless Charger
Handmade from recycled plastic waste, the Gomi charger works with both Apple and Android devices and powers up your device with a fast charge of 15W. The packaging it comes in is even produced sustainable, as it’s made from 100% recycled unbleached Kraft paper, and printed with soy ink. The Gomi charger also comes with a zero waste promise from the company, which includes a repair program and an end of life buy back guarantee. When your charger finally stops working, Gomi simply disassembles it and recycles it into a new generation of products.

AeroGarden Harvest 360
If you’ve got someone on your shopping list that loves to grow vegetables or wants to get into gardening, Aerogarden makes a variety of hydroponic gardening devices. The all-in-one indoor gardens grow plants about five times faster than traditional soil-based setups and don’t require any pesticides or herbicides. The Harvest 360 is the company’s most popular model and allows users to grow up to six plants to a height of 12 inches. The garden comes with a 20W LED grow light and has built-in reminders for food and water. Aerogarden also sells specialized seed kits with varying combinations for salads, seasoning herbs and veggies.

Solar-Powered Watches
Giving a watch as a gift may seem a little old-fashioned, but solar power has sparked a wave of new timepiece tech. Solar watches are capable of charging using sunlight, as well as ambient light, meaning in a pinch you can charge it up with a lamp at home. The Citizen Chandler is a stylish option and is powered by Citizen’s Eco-Drive solar movement, which charges from both ambient and direct sunlight. If you’re looking for a simple, no frills option, Timex makes the Expedition Scout, which is simple and sleek.

LuminAID Solar Lantern and Charger
Lightweight, collapsible, easy to use and aesthetically pleasing, LuminAID makes several different versions of its solar-powered lantern. The Firefly 2-in-1 Power Lantern is the company’s bestseller and includes a phone charger on top of the light. With a maximum brightness of 130 Lumens, the light is enough to light up a small room or tent. The LuminAID battery is guaranteed for two years and runs approximately for 50 hours between charges. This gift is perfect for avid campers or just keeping in your emergency kit.

Lifestraw Go
Lifestraw made news a few years back when it unveiled a personal water filter in the form of a straw. The product uses hollow fiber membrane technology (bundles of straws with microscopic holes in them) so small that it filters out organisms like bacteria, parasites, dirt and microplastics. The original lifestraw goes for about $20 and is perfect for a few days of camping, but the company makes a large variety of purifiers including gravity filters, water pitchers and high volume purifiers if you’re looking for options. The Lifestraw Go 650ML is durable, BPA Free and the best part is that you’ll avoid single use plastic bottles with every fill up.

Larq Pure-Vis
If water filters aren’t your thing, what about using light to clean your water? The Larq Pure-Vis bottles do just that with UV light. The bottle itself is lightweight and made of stainless steel while the cap houses Pure-Vis technology that can clean your water and the bottle at the touch of a button. The Larq also turns on every two hours to clean the bottle and the water housed inside. Science!

Sprout Pencils
In order to raise awareness about sustainability, Sprout designed pencils that you can plant when they’re used up. The pencils are sustainably made from certified wood sourced from responsibly managed forests, clay and a cellulose capsule with non-GMO seeds. They also come in a variety of seedling options including wildflowers, herbs and various tree species.

Better Batteries
Are you sick of figuring out how to dispose of your old batteries? Batteries are unfortunately still very necessary, whether it’s to power your TV remote or your kid’s robot dinosaur. There are certainly rechargeable options, but you’ll have to also invest in a charger. Enter Better Battery. The company will deliver a box of batteries to your home and when they’ve all been used up, you can just mail them back. Better Battery will recycle them and, if you’ve got a subscription, send you a new box of fully charged batteries.

According to the company, both the batteries and packaging are made from scratch to be fully recyclable. It also minimizes greenhouse emissions related to battery manufacturing—and the carbon emissions produced from shipping—by investing in carbon offset credits.

Qisa Solar-Powered Charger
The Qisa stood out in our round up of eco-friendly ways to charge up your phone as a multipurpose charger that won’t break the bank. Although there are alternate versions, the base model starts at $40 and comes with a four-panel solar array, dual outputs and wireless charging for Qi-enabled devices.

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