12 Eco-Friendly Gifts for a Greener Holiday Season

12 Eco-Friendly Gifts for a Greener Holiday Season

Everywhere you look, the holiday season is in full swing. Houses are decorated with strings of twinkly lights, last minute packages are arriving on doorsteps, and gifts are being beautifully wrapped and topped off with a bow. Not to mention, the roads and stores are crowded with shoppers!

While you’re picking out the perfect presents for your family and friends this holiday season, the team at Bloom Energy encourages you to spare a thought for the ultimate gift that keeps on giving – our planet!

By choosing eco-friendly gifts this holiday season, you can create a little less waste and a little less strain on the environment. Here are 12 gift ideas to inspire your cleaner, greener holiday giving:

1. Yoga mat made from recycled wetsuits

Photo: Wired

In a single year,  254 million tons of trash are generated in the U.S. The most effective way to reduce that amount of waste is to simply reuse it! These recycled wetsuit yoga mats have been retired from their surfing and diving duty, but instead of ending their lifecycle there, they’ve been repurposed for yoga activities. These mats make the perfect gift for any yogi.

2. Bag made out of recycled billboards

Photo: Rareform

Shoppers in California pay 10 cents for a plastic or paper bag. Why not just bring your own? Reusable bags are always a great option, but these unique billboard bags are both reusable and recycled from billboards destined for landfill. The vinyl material makes for a durable and waterproof product, and from totes, to backpacks, to surf bags, you’re certain to find a bag to suit any friend.

3. Reusable straws

Photo: Ecozine

We all know the devastating effects plastic straws have on both the ocean and on wildlife. In today’s world, more than 500 million straws are disposed of every single day and more than 8.3 billion of those straws end up in the ocean. The good news is, there are plenty of alternatives to easily avoid plastic straws including; metal, bamboo, glass, paper, or even old-school authentic straw. With so many choices, select whichever eco-friendly straw pairs with your giftee’s favorite beverage!

4. Solar-powered phone charger

Photo: Greentumble

Did you know the sun is the most abundant energy resource on the planet, continuously providing about 173,000 terawatts of energy? That’s more than 10,000 times the world’s total energy consumption! These solar-powered phone chargers harness the sun’s potential and can provide power on those camping trips or beach days when there isn’t an outlet in sight.

5. Potted plant (in a recycled container)

Photo: Oleg Samoylov

With indoor air pollutants ranked among the top five environmental risks to public health, everyone could use a clean-air plant in their office space or home. Gift a potted plant that naturally filters the air and also brightens up the room. For example, you can give a friend a bamboo palm – it’s a great household plant that removes harmful air pollutants such as benzene and formaldehyde, and it’s pleasant to look at!

6. Bracelet made from recycled glass and plastic

Photo: Outsiders

Eight million metric tons of plastic waste makes its way into the world’s oceans every year – that’s the equivalent of five plastic grocery bags filled with plastic for every foot of coastline in the world. By giving someone a 4Ocean bracelet made from recycled glass bottles and plastic, not only are you repurposing recycled materials, you’re also supporting the removal of one pound of trash from the ocean!

7. Reusable coffee or tea mug

Photo: Nicola Poulos

A whopping 400 million cups of coffee are consumed in the U.S. every day. Without reusable mugs, that’s 146 billion containers wasting away in landfills each year. Not only are reusable mugs better for the environment, but they’ll also save money for your giftee. Starbucks discounts 10 cents with every purchase when you bring your own cup, which adds up considering the average coffee drinker consumes 3.1 cups a day!

8. Spa kit

Photo: Etsy

If you’re looking to give a more creative gift this holiday season, put together a personalized spa and relaxation kit. Get a bamboo basket and fill it with naturally-derived soaps, a soy candle, cloth makeup removers, a fluffy bamboo robe, or whatever other eco-friendly products you’d like!

9. LED smart lights

Photo: Michael Hession

These durable light bulbs last for over 25,000 hours and automatically turn on and off when you arrive or leave the house, making them the perfect gift for that friend who always forgets to switch the lights off. Even better, the LED bulbs display limitless colors, can connect directly to your phone, and can be synced to your favorite song – now that’s a party.

10. Reusable K-Cups

Photo: Death Wish Coffee

Although very convenient, single-use K-Cups account for a vast amount of waste every year. In 2013 alone, 8.3 billion K-Cups were used and thrown away, enough to circle the earth 10.5 times! To combat this waste, gift your friends who own Keurig brewing systems a set of reusable K-Cups along with their favorite coffee beans or tea leaves.

11. Reclaimed record coasters

Photo: Etsy

Old vinyl records can’t be recycled in household recycling schemes or at the local recycling center, but they can be creatively repurposed. For those music junkies in your life, gift them trendy drink coasters made from old vinyl records. They’re sure to liven up a table and impress all music-loving guests!

12. Electric vehicle

Photo: Mikes Photos

Judging by those ubiquitous commercials featuring cars wrapped up with giants bows, people really do gift cars at this time of year! If such a grandiose gesture is in your plans, then consider gifting your favorite person an electric vehicle. With an EV, drivers produce fewer emissions that contribute to climate change and smog, creating a cleaner and healthier planet for us all. Depending on where you live, an EV might also speed up your commute by providing access to HOV lanes. And is there anything more festive than getting home a little earlier for the holidays?

Happy shopping and Happy Holidays from all of us at Bloom Energy.