Holiday Gift Guide 2012: Gifts for Going Green
Choosing an eco-friendly gift, for the green goddess to the outdoor sports lover, will make you feel as good about giving as they will about receiving.
A Green Phone
Unfortunately, today's top phones, like the iPhone 5 and Galaxy S3, aren't particularly eco-friendly. And while over 400 million green handsets are expected to debut by 2017, they're not easy to find today.
If you want to choose the greenest phone available from major U.S. carriers, LG's Viper received accolades from the European Imaging and Sound Association, or EISA, for its construction. Half of it is made of recycled materials, packaged in 87 percent recycled materials, with an energy-efficient charger. On top of that, it's certified ULE Platinum, which means it's free of hazardous materials.
Warning: it's a cheap phone, but it's one of the greenest ones around. The 4-inch screen produces clear, vibrant images, and NFC gives you e-wallet capabilities, making it easier to shop where it's available. But best of all? Sprint sells it for a reasonable price.
Another budget phone gaining recognition from the EISA: Samsung's Galaxy Exhilarate. It's even more eco-friendly than the Viper, made from 80 percent recycled materials. While not as fancy as some of its other Galaxy brethren, the Exhilarate gives you affordable access to AT&T's 4G LTE network, along with a beautiful 4-inch touch screen for watching movies and a nifty "Voice Talk" feature for hands-free communication. What's more, when you buy the Exhilarate, AT&T will let you choose a custom case made of biodegradable and recycled materials.
For the Bookworm
If you're looking for an eco-friendly gift for a book lover, e-readers will save a lot of trees, but it doesn't end once you buy one, and there are ways to boost its green credentials. The best of the bunch is the Solar Kindle from SolarFocus. As the name suggests, it's a solar-powered Kindle cover, which juices up the e-reader's battery with the power of the sun. So if you like to read outdoors, you'll be able to do it longer.
For the Music Lover
Beats By Dre are all the rage, but they're not the greenest headphones on the planet. For a beautiful and full audio experience, with a minimal environmental impact, take a look at Griffin Technology's Woodtones. These earbuds, made of wood, are specifically designed to take advantage of "natural" acoustics. How green can headphones made of trees be? Well, Woodtones are crafted from reclaimed wood, so they're actually using recycled material without contributing to the further decimation of forests.
But if you want bigger sound, you can't get much greener than the iBamboo, an eco-friendly speaker system made entirely of -- that's right -- bamboo. What's so great about bamboo? Well, not only does it amplify sound using a single piece, naturally, but it doesn't use electricity. Since there's no need for a plug, you can take it anywhere without worrying about finding an outlet or running out of batteries.
For the Nature Lover
Outdoor lovers usually care about the environment, so they'll definitely appreciate a green gift. For a camper or someone who likes to spend time in the wilderness, check out the Bedol Water Clock. Made of non-PVC material, the clock harnesses the power of water to stay ticking, perfect for those long canoe trips or kayaking adventures. Since you don't have to worry about batteries, it's a perfect accessory, as long as there's water on hand.
And to lug your smartphone into the Great Outdoors, there's the Aqua Tek S, a rugged case that protects your iPhone against water and other outdoor hazards. It also packs in solar power, so it's a wonderful gift that serves two important purposes.
Green & Chic
If you're looking for eco-friendly accessories that won't offend fashion sensibilities, check out Reveal's Cork Tech Collection. The stylish sleeves and covers are made of biodegradable cork, and fit Apple and Amazon products -- though they'll also fit Android, as well. Meanwhile, the inside is lined with luxurious-feeling micro suede, made from recycled bottles, so you don't scratch up your phone.
Time to Recycle
If you're going out and buying some gadgets, you probably have old handsets sitting around. If you're not into re-gifting, recycling obsolete items is easier than ever. In fact, you can even make some money with a service called EcoATM. Located in a number of grocery stores and malls around the U.S., it works by giving you cash when you drop off a phone or MP3 player. In most cases, the amount rewarded is nominal, but in for some devices, you can net up to $250.
If you don't live near an EcoATM, you can drop off your phone at Target or Lowes -- both retailers have in-store recycling bins. You won't get any cash, but you'll feel good. ♦
Categories: Gadgets & Gear