It’s once again time for Cost Control Associates’ eco-friendly list of gift ideas. The list includes something for every budget. The items are, as always, practical, energy-saving and fun!
Cool Gadgets & Stuff
Educational Solar Powered Car Kit ($12) />
Your little scientist or mechanic will love this solar-powered car kit. Kids over 6 can practice their manual dexterity while learning about solar power. The car’s small size—it measures only 2.3 by 1.5 inches (6 x 3.75 cm)—will appeal to your little ones. It might be fun for some of the adults on your list, too. Best of all: No batteries required!
The perfect gift for the auto racing fan or bicyclist on your list, this wallet is made entirely from recycled, handpicked race car tires, bike inner tubes and hemp. It’s handcrafted and produced by a 100% waste-free process. You might even spot a trace of the material’s former life such as print from the tires, but if you don’t like that degree of authenticity, a touch of solvent cleaner will remove it.
Here’s the phone charger that goes with you everywhere. Perfect for outdoor enthusiasts, hang it from your backpack the next time you hit the slopes, climb a mountain or relax at a campsite. While you enjoy your favorite activities, it uses solar power to recharge itself. It’s water-resistant, so you don’t have to worry about sudden downpours or downhill wipe-outs. It’s shockproof, too. The USB ports are well-protected by rubber caps and ready for use with your cell phone, tablet, Go-Pro camera or other device. It’s even made of eco-friendly silicone rubber and thermoplastics.
When you give this gift to your loved ones, you’ll have less to worry about during an extended power outage. You wind the crank to generate the energy. Endorsed by the American Red Cross, the Eton FRX5-BT crank radio offers the best reception and speakers available. It’s equipped with a rechargeable lithium battery, ambient flashlight, AC adapter, USB port, AM/FM/NOAA weatherband, digital tuner and display. There is even a high-efficiency solar panel for re-charging when your hand gets tired! You can take it with you anywhere and use it anytime.
Warming the Hearth
Non-toxic Beeswax Candle ($18)
This 8.5 oz. candle from Bluecorn Naturals will burn for 45 hours! Beeswax comes directly from Mother Nature, so you don’t have to worry about chemicals or overwhelming perfumes. It burns cleaner and leaves none of that messy black petroleum-based soot. It emits the scent of warm honey and burns with no drips in a draft-free environment. It is paraffin and lead-free, non-toxic and hypoallergenic (even if you are allergic to bees!). It’s the perfect hostess gift or grab-bag item.
Santa won’t even hear you coming when you pad downstairs in these cozy fur-lined slippers. Dressed up with cute little bows, these cotton slippers have lots of cushioning and thick rubber, anti-slip soles that go indoors and out. They’re even waterproof! With toes so toasty, you can turn down the thermostat and still feel warm.
Recycled Wool Blanket ($60)
Another way to keep that thermostat turned down is to cuddle up with a warm blanket. This recycled wool blanket is made of 70% recycled wool and 30% mixed fibers that would otherwise end up in landfills. It saves energy, reduces heating costs and removes waste from the environment.
Save energy with the Nest Learning Thermostat, a digital, smart thermostat that programs itself and learns your preferences. After a few days, it will create a personalized schedule based on your behavior. It knows when you leave the room and can adjust the heat accordingly. Use wifi and your smartphone to adjust the temperature from afar. You can also control it with your voice when paired with Google Home or Amazon Alexa. It will pay for itself through lowered energy bills.
Eco-friendly Chore Busters
They look like indoor snowballs, but they are the latest alternative to fabric-softener drier sheets. Toss two or three of these lightweight wool balls into your next clothes-dryer load and watch them go to work. They reduce static electricity without chemicals. Because they are hypo-allergenic, they are perfect for babies and people with sensitive skin. They are reusable and cut down your drying time as much as 40%. And when you aren’t using them in the dryer, why not have an indoor snowball fight?
Guppyfriend Washing Bag ($20)
Spandex may seem like a fashion miracle, but those tiny synthetic fibers (along with nylon, rayon, acrylic and polyester) are swirling down the drain into rivers and oceans where they enter our food supply. Patagonia is helping to solve the problem with this 100% polyamide washing bag that protects your synthetic garments and reduces the amount of microfibers entering our water supply. With less mechanical stress and friction, your favorite garments will last longer and look better. When the wash is done, simply remove the shed fibers from the bag and dispose of them in the garbage. This is a great gift for the environmentalists on your list.
The Laundry Pod ($99)
Dare we risk one more laundry item on our list, but the Laundry Pod could save your favorite college kid from the frustrations of waiting in line for the dormitory washing machine. It is an environmentally-friendly hand-washing machine that cleans clothes in less than 10 minutes. The device requires no electricity, only six liters of water and 1.5 teaspoons of laundry detergent. It washes, spins and drains. It’s great for camping, RV-ing and boating, too. Weighing in at the just six and a half pounds, you can take it anywhere.
Husqvarna Robotic Lawn Mower ($1,800)
This gift is sure to be a hit with the groundskeeper in your family. The Husqvarna Robotic Lawn Mower cuts the grass all by itself, navigating rough terrain, steeps slopes, large areas and heavy rain. It runs on a rechargeable battery and knows when to return to its charging station for refreshment. You use the included installation kit to set the boundaries and schedule, and your mower does the rest, quietly and discreetly. You can monitor its progress from your smartphone as well as tell it when to start, stop or park.
Don’t Forget Fido!
LED Dog Collar ($20)
Man’s best friend can enjoy a little extra freedom on dark winter nights when he is wearing his new brightly lit collar. You’ll spot him easily, as will others, and that will enhance his safety. The USB-rechargeable LED collar comes in six colors and sizes and provides five hours of illumination on a one-hour charge. You can set the light to steady mode, rapid or slow flashing with just one click. If shopping for your feline friend, try this smaller adjustable nylon LED collar ($5).
We hope you enjoyed our annual gift round-up. Everyone at Cost Control Associates offers you a happy and safe holiday season!
Lisa Miller is marketing and communications manager for Cost Control Associates. She joined Cost Control Associates in 2015, bringing more than 25 years of experience in marketing and corporate communications to her position. Lisa earned her BA from Skidmore College. Learn more.