Let’s face it, we all have too much stuff. So this holiday season I’m taking a shift away from gadgets and gizmos to focus on gift ideas that can be used everyday and help people live a greener lifestyle. I’ve linked to some samples from Amazon.com, but it is even better if you can find a local crafts person who makes and sells many of these items.
- Reusable Sandwich Bags or Containers
Don’t use a disposable plastic sandwich bag everyday for your kid’s lunch. Instead put their sandwiches in reusable sandwich bags or other reusable containers. Be sure to look for ones that are washing machine safe because you know they will get dirty.
- Cloth Napkins – they’re not just for special occasions any more
Around our house, we use cloth napkins instead of paper towels and napkins for almost everything. Why not give that special someone a set of cloth napkins. Small ones are great for including in kids’ lunches (and adults’ too). If you are handy with a sewing machine, you could even make cloth napkins as gifts. For everyday use, we prefer napkins in the 8-9″ size.
- LED replacement bulbs
LED technology has improved a great deal this past year. LED lights provide even better energy savings than CFLs, last much longer and do not contain mercury. You can now find quality standard warm-white dimmable LED light bulbs at your local hardware store for $20-40. Be prepared to pay more for specialty bulbs. Be sure to purchase quality brands for the best satisfaction. Our experience with LED bulbs over the past few years is that a cheap LED bulb is just that, cheap. Look for names like Sylvania, Phillips, GE and CREE.
- Low Flow Massaging Showerhead
Since most folks shower everyday, reducing your water consumption by installing a low flow showerhead is a great do it once way to be greener. We are very happy with our Niagra massaging showerhead and recommend it to others. You might even be able to get a free one, check with your local water company. If you’re the least bit handy, add installation as part of the gift to make it even better.
- Rechargeable Batteries (and Charger if needed)
All sort of gifts these days require batteries. Make any gift even greener by providing rechargeable batteries and a charger if you know they don’t have one. I prefer Enerloop rechargeable batteries these days because they maintain their charge for years unlike most other rechargeable batteries. And if you want the kids (or kids at heart) to be able to play with their toys when they open them up, be sure to get the precharged rechargeables.
To make your holiday gift giving greener, be sure to look for eco-friendly packaging and shipping and give something that will be used every day.