Customers nowadays are focused on supporting responsible brands as much as they are on saving money. That includes both eco-conscious brands and products that take the environment into account. Whether it’s through sustainable materials or giving back in some way, these gift ideas will pass the test of the eco-conscious friends, family members, and co-workers on your list this holiday season.
Urbanista Los Angeles Self-Charging Headphones
What’s better for an eco-conscious person than a pair of self-charging headphones? Someone who cares about the environment will get a kick out of this pair, which we reviewed earlier in the year. Selling for a reasonable price of $280, these headphones charge via the light so they can effectively last for as long as you need them to and don’t require electricity. There is, however, also USB-C charging if you need them in a pinch and have been stuck inside on a series of dreary days. But once they gain enough charge from the sun (or artificial light), there is an 80-hour battery reserve. They don’t skimp on premium features either: you’ll get hybrid active noise cancelling, ambient sound mode, and Siri and Google Assistant compatibility.
Marshall Emberton II Portable Bluetooth Speaker
As far as portable Bluetooth speakers go, the Marshall Emberton II portable Bluetooth speaker is a good option for the eco-conscious. That’s because it’s made from 50% post-consumer recycled plastic that comes from used electronics, water bottles, and automotive light covers. It’s also 100% PVC-free. At $250, it offers up to 30 hours of playtime per charge and features a new Stack Mode so you can connect multiple together for amplified sound. With two 2-inch full range drivers and two passive radiators, however, just one of them packs a punch. It’s also IP67-rated, making it both dust- and water-resistant.
Skullcandy Limited Edition Transparency Series Jib True 2 Wireless Earbuds
Finished in Transparency Green, the Skullcandy Limited Edition Transparency Series Jib True 2 Wireless Earbuds are just $30 but focus heavily on the environment. The company works with Protect Our Winters for its upcycling programs, with a portion of the proceeds of every purchase of these buds going to POW to help in its fight. The buds contain a carbon emissions equivalent of 5.7 kg which is neutralized through the purchase of carbon offset credits. It also comes in recyclable packaging. The earbuds include Tile finding technology and offer up to 34 hours of total battery life with the charging case. They are IPX4 water resistant and include call, track, and volume controls. These are entry-level buds with the Transparency Green colour being offered as a limited edition. But they’ll be proud to keep these in their backpack, purse, or briefcase and pull out to wear and make a statement.
Skullcandy Limited Edition Transparency Series Hesh Evo Wireless Headphones
If you think they would prefer on-ear headphones, Skullcandy has an option in that department as well in its Limited Edition Transparency Series Hesh Evo wireless headphones. Selling for $100 on sale, these comes in the limited-edition Transparency Blue finish that makes just as much of an eco-friendly statement. But most important is that they are also part of Skullcandy’s partnership with POW. Also with a net zero carbon footprint, they provide up to 36 hours of battery life, built-in Tile, and call, track, and volume controls. With the rapid charge option, you’ll get an extra three hours of listening time after just 10 minutes.
Acer Chromebook Vero 514
The chassis of the Acer Chromebook Vero 514 is made from 30% PCR plastic, 50% PCR plastic in the keycaps, and 100% ocean-bound plastics on the touchpad surface. It also comes in 90% recycled paper packaging and the adapter sleeve is made from paper instead of using a traditional plastic bag. Once the Chromebook is set up for use, the device’s inner packaging can be transformed into a multi-purpose triangular laptop stand or be used for other household or office functions. The Chromebook comes equipped with a 12th-Gen Intel Core processor, 14-inch full HD touchscreen with 100% sRGB colour range, and 300 nits of brightness. Made to meet durable military standards (MIL-STD 810H), it’s reinforced to protect it from drops as high as 122 cm (48 inches). It boasts a 10-hour battery life and supports fast charging: charge it up to 50% in just 30 minutes. It is not only easy to upgrade and repair but also disassemble and recycle. It has standard screws on the bottom cover, while the exterior features a paint-free chassis with a cobblestone gray finish and display panel that is 99% recyclable. Acer says the Chromebook contributes to the reduction of plastic waste in the ocean since it uses ocean-bound plastics in its internal fan housing and on its OceanGlass touchpad, which provides a glass-like texture and responsive tactile feeling. Additional specs include Intel Iris Xe graphics, an 88% screen-to-body ratio, full HD flare-reducing webcam with DTS audio, smart amplifier, fast and reliable Wi-Fi 6e, two USB-C, USB 3.2 Type-A, and HDMI ports. It ships with business capabilities of ChromeOS unlocked, including advanced security, reporting and insights, scalable, cloud-based management, and zero-touch enrollment. The Acer Chromebook Vero 514 (CBV514-1H/T) laptop comes in a starting configuration that includes a Core i3 processor, 8GB RAM, and 128GB storage for $650.
House of Marley REWIND USB-C-to-Lightning Cable
While Apple will eventually be moving to USB-C charging, for now, and if the person plans to continue to use an existing Apple iPhone for some time, they’ll still need a Lightning cable. And you can never have too many. The House of Marley braided cables, which I reviewed earlier this year, are wonderfully durable and lovely in design, but most importantly for eco-conscious folks, it’s made of sustainable materials including FSC walnut sources from responsibly managed forests and REWIND fabric woven with 99% post-consumer recycled GRS certified material. MFI-certified to work with Apple devices, the 1.5-metre length option sells for $60, though if they’ll need something with more slack, to use in a hotel room, for example, or a space that’s far from an available power outlet, consider the longer three-metre one. There are other cable types in the line as well that sell for $40 ea. These are built to last: no matter how many times they stuff them in and take them out of a backpack, leave them in the car, or use them while out and about, they can take a beating. The cable management strap, made from upcycled REGRIND silicone and recycled aluminum, is a super handy addition to the set-up.
TP-Link Kasa Smart EP25 Wi-Fi Plug Mini with Energy Monitoring and Apple HomeKit
The TP-Link Kasa Smart EP25 Wi-Fi Plug Mini with Energy Monitoring and Apple HomeKit, comes in a four-pack or two-pack. The smart plugs can be used to transform a device that’s plugged into them, like a fan, coffee maker, or light bulb, into a smart, remotely controllable device. They can monitor the device’s energy usage in real time, a useful feature for those trying to conserve energy and curious to see which products in their homes might use more than others. The new models also feature Apple HomeKit compatibility, allowing Apple device users the ability to integrate them into the Apple ecosystem, for control through Apple’s Siri and HomeKit app. Like other Kasa Smart plugs, the EP25 gives you full control of any compatible plug-in device with a 15A max load via the Kasa app as well as with favourite smart assistants, including Amazon Alexa, Google Assistant (FSS and GSS supported), and Siri. Existing Kasa users can use advanced controls with their device such as grouping with other Kasa devices, on/off schedule and timers, and Away Mode to simulate being home while on vacation. The EP25 employs a compact single-outlet and flame-retardant design and UL certification. The four-pack is US$50 and the two-pack is US$30. It isn’t officially available in Canada but you might be able to find a pack online to ship here, or can pick one up if you visit the U.S. anytime soon.
House of Marley Get Together 2 Bluetooth Speaker
The House of Marley Get Together 2 offers Bluetooth 5.0, long playback time, increased range, higher watts, USB charge out and USB-C fast charging. The new multi-pair function enables any two speakers to pair for enhanced sound and any three to pair for party mode. As expected, House of Marley has incorporated its signature eco-friendly design elements like solid bamboo details and REWIND fabric accents. It features multiple EQ models including Marley Signature Sound, Bass Boost, and Acoustic. IP65 water and dust resistant, it comes with a 65W Global AC adapter and REWIND USB-C cable, and charges in under two hours. The USB-C to C cable is braided with House of Marley’s premium REWIND fibres made from post-consumer recycled polyester. Measuring 13.15 x 4.6 x 4.1 inches and weighing 4.85 lbs., it is crafted from bamboo, premium REWIND fabric and silicone, and aluminum. It boasts 20+ hours of playtime when connected to Bluetooth or AUX input, and packs 40 watts of power into its enclosure. Rewind fabric can be found throughout this line, including in the stash bags that wrap the speakers and headphone bands. The REGRIND silicone, crafted by reclaiming and upcycling post-process and post-consumer silicone scraps that would otherwise go to waste, is found throughout the company’s products, including slipmats, the backing of the speakers, and the protective bumpers for wireless chargers. House of Marley’s global give back initiative, Project Marley, supports global reforestation and ocean preservation through One Tree Planted and the Surfrider Foundation. Get it for $350 in Canada.
Looking for a way to reduce your paper usage? Great for note-taking workers, students, or even studious stay-at-home parents, the Rocketbook Pro features erasable, reusable Page Packs that you can write on using a Pilot FriXion pen, marker, or highlighter, then wipe the page clean with a damp cloth to erase. Before wiping clean, however, you can scan the notes and upload them to a favourite cloud app, like DropBox or Google Drive, as well as e-mail. You can even transcribe your handwritten notes to digital text. With a reinforced hardcover and 360° flip design, it can lay flat in any position. Swap the page inserts that are made of Rocketbook’s patented reusable paper. Each Page Pack contains 20 back-and-front pages bound together with magnetic clips so you can easily interchange them thanks to the Pro’s magnetic spine. To plan your day, for example, use the Daily To-Do Page Pack. For taking notes during a client call, swap for a Meeting Notes Page Pack. It comes in black, Sage Green, or Coast Blue in executive size for US$55 or letter for US$60. Each one comes with a Lined/Dot-Grid Page Pack, a Pilor FriXion pen, and a cleaning towel. Additional Page Packs starts at US$18 ea. Check out my recent review.
Help reduce garbage waste and food scraps with the Lomi Composter, which not only eliminates the amount of organic waste that ends up in landfills, but also helps prevent insects, rodents, and foul odours from plaguing your home. Insert food waste, let it run a cycle, and you instantly have plant, garden, or lawn food, or simply composted organic waste you can dispose of in much less amounts as before. It’s a relatively large (16 x 12 x 13 inches W/H/D) unit so you’ll need the counterspace to accommodate it. But it’s super-easy to use via a single button to initiate the composting process, which takes about four hours to complete. It accepts almost all types of food waste, including fruits and vegetables, bread and grain products, and animal products as well as yard waste, other approved products, and even compostable packaging. US$500