By Emily DeMarco
With the perennial holiday demands pressing in upon us, eco-conscious gift giving all too easily falls by the wayside. To that end, we’ve compiled a few products to help make your shopping easier and greener, no matter what your budget is—not just for the holidays but year-round.
1. Water Pebble
Even the most water conscious among us can occasionally slip into a shower daydream and lose track of all of that H²0 disappearing down the drain. Let the Water Pebble help. Placed near the drain, it monitors water flow and, through a series of green, orange and red lights, alerts you when it’s time to get out. Each time you shower, it reduces your total shower time by several seconds (you can reset it if showers get too short), helping you save water. In the midst of this drought, California water supplies—and your bill—will thank you, and so will anyone who ends up with these in their stocking. waterpebble.com.
2. Eco Vessel’s Surf Collection
Speaking of water, Eco Vessel’s durable water bottles are made from recycled glass and covered with vividly colored silicone sleeves. These BPA and phthalate-free bottles are good for your family and the environment. Plus Eco Vessel is partnering with 1% for the Planet and pledges to donate 1% of annual sales to support Water for People, a nonprofit devoted to providing clean water around the world. Pacific Health Foods, 944 Linden Ave., Carpinteria. ecovessel.com. Price: $19.95
3. Urbanears Re:Plattan Headphones
Are the kids tired of those boring white ear buds? Check out these brightly colored headphones that pack an eco-friendly double punch. They’re made from leftover parts of other Urbanears headphone models, and your purchase helps preserve and protect five square meters of Costa Rican rainforest. You and your children can even enter your unique Pax code online and track how much biodiversity you’ve safeguarded. urbanears.com. Price: $79.90
4. Vita Travel’s Solar Backpacks and Bags
Toting built-in solar powered panels, Vita Travel’s Voltaic Switch Solar Bag or Voltaic Array Solar Backpack can help charge your phones, tablets and iPads while you’re away from an outlet. The array backpack can even carry and charge your laptop and digital camera. Various adapter devices are included, plus the normal backpack amenities like spaces for pens and books as well as padded pockets. Vita Travel Store, 12 W. Anapamu St. 805/845-4004, vitatravel.com. Price: Switch Solar bag $129; Array Solar Backpack $389
5. Patagonia’s Yulex Wetsuit
Meet the Guayule (why-you-lee) plant, a desert shrub native to the southwestern United States whose stems are helping Patagonia reduce—and eventually replace—the amount of neoprene used in their wetsuits. Thanks to their partnership with Yulex, a company that produces Guayule rubber, Patagonia’s “weed wetsuits” are made from a blend of 60% plant-based guayule and 40% petroleum-based neoprene, an important step in reducing the suits’ overall environmental footprint. Fletcher Chouinard Designs 43 S. Olive St., Ventura. patagonia.com/us/search/yulex. Price: $529–$549
6. Foldable Bikes
Know cyclists stressed out about snagging ever-elusive rack space on their morning bus commutes? Fed up with worrying if you locked your bike in a safe space? Foldable bikes make taking public transportation easy, and you can store them next to your desk without taking up all of your office space. Popular brands include the British-made Brompton that folds up in under 15 seconds and is small enough to carry on airplanes. Don’t like small wheels? Try Joe by Tern, a full-size foldable bike that works well on rougher roads. brompton.com, ternbicycles.com. Price: Brompton bikes start around $1,200 and the Tern Joe p24 goes for $900
7. Tesla Model S
No tailpipe emissions, up to 265 miles per charge and 0 to 60 in 4.2 seconds. You know you want one, and there’s never been a better time to consider buying a Tesla. Earlier this year, the company’s 100th Supercharger station opened and, in August, Tesla CEO Elon Musk announced plans to deliver 100,000 electric vehicles in 2015. teslamotors.com/models/design. Price: Starting around $61,000
(after tax credit/rebate) .
Originally published in Santa Barbara Seasons Magazine, Winter 2014/15.