Let’s face it: we live in a gadget culture. And around this time of year, gadget consumption peaks as people head to Best Buy and Sharper Image to pick up shiny new gifts for their friends and families. Since we can’t fight this trend, we thought we’d suggest some cool eco-friendly electronics for your favorite gadget geeks this year.
TWIG THUMBAIL USB DRIVE – 79 Euro
No gadget freak will be able to resist the Oooms Twig USB stick! Available in Europe from one of our favorite clever Dutch designers Guido Oooms, these engaging yet functional gadgets are available in storage capacities ranging from 128MB to 1GB.
IPOD COZY BY PRO’TECH’D- $8-$14
A cute and cozy way to protect your iPod is the iPod Cozy from sustainable design company Pro’tech’d. Handmade from 100% certified organic cotton from Peru, the Cozies feature handmade buttons and are so adorable we wish they made them for humans! Available for iPods, Nanos, and Shuffles.
WIND-UP DIGITAL RADIO- £89.50
Who knew listening to music could be entertaining, energy efficient, and a good workout all at the same time? With Freeplay’s Devo wind-up digital radio, you can enjoy all the benefits of high-quality digital radio and portability. A great gift for your music-loving, on-the-go friend, the Devo is powered by your own muscle and provides an hour of digital music, or 36 hours of FM radio at normal volume.
MINI SOLAR FLASHLIGHT- $21
For just $21 you can own the world’s smallest self-powered LED flashlight. This is a great way to introduce family and friends to solar power while keeping an eye out for their safety as well. This little gadget requires no batteries and will last longer than you do, so you never need to worry about it running out of juice.
$21 from Compact-Impact
RECYCLED PLASTIC NANO CASE- $19
For your iPod-addicted friend, the Jimi recycled plastic Nano case provides both protection and eco-friendly style. Made from 100% recycled translucent polycarbonate (closely related to bullet-proof glass), the case features a belt/armband clip and swappable faceplates.
BAMBOO COMPUTER MOUSE- £17.99
Your computer-savvy yet eco-friendly friend will love this bamboo mouse that combines modern technology with sustainability. The mouse works like any other, but the case is made from bamboo instead of plastic. Also available are matching bamboo keyboards and monitors!
VOLTAIC SOLAR POWERED BAGS – $199 – $250
These solar bags never cease to amaze us, and make a great gift for that nomadic tech-geek in your life. The Voltaic messenger bags and backpacks are mobile power generators, designed to charge all your little gadgets with the energy of the sun. With no power outlets they charge cell phones, cameras, PDA’s, and MP3 player, making them ideal for that gadget-lover-on-the-go.
SOLIO UNIVERSAL SOLAR CHARGER – $100
Like a smaller, sleeker version of the Voltaic backpack, this chic little device will charge your electronic gadgets cordlessly – using the suns energy. Perfect for today’s mobile lifestyles, the Solio Universal charger makes a great useful gift that won’t break the bank.
DIY KYOTO WATTSON – £350
If you’ve got a little money to spend and are concerned about energy consumption, the DIY Kyoto Wattson makes a great holiday gift. The cute little device is essentially a stylish, souped-up energy meter that provides a simple means of understanding how much energy your home consumes. The gadget takes measurements of overall domestic energy consumption, then displays the reading both numerically and “non-verbally,” with an ambient red light that dims according to how much power your electronics are sucking through the outlets. Although its made in the UK, you can order from anywhere in the world by emailing the DIY Kyoto people directly.
GLOW IN THE DARK GLOW BRICK -£20
We’re not sure if this counts as a gadget, but we love it. The Glow Brick is a clever little cordless light made from a phosphorescent lightbulb (yes, a REAL lightbulb) embedded in a block of acrylic. It requires no electricity and can glow for up to three hours, “powered” only by light it soaks up from the sun or other artificial light sources, making it as energy-efficient and eco-friendly as it is engaging. (Warning: this is more of a nightlight than a “lamp” – i.e. it is not very bright).
ECOPOD HOME RECYCLING CENTER- $328
This compact and efficient home recycling center is the ideal gift for the environmentally-conscious yet high-tech homemaker. Designed by BMW Designworks, the EcoPod collects and compresses all your recyclable material, from aluminum cans to plastic. The space-saving, uber-functional unit also stores your recyclable glass and paper in the removeable bins in the top lid.