Looking for some unique stocking stuffer ideas for the adults in your life that won’t break the bank or the planet? I have compiled a list of some of my favorites. I am not big on cutesy stuff or novelty items that have no real function in every day life. Yeah, that Santa that poops jelly beans is cute but I would not want to find it in my stocking. Impractical items just seem like a waste to me so everything on this list is functional and would be most welcome in the life of your treehugger. Or perhaps you are the treehugger and the recipient is not, don’t sweat, these stocking stuffers will work for them too.
Glass Straws: Very functional yet small enough for stocking and beautiful to boot. If you buy a set then you have an affordable gift for 4-5 people too. Greenies will love them and those who are not will be intrigued. I am a long time user and it is hard to go back to anything else once you see how lovely it is to drink a smoothie through a piece of glass artwork!
If you are worried about breakage try stainless steel drink straws.
Lip Balm: Perfect for men or women this time of year. I recommend Eco Lips.
Seeds: The gardeners in your life will love heirloom seeds varieties.
Recipes: This could be a sneaky way to help the recipient get healthier or maybe you know they will enjoy Aunt Esther’s peanut brittle you modified with a healthy twist. Either way you might want to get some blank recipe cards, fill them out, and give the gift of healthier, greener food!
Spices: Foodies will love to try new and exotic spices. Buy a bottle or two (in glass or stainless tins) and maybe attach the aforementioned recipe cards for meal ideas.
Gloves: Hand knit gloves can be found on Etsy and in stores. Try to find some made with organic materials or recycled materials. I found these fun Sock Monkey Fingerless Knit Gloves on Amazon (recycled materials).
Journaling Materials – Have a writer or journal lover you need to gift? Try some eco pens and poo poo paper (yes it IS paper made from animal dung).
Rechargeable Batteries: Did you give someone an electronic gift or give one to their child, that requires batteries such as a gaming system, clock, ect. Well this is the perfect companion gift…batteries that they can keep using over and over, saving resources and money! I like Eneloop personally and this charger and 4 battery pack is perfect for Christmas stockings.
Pine Cone Fire Starters: Make them yourself or buy them but if your giftee has a fireplace and loves a roaring fire these make a practical gift.
Eco Perfumes: Small yet fragrant and healthy for the wearer. I wrote a post with a few ideas here.
Soy or Beeswax Candles: Many people LOVE candles and soy and beeswax are better alternatives. Natural fragrance is ideal too. I am really liking Mrs. Meyers Clean Day candles for gifting. They come in a nifty tin that is perfect for a stocking and they are made of soy. This brand also sells glass candles with lids.
Do you have any ideas to share?
If you have been reading my blog for any length of time you will know that I kinda love shoes. Back in my pre-children days I was all about Doc Martens and I had a Pepto Bismol pink pair and a white pair with lace and glitter. For many years after having kids I was all about easy flip-flops and sandals. These days I still have lots of love for flip-flops but I would also add to that just about any minimalist athletic shoe and barefoot shoes. After wearing winter boots for many months you just have to break out and wear some pretty shoes come spring and summer right?
Above is my line-up for the warm weather months. As you can see, I like color!
First pair up is Jambu’s Capetown sandals in olive. I love Jambu and usually review a pair every season. They are almost always earth friendly and/or vegan. These shoes are leather but they do have a recycled rubber sole and toe cap.
They are a flip-flop style sandal in a yummy color that is perfect for spring and summer. The leather straps crisscross with floral print satin straps so I think they are dressy enough to wear with nice summer dresses. As can be expected with all Jambu shoes they are high quality and very lovely. These will be my go-to shoes when I need dressier sandals.
Where to Buy: Amazon or OnlineShoes
Next up is another old favorite… Okabashi! These flip flops are made from recycled materials and they are completely recyclable after they are spent, if you return them to the Okabashi factory in Georgia. Their facility is virtually zero waste.. next to no scrap, and last year they used 100,000 pounds of scrap material in their shoes.
These are quite simply some of the highest quality flip-flops I have ever come across and the fact that they are eco friendly is just the icing on top of the cake. They are also very affordable. No $50 flip-flops here. The prices are right around $15-$18.
Where to Buy: Amazon
Okay, next up is a barefoot or minimalist shoe called the Vivobarefoot. This shoe is good for any outdoor activity and you can wear it in the water. I plant to wade in creeks and waterways as we hike and explore this summer. These will also be excellent shoes to wear to the waterpark.
The shoes are vegan friendly with a plastic outer shell. The inside is really just a cloth sock that can be worn or removed depending on the activity. For dry hiking you might want to wear the socks. If you plan to wade in the water you may want to remove them or you can wear them and toss in the wash later.
Where to Buy: Amazon and OnlineShoes
Last pair up is a thrift store find. I didn’t actually NEED another pair of flip-flops but Eddie Bauer flip-flops in a groovy orange color were impossible to pass up. Plus I like getting $40-$50 shoes for $2!
What will you be wearing this spring/summer?
Many thanks to Okabashi and Jambu for sending me shoes to review!
This morning I hit the gym for the first time of 2012. Not only did I feel like the energizer bunny (thanks to paleo/primal foods!) I wore some new athletic shoes thanks to the fine people at PlanetShoes. Last month they sent me a pair of the “new” New Balance shoes, called NewSky. I already have some New Balance minimalist shoes in black and pink, though not this version and I love them so I was excited to try NewSky. I absolutely adore the blue/grey coloring (I was getting sick of pink) and these shoes come in wide width so they are way more comfortable than my other ones. Yes, those are my pasty white legs in the photo above. I don’t usually wear shorts in the snow but I haven’t done any laundry since the week before Christmas. I got some pretty strange looks at the gym today, LOL. Shorts and a parka isn’t a good combo?
Anyway, NewSky shoes are special because they are a much greener version of the classic shoe. They are minimalist and uber lightweight, which is important to me. You also know as you lace them up that the material they are made of is different. 95% of the upper section is made of recycled P.E.T, also known as recycled plastic bottles. Cool beans! I often hesitate to buy products that make the same claim because who wants to sleep on a pillow filled with plastic bottle filling or wear a shirt made of plastic bottles, but shoes are perfect. I always wear socks with them so they don’t come in contact with skin and athletic shoes typically wear out so fast that it is reassuring to know they are made from recycled materials. Also in order to make a shoe with so much recycled material they had to completely redesign it and that meant reduced waste overall. All of the inner materials you see in typical shoes like foam and reinforcer materials are not there. This makes the material very soft and pliable, not stiff. It is evident in putting on the shoe since you need to mold it your foot and then lace it up. This makes NewSky very different from other shoes but I personally think this it is rather awesome. The fit feels custom and perfect, like I am not even wearing shoes.
Cool fact: Each pair of NewSky shoes uses 8 20 ounce plastic bottles.
I first wore these on a quick two mile hike earlier this week. They were comfortable from the get-go and I never got a hint of a blister despite them being brand new. I can’t say the same of my other New Balance shoes. Today I wore them to the gym. I had to take them off before I jumped in the pool of course but afterwards I did some weight training and they performed well. I think these will be prefect for colder days when I can’t wear Vibram Five Fingers as I normally do.
Love the fit, love the comfort, and I love that they are made from recycled materials. They get an A+ from me! If you are interested NewSky shoes come in the blue/grey you see above as well as pink and a yellow/green combo. They also have NewSky shoes for men.
Contest Closed! The winner is Debbie Clauer, congrats!
The chair you see in the photo above is a new and much loved fixture on my back deck. I have long been in love with Adirondack chairs but I wasn’t willing to buy plastic ones and the wooden ones are actually quite a bit of work to maintain. Every year it seems you need to sand and paint them or end up with splinters in your derriere and a pretty sad looking chair.
So when Trex Outdoor Furniture contacted me and asked to me review one of their recycled plastic Adirondack chairs I was… well, let’s just say I was VERY happy. I could see myself getting some daily sun in this chair… watching my kids play while I enjoyed a good book, and generally just finding more mom time in my own personal chair. Lucky for me it is as perfect as I hoped and I can heartily endorse this garden furniture.
The actual chair is their Cape Cod Adirondack and each one is made from 240 recycled milk jugs. The actual ratio of recycled plastic versus new plastic is pretty darn impressive… 90%. Often times when we think of recycled materials we think of down-cycled products like children’s toys and such but this is definitely up-cycled… meaning they took the plastic and turned it into something of better quality or a higher environmental value. The design is also fabulous. It doesn’t look like plastic at all. The faux wood grain makes it look like a luxurious wood chair but unlike wood this chair doesn’t retain water, get overly dirty, splinter, require painting, or I would wager look dingy after its first summer or two. It is an absolutely gorgeous chair.
It comes in variety of colors too. I got the classic white but I they also offer it in dark green, brown, tan, sand, stone, and black. You can get the chair as a stand alone or with the matching Cape Cod Ottoman. And of course they also offer chair seat cushions. The beauty above is their Bravada Salsa cushion. Orange may just be my fave color so of course I had to have it. Their web site does not indicate that the cushion is made of recycled materials but you can always make your own if you want.
I have only had it for a few weeks now I but I seem to find reasons to go out and sit in it several times a day. It is super comfortable as well as super durable. Seeing it on my back deck is a reminder that my sad looking deck needs sanded and painted, LOL. It just goes to show that recycled plastic products can be an amazing convenience for us. We are taking plastics and giving them a new and useful life AND making our lives easier by purchasing products that will not require the care and upkeep that wood does.
The shipping aspect was also quite nice. It arrived on a big truck fully assembled. Plus my kids loved the giant box and played with it for days before they tore it asunder. The only tricky aspect was carrying this HEAVY chair to the back yard but it was well worth it. Doesn’t my mom space (above) look cozy? Yep! Now I can grab a book and my glass water bottle and chill for a bit each day while the kids play. It is the perfect
When you think of helping the environment picking the right gym gear is not usually the first thing that comes to mind, but eco friendly gym gear can be a big step towards living a greener existence. Just think about how many people go to gyms each day. Each of those people might be packing a big bag full of stuff that they will use while they are there. It really adds up.
I have gym gear on the brain quite often now. Since joining a gym in March it has become a very big part of my routine. Devoting several hours a week to the gym has been a huge change for me (since I was mostly a walker/hiker before) and part of that change is needing to have the proper stuff to bring with me and hope I can keep the impact of new stuff down. Lots of the gym gear you see is made from plastic, even the clothing. While I may not be able to avoid all plastic and other planet-cringing materials, I like to think that you can keep it to a minimum with some careful planning. It also goes to follow that someone who cares about planetary health will also want items that are healthier on a personal level too. The exercise industry has sprung onto the green living bandwagon with aplomb, generating a whole host of eco-friendly equipment and gear that can be used by those who want to integrate green living into every aspect of their lives.
So what eco friendly options can you find to replace the mainstream gym bag and its contents?
The Eco Friendly Gym Bag – If you walk down the isle of a Wal-Mart or a Target to find a gym bag you will like end up with some sort of polyester (from plastic) gym bag. I have avoided this issue by just making do with a reuseable shopping bag I already had. I think it is made of some poly material but it is not new. If I do decide to get another one at some point I already have my eye on one made from recycled materials… this one from Gaiam. To hold wet things like swim suits you could get a wet bag like is used for diapers but I have just opted to wrap my wet stuff in my towel and hang it when I get home.
Organic Towels – If you have any beach towels at home you can just grab one of those to use after some pool time. If not you may want to check into organic beach towels like these from DreamSacks. They are made from bamboo and cotton. If you need something smaller, perhaps for yoga or the treadmill, a small hand towel from your towel closet will work or you can get a microfiber towel or one of these small bamboo gym towels.
Sustainable Workout Clothes – Workout clothing that is ‘environmentally conscious’ is widely available now; all it takes is a little research. Keep your eye out for workout clothes made from organic and natural fibers OR recycled materials which are great for removing moisture. A minimal amount of synthetic fibers is preferred but sometimes you need something that wicks better than natural fibers and that is where recycled synthetics come in. Just be aware that synthetic fibers can become really stinky over time.
If you want to take it a step further, check into the businesses that sell or produce the products and make certain that they have sustainable business models and/or fair labor practices that correlate with your own world view. Patagonia and Gaiam are two companies that are known for their eco-friendly practices and ideals. I love yoga pants, which is what I wear. They’re organic!
Eco Gym Shoes – Footwear is another area where you can choose eco-friendly products. The same ideals as those expressed in workout clothing apply, make sure that the products and company fit with your ecological ideals. One that comes to mind is the Green Silence. It is made with soy-based inks and recycled materials. The packaging is also 100% post-consumer recycled. I have read numerous reviews of them and all have been favorable. I also really like barefoot shoes and wrote a whole post about those and Okabashi recycled flip-flops for the gym showers and locker room.
Eco Water Bottles – It’s not cool to drink out of disposable plastic bottles so the best choice will obviously be to get a good reusable bottle. I love my glass water bottles but those aren’t very practical for the gym IMO. Since I already have it I usually use my Intak Thermos but this bamboo water bottle or the Klean Kanteen Stainless/Bamboo bottle would be awesome for the gym.
Other Stuff - Wood Earbuds and Eco Yoga Mats.
And if you really want to green your gym experience write a letter to management or chat them up while you are there about using green cleaners to sanitize the machines and wash the towels or using less chlorine in the pool. If their customers consistently make these demands they may just rise to the challenge.
How do YOU green your workout routine?