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Green Gift Ideas

Updated on March 28, 2011

Environmentally Friendly Gift Ideas for under $40

Whether you do your Christmas shopping early or leave it to the last moment it is often not easy to find a great present for a friend or family member. It seems there is so much choice and yet nothing really stands out. So why not try to buy earth-friendly products this year for the special people in your life?

Christmas is a time of fun and celebration, but it is also a timely reminder about the importance of doing good deeds, of being generous, of putting others before yourself. One great way to do this is to think about the environment. Protecting the environment is about ensuring the health of the planet for future generations. It is about being energy efficient and using nature’s resources carefully.

So below I’ve put together a few suggestions for green gifts all under $40. They are categorized according to price. These gift ideas make great stocking fillers. All are original gifts to make people think about being more environmentally friendly. Also a lot of these gift ideas help people to save money.

Gifts Under $10

Bamboo is the fastest growing plant in the world. It only takes 5 to 6 years to reach maturity. For this reason bamboo is a renewable resource. Although bamboo is officially a type of grass it is strong, hard and long lasting. Bamboo kitchenware or tableware makes an excellent cheap Christmas present. Bamboo has a natural light color and soft grain. Bamboo kitchenware is neither stained or subjected to any chemical process. These bamboo items featured here - Helen's Asian Kitchen 4-Inch Mortar and Pestle Set, Bamboo Place Mat with Eva Backing and Umbra Boomba Bamboo Soap Dish, - are all entirely safe for use with food and drink. They contain no VOCs.

Mortar and Pestle Set

Helen's Asian Kitchen 4-Inch Mortar and Pestle Set is a rich carmelized brown color. The carmelized color is achieved by heating the bamboo to 'burn' the sugars in the plant to change the color. This is a good all round mortar and pestle set that you can use to crush up herbs and spices. It makes a useful addition to the kitchen. Helen's Asian Kitchen 4-Inch Mortar and Pestle Set costs $9.95 and is available for this cheap price from

Place Mat

The Bamboo Place Mat with Eva Backing is 17 1/2 inches by 12 inches and weighs 3.8 ounces. It is made by Ethical Products Inc. It is a simple place mat which has a stylish elegance. Matchstick bamboo makes an ideal place mat because it is strong and flexible. It is also easy to clean this bamboo place mat.

The Bamboo Place Mat costs $3.02, so you can afford to buy a few of them even if you are on a tight budget this Christmas.

Soap Dish

The Umbra Boomba Bamboo Soap Dish is made from 100% natural bamboo. It is 5 inches by 5 inches by 0.5 inches. It is designed by Matt Carr and can hold one bar of soap.

The Umbra Boomba Bamboo Soap Dish makes a great addition to a kitchen, toilet or bathroom. Made by Umbra, ia worldwide leader in casual, contemporary and affordable design for the home.

Although the Umbra Boomba Bamboo Soap Dish costs $10.01, Amazon will gift wrap it for you.

Gifts Under $20

Why not add insulation and a touch of Oriental style to a room with quality Shanghai bamboo blinds? Or why not introduce someone to the green, totally natural alternative to detergents for clothes - Maggies Nuts? And then there's a healthy option - Extra Virgin Coconut Oil. Not only does it make tasty food but it has a number of amazing health benefits.

Bamboo Shade

The Shanghai Matchstick Bamboo Roman Shade is 74 inches long and 31 inches wide and made from 100% bamboo. It is a great value Roman shade at only $19.01. It provides insulation to a room and produces a relaxing light by filtering sunlight. Remember when ordering Shanghai Blinds to order a blind that is 1/4 inch narrower than the window gap.

Bamboo shades are allergen free and anti-fungal so ideal for people suffering from allergies and asthma.

For a full range of bamboo shades and blinds click here.

Soap Nuts

Soap nuts are totally natural nuts made from the dried fruit from the Chinese soapberry tree. The Chinese soapberry tree contains saponin, a natural cleanser. Put in Maggies soap nuts in with your load and they come out smelling clean. This 2 pound bag can do 80 loads of washing.

Soap nuts are hypoallergenic and 100% biodegradable. Unlike normal petroleum based detergents they do not harm the environment and prevent allergy attacks. Soap nuts are the green alternative to cleaning. This makes an interesting gift that might completely change the way someone thinks about washing clothes.

Extra Virgin Coconut Oil

This Source Naturals Extra Virgin Coconut Oil comes in two 16 fl oz jars and costs $15.50.

Coconut oil has long been a major part of the diet of South Asian, African and Pacific Island People's diet. It is no coincidence that these people have low heart disease, cancer and obesity rates in their populations. Virgin coconut oil is a totally natural product that contains medium chain fatty acids that promote thyroid gland activity. This helps your immunity system to fight disease and old age. Thyroid activity also helps the body to break down cholesterol. Furthermore, extra virgin coconut oil is high in lauric acid like mother's milk that fights pathogens. Coconut oil is not a fad health cure. It has been used good health for centuries. Some pacific islands call the coconut palm "The Tree of Life".

Gifts Under $30

For under $30 you can get a range of exciting green gifts that will delight your family and friends. For example you can afford a solar powered Tiki Torch to provide free light for outside at night. Or you could buy a power monitor to help someone to reduce their electricity bills. Alternatively. you can also get a smart powerstrip that automatically powers down appliances that usually go on to stand by and cost money.

Solar Powered Tiki Torch

This is a great earth-friendly product that makes a useful addition to the outdoor areas of your property. Instead of using electricity generated from burning coal, oil or gas to light up an area outside you can use this solar powered Tiki Torch. Ideal for people with long, dark driveways and also for garden parties. The solar powered Tiki Torch charges automatically during the day via a small solar panel and then comes on at night. It doesn't use a dangerous flame or burning oil. Very simple to install - just put it in the ground. The Solar Powered Tiki Torch adds a touch of tropical flare to your outdoors area and is the most affordable piece of solar technology available.

The Solar Powered Tiki Torch costs $26.95

P3 International P4460 Kill A Watt EZ Electricity Usage Monitor

Electric Consumption Power Monitor

The P3 International P4460 Kill A Watt EZ Electricity Usage Monitor is great value at only $26.99. This power monitor shows the operating costs of your home appliances. Have you ever wondered how much it costs to leave your home entertainment center on stand-by? Or how much it costs to run a half load of clothes washing? Well now you can find out with the International P4460 Kill A Watt Usage Monitor. The monitor can make forecasts for a week, a month or a year. It is accurate to 0.2 %.

You simply plug the monitor into a wall socket and then you plug in the appliance you want to test for energy efficiency. The large LCD display shows consumption in kilowatt-hour. Then you put in your utility rate and the monitor forecasts how much the appliance is costing you by day, week, month or year.

Also this power monitor can test the voltage, line frequency and power factor of the electricity the utility company is providing you. This functions helps you decide if there is a 'brown out' and if you should unplug your more delicate appliances to protect them.

Easy to use; the results are intriguing; and the actions you will take as a consequence of the readings taken from the P3 International P4460 Kill A Watt EZ Electricity Usage Monitor will make you more energy efficient.

Low Flow Shower

The average shower uses 5 gallons of water a minute. The High Sierra 1.5 GPM Low Flow High Performance Shower Head reduces gallons per minute (GPM) to just 1.5 without affecting water pressure. This is a high performance shower head made of heavy duty chrome plated brass that allows you to alter the amount of air that is mixed in the water. It is a good spray area despite it's shape and never clogs. This is a quality product that avoids using plastic and so will stop bacterial growth in the shower head and it will last for many, many years. The High Sierra 1.5GPM Performace Shower Head pays for itself in just 2 months in saved water bills.

Smart Strip

The Smart Strip LCG3 Energy Saving Surge Protector with Autoswitching Technology has 10 outlets. This is a great device to save you money. Have you noticed that when you turn off the light in the living room before you go to bed that there's lots of stand by lights going? These lights are useless and cost you money. To use the Smart Strip LCG3 Energy Saving Surge Protector you plug items that must have power such as the telephone into the red slots and you plug your TV, DVD player, music player and other electrical equipment into the six white plug sockets. You plug the master (such as the TV or computer) into the blue socket. When you turn off the master device all the devices in white plugs also turn off. Completely off.

The Smart Strip LCG3 also protects your home appliances from power surges. At $31.50 the Smart Strip LCG3 is great value for money.

Gifts under $40

For under $40 you can buy a set of Earthmate CFLs to reduce lighting bills. Another way to reduce bills is to install a Lux TX1500E Smart Temp Programmable Thermostat in the home. This product is great value, easy to install, easy to program and adds comfort to a home while cutting out waste.

The beauty of energy efficiency is that it reduces carbon emissions by lowering the demand for electricity.

Earthmate CFLs

Earthmate CFLs use 75% less electricity than standard incandescent light bulbs. They last 13 times longer too. Earthmate make the best compact fluorescent light bulbs because they perform well and contain very low amounts of mercury.

To replace an incandescent with a CFL simply divide the watt strength by 3 or 4. Thus a typical 60 watt incandescent can be replaced with a 20 or 18 watt Earthmate CFL. Packs of 6 Earthmate CFLs typically cost between $30 and $40.

Changing just 5 lights in house to CFLs can save up to $100 a year! And then there is the extra saving of not having to buy a replacement bulb for a number of years.

Lux Products TX1500E Programmable Thermostat

Programmable Thermostat

The Lux Products TX1500E Smart Temp Programmable Thermostat is fantastic value at only $39.97. It is an Energy Star programmable thermostat that allows homeowners to set up programs to control the heating and cooling in a house for each day of the week. This cuts out wasting power heating/cooling an empty house and allows the user to take advantage of cheaper off-peak electricity. If used correctly. the Lux Products TX1500E Smart Temp Programmable Thermostat can save 30% on home HVAC bills.

The Lux TX1500E can be installed onto single and multi stage systems, heat pumps and central air. It has an easy-to-read, mercury free display and is simple to program. It also has temporary hold, vacation mode and a lockout function to stop unauthorized people from altering the settings. No home is a green home without a good programmable thermostat.


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