This holiday season, turn your gift-shopping experience into a unique opportunity to support innovative businesses that embrace sustainability practices and to promote fun and practical eco-friendly products – as well as sharing some holiday cheer with your loved ones. You can also use your holiday gift giving as a way to educate your friends and family about eco-friendly practices, inventive use of sustainable materials, and creative ways to reuse and recycle used items and help divert waste from landfill.
For the eco-conscious travelers on your list, here are a dozen affordable holiday gift ideas (recommended by TIES Advisory Board member and journalist/blogger Kim Lisagor):
Flask-shaped reusable water bottle
water bottleThe “no liquids” security policy at U.S. airports leaves two options for thirsty travelers: pay for bottled water at the gate, or carry a reusable bottle to fill before boarding. Obviously, we prefer the second choice. Unlike standard bottles, the flask shape fits comfortably into a airplane’s seat back pocket.
This Cost Plus World Market design ($8), conspicuously labeled “water” in several languages, is less likely to draw sideways glances from flight attendants than a repurposed liquor flask.
Lightweight, slip-on travel shoes
jambuIn the never-ending quest for the ultimate travel footwear, Jambu’s Eclipse Mesh for women ($99) comes as close to perfection as any: durable, comfortable, versatile, vegan, and easy to slip off at airport security.
The closest men’s equivalent is Teva’s Mush Frio Slip Canvas ($45): lightweight, easy to take on and off, and takes up very little suitcase space. Great for transit days.
Gadget sleeves from recycled materials
tablet caseLaptops, tablets and e-readers may be perfectly sized for travel, but they’re too fragile to roam the globe uncovered. WrapCycle uses reclaimed fabrics to make fashionable protective cases for portable electronic devices ($35). The padding, made from recycled packing material, is lightweight and water-resistant. Check out their passport covers, too.
WrapCycle partners with local recycling centers to get materials, and uses every last inch of them so that what ultimately gets thrown away is a tiny fraction of the amount.
Unique travel accessories
rice bagLuggage tags that stand out on a crowded conveyor belt are always a hit with travelers. This one from bicycle-gifts.com ($12), made from a repurposed bicycle chain, comes in four bright colors.
Another welcome departure from ordinary travel gear: bright blue Connected toiletry bags ($32) and sturdy, carry-on sized duffels ($48) made in Cambodia out of rice bags that were diverted from landfills, and supporting the work of Artisans Association of Cambodia (AAC). AAC is dedicated to helping Cambodians affected by sexual exploitation, poverty, polio, and injuries from land mines.
Incredible, edible raincoat
curious ctittersSeasoned travelers know to pack for every sort of weather, including the surprise rain storms that frequent our favorite tropical locales. The Spud Raincoat (£7 to £10) is packable, biodegradable and compostable outwear made from potato-derived bioplastic that’s embedded with tomato or cucumber seeds. Plant it when you’re done wearing it. Then water, wait, and eat. (Seriously.)
The rain coat also teaches consumers about this type of biodegradable plastic material, as well as to demonstrate the importance of sustainable development.
Animal fun for globetrotting kids
Curious CrittersEvery parent’s carry-on bag contains art supplies and reading material. Here are two items that will put kids in the mood for exploring the natural world. Portland, Oregon-based artist Crystal Ayala recycles old, broken crayons and turns them into usable art. Her animal-shaped crayons ($11 for a set of three) come in reusable cloth bags – great for coloring on the go.
Curious Critters ($20), a new book by photographer David FitzSimmons, captivates young readers with striking images of North American wildlife and creature-narrated stories.
Ecotravel for a steal
ecoAuctionSelva Verde Lodge & Rainforest Reserve (Costa Rica), Kosrae Village Ecolodge (Micronesia) and Wild Earth Adventures (Canada) are a just few of the top-notch travel companies that have donated trips for The International Ecotourism Society (TIES)’s ecoAuction. TIES online eco-holiday auction, hosted on leading charity auction site Bidding for Good, regularly offers amazing travel experiences from around the world. These travel experiences are often available with a great discount (bidding starts at 40% of retail value), and all proceeds go directly support TIES work – uniting conservation, communities and sustainable travel.
Article taken from Your Travel Choice. Read original version.