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Public Radio's Environmental News Magazine (follow us on Google News)

Green Gift Guide

Air Date: Week of

Kara DiCamillo compiled treehugger.com’s Green Gift Guide. (Courtesy of Kara DiCamillo)

From recyclable kitchenware to a bike-powered blender….Kara DiCamillo of treehugger.com gives host Bruce Gellerman green gift tips for the holiday season.


GELLERMAN: It’s Living on Earth, I’m Bruce Gellerman. Well, for the past few years green has been the new white for Christmas, as manufacturers try to appeal to a growing number of consumers looking for eco-friendly gifts.

This year we're making a green shopping list and checking in twice with Kara Dicamillo. She's a senior writer for TreeHugger.com and the editor of their green gift guide. This is actually the second year we're talking with Kara about gifts that keep giving. Welcome back, Kara.

DICAMILLO: Thank you, Bruce!

GELLERMAN: So, I haven’t been too naughty this year. What can Santa, or in my case Santastein, bring me this year?

DICAMILLO: Well, we have over 180 gift ideas and 12 different categories, so there’s actually a lot that Santa can bring you this year.

GELLERMAN: Well, I like things electronic.

DICAMILLO: Well, we have a solar laptop charger. It actually provides almost an entire day’s work from the sun, and we also have an h-racer fuel cell car, it runs on hydrogen and you can fuel up from the sun because they have a solar-powered fueling station.

Kara DiCamillo compiled treehugger.com’s Green Gift Guide. (Courtesy of Kara DiCamillo)

GELLERMAN: This is a miniature car?

DICAMILLO: Yes, it is.

GELLERMAN: Too bad. What about in the non-electronic category?

DICAMILLO: We actually have some great gifts this year for people who enjoy the kitchen. There’s a company called Recycline and this year they’re making colanders and storage containers and cutting boards out of recycled plastic. And what’s great about their stuff as well is that when you’re finished with the cutting board—hopefully it won’t be anytime soon—you can throw it into the recycle bin because it’s a number five.

GELLERMAN: What else Kara? Something for the home, perhaps?

DICAMILLO: Something that I think everybody can use is something called a power-cost monitor. It allows you to monitor your home’s energy use and it tells you what it’s costing you and actually which appliances are sucking up the most energy in your home.

GELLERMAN: And I get it daily, hourly, or minute-by-minute?

DICAMILLO: It’s minute-by-minute actually.

GELLERMAN: Wow, I’d be looking at that thing all day long. I mean, as it is I’m kind of like the light monitor in my house.

DICAMILLO: (laughs)

GELLERMAN: What about this electric bike kit you’ve got?

DICAMILLO: Well that kit is very cool. It’s under our DIY category, which means do it yourself. And what it does is you can transfer your bike into an electric one.

GELLERMAN: So you’ve got an electric bike kit and you’ve also got a blender that’s powered by a bike.

DICAMILLO: Yes, we do. Yes, we do. You hook it onto the back of a bike and start peddling away and voila, you have margaritas.

GELLERMAN: (laughs) So, a lot of stuff, a lot of people are saying ‘enough is enough,’ with stuff. What options do they have for gift giving?

DICAMILLO: Well, one of the best things you can give is gift certificates, whether it be to local restaurants, or local eco spas. I think the best thing is to shop local and stay local. There’s a lot of carbon emissions that gets burned from when you order things from outside of your local area.

GELLERMAN: Well, at least with some of those gifts you don’t have to gift wrap, but a lot of the things you buy of course you do have to wrap. Any ideas about, or tips about wrapping and taping up all those presents?

DICAMILLO: Well wrapping paper is actually one of the biggest wasters during the holidays and just to put a number on it, just between Thanksgiving and Christmas, on average consumers increase their garbage by about 25 percent. That’s a pretty big number for just a couple of weeks. So, when it comes to wrapping paper, we recommend to maybe re-use old maps, to reuse newspaper. And if you are going to buy gift wrap, make sure you buy some that is recycled. But they do have wrapping paper out there that’s made of hemp and flax. And while you’re at it, there’s a new tape out there called ‘Sellotape’ and it’s actually made from biodegradable plant cellulose.

GELLERMAN: I’d like to put some tape on my wallet.

DICAMILLO: (laughs)

GELLERMAN: Before I let you go, Kara, what’s on your wish list this year?

DICAMILLO: Let’s see, I do like the Strida 5 folding bike. And what it is, is it’s a bike that you can fold up and it’s small enough to carry on the train or the bus. So it’s perfect for people that live in the city like me.

GELLERMAN: Kara, may all your Christmases be green.

DICAMILLO: Thank you. You too.

GELLERMAN: Kara DiCamillo is a senior writer for TreeHugger.com and the editor of their green gift guide. If Santa wants more info—there’s a link to TreeHugger.com at our website: loe.org.



TreeHugger.com's 2007 Green Gift Guide

How to green your gifts

Grist's ten "stuff-free" gift ideas

The World Wildlife Fund's Extraordinary Gifts


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