Photo by Lore Schodts on Unsplash

10 Clean Tech & Low Tech Holiday Gift Ideas For Last-Minute Shoppers

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With very few shopping days left before Christmas, the scramble to come up with gift ideas for loved ones and friends at the last minute can be challenging. If you’re a procrastinator and have waited until now to begin (or finish) holiday gift shopping, and you’re looking for some ideas for clean tech or low tech presents, we’ve put together a list of some options to consider. And while this list is by no means exhaustive, maybe it will give you some ideas to begin with, which might be the inspiration for other ideas for relevant clean tech or low tech gift options.

  1. Drying rack: Drying laundry indoors or out without the need for any external energy inputs is a great way to reduce your energy footprint, and depending on your local weather and humidity level, can be an effective and simple way to treat your clean clothes or other fabrics. Indoor drying racks, such as this one (currently on sale for almost half off), don’t take up a huge amount of space, and can either be set up outside on a balcony or patio, or inside the home, and can be easily collapsed for storage. Another option for those with yard space is a retractable clothes drying line, as they are easy to mount (and remove when moving) and in arid climates can dry clothing effectively even in cold weather.
  2. Induction “burner” or cooktop: For those who still have a gas range but who might want a more efficient and cleaner option, at least for single-pot meals, these induction cooktops can really make a difference in both air quality and in the ease of cooking. Even those with ranges that have old-school electric coil burners can benefit, as induction “burners” heat quickly, cook evenly, and can be safer to use as well. Of course, cookware that is induction-friendly is also a great option as a gift.
  3. Electric kettle: Heating water for coffee, tea, ramen or oatmeal or other quick foods is incredibly quick and easy with an electric kettle. Most electric kettles have specific temperature settings, so it’s simple to fill one with just enough water for what you need, hit a button for the correct temperature, and in a very short time, hot water for the perfect pourover or cuppa will be ready to use. And of course, there are no worries about having a kettle boil over or boil off completely if you forget about it.
  4. Home efficiency upgrades: Little efficiency measures add up, so upgrades like low-flow shower heads, low-flow faucet aerators, LED lightbulbs, timers for appliances and lighting, insulating curtains for winter, sun-blocking window films for summer, and other home efficiency items can be a great gift idea.
  5. Solar lights: Whether for outdoor lighting for paths and gardens, security lights, or even just decorative lighting, solar-powered lighting options are just about everywhere these days. And while most of them are meant to be installed outside, it is quite possible to use them inside, as long as the base or control unit is in full sun during the day, which can be a great alternative to mood or accent lighting that is powered by the grid.
  6. Thrift store gift certificates: Although many people might rather have a brand new item of clothing or home and kitchen product, for those who are decidedly hardcore environmentalist or conservationist it might be more appropriate to let them go shopping for their own (secondhand) gift. After all, the greenest gift is one that’s already on its second life, and if you chose a thrift store that supports a charity with its profits, even better.
  7. Bicycle tools or accessories: With micromobility coming out way ahead of most other transportation methods, cyclists and e-bikers are on the front line of transport decarbonization, and they might appreciate gifts that support their two-wheeled habit. Tire patch kits, tire slime, bike tool kits, tire pumps, bike bells, headlights or blinky lights or reflective tape are good choices, as are things like clothing for riding in inclement weather, a new helmet, panniers or frame bags, water bottles, and other cycling accessories. Or, you know, a new e-bike if you’re feeling extra generous…
  8. Renewable energy certificates: While yesterday’s emphasis on buying carbon offsets seems to be more greenwashing than an effective way to help make a climate impact, renewable energy certificates or community solar programs such as those offered by companies like Arcadia might be an eco-friendly way to support your favorite treehugger. Local utilities may also offer an option for renewable energy credits, so some research may be necessary.
  9. Micro-loans for sustainable projects: Organizations such as Kiva have been effective at crowdsourcing funds for micro-loans, which allow people to get funding for projects or small businesses that can’t access tradition loan facilities. Kiva in particular allows users to filter by location and by cause, so finding and funding a recipient who is trying to get a loan for a clean water project, a clean energy project, a sustainable or organic agriculture project, etc., and putting it in your loved one’s name could be a unique gift idea.
  10. Books & education: Giving someone access to knowledge is an effective way to help them help themselves, whether that’s learning about living off-grid, growing their own food, reducing energy use, doing an energy efficient retrofit, building a DIY solar system or even something as simple as learning to stay warm in a very low-tech manner. And while some books might be only available in a physical format, many books these days are available in a digital format, so e-books or e-book gift certificates can be an even greener option.

Photo by Lore Schodts on Unsplash

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