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The holidays are coming and if you're stuck on what to give your eco-conscious friend or relative, we've got you covered. At EcoWatch, we're big fans of homemade presents, products that actually help the planet, and putting our dollars towards a good cause. This year, our staff has rounded up some of the best green gifts we've given and received, as well as the items on our wish list.
Lorraine Chow, freelance reporter
Best Green Gift: A Zero-Waste Notebook
A very thoughtful friend gave me a binder full of ideas to encourage a trash-free lifestyle. The pages were filled with creative ways to use up food scraps, beauty and hygiene DIYs, as well as natural household cleaning tips and recipes.
On My Wish List: Who Gives a Crap's Premium Bamboo Toilet Paper
I wouldn't write a review about toilet paper unless it's actually that good, but I requested my family get me this fancy, three-ply TP for Christmas. It's soft, durable and doesn't contribute to deforestation because it's made of bamboo. The best part? Fifty percent of the company's profits go to help build new toilets in countries where they are needed.
Olivia Rosane, freelance reporter
Best Green Gift: Moosewood Restaurant Simple Suppers Cookbook
A cousin gave this cookbook to me when I was first learning to cook for myself. It has tasty vegetarian recipes (plus some fish), but also tells you how to cut costs and save food by substituting certain ingredients for what you already have in your fridge. Going meat-free is an important way to reduce your ecological footprint, and this book will get you and your loved ones off to a delicious start!
On My Wish List: Eco Snack Wrap
In my attempts to cut back on plastic waste, one of the hardest problems to solve has been finding a sustainable way to pack lunches and snacks while on-the-go. That's why I'm asking for an Eco Snack Wrap food bag this year. Not only are they attractive and environmentally friendly, they are also ethically made at a factory in India chosen for its environmental and fair labor standards.
Jordan Simmons, social media manager
Best Green Gift: Norwex BacLock® cloths
My perspective on cleaning has shifted from chemical cleaning to zero-waste mechanical cleaning ever since being gifted a set of Norwex BacLock® cloths. The microfiber cloth is woven with an antibacterial agent that removes up to 99 percent of bacteria. The set includes cloths for body, face, windows and kitchen, which eliminates the need for products wrapped in plastic or laden with unnecessary chemicals.
On My Wish List: Bambaw's Bamboo Safety Razor
The zero-waste lifestyle has inspired me to wish for this bamboo and stainless steel safety razor. The company strives to reduce waste while offering affordable, quality and zero-waste solutions.
Chris McDermott, news editor
Best Green Gift: Alchemy Goods Franklin Wallet
In my experience, being eco-conscious often meant paying a premium for lesser quality. Thankfully, Alchemy Goods does everything right. It's a surprising joy to take out this sleek and durable rubber wallet that shows no signs of wear after years. Made in the U.S. from reclaimed bicycle inner tubes, it won't slip from your pocket like vegan leather, nor fray like hemp.
On My Wish List: Voltaic's OffGrid Solar Backpack
This redesigned backpack from Voltaic in Brooklyn features highly efficient solar panels and a Li-polymer battery to quickly recharge a cell phone, camera or tablet. Made from 33 recycled plastic bottles, it's also lightweight, UV resistant and waterproof. The possibilities for taking a long hike (or even getting lost) seem limitless.
Irma Omerhodzic, associate editor
Best Green Gift: To-Go Ware Bamboo Set
Thanks to my mom, I have this reusable to-go utensil set. I try to make food at home whenever possible, but sometimes takeout just makes sense, and I feel guilty about the throwaway containers. My bamboo utensils offset my 'eco-guilt' a smidge. Bonus: The case that comes with the set is made of used plastic bottles.
On My Wish List: YETI, The Rambler® 30 oz.
I have my reusable glass water bottle that I absolutely love, but surprisingly I have yet to own a coffee tumbler that I can reuse. You would think an editor would be well equipped when it comes to anything coffee related. Why am I wishing for this tumbler by YETI specifically? The way I see it is that they produce high-quality products that should last a girl years!
Tara Bracco, managing editor
Best Green Gift: Personalized Reusable Water Bottle
I've been given several reusable water bottles over the years, but the one I use the most was from my friend Joe. It's lightweight with photos of the international nonprofit that we cofounded, The Project Solution. I love it because I no longer need to buy bottled water and the personalized photos make the reusable bottle extra special.
On My Wish List: LuminAID's Packlite Supercharger
LuminAID's solar-powered, inflatable lights were initially created for disaster relief, but after the founders appeared on Shark Tank, they expanded the business. Their lanterns are good for hiking, backpacking or other times you may not have access to electricity. The PackLite Hero 2-in-1 Supercharger is on my wish list because it's compact, good to have during a power outage and it can charge a phone. LuminAid lights are also waterproof, PVC-free and can be recycled.
EcoWatch Daily Newsletter
Bernie Sanders has become the first contender in the crowded 2020 Democratic presidential primary field to pledge to offset all of the greenhouse gas emissions released by campaign travel, The Huffington Post reported Thursday.
The record flooding in the Midwest that has now been blamed for four deaths could also have lasting consequences for the region's many farmers.
By Ana Santos Rutschman
The world of food and drug regulation was rocked earlier this month by the news of a change in leadership at the Food and Drug Administration. Commissioner Scott Gottlieb resigned and will step down in early April. His temporary replacement is Dr. Ned Sharpless, director of the National Cancer Institute.
On Wednesday the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced the first 20 chemicals it plans to prioritize as "high priority" for assessment under the Toxic Substances Control Act. Given the EPA's record of malfeasance on chemicals policy over the past two years, it is clear that these are chemicals that EPA is prioritizing to ensure that they are not properly evaluated or regulated.
Which conventionally-grown fruits and vegetables in the U.S. are most contaminated with pesticides? That's the question that the Environmental Working Group answers every year with its "Dirty Dozen" list of produce with the highest concentration of pesticides after being washed or peeled.