Friday, February 12, 2016

Green stocking stuffers

Tis the season for blog posts about eco-friendly gift ideas, and who are we to argue? Rather than trying for the definitive all-encompassing guide, we'll just mention three products that their PR firms were good enough to send to Earth to Philly for testing.

Green stocking stuffers

Freehands ´Recycled Fleece´ gloves are made from recycled plastic bottles.
Freehands 'Recycled Fleece' gloves are made from recycled plastic bottles.

Tis the season for blog posts about eco-friendly gift ideas, and who are we to argue? Rather than trying for the definitive all-encompassing guide, we'll just mention three products that their PR firms were good enough to send to Earth to Philly for testing. These are all things that would be appropriate for your "green"-oriented friends, or for tech geeks, or preferably for both.

Freeloader Pico - This is a phone charger that's called "freeloader" because it gets its power from the sun (and "Pico" because it's the small unit in this line, I guess). Yes, a solar-powered charger. Great to have with you on the go, in case of emergencies or whatever - though you need to plan ahead to a certain extent as it takes 10 hours of full sun to fully charge, and then 10 minutes to charge your phone (or similar small electronic device).

I was never able to get the ideal conditions to charge this for 10 straight hours, but it did indeed charge up my phone from the exposure I was able to give it, and it's very lightweight and easy to stash somewhere to bring along. Find out about the Freeloader Pico, available for around $26, at

Armpocket - Exactly what it sounds like, a pocket for your arm. Specifically, a pocket in which you can store your solar-charged phone and/or other small items while you run or work out. While the concept is not intrinsically green, the Ampocket is:  it "fuses the best of eco-friendly bamboo fabric, moisture-wicking sports-performance mesh and a patented memory foam "V - Strap" with Velcro closure to ensure a snug fit that won't chafe or slip, allowing consumers to go green and stay cool and comfortable while they're working up a sweat."

As an occasional runner I was able to test this and it was comfortable and useful, but a family member who runs more seriously provides a better testimonial, taking it with him every time and getting great mileage from it. It's available in a variety of styles and colors ranging from $23 - $36.

Freehands gloves - Again, a time-honored concept that's been newly sustainable-ized, these are gloves with removable caps on the index finger and thumb of each hand, which you can flip up (there are magnets that then affix them to the back of your finger) to expose your fingertips for phone-dialing or other intricate work without removing the gloves themselves.

The green angle on these is that they're "Recycled Fleece" - made from recycled plastic bottles! Despite that they're not plasticky but comfortable and breathable. They retail for $18. And I can vouch for their ease of use with this anecdote: I was walking downtown a couple weeks ago and saw something that might be photo-worthy. With other gloves I might have passed, but since I could just flick down the index and thumb flaps and operate the camera without taking the gloves off I went ahead and snapped this photo... which led to all kinds of crazy stuff.

Can't guarantee the same for you if you get these or the other products, but they will help to make your holiday spirits bright, and help the planet. Fleece on Earth, y'all.

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About this blog
Earth to Philly is a weblog focusing on earth-conscious technology, trends and ideas, from a Daily News perspective. We look at the "green" aspects of your home, business, food, transportation, style, policy, gadgets and artwork. If you have a Philly-related story, Click here to let us know about it!

The experts at Philadelphia's Energy Coordinating Agency answer your energy questions in our regular feature Stay Warm, Stay Green. Send in your question or questions to

Look for Jenice Armstrong to supply tips on green living as well as occasional columns on the subject of Green. She also blogs at Hey Jen.

Becky Batcha stays tuned for the here-and-now practical side of conservation, alternative energy, organic foods, etc. - stuff you can do at home now. Plus odds and ends.

Laurie Conrad recycles from her ever-growing e-mailbag to pass along the latest travel deals, fashion statements, household strategies, gadgets, cool local events and other nuggets of interest to those who appreciate a clean, green world.

Vance Lehmkuhl looks at topics like eco-conscious eating, public transportation and fuel-efficient driving from his perspective as a vegetarian, a daily SEPTA bus rider and a hybrid driver, as well as noting the occasional wacky trend or product. Contact Vance with your 'green' news.

Ronnie Polaneczky sees the green movement through the eyes of her 12-year-old daughter, who calls her on every scrap of paper or glass bottle that Ronnie neglects to toss into the house recycling bins. Ronnie will blog about new or unexpected ways to go green. She also blogs at So, What Happened Was...

Sandra Shea and the DN editorial board opine on any green-related legislation or policy. And we'll pass along some of the opeds on the subject that people send us.

Jonathan Takiff will be blogging mainly about consumer electronics - those things that we love to use and that suck too much energy. He'll spotlight green-conscious gizmos made in a responsible fashion, both in terms of materials used and the energy it takes to run them.

Signe Wilkinson draws the comic strip Family Tree, which follows the Tree family as they try to live green in the face of nattering neighbors, plastic-wrapped consumer products, and the primal teenage urge to spend vast quantities of money on hair care products of dubious organic quality.

In addition to these updates from our newsroom bloggers, watch for an occasional feature, Dumpster Diver Dispatches, from Philadelphia's original "green" community of artists, the Dumpster Divers. You'll learn about creative ways to reuse and recycle while you reduce, and about the artists who are making little masterpieces from what others throw out.

  • Dispatch #1: Margaret Giancola's rugs from plastic bags
  • Dispatch #2: Dumpster Divers in City Hall (Art in City Hall series)
  • Dispatch #3: Wild wood, New Jersey
  • Dispatch #4: Dumpster Divers award winners announced
  • Dispatch #5: From sweaters to colorful cuddling
  • Dispatch #6: Green artists retake South Street Sunday
  • Dispatch #7: Isaiah Zagar: He's a Magic (Gardens) Man

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