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. 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).

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

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 freeloaderpico.com

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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