Photo via Randy Son of Robert
Typically, when we think of our geeky loved ones, we think of all the electronics and computer equipment they have. We also think of their appreciation for clever gadgets. But what about the big environmental impact electronics and gadgets have? Many electronics are made of toxic materials, suck energy like no one’s business, and turn out to be pointless in the long run.
But we've got you covered. With a growing selection of very cool gifts for eco-conscious geeks—computers, reading materials, lights, energy sources—even the most gadget-obsessed techie on your list can unwrap a new toy that has all the bells and whistles without the environmental impact. And while a trip through the world of electronics will likely cost you more than the low-tech fuzzy slippers your grandma is hoping for, we've tracked down items that fit any budget—and that save you even more dough long-term by trimming your electricity usage, so you can put some aside for next year.
Photo via Dell
Dell Studio Hybrid PC
This energy-sipping computer saves users not only at the front end with a low retail cost on the PC, but also during use with a reduced electricity bill; it requires 70% less energy than standard desktops. The hybrid also turns out 75% less printed documentation, is rated EPEAT Gold, and is Energy Star compliant. Throw in a stocking stuffer by buying a tree with your purchase—for a few extra dollars, Dell will plant a tree to offset the carbon emissions created by three years of computer use. (Dell, from $500)
Photo via Hybrid Lite
Hybrid Solar LiteEveryone needs a flashlight—for emergencies, for telling ghost stories, for fixing a leaky sink—the possibilities are endless. The Solar Lite makes sure you're never left in the dark by combining solar power and lithium-ion batteries for a perfect mix of renewable energy and a super-long use time. It charges via artificial light or sunlight, and can hold a solar charge for as long as three years (that's a lot of money saved on Duracells). With the click of a button, you can switch from solar power (the light stores 16 hours worth) to battery power (for an additional 50 hours). The one-watt LED bulb is a greener option for a powerful, bright light. And, as a special gift for TreeHugger readers, the company has provided a promo code: Enter "blog08" for a 10% discount. (Hybrid Lite, $24.99)
Photo via EcogeekLiving
Solar Powered Holiday Lights
No one wants to give up beautiful lighting at parties or during the holidays, but everyone wants to cut down on electricity use. These solar powered string lights are the perfect green solution: Using eco-friendly LED lights, they charge during daylight hours and automatically turn on at night. Each 37-foot string holds 60 LED bulbs, a solar panel with pre-installed rechargeable Ni-MH batteries, and a ground stake. The battery charge lasts for eight hours, and only takes a maximum of four hours to fully charge in the morning. (Solar Christmas/Party String Lights, $39.97)
Photo via Pedalite