Greenest Gift: GPS, Eco-Pig Or A Fizzy Water Maker?


The winter season's first snow has started blanketing Scandinavia, and the shopping predictions are starting - the Swedish Retail Institute (Handelns Utredninginstitut or HUI in Swedish) is guessing that a hand-held global positioning system (GPS) will be the most popular holiday gift in Sweden this year. You couldn't really consider a GPS to be a green gift, though if you drive and habitually get lost perhaps it could cut your fuel use by getting you more effectively to your destination.

But amazingly, the electronic GPS was nearly edged out by none other organic holiday ham! One reason the ham didn't quite make it to first place, according to HUI spokesperson Jonas Arnberg, is that there aren't enough organic pigs to go around right now. So supplies of organic hams (Swedes eat them slow-roasted with cloves and mustard as part of the holiday smörgåsbord) will run out long before demand does.

Yet is is perhaps the third most-popular predicted gift - a soda-water machine - that may turn out to be one of the greenest. Following the news and debate around San Francisco's decision to phase out plastic water bottles, sales of water in bottles dipped in Sweden (though some attributed it to lousy summer weather).

At the same time, sales of a 70s-style gadget to make homemade sparkling water - both a built-in countertop and a standalone model - are climbing in Sweden. Though it may end up being as useful as the Ginzu knives and the inside-the-egg scrambler, the sparkling water machine (Aga's built-in is shown) can reduce transport of bottles and unnecessary production of plastic - the models available all come with a PET bottle for making and transporting the soda water. Next step, of course, is using safer and friendlier plastic for those bottles, such as Geoffrey Coates plastic made from CO2 and orange peels. (Swedish)

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