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The best eco-accessory gifts to go green with this season

With climate change increasingly becoming the biggest concern we have today, an eco-friendly gift that protects your devices -- as well as nature -- could be the best kind of gift for the season.
Written by Rajiv Rao, Contributing Writer
Popsicase smartphone case | For anyone who loves art and marine animals
A phone case with sea animals swimming set against an orange background
Popsicase smartphone case
For anyone who loves art and marine animals
View now View at Popsicase
Bellroy Lite Laptop Sleeve | For anyone who has a laptop
A brown laptop sleeve against a blue background
Bellroy Lite Laptop Sleeve
For anyone who has a laptop
View now View at Amazon
Reveal cork iPad case | For anyone with an iPad who may also be interested in sustainable materials
Reveal cork iPad case
For anyone with an iPad who may also be interested in sustainable materials
View now View at Amazon
Got Rolltop backpack | For anyone who has to perpetually lug things around
A woman turning towards the camera with a Got Rolltop backpack slung over her shoulder
Got Rolltop backpack
For anyone who has to perpetually lug things around
View now View at Us.got-bag
Pela compostable AirPods case | Anyone who has AirPods
A green airpod case againn qn orange background
Pela compostable AirPods case
Anyone who has AirPods
View now View at Pelacase

There's no better time to be handing out gifts that acknowledge the fragility of our beloved planet than now. A persistent rise in the earth's temperature is causing mayhem around the world in the form of severe wildfires and floods and this will continue to get exponentially worse unless we collectively act. Eco gifts not only show that you care about the earth's fragile condition but it gives others an implicit, gentle nudge to do the same.

There are so many categories in which you can look for an earth-friendly gift. Some no-brainers are those that safeguard both the planet and all of the devices that help you work and play. For instance, avoid smartphone covers that are made of plastic and instead pick up some that are made of 100% natural waste material, like flax straw, and are completely compostable.
Or, you could pick up a bag made of ocean plastic that chokes marine life to death but only now in a chic, recycled avatar that could look like one from a designer boutique. The best thing about these gifts is that they don't compromise on design and functionality or price, so there's no real excuse not to be buying them up in place of their polluting cousins.

Must read:

The best eco-accessory gift ideas for the season

Below are 12 eco-accessory gift ideas I found for the season this year. 

Pros & Cons
  • Beautiful artwork
  • cradle-to-cradle certified
  • Only for iPhone
  • not widely available
More Details
  • Price: $30
  • Tech specs: Made from recycled fishing nets | Retractable handle |

There are many qualified candidates for the best green phone case but one that I am totally smitten by is Popsicase which makes stunning cases out of recycled, ghost fishing nets. Thousands of tons of these are abandoned at sea and end up killing over 1,000 whales, turtles, and other marine life, so Popsicase collects them and converts them into plastic pellets that become raw material for their cases.

It's tough to imagine these stunning artworks disguised as cases -- my favorites are the Barcelona cityscape line and the undersea collection -- were once animal killers. Fifty grams of recycled fishing go into one case and 20g of recycled scrap aluminum lend itself to a popsicle-like retractable handle if you wish to add it on for a better grip. Protecting your phone was never this stylish.

Pros & Cons
  • Leather-free construction
  • Scratch-free magnetic bumper entry
  • Could use more innovative artwork
More Details
  • Price: $45
  • Tech specs or features: Fits laptops up to 16 | fabric made from 100% recycled PET bottles | water-resistant

You would never imagine that this smart laptop sleeve made of a single, textured fabric wrapped around for protection actually comprises a water resistant material that is entirely made up of the single biggest plastic pollutant on earth -- PET bottles. These have been recycled and fashioned into a thing of bonafide elegance.

Bellroy has taken an ordinary accessory and elevated it to a grander status by paying attention to the little things -- a magnetic bumper entry that snaps the sleeve shut while allowing for a scratch-free environment. And HeiQ V-Block has been employed to impart antimicrobial properties. While foam padding adds protection on the outside while not compromising its slim look, a microfiber lining inside adds internal cushioning, ensuring that your laptop has never experienced such pampering before.

Pros & Cons
  • Reputed brand
  • Uses recycled plastic bottles
  • Limited range
More Details
  • Price: $45
  • Tech specs or features: Uniquely patterned | Interior recycled fabric | Tree planted for every product sold

There are all kinds of reasons to pick up Reveal's cork iPad case. To begin with, you would be hard-pressed to find a better shock absorber, insulator, and water resistant covering for your device. This one is stylish and has access to all the necessary parts of your device, like buttons, ports, speakers, and cameras. It also has a recyclable lining.

Equally important is the story around the substance used. Cork oak trees are harvested only once in nine years in a lifetime that spans 150 -- but without harming a leaf. The bark is simply stripped off and a new one is allowed to grow. Ever since the wine industry began to use screw tops, demand for cork has fallen precipitously in certain areas like Portugal which can prove to be a devastating ecological development in the long run. After all, cork oak trees are incredible water regulators, home to diverse species, and prevent areas from turning into deserts. Here's a gift that has a unique story and will turn heads.

Pros & Cons
  • Waterproof finish 
  • PFC & PVC-free
  • Removable laptop sleeve a little cumbersome
More Details
  • Price: $221
  • Tech specs: Made from recycled ocean plastic | Waterproof coating | Rugged build

There could be no better feeling than to receive a gift that makes you feel like you are a custodian of the earth. The unusually designed rolltop backpack by GOT is one such product that contains 3.5kg worth of plastic that has been removed from the ocean in Indonesia. The plastic is converted to pellets and sent to China where it is made into yarn for the bag.

With a 31-liter capacity, this bag can easily cram everything you want to regularly carry around with you and more. However, if you're traveling light, you don't have to deal with that strange half-empty backpack sag. You can just roll it down and cinch it up for a compact feel. There's also a case nestling inside that can protect your laptop and meshes behind your back to keep you unusually cool despite a pack this size. With water-proof coatings on the inside and outside, this rugged, innovative pack is a champion of the circular economy and is a fitting gift to someone who is thoughtful and caring about resources and waste - or maybe someone who needs to be -- and is currently lucky to be in your good graces.

Pros & Cons
  • Nature-friendly material and compostable
  • Cannot be recycled
More Details
  • Price: $30
  • Tech specs or features: Made from straw waste | Compostable at home or at an industrial facility | Every purchase supports ocean conservation

If you know of someone you like whose AirPods are forever strewn about, wires frustratingly entangled with other wires, there's no better Christmas gift you can think of than one of Pela's compostable AirPods case. They are not only soft and pliant but are also affordable, textured for a good grip, and come in attractive colors.
Most importantly, this Canadian company's cases are made of Flaxstic, a proprietary material made of straw waste in addition to a compostable bioplastic. When done with them, you can send them along to an industrial composting facility, chuck them into your home composter for 12 months to biodegrade, or send them back to Pela for a discount on your next one. Buying one of these for your entangled friend will also trigger a percentage of every sale to an ocean conservation effort such as Save the Waves Coalition which is a double Christmas present of sorts.

The best eco-accessory deals

Below are five eco-accessory deals I found happening right now.

How did we choose these eco-accessory gift ideas?

We scoured the landscape looking for self-described sustainable and eco-friendly products that we then subjected to the following criteria:
They had to be highly transparent about the materials used and production processes. In certain cases, their selection was boosted by endorsements or certifications made by leading environment and social impact organizations such as B Corp or Forest Stewardship Council. They also had to be affordable and have high aesthetics in artwork and design. In some cases, partnerships forged with reputed climate-facing organizations such as Save the Oceans foundation and others further enhanced their selection.

Why use eco-friendly products in the first place?

Climate change has become an undisputed threat to our planet and as they say, there is no "planet B." Thanks to the rampant use of fossil fuels, the earth's temperature has increased rapidly and has begun to cause widespread global devastation. If there is any hope of being able to preserve what we have, we need to drastically cut down products that have large carbon footprints. Eco-friendly ones that use recycled or waste products and are produced with a minimal impact on resources and can be disposed of in an earth-friendly way will become increasingly important.

Is biodegradable the same as compostable?

No, they are not the same. "Biodegradable" often can be a misleading term. Most biodegradable products do break down but may, like plastics, take hundreds or thousands of years to do so. On the other hand, compostable products will fully break down in a year or so, but will only do so in a proper composting environment.

Do natural materials like wood, cork, and bamboo good examples of earth-friendly sustainable products?

Maybe. It all depends on how the material is grown, harvested, and processed. Look for a Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) badge awarded to the company, which will certify that materials all have been sustainably and ethically managed, or ask the company how it sources its material. After all, there's no point in buying a bamboo product that is admittedly natural but harvested from virgin forests that protect diverse animal species.

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