Tips for Environmentally Friendly Gifts this Holiday Season

Dec. 9, 2011
EPA is playing Santa Claus this year, offering tips on holiday gift-giving for all the good boys and girls in your life. Energy Star, Design for the Environment and WaterSense labels can be found on thousands of products across the country, making it easy to choose gifts that can help anyone on your list save energy and protect the environment.

EPA offers these tips to find gifts that please the recipient and benefit the environment:

1. Energy Star home entertainment: You can find the Energy Star label on nearly all entertainment products from TVs and Blu-ray disc players to home-theaters-in-a-box. If you are in the market for a digital picture frame, consider one that has earned the Energy Star. It uses 25 percent less energy than non-qualified models.

2. Energy Star office products: Shoppers also can find the Energy Star label on office products such as computers, LCD monitors, notebooks, multifunction printers and more. A home office fully equipped with Energy Star qualified products can save up to $380 over the lifetime of the products. Energy Star qualified computers and monitors were created with a power management sleep mode to ensure you are saving energy (and money on utility bills) when the product is not in use.

3. Energy Star qualified battery chargers for your favorite product: Products that use Energy Star qualified battery chargers – such as video game controls, digital cameras, shavers, hand vacuums, power tools and cordless lawn mowers – use 35 percent less energy compared to conventional chargers. Old battery chargers can be recycled through many manufacturers and retailers that have electronics recycling programs nationwide.

4. Healthier Homes “Design for the Environment” label: From pet care products to dish soaps to supplies for a car, consumers should look for the Design for the Environment (DfE) label to quickly identify and choose products that are safer for families and also help protect the environment. In 2010, Americans using products with the DfE label cut the use of harmful chemicals by more than 600 million pounds.

5. Holiday decorating: Look for the Energy Star label on LED decorative light strings to meet your holiday decorating needs. Qualified light strings use about 70 percent less electricity than incandescent light strings and are available in a variety of colors, shapes and lengths. These Energy Star qualified light strings save energy and are more durable, shock-resistant and cooler to the touch.

6. Recycle old electronic gifts: Encourage gift recipients to reuse or recycle their old electronics, allowing the valuable materials within to be used again in new products while helping to save natural resources. Check out EPA’s Plug-In To eCycling initiative for more information on how to safely recycle electronics, including cell phones, computers and TVs.

7. Reusable bags: Millions of paper and plastic bags end up in the landfills every year. Skip the extra bags and bring reusable cloth bags when shopping – they're environmentally friendly and cost efficient.

8. Skip the excess wrapping: Try wrapping gifts in recycled paper bags or recycled wrapping paper, or give gifts that don’t require excess packaging to keep more trash out of landfills.

9. Have a Water-efficient H2Oliday: Preparing for and cleaning up after a holiday meal often requires more water use than usual. Running your tap continuously while preparing food or washing dishes wastes water and can use more than 2 gallons of water every minute your tap is running. EPA's WaterSense program provides useful tips and over 4,000 products have earned the WaterSense label to save water, energy and money. If every American household reduced their water use by 10 gallons on just Thanksgiving Day, it would save more than 1 billion gallons of water.

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