Innovative gift ideas that are great for the environment
The holidays are here! 2020 was a challenge, but finding carbon-conscious gifts doesn’t have to be. We have you covered with win-win gift ideas.
The challenge when shopping - there is more carbon dioxide in the atmosphere than ever before, contributing to global warming at a critical rate – but innovators have been exploring ways to take that CO2 out of the air and turn it into useful products. Products which – you guessed it – you can gift for the holidays.
Carbon capture and utilization, or CCU, involves collecting CO2 from industrial exhaust or ambient air and using these versatile molecules as building blocks to create disposable utensils or luxury goods or even building materials. The tech is new, but some impressive companies already have exciting recycled carbon products on the market.
Below, we’ve created a rundown of the best products made out of recycled CO2
Covalent Fashion is a future-facing brand with a mission: to recycle waste CO2 and turn it into useful products that protect the things we love.
“Over 10 years of research, we discovered that there are natural microorganisms in the ocean that covalently bond carbon and oxygen dissolved in saltwater to make an energy storage material inside of their cells called PHB,” explains the brand’s website. “After finding these microorganisms, we learned how to harness them to make this material on land. It took us 10 years to figure it out, but when it finally worked, it was a beautiful thing.”
Their method uses renewable energy and saltwater alongside natural microorganisms found in the ocean to turn air and carbon from greenhouse gasses like methane and carbon dioxide into a “meltable, moldable biomaterial”. They call this material AirCarbon. In their AirCarbon sunglasses, it serves as a plastic alternative. The glasses are beautifully designed and they offer two shapes for women ($150 to $160) and two shapes for men ($150 to $155), all in black.
PHONE, PURSE, WALLET OR LAPTOP CASE
If Covalent’s sunglasses aren’t for you, they also create purses ($520) and wallets ($175), as well as phone sleeves ($110) and laptop cases ($190). All of these items are created with a leather alternative, which is made out of AirCarbon, meaning they’re vegan friendly too.
The company is based in California, and all of their products are blockchain tracked, meaning you can trace the history of your exact item. Once you are done with the product, you can also return it to Covalent who will transform it into something new through their circularity program.
Air Co is an innovative brand that combines captured carbon dioxide with solar generated electricity, water, and a proprietary catalyst. The result? Alcohol, with oxygen as the only byproduct. Like photosynthesis, their process only uses air, water, and sunlight – and every liter of alcohol they make from the air cleans as much as eight trees. How’s that for impressive?
The alcohol is used to make a bunch of products, from carbon-negative antibacterial hand sanitizer through to 40% alcohol vodka ($74.99) with natural flavours, which is also gluten-free, sugar-free, carbohydrate-free and impurity-free. Both make great gifts.
STRAWS & CUTLERY
Restore Foodware’s products offer a double whammy – not only do their products recycle carbon, but they help us seriously cut down on single plastic use, helping to protect our oceans. And if it does find its way into the ocean, their materials biodegrade faster than cellulose.
For now, their products include straws ($9.99 regular, and $8.99 for cocktail straws), as well as cutlery sets ($6.99). Everything they make is carbon negative, strong and reusable, and dishwasher safe.
Gifting recycled CO2 crayons ($31.25) could be the perfect opportunity to get a conversation going with budding artists about the importance of looking after the environment. “CUT” aka “Carbon Upcycling Technologies” encourages you to “draw a new future for the planet” with their crayons, which are made of beeswax, natural earth pigments, and, of course, captured carbon.
Wanting to do something about the 34 billion tons of carbon dioxide in our atmosphere every single year, the company created innovative technologies to utilize carbon as a resource, removing it from the atmosphere and upcycling it into a suite of CO2 enhanced nanoparticle additives that are then turned into building materials and products.
For the adults on your list consider their CO2 embedded concrete watch ($250). Or pre-order one of their upcoming yoga mats ($75), available in June 2021.
And there we have it, the carbon conscious holiday gift guide – a way to support companies that are actively finding ways to remove carbon from thin air and using it to create consumer products and future-focused materials. For more information about the genesis of these products, and the circular carbon economy visit the NRG COSIA Carbon XPRIZE site. Happy Holidays!