You are here:  Main / Customer Services / Public Communications Division / 2008 / 21st Century Ahupua'a Youth Ambassadors Announce Twelve Days of Christmas Environmentally Friendly Gift List

21st Century Ahupua'a Youth Ambassadors Announce

Twelve Days of Christmas

Environmentally Friendly Gift List


            From basketballs made of recycled rubber, to stationary made from elephant dung, many environmentally friendly products make wonderful gifts this time of year. Honolulu’s 21st Century Ahupua'a Youth Ambassadors are urging everyone to consider the environmental impact of the gifts they select.


            “We want people to think not only of the recipient, but also of the earth,” said Amy from Mililani High School. “We live on an island and we want to encourage everyone to consider the impact of what they buy. To make it easy for people, we gathered suggested gift ideas and voted on the top twelve to recommend. We had fun and came up with gifts for everyone in the family.”


            The Ambassadors also felt it was important to provide alternatives to some traditional gifts. They’ve prepared the following list that highlights environmentally friendly products in green type, and not-so-friendly items in red.


“We hope this helps our peers and their parents select gifts this holiday season,” said Kimberly from Punahou School, one of this year’s Ambassadors.


Mayor Mufi Hannemann launched the 21st Century Ahupua'a Youth Ambassadors program in 2007 as innovative approach to inspiring young people to care for the environment. This youth board learns about the environment and devises new strategies to educate and involve their peers in the future of their island home.


Please consider the Ambassadors’ following suggestions:


1.     Rather than purchase clothing made from petroleum-based fabrics or chemically-treated crop fibers, purchase clothing made from organic cotton or fast-growing bamboo.  Better, yet, purchase used or remade clothing.  The group’s favorite source for eco-clothing is Mu'umu'u Heaven in Kailua at 767 Kailua Road. Here, old mu'umu'u are remade into stylish women’s and children’s clothing, bamboo fabric and restyled men’s shirts are sold, and throw pillows are made from old aloha shirts.  They will even custom-make a pillow out of an aloha shirt you provide.


2.     Instead of any MP3 Player made of plastic and using batteries, splurge on a Trevor Bayliss Eco Media Player available at This hand-crank MP3 player is a big step above the popular hand-crank flashlight. With one minute of winding, you get 40 minutes of power to listen to music, watch movie clips, listen to the radio, and view photos all without external power or expensive and environmentally harmful batteries. If the $199.95 price tag would blow your budget, consider Walmart’s Eco-Trends MP3 player. It meets Restriction of Hazardous Substance standards and the packaging is made of recycled materials.


3.     To go with an MP3 player, buy someone a pair of Universal Eco Speakers ($18 at These little speakers are made from 70% recycled materials, are faced with cardboard, and come with six colored pencils so you can personalize them. These are way cooler than petroleum-based plastic encased speakers.


4.     One of the group’s overwhelming favorites is the Tin Can Robot ($18) as an alternative to plastic building toys or new metal robots. The kit can be assembled with an empty aluminum beverage container to make a moving robot. This seems to be a hot toy this season and almost all retailers are out of stock. Interested purchasers can search the web or place an order to be filled in January from


5.     Rather than getting your always-late friend or relative an electricity- or battery-powered clock, you can give a water-powered clock ($16) at This clock runs on water from your tap and maybe a little table salt.


6.     If a child in your life wants a pet, instead of getting them a goldfish or guinea pig, get them a composting worm bin ($20 from The worms are cool and they help reduce the amount of waste we produce by turning food scraps into good-for-your-garden vermicast.


7.     For the basketball player on your list, buy a Wilson Recycled Rubber Basketball ($11.99 at rather than a traditional virgin rubber basketball. Not only will you be saving the environment, but your friend or relative will have a cool black ball to encourage getting outside and getting some exercise.


8.     To ensure your friends and family get their eight glasses of water a day in style, pick out a Sigg Reusable Stainless Steel Water Bottle ($16.99 to $21.99 at Whole Foods in Kahala or online at These help reduce waste and come in a mind-boggling array of colors and styles from Hello Kitty to a skull and crossbones. The recipient will save money by not buying bottled water and will reduce use of plastics.


9.     Another group favorite, is Elephant Poo Stationery  ($15.99 at It is stationery made from elephant droppings that are collected, cleaned and dried to make paper. The stationery set comes with information on how the paper is made and a booklet filled with facts about elephants. So, instead of getting that nice set of glossy note cards for your auntie, get her this stationery and a portion of the profits are donated to elephant conservation programs.


10.   In lieu of getting the athlete on your list some athletic shoes, track down a pair of environmentally-friendly shoes from the Adidas Grün line ($45 to $140). The Grün line is made from natural, organic, and recycled materials and no leather. Unfortunately, these are only available online.  There are slippers made of hemp and recycled tires available on-island at Whole Foods in Kahala as an alternative.


11.  For a stocking stuffer, or to accompany the Elephant Poo stationery, considering buying smencils ($5.95 at Barnes and Noble or at These pencils are made of recycled newspaper and are lightly scented. Here, at Barnes and Noble, you can buy smencils with Christmas scents. The smencils are in a section with other green gifts that did not make this list, but may help you cross some things off your Christmas shopping list.


12.  Finally, everyone should own, and use, a reusable shopping bag while shopping rather than using store-provided plastic or paper bags. When selecting a reusable bag, remember to choose one made of recycled materials. The Ambassadors’ favorite is the Be-Green pad bag ($13 at It is made of 100% recycled polyester and folds-up into a small pouch with a carabiner to clip onto a purse or belt loop when not in use. Best of all, for every bag purchased, a tree is planted in an ecosystem restoration project in the United States. 


“We want to remind people that how they wrap their gifts can also make an impact,” said Bailey from Kaiser High School. “You can use the comics from the Sunday paper, magazine pages, or reuse gift bags and ribbons to implement source reduction during the holidays.”




Media contact: Chrystn Eads, 21st Century Ahupua'a Youth Ambassadors program coordinator, 523-4937.


Friday, December 19, 2008

© Copyright 2002-2008 City and County of Honolulu, Hawaii
Privacy Statement | Technical Support | Customer Service | Policy | Accessibility | Diversity Statement