Earth Day has arrived and it's a better time than ever to sit back and take stock in the various products that you use in the home. Some products just get the job done, but they can be replaced with more environmentally-conscientious products that do the same great job and sometimes even better. These are the best "green" tech products and accessories that can help you do more for our beautiful planet.
Our favorite smart lights
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Smart light bulbs might not seem like eco-friendly products on the surface, but you can cut down on energy costs by setting up specific schedules, along with creating different "moods" based on what you're doing in the home. Here are some of our favorite options.
Not only does Philips make some of the best-looking smart bulbs, but the Hue Starter Kit gives you everything you need. You'll get three smart light bulbs, along with the Hub that's needed to get everything running. The Hub will work with up to 50 connected lights so you can outfit your entire home with smart bulbs.
No hub needed
Right behind Philips Hue in terms of great smart lighting is the LIFX series. The fact that you don't need a hub will ensure that you aren't adding extra products to your home's power, cutting down on energy consumption. The A19 is one of the more popular options since you can switch between "trillions" of different colors, all without the need for a hub. With the LIFX app, you can view energy efficiency and set up a specific schedule.
Just getting started
The Wyze Bulb 800 is a newcomer to the smart lighting space but packs an impressive punch. This pack gives you four bulbs to use, and none of these require a dedicated hub. You can use IFTTT to link bulbs to the rest of your smart home system for automation. Although not the brightest, these Wyze Bulbs are great for just having a smart bulb in every room that can be automated to turn on and off whenever you want.
The environmental benefits of solar are obvious, but when you think of most solar products, they tend to be expensive. These solar-powered devices though allow you to take advantage of the sun's power without breaking the bank.
Bamboo and the sun
Are you trying to get some work done around the house, or having a party? With the Reveal Bamboo Solar Speaker, you'll never have to worry about the power running out. There's a 15-hour battery life on-board, and you can even use this speaker to charge your smartphone or tablet.
Play for hours
Reveal makes some pretty impressive speakers and this Carbon Fiber Solar Speaker is no different. Music playback is rated for up to 60 hours, and you'll get a half-hour of playtime by putting it in the sun to charge for just 10 minutes. Reveal has also included IPX5 splash resistance so you can leave it pool-side.
It would only make sense for Anker to get into the solar-charging game considering its success in the smartphone accessory world. The PowerPort Solar Lite 2 provides 15W of charging and can fold up into a compact and portable form. There's even a small pocket for you to place your devices in while charging.
Off the grid
Whether you're trying to get "off the grid" or just have another lighting solution, the SolarHome 620 is pretty nifty. This kit includes three overhead lights, three sets of string lights, and a control box which includes a built-in radio and acts as a charger.
If you're essential and continue to head into the office every day, you'll want a great backpack to carry your technology. The Sunnybag Explorer+ is not only water-resistant but is also capable of housing up to a 15-inch laptop. The biggest benefit to this bag is the built-in solar panel to keep all of your devices charged. This will help cut down on your energy usage, as you won't need to charge a bunch of extra peripherals.
Smarter charging with Solar
Why run up the energy bill in your home on a portable charger when you can just use the sun? The ORYTO portable charger features a 26,800mAh capacity, along with the ability to charge four devices at once. It can also automatically detect the charging speed of whatever devices you have connected to it.
No more wires
When finding a good power bank, it's important to have a solid capacity, be future-proof, and offer some additional features. The Blavor Solar Power Bank covers all of these bases and then some with its 10,000mAh capacity, USB-C charging port, and the ability to recharge with the sun. Blavor also included a built-in wireless charger, and the bank itself is IPX4 water-resistant.
Made from sustainable materials
A lot of the eco-friendly movement needs to start in manufacturing. Luckily, a lot of companies have begun using sustainable or biodegradable materials to create some fantastic products.
Get two speakers
The No Bounds Bluetooth speaker from House of Marley has a common design but has an extra trick. In addition to being able to float, the No Bounds speaker can also be paired with another speaker for a surround sound experience and is made out of recyclable materials. This speaker is also IP67 water and dust resistant, in part thanks to the combination of fabric, silicone, cork, and aluminum that help it float.
Canvas bags are some of the best bags you can get for carrying and housing your laptops and other electronics. This Eco Messenger Bag from Mobile Edge can hold up to a 16-inch laptop and is made from various renewable and recyclable materials. In addition to the padded laptop compartment, there are plenty of additional pockets for everything you'll need.
Carry it in style
It may not be the flashiest laptop case, but Boshiho's case is made from cork and works with laptops ranging from 13-inches to 15.4-inches. There's an outer sleeved pocket for various accessories, and the inner pocket is lined to keep your laptop protected.
For your desk
If you need a mousepad for your desk at home or the office, why not get one that's good for the environment? The Aothia Cork & Leather Desk Mat looks fantastic, comes in 11 different colors of leather, and is reversible. You can use the cork side, or the leather side based on what your preferences are. The cork itself is biodegradable, made from the bark of trees, while the leather side is made from a PU leather.
Wooden keyboard and mouse
Bamboo not only looks good but is extremely light and this Bamboo Wireless Keyboard and Mouse is rather unique. You'll get a fully-functional keyboard and mouse primarily made with Bamboo. And you'll have a 30-foot range with the included USB receiver, perfect for any desk or office setup. By being made from Bamboo, this keyboard and mouse stays cleaner than other options, while also being recyclable.
Stand your phone up
This wooden phone stand from RUIHAI is pretty basic, but is hand-crated and does a great job at propping your phone up. There are pads on the bottom to keep the stand from slipping on your desk and a hole in the back to route a cable for charging.
Pela's line of cases is rather interesting while looking awesome. The cases are made from plants and provide great protection from drops and scratches. When you're done using it, you can send it back to the company for composting.
With the tech21 Studio Colour, you'll not only get ultra-thin protection but a case that's made from plant-based material. The best part is that there is a case for many flagship handsets and they come in a few different colors.
Nimble's Eco-Friendly portable charger features a 20,000mAh capacity along with Quick Charge 3.0 and 18W Power Delivery. This gives you an 80% charge in just 30 minutes for compatible devices. And the best part is that this charger is made from recycled aluminum and plant-based plastics.
Check your energy efficiency
A lot of your devices, especially in your household, might not be eco-friendly, and that's okay! You can purchase other products to help monitor how energy efficient you're being. Being able to view your consumption will allow you to cut back in areas where possible, like maybe not wasting a bunch of water when brushing your teeth or hand-washing dishes.
Check for leaks
Nobody wants to end up walking into a basement pool after something ended up flooding. This is a "waste" of water and thanks to the Samsung Water Leak Sensor, which ties into the SmartThings Hub, you can find out if there's cause for concern. You can also use this with Amazon Alexa to keep an eye on what's going on.
Monitor water consumption
Sometimes having a smart water sensor just doesn't provide enough information. That's where the Flume Water Monitor System comes into play. It not only provides 24/7 leak detection but also gives you an in-depth breakdown of your usage. The best part is that it can be installed in just 5 minutes and doesn't require tools.
Learns your habits
If you don't want your air conditioner or furnace running erratically, you'll want a smart thermostat. The Nest Learning Thermostat is great for those in the Google ecosystem and includes many energy-saving features. Being able to schedule when your system turns on or off, along with the ability to automatically turn itself on or off, can help on the electric bill.
Smarter home comfort
With the ecobee Smart Thermostat, you'll get a sleek design, a smart sensor to keep your rooms comfortable, and Amazon Alexa. This thermostat also integrates with many smart home systems including Google Assistant, Samsung SmartThings, IFTTT, and more. Plus, you could save more than 20% of energy when using the ecobee compared to more traditional thermostats.
For the professionals
Emerson's Sensi Touch Smart Thermostat comes from a brand better known in the HVAC industry, but you'll still get a touchscreen display and an accompanying app to easily program your system. The Sensi Touch easily integrates with the likes of Assistant, Alexa, SmartThings, and more.
Manage the power
When looking at your wall outlets, chances are you have a lot of stuff taking up energy and space. With the Currant Smart Plug, you'll get two plugs, but when paired with the Currant app, you can view energy usage charts and more. This includes being able to create customized rules, and the best part is that this outlet works with either Google Assistant or Alexa.
It's rough when are you looking for somewhere to plug something in and there's no free outlet to be found. Those concerns will be answered with the TP-Link Kasa Smart Plug Power Strip, thanks to the six "smart" outlets and three USB ports. With the Kasa Smart App, you'll be able to monitor the energy being used, and you can control each individual plug.
Other eco-friendly accessories
There are so many tech accessories on the market, and some just don't fit into any one category. Here we break down some of our favorite accessories, which includes some interesting ways to save on paper.
Like a notebook
There's something about putting pen to paper, but it can be very wasteful. That's where something like Sony Digital Paper comes into play. You can still write away and have your notes stored digitally. With something like the Digital Paper, you can quit wasting paper, save some trees, and take advantage of the technology that companies provide us. Sony provides 10.3-inch and 13-inch options.
The Rocketbook Wave Smart Notebook is truly unique to cut down on wasting paper. This notebook includes 80 pages, and then you can use the accompanying app to save the note and send them to Google Drive. The best part is that you can clear out the pages and re-use the notebook by simply microwaving it.
Recharge those batteries
Chances are that something in your house needs some batteries. The Eneloop rechargeable battery kit includes either four AA or four AAA batteries and the charger. Even if you don't need the batteries right away, there's battery detection in the charger so that it automatically shuts off when not in use. By using these batteries, you will cut down on waste when having to dispose of the more traditional types of batteries, reducing your footprint.
Double the usefulness
Having rechargeable batteries is extremely helpful and useful, but this pack from Eneloop is even more interesting. In addition to the included batteries, this kit doubles as a battery-powered portable charger for your smartphone or tablet. And the batteries themselves recharge in just 4.5 hours. Plus, you won't have to just throw another set of batteries in the trash when they run out, and you'll have a pretty awesome portable charger to boot.
Live a greener lifestyle with the right tech
It's impossible to pick just one product that is great for your new green lifestyle. But if you have analyzed what you're using and want somewhere to start, what better way to do so than with the Philips Hue system. This Starter Kit includes three smart light bulbs, along with the central hub that is needed to get everything up and running. Then you can create specific schedules and connect up to 50 different lights to the Hub to truly make your home lighting smarter than ever.
Another exciting and "green" product comes from Pela, with its biodegradable cases for a slew of smartphones. These cases are 100% compostable, as they are made from a plant-based biopolymer while being extremely durable and protective. And in addition to offering case options for many flagship smartphones, Pela will donate a certain percentage of every sale to various Ocean Cleanup and Preservation Initiatives. So you'll get a great-looking case and can feel good about helping the earth at the same time.
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Andrew Myrick is a Senior Editor at Android Central. He enjoys everything to do with technology, including tablets, smartphones, and everything in between. Perhaps his favorite past-time is collecting different headphones, even if they all end up in the same drawer.