Create a symbiotic ecosystem at home with this AquaFarm double decker garden and fish bowl. In the top tray, basil, mint, spinach, baby greens, and other edible or decorative plants thrive as nutrient-rich water is circulated past their roots. That process purifies the water, which is then sent back to the 3-gallon tank below, creating a happy, healthy habitat for a beta or goldfish. At Back to the Roots; $59.99
This reinforced cotton canvas FEED Backpack will come in handy whether you're hiking trails in the country or maneuvering city streets. The design features the slim profile of a fashion backpack, but with three pockets and a roomy interior. Best of all, the $75 cost will provide 75 meals for a student in need. At FEED; $75
Slap a red ribbon on this beauty and make somebody’s holiday extra special. Upright handlebars, seven speeds, durable steel frame and handy cargo rack ensure Public’s Harrison Bike (here, painted British Racing Green) can handle just about anything, from daily urban commuting to weekend jaunts in the country. Check it out at publicbikes.com; $699
In her book Salvage-Style Projects, This Old House editor Amy R. Hughes offers up 22 projects for DIYers with a good toolbox and a healthy appreciation for architectural castoffs. The 144-page paperback also features a handy state-by-state resource guide to salvage yards and reuse centers. At amazon.com; $13.96
This Old House
Handmade from repurposed mail sacks, these sturdy, Canvas Cases deliver edgy style to your iPad or tablet while protecting them with a gentle ultra-suede interior (collected from companies with remnant scraps). An additional riveted pocket provides storage for flash drives and cords so you can travel with everything in tow. At Uncommon Goods; $55
Made from 100% recycled milk jugs, Green Toy’s kid-tastic Dump Truck means business with its workable dumper and sturdy wheels no metal axles. Best of all: the packaging is completely recyclable, and there's no cellophane or twist ties for little fingers to contend with on the big day. Available at Target; $17.99
Garden State Box
Instead of a ho-hum houseplant, give your favorite green thumb the Garden State Box, a clever, two-toned vertical planter that can be hung anywhere in the house. (We’d opt for the kitchen, planted with herbs or baby lettuces!) A wire mesh framework secures plants in place. From goodsie.com; $58, plants not included
iPhone Amplifier Speaker
A cheeky, 21st-century twist on the Gramophone, the low-tech Eco-Amp 2.0 amplifies the volume and clarity of any iPhone 4 or 4S—no power needed. Constructed of 100% post-consumer recycled fibers, the easy-to-assemble gizmos come in 24 graphic patterns. From eco-made.com; starting at $10.
Ditch the plastic bottles, not the bubbles, with a Soda Stream soda maker. The compact, streamlined appliance requires no electricity to operate and boasts an LED display indicating three levels of fizziness. Starter kits include a reusable BPA-free carbonating bottle, a CO2 carbonator (it makes up to 60 liters!), and a sampler of add-in pop flavors. Choose from four colors at sodastreamusa.com; $99.95
Portable Table Lanterns
Sleek adaptations of classic lanterns, Alessi’s Portable Table Lanterns feature a glowing flame and a dimmer switch that controls the brightness of the warm white LED. At full wattage, these cordless, rechargeable torches shine bright for four hours. When dimmed, a single charge can last 100 hours or more. From lumens.com; $129 and up (rechargeable lithium batteries included)
Reduce the carbon footprint associated with everyone's least favorite weekend chore with a cordless, rechargeable electric lawn mower, such as Black & Decker’s lightweight 12-amp, 18-inch model. Eco-bonus: It needs no gas, oil, or tune-ups! From lowes.com; $199.00
If you have the money to hire a handyman for every household woe, go ahead. But if you want to hang on to your cash and exercise some self-sufficiency, check out these clever products that solve a million and one little problems around the house. Go now!