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Tag Archives: eco-conscious

GravityLight Is Back, Brighter, And More Robust

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The GravityLight is powered by, well, gravity. You attach it to a strong beam, tie a 12kg weight to it (made from rocks or sand), and let gravity pull it down. As it does, it powers a set of gears inside, which drive a DC generator that produces one-tenth of a Watt. That’s enough to power the LED for up to 25 minutes at a time. When that’s over, just hoist the weight back up and keep going. This is great for developing nations which often rely on Kerosene lamps that are not only polluting, but noxious, and potentially dangerous. The makers of the GravityLight already made one last year, but this new model is brighter, more robust, easier to use, and can provide light even as it is being charged. More importantly perhaps, it is being assembled right in Kenya, which will provide some jobs to the very people it is meant to help. You can get one yourself for a $70 pledge, all the while knowing you’re contributing to a good cause.

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[ Project Page ] VIA [ MikeShouts ]

WINKpen Can Use Any Liquid, Even Wine, To Write

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We live in a disposable society, or at the very least a society that seems too comfortable with the idea of throwing away things once they’ve outlived their apparent usefulness. But Portland-based designer Jessica Chan created the WINKpen as a way to go against our throwaway trend, and promoting sustainability, by creating the WINKpen. The writing implement can use any staining liquid as ink, like beer, tea, and even wine.

Unlike other fountain pens, where the ink usually comes out of a metal nib, WINKpen’s nib is made of glass. Spiraled grooves in the glass nib feed “ink” to the paper, producing a more pleasant aesthetic effect. Additionally, using glass offers the advantage of avoiding corrosion, plus it’s easier to clean.

It’s an interesting concept, if only a little unnecessary and unfortunately a bit overpriced. A WINKpen will cost you a rather hefty $60 pledge.

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[ Project Page ] VIA [ Gizmag ]

Collapsible Water Bottle Fits Everywhere

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Paying for bottled water is not only financially wasteful, it’s a bit of a dick move for the environment. The Hydaway is a collapsible, reusable silicone bottle with a plastic framing that expands into a 21oz. or 12oz. container in a couple of seconds. When collapsed it’s only 1 1/4 inch thick, and has a convenient carry handle that can be clipped to a bag. It’s watertight, BPA-free, and fully dishwasher safe. If you want your own, it’ll only cost you a $20 pledge on their fully-funded Kickstarter, and you can expect to get it in August of this year.

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GoSun Solar Grill Works Even At Night

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There are a good number of portable solar grills on the market, but this is the first one we’ve come across that banks some of that heat for you to use later. The GoSun features a thermal battery that absorbs the sun’s heat and stores it for later release. It can take up to two hours to “charge”, but the GoSun will then release a constant stream of heat for hours on end, cooking your food between 300F and 400F. It uses a Phase Change Material (a type of wax) to store these enormous amounts of energy and releases it at an appropriate rate. The rest of the solar grill works much like others, using a parabolic reflector to concentrate the sun’s rays onto a cooking surface. This cooking chamber however, in the GoSun, is able to bake, steam, roast or even boil your food, allowing you to prepare some fairly fancy meals, even at night. It’s an ingenious design, and we think the $349 asking price is more than reasonable. It’s a great, fossil-fuel-free way of cooking your food.

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Foot Powered Washing Machine Works Off The Grid

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Before we harnessed electricity, we used to wash clothes with a little elbow grease. But we’ve had powered washing machines for so long, it’s easy to forget that sometimes we may need to get clothes clean when the power is out, and a washboard isn’t necessarily the best way to go about it. While not as portable as the Scrubba Bag, the Yirego Drumi Off Grid Washer is a foot-powered washer and spin-dryer that uses no electricity to do its job. You simply insert some garments in the inner sphere, which is full of holes and ridges. Add some detergent and get to pumping with your foot. The sphere turns, tumbling your clothes in the water and soap, getting them clean. Draining the dirty water is done through the press of a button. The device looks good and modern, and may offer some of the more eco-conscious among us an alternative means of staying fresh and clean. It’s a $129CAD (about $107USD) pre-order, and two heaping spoonfuls of patience since delivery is slated for July 2016!

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[ Product Page ] VIA [ MikeShouts ]

Eco-Friendly Coffee Cups Can Be Planted After Use

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We’re pretty efficient at destroying the planet, so it’s nice to see an ever growing consortium of people doing their damnedest to slow the pace at which we bury ourselves in our own filth. The latest effort we’ve come across involves coffee cups, which Americans throw out at the rate of 146 million a year (and that number seems low, to be honest). The “Reduce. Reuse. Grow.” cups are made from 100% post-consumer recycled paper and have had tree seeds embedded in them. This means after you’re done drinking your cup of Joe, you can soak them in water for 5 minutes, and then just plant them; the type of tree that grows out is printed on the front. And even if you don’t go through the effort of planting them, the will biodegrade after just 180 days so your conscience can be just a little clearer.

Granted, their effectiveness will be determined by their adoption rate at coffee shops nationwide, but you can help by donating to the project. Although you won’t get any cups until you donate $500 or more (and then you just get a “framed and singed 1st edition cup), you can jump in with as little as $1.

[ Project Page ]

Crystal Wash Balls Let You Do The Laundry With No Detergent

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These balls are filled with “bio-ceramic” pellets that allegedly change the pH of the water to 8.5 an above. This creates alkaline water that is able to wash your dirty clothes without needing harsh chemicals, and they’ll be able to do so for 1,000 cycles. The pellets also create Hydrogen Peroxyde, which kills bacteria and gets rid of odors, all without irritating your skin, or releasing pollutants into the environment or even running the risk of fading your colors. The only catch is that the balls need to be “recharged” every 30 washing cycles by being put outside in the sun for a day. The Crystal Wash 2.0 contains a Bluetooth module that will remind you when it’s time to recharge them, as well as a pH sensor that lets you keep track of the alkalinity of your water during a cycle. Other stats available through these sensors are “Wash Complete Alerts; Wash Cycle Tracking Stats – Graphs, Counters, Social Sharing; Savings Tracking…” It’s a novel way to do your laundry, and if it works as advertised is one that would bring many benefits over traditional detergents. The only drawback is the lack of nice smelling clothes, but we suppose you can still stick a sheet of fabric softener in the drying machine, no? It’s a $75 pledge, or $100 for two balls, although this is only because the $50 price point is sold out. Retail, the ball would cost $60.

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[ Project Page ]

Solar-Powered System Extracts Drinking Water From The Air

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There’s water all around you, and lots of it is in the air you breathe. Getting it out of there and into drinkable form, however, takes a bit of effort. Austrian design student Kristof Retezár has come up with an ingenious device called Fontus, which uses solar power to extract moisture from the air and funnel it into a bottle. It’s meant to be attached to a bicycle, and uses the passing wind (from the forward motion of the bike) to accelerate the extraction process, reaching speeds of 0.5L an hour. This means you could drink a standard bottle of water every for hour you cycle, given the right climactic conditions. The extraction is accomplished through the use of a Peltier Element, which features two metal plates of opposing temperatures, one hot and one cold. Running warm moist air through the cold element condenses the humidity, which then just needs to be collected.

It’s just a prototype at the moment, and there doesn’t seem to be any plans for commercialization. But the product could be very interesting for outdoors enthusiasts who might want to venture out, away from the grid, for extended periods.

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Inglorious Produce: French Supermarket Chain Finds A Way To Reduce Food Waste

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Did you know that a good portion of the produce farmers grow ends up being discarded simply because it’s too ugly to be sold in stores? Too ugly doesn’t mean it doesn’t taste as good or is less nutritional, so French supermarket chain Intermarché decided to buy these leftover fruits and veggies, and sell them heavily discounted (30% off) in a special aisle named “Les Fruits Et Legumes Moches” (“The Inglorious Fruits And Vegetables”). Stars in the new lineup include “The Grotesque Apple”, “The Ridiculous Potato”, and “The Failed Lemon.” To help people realize that these runts were just as good as their more beautiful siblings, the stores gave away juices and soups prepared with them. And people loved it.

Not only can patrons save a good amount of money by buying these ugly fruits and veggies, instead of the traditional produce, Intermarché’s initiative is helping drive awareness about food waste. Seeing as the EU declared 2014 to be the “European Year against Food Waste”, the French grocer’s actions are a solid first step towards Europe’s goal of reducing waste by half by the year 2025.

[ Intermarche’s Website ] VIA [ TheAwesomer ]