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Tag Archives: eco-conscious

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 ]

EcoDrain Recycles The Heat From Your Used Up Hot Water

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One of the things that uses up the most energy in a home is hot water. And all of that heat is wasted as it drains away into the sewage system. The EcoDrain device pictured above allows you to partially warm up incoming cold water with the heat from the outgoing hot. It’s a heat-exchange system, and isn’t exactly a new invention, although unlike most other solutions can be installed horizontally. This allows it to be placed “under the bathroom floor immediately adjacent to the drain, thus catching the waste water at its hottest.” It won’t be enough to get the incoming cold up to a good steamy temp, but it’ll help you use less hot water mixed in, thus saving you money. It requires no electricity, and has no moving parts; once installed you can just forget its there. “It’s priced at US$439.95, and is claimed to offer a return on investment ranging from 17 to 43 percent per year – based on the energy costs in various American cities.” Or in other words, you’ll be able to shower for about 33% longer while using the same amount of power you would have without the EcoDrain.

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[ Product Page ] VIA [ TreeHugger ]

Mobile AirDesk Brings The Comfort Of A Desktop To Laptop Users

Slate-Mobile-AirdeskThere’s no point in going on about how great laptops are, but obviously the convenience comes at the cost of a few tradeoffs. Your legs can get hot and sweaty and if you want to use a mouse, you’re out of luck. Instead of forcing you to find a desk, the Mobile AirDesk brings it to you. Made from bamboo, this slab lets you have the best of both worlds:

The Slate is cut from a block of pure, premium bamboo. It’s ultra lightweight, super strong, and it will absorb the heat from your laptop. The curves, air ventilation, and docking station are chiseled, hand-sanded, and polished to mirror the feeling of glass. A super thick and heavy duty mouse pad is installed and sits flush against the surface of the slate.

There’s even a slot to slide your phone in. It’s a popular product, having gone over their funding goal almost twenty fold. If you want to get your hands on one, it’ll set you back $98.

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[ Project Page ] VIA [ LikeCool ]

BMW i8 Plug-In Hybrid Is An Eco-Conscious Supercar

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We’re not completely sure it qualifies as a supercar, but with a $136,000 price tag, exotic “swan wing” doors and a 4.4s 0-60mph time… it’s pretty close. BMW has officially unveiled the i8, a hybrid coupe that features a BMW TwinPower Turbo 1.5-litre three-cylinder petrol engine with 170 kW (231 hp) of peak performance on the rear wheels, as well as an electric drive on the front wheels, cranking out an additional 96 kW (131 hp) for a combined power output of 362bhp. That’s enough for the aforementioned acceleration stat, which you can maintain until you reach the top speed of 250km/h (155mph). Unlike other cars with similar performance, you can drive the i8 calmly and squeeze 94 miles to every gallon of premium gas in the tank. Granted, that figure depends on how you’re driving the beast, but the fact that it can reach it in any condition at all places the vehicle quite a few steps ahead of other cars with similar power in the consumption department. Take all of the above, and then consider the futuristic looks of it, and you have yourself a car that’s making us consider changing professions. Being in a reality show seems like the easy way to fame and fortune these days…

[ Product Page ] VIA [ Werd ]

Electric Scooter Uses iPhone As Dashboard

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Not the most popular mode of transport in the US of A, a good chunk of the rest of the world loves their scooters. The A4000i from Japan’s Terra Motors is fully electric, with a range of 65km, which should be enough for the average commuter. Reaching top speeds of 65 kmh (40mph), the A4000i features a recessed space on the dashboard in which an iPhone is meant to go. Once there, the phone will display your current speed, as well as battery charge and other information.

Other features include a removable battery, which you can carry inside with you to charge. This is particularly useful if you live in a high rise building, and lugging the whole bike with you inside is not an option. Finally, the battery is rated to last 50,000km (31,000 miles), which is about 5 times more than a standard battery from other e-bikes.

The A4000i will be released this November, mostly in Asian countries. Its estimated price in the Japanese market will be ¥450,000, which is about US$4,500.

[ Product Page ] VIA [ UberGizmo ]

[ Advanced mobile phone car kits provide a safer way to handle your phone as you drive. ]

SolSource Reflector Can Cook Anything With The Power Of The Sun

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If it wasn’t for the sun, we would simply not be around. It’s responsible for giving energy to practically all living creatures on the planet, as well as helping pasty white boys look a little less sick. If harnessed properly, it can also cook. The SolSun reflector is shaped so that the sun’s rays focus on the cooking area, and can reportedly grill a hamburger in about 6 minutes, or about the same time as a regular BBQ. Except of course this cooker doesn’t require any fuel, and is up to cooking temperature much faster than coal or propane. The thing weighs 40lbs, is 4.3ft. across, is made of a black steel base and plastic reflective panels, and assembles in about 30 minutes with the included tools. It’s able to support up to a 20L stockpot, although the maximum temperatures it reaches will obviously depend on weather factors. Still, at that diameter on a sunny day, you should be good to cook just about anything.

The SolSun is currently on pre-order on Kickstarter for $250, with shipping in October of this year, which is unfortunately a little late for the summer in some parts.

[ Project Page ] VIA [ Gizmag ]