One item with nearly infinite possibilities for reconfiguration? It doesn’t get much greener than that. While Mason Jars are a staple for home canners, the crafty crowd has discovered their potential, too. From the decorative to the very functional, it turns out there are lots of things you can do with a Mason Jar.
Got a lot of empty bottles laying around? Hey, we’re not here to judge; we realize those bottles may well have sentimental value (a bottle of wine shared at a special occasion), or that you may just find them really attractive. Seems a shame to send something beautiful to the recycler (or, if you don’t have recycling service for glass, to the landfill).
Sure, you’d love to power at least part of your home on renewable energy, but the local infrastructure isn’t there yet: no nearby wind farm, no solar or geothermal installers. And, besides, it really isn’t that windy where you live.
That’s the kind of mindset that fossil fuels have given us: we really can’t go out and drill our own oil and gas, or mine our own coal, so we’ve assumed largely that energy is something that others have to provide for us. But part of the beauty of renewables is their availability: we all get some sun, wind, or geothermal heat, and with a little elbow grease, we can harvest that energy – no power company or massive centralized plant needed.
Not a techie, but still want to find out the latest on the green products front? No problem: we’ve expanded our weekly green tech finds into a broader array of products with a light footprint. This week: turn off the lights from work, and buy a bamboo toothbrush for yourself and someone else.
Planning to do some biking and walking in London, and want to get rewarded? Or spending time in Cambodia, and want to report illegal wildlife sales? We’ve got apps for that.
Repeat after me: no matter what Rush said, wind farms don’t cause global warming. But there may be some substance to the idea that warmer air allows baseballs to travel a bit further. These stories and more in this week’s green tech finds.
Can you literally breathe new life (or, at least, new power) into your cell phone? How about fill your tank with rotten food? A qualified “yes” to both – your green tech finds for the week.
Refrigerate and cook food without electricity? We’ve got finds this week that get you pretty close, along with mushrooms that eat plastic, and plans to reuse dirty diapers (really!).
The DIY, electricity-free refrigerator: Ever heard of a zeer pot? This very old concept for keeping food chilled only requires two clay flower pots, and some sand and water to build yourself. (via @dothegreenthing)
And then cook that food without power: Well, not exactly, but with a lot less power. The Wonderbag keeps food cooking after the heat’s turned off, and was originally designed for very poor people who couldn’t afford much fuel. (via Inhabitat)
CES and the Detroit Auto Show are going on this week, and we’ve got finds from both!
The tiny electric pick up: Need to haul stuff? You won’t get much into the Smart For-Us, but, as Charis Michelsen at Gas 2.0 points out, it’s awfully cute, and may serve the actual hauling needs of most truck drivers.
Your plants are Tweeting: And they’re thirsty. That’s right: the Botanicalls gadget (not sure what else to call it) sends you a tweet when your plants need watering. Only marginally green, but kind of cool. (via Crisp Green)
Can good design save the world? Well, maybe the Great Lakes, anyway. That, plus community-based solar, clothing recycling, and more: your green tech finds for the week.
The DIY bike seat: Ever wanted a second seat on your bicycle, without investing in a tandem? Or just carrying space without a trailer? Israeli designer Yael Livneh has you covered with his concept made from a used plastic milk crate. He’s entered the concept in Designboom’s Seoul Cycle Design competition. (via Unconsumption and @dothegreenthing)
Occupy the sun: We generally think of solar power as something that individual home and building owners do, but Francesca Rheannon at CSRWire takes a look at community-based efforts to adopt solar technology.
Lots of solar news this week… from a new efficiency record, to solar company corporate responsibility rankings, to a DIY solar cooker.
- Solar powered washing machines: They’re just one part of a test to see if people are ready for the smart grid in Breda, The Netherlands. (via Crisp Green)
- ENERGY STAR certification for senior facilities: Living and care facilities for elders are now among new commercial building types eligible for ENERGY STAR certification (via Earth Techling)
How’d you spend your summers during college? Working a crappy job? Taking more classes? Laying around in front of the TV at your parents’ house? In Burlington, Vermont, a group of students undertook an internship under the tutelage of physics teacher Tom Tailer to eliminate the the electricity use of refrigerating and freezing food by building a passive freezer “out of mostly local, recycled or reused products.”
The greenest cell phone companies, solar Marines, and DIY LED Facebook notification… your green tech finds for the week.
Smart energy cities: The NRDC’s Smarter Cities project has published a list of 22 US cities taking the lead on more sustainable energy use and production. (via GreenTech Pastures)
LED Facebook notification: OK, this is only marginally green, but Instructables has a project up for a DIY Facebook notification device that uses LED lights.
It’s been almost two years since Newsweek took note of the “the craze for urban poultry farming,” and the trend doesn’t seem to be abating… more localities are amending livestock laws to allow for raising backyard chickens, and more people are discovering that eggs from chickens living only feet away are far superior to just about anything that comes out of the grocery store.
Thinking about bringing some chicks home to raise? A ton of educational resources have sprung up as this practice becomes more mainstream.
The next time you feel like watching and snarking on some B movies, invite the crew of Mystery Science Theater 3000 over with these awesome MSTK glasses found over at MAKE. Instructions on how to make your own here.
As the post-Halloween haze lifts, lets take a moment to reflect back on some of the more imaginative, creative, and/or topical costumes from around the country that reverberated around the Internet and blogosphere this week. My favorite this year fell on the surreal artsy side of things. Artist Eric Testroete built a “papercraft self-portrait,” which reminds me of those easter egg modes in video games that turns all the characters heads into “big heads.” More after the jump.
An impressive meticulously detailed large map measuring 6 feet x 8 feet of New York City cut out of paper by hand. It’s separated into four panels each representing the main boroughs (Bronx, Brooklyn, Manhattan, and Queens), except for the Rodney Dangerfield of the boroughs: sorry, Staten Island. Along with a Paris version, this unique…
Wind-powered techies, energy-capturing pavement, and DIY hybrid electric sports cars… it’s time for your weekly green tech finds.
- This light rocks: Literally… kinetic energy from rocking the Murakami chair powers an attached OLED lamp. (via Gizmodo)
- Plug-ins aren’t so weird: CNET editor Martin LaMonica takes note of the strides automakers are taking to make electric vehicles perform in a similar manner to their gas-powered counterparts.
Posted on DeviantArt, a popular online community for a wide range of artists to showcase and share their art, a talented user posted an impressive dress made from recycled materials as her final piece for college. It’s made from newspapers, plastic bags, bin liners, curtains, and old fake fur. She also made this small matching…
Instead of just tossing them into your recycle bin, give your magazine a second life as a DVD sleeve, envelope, paper bowl, photo frame or my favorite, a wallet by following these DIY instructions provided by Wired UK (part 1 and part 2). [Via]
If you don’t have the financial wherewithal to possess these pieces of art, nor the creativity to produce your own original works that’ll capture the imagination of the public, then use these do-it-yourself kits to imitate your favorite contemporary art superstars. For example, Damien Hirst’s “For the Love of God” – a diamond covered skull…
It’s Thursday again… here’s some of the notable green tech news from the week.
Keep an eye on renewable energy developments in your area? Build Baby Build’s Greenspotter contest gives you an opportunity to win some cool energy monitoring equipment for your photos of those projects.
Not sure where to find a nearby recycling location? Earth 911’s new iPhone app provides locations, directions, and a list of accepted materials.
Filmmaker Michel Gondry is back at Sundance with his latest romp BE KIND, REWIND [www.bekindmovie.com]. In it, a video store dude (Jack Black), who, after he accidentally erases the store’s merchandise, decides to remake all the lost films on video. Gondry, who has taken his DIY aesthetic to sublime places, is endorsing others video imagination this week. While at Sundance, he will be curating YouTube [www.youtube.com] videos all week.