Yep, we’ve all got places to go. But that doesn’t mean you can’t keep the impact of those trips to a minimum with your choices in transportation and what you take with you.
Empty bottles — what do you do with them? For most of us, the answer is “throw them in the recycling bin.” Others look at those bottles, made of either plastic or glass, and see serving trays, jeans or water heaters. See the many things you can do with a used bottle in this week’s Greener Consumption.
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).
From cool iPhone covers made from old skateboards to silicon chips that can turn your shoes into phone chargers, there’s a lot of phone-related green tech out there this week.
Keep killing your houseplants because you forget to water? Or wasting gas because you never remember to check your tire pressure. We’ve got solutions for both, and more, in this week’s green tech finds.
Forget to water your plants?: Yep, there’s now an app for that. The Koubachi Wifi Plant Sensor tells an app on your phone when your houseplants need some water.
If you can power your phone with sunlight, and carry water purification equipment on your back, is there any need for large-scale, dirty utilities in the developing world? Those ideas and more in this week’s green tech finds.
What’s your neighborhood’s Bike Score?: The five-year-old Walk Score online service, which rates walkability of neighborhoods, cities, and addresses, now offers a similar metric for bicyclists. The new Bike Score is available in ten cities (and, apparently, Minneapolis is more bike-friendly than Portland – who’da thunk it?). (via The Atlantic Cities)
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.
Thinking about gardening this weekend for Earth Day? Or disposing of that old computer responsibly? We’ve got information you’ll want as you celebrate the planet this week.
Need to relocate your garden into a sunny spot?: Or have an older relative who loves to garden, but has trouble bending over to dig in the dirt? The Garden on Wheels (above) works in both of these situations – it’s also a great solution for the urbanite with limited gardening space. (via Treehugger)
One of the many symbols of 80s excess, the DeLorean’s back – as an electric vehicle. That, plus recycled jeans and the real cost to drive a Chevy Volt – your green tech finds for the week.
Developing green technology isn’t child’s play, but children’s games can certainly inspire new ideas. Playground equipment made from old wind turbines, and a solar powered night light are just two of this week’s green tech finds.
It’s World Water Day, so in celebration, I’ve found a number of cool stories about water-related technology, including a ocean-going drone, and clean water from poop (really!).
A couple of weeks ago, a friend tweeted out a question about recycling Tyvek™ envelopes. I responded that she could – if she mailed them to a location that accepted them. She was a little put off: after all, the envelope was marked with a #5 plastic recycling symbol, so shouldn’t she just be able to throw it in her recycling bin?
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)
Super Bowl Sunday is coming up, and while I don’t pay enough attention to say whether it’ll be a good game, it will definitely be a green(er) game. That, plus cooler roofs for more efficient solar power, and a very quick look at over a century of global warming: your green tech finds for the week.
Buy renewable energy for your Volt: While the arguments about the energy sources for electric vehicles and plug-in hybrids are generally really overblown and oversimplified, many EV drivers do want the cleanest power they can get for their vehicles. So, GM is developing a system for its OnStar platform that would notify Volt drivers when there’s renewable energy available on the grid so they could plug in at the right time. (via Earth 911)
What does global warming look like? If you’re thinking big picture in response to that question, the folks at NASA have released a video that shows 131 years of global temperature fluctuations in 26 seconds. (via Climate Central and @NRDC)
A “camper van” built over an electric bicycle may not attract a lot of buyers, but a 480 square foot off-grid cabin (with plenty of amenities and style) just might. Those and more in this week’s green tech finds.
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.
Assembly lines rolling out the Focus Electric: Think Nissan’s the only game in town for a true electric vehicle? Not anymore: Ford’s started production of its 2012 Focus Electric in Michigan. (via @edbegleyjr)
Ranger Rick comes to the iPhone: Your kids bug you to play games on your smartphone? The National Wildlife Federation has created a way to make sure they’re learning something. The new Ranger Rick mobile apps provide games for kids as young as 2 (yes, 2!) to sharpen their knowledge about wild animals.
Cool concept cars and planes, speakers that turn ordinary objects into amplifiers, and the potential environmental cost of washing your jacket: this week’s green tech finds.
Honda’s very cool, very light electric concept vehicle: Unfortunately, “concept” often means we’ll never see one on the road. Still, Honda’s EV-STER (which rolled out last week at the Tokyo Auto Show, and is pictured above) shows the company combining electric power with light weight (through lots of body elements made from carbon) and sweet styling; maybe they’ll keep thinking this way as they work towards new production vehicles. (via Earth Techling)
Underground skyscrapers, smart windows and more problems with natural gas drilling: Your green tech finds for the week.
Charge your car with your phone: Well, not exactly, but a new app developed by IBM and Swiss utility EKZ allows for better management of when your electric vehicle is charged and what sources of energy are used to charge it. Find out more in the video above. (via @greeneconpost)
The grain silo hotel: While not as green as it could be (because the structures used were built for the project), Silo Stay, a nine-unit New Zealand hotel built from grain silos…
A plug-in outdoor table, and how your labtop might contribute to rainforest destruction: this week’s green tech finds.
Wisconsin as a microgrid hub: There’s more than ugly political battles going on in the Badger State. A university-industry consortium announced an initiative to establish “microgrids” at UW campuses in Milwaukee and Madison over the next two years. (via @RepowerAmerica)
The idea of the Great Pacific Garbage Patch – a massive island of plastic garbage swirling around in the ocean – has captured the imagination of both die-hard greenies and concerned citizens alike. Our visions aren’t quite in line with reality (it’s more of a “soup” than an island), but we’ve generally got it right on the massive part: it may be twice the size of the continental United States. So when the home cleaning products brand Method announced the launch of “a bottle made out of plastic collected from the North Pacific Gyre” (aka the Great Pacific Garbage Patch), those of us in the green media jumped at the notion of a company making an effort to clean up this mess. As it turns out, we probably should’ve looked just a bit closer before we leaped (he wrote sheepishly).
Roads that charge your electric car, biofuel from orange peels, and sucking CO2 out of the air – your green tech finds for the week.
Look out, Volt! The plug-in Prius is here: Car hackers have been converting the Toyota Prius into a plug-in hybrid (like the Chevy Volt) for years. The Japanese automaker has finally gotten in on the trend and released a plug-in version of its popular hybrid for the 2012 model year. That’s it above. (via Greenwala)
Charge your electric car while driving it: The concept of “electrified roadways” that could charge electric vehicles while they’re moving has been around for decades, and Japanese researchers may have now come up with a viable model. “Electrified metal plates are buried under roads, which ‘up-convert’ energy via a radio frequency to a steel belt inside a car’s tires, as well as to a plate sitting above the tire.” (via smartplanet and @greenamericatv)
Old school shipping, CO2 as a source of fuel and yet another new solar technology for charging your phone: this week’s green tech finds.
Another recycling robot: While not as directly practical as the ZenRobotics Recycler we mentioned in an earlier post, Florida Robotics‘ Dr. R.E. Cycler is designed for educational purposes – essentially, to show kids what happens to the aluminum cans that go into those blue bins. Take a quick look at it above. (via Fast Company and @TaigaCompany)
Vinyl, aka PVC, is everywhere… and, as we’ve noted before (and as the film BLUE VINYL argued), it’s pretty nasty stuff. The best thing we could do is to stop making and using it, and substitute more environmentally benign materials. Second best… make use of all that vinyl that often goes to landfills.
As tornadoes have left wreckage across numerous parts of the US in recent months, a number of people are looking at all the debris left behind… and seeing opportunity. In Birmingham, Alabama, for instance, Southeast Renewables has set up station at the North Georgia landfill to sort our recyclable materials… a process that will make the company money, and save some for the city on disposal fees: the company claims it can recycle up to 80% of the tornado wreckage. In North Carolina’s Triangle area, individuals are the ones taking the initiative: local television station NBC-17 reported on a couple collecting scrap metal debris and taking it to a recycler… and making about $300 a day.