June 30, 2008

Flip And Tumble - Eco Friendly Shopping Bag


The Flip and Tumble bad is both eco-friendly and fashionable. We received one, and have really started to use it for our quick trip shopping over the past few weeks. It collapses into a ball, and best of all doesn't look like other reusable bags.

Bag Features:

  • bag size = 12" x 14" x 5" = large enough for 3 half gallons of milk and then some
  • ball size = 3" in diameter = the size of a peach
  • weight capacity = 25 lbs. = strong enough for a bowling ball or two
  • material = ripstop nylon
  • plastic bags spared = 1,000+
  • at the end of the bags useful life = more landfill. instead send it back, they'll recycle it.

At Flip and Tumble

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June 27, 2008

Xantrex Xpower Powerpack Solar - Charge Your iPhone with the Sun's Help


What is this crazy looking gadget? The XPower Powerpack Solar is the first portable power pack that incorporates solar power in a compact, portable power source. It s completely self-renewing, which means the detachable 5-watt solar panel has the ability to recharge the power pack s 10 amp-hour battery.

The 5-watt solar panel captures, stores and converts the sun s renewable energy, replenishes the XPower Powerpack Solar s battery, and extends the runtime of many devices by up to 25 percent. Runs 120-volt AC or 12-volt DC products anywhere. Built-in 400-watt inverter. Two 120-volt AC outlets, one 12-volt DC socket and one USB port. Three-digit display for easy battery status monitoring. AC charger included so you can charge from a standard wall outlet.

At Xantrex Xpower Powerpack Solar

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June 26, 2008

Build a Green Home - No More Power Bills Ever

solar house 2small.jpg

A New Jersey engineer Mike Strizki has created a green home resulting in no more power bills ever, and not just electric bills. Strizki converts sunshine into electricity using photovoltaic panels - and then uses the electricity to wring hydrogen for fuel out of ordinary tap water. The result: For two years Strizki has bought no electricity, no gas, no fuel for his several vehicles. The only downside - an investment of just over $500,000 bucks was needed to achieve this feat of eco-modernism.

Via Popgadget

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June 25, 2008

Ford Cuts Back on Production of SUVs - Makes Hybrids Instead


TreeHugger is reporting that Ford is cutting back on SUVs. No duh. We're bummed people have to pay $4 for a gallon of gas but we're excited that it means less trucks and less green house gases.

"We view the move to smaller, more fuel-efficient vehicles as permanent, and we are responding to customer demand." When the CEO of Ford makes a statement like that, you know that high gas prices have really had an effect on the economy. Not only is Ford aware of the need to respond to changing customer demand, it is also acting on that by delaying the launch of its new F-150 pick up truck, producing "90,000 fewer pick ups and SUVs in the second half of the year than it originally planned," and preparing to make more compact, efficient cars like the Ford Focus and Escape

Full read at Telegraph.co.uk

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June 24, 2008

Electric Motorcycle Built by High School Students


A group of students at a high school in Mendota Heights, Minnesota has created an electric motorcycle that uses sixty volts worth of lithium phosphate batteries powering a Briggs and Stratton ETEK pancake-style permanent magnet electric motor. That is maybe the biggest mouthful of electric powered jargon we've ever typed. A gallery of pictures are available as well.

The current configuration is said to be good for a top speed of sixty miles per hour and a range of forty miles. The chassis is constructed from chromoly tubing. The body is made from a carbon fiber and Kevlar composite and should therefore prove very strong. The full seat even features a seatbelt. We are not certain that anything quite like this will ever be available for purchase again, but its good to see it in concept form at least.

Via Autobloggreeen

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June 23, 2008

Solar and Wind Charging Power Tent for Music Festivals


Glastonbury Festival will have plenty of electricity thanks to U.K. mobile company Orange's green cellphone charging stations. The Gotwind REchargepod is the first mobile phone charging station powered solely by Wind and Solar Renewable Energy. The self sufficient pod provides a quick and secure place to charge multiple mobile phones whilst outdoors and away from traditional power sources. With a peak power of 1Kw, the pod can recharge 100 mobile phones per hour, and stores any unused energy in its battery bank.

And if that's not enough - a fully functional weather station and power generated and consumed readout is also viewable for all to see on an information panel within the pod.

Via Gizmodo at GotWind.org

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June 20, 2008

Eco Food Friday: Honest Foods Granola Planks and Whole Food Country Squares

91a5NIsOtML._AA280_PIbundle-4,TopRight,0,0_AA280_SH20.jpg What's a granola plank? When I first opened a package of Honest Foods Granola Planks, I ate the plank whole. It was very filling, but dense; that's when I read the package. Granola planks are hearty slabs of whole grains, nuts, seeds and fruits designed to be crumbled into clusters right into the bowl. The planks help the granola stay fresher, and I can see how they would be great for backpacking since they take up less volume in your pack than traditional granola. Each Honest Granola Plank provides 350 mgs of Omega-3 fatty acids, seven grams of protein, 22 grams of whole grains, contains no trans-fats, and are made with organic oats. They come in three flavors: Maple Almond Crunch, Pomegranate Walnut Crisp and Blueberry Vanilla Crackle.

Honest Foods also makes Whole Food Country Squares. These individually packaged whole grain treats are made from:

Organic Whole Oats, Peanut Butter, Brown Rice Syrup, Organic Evaporated Cane Juice, Organic Chocolate Liquor, Organic Cocoa Butter, Soy Lecithin (An Emulsifier), Organic Vanilla, Peanut Halves, Water, Sunflower Seeds, Oat Bran Walnuts, Rice Brian Fiber, Sesame Seeds, Natural Vanilla Extract, Natural Peanut Flavor, Natural Plant Gums (Guar Gum, Gum Arabic), Sea Salt. (ingredients for Choco P'nut Butter)

The Whole Food Country Squares are available in Cran-Lemon Zest, Apple-Ginger Spice, Farmer's Trail Mix, and Choco P'nut Butter.  They are vegan and wheat-free!
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June 19, 2008

Green Plug Develops Single Universal Power Adapter for All Electronic Devices

top-pic-2nd-d.jpg I have a drawer full of cell phone power adapters, camera adapters, and of course, my laptop and modem have different power adapters too! Each time I get a new electronic device, I keep the old adapter thinking I might need it some day, but it never fits the new phone, camera, etc. Green Plug, a start-up company, proposes we use one universal power adapter for all our electronic needs, which would help the environment by eliminating the need to produce and ship a new power adapter with each device. Green Plug explains:
Billions of devices including laptops, printers, speakers, routers, modems, cell phones, entertainment devices, power tools, cameras and so many other portable electronic devices require a power source that converts between 90V and 254V wall power to device-specific DC power. That means that these devices require unique power converters, and that is very costly, is extremely inconvenient and contributes to wasted resources and pollution.
According to MacWorld, Green Plug's universal adapter will also eliminate phantom power draws:
Green Plug's technology allows each device to communicate its individual power requirements to the power adapter, allowing several devices to share one adapter...Each adapter will act like a hub that several devices can plug into... The adapters also will shut off the power supply when a device has finished charging or is turned off, giving further energy savings.
Westinghouse has already endorsed the idea.
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June 18, 2008

Zero Footprint and Ultimate Eco-Friendly: New Terracycle Natural Household Cleaning Products

cleaners_group2_hr.jpg Terracycle has long been known for its liquid plant food, now the "ultimate eco-friendly brand" has moved into natural household cleaners. These cleaners are non-toxic, biodegradable, environmentally friendly, and have a zero footprint! Natural All Purpose Cleaner, Natural Bathroom Cleaner, Natural Window Cleaner and Drain Maintainer and Cleaner, like all TerraCycle products, are packaged entirely in waste, reused soda bottles and are sold nationwide at OfficeMax and The Home Depot. Made from concentrated essences of plants, shrubs, fruits, herbs and grasses with natural minerals and water,TerraCycle's ready-to-use cleaners really work. The window cleaner even cut through my dirty glass door with little effort, removing fingerprints, doggy nose prints, and mud with one spray. These cleaners are EcoLogo certified, the strictest certification given by the Canadian Government for environmentally sound practices in production and formulation.

Terracycle was started by Tom Szaky, a 25-year old entrepreneur and Princeton University dropout. TerraCycle products are the first consumer products to earn the right to carry the Zerofootprint™ seal. The seal signifies that the materials and manufacturing processes have virtually no negative environmental repercussions. By reusing plastic soda bottles for packaging without changing the bottle at all, Terracycle makes recycling more efficient and require less processing. After trying Terracycle household cleaners, they have become my products of choice for my green home cleaning!

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June 17, 2008

Drought Solutions: Virtually Waterless Washing Machine

washing_machine.jpg With drought occurring on all seven continents, many people are wondering if peak water will replace peak oil. We already have low flush toilets and low flow shower heads, soon we may be using virtually waterless washing machines. Researchers at the University of Leeds have developed a process of cleaning clothes using less than 2% of the water and energy of a conventional washing machine, and it can replace both water and dry cleaning. The process uses of plastic chips tumbled with the clothes to remove stains. I'm not sure how eco-friendly the plastic chips may be, but water and energy conservation needs may override plastic concerns. These virtually waterless washing machines may be available as soon as 2009. Via: University of Leeds & engadget
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June 16, 2008

Natural Lip Luxury from Aveda

av_A46P_162.jpg I love Aveda hair products (see our post on The Aveda Babassu Community Project). It is only recently that I have discovered Aveda's makeup, specifically products for lip care. Like other Aveda products I have tried, I fell in love with them and felt good about using them on my daughter for her ballet performance, due to their natural ingredients, ecological packaging, and community supported projects.
  • Nourish-mint renewing lip treatment: This lip product is designed to replenish and plump lips naturally over time, as well as smooth the appearance of lines. It makes a wonderful base for lip color or can be used alone. The new packaging reduces waste by 33%, and the key ingredients are coconut, raspberry, certified organic spearmint and vanilla.
  • Nourish-mint sheer mineral lip color: Available in seven different shades, this lip color combines the benefits of the above product with color! The improvements to your lips are noticeable in two weeks, with full results typical after eight weeks of continuous wearing. The key ingredients are rasberry, pomegranate, bilberry, certified organic spearmint and vanilla.
  • Nourish-mint smoothing lip color: There are 21 shades of color available for this lip product! After using this product, 75% of women noticed fuller lips after 2 weeks. Naturally plump lips, rather than collagen injected ones, bring out the natural beauty in any woman.
  • Envirometal retractable lip brush: Made from 30% post-consumer recycled aluminum and cruelty-free (not made from animals), this silky-soft, taklon bristles lip brush allows for precise application of lip color. The retractable head makes it easy to throw in a bag or purse without worry about getting the brush dirty.
  • Nourish-mint abaca clutch: Made from abaca pulp, a plant related to the banana tree, this clutch bag holds seven lip products and the retractable brush, or it can hold two lip colors, lip brush, and a total face compact. Abaca plants help prevent erosion, an this bag is made in the Philippines. It is the perfect little makeup bag.
Even though I don't wear makeup regularly, it is nice to have natural, environmentally packaged products for special occasions. I really love the abaca clutch and the renewing lip treatment!
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June 13, 2008

Eco Food Friday: Organic Batter Blaster?

I've seen this product before and even made fun of it, so when I was approached to try out and review Batter Blaster, I was hesitant. I wrote the company, "OK, but I have to be honest with you, I am not entirely sure I can give a positive review of your product. I have seen it in stores, and I wonder about it. I am willing to try it, which may change my opinion." I'd even called the product "pseudo natural foods" in a previous post.

Batter Blaster is organic pancake batter in a can, similar to a whip cream steel can. It's pressurized, so you just point and shoot it into your pan, and voila, you are making pancakes. It contains:

Filtered water
Organic wheat flour (unbleached)
Organic cane sugar
Organic whole egg solids
Organic soybean powder
Sodium lactate (lactic acid from beet sugar)
DiCalcium phosphate and Sodium bicarbonate (baking soda) (leavening agents)
Organic rice bran extract propellant

There is no doubt that this product is convenient and easy to use, but really, how hard is it to make pancakes?. The pancakes taste fine, but I prefer Pamela's Gluten-Free Ultimate Baking and Pancake Mix if I am not making pancakes from scratch.

Just because a product is made from organic ingredients, it doesn't mean that it is eco-friendly. I was able to recycle the Batter Blaster can at our local recycling center, but I wonder how available this is across the country, and it seems like a lot of energy would be involved in product production. Having Batter Blaster in the refrigerator did mean that I made pancakes for my kids when I probably would have not due to the convenience, but I am not sure that is such a good thing or not. Are pancakes really that healthy? I think their usual bowl of oatmeal with flax seeds and some fruit is a better start to the day.

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June 12, 2008

Who Needs Gas When You Can Ride a Cool Electric Motorcycle or Bike?

enertia-electric-motorcycle-1.jpg Gas has reached over $4.50 a gallon here in Northern California, and there is no relief in site. Many people are turning to motorcycles as a more efficient way to travel, and now, electric bikes and motorcycles are leading the trend.
  • Brammo Enertia Electric Motorcycle: This bike runs on six Lithium Phosphate battery modules, has a top speed of 50mph, and travels about 45 miles between three hour charges. It costs about $12,000.
  • Electrobike Model Pi: This human-electric hybrid bike has a cool ergonomic shape, and it switches from pedal power to electric power with a switch on the handlebars. This bike will travel about 30 miles per three hour charge.
  • Matra MS1 Electric Bike: This French bike will travel 62 miles per charge. When you apply the brakes, the bike captures usable energy. An LCD on the handlebars displays your speed and remaining battery power.
  • Schwinn Bikes World GSE: This is a great commuter bike travels 60 miles on a single charge. The battery pack is removable, so you can charge it easily at work.
  • Optibike: This bike will will run at 20 mph on the battery alone, with light pedaling go 25 mph, and with some serious pedal action reach 35+ mph. At top speeds, the battery will only last for 30 minutes.
None of these bikes are cheap, but neither is a really good mountain bike (or gasoline). Hybrid pedal power just may be the solution for many city commuters.
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June 11, 2008

Eco Friendly Father's Day Gift: Classic Push Reel Lawn Mower

Father's Day is this Sunday, and if you feel compelled to give Dad a gift, make it eco-friendly. Most dads I know take pride in their lawns. My own dad doesn't obsess over his green grass, but he definitely keeps it neatly mowed. I think the perfect eco-friendly gift for a lawn loving father is a classic push reel lawn mower.

Not all push lawn mowers are created equal. Many of them contain Proposition 65 warnings, meaning:

WARNING:This product contains chemicals known to the State of California to cause cancer and birth defects or other reproductive harm.

The Gilmour Reel Mower reel lawn mower does not contain any of these chemicals. It comes with a grass catcher, is 20 inches wide, and has self-sharpening reels. Push reel lawn mowers are perfect for small yards, but they work in large yards too. It is best not to let your grass grow too long between cuttings with a push reel mower, but it certainly cuts down on noise and air pollution. Push reel lawn mowers are more pleasant to use in comparison to their gas counterparts. With the cost of gasoline skyrocketing and climate change eminent, a push reel lawn mower offers Dad a chance to use less fuel and make mowing more enjoyable.

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June 10, 2008

Transparent Transistor Makes Solar Energy Twice as Efficient at Half the Cost

transparent-transistor_5211_noRyr_7071.jpg When we first purchased our solar panels 15 years ago, the standard rule of thumb was it would take 10 years before your solar investment would pay off in saved utility bills. Now, new technologies are changing all of that. HP and Xtreme Energetics, are teaming up to develop a solar energy system that works on transparent transistor technology. Made from zinc and tin, the transistors provide a transparent electronic mechanism that maximizes the concentration of light. Other new solar technologies, such as Nanosolar, may make solar energy cheaper than coal to produce.
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June 9, 2008

Give Yourself an Eco Pedicure with a Terra Cotta Foot Scrubber

terra cotta foot scrubber This time of year, I get garden feet which are dirty and crack. My feet need some tender loving care, but I refuse to pay for a pedicure and be exposed to all of the toxic chemicals in nail salons. Gilden Tree's two-sided Terra Cotta Footscrubber and Callus Remover is the perfect tool for giving yourself an eco pedicure. Ranked as "The Best" by "O" (Oprah) magazine, this footscrubber is long-lasting, easy to clean, and eco-friendly. It is made by a women's cottage industry in Pakistan, and if used regularly, it helps remove calluses, and reduces dry,cracked heels. Your feet will be cleansed, exfoliated, and polished. Terra cotta construction means you can either heat or chill the footscrubber for further soothing. 
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June 6, 2008

Eco Drink Friday: Organic Silk Soymilk Tastes Just Like Milk

silk soymilk I made the switch to soymilk after having to milk a cow with mastitis and seeing the animal suffer, as well as how she would sometimes poo while we were milking. It was really gross, and it made me realize that cutting down on my dairy consumption would be good for the cows and the planet. It takes an incredible amount of land and water to support livestock.

Organic Silk Soymilk has the texture, consistency, and taste of cow milk. It is really good in lattes, and it is readily available in most grocery stores. Started in 1977 in Boulder, Colorado, Silk is now the number one producer of soymilk in the US. The company utilizes many green practices. According to Ideal Bite:

  • Through Silk's GreenCaps program, it donates 30 kilowatt-hours in offsets for every UPC code customers enter at its website - enough to run a fridge for 13 days. (Plus, these customers are auto-entered for a chance to win a green home makeover.)
  • It offsets 100% of the power used in production by supporting clean, renewable wind energy - the equivalent of planting 22,000 acres of trees each year since 2003.
  • Silk operates a "Zero Waste" program at HQ, with biodegradable utensils, and full-scale recycling and composting programs.

Silk is looking at the total carbon footprint of their products "from farm to fridge". This is a refreshing approach of corporate responsibility to consider the impact of a product after it has left the store shelf.

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June 5, 2008

Toyota Building Nickel-Metal Hydride and Lithium-Ion Battery Plants for Electric and Hybrid Cars

Shizuoka What will $192 million buy? A nickel-metal hydride battery plant in Shizuoka prefecture, central Japan. Toyota is teaming up with Matsushita Electric Industrial Co, makers of Panasonic, to build a plant to produce the batteries currently used in the Prius. Rumors are also circulating in the Nikkei, Japan's top business daily, that Toyota is also building a lithium-ion battery plant for future electric cars. Lithium-ion batteries are smaller and more powerful than nickel-metal hydrides, and they may be used in the plug-in Prius expected in 2010. Nissan, who plans to release an affordable electric vehicle in 2010, will be using lithium-ion batteries. Via: AP News
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June 4, 2008

HP Goes Green with Affordable, Recycled Printer

HP D2545 Inkjet recycled printer Hewlett-Packard has just launched a new line of greener office products. The HP Deskjet D2545 Printer is made from 83% recycled plastic and is Energy Star rated. Even the ink cartridges are made from recycled plastic resins. At a price of $44.99, this is an affordable green office product. HP also offers extensive recycling programs for computer equipment, printing supplies, rechargeable batteries and other items.

Via: Environmental News Network

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June 3, 2008

Izzit Green Helps Bostonians Share What is Green and Good

Do you live in Boston and want to go green? Izzit Green can help. This new community based website asks, "Is it good?" and "IzzitGreen?" Users can search businesses, write reviews, discuss, and look at guides for the area.

If you care about the state of our planet, you need to know 'is it good' and IzzitGreen? Just like peanut butter and jelly or Pinky and The Brain,'good' and 'green' are fine on their own. But when they get together...that's when greatness happens.
Since I don't live in Boston (but Blogpire is based there), I am not familiar with businesses in the area. I decided to search for a business I knew would be there: Starbucks. I was curious to see how green Bostonians think this coffee chain is, but unfortunately it hasn't been rated yet. 

Sharing green finds with your community uses the power of the web to promote change. Izzit Green values the community's opinions, "Your observations and your smarts are the foundation of our community." I hope Izzit Green expands to other towns soon!

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June 2, 2008

Really Natural May Monthly Roundup

May is behind us, and the summer solstice is approaching.  Here is a roundup of our posts for May:

Alternative Energy



Blogpire News


Electric Cars


Green Homes






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