Sustainable products roundup

It’s that time again.

What’s better than a gadget that eliminates mundane tasks? Ecopod makes sorting recyclables efficient and effortless with their household recycling center. Designed in partnership with BMW DesignWorksUSA, Ecopod’s E1 series houses the usual separate compartments for your recyclables, along with a compactor which takes all the air out of your plastic bottles and aluminum cans. With a touch of a foot pedal, your plastic and aluminum reduce instantly to space-saving scale.

P.E.T. ABUSE: Redstr Collective Plastic Chalices (Via
We inherently love design made from recycled materials – and we love it even more is when an unusual choice of recycled materials challenges our expectations and provokes interesting questions about the nature of disposable comsumption. Such is the case with Redstr Collective’s P.E.T Abuse collection: a line of fancy “chalices” made from recycled plastic water bottles. With just a simple slice and reconfiguring of an old plastic bottle, we get a medieval-style chalice that looks better suited to King Arthur’s round table than collecting dust in your recycling bin. These look fun for parties and a good DIY craft project for kids. Considering we all have plastic P.E.T bottles making the rounds through our recycling bins, why aren’t we all making plastic chalices on a daily basis? (I smell a How-to coming…)

LED Lightbulb Replacement (Via Treehugger)
Notwithstanding the Compact Fluorescent Love-in going on, we have always considered them an interim technology, soon to be replaced by even more efficient, completely mercury free and longer lasting LED’s. The Mule LEDison bulbs screw into a standard (Edison) base, but replace a 60 watt bulb with a 100,000 hour life bulb that consumes, get this, one watt. We suspect they are really expensive but that will change and when it does, CFL’s are toast. ::Mule via ::ecogeek

Julian Lwin’s Urban Herbarium (Via Treehugger)
We’re happy to say that Lwin’s at it again with his green fingered design. The designer who has brought us such fertile ideas as the Galapagos Table, the Urban Oasis and the Biodegradable Biotube Bench has now turned his hand to herbs. “The Urban Herbarium is a self-enclosed growing chamber to germinate and grow edible herbs for your city kitchen. The shape of the Urban Herbarium allows rainwater runoff to be purified and filtered through three sizes of perforated holes in the top and side panels. The pollutants associated with urban living are cleaned using a micro-mesh carbon filtration system – providing a great opportunity to grow edible foods pollutant-free in the city. A terraced & stackable version is also under development.” Via: MocoLoco ::Lwin Design

Solar Powered Wheelchair: Energy Matters (Via Treehugger)
When the kids saw this picture they said “What a great idea. Shelter from the rain and sun! Free charge up!” Visibility is improved but we’re not sure how the user gets on public transit? Perhaps there’s a net reduction in weight; that would help? There’s a place to clamp on a 12V personal fan, for sure. While the picture tells most of the story, there’s more digital fringe at InfoLink. Via: The Raw Feed

Acoustic Weave 3D Wallpaper from Mioculture (Via Treehugger)
The guys at MIO have done it again. We’ve mentioned their lighting and seating before, and covered an earlier version of their 3-D wallpaper way back in 2004; the latest version builds on their previous designs. The Acoustic Weave is designed to diffuse sound, reduce acoustic glare and eliminate standing waves; add to that it’s green credentials (100% recycled and recyclable paper made in closed-loop manufacturing from locally sourced materials) and you’ve got a great way to spruce up any room, TreeHugger style. The tiles can be installed temporarily with double stick tape or permanently with wallpaper paste, and can be painted or colored. $30 gets you a dozen tiles. ::MIOculture via ::Core77

MBDC’s Pick for All-Purpose, Non-Toxic Cleaning (Read the full post at Treehugger)
Last week, we told you that sustainable product and process design consulting firm McDonough Braungart Design Chemistry (MBDC) had awarded Begley’s Best All Purpose Cleaner with Cradle to Cradle Certification, one of the most prestigious sustainable honors out there. So what’s so special about this stuff? Well for starters, it is non-toxic, non-caustic, non-fuming, non-flammable, non-explosive, non-irritating, non-allergenic, and 99 percent biodegradable in seven days. Then, you have the ingredients that sound more like a gourmet party dip: Extracts of pine, palm, de-acidified citrus, maize, fermented sugar cane, and olive seeds.

ZenTable: By Cardboard Design (Read the full post at Treehugger)
Cardboardesign had such a good initial response to its cardboard furniture and decorative products they decided to open a commercial website. “With prices ranging from $36 – $160, everyone can own a piece. From penthouses to playhouses, the furniture fits in any dwelling”. They suggest that their desktops, like that of the pictured ZenTable, take on a “lacquered look” if the top is varnished. Look for traditional (non-urethane) marine spar varnish if you decide to go that route. Examples of custom decorated versions of the table are shown here. The TreeHugger favored quote from the website promo: “Not one [1] tree was cut down to produce our furniture & packaging.”

Texcote – Solar Reflective Paint

Via Treehugger.

One of our very early posts was on the enviro benefits of Green Roofs. And we’ve been singing their praise ever since, touching on various benefits, such as spreading out the temperature differentials encountered by roofs. But if you have some deep seating aversion to growing grasses and strawberries on your upstairs, you might alternatively be curious about Texcote.

It claims to be 10 times thicker than normal paint, and to be infused with a special reflective pigment. Now your house, or commercial premises, unlike a Stealth bomber, may not need to reduce its radar signature, but reducing roof temps by 40°F is a practical application of the technology. Apparently the US govt think such energy reduction possibilities might have merit, so are said to be researching just what the savings could be. And the stuff is robust, in some instances not needing a repaint for 40 years. Yet for all this heavy-dutyness, it is said to have a low volatile organic compound (VOC) emissions.

Texcote was cited in a list of significant green architectural products in recent time, but alas we’ve misplaced the reference. ::Texcote.

Washington State Bans Detergents

Via Treehugger.

We recently learned about this news from the state of Washington and we’re sorry to say that it seems that it’s a few months old. However, it is still good news! According to a state legislative bill, the state will now “extend the limitation on the phosphorus in laundry detergent (already in place) to include automatic dish detergent.

Phosphates enter water bodies and stimulates excessive algae growth, which ultimately robs the water of oxygen and makes it unsuitable for recreation.” Finally, a state that knows there are better solutions! Now how do we get the others on board? Via ::Health Magazine

Green Design Education Initiative — For Interior Design

Via Treehugger.

Don’t remember how, but tripped over this site some time ago. It is such a delight to find a fast, cleanly laid out site, which has the information you need and its not given over to verbiage or overblown unnecessary flash animation.

It is a “strategic partnership comprised of the Interior Design Educators Council (IDEC), the International Interior Design Association (IIDA), the International Facility Management Association (IFMA) and Metropolis Magazine.” All have pooled their info on sustainable design in this very accessible venue.

Lots of useful links. Though some might be a little old. We come to this conclusion for two reasons. 1. The note for the promised ‘Green Design Instructional Handbook’ suggests it will be published in the fall of 2003! And secondly because TreeHugger is not referenced 🙂 and we are two years young.

But that age caveat aside, there remains much useful stuff here. For instance, we liked this one from the FAQ. “Q. I feel overwhelmed by the certification programs and all of the product information currently available from manufacturers. Is there an easier route to Green/Sustainable design?. A. Many designers and facility managers begin by identifying a few meaningful Green/Sustainable selections that they can make with ease on every project. This list will expand as they become more familiar with green/sustainable design movement.” So take a peek at ::The Green Design Education Initiative.

7th National Conference on Science, Policy, and the Environment: Integrating Environment and Human Health

The National Council for Science and the Environment invites you to participate in our 7th National Conference on Science, Policy, and the Environment: Integrating Environment and Human Health, February 1-2, 2007 at the Ronald Reagan Building and International Trade Center in Washington, D.C.

We invite you join over 850 scientists, policymakers, businesspeople, and civil society representatives in exploring the linkages between the environment and human health. The conference will address the many essential roles the environment plays on our well-being, as well as the multi-dimensional relationships between human health and environmental components, which may have far-reaching consequences for society. Over 120 experts will speak in plenary sessions, symposia, and topical breakout sessions.

Visit to view the conference agenda, breakout sessions, speaker information, and to obtain the latest program updates. Please consider the many opportunities available for organizational participation at the conference, including conference sponsorship, hosting an exhibition, or displaying a poster. General conference questions may be directed to Online registration will be available in October.

Information Maps – International Networks Archive

Via Treehugger.

We were recently sent a link to these amazing ‘maps’ and thought they were so interesting that we just had to share them with you. Then we realised that Collin wrote a post on the Transportation map only last week! Never mind there are several more maps in the series which we think are worth looking at, especially the Map of the world’s water.

The International Networks Archive is based at Princeton University and is described as, ‘A global alliance of scholars who believe that geography is becoming increasingly irrelevant. INA is developing a new way of mapping our world, based on global transactions instead of geography.’ The artist Jonathan Harris, aka Number 27, formerly Flaming Toast Productions, collaborated with the INA to create these powerful and informative graphics. Jonathan describes the project as ‘an experimental mapping philosophy, merging data, maps and technology.’

Click over the page to see other maps depicting the global impact of Starbucks and McDonalds, the arms trade and the tobacco industry Thanks to Gustavo for the tip. :: International Networks Archive

Have an Eco-Conversation with Your Boss

Read the full post at Treehugger.

Many Treehuggers who commit to a variety of eco-conscious activities at home, from composting to recycling to shopping for local and organic food, may go to an office or other work place every day where all of these practices are completely foreign to co-workers and managers. Having that eco-conversation with your manager or CEO may be one of the most effective ways to create wider change, but how do you convince someone whose main commitment is to your company’s bottom line?

In Wednesday’s Environment column for the UK’s Guardian, Imogen Martineau, communications manager at Forum for the Future, makes a number of suggestions for turning your boss into a green workplace convert.

What We've Been Reading Lately

Via Treehugger.

We thought it would be interesting to share with you what we’ve been reading lately. Many green books, though not all are related to tree-hugging (we rarely go off-topic, but with books, we can’t resist). Please share your reading lists with us in the comments.

Video: MIT Conference: Science and Technology for a Clean Energy Future

Via Treehugger.

The Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) is putting a lots of lectures and conferences online in audio and video form. One of them is Science and Technology for a Clean Energy Future. The 5 panelists talk about: The solar & wind industry, battery technology, cellulosic biofuels, nuclear fusion and the possibilities of nanotechnology. They don’t have time to go very deep into each subject and cover everything, but they give a good overview of the current state of the art and what is currently being worked on.

If you want to skip the introduction (which doesn’t contain too many exciting things), forward about 14 minutes into the video. MIT: Science and Technology for a Clean Energy Future. See also: ::Video: Past, Present and Future of the Solar Industry, ::William A. McDonough Conference from 2000

Sharp AQUOS Liquid Crystal TV: “Mother Nature Compatible”

Read the full story at Treehugger.

Sharp is using the “Mother Nature Compatible” tag line to characterize their HDTVs. Their Financial Times ad from earlier this week described the use of recycled materials, their low power consumption, long operating life, and green characteristics of the Sharp Kameyama Factory where they are made, featuring “the world’s largest solar energy system created with Sharp Solar modules, a co-generation system to reduce C02 emissions and a 100% water re-use system“.

Other Kameyama plant green design features are outlined on the website (viewer warning- site is heavily infested with ‘flash and orchestral circumstance’). We got the sense that the factory’s air conditioning is supplemented with cool air from the nearby mountain range.