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reclaimed lumber transformed – rob southcott


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Designer Rob Southcott has taken a variety of reclaimed local timber and created a series of abstract furniture pieces intended to represent diversity and multiculturalism.

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Monday, January 18, 2010

a tasty serving of green news


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be my eco-valentine – Big Love upcycled sea glass necklace


Is Valentine’s Day coming up, already?

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This beautiful piece of upcycled sea glass, transformed and shaped by the ocean’s waves and adorned with a tiny heart, would make a heartfelt, eco-friendly expression of your fond affection.  Put on some Big Love.

Eco Love heart necklace, ($33) @ seafindesigns etsy shop

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Handcrafted, Recycled Paper Products Create Jobs for Chicago Women


WomanCraft, a green Chicago business, creates artisan and transitional jobs for women who face barriers to employment.

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Employees of WomanCraft in turn create beautiful, handcrafted products using recycled paper from local offices, enabling them to “earn income, improve job skills, build a work history and increase economic self-sufficiency.”

As both a socially and environmentally conscious business, WomanCraft has borrowed an equation from Conservatree to calculate their recycling impact: the paper equivalent of about 48 trees per year.  That’s 1,500 pounds of paper kept out of incinerators and landfills annually!  As a small sustainable company, WomanCraft should be proud of this contribution.

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They should also be proud of their unique, artistic papers.  You can order one of their classic creations like this set of ten starry night notes priced @ $15, but perhaps what makes WomanCraft really special are their custom creations, which give you the option of bringing in your own fresh or dried bouquet of flowers from a special occasion to be preserved into cards, memory books, frames, invitations, and more.

If you’re planning a wedding, be sure to stop by their site; they reclaim botanical elements and of course recycled paper to create beautiful invitations, menus, programs, and guest favors.  You can even have your custom order laced with flower seeds – a lovely gift that can be planted into the ground and blossom in time.

awc5.jpgWomanCraft papers are made by hand, not a machine, so each creation is unique in its own sustainable way.

If you like what you find, go ahead and become their fan on Facebook.

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AltCon’s Auto Outlook for 2010


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Last week we touted a selection of promising eco-friendly cars unveiled at the North American International Auto Show in Detroit.  From purely electric rides to advanced hybrids, there were a healthy number of debuts that caught our eye and piqued our interest.  But as we know, a head-turner on the shiny showroom floor doesn’t necessarily equal a dealership hit.  As the “debuts” of 2010 turn into production models for 2011 and beyond, I’m left wondering what tomorrow’s car shoppers are really thinking.  As it turns out, so are a lot of folks.  In conjunction with the country’s largest car show, several industry experts have stepped forward with some equally interesting data.

Ten percent of U.S. drivers – about 20 million – said that they would consider buying a plug-in hybrid or electric vehicle, according to a new survey by Ernst & Young LLP.  And while 10 percent might not seem like too many, it’s a substantial number for technologies that are still new relatively new to the market.

Why aren’t more people signing up for an eco ride?  At the top of the list of hesitations are limited access to charging stations, “range anxiety” – or the distance a battery-powered car can go, and (not surprisingly) cost.

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And without a major technology breakthrough, batteries are likely to remain pricey components on cars.  A new study by Boston Consulting Group predicts that lithium-ion battery costs will stay relatively high over the next 10 years, accounting for approximately six percent of the global market by 2020… not nearly as optimistic as other recent forecasts.

While that isn’t the best news for EVs, it’s a silver lining for hybrid makers, who saw sales jump slightly in 2009, despite a down market.  In fact, Toyota’s Prius hybrid sedan boasted through-the-roof sales last month, jumping a whopping 50 percent.  So, having taken a look at the latest and greatest in hybrid and battery technology, I’m eager to assume that demand is only increasing.  It may be a while, but in time, we’ll see more quiet cars cruising our roads – and far clearer skies – for the future.

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