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Monday, January 31, 2011

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VeloMini foldable electric bike + carrying case


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If you’ve ever been on the Turnpike behind the guy with 17 bikes bouncing dangerously from his flimsy trunk-mounted bike rack you can appreciate this little folding electric bike. The VeloMini isn’t intended to replace full-sized electric bikes which are designed for traveling long distances; instead the manufacturer is marketing this as a portable travel bike to be used for short trips and in conjunction with other forms of transportation.

The VeloMini will take you 8 to 10 miles at speeds up to 12 mph. It folds to 18 inches tall and fits into its own carrying case. Its small size lets travelers take it on trips, bring it into hotel rooms, offices, or dorms where it can be charged and protected from theft. The little EV is powered by a Lithium-Ion battery incorporated into its anodized aluminum frame. You can pedal it like a bike; use the throttle like a moped; or turn on and the pedal assist mode to make pedaling easier.

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The VeloMini’s new T-1 luggage/bike trailer converts in seconds from a bike trailer to luggage with wheels.  The VeloMini Electric Folding Bicycle costs $995 with case, strap, tool kit and charger. The VeloMini Lite Electric Folding Bicycle costs $499 with case, strap, and tool kit and the T-1 Luggage/bike trailer costs $319 with case, bike connector and flag.

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Monday, January 31, 2011

Wear Your Music guitar string bracelet – a tried and true green product review


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Is this bracelet playing your song? New York-based WEAR YOUR MUSIC creates eco-friendly jewelry by turning used guitar strings into stylish bracelets and necklaces. I received a complimentary bracelet with a silver guitar pick charm for the purpose of this review, and here’s what I think…

It’s very cool. A great way to mix it up – proclaim your love of music, fashion, Earth and charitable causes in one fell swoop.

The guitar string bracelet is lightweight, and designed as a one size fits all using top quality material and craftsmanship. Prices start at under $10 (without charms). String ‘em up in multiples as arm candy or kick up the bling factor with silver charms (for an additional $8.99/each). You happen to be in luck right now, Punk Pink and Rockstar Red are currently 20% off, just enter code LOVE2011 at checkout…offer ends Feb 14th.

rymHands.jpgThe company also makes a line of guitar string Artistic bracelets with rock star heritage that start at $100.00 The bangle-style bracelets are crafted from guitar strings donated by over 150 artists ranging from rock luminaries Eric Clapton and Pete Townsend to contemporary artists like My Morning Jacket, Death Cab for Cutie, Jack Johnson, Carrie Underwood, Avril Lavigne and Ani DiFranco. I have my eye on the under-appreciated Steve Vai bracelet ($150).

The fine silver used on each bracelet is also 100% recycled, as is the DVD case each bracelet comes in. Each piece is sold with a certificate of authenticity.

A portion of each sale is donated to charities like Rock the Earth, Rock the Vote, Carlos Santana’s Milagro Foundation and The Grateful Dead-affiliated Rex Foundation.

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all good goop – organic healing balm


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organic_camper__s_set.jpgCrafted by Caroline Duell, an outdoor enthusiast and herbalist living in Northern California, all good goop balm is all-good. It became her signature product – the first one in a long line of many safe and effective products in her skincare brand, Elemental Herbs. All Good Goop contains 5 certified organic plants chosen for their medicinal properties: certified organic calendula, comfrey, lavender, plaintain and yarrow.

The great-smelling potion moisturizes dry skin, cracked heels, chapped lips and soothes minor cuts, burns, baby’s bum, and insect bites. USA-made, the powerful combo is infused in organic and extra virgin olive oil with pure beeswax, vitamin E and lavender essential oil (no petroleum jelly) – a little goes a long way.

find at elementalherbs.com (2 oz @ $13.50). Or pick up a handy Camper’s Organic Healing Set (sunscreen, lip balm, pain relief spray + all good goop) and many other effective Elemental Herbs products @ amazon.com.

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repurposed padlock necklace


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Found this funky necklace handmade from a recycled old tiny red padlock adorned with repurposed vintage jewels.

What price love? This Valentine’s Day trinket will cost you $50 @ retreuxgirl’s etsy shop.

Related: Eco Fashion Friday Finds

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monday’s green news roundup


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Sunday, January 30, 2011

from down under: Quon’s prefab container homes


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I recently came upon this interesting concept for factory built, zero-waste modular homes made from cargo containers designed by the Australian company Quon.

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Their website is a little light on info and the company may have never launched, but the Leggo-like building block concept for container living still packs a conceptual punch. Though the building units are identically shaped, their configurations are almost limitless … that, combined with the fact that the building modules can be moved via truck without special permits makes for one fast-tracked green building recipe.

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Saturday, January 29, 2011

USDA’s New Biobased Label A Bust?


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Last week, we were buzzing about the new Windmade label that will make it easier for shoppers to spot products produced using wind power. And this week, things are heating up in response to the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) newest notion, a voluntary product certification and label program that will call out “biobased” buys, or the stuff made from renewable resources. In short, the new seal will be found on things that use the USDA-required percentage of renewable plant, animal, marine or forestry materials. Sounds good, right?

Well, the folks over at WalletPop recently took to the blogosphere to question the validity of the USDA organization’s newest certification in this post. They point out that products certified in the new program might not be as wholesomely made as a consumer assumes. And they raise a good point. According to this USDA fact sheet, beauty and cleaning products made with a mere 25 percent of biobased material will be able to slap on a label, if approved. That’s not much, especially considering that the USDA’s organic seal mandates a hefty 95 percent of organically produced ingredients to tout the label.

Don’t get me wrong. Something is better than nothing, right? I wonder, though, how misleading the biobased seal will be to shoppers who haven’t done their own research and may be spending hard-earned cash on products that aren’t as environmentally considerate as those without the label? After all, the everyday shopper has to weigh a dizzying number of factors when making a purchase, including energy used in production, use of recycled material, end-of-life recyclability, fair-trade certification… and the list goes on.

Bottom line: When labels pop up in stores this spring, don’t blindly trust that it’s flagging the greenest buy. Do your homework and spend your money on the products that meet nobody’s standards but your own.

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Friday, January 28, 2011

eco fashion friday finds – turn up the green


Today’s roundup of sustainably chic finds is devoted to accessorizing. It’s getting easier to look gorgeous and green today, regardless of your budget or personal style.

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(above) The woodlands are abuzz over this handmade hemp Songbird handbag…not your grandma’s hippie dippie duds but a fresh take on sustainable fashion; ($48 in charcoal).

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(above) The Phoenix necklace is created from vintage and reclaimed materials that have arisen from the scrap heap, aided of course by a hefty dose of human ingenuity and design chops; ($128).

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(above) New from The Andean Collection is a line of beautifully handmade belts. Each purchase of an indigenous Inspiration Belt helps support the livelihoods of poverty-level women artisans in the Andes – (single $69; double $98).

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(above) This new arm candy is designed to suit all sizes … small, medium, large and XL. Mango Tree Fitted Bangles are made from Grade A Organic Mango Trees that no longer yield any fruit. Eco-fashioned from sustainably sourced material, each pretty bangle is hand carved and hand painted. And due to variations in the wood itself, each one looks unique.

They come in an array of 50 colors and 3 different styles – Slim, Samba and Bold. (Slim & Samba styles retail for $16/solid style & $18/marbelized. Bold $20/solid and $22 marbelized.) Play on their website, mixing and matching styles and color combos.

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