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eco-friendly spalted maple cutting boards

spalted maple cutting board

We love the rustic-modern style of these spalted maple cutting boards from Gray Works Design. All of their one-of-a-kind products are hand-crafted in their small, Woodstock, NY, studio and the wood is sourced exclusively from sustainably harvested and salvaged local American hardwoods. The spalted look of the wood used in the creation of the boards (above and below) was caused by the interactions of various fungi – creating exotic lines and discoloration in the wood.

minicutting board spalted maple

Gray Works’ carving boards undergo several stages of refinement (by hand) to create their final sculptural form. Each ‘footed platte’ is coated, by hand, with several applications of organic olive oil to ensure a smooth, professional surface. The wood is carefully selected and shaped to highlight spectacular grain, knots, wormholes, and the “noble rot” of spalted wood.

Gray Works also creates a variety of sustainably made furniture pieces such as tables and benches. Their cutting boards come in variety of shapes & sizes, and generally range in price from $25 to $80.

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Monday, February 4, 2013

Thinking Green and Cell Phones: Can You Hear Me Now?

So here at AltCon, we’re pretty enthusiastic proponents of eco-friendly swag for your mobile device; you can see that here, and here, and here. After all, our cellphonesphones are hugely significant parts of our lives. They connect us to our friends, our families, our work, our play; I rarely go a day without mine. But have you ever stopped to consider how significant of an environmental impact that handheld lifeline in your pocket has?

Most of us are probably aware that our cell phones use a huge amount of energy. Does anybody else consider their charger an essential accessory to grab before walking out the door, like keys or a wallet? With more than 3 billion people using cell phones globally, the energy expenditure is colossal. A single cell phone uses over over 1000 kWh of energy annually. To put that in perspective, 1kWh is enough to power your refrigerator for almost an entire day; we’re strutting around with roughly 3 refrigerators worth of energy in our pockets on the daily! The energy expenditure from a single cell phone corresponds with the emission of over 100 kilograms of CO2 annually.

The average U.S. consumer uses their phone for about a year before replacing it; this is only a fifth of the actual lifespan of these devices. In the fashion of true capitalist ennui, you can find us panting for the iPhone 5 before while our 4s is still fresh out of the box! Every second 4 discarded and unrecycled cell phones make their way to a landfill, where they leach dangerous chemicals such as lead, beryllium, nickel, and mercury into the soil and water. Furthermore, these trashed mobiles each contain approximately $1 worth of precious metals. “The Secret Life of Cell Phones” is a great short video by INFORM, Inc. that discusses this.

In this day and age, no one expects you to abandon your cell phone. So what can we do to stay green AND mobile? Understanding the impact our phones have is the first step, and from there being a responsible consumer is just a matter of making conscious choices. Use energy saving settings and charge less frequently. Upgrade time? Gift an old phone  to a younger sibling, or drop it off at your carrier’s retail location for recycling. And of course, feel free to indulge in some eco-mobile swag. ;)

cell phone image via

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