by Jordan Stauder @ 9:22 am post a comment »
I love my smartphone; you know you do, too. But most of us Americans are wirelessly chained to a metaphorical ball that appears to outpace our unsustainable trek downhill. The earth is ripped and torn to procure the rare elements that make our smartphones’ existence possible. Nonetheless, today’s smartphones are an essential mixture of convenience, communication, entertainment and intelligence; devices that are indeed so intelligent that they count our every footstep, turn themselves on silent when you are near a preprogrammed location such as work or school, and tirelessly serve as our pocket personal assistants. The Cellular Telecommunications and Internet Association (CTIA) – The Wireless Association estimated in June, 2010 that there were 292.8 million active smartphones in the United States, representing 5% of the world’s wireless subscribers. For now, let us ignore the material costs or natural resource uses associated with the production of all of these smartphones and let us focus on the most archaic component you find when unboxing your new toy.
Asmo Saloranta is a young Finnish engineer and entrepreneur who, up until 2013, worked in information technologies. When an electrical fire stemming from an unattended mobile phone charger consumed his girlfriend’s childhood home, Asmo began thinking of how to best avoid similar events in the future. There were not any products in the market at the time that fit his vision for a safe, energy efficient smartphone charger, so Asmo took it upon himself to come up with a solution. The resulting ASMO Charger is arguably the most interesting innovation to come out of Finland since the modern sauna and heavy metal music. By incorporating a simple relay into the smartphone charger, electric current can be blocked automatically when the device is disconnected.
Conventional smartphone chargers continuously draw electricity while plugged into the wall (vampire power) even when they are not in use, which poses a constant – although small – risk of fire. After a successful Kickstarter campaign, which garnered 533 backers, full scale production of the ASMO Charger is scheduled for (more…)
Saturday, October 4, 2014
by Sheila Thomas @ 2:14 pm post a comment »
With fall upon us and stores bursting with Halloween supplies, many of us are starting to decorate our homes and yards. Lighting is always a fun way to give homes some festive curb appeal. What’s better than a glowing jack-o’-lantern? Buying a bunch of pumpkins and carving them every few nights doesn’t seem like a practical idea. And since electricity should not be wasted nor toxic batteries tossed, how about going solar? A solar-powered jack-o’-lantern is a great and green do-it-yourself option to bring some of the spirit of Halloween to your home.
Anyone of any craft skill level can make these lanterns at home in three simple steps. Before you begin, gather the following: (more…)
Tuesday, September 23, 2014
by Jennifer Thayer @ 3:07 pm 1 comment »
Since smartphone manufacturers are constantly releasing their newest and hottest smartphones with exciting features, consumers are buying phones more often. The average person upgrades their cell phone every 18 months, a cycle which results in many people throwing out their old phones. This has major consequences on the environment: experts estimate that an astounding number of devices are thrown out every year in the United States alone. This adds to our country’s growing problem with overcrowded landfills.
The Environmental Effects
According to e-Cycle.com, Americans throw out 130 million devices every year, making up the majority of toxins in our landfills. Even though more than 70 percent of these millions of phones can be reused, it is believed that only 14 to 17 percent of mobile devices are recycled. The environmentally responsible thing to do is properly recycle any mobile device that you no longer plan to use. When enough people participate, it can have a tremendous impact on the environment, our energy supply and our landfills.
For example, e-Cycle.com points out that recycling one lithium-ion battery of a smartphone can prevent the contamination of 60,000 liters of water (the equivalent of three Olympic-sized swimming pools). And, if 1 million people recycle their cell phones, this will reduce greenhouse gas emissions equal to taking 33 cars off the road for a year. Just 42 recycled cell phones save enough energy to power the average household for a full year. (more…)
Thursday, September 18, 2014
by Ross Dulmaine @ 4:07 pm post a comment »
Did grandma leave the unpleasant aromatic remains of her favorite discount perfume all over your car, did your cousin sneak a smoke in your backseat last week, did your lab, Rufus, take a dip in the local swamp and then decided to ride shotgun in your Subaru? If so, or you have issues with any of a thousand airborne scents, you might want to consider installing one of these all-natural, Purggo bamboo air purifiers in your ride. These eco-friendly air filters contain 100% all-natural bamboo charcoal and are German-engineered, patent-pending, and nicely designed.
It’s a crazy fact that the FDA doesn’t regulate most of the ingredients that manufacturers put into air fresheners. Many popular brands of air fresheners put whatever chemicals they want inside their products – and many of those chemicals can be incredibly harmful to the human body. A recent independent study conducted on the popular air freshener Febreze by Environmental Working Group revealed up to 89 air contaminants in the product, yet the label on Febreze only listed 5 ingredients.
The Purggo filter avoids all manner of additives and chemicals and is designed to eliminate odors instead of just masking them. As air passes through the filter’s pores, odor particles are trapped on the surfaces inside, purifying the air in your car – simply and naturally. No funky fragrances, added VOCs or harmful chemicals – this little air purifier is allergen- free.
- It’s economical – Purggo works passively 24/7 and lasts more than 365 days.
- The outer shell is made of renewable hemp fabric.
- Sustainably designed – no plastic components.
- No masking fragrance or chemical additives.
- Made with renewable bamboo.
- 100% asthma and allergy friendly
- Safe for the kid’s, the pooch, or grandma to sit right next to.
The bamboo charcoal in Purggo is 4x more porous than regular charcoal and has been activated and carbonized between 1110°F – 1300°F (600°C – 700°C). This form of bamboo charcoal has been used for thousands of years in many Asian countries to purify both air and water.
If you don’t want to hang the purifier from your car’s headrest it will work just as well on the seat. You can even use it in a bathroom or bedroom for some passive air purification and odor removal.
Purggo is about to complete a highly successful Kickstarter campaign, but – if you pre-order a Purggo by December 15th – you can still get it for $29.95 Kickstarter discount price – just visit Purggo.com (official product roll-out is 12/15/14)
related: more health and beauty product reviews from The Alternative Consumer
Monday, September 8, 2014
by Jordan Stauder @ 9:01 am post a comment »
Apple recently filed a patent application for an all-encompassing home automation system that promises to turn your home into a subconscious extension of yourself. Imagine your coffeemaker brewing a fresh cup in the morning, the clothes washer spinning into life, and your television tuned to your favorite news channel simply by opening an app on your iOS or Android device, and even before you get out of bed! And yes, Apple plans to accommodate Android, other non-Apple devices, third-party app developers and several partnered corporations. (more…)
Wednesday, September 3, 2014
by Ross Dulmaine @ 11:06 am post a comment »
Looking for a compact alternative to that cumbersome old school grill? Hate the thought of starting a major forest fire on your family camping trip because you tried to torch a veggieburger on your vintage hibachi? You may want to switch your off-grid cooking endeavors from fire-based, to solar-based. (more…)
Wednesday, August 6, 2014
by Ross Dulmaine @ 9:55 am post a comment »
Why not tap into solar energy to keep your ravenous iPhone charged at all times? Smartphones are constantly in use, guzzling energy and demanding more juice. Many companies have tried and few (if any) have succeeded, in creating a one-size-fits-all solar charging case for the ubiquitous smartphone.
A little Minneapolis start-up, Solar Surge, has designed a solution, a versatile smartphone solar charging case – the Gidgi – that can accommodate a wide variety smartphones – keeping your phone charged via free solar energy – indoors or out. The idea of a group of young college grads who are seeking crowdfunding via their recently launched Kickstarter project.
The Gidgi features a case made out of durable, good looking components that are intended to have a long lifespan. The life cycle of the Gidgi is further extended by its ability to charge (more…)
Tuesday, July 29, 2014
by Ross Dulmaine @ 8:58 am post a comment »
Have a short commute? Like to zip around city streets and sidewalks like a motorized 10-year old? Zev Charles Ellenberg and his company, ProGo Recreation, are trying to revitalize the motorized scooter market by going green. The ProGo 3000 propane-powered scooter has an on-going Kickstarter project with the modest goal of raising $18,000 for the production and marketing of their low-emissions scooter. Propane’s high octane and low-carbon and oil-contamination characteristics have resulted in greater engine life and significantly lower carbon emissions than conventional gasoline engines.
The small, 16.4 oz., propane canister used to power the ProGo 3000 is readily available and easy to change. You can even pack an extra canister in your backpack to insure you don’t run out of fuel while you’re bopping around campus or running errands. Unlike electric scooters that need to be recharged for up to 4 to 8 hours to provide an hour or so of ride time – a single propane canister is estimated to keep you zipping around for 2 to 3 hours at speeds up to 20mph – without the smell, mess and emissions associated with a similar gasoline powered engine.
- EPA AND CAPB Approved / California Legal
- Easy pull start
- 25cc 4 stroke propane engine
- Lightweight, durable steel frame
- 20 mph top speed – 2-3 hours run time per 16.4oz propane canister
- Folds for convenient carrying and storage
- No Choke, no priming, and no carburetor gum-up, no need for winterizing
Utilizing propane as a vehicle fuel source instead of gasoline reduces U.S. dependence on foreign oil and increases energy security. Propane’s fuel mixture is completely gaseous and doesn’t suffer from the cold start problems associated with liquid fuel. Propane is nontoxic, nonpoisonous, and insoluble in water. Compared with vehicles fueled by conventional diesel and gasoline, propane vehicles can produce lower amounts of many harmful air pollutants and greenhouse gases, depending on vehicle type, drive cycle, and engine calibration. source: The Alternative Fuels Data Center
The GoPro 3000 will retail for around $449 when it ships in October, 2014. If you pledge $399 you can get one at a reduced price.
Check out the ProGo Kickstarter project which runs through August 24th.
related: more alternative scooters featured on The Alternative Consumer