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Thursday, June 5, 2014

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keeping it clean: 3 free recycling apps for iPhone


recycling bin and hands

Before you throw those batteries in your everyday trash (next step the landfill) maybe you should consult your smartphone. Our society creates a lot of junk and recycling all that stuff can be a challenge for many people, particularly if they live in a building or community that doesn’t have separate bins and a regular recycling program. Additionally, there are always items like batteries, CFL light bulbs and large electronics that your typical municipal recycling program won’t take.

Here are 3 apps available for Apple devices that may help you get your unwanted items and clutter to a more eco-friendly destination than your local landfill.

  • iRecycle by Earth911

irecycle appThe iRecycle app has been featured as the iTunes “App of the Week” more than 5 times – a testament to its popularity and effectiveness. The app makes finding local, convenient recycling opportunities a breeze, whether you’re at home on the road. iRecycle provides access to more than 1,600,000 ways to recycle over 350 materials.

iRecycle can tell you how, where and when to recycle just about anything. The app uses your current location, ZIP code, address or city, to get access to the vital details of collection points, such as website, phone number, directions, hours of operation and other materials collected.

  • 1800Recycling.com

The recently updated 1800Recycling.com app helps you quickly find recycling locations nearest you. The app finds you convenient drop-off locations and 1800recycling appenables you to organize your recyclables quickly and effectively. You can also share and rate your recycling experiences to help others recycle better. The app covers the entire U.S. and parts of Canada.

Features:

  • Easily find recycle centers by searching for whole groups of materials, or find specialized recyclers for specific materials.
  • Find nearby recycling locations using GPS, or search at a specific location.
  • In-app interactive maps and web browser.
  • Sort results by relevance, distance, or name.
  • Call recycling locations directly in-app.

The app also allows you to get social and share your recycling locations with others via e-mail, Facebook, Twitter, or text and works with 1800Recycling.com to search and update info on more than 135,000 locations. (more…)

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Tuesday, June 3, 2014

a cordless electric lawn mower – Green Father’s Day Gift Idea


GreenWorks cordless electric mower

The wise shopper always looks for maximum value when purchasing a gift – especially if it’s for the man of the house. For Father’s Day we thought you might do dad, yourself, and Mother Earth a favor by getting pops a cordless electric lawn mower. Gas-powered lawn mowers are among the most inefficient, pollution-creating devices in existence — a typical one hour gas-powered lawn mowing session creates the equivalent emissions of a 4-hour car ride. Also consider the negative impact a gas mower’s noise, fumes and fossil fuel spills can have on your television watching, nap time or yoga session (this is where the value comes in).

Time to get dad a new toy. A cordless push electric mower creates zero emissions (you do have to charge the batteries), is easy to use, creates no noise and will get the job done on most small suburban or urban lawns (if you’ve got hills or a 4 acre spread, go a different way).

Here are 3 options for electric lawn mowers that have been rated among the top performers by Consumer Reports:

EGO LM2001 electric mower
If it’s power you want, the EGO LM2000/2001 (photo above) features a 20 inch cutting radius and is powered by the industry’s most powerful 56-Volt lithium-ion rechargeable battery.

EGOLM2001 electric mower foldedFeatures:

  • Up to a 45 minute cut time
  • 30-minute charge time
  • 3-in-1: mulching/bagging/side discharge
  • Folds for compact storage (photo on right)
  • Push-button start
  • Single-lever, 5-position deck height adjustment
  • 1.7 bushel grass collection
  • LED headlights
  • 5 year limited warranty

$499 @ home depot

Green Works 40V electric lawn mower
The GreenWorks G-MAX mower (above and at top) cuts grass with dual blade design and has a 40V 4 AH Li-ion power system and charger. The other nice feature of this model is that it has 2 blades, 2 motors and 2 batteries for longer mow times and cutting efficiency — you can even add additional battery power for more $$ and run this baby for up to 2 hours.

Features:

  • Smart Cut technology optimizes battery efficiency and energy use
  • Twin Force aerodynamic dual blade design delivers superior mulching, bagging and cutting
  • Dual battery design offers up to 70 minutes of run time
  • 2-in-1 feature offers mulching or rear bagging capabilities
  • Large rear wheels
  • Handle folds for compact storage
  • 2 rechargeable batteries included

$369.99 @ amazon.com

black and decker SPCM1936
If dad himself needs a little help getting around the yard you may want to consider getting him a mower that will pull itself around, like the Black & Decker’s SPCM1936 (above), a 19-inch, 36-Volt cordless electric self-propelled lawn mower .

Features:

  • Cuts up to 1/3 acre per charge
  • Variable speed self-propelled system adjusts to your ideal mowing pace
  • 36-Volt removable battery
  • One-touch wheel adjustment
  • Instant start
  • 3-in-1: mulch, bag or rear discharge with the push of a button

$399 @ amazon.com

Note: Remember these are electric lawn mowers, they are not as indestructible and powerful as a traditional gas guzzling, oil spewing mower. Their benefits are zero emissions, no noise and ease of use. If you value the air you breathe, your hearing and you need to cut that lawn – a cordless electric mower may just be your eco-friendly move.

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Tuesday, May 27, 2014

hot kickstarter find: the biolite basecamp


biolite basecamp kids

I don’t know if you’ve seen the BioLite BaseCamp (I think I saw its creators on Shark Tank). This new age camping device converts heat from a fire into usable electricity via a thermoelectric generator housed within its orange power pack. The power pack powers a fan that blows air back into the burn chamber for improved combustion.

biolite basecamp how it works

Surplus electricity is then sent to a USB port, allowing you to charge your small gadgets and devices. The BaseCamp lets you double your camping pleasure by allowing you to cook over a fire (old school) while creating the electrical power to keep your smartphone alive and connected to civilization (very new school).

biolite basecamp

It generates 5W of usable electricity via a standard 5V USB port so you can charge everyday useful devices like smartphones, GPS, headlamps, your GoPro, or even tablets. The power pack is designed to house a battery – meaning you now have the option to charge while you’re (more…)

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Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Getrid app – the simplest way to find a home for unwanted stuff


GETrid screen

Companies are always selling you something new, improved or updated. Marketers barrage consumers with a constant stream of advertising and messaging – convincing them that they desperately need a new product. The result – over-consumption – and a growing pile of gizmos, gadgets and whatnot clogging up our lives. Getrid is a new app that lets you find your old, unwanted stuff a new home (similar to Freecycle or Craigslist only easier), making your life just a little more sustainable. The app is super easy to use and will be available to download for free, without any login or registration process.

getrid photo

Getrid is attractive because of its simplicity. With no registration or login it takes no more than 5 seconds to upload and list an item. Users start by taking a photo of the item they want to give away, add a phone number and confirm the location of the object. If you’re looking for an item, a map overview shows what is being given away in your area. When you find something you need, just tap ‘n call – arrange with the owner of the item when and where to schedule the pick up. The picture of the item and the phone number are the listing details. (more…)

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Monday, May 5, 2014

Sustainably Grown – Wooden Headphones


oRock Hard Maple Headphones

For all you music lovers like me, here’s a sustainable pair of headphones that you should really look into. Headphones tend to break and get thrown away often, so these Rock Hard Canadian Maple Headphones present a sustainable, organic alternative to headphones whose origins are the typical “made in China.” These headphones are one of a kind and part of the 1% For the Planet Network.

rock hard headphones

The company, Lukapier Inc., has started a Kickstarter campaign that has just a few days left, so you should definitely check it out. The wood ear cups are made from locally grown hard Canadian maple provided by Forest Stewardship Council certified suppliers. The high density of this wood provides natural noise cancelling and the titanium and neodymium parts combine to produce all the sounds across the audible frequency range. There is minimal use of plastic in order to reduce the amount of plastic that stays in landfills and hurts our planetary ecosystem.

There are four different colors and they offer the option of purchasing headphones made from upcycled skateboards, or even a custom pair made from your own upcycled skateboard! The headphones even come backed with a full one-year warranty from the date of delivery. There are several backing options so head over to the Rock Hard Canadian Maple Headphones Kickstarter page to learn more and check out these sustainable headphones.

related: more green gadgets featured on The Alternative Consumer

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