4 Cool Gadgets in Green Consumer Tech

4 Cool Gadgets in Green Consumer Tech

By: Albert L. Eserjose

People say that the simple things in life are the best. What’s to say that simple things can’t be eco-friendly? Here are some eco-friendly substitutes for traditional consumer tech:


Poweradd Apollo 2

Poweradd Apollo 2: Every phone user has run into the issue of drained batteries. It helps to have an external battery on hand, but eventually that battery needs its own charge as well. The Poweradd Apollo 2, a solar battery the size of a smartphone, removes a charger from the equation and does so at a good price. Best of all, this unit will charge your phone 3- 4 times on one use. 

Google Nest Learning Thermostat

 Google Nest Learning ThermoStat: Tech-savvy homeowners have been a fan of Nest’s eco-friendly thermostat since the product’s inception; after the 2014 acquisition, Google has become one of its biggest fans too. The Nest thermostat programs itself to your own preferences based on activity and makes the necessary adjustments to lower the household’s total carbon footprint.

Bedol Water ClockBedol Water Clock: If you’re ready to make the switch to water-powered timekeeping, this clock combines practicality with affordability, all while limiting your carbon footprint. Utilizing a simple galvanic battery, all this clock needs is tap water and a dash of lemon juice to keep time.

Micasa Labs IRock

Micasa Labs iRock: Renewable resources like solar and wind are traditionally utilized to generate green power. Micasa Labs took a different approach: this chair harnesses kinetic energy to keep the juice flowing to your devices.

Traveling Around the World and Eco-Friendly Living

Written By: Stephanie Van Heest

Traveling Around the World and Eco- Friendly Living

Studying abroad for a semester in Florence, Italy, taught me how to live a more environmentally friendly lifestyle. Overseas, that’s how they live every day. Here are some ways I “went green” in Italy and that I have tried to carry over into my life back in the United States.

  1. Treat water as a precious resource. My roommates and I took shorter showers in Italy and shut off the water when we were brushing our teeth to conserve water.
  2. Be conservative with electricity. Every time I left a room I turned off the lights I was not using and unplugged all appliances.
  3. Carry a reusable water bottle. Over 75% of plastic water bottles in the United States end up in landfills, and they won’t degrade for thousands of years. By using a reusable water bottle, I saved money by not having to buy bottled water and limited my impact on the environment.
  4. Air-dry clothes. Since I didn’t have a dryer in my apartment I had no choice but to air dry my clothes.   To live without a clothes dryer in the United States feels like a sacrifice, but in Italy it is the norm and just feels like a way of life.
  5. Buy local. Buying local produce reduces packaging waste and carbon emissions associated with transportation. By buying local I was able to support local farmers and small businesses, purchase the freshest produce, and sample the local cuisine.
  6. Use reusable bags when going to the grocery store. Since plastic bags were an extra charge, I learned quickly to bring reusable bags with me to the store.
  7. Walk everywhere. This is a great way to take in the local culture, get exercise and reduce my carbon footprint.
  8. Take public transportation if walking is not an option. I hopped on a bus or rode the subway instead of taking a taxi in order to save money and reduce my carbon footprint.

Italy was built in a way that makes it pretty easy to live green. In fact, many European cities are very old and were designed with horses and carriages in mind, not cars. Even though it is more challenging to do some of the same things here in the States, I am making a conscious effort to try.

 

 

EPA Recommends Tighter Ozone Standards

EPA Recommends Tighter Ozone Standards

Written by: Michael Benavides

Owner: Michael Cavén License: CC BY 2.0

Owner: Michael Cavén
License: CC BY 2.0

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is calling for tougher ozone standards in the United States by the year 2037. According to the EPA, the current ozone standard of 75 parts per billion (ppb) – the acceptable concentration of ozone in the air – insufficiently protects public health. If the EPA determines that a city is over the acceptable limit, they will be considered non-compliant.

The EPA arrived at its current proposal after its staff and their panel of climate scientists reviewed more than 1,000 studies, concluding that the air quality in the U.S. needs to improve in order to protect the health and wellbeing of its citizens. Recently, the EPA studied several major municipalities in California which were above the EPA’s current ozone standard. The major offenders were Los Angeles, Orange, Riverside, and San Bernardino, all of which had ozone standards ranging from 94 ppb to 107 ppb.

Currently, a city with ozone concentrations below the current 75 ppb standard is deemed clean according to the EPA. The three cleanest cities in the United States are Anchorage, A.K., Bangor, M.E., and Bellingham, W.A.

Ozone comes in two forms: naturally occurring ozone high in the Earth’s atmosphere, and human-generated “ground level” ozone closer to the surface. The latter is formed when gases and pollutants emitted from vehicles, factories and power plants chemically react with sunlight. Once this ozone forms it can then be absorbed by human lungs, which can then become inflamed and can lead to poorer lung functioning. CNN.com noted that in the U.S. today, “one child in 10 already suffers from asthma, and ozone pollution makes things worse.”

EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy said that their needs to be a stricter ozone standard ranging from 65 ppb to 70 ppb. The new proposal has already faced strong opposition from lobbyists and trade groups, which say that the new regulations are too burdensome and could kill job creation in the U.S.

“Manufacturing growth could slow or stop,” said Lindsay Stovall of the American Chemistry Council. The EPA said the special interest groups are exaggerating the true costs of dealing with pollution.

New Brigade Announcement!

The Brita Brigade

We already know how ecologically friendly using a Brita water filter is rather than buying by the bottle—tons of plastic saved, money saved, and much less garbage simply by running tap water through a Brita filter. Now the Brita just got a whole lot greener…

Announcing our newest brigade program, the Brita Brigade! This is a free program for recycling Brita pitchers, dispensers, bottles, faucet systems, all filters, and filter packaging, as well as an excellent fundraising opportunity for participants involved! You can still earn TerraCycle points and rewards, in addition to the chance to help the school or nonprofit of your choice!

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There are still over 1,000 slots open for your participation. Click the link to learn the details and we at TerraCycle hope to be receiving your used Brita products soon! http://bit.ly/1vBjKKv

This is Your Chance to Interview Tom Szaky!

Join us November 20th at 12pm EST to be part of the discussion!

Steve Jobs had a vision to create a hand-held device that was an extension of ourselves. Jeff Bezos wanted to create the ultimate customer experience through an online retailer. Howard Schultz revolutionized the way we enjoy our coffee through the massive Starbucks chain. Tom Szaky aimed to eliminate the idea of waste.

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All these entrepreneurs have unique stories that contribute to the popularity and success of their companies. Wouldn’t you like to the opportunity to ask a CEO how they do it? Now is your chance to ask our very own entrepreneur, Tom Szaky, those questions you’ve been curious about. This is your opportunity to interview one of the great revolutionary thinkers of our time!

Please join us on November 20th at 12pm EST to be part of this monumental discussion! Questions to Tom will be generated by interactions on our various social media presences, including questions with the tag #TomSzakyChat. In registering to be part of the event, you will also have a chance to win a signed copy of Tom’s latest book, Outsmart Waste.

Come armed with questions as we hope this will be an enjoyable and enlightening experience! Click the link to register… http://bit.ly/TomSzakyWebinar6

 

3 Eco-friendly Tips for Tackling Autumn Leaves

By Colleen Duncan

Raking Leaves

When the final leaves fall from otherwise bare trees, it marks the end of fall harvest and the beginning of winter preparation. Clean up your yard and take care of your leaves in a responsible way by following these three steps:

1. Collect leaves with hand-powered tools.

When cleaning up leaves and other fall debris, make sure you aren’t dirtying the air in the process. Using gas-powered lawn mowers and leaf blowers emits carbon monoxide and other pollutants into the air, not to mention noise pollution that can frustrate your neighbors. Instead, opt for hand-powered garden tools such as rakes and push-mowers for the cleanest options. Since hand-powered tools might be impractical for larger gardens and yards, electric is the next best option. Electric options are less polluting than gas-powered tools, but still require energy to power, so use sparingly.

2. Create a leaf-compost.

Leaves are the fall harvest you take for granted each year. Fall leaves are actually rich in minerals and organic matter that can be beneficial to your soil and plants. By bagging them for collection, you are denying your soil vital nutrients that can make it more fertile for next year’s garden. Instead of throwing them away, turn the piles into natural fertilizer and mulch.

To create leaf compost, layer shredded leaves with grass clippings, as the clippings provide the nitrogen that helps accelerate leaf decomposition. Be sure to water your compost and actively turn the mixture with a rake or pitchfork. By next growing season, you’ll have a crumbly natural fertilizer to use in your garden.

Alternatively, you can spread shredded leaves around shrubs and trees as mulch. This is a natural and cost effective way to keep weeds at bay around your plants. Un-shredded leaves can be layered onto perennial plant beds as extra winter insulation, and can be removed in spring as the warm weather returns.

3. DIY with leaves.

Capture the spirit of fall and turn fallen leaves into keepsake pieces. With a little paint and modge-podge, there are plenty of DIY projects to share with kids, use as Thanksgiving center-pieces, or give as gifts.

  • Paint fall leaves and use decorated leaves as place cards or string into fall garland. (via 6th Street Design School)
  • Dip leaves into paint and use as stamps to create leaf-print pillowcases, journals and more! (via Butiksofie)
  • Modge-Podge leaves into a leaf-bowl to use as a catch-all dish or as a fall centerpiece. (via Shelterness)

Pivot Renews “Human Resources” for Another Season!

Ready for a second round of HR?

Did you watch our first season of our docu-comedy, “Human Resources” airing on Pivot TV? Good news—there will be time for you to binge watch Season 1 before the start of our second season. That’s right…Season 2 is a go!

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Another round of office shenanigans will be coming your way in 2015, featuring the “Recycle Right!,” a campaign for Pivot, TerraCycle, and Recycle Across America that is aimed to promote the importance and impact of recycling on individuals and businesses. Belisa Balaban, vice president of original programming at Pivot, hopes that another season of Human Resources will “organically spark a conversation about ways to affect positive social change.”

Our offices are abuzz with excitement about another season, and we hope you’ll help in sharing the good news! Click the link to read the announcement on Variety!  http://bit.ly/1rxtM9C

Season Finale of Human Resources Airing Tonight!

“Human Resources: Building the Future”

Time for the big expansion on the season finale episode of “Human Resources”! Airing tonight at 10pm EST on Pivot TV, you will see the enormous new area TerraCycle has expanded to and completely upcycled.

Human Resources

Conveniently located next door to the original TerraCycle headquarters, the building is a mass open space with plenty of conference rooms and individual offices. The only set back is that it’s completely empty. In true TerraCycle fashion, the design team has decided to renovate the area using only upcycled materials.

The first obstacle that presents itself is the limited budget of $10,000. With such a massive space, the design team was sure that budget would not be enough to cover the renovation. That’s when the designers began scavenging for others’ garbage and turned out some truly innovative pieces.

This episode of Human Resources was nothing short of inspiring for us DIY-ers…corkboards pieced together with actual corks, desks made out of doors, and wall art made from newspapers and records is just the beginning of all the amazing upcycled products in TerraCycle’s expanded office. To check out some truly awesome upcycled ideas, visit www.pinterest.com/terracycle and to send us your trash, visit http://www.takepart.com/human-resources.

 

The Go CO2 Free Project

Did you know we have all the technology and solutions we need today to stop climate change?

We do.

The last week in September was dedicated as “Climate Week” where major cities around the globe hosted a series of events inspiring a new wave of action to create a sustainable future. We participated in mass migrations like the Climate March, but then had to sit on the sidelines during the UN Climate Summit. What can we actively do as individuals to empower people with climate change solutions?

The answer lies in an App. We do know all that we need to know to completely eliminate fossil fuel use and CO2 production, a major contribnot-co2-emission-photo6utor the global warming crisis. And even better: in stopping climate change, we can greatly improve our health and increase jobs. The mission of the Go CO2 Free Project is to raise awareness and empower people across the U.S. with information on climate change solutions and what they can do to help protect our future, all through our App.

The App is a hub for information on specific actions everyone can take to help make the CO2 reduction happen. It will provide information on individual actions you can take like buying or leasing an electric car and participating in your local green energy program, to community actions, like talking to your neighbors about the solutions to climate change and your city council about local policies that will help move us forward.

For most, we are concerned about climate change but don’t know what we can do. This App can help. Please visit http://bit.ly/1naC3Vu to learn how you can help develop the App and spread the word that we do have all the resources we need to slow climate change, we just need to know what to do to help.

New Episode of “Human Resources” Airing Tonight

“Human Resources: Fine Wining” Airs 10pm EST

Tonight’s episode of “Human Resources” is all about wine! Airing at 10pm EST on Pivot TV, this episode displays a classic example of what the concept of “upcycling” is all about.

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We at TerraCycle define “upcycling” as collecting difficult-to-recycling packaging and products and repurposing the material into new and innovative products. It sounds much like a complex scientific process, but it can end up being a fun DIY project for your Sunday afternoon. In this episode of “Human Resources,” you will see how we do upcycling at our facility for our partners at The Naked Grape, a boxed wine manufacturer.

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The Naked Grape wants to highlight their eco-friendly partnership with us by selling upcycled and recycled wine-related products to their customers. This initiates a mass brainstorming effort by the design and science teams at TerraCycle to discover new products that can be created from The Naked Grape’s packaging.

While wine tasting is spurring innovation back at the office, Al and Albe, the father and son TerraCycle duo, revisit their old hobby of stand-up and showcase their talents at an open-mic night.

Click the link to check out our brigade programs with The Naked Grape, and as always, to get involved in the upcycling revolution, click the following link: http://www.takepart.com/human-resources.