Tuesday, 24 May 2016

Edible Six Pack Rings

If you have bought cans of beer packed in plastic six-pack rings, you are likely guilty of harming some marine creatures or killing them if they have digested them thinking that they are food.

Saltwater Brewery in Delray Beach, Florida, has found a solution that will make you comfortable about buying their six-packs.  They have created 100 percent biodegradable and compostable six-pack rings.  To top that up, they are created from the by-products of beer and since beer is made up of barley and wheat, they are completely safe for humans and fish to eat.

So, the next time you buy a six-pack beer from Saltwater Brewery, you may want to consider keeping the rings. You never know if there is a company out there who will buy them off you for fish feed.

Wednesday, 18 May 2016

Pod Works, the Mini Work Stations

With a mobile phone in hand, gone were the days when we had to look for coins to make calls from a public phone booth.  So, what is going to happen with British Telecom red phone boxes that have gone redundant?

Bar Works Inc, a New York based company, is fitting out these phone booths with plugs, printers/scanners, WiFi and ethernet connections to create mini work stations for people on the go. The idea is that it can be very expensive to pay for cups of coffee just so you can have free internet access in a noisy cafe, when you are out of town.

Now you can pay a membership fee of £19.99 so you can have the privacy to work in a Pod Works any time, day or night, in the location you are heading to, that is, if a link to an APP confirms that it is available there.  To top that up, you will get free tea and coffee from its hot drink machine.

Pod Works will launch in July, 2016 and only in London, Leeds and Edinburgh.

This got me thinking.  Why does it take someone from USA to see value in UK's iconic looking red phone boxes?

Maybe reading, "HBR's 10 Must Reads on Innovation" by Harvard Business Review, which includes the article, "The Discipline of Innovation", by Peter F. Drucker will help us to discover how we can create wealth from the abandoned and save the environment along the way.

Friday, 13 May 2016

Tracking Electronic Waste

Do you want to know where electronic waste will likely end up in? 

Nonprofit organisation, Basel Action Network (BAN), working with the help of MIT Senseable City Lab, put GPS trackers on e-waste in USA and discovered that much of it ended up in Asia.  You can view the interactive map from "e-Trash Transparency Project" at the following link:


BAN  issues “e-Steward” certification to recyclers who are able to handle these materials with social responsibility and use environmentally sound practices.  The idea is to keep e-waste out of landfills and to prevent electronics waste from being exported to countries with poor regulations as they can be harmful to their environment and the people put in place to work on them.

The tracking device has enabled BAN to audit recyclers they have certified.  As a result of this investigation, the “e-Steward” certification for Total Reclaim, a Seattle-based e-waste recycler, has been revoked.

That is how Dell discovered that even some of their used electronic items have been exported to Asia. Dell has a "Reconnect program", which encourages consumers to donate electronic items that they no longer use. These should have been collected, refurbished and sold at an affordable cost to those in need or "recycled responsibly" through their partnership with Goodwill Industries, a nonprofit organization. The "Reconnect program" creates green jobs and support Goodwill's efforts to help disadvantaged people and those with disabilities by providing education, training and career services. It looks like there is a loophole somewhere that Dell needs to fix.

If this bothers you, what else can you do with your used electronic devices that you plan to replace? Randy Sarafan has some ideas and you may be inspired to start a new hobby after reading his book, "62 Projects to Make with a Dead Computer: (And Other Discarded Electronics)". 

Friday, 6 May 2016

The Concept House Village in Heijplaat village, Rotterdam

We always talk about sustainable living but what are we doing to get us there?

In Netherlands, they started the ball rolling through Concept House Institute of Building and Business Administration (CHIBB). They built experimental sustainable house designed by Rotterdam University students and researchers in Concept House Village located at Heijplaat village. The idea is to explore innovative housing concepts in a bid to develop sustainable living communities.

Dutch stylist, Helly Scholten, was selected to run the experiment by living full time in an "oversized greenhouse" with rooftop vegetable garden for 3 years. She and her family members have been there since 2015 and you can view photos and read about their experience at the following links:

Living in a greenhouse: One family's experiment in sustainable living
Helly Scholten

You can find out more about Concept House Village at the following links:

Creating Comfortable Climatic Cities
Concept House Village Brochure

Let us hope that decision makers in our own country will also work on the aspects of starting sustainable living communities locally. Meantime, what ideas can we adopt to lead a sustainable life? 

According to author, Sam Richards, of "Sustainable Living: Guide to Living a Fully Self-Sustainable Life That Will Eliminate All of Your Expenses", they are many things that we can learn to do for our home, like learning to conserve water by installing a rainwater harvesting system, learning to grow our own food and preserving our bountiful.  For the more ambitious, we can also learn to generate our own solar energy.

Another book that you can read up on is, "The Integral Urban House: Self Reliant Living in the City", which is considered the bible of urban homesteading. The book is written through the experience of living in the Integral Urban House set up in Berkeley, California by Sim Van der Ryn, Farallones Institute, Helga and Bill Olkowski.

Friday, 22 April 2016

Old clothing? Give it a second life.

If old clothing can have a say in how they should be used, this will be its autobiography.

Other than donating your old clothing, what else can you do on a personal level with clothes that you or your family members no longer wear?  Maybe reading this book, "The Upcycled T-Shirt: 28 Easy-to-Make Projects That Save the Planet Clothing, Accessories, Home Decor & Gifts" will give you some ideas.

Thursday, 21 April 2016

Retirement "cave" home. Learn to build your own.

What can you do to reduce the cost of managing a house when you retire?

Steve Rees could still remember how cool it was inside the caves he played in as a kid and decided that he will live off-grid in his make do cave by burying two shipping containers.

His retirement "cave" home attracted so much interest that he decided to write a book about how it was build and you can find it selling at

It is great to know that being kind to the environment by conserving energy and by re-using what could have been abandoned material can also be kind to the pocket.

Sunday, 10 April 2016

Plastic litters are precious plastic

Take a breather from complaining about plastic bottles littering the environment and take a look at this video.

Don't you like it that you can now process plastic discards into something useful again?

And, don't worry about the cost of getting the machines you need to start because, you are going to learn to make your own with affordable basic materials at Precious Plastic.