Handmade Toys

by Justin Thomas •

This Baby Elephant toy is handmade by artisans in rural Kenya. The octopus is created with natural wool yarn treated with natural vegetable-based dyes. It’s filled with acrylic (kapok would haven been better). The price is $22 from Branch. The also have a number of other non-toxic toys available.

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Yaktrax Ice and Snow Shoe Grips

by Justin Thomas •

Here’s something that allows you to get traction on snow or ice while wearing your regular shoes. These Yaktrax grips are essentially a thick rubber bands, equipped with steel coils, that fit over the sole of your shoes. Apparently the idea was borrowed from the Tibetans. Priced around $20 per pair, available from Amazon.

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Efficient Material of the Year: Bamboo

by Justin Thomas •

Well, this year bamboo takes the prize as efficient material of the year. We’ve got to hand it to the grass that is showing us yet another side of its efficiency. Since bamboo products are still sometimes difficult to locate, we had to track down these items from a number of different sources. First on the list, are two bamboo …

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iT House

by Justin Thomas •

Inhabitat reports on the iT House — a prefabricated housing system that uses glass and aluminum frames as its basis. Created by Bosch, the house is only 1000 square feet, and is designed to be constructed in 8 weeks. It makes use of radiant heat flooring and solar panels on the roof. Homeowners can customize many facets of the house …

Knock-Down/Drag-Out Bed

by Justin Thomas •

This bed can be assembled with nothing more than a screwdriver. The quickly collapsible, and transportable, queen size bed is the latest in knock-down construction — something for the modern nomad without skimping on design.

A Guide to Buying Non-Toxic Furniture

by Justin Thomas •

Wouldn’t it be great to sit in a chair and breath easily, knowing you are not inhaling chemicals like “perfluorooctane sulfonate”. Sustain Lane has a short guide to help you to know what to look for when shopping for furniture. Here’s a summary: avoid PVC, other plastics, high-emitting particleboard, polyurethane foam and synthethic fibers for upholstery, toxic finishes and glues. …

Waterless Washing Machine

by Justin Thomas •

A waterless washing machine that removes stains from garments in a few minutes has been developed at the National University of Singapore, the facility said on Wednesday. The appliance uses negative ions, compressed air and deodorants to clean clothes. Industrial design students Wendy Chua, 21, and Gabriel Tan, 23, said they were inspired by the technology in air purifiers, which …

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Outer340 Clipper by Icebreaker

by Justin Thomas •

This newly released Outer340 Clipper jacket from Icebreaker is made out 100% New Zealand merino wool. The “Outer340” refers the the weight of the wool (340 grams per square centimeter). It costs about $230 USD. See this previous post for details on why we think their clothing is metaefficient. This page has a guide to where to buy Icebreaker clothing.

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Pachira Hemp Hiking Boot

by Justin Thomas •

This boot’s upper and laces are made of a blend of 50% hemp and 50% cotton for durability. The soles contain 40% recycled hospital gloves (or car tires in the black soled version) and the tongue padding and insole are recovered foam from upholstery manufacturing. The removable insole padding and tongue are 100% recycled foam (from seat cushion manufacturing).

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Chameleon Lamps from Philips

by Justin Thomas •

Hold something in front of these lamps, and the lamp shade will change to the color of the object. There’s a standard light bulb inside, surrounded by a ring of LEDs which project the color onto the shade. These lamps will be released sometime next year by Philips. We also featured Philips’ interactive bulbs in a previous post.