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Best Toaster Oven: Cuisinart TOB-175

by Justin Thomas •

Toaster ovens are very handy devices in the kitchen, but often overlooked. They can be used to heat and reheat a variety of meals(not just toast), and they are also quite energy efficient when compared to regular ovens. So which oven is top rated? Reviewers fairly unanimously chose the Cuisinart TOB-175 Convection Toaster Oven. It gets 4.5/5 stars from buyers …

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Mobile.Seed: Biodegradeable Mobile Phone

by Justin Thomas •

Interesting concept. It’s called the Mobile.Seed. The idea is to have a fully biodegradable mobile phone that contains a visible seed inside. When you done with the phone, you put it in the ground, and flowers grow from the seed within. The phone’s brand could be tailored around the seed and plant that grows.

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Kapok Pillows

by Justin Thomas •

kapok

Kapok is a silky fiber harvested in the rainforests of the Philippines, India, Indonesia, Sri Lanka, tropical America and Africa. After the ripe pods of the tree are harvested, the seeds are removed and the fluffy fiber is meticulously cleaned and dried.

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Natural Indigo Jeans: Metaefficient?

by Justin Thomas •

Originally, jeans were dyed with the color of the actual indigo plant. Today, natural indigo jeans can’t be considered metaefficient because they are expensive and only available as a kind of designer jean. Notwithstanding this, people admire these jeans because of their distinctive, deeply hued appearance. The story behind them is interesting too. There are at least three companies making …

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Anti-Metaefficient: PBDE: A Poison That Is Now Everywhere

by Justin Thomas •

PBDE (polybrominated diphenyl) is a toxic flame retardant used in many products, including computer cases, carpet pads and foam cushions in chairs and couches. This recent article in the The Oregonian sums up the problems for humans: Research has shown that the levels of PBDEs in American women are doubling every two to five years. Even low-level exposure, particularly for …

Clumping Bamboos: The Ones To Grow

by Justin Thomas •

Many people are reluctant to plant bamboo because they are afraid it will spread like wildfire and have the entire neighborhood up in arms against them. But there’s a simple solution to this problem — plant the right kind of bamboo — the “clumping” kind. The invasive kind is the “running” bamboo which probably should never touch foot in your …

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Composting Toilets: Large Scale Systems

by Justin Thomas •

Composting toilets can be a practical solution even for large businesses. We recently visited the Philip Merrill Environment Center, which is the headquarters for the Chesapeake Bay Foundation. It has a Platinum rating for Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) from the U.S. Green Building Council. After taking a tour of their offices (about a hundred people work there), …

Using Urine to Grow Plants

by Justin Thomas •

This book, Liquid Gold: The Lore and Logic of Using Urine to Grow Plants, by Carol Steinfeld explains how urine can be utilized as a resource! Urine contains most of the nutrients in domestic wastewater and usually carries no disease risk. Starting with a short history of urine use — from ritual to medicinal to even culinary — Liquid Gold …

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Best and Worst Personal Care Products: Ratings

by Justin Thomas •

A while ago we published a link to a site that rates Personal Care Products. We had some requests from readers who were interested in finding the report, so here is an update. The EWG has also published the most comprehensive study on chemical contaminants found in humans. Blood and urine from nine people was tested for 210 chemicals that …

SilenceAir: Noise Blocking Bricks

by Justin Thomas •

SilenceAir looks like a transparent brick, and uses “passive resonators” to allow fresh air into buildings while leaving 85% of the noise behind. “Cities are noisy. When we block the noise from our offices and homes, we usually reduce the ventilation…the result is sick buildings and people,” says the inventor Chris Field. Chris developed the concept during his doctoral research …