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Wooden Hot Tubs

by Justin Thomas •

Wooden hot tubs are an attractive alternative to the plastic tubs that have come to dominate the marketplace today. These traditionally styled tubs are built with wood that contains natural anti-bacterial oils. SeaOtter Woodworks build their tubs by hand with Western Red Cedar. They are one of the few companies in the U.S. making wooden hot tubs. They support sound …

Recycled “Spaceframe” by Modernseed

by Justin Thomas •

This little fellow is hiding under a Spaceframe, which is made from 100% recycled plastic soda bottles. It’s soft to the touch while still strong enough to build a grand sculptural statement. Kids can configure these into whatever arrangement they can dream up. Available at Modernseed for $169.

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Ceramic Crock: Efficient Composting

by Justin Thomas •

From what we’ve seen, this is the most affordable composting container for kitchen scraps available. We choose this ceramic container because the interior absorbs odors and resists stains, and is more attractive than a plastic bin on your kitchen counter. The crock holds a gallon of scraps and has a lid with an activiated carbon filter to trap odor than …

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Non-Toxic Sippy Cups

by Justin Thomas •

These cups by SIGG are Swiss designed and are a bit different from regular sippy cups. They have a totally inert inner lining that won’t leach chemicals. This is important because kid’s cups receive a lot of washing and wear and tear, thus the plastic inside degrades quite a bit. The cups are extruded from a single piece of pure …

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BioBag: Biodegradable and Compostable Bags

by Justin Thomas •

BioBags are the first 100% bio­degradable alternative to plastic bags. They are made from cornstarch, vegetable oil and other renewable resources. BioBags makes kitchen “compost bags” to store foods scraps before composting. They can also can be used to store food in the refrigerator. The advantage over plastic, is that these bags will “breath” without leaking. This allows heat and …

(Partially) Biodegradeable DVD Player by Sony

by Justin Thomas •

The Sony DVP-NS955 DVD player, recently released in the UK, has 50% vegetable-based plastic parts. The parts are made of a biopolymer called polylactic acid (PLA). The biopolymer was created by Cargill/Dow, and they have been criticized for using GMO (genetically modified) corn to create the biopolymer, because GMO crops could potentially have devastating effects on the earth’s biodiversity.

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A Lightweight Water Bottle that Doesn’t Leach

by Justin Thomas •

Yes — a water bottle that does not leach plastic or any other compound into the water its holds. Klean Kanteen is a reusable, lightweight stainless steel container. Plastics containers tend to leach unwelcome compounds such as BPA during regular use, exposure to heat, and especially after cleaning. Klean Kanteen is made from 304 L.N. Stainless steel which is grade …

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Recycled Rain Barrels

by Justin Thomas •

Aaron makes rain barrels out of recycled plastic, and runs an informative web site about rain water harvesting. The 58 gallon rain barrels are made out of thick food-grade plastic, and can withstand both hot and cold temperatures. The barrels connect directly to the downspout of your rain gutter. They are also paintable (with Krylon Fusion) for those who want …

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LED Floodlights

by Justin Thomas •

Enlux, a company in Arizona, has created floodlights built from LEDs. They did this by removing the diodes from their individual plastic housings and clustering them on a heat-dissipating circuit board, known as a light engine. They also created finned aluminum housing that spreads the heat across its surface. The 22-watt floodlight ($80) gives off about as much brightness as …

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Cellophane: Retro-Metaefficient

by Justin Thomas •

Cellophane is a natural polymer made from cellulose, a component of trees and plants. We like it because it is completely biodegradable and can be made from renewable sources. It is impermeable to air, grease and bacteria. It was used widely for packaging food until the 1960s when it was replaced by a plastic substitute which was also marketed as …