All posts filed under: Things for the Planet

Meet the Food Cycler: The First Residential Composting Appliance

Most food waste can be turned into healthy compost for your garden or potted plants, but urban dwellers don’t have an easy way to compost their own waste into a nutrient-rich soil supplement without an outdoor composting container. Or, perhaps they do have the outdoor space, but other issues prevent them from composting outside (attracting hungry bears or violating local ordinances, for example). Food Cycle Science, the Canadian producers of organic food waste recycling solutions for the foodservice industry, offers an interesting new solution with the launch of the Food Cycler:Home, the first residential composting appliance. The 1 cubic meter size unit is able to operate anywhere there is an electrical outlet, and can be incorporated into the home from as early as the design phase. Food Cycle Science hopes the Food Cycler will help reduce the 475 pounds of food waste each person creates every year. The Food Cycler eliminates the use of drains, venting, or additives used in traditional composting process and is claimed to be completely odorless, noiseless, and cost-effective. Through a simple four step process, food (cooked or …

C&C Bottle Cutter Helps DIYers Upcycle Bottles

If it meets its Kickstarter campaign goal of £6,000, the C&C Bottle Cutter will soon have every DIYer in the country transforming their used bottles into glasses, jars, candleholders, light pendants, and anything else they can imagine. Made of laser-cut plywood, the cutter features a custom-made cutter and screws that can be adjusted to numerous positions, allowing it to cut virtually any size bottle. The cutter works in three easy steps. First, users adjust the cutter to the exact position desired and slowly rotate the bottle to make a score line. Then, thermal shock is used to split the bottle by slowly pouring boiling water on the score line, then slowly pouring ice-cold water. Once the bottle is split, the edges can be smoothed with the sand paper that is provided. When the cutter is not in use, it is beautiful enough to double as a bottle holder. If you want to learn more or donate, check out their Kickstarter page. <p><a href=”http://vimeo.com/85335189″>C&C The Bottle Cutter</a> from <a href=”http://vimeo.com/user22818991″>bottlecutter</a&gt; on <a href=”https://vimeo.com”>Vimeo</a&gt;.</p> All images courtesy …

Orange Peel Jewelry

One of my favorite new jewelry finds from this winter’s New York Gift Show was the Calamarie Orange Peel Collection. These handcrafted “roses” start out as orange peels that are collected from street juice vendors and thoroughly cleaned before undergoing a lengthy sun-drying, shaping, and dyeing process. The pieces, which retain a mild scent of orange, are designed in the U.S. and handmade in Colombia by dozens of gifted women artisans across the country. Other collections from Calamarie include jewelry designs made of hand-painted seeds, woven metalwork, and discarded silk worm cocoons. Calamarie founder Catalina Lemaitre travels to Colombia three times a year to work with the artisans, develop new designs, and oversee production. Lemaitre was inspired to create the collection out of an interest in the environment, the economic development and empowerment of women, and the preservation of traditional art forms. The company gives back in other ways as well. “We also develop alliances with artisan coops and foundations to design and develop custom products that support educational and arts programs for children in Colombia as well as other important causes …

Yarok Hair Care Products

As soon as I check into a hotel room, one of the first things I do is check out what hair- and body-care products are stocked in the bathroom. The good stuff, like Aveda, Bath & Body Works, and (Malin+Goetz), gets tucked into my suitcase with the hope that more will appear the next day (it doesn’t always – which can be disappointing and a bit embarrassing). Visitors of The Thief Hotel, which opened earlier this month in Oslo, will most likely be stashing the Yarok organic hair care products that are exclusive to the hotel. Founded by Israeli hair stylist Mordechai Alvow, Yarok produces formulas that are a blend of organic and all-natural botanicals that are consciously sourced and sustainably harvested. I like the slightly medicinal look to the packaging that conveys idea that these shampoos, conditioners, and treatments are good for your hair, like vitamins. The company donates 3% of its annual profits to the Pachamama Alliance, a non-profit that protects over 10 million acres of rainforest in the Amazon. That might help convince …

BirdProject Soap

I love it when a quiet little object is able to convey an entire story— it’s like product poetry. This is the tale of BirdProject Soap: One day, as it’s foraging for food, a seabird is caught up in a terrible man-made disaster. When it tries to fly out of the sea again, it is coated with oil and is clinging to life. The next day it is found by rescue workers, who gently wash off the black oil and release it back into the wild. The concept for BirdProject began in 2010, when designer and entrepreneur Tippy Tippens moved from Brooklyn to New Orleans to help contribute to the relief efforts after the BP Oil Spill. Intended to be a powerful representation of all of the creatures affected by the disaster, BirdProject is a black, bird-shaped soap that contains a white ceramic bird keepsake—handmade from Louisiana Clay by New Orleans-based artist Brooke Cassady—that will slowly reveal itself over time as the soap washes away. The soaps are made by Emily Manger Davis of Sweet Olive Soaps—a …

WakaWaka Blackout Emergency Kit

While I really could have used this little device after Hurricane Sandy, when my family and I were without power for 10 days, it is the potential it offers for those with homes that are always off the grid that is even greater. The WakaWaka Power (you have to try to get past the image of Fozzie the Bear from the Muppet Show, if you can) is a solar-powered LED lamp and mobile charger in one. This is a product with a huge demand at the moment — the Dutch company Off Grid Solutions launched it in December on Kickstarter and within a week became one of the most funded projects on the site (the campaign ends on January 12th and to date has raised almost $275,000 U.S.). The iPhone-sized kit weighs seven ounces, delivers up to 60 lumens of bright, safe reading light for more than 40 hours on an eight hour solar charge, and can charge mobile phones from all brands. The battery will stay fresh for more than a year — users should …