All posts filed under: Things for the Planet

Crafty Birdhouses Made from Salvaged Materials

To keep busy during the long New England winters, landscape architect Neil Best, co-owner of Magma Design Group in Rehoboth, Massachusetts, began building birdhouses that meet Audubon standards. These one-of-a-kind works of art are made of salvaged materials including slate roof tiles, metal strapping, recycled wood, old tin boxes, and rusted signs. Designed to provide maximum comfort for Chickadees, Tufted Titmice, and Nuthatches, these handmade bird cottages offer roof and floor ventilation as well as thresholds surrounded by metal or stone to prevent squirrels or predatory birds from widening the openings and gaining entry. The birdhouses can be back-mounted or attached to a pole, and no tools are required to open and empty the houses after the last resident has left the nest. Prices range from $350 to $500, depending on style. magmadesigngroup.com All images courtesy of Magma Design Group.

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 …