Saving trees while saving $Green$

Have you ever gotten one of those supermarket circulars and you get all excited to save some money and then you only find 5 good coupons, you use one and the rest expire in your wallet? Ever wonder how many trees are chopped down so that millions of us can do the same thing? (If you want to find out just how much, and read about another coupon alternative check out Joe’s blog post on rethinking the coupon clippage)

Well, if you are the proud owner of an iPhone then I have found another substitute for clipping paper coupons, and its super easy. The Coupon Sherpa is a new iPhone app that lets you search for coupons, save them, and then when you’re paying at the grocery store they can actually scan the barcode from your phone. It saves time, trees and MULA!! (Check out Ecoscraps for a tutorial video and some words from the Coupon Sherpa’s creator)

Posted by: Ashley (intern)

Consume less Pollute less

So I was looking over the top 50 entries for the Greener Gadgets competition and I came across a pretty nifty concept. Ruhel Mohammed submitted his idea for the Guilty wallet based on the idea that consumerism is at the root of our environmental problems.

We just keep buying crap, and when we are bored with it or the newer version comes out, we toss and buy more crap. All of this adds up and sits in the dump. Even if you re recycling it, THERE’S JUST TOO MUCH! If we could all just chill out on unnecessary impulse buying, we could start saving money and the planet.

497f9a6970f24_med1These wallets are designed to make you think twice before spending your money and each one is based on one of the seven deadly sins.

Envy- Whenever you start abusing your envy wallet it displays nasty messages to make you feel bad about yourself, such as “I hate you, I need a new man”. Ouch.

Lust- This wallet will heat up to the point of discomfort if you start spending excessively.

Greed- This one is my favorite, you have to solve a puzzle or win a game in order to get to your cash. If you’re willing to spend the time on opening the wallet, then the purchase is worth it.

Gluttony-It seems the gelatinous substance on this wallet expands as you spend, and if you spend too much, it will explode. Ew.

Sloth- The more you use the wallet, the slower it opens. Eventually, if used to often throughout the day, it will start to smell bad.

Wrath- I think the more you use this wallet, the bigger its teeth get. Yep teeth. The purpose is to make you afraid of losing a finger whenever you reach for your credit card.

Pride- You upload your personal pictures to this wallet, and the more you spend the more distorted the pictures become. Losing your self image in the maze of consumerism… now that’s deep.

I really just like the wallets because I am super guilty of impulse purchases and if I had anything to make me think twice I would probably save myself a lot of money, a lot of closet space, and alot of the time spent trying to figure out where you can recycle a tomagachi, (dont ask).

Posted by: Ashley (intern)

“It’s not me, it’s you”- How to feel great about breaking up with old electronics

So I have had this broken camcorder in the corner of my bedroom that I used once before it broke (nothing like a nondescript error message to explain the problem), a couple of old cell phones, broken iPod, and I’m sure some other useless pieces of electronic nonsense. What is a girl to do with such things? Well Gazelle.com has come to the rescue. This awesome website takes your new, used, broken, and old electronics off your hands. Now you’re probably thinking, “if I felt like paying and taking the time to ship all this crap out I would have put it up on eBay by now”, but hold it right there. If Gazelle doesn’t pay you (yep, as in money) for what you send them, then they recycle it for you. They have a strict zero landfill policy so none of it ends up in the land fill. On top of paying you for your junk they will also pay for the shipping and if you’re eligible they provide the box. If you can’t find your product on their website, don’t fret. You can send them a little info about it and they will give you a personalized estimate and you can still make some sweet mula. If you have a bunch of gadgets to get rid of, say from work or a school, they got your back. You can even make money for referring people to the site. This, if you think about how many friends you have that change cell phones as often as they change their underwear, should be pretty easy. When you send your product in they make sure to remove any trace of your personal information from it, and you can get your money via check, PayPal, or Amazon Gift Card. They can make you feel even better about yourself (if you so choose) by donating your earnings. They even provide some advice on how to break up with our current electronics:

“Gazelle is making it easy to make some extra green while going green this Valentine’s Day. Breaking it off with your old electronic products isn’t easy, but with more than 235 million tech gadgets getting the cold shoulder in American households since 1980, it’s more important than ever to “dump” your clunkers responsibly. Here are five tips for telling your old gadgets, “I’m just not that into you” with Gazelle:

1. “I’d still like to be friends.”– If you have decided to upgrade your LCD monitor or PDA, practice reCommerce by reselling or recycling it rather than leaving it in your junk drawer. Gazelle makes the process as easy as Netflix by calculating offers for gadgets quickly and by providing shipping labels and packaging for all eligible items.

2. “I am afraid of commitment.” – If you are a serial upgrader with a need for the latest and greatest MP3 player or digital camera, Gazelle can help subsidize your purchase. On average, Gazelle pays about $115 for unwanted gadgets via check, PayPal, Amazon Gift Card or charitable donation.

3. “I just need some space.” – If you have thousands of pictures, movies and MP3 files to store, Gazelle will not only help provide some cash for a more spacious device, it will also ensure that all the personal data and information will be securely erased from your old cell phone or laptop.

4. “You’ll be happier with someone else.” – If you are ready to upgrade, but your current gaming console or GPS device is still in working condition, Gazelle can help extend its life via reCommerce. Gazelle will help find new users for your items by selling them on other retail or wholesale outlets.

5. “Look…. It’s over.” – If your camcorder or external hard drive is broken beyond repair, Gazelle can help recycle it responsibly. With the Gazelle’s zero landfill policy, users can rest assured that their gadgets will not be sent to a third world country or pollute the environment.”

They want us to dump our stuff on Valentines day! That’s a little harsh.

 

Published by: Ashley (Intern)

Green Technology at CES 2009

Well, CES 2009 has come and gone. This was my 10th CES and Kim’s 14th. Wow – that’s a lot of neon to take in in one lifetime.

This year’s CES was a little different, and not just because the economy kept attendance down; this year’s show floor featured a “Greener Gadgets” Tech Zone. In this space were companies from all over exhibiting gadgets and gizmo’s that save kilowatts. I was impressed that the CEA took the initiative to create this space (pretty prime floor space too, right next to LG) but I wish more companies would have exhibited. I forgot to get an exact count, but there were probably only 24 small 10 x 10 booths filled with mostly gadgets that either help power off other gadgets, or small solar panels that helped power PDAs, cell phones, iPods, etc. Where were the bigger companies with their green initiatives and products? Why didn’t they have a presence in this “Green Zone” instead of burying their green wares in their ginormous booths? I certainly don’t blame the CEA as I have no doubt they would have accomodated as many “green” companies as possible. The CEA has an entire green initiative that you can read more about here.

I didn’t walk away fully disappointed, though, as I was able to find very innovative, and brilliantly simple devices for saving kilowatts. My favorites come from TrickleStar

and are part of their TrickleSaver Solutions line of products. First up is the PC TrickleSaver. This small, power supply-sized gadget plugs in between your existing power strip and your computer peripherals. See, many of us have printers, scanners, computer speakers, etc., hooked up to our PCs that are powered on at all times – either that or they are in standby mode. The problem with standby mode is even if the peripheral device appears turned off it’s still sucking juice out of the wall. According to TrickleStar it is estimated that around the world standby power accounts for 12% of residential electricity consumption. In the US alone it is estimated that standby power costs consumers more than $3 billion a year!

TrickleSaver

The TrickleSaver works on a simple master/slave principle by connecting to your PC via a USB cable and using current sensing technology, sensing when your PC is on or off and turns on or off your peripherals accordingly. It doesn’t list on the website whether or not it will turn off your peripherals when the PC goes into sleep mode, but I would assume that’s the point of the USB connection. They have another similar device called the Universal TrickleSaver with no USB connection and works on simple current sensing technology.

The other gadget I really liked was their Desktop Switch. This little button connects via USB in-line between the TrickleSaver and your PC and can automatically shut off all of your peripherals even when the computer is still on. To me this is a must have accessory to the TrickleSaver. I don’t personally like turning off my PC all the time due to long boot up times and the fact that I use it as a shared device on my network for files, pictures, etc. With the Desktop Switch I can choose to turn on my printer and other devices only when I need them. Such simple brilliance.

Perhaps the best thing about the TrickleStar products is the cost. I got quoted a price of $25 for the TrickleSaver. No cost on the Desktop Switch, but I would venture to guess it will be around $15. The even greater thing about this simple device is that you can use it in conjunction with your current power strip. Say you’ve already invested in a nice power strip or UPS with battery back up, surge protection, etc., – you can still use it in conjunction with the TrickleSaver and take advantage of the second “R” (Re-use).

It’s products like the TrickleSaver that are going to get people to adopt sustainable practices in their everyday lives. Make it affordable and idiot proof and people will adopt it. Just think how much electricity in this country would be saved if a product like the TrickleSaver was bundled with each new PC purchase.

Posted by Joe. Follow me on Twitter.

It’s almost (green) gift giving time!

With the holidays right around the corner, why not stuff stockings with something fun AND eco-friendly?

The Eco-Friendly Water Powered Clock by Bedol doesn’t run on batteries…it runs on salt water!

clock

Simply fill the tank and you’ll be right on time for up to three weeks. Just refill the tank to avoid missing a date with your always-prompt wife.

Available in four colors for $16 at Bedol What’s Next.