Speaking of traditional books…

In the e-reader vs traditional books debate, these would definitely fall under traditional books. Except that they’re not. Waterproof, extremely durable, and recyclable, durabooks are looking really cool. Did you know that traditional paper is only recyclable to a certain extent? Once the fibers get recycled so many times they are no longer suitable for paper products and must be disposed of. So, even though these durabooks are plastic, they make more sense in the long term than traditional paper. Because they are infinitely recyclable, some even call them upcyclable.

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Project Green, Day 4: Recycling

I missed a day!  I was waiting for something in the mail and when it didn’t come in… I was just too let down to write up a post.  Sorry everyone.

Today is short and sweet, hopefully by tomorrow I’ll have the package I’m waiting for and I’ll be able to write up the last segment.  A day late, but better than not doing it at all.

Recycling.

That was going to be the last segment in my project green.  It’s easy, often overlooked, and as far as I can tell from personal experience, not many people do it.  The big media spotlight is on oil, global warming, and the energy crisis, so a lot of times the good old standby of recycling gets overlooked.  It’s easy, it only costs a little of your time, and in some cases you get paid for recycling your items.  So why not do it?
Here’s some quick numbers on recycling gotten from wikipedia.

Aluminum: “Recycling one kilogram of aluminium saves up to 8 kilograms of bauxite, four kilograms of chemical products and 14 kilowatt hours of electricity.”
Paper: “A ton of paper from recycled material conserves about 7,000 gallons of water, 17-31 trees, 60 lb of air pollutants and 4,000 KWh of electricity.”

And just like the CFL bulb, the less electricity used, the fewer polutants the power company spews into the air making that electricity.

Project Green, Day 3: Solar Power

Because of the short, not really all that “green” post yesterday, and because the solar power solutions today aren’t all that practical, I’m going to double up todays post.

First, Solar power. Unless you want to go completely off grid you’ll need an intertie system. These systems allow you to use solar energy while using the power company as a backup for cloudy days or during heavy electrical use. In some cases with an intertie system your meter may spin backwards as your solar system makes more electricity than your household uses. When I first looked into these systems a few years ago I recall finding some kits in the $5,000 range, but today they all seem to be 2 or 3 times that much. Which totally kills any financial gain which might result in going solar. At $10,000 or more it would take around 30 years before the investment started paying off. I don’t know many people who stay in the same house for that long anymore. Regardless, it does keep greenhouse gases down, and if you’re building a new home, what’s $10,000 on top of $150,000? So for some it could be a worthwhile investment. Also, no brown outs or power loss during a bad storm. Here’s one of the more affordable solar power retailers I’ve found.

Second, tankless water heaters. As an American, tankless water heaters came as a bit of a surprise when I first saw one. By only heating water when it is needed they can considerably cut down on the amount of energy used by an average household. There are some pros and cons, of course. Most tankless solutions can only handle one faucet at a time. So in a large household, it may be necessary to have more than one tankless heater. On the other hand, you will never run out of hot water, as there is no tank to empty. If you use hot water constantly throughout the day, you won’t see much of a difference on your energy bill. If you rarely use hot water, you will see some pretty hefty savings. Tankless heaters are small and can be installed in places you normally wouldn’t consider installing a standard water heater. But. They require maintenance. But. They have an average lifespan of 1.5 to 2 times that of a standard tank water heater.
I suggest going here or here and see if a tankless water heater could work for your application.

Project Green, Day 2: Rainbow Sandals

OK, just a quickie today. Rainbow sandals claim to be environmentally sound due to the fact that they last so long. Since they are so long lived, they cut down on trash in landfills, etc. Sure, why not? They have a lifetime warranty, are handmade, have a no sweatshop policy, and come with a free wax comb for all the surfers out there.

Pick them up at any surf shop or outdoor/beach/hiking style stores.

To be fair, since rainbow proved that you can sell high dollar long lasting flip flops many brands have started popping up, including Reef and Teva. From what I can tell, Rainbow was the first.

*edit 04/09/2013 to strikethrough some text that is no longer found on their homepage.

Project Green, Day 1: Compact Florescent Lights

You know those funny light bulbs that are shaped sort of like an ice-cream cone? They could save you around $30 over the life of the light for each one you switch out with a regular bulb. They also put out much less heat, making cooling your home easier on the old A/C.

Even Wal-Mart has gotten on the CFL bandwagon. They aim to sell 100 million CFL’s in the next year. That’s basically one per household in the U.S. If that happens it would be like taking 1.3 million cars off the road in terms of greenhouse gases generated by the power companies.

When first introduced these CFL bulbs were slow to turn on, rather weak, and many didn’t quite live up to the promises of long life. Today, if you’re careful and buy energy star approved brands you’re almost guaranteed a light bulb that will pay for itself in the first few months of use and light your home just as well as any old fashioned incandescent light while staying much cooler. About 100F instead of 1,000F.

One downside is that the CFL bulbs contain trace amounts of mercury. Don’t worry if you break one, there isn’t enough mercury in one bulb to pose a hazard to users, but this does mean that you can’t just throw them out with the coffee grinds. They need to be recycled. Just take them to the local hardware store or recycling facility. Either one should be able to take care of them for you at no charge. A small inconvenience for the money savings you get when using one. Not to mention all the good you’ll be doing the environment. Like you’ll ever have one go bad anyway, they last 15,000 hours!

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Compact_fluorescent_lamp