May 9, 2011
If you thought that technology and the environment did not sit comfortably together, think again. Savvy PC marketers are catching on to the fact that we don’t just want products that look good and fit our budget, we also want to make sure that we make the minimal negative impact on the environment when we purchase our accessories for work and home.
Because of this, a range of companies have come up with superb solutions that are affordable, look great, and don’t have an associated cost in terms of their environmental impact, meaning that we can have it all when we kit out our offices and homes with the best gadgets and gizmos for our technological requirements.
The following PC cases have been picked for their unique blend of stylish looks and eco-friendliness, showing that it is possible to be both green and cool!
‘Sarah’ by Lameco
It may have a bit of a strange name for a PC case, but this green PC case is as good as it gets when it comes to combining usability with eco-awareness. The ‘Sarah’ case by Lameco is made completely of environmentally-friendly recycled woods, so doesn’t have any harmful toxins or chemicals involved in its manufacture. Even the mouse and keyboard for this eco treasure are completely wooden, meaning that the whole ensemble looks great and can be purchased without losing your green credentials. The downside of ‘Sarah’ is that it is very expensive, retailing at a sturdy $1,600. With the best will in the world, only the seriously committed (and slightly well off) green warrior can shell out for something quite so expensive, even if you are saving the environment along the way.
Cardboard casings are the new plastics
If you’re looking for the ultimate PC casing with minimal environmental impact, then cardboard has to come pretty high on the list of eco solutions. The Lupo Corporation now provides just the thing, with a one hundred percent cardboard casing which can be assembled as you would a box – just push out the perforations and your case is ready to use. Biodegradable and funky to boot, the casing is great to look at, but not overly practical if it happens to get wet, or is mistaken for something that needs to go in to the recycling bin…
The Valerie Beetle case was invented by a Ukraine person, who came up with only one of its kind. The very unusual nature of the case means that it is highly sought after, and it is unusual because it looks as if it is made of metal, even though the casing is actually wooden. Read more about it here.
January 10, 2011
Digital technology is revolutionizing our interactions with people and planet. And if you’re committed to improving your green credentials, there’s probably an App for that. It may have taken the developers a little time to catch on, but green Apps are on the rise, putting eco-friendly information at your fingertips.
There’s now a stunning array of applications available to download – with helpful ideas and advice on everything from home energy management and recycling, to transport and shopping. We’ve pulled together a few that we like – but with new Apps sprouting up everyday, there’s never been a better time to explore the potential of digital technology to help you live a greener life!
Ten of the best
1. iGrowIt — $0.99
Learn which vegetables you can grow right now, as well as handy hints and tips for improving your green fingers. Also provides a range of recipes so you can take your produce from the garden to the kitchen table!
2. Seafood Watch — Free
Seafood Watch, developed by the Monterey Bay Aquarium, is a searchable guide which helps you make responsible and sustainable seafood choices at local grocery stores and restaurants.
3. FindGreen — Free
This little App has aggregated more than 56,000 green and sustainable businesses to help you make positive choices that will reduce your impact on the environment. FindGreen has everything from vegetarian restaurants to local yoga centers, making it easy to choose green.
4. Cruelty Free — Free
This handy shopping App helps you shop for cruelty-free cosmetics and household cleaning products. The App lists over 200 US and Canadian-based businesses that do not test their ingredients or products on animals.
5. Craigslist — Free
Can you imagine life without it? Craigslist is a great place to post your items for sale or freecycle. It’s really user-friendly too, with image previews, maps, searches, forums and more.
6. Zipcar — Free
Reducing the number of cars on the road, this handy little car-hire service allows you to find available Zipcars in your local area, make reservations, and even lock or unlock the car!
7. Carticipate — Free
If car pooling is your thing, hook up with Carticipate. Enter your destination and Carticipate will find people that are going your way. You can hitch a ride or invite others to share your vehicle.
8. Green Charging — $0.99
Instead of leaving your phone on charge all evening, download Green Charging. When you plug your phone in to charge, you can launch the App and it will tell you with sound/vibration when your battery is fully charged. Simple!
9. Get Green — $0.99
Get Green provides you with daily top tips and ideas to tackle climate change. There are tips on going green in your workplace, reducing energy consumption – and even ways to make your Halloween green! And if you’re planning to tie the knot this year, this App can help you plan the perfect green wedding.
10. Green Me — $1.99
This is your own personal green audit. Every day, the calendar asks you to list five green actions you’ve taken. The calendar will automatically change its shade of green, depending on just how conscientious you’ve been that day. A handy way to track your commitment to living a greener life.
May 15, 2009
A company called CoGen Media got in touch to tell us about a new product that will help save waste by helping printer cartridges last longer.
Probably invented to save money originally (it’s a great motivator), the ecoPrint2 software is becoming popular in America as way for schools, companies and individuals to be environmentally friendly. The software acts as an internal printer allowing you to automatically use less ink with your printer and even do things like print two pages per sheet without having to set it up each time.
So it saves ink and paper basically. Now I know the argument is that no printing saves even more ink and paper, and while I don’t print at all at home, at work it’s unavoidable. Businesses need to take their responsibilities more seriously and I would suggest, without actually being in a position to test it, that this sort of software, and idea in general, is a step in the right direction.
It does cost around $40 for the basic version though, so I’ll just be hunting for the ‘draft’ option on my printer I think. Go to Ecoprintsaver.com to find out more.
April 21, 2009
With ink costing the equivalent of between $2,500 and $10,000 per gallon, it’s no wonder people look to reduce how much they use, as well as reducing paper use for eco reasons. Having previously mentioned ECO-SAFE and Green Print as ways to save money on printing, there are now two more ways.
EcoFont is a new font created in the Netherlands that’s designed to extend the life of ink cartridges and toner. An agency found that the best results were achieved using a font in which tiny circles were intentionally left blank in the middle of each line, much like Swiss cheese. The result is based on the Vera Sans, an open source letter, and uses up to 20 percent less ink than traditional fonts. Available for Windows, Mac OSX and Linux, it’s also free to download and use. The Ecofont works best in OpenOffice, AppleWorks and MS Office 2007 at the 9- or 10-point size.
ecoPrint2 typically set up an internal print driver that allows you to print your documents using dramatically less ink or toner, as well as dramatically less paper through printing two pages per sheet from any software application. Once a document is ready for printing, you simply click on the print button and the “economy printing” dialog box quickly appears. You have the option to reduce the percentage of ink to be used, as well as the ability to print several pages on one sheet of paper. The ink saver tool allows you to reduce the consumption of ink by up to 75% without compromising legibility and the paper saving feature allows you to print multiple pages on one sheet and to move, delete or rearrange pages.
December 15, 2008
You may have noticed the adverts for www.flashsticks.co.uk along the top of Life Goggles and since we’re advertising them I thought we’d best check one out.
The name ‘flashstick’ is simple and apt. A flashstick is a flash drive that’s also a stick. Literally. This usb drive is encased in a piece of hard wood, meaning the packaging is very environmentally friendly. That’s also because the wood is basically a twig from a branch that’s fallen off a tree in the woods in Berkshire, England. There’s no cutting down of trees here.
The wood is left to dry out for a few months and then carefully hollowed out to add the flash drive, then smoothed off and beeswax is used to give a nice finish. And that’s basically it. It looks real because it is real and will even get woodworm if you keep it in the wrong place.
There is a little plastic cover that goes over the top (you can see it in the video below), which is unavoidable really as the stick stands up nicely and it would get dirty and knocked. It’s is a minimal piece but maybe in the future that could be made out of wood?
As well as it’s looks and manufacturing process, it also has to perform as a usb drive. While the trend it is get bigger and bigger usb drives I’ve never seen the need to carry more than one or two gigabytes around with me, the rest is just empty space otherwise. The flashsticks are all two gig and work beautifully. I plugged it in, my PC took about 10 seconds to download a driver and it worked away. As it’s usb 2.0 it transfers files fast and easily, I haven’t had a problem with it at all and use it regularly.
Available from www.flashsticks.co.uk for £15, this is an unusual usb drive which has good eco-credentials.
October 31, 2008
Green Print have a little piece of software that they claim can save you around $90 per year. It does this by reducing the amount of paper and ink that you use when printing. It’s a free software download that:
- Removes wasteful pages
- Includes a PDF writer
- Can track how many pages (and money) you have saved
- Currently only works on Windows
If you get annoyed at wasting paper and ink, take a look at Green Print’s free download.
September 19, 2008
Designed in Belgium, and made in Vietnam the Oscar USB hub is made from 70% Fair Trade components. Removing as much of the plastic as possible, the usb hub is made from paperboard, cotton and kapok, and comes in red, blue or green (we got a green one of course!).
There’s not much to say about it, it looks cute, came in 100% PET recycled packaging, is only just over 6cm (about 2.5″), and has four USB sockets. It connects to your computer via a USB lead that connects to the hub via a mini-USB socket, so if you need a longer lead they’re easy to find.
Available for $30 or €25 from United Pepper it’s a nice sustainable approach to electronics.