Perhaps you’ve performed that old camping trick before, where you created a lantern by shining a flashlight into a water-filled bottle. While that may have helped you find your marshmallows in the dark, imagine how much brighter that bottle would have been if it were lit directly by the Sun. Bright enough, it turns out, that it could brilliantly light up the interior of a one-room house. That’s the idea behind the Isang Litrong Liwanag (A Liter of Light) project – it’s bringing daytime indoor lighting to the homes of the poor in the Philippines, by installing water-filled plastic pop bottles through holes in their roofs.
As things currently stand, cyclists have two options for carrying drinking water on rides: bottles in frame-mounted cages, and hydration backpacks with sipping tubes. Bottles aren’t always that readily-accessible, however – not a big deal if you stop
to drink, but more bothersome if you’re trying to drink on the fly, as happens in a race. Hydration backpacks, while much handier, can be uncomfortable. Showers Pass’ VelEau 42 is claimed to address both of these problems, by mounting a backpack-style hydration system on the bike instead of the rider.
A couple of years ago, the folks over at b3ta.com invited members of their online community to submit mocked-up images of “Unlikely iPhone Apps.” Some of the submissions were quite a hoot, such as the Paperweight app – just activate it on your iPhone, then set the phone down on top of a stack of papers. Even the guerrilla graphic artists at b3ta, however, couldn’t have foreseen Be a HeadCase. The product combines a bottle opener-equipped iPhone case with a free app that keeps count of how many bottles or cans you’ve opened, while announcing to the world that you’re opening yet another.
The worldwide shortage of clean drinking water is a serious problem, although in many cases there’s a relatively simple solution – just leave the tainted water outside in clear plastic bottles, and let the sun’s heat and ultraviolet rays purify it. This approach is known as SODIS
(SOlar DISinfection of water in plastic bottles), and it removes 99.9 percent of bacteria and viruses – results similar to those obtained by chlorine. Unfortunately, however, there’s been no reliable way of knowing when
the water has reached a safe level of purity. Now, four engineering students from the University of Washington have created a simple, inexpensive device that does just that... and they won US$40,000 in the process.
A new cement-like material that could be used to form sidewalks, bike and jogging paths, driveways and parking lots, may be able to lessen two environmental problems, namely plastic waste
and polluted rainwater runoff. The substance is called Plastisoil, and it was developed by Naji Khoury, an assistant professor of civil and environmental engineering at Temple University in Philadelphia. In order to make Plastisoil, discarded polyethylene terephthalate (PET) plastic bottles are pulverized and mixed with soil, and then that
mixture is blended with a coarse aggregate and heated. The result is a hard yet non-watertight substance, similar to pervious concrete or porous asphalt.
Just a few days ago, we told you about a vending machine that dispenses ice cream in return for smiles
. Well, if you like cold, hard cash better than cold, soft ice cream, here’s another dispenser-with-a-twist you might be interested in - the Reverse Vending Machine (RVM), that takes in recyclable bottles and cans, and gives out cash in return. RVMs have recently been introduced at the Centro Hollywood shopping mall in Adelaide, as part of the state of South Australia’s effort to promote recycling and reduce littering.
Personally, I’m not a fan of bottled water. Firstly, tap water in many parts of the world is safe, tastes fine, and it's free. Then there's the waste that bottled water causes
– an enormous amount of energy is consumed in manufacture and most bottles end up in landfill. So when I see a product like the Vapur, I instantly warm to it. It’s a flexible, reusable water container that rolls up like a tube of toothpaste when it's empty to fit in your pocket, purse or backpack – then in the dishwasher, not in the trash.
Given the concerns and controversy about plastic baby bottles containing bisphenol A (BPA)
and other toxins, it was only a matter of time that an alternative product was sourced to manufacture baby bottles. OrganicKidz stainless steel baby bottles are free from BPA, PVC and Phtalates and are durable, unbreakable and 100% recyclable.