Happy Green New Year 2010!!


Wireless Electricity


[Eric Giler] has a talk available over at TED that discusses and demos delivering electricity without wires. Called WiTricity, these methods were developed by a team at MIT a few years ago who were working off of the concepts of Nicolai Tesla. The facts shared about our current energy delivery system are a bit shocking; we’ve spent over $1 trillion in infrastructure and produce more than 40 billion disposable batteries each year.

The demonstration in the video starts about 6:30 into it. At first we see a flat panel television powered wirelessly from about 6 feet away, then the T-Mobile G1 powered from the same distance. The thought of new TVs coming with WiFi and WiTricity standard would mean just hanging it on the wall with no cords to run. We can also image cellphones that have a battery only for backup purposes when you were not near a transmitter.

The power transfer occurs between two coils that resonate at the same frequency and only that frequency.

Hydrogen Fuel Cell

Hydrogen is one of two natural elements that combine to make water. Hydrogen is not an energy source, but an energy carrier because it takes a great deal of energy to extract it from water. It is useful as a compact energy source in fuel cells and batteries. Many companies are working hard to develop technologies that can efficiently exploit the potential of hydrogen energy. This page lists articles about hydrogen fuel as an alternative energy source.

Hydrogen Fuel Cell

Adding Lithium to Hydgrogen Could Improve Production

Lithium Hydgrogen In our energy deprived world scientists are trying to find out various elements, alloys and substances that can provide clean and green energy along with meeting our energy demands. This quest has led them to superconductors. Superconductor materials have no electrical resistance. This property paves way for electrons to travel through them freely. Superconductor materials also carry large amounts of electrical current for long periods of time without losing energy as heat. Scientists are of the view that metallic hydrogen can prove to be a high-temperature superconductor.

Students to Sail Hydrogen Powered Boat

Hydrogen Boat A group of bright young Rensselaer students will soon take up the Hudson River, but with a difference. They are using a boat driven by clean and green hydrogen fuel. Their boat is the 22-foot New Clermont looked after by a three member crew. It is fitted with a pair of 2.2-kilowatt fuel cell units.

New Hope for Hydrogen Storage

Hydrogen Storage It seems simple but if put it into practice then we can develop real potential for hydrogen fuels. A new method of “recycling” hydrogen-containing fuel materials could pave the way for commercially viable hydrogen-based vehicles. An article published in world’s leading chemistry journal Angewandte Chemie, makes a claim about recycling hydrogen-containing fuel materials. Los Alamos National Laboratory and University of Alabama researchers working within the U.S. Department of Energy’s Chemical Hydrogen Storage Center of Excellence express a noteworthy progress in hydrogen storage science.

First Hydrogen Power Plant in Italy

Hydrogen Power Plant Italy has come up with world’s first hydrogen power plant. This power plant is situated in Fusina, near Venice in the Veneto region of Italy. Enel is constructing this power plant producing no undesirable greenhouse gases. It is Italy’s largest power company with a track record of fifty million power and gas customers. Enel is procuring hydrogen from an accompanying production from Polimeri Europa's petrochemical plant. This hydrogen will be brought to the establishment by especially built pipelines. Polimeri produces a wide range of petrochemical products, and its ethylene-cracking process will be responsible for the hydrogen feedstock. This hydrogen power plant will be operational in 2010. It will provide power to 20,000 households.

Digital Combustion Simulation

Digital Combustion When researchers arrive at a particular after lots of experimentation they already have used up lots of resources in terms of money, man, material and time. Now scientists are trying to arrive at a result by simulating the experiments on computers and thus saving on lots of resources. A team of researchers from ETH Zurich are creating simulated autoignition with the help of a supercomputer equipped with 65,000 processors. This could lead to better models and reduction in cost of conducting actual experiments. 

New Advances in Hydrogen Fuel Catalysts

Hydrogen Fuel Catalysts Hydrogen has great potential as a fuel of future because it is an environmentally clean energy fuel and save us from the undesirable side effects of greenhouse gases. Before becoming it a fuel of the masses we need necessary infrastructure to store it and move it. We will also need fuel cells on economical scale. To make hydrogen as a popular alternative fuel some engineers are working on storage factor of hydrogen fuel. They don’t want compressed hydrogen into a tank. They want to store hydrogen fuel into a large molecule. When we want hydrogen out of the molecule we will need a catalyst. Now, researchers have new details about one such catalyst.

Hydrogen From Waste Materials

Hydrogen From Waste Environmentalists are continuously searching for green and clean fuel. Until now they have been putting a lot of energy and talent into hydrogen fuels because when hydrogen is burned, the only emission it makes is water vapor. So it is a great advantage that burning of hydrogen doesn’t produce carbon dioxide. Clearly, hydrogen is less of a pollutant in the air because it emits little tail pipe pollution. Engineers at the University of Leeds are working on a project keeping hydrogen in mind. They are developing an energy efficient, environmental-friendly hydrogen production system but with a difference. They are trying to extract hydrogen from waste materials. These materials can be vegetable oil or the glycerol by-product of bio-diesel. They are aspiring for the high purity hydrogen-based fuel that could be utilized for large-scale power production. They are also developing hydrogen cells for laptops or other gadgets. A grant of over £400k has been awarded to the University by the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC) within a consortium of 12 institutions known as SUPERGEN Sustainable Hydrogen Delivery

New Hydrogen Powered Urban Car by Riversimple

Riversimple Hydrogen Car A new hydrogen car was unveiled in London, UK by Riversimple. This Riversimple Urban Car (RUC) is powered by fuel cells. These fuels cells combine hydrogen with oxygen from the air to release energy. What comes out from the exhaust pipe is not toxic fumes but water. Even using hydrogen fuel from source to car’s fuel tank, its carbon emissions for urban driving are only 30 grams/km. The weight of this hydrogen car is 772 pounds. You can travel 186 miles on just 2.2 pounds of liquid hydrogen. The Riversimple Urban Car is powered by a cheap, 6-kilowatt fuel. The car's top speed is 50 miles per hour (80.4672 kilometres per hour). It can be accelerated from 0 to 30 mph (48 km/h) in 5.5 seconds.

Hydrogen Powered Street Cleaner

CityCat We are hearing about many inventions and discoveries in the alternative energy sector. But we don't get to read about many 'actual' finished products doing their work in real world. What we know is many models being tested in laboratories. But here we are seeing Bucher CityCat H2, the world's first municipal utility vehicle powered by fuel cells, made its debut last week in Basel, Switzerland. This street-cleaning CityCat will be doing her work on an eighteen months trial basis. It will be a matter of study that how this vehicle nicknamed as Bucher CityCat H2 be helpful in reducing air pollution than traditional diesel engines. Empa and the Paul Scherrer Institute (PSI) have, in collaboration with Bucher Schoerling, Proton Motor, BRUSA Elektronik AG und Messer Schweiz, developed a hydrogen powered municipal street cleaning vehicle that was unveiled to the public on 14th May 2009 in Basel.

Improving Performance of Solar Nanotubes

Solar Nanotubes Akira Fujishima, thirty-five years ago, discovered the electrochemical properties of titanium dioxide. He showed that titanium dioxide functioned as a photocatalyst. It produced hydrogen gas from water, electricity and sunlight. Scientists are quite hopeful regarding the qualities of Titania (or titanium dioxide). This is also known as white pigment. It’s used in many products be it paint, toothpastes or sunscreen lotions. Researchers have been exploring different ways to optimize the process started by Akira Fujishima. They want to develop a commercially viable technology that transforms cheap sunlight into hydrogen, a pollution-free fuel that can be stored and shipped

Splitting Water Into Hydrogen And Oxygen

Splitting Water We often want to imitate nature for near perfect results. But sometimes it just remains a desire. In its quest for green and clean energy mankind is searching for that magical method that can split water into hydrogen and oxygen. Nature performs this task wonderfully through the process of photosynthesis. Man is still facing challenges in duplicating that process in the laboratory. If we are able to split water into oxygen and hydrogen in the presence of sunlight we will be able to harness the potential of hydrogen as a clean and green fuel. Till date man-made systems are quite inefficient, time consuming, money consuming and often require additional use of chemical agents.

New Sponge-like Gas Storage Material

Gas Storage Material Environmentalists, common man, scientists, politicians, everyone want to breathe fresh and clean air and leave this earth in a better shape for next generation. Environmentalists and scientists are working to make this planet a better place to live. Hydrogen driven vehicles are a small step towards that goal. But the main hurdle to produce hydrogen vehicles on a mass scale is that they can’t store much fuel. Researchers at the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor and Arizona State University have developed a sponge-like material, a new metal-organic framework that has a record breaking surface area. This kind of material can be very useful for many industrial applications such as catalysis, separation, and gas storage. 

Breakthrough to Advance Hydrogen Car Production

Hydrogen Car Production One of the main hurdles in the field of hydrogen car research is the development of a good fueling system. Professor Issam Mudawar along with his research team has developed a hydrogen storage system that would allow a car tank to be filled in five minutes and you can drive on that fuel for 300 miles.

Understanding How Water Molecules Split

Water Molecules Plants produce energy with the help of photosynthesis. One of the important steps of photosynthesis is splitting water into hydrogen and oxygen and release of energy in this process. Scientists are trying to duplicate this process in the laboratory for the production of energy i.e. hydrogen fuel. Hydrogen fuel is a clean and green alternative fuel. Now researchers are observing single oxygen atoms hopping on a metal oxide slab, glowing brighter here and dimmer there. This very process is helping chemists to understand how water splits into oxygen and hydrogen in a better way. This process is increasing the understanding of the chemical reaction that had previously only been talked about. This reaction will assist us in future to generate hydrogen fuel from water or to clean contaminated water.

Eco-Friendly Fuels at I-5 Rest Stops

Eco-Friendly Fuels Common man and policy makers both are increasingly being made aware of the importance of clean and green fuels in near future. The governors of 3 states have come forward with a plan to transform Interstate 5 from a freeway dotted by gasoline burners to a sanctuary for eco-friendly cars and trucks. The people chalking out this plan are Marty Brown, Gregoire's legislative liaison, California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger and Oregon Governor Ted Kulongoski. 

New Hydrogen Purification Method

Hydrogen Purification This feeling is making inroads into many hearts and minds that we need clean and green fuel. Hydrogen is the simplest element known to us. Its atom contains just one proton. It is also lighter than air and doesn’t exist alone on this planet. It is always found in combination with other elements. People see hydrogen as an alternative fuel but it has its own drawbacks. One of the biggest hurdles in hydrogen fuel is its purification. It can act as fuel for fuel cells but present methods of purification are not so efficient and effective.

Hydrogen Fuel From Non-food Sources

Woodchip Fuel Tomorrow our vehicles may derive power by enzymes. These enzymes may originate from the cellulose of woodchips or grass and instead of emitting poisonous gases they will exhale hydrogen. We know that when hydrogen is burned, the only emission it makes is water vapor, so a key benefit of hydrogen fuel is that when burned, carbon dioxide (CO2) is not produced. Clearly, hydrogen is less of a pollutant in the air because it omits little tail pipe pollution. Hydrogen also has the potential to run a fuel-cell engine with better effectiveness over an internal combustion engine. 

New Method for Realizing Hydrogen Potential

Hydrogen Potential Hydrogen-powered fuel cells hold enormous promise as a power source for future generations. Hydrogen is the simplest element known to humans. Each atom of hydrogen has only one proton. It is also the most abundant gas in the universe. Hydrogen has a unique property. It carries the highest energy content of any common fuel by weight (about three times more than gasoline), but interestingly it has the lowest energy content by volume (about four times less than gasoline). Hydrogen is the lightest element, and it is a gas at normal temperature and pressure. Hydrogen is not a widely used fuel today but it has great potential as an energy carrier in the future. Hydrogen can be produced from a variety of sources (water, fossil fuels, and biomass) and is a byproduct of other chemical processes.

University Team Helps Nissan Unveil its Green Future

Nissan Green Future We all are familiar with the reality of fossil fuels, their side effects, soaring prices and their impact on common man who cares to drive an automobile. A Sunderland University team is working tirelessly to create a hydrogen powered car. It will be a significant step forward in developing a mass produced green vehicle. It is named as Nissan Almera. Under the leadership of Dirk Kok, from the Institute of Automotive and Manufacturing Advanced Practice (AMAP), the university research team, has adapted a Nissan Almera that will lead Nissan to its green vehicle. The vehicle will not emit poisonous fumes from its exhaust but water.

BMW officially announces the BMW Hydrogen 7



Closely following a sighting of a Hydrogen-powered 7 series during testing, BMW officially announced the Hydrogen 7 today. The car is touted as the first hydrogen-drive luxury performance automobile for everyday use. The BMW Hydrogen 7 will be built in a limited series, and sold to select customers in the U.S. and overseas in 2007. The engine in the Hydrogen 7, a derivative of the 7 series 12 cylinder engine, is capable of running on gasoline or hydrogen, and produces 260 hp. The car will accelerate from 0 to 62.1 mpg in 9.5 seconds. The ability to run on both gasoline and hydrogen gives the Hydrogen 7 a range of more than 400 miles. The high tech hydrogen storage tank has a capacity of approximately 17.6 lb of liquid hydrogen, giving the Hydrogen 7 a cruising range in hydrogen mode upwards of 125 miles. The gasoline mode accounts for an additional 300 miles of cruising range. The driver is the one who decides which fuel to use, with a smooth transition between both operating modes, since the engine power and torque remain identical regardless of the fuel used.

[Source: BMW, full press release after the jump. Also, see more pictures of the Hydrogen 7 here]

Munich/Los Angeles, CA - September 12, 2006... BMW today announced the introduction of the new BMW Hydrogen 7, the world's first hydrogen-drive luxury performance automobile for everyday use. The car - a vehicle that has undergone the regular Product Development Process - will be built in a limited series and deployed to selected users in the U.S. and other countries in 2007. It is equipped with an internal combustion engine capable of running either on hydrogen or on gasoline and based on the BMW 7 Series.

Hydrogen technology dramatically reduces emissions generated by personal transport and, in particular, minimizes the emission of CO2. Running in the hydrogen mode, the BMW Hydrogen 7 essentially emits nothing but vapor. And, unlike fossil fuels and traditional gasoline, hydrogen is available in virtually infinite supply. With the BMW Hydrogen 7, the BMW Group is laying down a marker for sustainable mobility. This car will play a pioneering role in driving forward hydrogen technologies. BMW has gained an excellent reputation for significantly reducing fuel consumption and CO2 emissions by using ultra efficient, yet very dynamic gasoline engines. Together with clean performance diesel cars and the technologically advanced hybrid systems currently under development within the BMW EfficientDynamics project, the BMW Group has a clear strategy for sustainable mobility with hydrogen as the ultimate solution.

With all the comforts and amenities of a non-hydrogen BMW 7 Series, the BMW Hydrogen 7 is powered by a 260 hp twelve-cylinder engine and accelerates from 0-62.1 mph in 9.5 seconds. Top speed is limited electronically to 143 mph. The BMW Hydrogen 7 also features a dual-mode power unit - controlled at the touch of a button - that can switch quickly and conveniently from hydrogen to conventional premium gasoline.

The car's dual-mode drive provides an overall cruising range of more than 400 miles and enables the driver of a BMW Hydrogen 7 to enjoy virtually unlimited mobility, even when far away from the nearest hydrogen filling station. This technology is a viable solution until the hydrogen infrastructure is fully developed.

BMW CleanEnergy: paving the way into the future.

The BMW Hydrogen 7 perfectly captures the essence of the BMW CleanEnergy strategy. By using hydrogen produced from water and renewable energy, such as wind, sun or hydropower, in an internal combustion engine, the car's emissions are essentially nothing but vapor. And, with this emitted water vapor, the cycle can start again and the dream of sustainable mobility without using fossil fuel resources and without impacting the earth's climate can become a reality. The complete change from a fossil fuel infrastructure to a hydrogen economy will require decades, but with the Hydrogen 7, BMW shows that bringing hydrogen technology to the road is indeed feasible.

BMW Hydrogen 7: Industrializing hydrogen technologies.

The BMW Hydrogen 7 has successfully completed the entire Product Development Process (PDP) obligatory for all new BMWs. In this process, all components of the new technology were integrated into the overall vehicle according to the same challenging criteria applied to "regular" production cars. The BMW Hydrogen 7 is not a hand made concept car, but rather, a milestone in industrializing hydrogen technologies for automotive use.

The knowledge gained in the PDP has not only made a decisive contribution to the everyday driving qualities of the BMW Hydrogen 7, but it will also significantly impact the development and production of future hydrogen car concepts, with the principle of dual-mode drive and the features of other components now going through the strict test of everyday driving practice.

Dual-mode combustion engine for enhanced flexibility.

While cruising range is a significant consideration to consumers in any car, BMW recognizes that it is of critical importance in a hydrogen-powered vehicle, because there is not yet a full network of hydrogen filling stations in the United States.

For precisely this reason, the BMW Hydrogen 7 features dual-mode drive technology and a combustion engine capable of running on both hydrogen and gasoline. The cruising range in the hydrogen mode is more than 125 miles, with another 300 miles in the gasoline mode. Thus, the driver of a BMW Hydrogen 7 is able to use the vehicle without problem even when the nearest hydrogen filling station is far away.

The BMW Hydrogen 7 clearly proves that liquid hydrogen may by all means be used as a source of energy for the production car. By introducing the BMW Hydrogen 7, the BMW Group establishes powerful momentum for the ongoing development of a supply infrastructure serving above all to set up additional hydrogen filling stations providing sustained mobility on a broad basis also in the future.

Two tanks: Smooth transitions and maximum cruise range.

To offer the longest conceivable cruising range, the BMW Hydrogen 7 comes with both a conventional 74-litre (16.3 Imp gal) gasoline tank and an additional fuel tank taking up approximately 8 kilos or 17.6 lb of liquid hydrogen. Stored in a high tech tank, liquid hydrogen offers significant advantages in energy density enhancing the cruising range of the hydrogen car.

The driver is able to switch from hydrogen to gasoline mode manually by pressing a button on the multifunction steering wheel. Because engine power and torque remain exactly the same regardless of the mode of operation, switching from one mode to another has no effect on the driving behavior and performance of the BMW Hydrogen 7.

The control system in BMW Hydrogen 7 gives priority to the use of hydrogen. And, should one of the two types of fuel be fully consumed, the system will automatically switch over to the other type of fuel in the interest of secure, ongoing supply.

Luxury class comfort for four.

The BMW Hydrogen 7 is a four-seater with the two passengers at the rear enjoying the same high standard of comfort in the world's first hydrogen car developed for everyday use as in one of BMW's "regular" luxury performance vehicles.

The BMW Hydrogen 7 comes with an unusually wide range of standard features. In addition to the high level of equipment featured from the start in the BMW 760i, the BMW Hydrogen 7 comes inter alia with climate comfort composite glazing, BMW's high-end automatic air conditioning, auxiliary heating, electric seat heating for the driver, front passenger and rear seats, lumbar supports, electric seat adjustment with memory function on the front seats, ISOFIX child seat fastenings, Park Distance Control, a rain sensor, exterior and interior mirrors with automatic anti-dazzle, Soft Close Automatic for the doors and a headlight assistant. A complete entertainment and communication package adds to the comfort a BMW 7 Series can provide.

Progress without compromises.

BMW Hydrogen 7 emphatically proves that changing over to an alternative form of energy doesn't mean missing out on superior driving dynamics and comfort. The departure from fossil fuel does not in any way mean giving up the dynamics and performance typical of a BMW. Mobility of tomorrow and driving pleasure of today are compatible, with the drive concept of BMW Hydrogen 7 being directly transferable to future models. Driving a car of this caliber will be just as thrilling in the future as it is today, but at the same time cleaner than ever before.

BMW Group: "Sustainability. It can be done."

Sustainable action and corporate success belong together. With this clear commitment, the BMW Group has integrated sustainability as part of its corporate strategy for many years and takes responsibility for its products throughout their entire life cycle - from production to end-of-life recycling. The BMW CleanEnergy strategy aims to create a sustainable future for individual mobility independent of fossil fuels. With BMW EfficientDynamics, the company enhances fuel economy with every new product while still offering the customer the best in class performance.

With recycling-optimized product design and life cycle assessment, BMW reduces the impact on the environment. The use of benchmark technologies in its clean production program significantly reduces the consumption of water and energy during the production process. There are many examples of the advantages of adhering to BMW's mantra, "Sustainability. It can be done." The benefits are enjoyed by not only the company and its associates, but also the environment and, most importantly, the customer. To learn more about BMW Group and sustainability, please visit www.bmwgroup.com/sustainability.

Environmental Tips for Individuals

First: Reduce

The critical first step of waste prevention has been overshadowed by a focus on recycling. Please help to promote a greater awareness of the importance of the "Reduce" part of the Reduce-Reuse-Recycle mantra. For a great overview of how raw materials and products move around the world, see the video The Story of Stuff.
    White Pages Delivery Opt-In Petition
  • Simplify: Simplify your life as much as possible. Only keep belongings that you use/enjoy on a regular basis. By making the effort to reduce what you own, you will naturally purchase less/create less waste in the future. For information on voluntary simplicity, check out Voluntary Simplicity Websites. Learn more through books on voluntary simplicity. The Compact blog (and Yahoo group accessed from blog) supports individuals committed to not buying products for a year.
  • Reduce Purchases: In general, think before you buy any product - do you really need it? How did the production of this product impact the environment and what further impacts will there be with the disposal of the product (and associated packaging materials)? When you are thinking about buying something, try the 30-Day Rule -- wait 30 days after the first time you decide you want a product to really make your decision. This will eliminate impulse buying.
  • Tree-Free Home: As much as possible, create a tree-free home:
    • replace paper napkins with cloth napkins
    • replace paper towels with a special set of cloth towels/napkins (or cut up old t-shirts for great towels) - store the used ones in a small container in your kitchen and just wash and reuse
    • purchase bleach-free, toilet paper that is made from the highest post-consumer waste content you can find (80% minimum)
    • if you print documents, print on once-used paper and/or bleach-free, recycled paper with the highest post-consumer waste content available (or hemp/alternative-source paper, if you can afford it)
    • create and use note pads from once-used paper
    • leave messages for family members/roommates on a reusable message board
    • make your own cards/letters from once-used products or handmade paper
    • if you will be doing construction on your house, search out alternatives to using newly cut wood (no endorsement of any company intended):
  • Bulk Purchases: Avoid products that are packaged for single use (i.e., drinks, school lunches, candy, cat and dog food, salad mixings, etc.). Instead, buy in bulk and transfer the products to your own reusable containers. Many health food stores have bulk bins where they sell everything from grains to cereal to cleaning products. For additional ideas, read the Precycling information page.
  • Avoid Trash: Avoid creating trash wherever possible: when ordering food, avoid receiving any unnecessary plastic utensils, straws, etc. (ask in advance), buy ice cream in a cone instead of a cup, don't accept "free" promotional products, buy products with the least amount of packaging, etc. Every little bit of trash avoided does make a difference!
  • Shopping Bags: While shopping, if you only buy a few products skip the shopping bag. For larger purchases, bring your own. Learn about the dangers of plastic bags and what countries around world are doing about it ("The Dangers of Plastic Bags" slide show from Teacher Vishal Mody).
  • Junk Mail: For ideas on how to reduce junk mail, access:
  • Green Hotels: When staying at a hotel, motel, or bed and breakfast let the management know that you like to support businesses that adopt environmentally responsible practices (including reducing waste). Print out and drop off the Sustainable Solutions for Green Hotels environmental tips list. To locate environmentally friendly hotels, search on the Internet under "ecotourism" and/or visit Green Hotels Association.
  • Waste-Free Lunches: Pack a Waste-Free Lunch whenever possible.
  • Mug-to-Go: Carry a mug with you wherever you go for take out beverages.
  • Protect Children: New American Dream offers tips for protecting your children from intrusive and harmful advertising that promotes mindless consumption.
  • Zero Waste: Zero Waste America and Zero Waste Alliance provide information on becoming a "Zero Waste" activist. "Waste is a resource in disguise." (quote from Zero Alliance)


Second: Reuse


The media has done a wonderful job of selling us on the attractiveness and benefits of buying "new", "improved", "special", etc. products. However, we already collectively own so much that we could all survive for quite a while on the existing products - if we just reused them a few times!
  • Garage Sales: Shop at and hold garage sales - this is a great way to reuse products.
  • Reusables: Switch from disposable to reusable products: food and beverage containers, cups, plates, writing pens, razors, diapers, towels, shopping bags, etc.
  • Donations: Donate your old:
    • household items - clothes, furniture, dishes, books, sports equipment, magazines, appliances, electronics, business attire, wedding attire, etc. (to charity)
    • computer equipment
    • building material (to companies who specialize in selling used material)
    • cell phones and ink cartridges (to Cure Recycling - profits from reuse of items support the CURE Childhood Cancer organization. Free postage. Another place to donate cell phones is Collective Good). If you would like to start your own recycling program, check out Wireless Recycling. Learn how to erase cell phone data with this free data eraser.
    • eyeglasses (to Lions Club, For-Eyes, Pearle, or Lenscrafters)
    • extra hangers (to your local dry cleaners)
    • art materials (to a school or cultural organization)
    • unwanted boxed/bagged/canned food (to homeless shelters, food banks, or soup kitchens)
    • etc.
  • Buy/Sell Used Items: Buy and sell your items on sites such as:
    • Ebay
    • Barter Bee.
    • Craigslit provides a great free way to buy/sell/give away used items in your local community (select your community from listings on the right)
    • Recycler's World facilitates buying and selling used products (for home and work)
    • Local second hand stores
  • Freecycle: The Freecycle Network provides an online community tool for giving and receiving free stuff.
  • Throwplace: Throwplace.com lets you list items online that you would like to give to nonprofit organizations, businesses, or individuals.
  • Community Swap: Organize a community swap program (i.e., designate a place where people can leave unwanted items for others to use).
  • Packing Peanuts: Arrange to drop off at a local packing, shipping or moving store.
  • Wash and Reuse Plastic Bags: With either a wooden bag dryer or in the washing machine.
  • Buy Durables: Buy products that will last and take care of them.
  • Teach Thrift: Teach your children the value of being thrifty (the wise economy in the management of money and other resources; frugality).
  • Frugal Printing: Use both sides of each piece of paper -- for note taking or printing documents from your computer (at home or work). Create note pads by stapling together once-used paper.
  • Kitchen Reuseables: Instead of buying these items new, save and reuse all: paper bags, rubber bands, twisties, boxes, and packaging material. Reuse your plastic bags with a handy bag dryer.
  • Library: Pick up books from your local library or used book store. The library is also many times a great place for finding magazines, CDs, books-on-tape, and videos.
  • Share with Neighbors: Join in with neighbors to purchase infrequently used products such as lawn mowers, ladders, etc.
  • Refurbished Computers: Buy refurbished computers for less
  • Rechargeable Batteries: Purchase rechargeable batteries and a battery recharger (some battery rechargers will also recharge regular alkaline batteries). Solar powered battery rechargers are available online.
  • College Reuse: Dump and Run is a nonprofit organization that organizes the collection of college students' castoff items in the spring, so they can be sold to incoming students in the fall. The proceeds are then donated to nonprofits.

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Third: Recycle

  • Recycle Bins: Create designated holding "bins" for each type of recycled product and place in convenient locations in your home/garage
  • Recycling Fact Sheet: Create a local recycling fact sheet for yourself and interested neighbors. The local Yellow Pages, Internet Consumer Recycling Guide and Recycling Resources are great resources. Find out where you can recycle:
    • glass
    • paper products
    • plastic grocery bags (better yet - use cloth bags)
    • plastic - including 1 - 7 identification codes
    • aluminum
    • cardboard
    • tin cans
    • scrap metal
    • motor oil (one quart of oil can kill fish in thousands of gallons of water)
    • ink cartridges
    • household appliances such as refrigerators
    • computer equipment and other electronic devices
    • aseptic packaging (square boxes used for liquids)
    • styrofoam
    • tires
    • athletic shoes (contact a local sporting goods or athletic shoe store - some donate used shoes, others recycle them)
    • etc.
  • Recycled Content: Ask your local retailers to stock more products made from recycled materials and buy products made from the highest recycled content whenever possible.
  • Green Paper: In general, try to buy products/containers made from recycled material as often as possible to support the recycled product market. When purchasing paper products (toilet paper, etc,), look for paper that has been recycled using a minimum of 50% post-consumer waste. Also, purchase from companies that do not use chlorine to bleach their paper products (which creates dioxin waste).
  • Natural Fertilizer: Leave grass clippings on the lawn as fertilizer.
  • Composting: Start a compost pile with yard trimmings and food scraps. Learn more at Wikipedia's Compost page.
  • Pack-it-Out: If you are traveling and no recycle bins are available, pack your recyclables home with you whenever possible.
  • Eco-Friendly Burials: For the ultimate in recycling, check out the growing movement in eco-friendly burials.
  • Recycled Gold: If you are shopping for wedding rings or other jewelry consider buying recycled gold jewelry and synthetic diamonds and gemstones.
  • Hazardous Waste: The other key aspect of dealing with waste effectively is to dispose of toxic products at a hazardous waste facility. Products requiring special handling include:
    • Building Materials - paint , varnish, paint thinner, solvents, rust remover, wood preservatives and driveway sealer
    • Automotive products - gasoline, transmission oil, brake fluid, kerosene, charcoal lighter fluid, power steering fluid, used motor oil,used oil filters, used antifreeze
    • Household cleaners - spot removers, rug cleaners, metal cleaners, bathroom cleaners, oven cleaner, drain cleaner
    • Pesticides - insect killers, weed killers, flea products, moth crystals, fertilizers with weed killer
    • Miscellaneous - photographic chemicals, acids and corrosive chemicals, pool chemicals, compact fluorescent light bulbs, Ni-Cd batteries


Your Food


Switching to a vegetarian diet is a powerful way to help protect our environment and help ensure everyone has enough to eat. The United Nations recently released Livestock's Long Shadow–Environmental Issues and Options, which concludes that the livestock sector (primarily cows, chickens, and pigs) emerges as one of the top two or three most significant contributors to our most serious environmental problems, at every scale from local to global. It is one of the largest sources of greenhouse gases - responsible for 18% of the world's greenhouse gas emissions as measured in CO2 equivalents. By comparison, all transportation emits 13.5% of the CO2. It produces 65% of human-related nitrous oxide (which has 296 times the climate change potential of CO2) and 37% of all human-induced methane (which is 23 times as warming as CO2). It also generates 64% of the ammonia, which contributes to acid rain and acidification of ecosystems. In addition, the enormous amounts of grain required to feed livestock reduces the amount of food available for the world's hungry. Buying organic, locally grown food also reduces climate change emissions and helps protect the environment.
  • Eat Peace 
  • Organic: The What is Organic? page explains what organic produce is and how it is certified.
  • Local: Buy food (and drink - ideally tap - water) from local companies whenever possible. Each pound of local food you purchase prevents a quarter pound of climate change (C02) emissions. Support your area's Farmer's Market. If possible, grow your own fruits and vegetables using organic gardening practices. You can find local farmer's markets, community supported agriculture, restaurants that cook with regional cuisine, and food cooperatives through Local Harvest.
  • Vegetarian/Vegan Diet: Consider becoming a lacto-ovo 
  • vegetarian (no meat but some eggs and dairy products) or vegan (no animal products). Informational sites:
  • Healthy School Lunches: Support efforts to increase healthy food choices in school lunches (US)
  • Green Calculator: Learn about the effect your diet is having on the environment with the Eating Green Calculator.
  • Non-GMO: There are many organizations that are working to protect our food supply from genetically engineered produce. Please get involved in any way you can. Whenever possible, buy products containing non-GMO soy, cotton, and corn. Ask your local supermarket to carry non-GMO products and ask your friends to also make this request - have faith that your requests will get back to the growers and store headquarters. This trend will only turn around when customer demand non-GMO products. Your pocketbook is your most effective voice.
  • Unprocessed Food: Eat unprocessed/unpackaged food whenever possible.
  • Smart Seafood: If you purchase seafood, consult a seafood choices chart to select environmentally smart seafood. Also, learn more about avoiding mercury in your seafood at NRDC.
  • "Dolphin Safe" Tuna: Only purchase tuna labeled "dolphin safe".
  • Shade-Grown Coffee: Buy shade-grown coffee to protect desperately needed migratory bird habitats. Many "fair trade certified" coffees are shade-grown. In the U.S., locate a supplier near you on the TransFair Retail Outlets listing.
  • Free-Range: If you eat meat, buy "free-range" raised animals. According to the EPA, "there are approximately 450,000 AFOs (Animal feeding operations - livestock-raising operations, such as hog, cattle and poultry farms, that confine and concentrate animal populations) in the United States. About 6,600 of these operations fall into the largest category and are referred to as Concentrated Animal Feeding Operations (CAFOs)."
  • Books: Books on organic food and switching to a vegan diet.


Conserve Energy


Please do not wait to start conserving as much energy as you can to reduce your climate change emissions! And please ask your elected representatives to push for strong legislation to move toward overall reduced energy usage and increased alternative energy production.
    Time to Replace Your Refrigerator? Click to Find Out!
  • Set Goals: To reduce your energy consumption:
    • Set specific energy reduction goals (for electricity, gas, and gallons of fuel consumed in your car(s)) -- for example, commit to using 20% less per month
    • Determine a baseline to start reducing from. Print the energy and water consumption chart and post in a visible spot in your home. Updates:
      • for your car(s): chart the number of gallons of fuel purchased per month (ask family members to save gas station receipts)
      • for your home/office: chart the gas "therms" and/or electric kilowatts per hour (kWh) used in the last 12 months (for comparison to each month this year)
    • Make specific changes in products used and family member habits:
      • buy energy saving products where needed
      • read the Sustainable Solutions for Getting Around Town page for ideas on reducing mileage/increasing mileage efficiency
      • get your family involved by asking for specific changes in everyone's habits (e.g., tape signs to light switches reminding family members to turn out lights when they leave a room, tape a sign to your car dashboard reminding the driver to check tire pressure during the first week of each month, assign someone to turn out all lights and cut power to unused appliances (to reduce standby power usage) each night)
      • look for additional ideas below
    • Once a month, add the new usage information to the charts and make adjustments as needed to reach your goals
    • Use the money saved to do something fun with your family (if you have children, increase their allowances by the amount saved to encourage them to get involved in finding new ways to conserve)
    • Join the Carbon Conscious Consumer program by New American Dream to receive new ideas monthly.
  • Buy Green Energy: If possible, choose a utility company focused on renewable energy. If you live in a deregulated state in the U.S., Green-e provides information about certified "clean electricity" providers for your state. In the U.K., visit Green Helpline.
  • Resources: The following pages provide tips on how to save energy:
  • Kitchen: Kitchen Unplugged -- ways to conserve energy in the kitchen
  • Carbon Footprint: The Carbon Footprint Calculator helps you to determine your carbon dioxide emissions from major sources: home energy consumption and transportation by car and plane. This information can be tracked over time, allowing you to gauge the impact of actions you take to reduce your carbon footprint.
  • Carbon Offsets: If you are taking a trip, consider buying carbon emission offsets.
  • Home Shade: In hot areas, if you have west-facing windows use window tints, blinds, deciduous trees or trellises to help keep out heat from the summer sun. In general, you will lower your summer air-conditioning bill by planting trees and bushes along the west side of your home.
  • Paint Colors: Paint your home a light color if you live in a warm climate and a dark color if you live in a cold climate.
  • Insulation: Insulate your hot water heater (a tank that is warm to the touch needs added insulation), as well as hot water pipes and ducts located in unheated areas.
  • Standby Power: Reduce "standby power" (the energy used while an appliance is switched off or not performing) at home and at work. The easiest way is to unplug appliances that are not being used. You can also plug your appliances into power surge protector strips (with multiple electrical outlets) and turn the power off at the strip.
  • Lights Off: Whenever possible, keep lights off during the day. Consider installing a skylight if more light is needed. Encourage family members to get in the habit of turning off lights when they leave a room (taping small reminder notes to light switches can help).
  • Location of Home: Choose a place to live that reduces the need to drive (easy access to public transit, easy biking routes, close to work and stores, walk able community, etc.).
  • Solar Cooker: Consider using a solar cooker to cook some of your meals.
  • Cool Water: When turning on a water faucet, unless you need warm water choose the coolest water setting.
  • Invest in Energy: Investing in renewable energy production is the same as investing in a home or office building. Buying energy from a utility, on the other hand, is like renting - at the end of fifteen years you don't have anything to show for it - and you are left vulnerable to the fluctuating costs of energy. One investment option is solar panels which can produce energy for 40 years or more - far longer than it takes to pay off the installation costs (currently around 15 years for homeowners and only 7 years for businesses). Wind power, where available, has a far quicker payback period. For more information on renewable energy, check out:
  • Dark-Sky: Change outside light fixtures so that light does not shine up into the sky. The International Dark-Sky Association works to educate individuals and communities about the use of energy-efficient, properly designed lighting that allows for good night sky viewing. The Fatal Light Awareness Program educates individuals about how urban lights harm migratory birds.
  • Books: Great book on energy conservation.

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Conserve Water


Freshwater degradation
is a looming crisis that we must face head on with strong and effective actions. Please do your part to protect this precious resource and call upon your elected representatives to take action today to protect not just future generations but our own future by adopting sustainable water practices. Only 3% of the earth's water is freshwater - we must protect this critical resource. In addition, water-related energy consumes a large amount of energy. In California, for example, water use consumes 19% of the state's electricity, 30% of it's natural gas, and 88 billion gallons of diesel fuel annually.
    Break the Bottled Water Habit
  • Set Goals: To reduce your water consumption:
    • Set specific water reduction goals -- for example, commit to using 20% less per month
    • Determine a baseline to start reducing from. Print the energy and water consumption chart and post in a visible spot in your home.
    • Chart the number of gallons of water used in the last 12 months (for comparison to each month this year)
    • Make specific changes in products used and family member habits:
      • buy water saving products where needed
      • get your family involved by asking for specific changes in everyone's habits (e.g., place signs near water outlets reminding family members to reduce consumption (e.g., shorter showers, turning the faucet off when not needed, only watering outdoor plants in the morning or evening))
      • look for additional ideas below
    • Once a month, add the new usage information to the charts and make adjustments as needed to reach your goals
    • Use the money saved to do something fun with your family (if you have children, increase their allowances by the amount saved to encourage them to get involved in finding new ways to conserve)
  • Resources: You'll find several water conservation ideas at H2ouse Water Saver Home including a Top 5 Water Savers page and 10 Ways to Save Water.
  • Water Consumption: Each time you turn on a water faucet use the lowest pressure necessary. Keep the water turned on only while it is needed. For drinking water, keep a pitcher in your refrigerator so you don't have to let water run to cool.
  • Low Flow Toilets: One of the best ways to avoid wasting water is to switch to low flow or dual flush toilets. Visit Terry Love's consumer toilets report for a great review on available low flow toilets. Flush your toilet only every other time or when it has solid waste. LeakAlerter notifies you if your toilet is leaking.
  • Showers: Replace existing shower heads with the lowest flow product you can find. Shower heads with a mist setting let you reduce water flow even further. Shower instead of taking a bath. Time your showers - try to keep them to 5 minutes. If taking a bath, limit how high you fill the tub.
  • Aerators: Install flow restrictor aerators inside all faucets for a savings of 3 to 4 gallons per minute.
  • Full Loads: Always run full loads of laundry and dishes. Choose the short cycle at low water levels whenever possible. Set the clothing washer at the lowest possible temperature needed and for single rinse only. If you buy a new appliance, switch to a water-conserving model (e.g., front loading washer).
  • Dish Washing: Use your dishwasher and don't rinse dishes beforehand (for an average 20 gallon savings).
  • Fix Leaks Promptly!: It is estimated that 13.7% of household water is wasted by leaks. Check your water meter when no one is using water in the house. If it's moving there's a leak. A running toilet can waste 2 gallons a minute. Check by adding food coloring to the tank without flushing. After 10 minutes, look for leaks indicated by color in the bowl. This is most likely a worn flapper valve that can easily be replaced.
  • Native Plants: Fill your yard with native plants. This will cut down significantly on watering requirements and, in the process, provide much needed food and shelter to local wildlife.
  • Mulching: Mulch your gardens to reduce water evaporation around your plants (this also reduces weeds and builds healthy soil).
  • Drip Irrigation: Install a drip irrigation system to water your plants more effectively
  • For Your Hoses: Buy a squeeze nozzle for all of your hoses. However, if you're watering plants, use a watering can to reduce water waste.
  • Best Time to Water: Water at night to minimize evaporation.
  • Leftover Water: If you have house plants, whenever possible water them with leftover or unused water from drinking, cooking, and showering. Keep of water pitcher near your sink or bathtub and collect unused water running from the tap (waiting for cooler or warmer water).
  • Car Wash: Take your car to a car wash that recycles water. If you wash it yourself, use a bucket and sponge and rinse sparingly.
  • Greywater System: Find out if creating a greywater/waste water system would work for you.
  • Water Pollution: Protect our water supply by following the steps outlined in How to Clean Up Our Water: 12 simple actions to help stem the tide of polluted runoff.
  • Tap Water: Make the switch back to environmentally-friendly tap water instead of bottled water.
  • Cooking Vegetables: Steam rather than boil your veggies to save a quart or more of water. Better yet, try giving vegetables a quick rinse, placing them in a covered bowl, and microwaving them for a minute or two.
  • Drinking Water: In the U.S., learn more about your drinking water at EPA's Ground Water and Drinking Water site.
  • Water Shortage Issues: Organizations that are working on international water shortage issues include:

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Out in Nature


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Your Home and Finances


Create a non-toxic, safe home for your family and pets. Gather up all products in your house or garage that contain unsafe chemicals and drop off at your local hazardous waste facility. Switch to alternatives containing nontoxic and biodegradable ingredients (some products labeled 'green' aren't really safe - look for green certification labels).

Nontoxic Home

  • Hazardous Waste: Dispose of the following products at a hazardous waste facility:
    • Building Materials - paint , varnish, paint thinner, solvents, rust remover, wood preservatives and driveway sealer
    • Automotive products - gasoline, transmission oil, brake fluid, kerosene, charcoal lighter fluid, power steering fluid, used motor oil,used oil filters, used antifreeze
    • Household cleaners - spot removers, rug cleaners, metal cleaners, bathroom cleaners, oven cleaner, drain cleaner
    • Pesticides - insect killers, weed killers, flea products, moth crystals, fertilizers with weed killer
    • Miscellaneous - photographic chemicals, acids and corrosive chemicals, pool chemicals, compact fluorescent light bulbs (mercury) , mercury thermometers, Ni-Cd batteries
  • Home-Made Products: Suggested recipes for home-made cleaning products:
  • Green Certified Products: The Eco-labels center evaluates the different eco-label programs so that you can pick your products based on the most rigorous certification processes.
  • Dry Cleaning: If available, clean your "dry clean only" clothes at a dry cleaning facility that uses nontoxic cleaning techniques. You can also use nontoxic "dry cleaning" products such as Dry Cleaner's Secret (free sample pack) to clean your less soiled clothes using your dryer.
  • Clothing: Whenever possible, buy clothing made from organic cotton and/or hemp. Locate a store that sells organic cotton products through the International Organic Cotton Directory.
  • Soap Nuts: Check out environmentally-friendly soap nuts (Sapindus) to replace your laundry detergent. It can also be used as a general cleaning soap.
  • PVC: Avoid purchasing plastic #3, PVC/vinyl. Information: PVC Alternatives Database and U.S. facing waste crisis from disposal of PVC.
  • Plants: Learn about the top plants for removing toxins from the air in your home in the article: Using Plants to Clean Indoor Air Pollutants.
  • Books: Books on eco friendly living.

Natural Body Products

Building or Remodeling Your Home

Personal Finances


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Your Garden

Create a Backyard Wildlife Habitat


As people take over more and more of the land, we need to provide food, water, and shelter to the animals that are now relying on us for their survival.
  • Backyard Wildlife Habitat: A backyard wildlife habitat or "naturescape" can be created in your own backyard. A miniature version can even be created on your patio or deck. Basic elements include fresh water (i.e., a bird bath and, if in a yard, water low to the ground); plants and feeders that provide nourishment for birds, insects, etc.; and rocks, trees, bushes and/or bird houses for shelter and nesting. Purchase plants that are native to your area. The National Wildlife Federation has an excellent program: The Backyard Wildlife Habitat Program which provides some helpful, detailed examples.
  • Attracting Animals: Learn how to attract:
  • Resources: Dawn of a New Lawn provides inspiration and information on switching to native plants.
  • Books: Books on backyard wildlife habitat.

Gardening Tips

    Native Plants Support Local Native Wildlife
  • Organic Gardening: Go organic!! - here are some basics. Also check out books on organic gardeningorganic gardening.
  • Native Garden: Learn about creating a Native Garden from eNature. Get to know the specific ecosystem your home is located in (e.g., Oak Woodland, Grasslands) and select plants native to this ecosystem.
  • Xeriscape: Tips on how to grow an environmentally friendly lawn can be found at the Lawn care using Xeriscape (water conservation) concepts.
  • Veggies in Containers: Tips on growing great vegetables in containers.
  • Composting: Composting provides important nutrients for your organic garden. Learn more at Wikipedia's Compost page.
  • Free Dirt Exchange: Find free soil in your area for your landscaping project or garden through Tons of Dirt.
  • Worm Composting: Learn about worm composting (vermiculture) at Earthworm FAQ.
  • Mulching: Mulching mowers are available which will convert cut grass into a natural fertilizer.
  • Carbon Debt: Work off your carbon dioxide "debt" by planting trees! Find out how much you need to work off with the Climate Change Calculator.
  • Pesticides: Learn about current toxicity and regulatory information for pesticides in the PAN Pesticide Database.
  • Resources: Links to great sites on everything from worm composting (vermiculture) to organic farming can be found at Useful Links.

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Your Work

 
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