ReMakes Billboard Placemats

One large billboard or movie poster becomes 100 lbs of plastic waste materials in a landfill after as little as a month on display.  ReMakes  trys to avoid this by upcylcing old billboards into one of a kind placemats. Each set of 4 placemats is made from the same billboard, to give them a matching color scheme.  Scan the QR code in the bottom of each placemat to get a daily conservation fact.

Beautiful, unique placements, that do something good for the environment, and give you a topic of conversation for dinner - what more could you ask for.

Available in black or color for $15.99 through Abe's Market.

GE Smart Grid Website

GE has a beautiful new interactive website to promote their Smart Grid innovations.  The website is stunning, with intelligent interactive features like a print and play augmented reality Smart Grid.  The forward thinking website reflects well on their forward thinking ideas about energy.  GE has some intriguing ideas about integrating alternative power sources and smart meters into consumer's lives.  They make a convincing argument by visualizing the potential impacts.

IBM Green


IBM has decided to take on carbon.  Carbon is apparently the enemy of all green geeks... which is why you should buy an IBM (apparently).  I'm not sure I follow all the logic, but none the less, I'm enjoying their anti-carbon videos.  They include a Moose inspired green vandalist.  The 'green' street art is created by cleaning the walls of tunnels, roofs and the underground, to show green messages such as, unplug, ride bikes, or stop wasting money.

Outdoor Cutlery


Anafim is a set of outdoor cutlery designed by d-Vision, an industrial design internship program.  I don't think this cutlery is totally necessary.  I don't see the difference is between carrying around half a fork or a whole fork.  However... I still really like this idea.  Not from a utility point of view, but from an experience point of view.  I would enjoy using this cutlery.  It has a fun natural and artistic feel to it. You could find just the right stick handle for your eating preferences.  It also has the satisfying underlaying reference of making tools out of things in nature but with a modern twist where you don't have to sharpen your own blade.  (Found through MoCo Loco).

The Footprint Chronicles

There are a lot of companies that are making an effort to be more environmentally friendly, but few companies are taking it as seriously as Patagonia.  They state that their 'reason for being is to make the best product and cause no unnecessary harm'. Patagonia's new Footprint Chronicles is an indication of their commitment to being green.  It is a website that depicts a refreshingly honest view of the manufacturings impact of a few select Patagonia products.  It maps and calculates the distance the product traveled, the carbon dioxide emissions, waste generated, and energy consumed during the manufacturing of the products.  (Found through Cool Hunting).

Get Clean Stay Green

If you are trying to think of ways to make your life more green this lovely Earth Day, why not try cutting down your shower time.  This $3 shower timer from Envirosax can help keep you on track.  It sticks to your shower wall and keeps your cleaning routine down to 4 minutes.  You can save water and make the people you share your bathroom with happy all at the same time.  (Found through Ecofriend).

Earth Hour 2008


Tomorrow, March 29, at 8pm is this year's Earth Hour.  It was done last year in a few cities with limited participation.  This year, they have put a lot more effort into raising awareness and getting global participation on both an individual and corporate scale.  Participants are asked to turn out their lights between the 8 and 9pm.  The idea is to demonstrate that such a small act, can make a measurable change.

New York City Garbage


It's hard to know what kind of souvenir to buy in New York City.  Do you go with the Statue of Liberty foam hat, the scaled model of the Empire State Building, or the always classic, I Heart NY t-shirt?  Well how about going for something completely different and with a much better story... like a cube of garbage.  Artist Justin Gignac (also of Wants for Sale), specializes is collecting and selling NYC garbage in neat little smell-proof clear cubes.  I love them because they are so representative of New York (and I mean that in the best possible way).  You can even purchase special event garbage such as, garbage from New Year's Eve 2008 in Time Square, or garbage from the national republican convention.  Brilliant!  I want some.

Energy Bracelet


Canadian designer, Chet Domanski, has created these great one-off Energy Bracelets.  They are made out of 'up-cycled' pieces of the Alberta natural gas line.  Decommissioned pieces of the pipelines have been machined and chamfered into beautiful bracelets.  Each bracelet is tagged with the geographical coordinates of the location from which the pipe was taken. (Found through Sub-Studio Design Blog).

LINC - The Lifecycle Concept Phone


The amazing designers at Kaleidoscope's Greener Grass project have come up with another interesting cell phone concept.  Inspired by their attendance of the Greener Gadgets Conference, the LINC phone concept was designed with the product's entire lifecycle in mind.  The phone is made to be easily disassembled.  When LINC's hardware becomes obsolete, users are asked to ship in back to the company in exchange for an updated phone.  The manufacturer then easily disassembles the phone using a directed radiant heat beam which targets its internal memory metal latch, releasing the assembly.  The phone's components (glass, metal, electronics, etc.) are all appropriately recycled, reused, or safely disposed of (in the case of hazardous materials).  In the quick and ever changing world of technology that we live in, it's great to see product designers not only focusing on how the product is used, but what happens to it when it needs replacing.

Walk Score


If you are moving and looking for a place to buy or rent, you should check out the website Walk Score.  It scores neighbourhoods based on how walker friendly they are.  Walkable neighbourhoods are determined based on proximity of restaurants, shops, schools, parks, etc.  The site admits some shortcomings in their calculations, but overall it's an excellent approximation of walkability.  The Walk Score website has a great list of reasons why it's important to live somewhere walkable.  The reasons range from the predictable eco-friendly sort to some you many not have though of, such as increased social capital.  Very cool site.  I'm going to be looking up the walk score of every neighbourhood I consider living in from now on. (Thanks Karon and fam).

River Glow


An important step in environmental change is to raise awareness.  River Glow's raises awareness about water pollution by using a simple visual indicator to communicate water quality.  Designed by The Living, River Glow is a floating system that monitors a river's pH level and gives off red or green light to indicate pollution levels.  The system is energy self-sufficient, with energy supplied by one of a few experimental energy generating devices.  The suspended light of River Glow has a certain artistic quality to it that reflects the beauty of the water it's trying to protect.

Current State Concept


Check out this Current State concept that I worked on for Kaleidoscope's The Greener Grass project.  Current State is a conceptual mobile application used to monitor and control energy usage in your home.  The concept was inspired by our discussions about energy consumption and how to teach people to take responsibility and control over their energy usage.  The conceptual application allows users to set energy goals for themselves and then monitor how well they are meeting those goals.  Current State also gives users remote control over powered devices within their home.  Users can turn devices on or off, as well as setting up automatic timers to maximize their energy efficiency.

Vacant Lot


What If is a series of projects, by British Architects Gareth Morris and Ulrike Steven, that asks what if statements about architectural spaces.  For example 'What if this vacant car park became a place used by the young people?' or 'What if you woke up with a heard of cows outside your door?'.  One of their most interesting projects is called Vacant Lot.  It looks at the idea of using a vacant lot for something useful, like growing vegetables and flowers.  They opened up a vacant lot in London and filled it with 70 large grow bags of soil and a water tower.  The residents of the community took over from there, planting seeds and tending to their makeshift allotments.  I think this is a really cool idea.  What I like about it is that using the grow bags gives it the possibility of being temporary and mobile.  You could essentially just use a lot while it's free and then move onto another lot when someone starts building.



I appreciate the idea of buying used clothes but I also find it hard to get past the fact that they once belonged to someone else.  My overactive imagination gets caught up in thinking about who owned the clothes before me, what kind of life they lived in them and what sort of mischief they got up to.    Re-Shirt has taken advantage of this fact and turned the story behind a used t-shirt into a selling feature.  People donate their used t-shirt along with some insight into its existence so far.  An orange label with a registration number is added to the shirt.  From then on, all owners of the shirt can document their experiences with/in it, giving the shirt a life and history of its own.

I really enjoyed the story behind the t-shirt shown above.  Here it is as told from its previous owner's perspective: "I was wearing this t-shirt on a Sunday picnic with friends, kids and dogs. It was a nice autumn day and we enjoyed our sandwiches and a really very nice homemade chocolate cake while sitting on our blankets in the grass on a sunny hill north of Vienna, Austria overlooking the skyline of the city."

Who Knows What's Next


I've been researching videos with environmental messages lately.  This is my favorite video that I've come across so far.  It's called Who Knows What's Next by Three Legged Legs.  What I like about it is that it is done from the perspective of the Earth, who has a 'case of the humans'.  The short film entertainingly illustrates how humans slaughter all other forms of life, guzzle natural resources and poison the atmosphere - throwing off Earth's equilibrium.  That all sounds very daunting, but the movie is done in such a way that it is funny and effective.  I wouldn't want a case of the humans!