This self cleaning Beta Fish aquarium uses no batteries, filters, or fuss. Using physics alone, the clean water you put in flushes the dirty water out. You can then use the wastewater to fertilize your plants. The tanks are made in the US and won Best New Aquatic Product at the Global Pet Expo 2013.
What happens when you combine bamboo plants and simple green science to create a public urinal? The PPlanter.
The PPlanter is a simple and attractive public system that allows you to privately pee in a urinal (there are disposable women’s adapters as well), then step on a foot pedal that brings fresh water to wash your hands. The fresh water flushes/cleans the urinal with liquids going into a holding tank. From there, the mixed liquid is pumped into the planter/biofilter, where bamboo plants are growing in a mixture of rocks, wood chips and styrofoam. The water, nitrogen and phosphorous are used by the bamboo, while bacteria living in the growing medium break down carbohydrates and protein.
I talked to my son and he says guys would have no problem with this, but probably women wouldn’t be all that enthusiastic. According to the Gizmag article, the test project had plenty of volunteers, but they didn’t break down how many were men/women. Also what would you do if you ended up needing to do more than just pee – this particular invention doesn’t cover that. But I think it’s a good start to re-imagine how to simplify waste systems.
Here’s an innovative apartment building in Sri Lanka. It uses recycled water (including rainwater) to water the outdoor plants and flush toilets, and a solar panel to run the lobby lights and other shared resources.
When it’s completed in 2016 it will be the tallest residential vertical garden in the world, with planted terraces circling the entire structure. The 164 apartments, each with 2300 square-feet of floor space and an open feel, are designed to give residents a sense of ground-level living, as well as privacy and tranquility in a bustling city.
The planted terraces for each apartment will help absorb sound, provide shade, and cleanse the air. They’ll be automatically watered using a drip-irrigation system of rainwater, and along with recycled water to flush toilets, will help to reduce intake from the national water supply by an estimated 45 percent.
Check out this innovative Sri Lankan apartment building here. Thanks to Gizmag for this article.
So I’m wandering the haircare aisle looking for a shampoo that won’t strip the oils out of my dry hair, isn’t full of toxic type chemicals, doesn’t cost a fortune, doesn’t pollute the environment, and is in a skinny enough bottle that it will fit on the side of my tub. I spied a tiny little package – the only bar in the shampoo aisle. I’d never heard of a bar shampoo so took a closer look. This is J.R. Liggett’s old fashioned bar shampoo. It has no synthetic oils, no chemical concoctions, no plastic bottle, no detergents, so this shampoo won’t strip the natural oils from hair, is good for our water (from bathing in streams, to city showers because it travels well and doesn’t pollute!)
It sounded interesting, and seemingly fit all my criteria and more. The ingredients are mostly oils such as olive oil, coconut oil, castor oil, a little bit of New Hampshire spring water, sodum Hydroxide (a binder) and essential oils for fragrance.
Since it was cheaper than most regular shampoos, I bought a bar to try it out. It doesn’t have a noticeable smell, so I can’t tell what essential oils were used. I rubbed the bar shampoo around in my wet hands to make a lather, and shampooed as usual. I can’t say my hair came out looking salon like, but it looks and feels CLEAN, and it’s not as dry as when using regular bottle shampoo with no conditioner, so probably all those oils in the bar soap are doing a good job of moisturizing.
I used it on my guinea pig and it lathered up and rinsed out fast and complete ( a plus when bathing animals!). My husband tried it with his short hair and said he barely used any at all and it was effective.
I think J.R. Liggett’s is a keeper:)
I got the wire chair as an attempt at a soap dish, and it seems to work well to keep the shampoo bar dry. I think the bar would melt into a sloppy mess if it didn’t have a place to dry out between uses.
Here’s a tarp that can be set up that provides a hassle-free way to collect pure drinking water when camping. The surface can be used not only as a backpacking tarp to add weather protection for your hammock, but it also has a rainwater retention system made up of rain gutters and a suspension system to siphon water out towards the four corners where bottles are attached. When the bottles are full, they pull down the tarp, providing even better protection for the people below. The fabric includes both waterproofing and a heat reflective coating, so if it’s cold and stormy, the tarp can be set up with the reflective side on the bottom, and the dark rain retention side on the top to collect water. If it’s warm and sunny, the tarp can be set up with the reflective side out to help shed some of the heat from the sun. The total system is now available through Kammok.
Maria Elena Grimmett, a 14 year old who is a noted research scientist, has won awards, published articles and more on the subject of removing ground water contaminants. As she watched pesticides being sprayed on the golf course grounds next to her house, she wondered if the contaminants could possibly get into the water system due to Florida’s shallow water table. Her research tenacity paid off with a little help from her parents, teachers, and mentors in the scientific community (including Russian scientist Dr. Vadim Davankov, whom she’s corresponded with about his invention of hypercrosslinked adsorbents).
Maria Elena Grimmett’s dream is that “water engineers will be able to remove sulfamethazine from water around the world” using her research. Read more about her work here.
A team of scientists at Singapore’s Nanyang Technological University have developed a material known as Multi-use Dioxide. Research shows it can be used to produce hydrogen and clean waste from wastewater, double the lifespan of batteries, create antibacterial wound dressings, and more. Plus it’s a low cost alternative to Platinum. Here’s a quote from Professor Sun from the article at the NTU website: “While there is no single silver bullet to solving two of the world’s biggest challenges: cheap renewable energy and an abundant supply of clean water; our single multi-use membrane comes close, with its titanium dioxide nanoparticles being a key catalyst in discovering such solutions. With our unique nanomaterial, we hope to be able to help convert today’s waste into tomorrow’s resources, such as clean water and energy.”
The city of Lima Peru doesn’t get much rainfall, but they can get humidity as high as 98%. The University of Engineering and Technology (UTEC) has partnered with advertising agency Mayo-Draft FCB to create a novel way for residents to not only get unpolluted drinking water (their local wells are often polluted), but also to show prospective students that they could make the world a better place by becoming an engineer. The billboard catches humidity in the air and turns it into filtered drinking water, and is capable of producing 96 liters (over 25 gallons) of water every day for the locals or travelers needing a drink. This video outlines the project:
‘America’s Greenest Street’ provides a complete street urban development package. I’ve heard of permeable pavers, bioswales to absorb rainwater overflow, recycled concrete, and tree canopies to produce shade in the summer and absorb traffic pollution. But I hadn’t heard of Smog-Eating concrete, nor LED street lights run on solar AND wind power combined. The lights are actually quite fun to watch when the wind blows.
Here’s a short video of these and other new inventions that could power our cities in practical and beautiful ways:
Here’s a really cool technique for treating wastewater that treats up to 52,000 gallons of human waste a day, and produces clean water, fertilizer for food, and solar energy in the process. Makes me want to go on a retreat to the Omega Institute for Holistic Studies just to try it out (well, and take a rest, do yoga, get massages, learn stuff – basically my ideal retreat). This is yet another creative example of cradle-to-cradle technology, where one being’s waste is another’s food. This is a larger scale and power supplying version of my previous articles on home-use composting toilets and home use herb garden/worm bin/fish tank. This is also a practical solution to update our current faulty national sanitation system. Thanks to Yes! magazine for the link.
I’m intrigued by the whole idea of cradle-to-cradle technology. From what I’ve read, it wasn’t that long ago when some cultures requested you to give a return on their food/hospitality investment before you left (ie you leave your waste product for use as fertilizer for their crops). I’ve always thought it odd to put waste into our fresh drinking water, and then use chemicals and processing to take it back out again. However, in our culture, composting is thought to be inconvenient, smelly, and beneath our sensibilities.
Who would have thought you could cook a turkey in a solar oven? My how solar ovens have improved. It wasn’t that long ago when the only solar ovens were the ones you made at home with a pizza box and tin foil. Then, websites became available to donate solar ovens to people in countries with not much firewood, or who had trouble affording gas/oil/etc. for cooking. Now, people in first world as well as third world countries can purchase and use solar ovens to bake, boil, and steam food, enhancing taste and benefitting Continue reading →
Wouldn’t it be great to have a vegetable/herb garden, worm bin, and fish tank all rolled into one? Such an invention already exists, and the easy at-home version is called a Fishy Farm. I like the littler version for a fun take on indoor gardening with fish tank aquarium, but in the bigger outdoor version you can grow rainbow trout or tilapia for consumption as well. The fish wastewater is piped up to the veggies/herbs to be used as fertilizer. No soil is used, only clay type balls and volcanic rock, and around those balls are red worms that eat anything that the plants don’t use. The water then drains Continue reading →
If you’re looking for a short and fascinating read, check out The Hidden Messages in Water, by Masaru Emoto.
The Hidden Messages in Water introduces the revolutionary work of internationally renowned Japanese scientist Masaru Emoto, who has discovered that molecules of water are affected by our thoughts, words, and feelings.
The photos in the book are incredible. Emoto took samples of waters from around the world, and in a lab the only thing different he did was to expose them to the vibrations of various music styles, or to the vibration of certain Continue reading →
I have an idea I want to share to create a non-toxic, food-grade roof, since we need a new roof for our modest Portland Oregon home. I want to replace my aging roof with shingles made of a non-toxic food grade material to provide clean rainwater for watering my edible landscape, and possibly for emergency drinking. My current patch-job asphalt roof is made of petro-chemicals, which flake off into my rain barrels, which then is used to water my edible plants. The roofers, builders, and rain barrel sellers I’ve talked to say there is no such thing as a non-toxic food-grade roofing material that is reasonably priced and would work on my home*. I’m looking for a product already in use possibly elsewhere in the world, or a company willing to invent/sell a food-grade roofing product for a reasonable price.
With the scarcity of clean drinking water in the world, why do we still poo in our fresh drinking water? Modern sanitation has wiped out diseases and stuff, and it’s convenient to poo in a toilet, flush, and have a stream of water wisk our load away quickly out of sight. But this system was developed when clean water was an endless resource, and times have changed.
Here’s a few things for thought leaders to mull about.
Voice Talent and co-owner of the Hughes/Taylor audio production company.
Encouraging thought leaders (those with innovative and sometimes odd, simple, practical ideas) through Better Ideas Now.
Creating Free fashion, frugal fun through Swap Positive.