While Santa heads back to the North Pole after the holidays, the world's holiday lights head to processing centers in a recycling zone in Shijiao, China. And it's not just a few strands; the region handles roughly 20 million pounds of discarded lights annually in a recycling process that readies the raw materials to be reborn into as many new products as possible.
It's common to see houses with solar panels on the roof harvesting energy to power household electricity, and if lucky the electrical grid. Now, a team from the University of Notre Dame is swinging back around on the idea of solar paint, and using semi-conducting particles to produce energy. This paint would be cheap enough to cover your entire house and turn it into a massive solar powered generator.
Is there no end to the cardboard gadgets? The latest company to hop aboard the cardboard train is Vax, the U.K.'s top selling floorcare brand. No, it's not hocking any floor detergent this time, but it does have the world's first cardboard vacuum.
Remember that plastic made from fruit? Scratch that. A team of researchers at the University of Florida might well be on their way to cutting our dependence on valuable natural resources to create plastic. Instead of using food carbohydrates or petroleum, new plastics can be made with discarded plant wastes. Yes, that's leaves, grass and petals.
Your average street pole provides light and display's a crossing name. Called Savannius, this redesigned pole could keep itself charged and even juice up your gadgets, and it wouldn't have to be on just a street corner, either.
There are currently two problems with driving a car in a city: 1) all those cars generate a load of pollution and 2) it's hard to fit lots of cars on a street during rush hour. The Vieria concept car designed by Gunwoong Kim and Suji Kim for the Michelin Challenge Design competition solves both those issues with its front pollution-sucking intake and shiftable scissor-like wheel and axle system. After ingesting all that dirty air, the all-electric Vieria even goes one further — it emits clean air out of its rear outtake, similar to the YeZ concept car. How's that for eco-friendly?
Bustling urban metropolises require a good amount of crosswalk lights to be installed everywhere for pedestrian safety, but they could stand to use a lot more trees. This flexible LED crosswalk light that can be fastened around a tree could kill two birds with one stone.
While noble in theory, being environmentally conscious generally makes a gadget pretty damn boring. Not so these stylish wristwatches made of wood. Using wood scraps as building materials, L.A.-based company WeWood may have created some of the greenest — and coolest — timepieces ever.
File this one under "holy crap," but scientists at MIT have discovered molecules that spontaneously assemble themselves into a pattern that can turn light into electricity — essentially a self-creating solar panel. In a petri dish.
Are you harboring an energy hog without even knowing it? Sure, all of the appliances and gadgets in your house — your television, DVD player, set-top box, toaster, game console and more — are constantly sucking energy. But some are...