Posted by British Gas in Renewable Energy
The Government is committed to a target of a 60% reduction in carbon pollution by 2050. Buying an eco-friendly house or an electric car might not be suitable for everyone. More often, it’s the little things, like recycling and switching off the light, that make the difference. Could buying eco gadgets make us greener?
USB Rechargeable Batteries
A recent study carried out by the NHS revealed that we throw away 600 million household batteries every year. This adds 22,000 tons of hazardous waste to our landfills.
There’s a very simple solution - a rechargeable battery with a twist. It doesn’t require a bulky charger to operate, simply flip the green top to reveal a USB jack. Connect it to your computer and it recharges while you’re working. It costs around a fiver but considering you don’t have to spend £20 on a charger and that the NiMH technology makes it last hundreds of recharge cycles, it’s a very shrewd purchase.
EcoButton for a PC
EcoButton plugs into your computer’s USB socket and works as a visual reminder that you have to save the planet. Every time you take a pause or pick up a phone, just hit the button and it will put the computer into “ecomode”. When you’re ready to continue, just hit any key and you’re right back where you were. To add more meaning to what you’re doing, the EcoButton records the amount of CO2 and money that you’ve saved.
Mobile Solar Charger
Charging mobile phones doesn’t cost a lot - even if you’re an active user, you’ll spend less than a quid per month on charging your phone. The problem comes when we multiply! There are around 4.5 billion active mobile connections worldwide. Each socket charger contributes between 6 and 9lbs of CO2 every month.
A solar charger is a tablet-like device that features a miniature photovoltaic panel that generates electricity when it is exposed to direct sunlight. The electricity that it makes can be used to charge mobiles, laptops and mp3 players. An entry-level solar charger costs under £10 whereas a more advanced model will set you back between £40 and £120.
Using muscle power to convert energy is an age-old concept. If you regularly use a pocket light, the batteries will have to be replaced once a month or even more often. A wind-up pocket light can seem like an anachronism but it all ads up.
You may also consider a wind-up electric shaver. The handle should be turned for around 2 minutes in order to generate enough electricity for a single shave. There is an ongoing debate what’s greener - a wind-up shaver or a razor blade. You have to remember, however, that wet shaving requires foam and replacement razors - not that eco-friendly after all.
Water Saving Gadgets
The majority of water saving gadgets work by introducing air into the water stream. As a result, the pressure of the flow is the same only the amount of water that comes out of the tap is reduced - by 40 to 60%, they claim. Water saving gadgets are cheap, simple and they can be DIYed onto almost every tap or showerhead. If your water consumption is metered, you’ll feel the result almost instantly.
Standby Shutdown Gadget
A standby shutdown is a lead extension with a sensor that learns to recognise the signal of your remote control. Each time you put your TV, DVD or games console on standby, the device will shut it off. A TV on standby mode consumes anywhere between 15 and 70% of the normal working capacity. A standby shutdown costs £10 - £20. Alternatively, you can change your habit of putting devices on standby - just switch them off when not in use.
There is, however, a shady side to the green gadgetry. Many companies are desperate to jump on the green bandwagon by making useless gizmos:
- Fancy recycling bins. They are useless, and a waste of money. Make an improvised bin from a recycled cardboard box or simply bring your waste straight to the blue wheelie-bin.
- Fuel and electricity saving monitors - the devices that claim to be saving energy in your home or in your car. All they do is telling you where to save. Tips for greener living and better driving can be found on the internet for free; and most of them are obvious: switch off the light, accelerate smoothly etc.
- Eco-batteries - all non-rechargeable batteries are bad for the environment regardless of what the label reads.
Some green gadgets can help you lead an eco-friendly lifestyle but as any other object, they’ve contributed CO2 in production and transportation. So, before buying one, always ask: do I really need this?
This guest post was written by Arvid Linde of www.greenhomedesign.co.uk