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14 Cheaper Ways to Go Green
From disposable diapers to works of art, this cool stuff is as inexpensive as it is eco-friendly
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Cloth diapers might seem like a lot of trouble, but even harried moms can embrace Bummis. They don't use pins and have flushable, bio-degradable liners so cleaning is a breeze. Instead of spending $2,500 on disposable diapers, like most parents do, spend $300 on Bummis. Though you'll have to keep buying the liners, you'll never have to buy diapers again.
bummis.com, Infant Kit $169, Baby Kit $136
Dry-erase markers stink because they have some pretty nasty chemicals in them, but AusPens don't. They're non-toxic, made from 100% recycled material, and refillable. (And they work on any old white board.)
ecosmartworld.com, $29.95 for a six-pack
The SolarGorilla Portable Laptop Charger allows tech-geeks/eco-nerds to power their laptops, cell phones, and even portable DVD players with the sun. Yes, it's great for the environment, but hello, it's convenient for you. Charge your stuff while your kids are at the park, you're on vacation or you're working outside.
EcoPods absorb shock and vibration for washers and dryers, something that (who knew?) wastes a lot of energy and money. Ecopods says you just prop the appliances up on the pads, and they'll be clean, green, washing machines, that make zero noise, break less frequently, and are energy efficient.
There's no elegant way to get rid of your dog's poop, but now there's an eco-friendly one. Flush Puppies are water-soluble poop bags that will dissolve in less than a minute, so you can throw them in any toilet or just throw them in the trash.
flushpuppies.com, $3.99 for 15 bags
It's no fun when you find out your kids have head lice, especially when your doctor recommends you spray them down with something harsh like Rid. Happyheads provide lice-sufferers with a kit for the whole family (because you know when one of 'em gets hit, there is more lice-terror to come) that is also nontoxic. There's also an instructional video on their site, happyheads.com so you can get all the info you need.
happyheadsproducts.com, $59.99 for the family kit, or buy individually
Little Kay Gardens gift wrap is a gift in itself; It's seeded with wildflowers, so it can be planted instead of thrown away.
The Mode Recycling Center brings all your recycling needs to one place -- sorting, storing, and compacting. It's so smart it even lights up on recycling day so you'll never forget to empty it, plus it keeps track how much you've recycled. The bins can be easily removed, so everything goes from bin to curb with ease.
Mohawk takes recycled, renewable flooring seriously, by taking eco-savvy steps in manufacturing and using recycled materials. One in every four plastic bottles recycled in North America becomes is turned into Mohawk carpets, which also just happen to be a mom's dream come true; Mohawk claims they are completely stain-proof. And the hardwood floors can be bought in panels and easily assembled and removed as needed.
Purely Anion fluorescent bulbs reduce carbon dioxide like other CFL lightbulbs, but these ones claim to remove cigarette smoke, dust, mites, animal dander, and other particles, too (in a complicated process that somehow generates negative ions, which is good.) The company even claims their product will boost serotonin levels. Let us know when they've invented a light bulb that can wash the dishes, too. Then we'll be super impressed.
Strange but true: this warthog was a flip flop before it was eye-popping, fair-trade art. It all started when a scientist noticed that Kenya's coast was littered with flip flops, throwing the eco-system off balance. She established UniqueEco to clean up the beaches and allow local teenagers, men and women to earn an income turning the waste into beautiful crafts. It's hard to believe how much good this little guy's doing for the world, and trust us, you'll be the first to have one.
Plug the Sensor Plug into the wall, and it will automatically turn off electronic devices when no motion is detected for 2-6 minutes. (Or set it so that it stays on only when light level is low.) You'll save loads of energy (and money) without even realizing it.
What would you do to never have to buy laundry detergent again? The Truegreen Laundry Washer and Dryer Balls, with eco-friendly materials and a special molecular ionization process, promise to clean clothes without using harmful chemicals. You can even wash your clothes with cold water and skip rinse cycles, so you save electricity and water. Each ball ($20) lasts months.
truegreenonline.com, $20 per ball