Mushrooms Can Break Down 90% of Diaper Materials Within 2 Months

by Michael Graham Richard, Ottawa, Canada

diapers mushrooms bioremediation photo
Photos: Wikipedia & Flickr, CC

Mario & Luigi Would be Proud
Sometimes, discovery is about putting things together in new ways. We know that mushrooms can be great at breaking down pollutants, and we know that disposable diapers are a huge problems, with mountains of the slow-degrading poop-containers filling up landfills… So how about finding a kind of mushrooms that fests on diapers? That what researchers at the Metropolitan University in Mexico City have apparently done. Read on for more…

In an article published in Waste Management (the journal, not the company), Alethia Vázquez-Morillas describes her research:

cultivating the right type of mushroom on soiled nappies can break down 90% of the material they are made of within two months. Within four, they are degraded completely. What is more, she says, despite their unsavoury diet the fungi in question, Pleurotus ostreatus (better known as oyster mushrooms), are safe to eat. To prove the point she has, indeed, eaten them.

The second photo in this article shows what the Oyster mushrooms look like. They are good at this job because they feed on cellulose, the main material used in disposable diapers. In the wild, the Oyster mushrooms grow on dead trees, so they have the enzymes to break down cellulose…

More information/pictures/links -> Mushrooms Can Break……

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SodaStream

31ljUyhhTWL__SL500_AA250_Interesting idea, make your own carbonated soda home, using The SodaStream system includes a complete range of products to make fresh, fizzy, great-tasting sparkling water and soda at home.

Home Soda Makers
Simple, sleek and easy to use. No batteries, no electricity and no clean-up. All home soda makers have a two-year warranty and money-back guarantee!

Flavors
Over 20 great-tasting regular, diet and caffeine-free flavors plus energy drink and MyWater all-natural flavor essences. Regular flavors have no high-fructose corn syrup. Diet flavors are sweetened with Splenda® brand sweetener and contain no aspartame. Each bottle of Sodamix makes 12 liters or about 33 cans.

Reusable Carbonating Bottles
BPA-free reusable bottles come with a special sealing cap to keep soda fresh for much longer than store-bought. No more flat / wasted sparkling water or soda. Available in stainless steel, white, black, and half-liter designs.  For those that prefer glass, SodaStream has introduced the Penguin, which makes and serves sparkling water and soda in elegant cut glass carafes.

http://www.sodastreamusa.com/

So far the rootbeer has come out good, however the mywater flavors used to make sparkling water isn’t that tasty.  I will stick with the soda samples for now.

Posted in Food | 2 Comments

Seeing the Heat

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Sometimes you need a little help to get the point across about something or need some way to quantify what you are doing has an impact or is even needed.  So I picked up the “KINTREX I Non-Contact Infrared Thermometer with Laser Targeting” – which allows me to check the surface temperate of various things. 

My Wife already found it useful to compare the heat produced but a CFL vs. an Incandescent Light – the 60 watt Equivalent CFL – 106 degrees, the 40-watt Incandescent – had a surface temperature of 238 degrees (The 70-watt Equivalent  LED light from EarthLed came in a 80 degrees).

 Anyway I am using Thermometer to check the temperature of hot areas in the house and then determine a way to cool off that area, and measure the impact.  Plus I already demonstrated the surface temperature of the AC units in direct sunlight, and will be working on getting those shaded.

 You can also use it to check the temperature of food (great for grilling)

 

http://www.amazon.com/IRT0421-Non-Contact-Infrared-Thermometer-Targeting/dp/B0017L9Q9C/ref=pd_bbs_sr_1?ie=UTF8&s=hi&qid=1240244788&sr=8-1

Posted in My Projects, Tools | Leave a comment

98% of Green Labeled Products are Actually Greenwashed

green-label1I knew this was true, didn’t know that 98% of the green things were misleading.

We’re all familiar with the prevalence of greenwashing. But the newest statistic is still staggering. According to TerraChoice Environmental Marketing, only 2% of products labeling themselves as green are completely legit in their claims. The remaining 98%, not so much.

Knowing this is, of course, terribly disappointing but also highly useful as we try to create a universal labeling system that not only helps consumers make informed choices, but also holds products to a certain bar.

Within the technology sector alone include such sources as EPEAT, Energy Star, and a company’s own labeling system, such as Canon’s Generation Green and HP’s Eco Highlights. Then there are reference sources like Greenpeace’s Electronics Report, Consumer Reports, or the Green Electronics Council. So just to make an informed decision on buying a new product, consumers have to do some serious research. A standardized green label would go a long way in helping everyone.

UPDATE: While we don’t have a list of the products tested during the survey, and therefore names of who fudges facts about their products, you can still get some pretty detailed product demographic information via TerraChoice’s Report. It’s well worth reading so you know what to keep an eye on.

http://www.treehugger.com/files/2009/04/98-of-green-labeled-products-are-actually-greenwashed.php

http://sinsofgreenwashing.org/findings/greenwashing-report-2009/

Posted in Misleading Green STuff | Tagged | Leave a comment

Using Waste Heat to Charge Your Cell Phone (Video)

instructables-waste-heatThis is kind of cool, I might look into it later as something to try (since I live in Texas and we have a lot of heat).

Instructables has an awesome tutorial on generating energy from waste heat. If you’ve ever been curious about what goes in to being able to charge a gadget like a cell phone with waste heat, you’ve got some easy-access answers.

You can find a video intro on this page:
http://www.treehugger.com/files/2009/04/using-waste-heat-to-charge-your-cell-phone-video.php

Or all the details on this page:
http://www.instructables.com/id/Charge-Your-Cellphone-Using-Wasted-Heat/

Posted in Alternative Ideas | Tagged | Leave a comment

Starting seeds for the garden

b93184It has been a white since I have grown anything (used to help my Dad with the garden when I was a kid), so this year I decided to build a raise garden bed – since our soil is rocked and mostly good just for grass.  When it comes to growing you quiet often start the seeds inside and then move them outside.  For starting the seeds I thought I would try the growing since my Brother in-law was going to be using Ultimate Growing System from Burpee.

Each complete kit includes:

  • Watering tray -72-cell plant tray
  • Plant stand -Self-watering mat
  • Greenhouse top -72 Burpee Super Growing Cubes ™
  • 12 convenient plant markers

Well it sounded nice and my seeds got off to a great start.  First, even though my table was level (I used an actual level to level the table), water still collected more on one side, and this made the far side grow better, but impacted the growing of the beets.  And to the extra moisture in that area, I actually got some mold.   I wasn’t happy, but such is life.

Finally came the day of moving things to the garden, this is where I ran into a big problem, getting the various plants out of the container was a painful, I ripped many roots and probably damaged a few other plants.  Plus when trying to push the plastic up from the bottom (I didn’t want to cut open 72 mini-planters to get the plants out), I had dirt exploding my face.  So I wasn’t happy to say the least.   I guess I lack the special skills to use this thing.  Anyway some things are in the garden, not sure yet if they are going to make it or not.  Next year I am going back to the peat cups, they are easier to use, you just drop them in the garden and more eco friendly.  Now to wait (and water) and see where my garden goes.

http://www.burpee.com/product/seed+starting/eco-friendly+seed+starting+25-cell+greenhouse+kit.do

http://www.burpee.com/category/seed+starting.do

Posted in Gardening, My Projects | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

Indoor Composting

composterBriefly tried, wasn’t happy and we didn’t like this machine.  Besides the fact it cost a lot, didn’t seem to work that well, still smelled and was easily broken.

Wired magazine’s review:

NatureMill’s Pro edition is an indoor composter we can pretty much dig. Using minimal electricity, a small motor turns a heavy-duty mixing bar, heats the mixing chamber (no sunlight needed) and powers an air pump that works with a carbon air filter to help reduce smell (each filter lasts 4 to 5 years).

Using the NatureMill is unbelievably simple and hassle-free, from set-up to clean-up to soil-ready. Just add starter dirt and sawdust pellets (combats odors), and dump your food scraps in. NatureMill recommends that you cut organic material into four-inch bits before plopping it in. We didn’t, but aside from the motor making some gnarly noises, it didn’t seem to affect compost production. NatureMill’s Pro version also features some automatic activation. We were able to leave ours sitting for weeks without pushing the button even once; it mixed and heated itself just fine. Only thing it didn’t do? Tell us what to plant with our brimming tray of moist, nutrient-rich soil. Amorphophallus, anyone?

TIRED Little to no stench — until top opens (that’s hard to remedy, we know, but burger/fish/salad remnants smell worse than a dead wildebeest doused in Eau D’Bile). Polypropylene housing is light, but may not last forever. Disposable carbon filters reduce smell, but also cut down on the “green” factor. Regular maintenance (scraping the mix chamber walls) isn’t fun. 

http://www.wired.com/reviews/product/pr_kitchen_composter 

Check out the reviews on Amazon, many people not happy and I have to go with them on this one:

http://www.amazon.com/NatureMill-PRO-Automatic-Composter-Silver/dp/B0019CHYS4

Posted in Composting | Tagged | 1 Comment