Sprāv – The Wireless Smart Shower Meter That Will Tell You When To Get Out. [Video]

Sprav - The Smart Shower Meter.Ok, who’s in for shortening their next shower? For the few that did raise their hands, Sprāv is the product for you. Designed by students from Case Western Reserve University, Sprāv is a wireless water meter that gives you control of your water and energy consumption. Sprāv attaches to the arm before your shower head and uses green, yellow and red lights to let the shower taker know how long they’ve been showering. The goal of the changing lights is to encourage users to shorten their showers.

We’ve seen shower shorteners in the past (ie Waterpebble) but what makes the Sprāv different is its ability to track your shower and instantly report to you how much you are saving by changing your showering habits.

Sprāv is now on Kickstarter. [Sprāv]

Facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestmail

Thanks For The Diarrhea Climate Change.

Pepto Bismol family of products.Led by Kathleen Alexander, an associate professor of wildlife at Virginia Tech’s College of Natural Resources and Environment, a team of researchers studying arid Botswanna have found a surprising link between the spread of diarrhea and dry weather:

“Many experts say contaminated water is a principal cause of the spread of diarrheal disease. The WHO says it “mostly results from contaminated food and water sources. Worldwide, around one billion people lack access to improved water and 2.5 billion have no access to basic sanitation.”

Yet the researchers’ findings indicated that water was only one of several factors to consider. “Our analysis suggests that forecast climate change increases in temperature and decreases in precipitation for the region are likely to increase dry season diarrheal disease incidence, while incidence in the wet season is likely to decline,” Alexander said.

Diarrheal case incidence peaks in both seasons in Botswana, with cases 20 percent more frequent on average in the dry than the wet season.”

Just what we’re not looking forward to: a warmer, drier, and stinkier future. [The Daily Climate via Grist]

Facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestmail

The iPotty Potty Training Toilet With iPad Holder. Waste Meets Waste?

iPotty Potty Training Toilet w/iPad holderWhat potty training kid is going to walk away from their iPotty when there’s an iPad sitting in front of them? Avoid the temporary plastic iPotty, sit your kid on the seat and tell them to sing or read until they’ve taken care of business. They’ll figure it out soon enough and you won’t be scrambling for your iPad every time they need to go. [Laughing Squid]

Facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestmail

Plastic Microbeads No More: Unilever Will Phase Out Micro-Plastics From Their Facial Scrubs And Exfoliators.

Microbead Food ChainGood for Unilever – the makers of Dove soaps, Vaseline and Pond’s skin cream has decided to phase out slow-to biodegrade plastic microbeads from their products. Microbeads are used in Unilever produced facial scrubs and personal care products as an exfoliator. After use, the environmentally damaging microbeads enter the waste stream and eventually travel up the marine food chain. Here’s the statement from a Unilever’s website:

“The issue of plastics particles in the ocean is an important issue and we have reviewed the use of micro beads in our portfolio (both current products and those in the pipeline). We have decided to phase out the use of plastic micro beads as a ‘scrub’ material in all of our personal care products. We expect to complete this phase out globally by 2015.”

So what can you do now to avoid plastic microbeads in your facial scrub? According to Sue Kinsey of the Marine Conservation Society, you should read the label carefully and look for natural alternatives such as products that contain sand. [Guardian]

Facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestmail

When Going Green Made People Feel Green: The Eco Dry Toilets That Stunk.

Waterless Eco-Toilet from SEI (http://www.flickr.com/photos/gtzecosan/)Jubbling has had a little eco-reflux lately. That’s why stories like the one about the Daxing Ecological Community stand out. It was built in the mid-2000’s and one of the featured ideas implemented in this drought plagued community was a waterless eco-toilet designed by the Stockholm Environment Institute (SEI).

The way the eco-toilet worked was targeted weewee would go down one drain and the solid stuff would be caught, saw-dusted and flipped down another drain into a holding tank in the basement. The tank would be emptied 2 or 3 times per month and the collected poo-business could be turned into fertilizer. In theory, the waterless eco-toilet sounded like a great idea.

But the problems with the toilets were almost immediate. Residents were overwhelmed with an ammonia smell that their bathroom fans couldn’t expel fast enough. And the smell from the unsealed poo-poo holding tanks in the basement raised the stink level to a point that some refused to eat in their apartments – they ate meals on their balcony. 15% of the households also reported gynecological problems stemming from the dispersal of sawdust.

SEI sent in experts who called the builders “irresponsible” and sealed the holding tanks and made improvements to the fans. But these were temporary fixes and the residents were still not happy until flushing toilets were installed in 2009.

Rarely would I be asked or able to offer my expert opinion on any topic but I could’ve helped the Daxing Ecological Community on this one. In 1976, my family stayed at an eco mini-community in the countryside of Japan. It was designed around sustainability and one of its flagship ideas was waterless toilets that used natural gas to incinerate solids. The smell of fried dookie wafted through our cabin and it’s an odor you smell once and never forget. For us kids, crap-cooking was at first kind of neat. But by day three, the novelty had worn off and we were all anxious to get out of there.

So idea people, please don’t mess with the toilet much. There are so many other ways to reduce water use – eco’ing up the toilet should probably be last on the list. [Guardian]

Facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestmail