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May 13

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In today’s world, innovative green gadgets are some of the hottest items in shopping baskets and showrooms. Whether for the kitchen, the car, or the backyard barbeque, there is a gamut of green goods for the environmentally-conscious consumer.

It’s easy to pick up all-natural cleaning products or sustainable foodstuffs at almost any grocer these days. And every major retailer seems to offer a line of green products ranging from gardening supplies to pet products. If all these green goods are getting a little too generic for your taste, here’s a collection of truly unique sustainable products from all over that will inspire the green guru in you.

The Sandwich Bike

Riding a bike is one of the healthiest and most sustainable activities out there for the green enthusiast. But did you ever think you could build your own? I bring to you the sandwich bike (available soon!). This two-wheeler sports a cool, clean design unlike anything else out there in the cycling world. The frame is made of two wooden pieces that are sandwiched together to hold the tires, pedals, seat, and handlebars in place. The 50 finely-crafted pieces lock together smoothly to form a truly unique and sustainable mode of transportation. Order one from industrial designer Basten Leijh’s workshop and you’ll receive a compact box by mail with all the necessary parts and tools, ready to assemble in your living room!

OffGrid Solar Backpack

Plug into the solar panel on this knapsack from Voltaic and know that your iPod is getting powered the all-natural way! As you amble around town, the solar charger produces the energy needed to keep your electronic gadgets going. The pack comes with two small solar panels that produce 4 watts of power whenever the sun is shining – enough juice to talk for 1.5 hours for every hour of charging time on the average phone. What happens when you go indoors, you might ask? Well, the folks at Voltaic thought of that, too. A built in battery pack holds the charge produced by the solar panels to use whenever the sun isn’t out.

Wattson Energy Monitor

Everyone knows that conserving energy in the home is one of the most important things we can do to contribute to a greener future. But how do we know the amount of energy we’re using and where the greatest savings are being realized? The designers at DIY Kyoto have invented a device that does just that. The Wattson Energy Monitor is like a virtual energy consultant, on-hand 24/7 to evaluate how much energy is being used by which appliances and how much you’re paying for it. The device itself looks like a sleek electronic gadget and has a large LED display indicating energy usage in both numbers and color-coded lights to let you know at a glance how you’re doing with energy conservation. The concept is simple and turns the serious subject of energy conservation into a fun game for the family. Currently I could not find that this was available in the U.S. but I’m sure there are comparable ones!

Hydroponic Grow Bottle

This herb grower is probably one of my favorites because i have no room to grow anything outside and this would certainly work for my indoor situation! This re-purposed wine bottle keeps usable resources out of the landfill and doesn’t require energy to manufacture. The hydroponic grow bottle from Potting Shed Creations (here) takes its sustainability mission even further by making it easy to grow your own herbs at home. Basil, chives, oregano, mint, parsley, and more can easily be grown in these classy glass planters. The top of the wine bottle is cut off and sits inverted in the base. The inverted top holds the plants in a special soil-less growing medium and the base contains water and liquid nutrients that the roots dangle into for nourishment. It is an ingenious set-up that can be used again and again.

Latro Algae Lamp

This one is still just a prototype but i thought it was awesome and wanted to share. Mike Thompson is the creator of this Algae Lamp that Harnesses the sun’s power and converts it to electricity. The future of sustainable design. This unique light fixture utilizes the latest in high-tech solar research. Microscopic gold electrodes are actually inserted into the photosynthesizing organs of algae cells, channeling electricity to power a lamp once the sun goes down! The entire contraption is housed in a clear glass container with a green algae-filled liquid on top and the solar-powered light on the bottom. The only required maintenance is to periodically exhale into the container to provide carbon dioxide for the algae!