Printer Runs on Used Coffee Grinds, No Electricity

I can’t wait until this bad boy comes out. I’m getting my hands on one of these immediately. The thought of using old coffee and tea grinds to print my next paper gives a whole new meaning to the idea of coffee stains on your homework.

RITI PrinterThe RITI printer was invented by Korean Joen Hwan Ju, and has not yet made it to market, but word is now exploding about it. Here’s what you do: Drink a cup of coffee (not instant) and put the grinds into the ink cartridge on the top. (Drinking the coffee not required for printing.) Add some water. Move the cartridge back and forth with your hand, and watch as your document gets burned in very precisely-patterned coffee stains into a readable document with words on it. Take the cartridge out and wash it. You’re done.

You can also use tea schmutz. After an English breakfast, take your teabag, rip it open, pour the contents into the ink cartridge and do the same thing.

Advantages: Leftover coffee and tea is generally a bit cheaper than a $50 ink cartridge. No electricity means you get some forearm workout and save power. Finally, you paper smells like coffee and/or tea. Just make sure that whatever color fluid you’re using doesn’t smell too bad.

Disadvantages: It’s slow, so if you have to print up thousands of flyers, don’t use this unless you’ve got forearms of steel and about 3 weeks of free time to do nothing but move tea dregs back and forth.

Spices as Pesticides? Seems Healthy, Tastes Good, Too

pesticide useThe demand for organically grown food is growing, and with it, the demand for natural pesticides. It’s been found that rosemary, thyme, clove, and mint aren’t only good in your spaghetti and tea. They also shoo away bugs that’ll eat your crops. If you’ve ever wanted to eat a pesticide before without having to go to the hospital, eat those.

It’s the oil in these spices that does the job. So well, in fact, they’re called “killer spices.”
“We are exploring the potential use of natural pesticides based on plant essential oils – commonly used in foods and beverages as flavorings,” said study presenter Murray Isman, of the University of British Columbia. To make it into a pesticide, farmers generally put small amounts of the species in water, and the rest is history. The bugs either die, or they’re repelled away.

Farmers are already using the new method, which has shown some success in protecting organic strawberry, spinach, and tomato crops. And unlike other chemical pesticides, they don’t need approval for use. After all, it’s just rosemary, so come on! That, and insects can’t evolve a resistance to natural killer spices, whereas they generally can adapt to a chemical poison after some time.

They even show promise in killing and/or repelling home pests. Flies, roaches (I’ve got plenty of those at home) so take some spice, grind it up, put it in some water and see what happens. Comment. Let us know if it works.
Want some more homemade pesticide ideas? Watch this.

Organic “Vegitecture” Architecture

Ken Yeang concept buildingWe have business districts, and we have agriculture. Agriculture takes up a lot of land and resources, and agriculture is, in fact, the most damaging industry worldwide when it comes to environmental impact. So imagine combining the business district with agriculture. What you have, as a result, is “vegitecture.” Big skyscrapers covered with leaves and vegitation.

Architect Ken Yeang is the world’s leading vegitect, and his designs use walls of plants, solar panels, and the structure and of the building itself to collect water and catch cooling air currents. It enables the building to catch its own energy and rely less on outside sources, like power lines. He even talks of “vertical farms.” That is, your food grows on your wall. You go out, scale it, and pick out a nice tomato.

Green BuildingThis is a Ken Yeang concept building, and in Paris he’s already engineered green walls that provide natural cooling to the city, and suck up a lot of the carbon output while they’re at it. Even now, NASA uses plants to clean the air on space shuttle missions, and you know how you can feed plants garbage water and they don’t seem to mind at all? I mean, provided there aren’t any heavy metals or chemicals in it, just good old smelly organic garbage water. So yes, they can also be used to recycle used water by buildings.

Concrete is a material that bounces heat off and makes the outside that much more sweltering than it already is. Plants soak up heat and cool things down, so people can turn down their air conditioners. There just doesn’t seem to be any downs to this idea. If you grow food on buildings, then people stop starving, you save land, you save energy, and you live in an urban jungle. Wave of the future? Just one of them. Surf’s coming in…

Get A Bucket, Reroute your Laundry Runoff, Water a Garden

organic vegtetable gardenDo you have an organic vegetable garden? After the stock market crash of ’08, chances are considerably higher that you do. The home and garden division of Target and other various megastores are reporting an unprecedented increase in the sale of gardening equipment, plants, and seeds, as people try to cut down on their food bills. Numbers have it that the cost/benefit analysis, once you get your garden turning on all cylinders, is about 15 to 1. So here’s a simple idea for those of you who want to do even more to organically cut corners and save even more for the environment: Get your hands on a giant bucket, reroute your laundry pipe to the bucket, cleverly acquire some biodegradable laundry detergent, do a load, and water your garden with the runoff.

This is also especially useful in drought-stricken areas like Israel, where watering your garden these days will cost you about $5 for every cubic meter you use beyond your quota. I hear things are getting bad in California as well.

biodegradable detergentBut why biodegradable? I found out why yesterday, when I absentmindedly suggested to my wife that we pull the laundry hose out of the drain in the floor and put it in my giant empty bucket which I normally use for the primary fermentation stage of home brewing beer. (More on that later.) “Why?” she asked me, as wives often do. “So we can water the garden with the runoff and all the neighbors can be in awe of our giant and firm vegetables,” I answered proudly. Granted, the only thing we have in the garden right now is a budding tomato plant we accidentally planted there after burying compost, most likely including a tomato, in a hole 3 months ago.

I figured the replumbing operation was a good idea, until she informed me that toxic heavily-chlorinated, non-biodegradable detergent doesn’t do well for plants, contaminating groundwater, or keeping DNA generally unmutated, and do you want our accidental tomato plant to die in a hell storm of detergent chemicals?

I said no. And that’s when I knew, somewhere deep inside me, that purchasing an organic biodegradable detergent would solve the entire problem. So pick one up. Do some plumbing. Save some water. Grow a garden. Laugh at your neighbors in contempt for not being as thrifty and environmentally conscious as you. Revel in your victory.

Dog’s Longevity Tied to Healthy Living

chanel worlds oldest dogMeet Chanel, America’s and possibly the world’s oldest canine. The 21 year old dachshund now holds the title as the oldest living dog, after a 28 year old beagle from the state of Virginia finally went to the pet cemetery. Chanel was given the title as the worlds oldest dog last year by the Guinness Book of Records of records last year. Translating her age into human terms, she would now be a ripe old 147.

Chanel’s owner, Denise Shaughnessy of Long Island NY, attributes her Pooch’s longevity to living a healthy lifestyle, including plenty of exercise (in her younger years) and especially a healthy diet, which now consists of boiled chicken and a pasta dish made from whole grains. “She used to run three miles with me every day” Sheughnessy said, patting the dog’s aged head. “But now she only goes out for short walks in the summer.”

The dachshund is beginning to feel her age, and wears specially made “doggy glasses” to help her see due to cataracts. Her fur, which used to be a reddish color, is now almost a pure white, and like most aged senior citizens “feels the cold weather in her bones”. Most canines live to a maximum 15 to 16 years, but Chanel seems to be like the rabbit in the battery commercial that keeps “going and going”.

The dog’s home environment is kept at a constant 72 degrees F and she spends much of her time “just relaxing at home”. She was taken on a special trip to celebrate with other “old dogs” at a recent longevity birthday party held for her in Manhattan.

Shaughnessy adopted Chanel from an animal shelter when the dog was a six week old pup. As many older dogs are “put to sleep” by their owners, often because caring for them becomes too expensive, one might wonder how long many aged canines might go if allowed to live out their entire natural life span – as humans are.

Our Fellow Organic Blogs

The Health Monitor blog has assembled a fine list of the top 100 Organic Living blogs. These blogs range from parenting to gardening and everything in between. I’m also glad to announce that Natural Buy has been included in this well-researched list.

Top 100 Organic Blogs

This list is a good starting point for anyone interested in expanding and refining his or her knowledge of organic living, and its representation in the blogosphere.

Organic Coffee

Mmm… the scent of freshly brewed Coffee is so wonderful. Look at this friendly farmer from Hawaii, he has his own organic coffee and cocoa fields. What a life!

Now I feel like having a Super Great Cup of Coffee. 🙂