Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Don't Drink the Water

I was sitting at my dining room table for lunch when I noticed this plastic bottle of Deer Park spring water. Normally, it wouldn't catch my attention. After all, it's just a bottle of water. What's so special about that?

But then I read this article from the Christian Science Monitor about the debate over whether access to clean water should be a human right. While Americans may not readily obsess over drinking water with so many choices at our disposal (it's a matter of tap, filtered, spring, infused, etc.) developing nations around the world don't have this privilege. Sure, we may gripe about the $4 bottle of water we paid for in the airport, but we generally don't have a dearth of drinking water.

I thought it was highly ironic that Deer Park claims to have reduced the size of their labels to "save almost 10 million lbs. of paper per year in the U.S." But while the trees may or may not be saved (arguable), the fact is that Deer Park and all the other spring water companies are still using plastic. Plastic generates harmful gases from disintegration. Plus, don't forget about the high energy cost associated with plastic bottle production and shipment. While plastic bottles can be recycled, some public and restaurant facilities still don't have separate plastic/glass trash receptacles. I've found myself more than once taking home a plastic bottle just to toss it in my own recyclables bin.

Why not switch to stainless steel aluminum bottles instead? Klean Kanteen's are BPA- and toxin-free, recyclable, sanitary and easy to clean. They also come in a variety of colors and sizes, from 12-oz. (kid-friendly) to 40-oz. (great for long day trips or camping treks).

TriniTEA Electric Maker

Photo by justindz.

For tea drinkers tight on schedule, here's a new product for you: TriniTEA Electric Maker is a three-stage loose leaf tea steeping system that bypasses the fuss and mess of teapots, kettles and over-steeped pots of tea. Now you don't have to worry about your tea catching cold or over-brewing your tea. In fact, this appliance serves three functions: "heats water, steeps leaves, and keeps tea warm so you may enjoy it all day long."

Temperature and timer controls allow you to adjust teas' strength to your preference. The 32-oz. Electric Maker costs $99 and produces four cups of tea. So pull up a chair, kick back and let TriniTEA works its magic. The only thing I'm wary about is its "Made in China" label, but I guess one can't be too picky nowadays.

Scrabble Rabble

Photo by Datamancer.

It's a wooden keyboard made of Scrabble! Now my favorite childhood word game has taken on a recycled function.

Photo by amsyweb.

Wooden computers aren't new to the market. According to Mac-a-doodle, the Apple I was created in 1976 by Steve Wozniak of Palo Alto, Calif. The limited edition computer only released 200 copies but wasn't the most streamlined design. The clunky contraption required a display, power supply, keyboard and case. It is estimated that only 30 to 50 editions still exist, cashing up to $50,000 at auctions. Ka-CHING! has a slideshow of 15 awesome wooden computers, ranging from the aesthetically pleasing (Suissa arthouse wood-and-glass models) to the architecturally sound (Fujitsu FMV-BIBLO NX95y/D notebook -- uhhh, whoever named this should be fired). One from the Ukraine is even encrusted with jewels! Museum-worthy.

Wooden computers come in both Mac and PC versions and are made using a range of materials, including cedar, redwood and even bamboo.

I highly advise against eating the computer, but in case you're hungry for Scrabble morsels, cut yourself a slice of Pink Cake Box Scrabble cake. Is there any better way to spell L-O-V-E?

Speaking of Scrabble, the San Francisco-based band Scrabbel sings some whimsical indie-pop tunes. "Save the Green Planet" has become my anthem song.

Pink Cake Box
18 E Main St Suite 101
Denville, NJ 07834