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Non-Electric Water Distiller

Non-Electric Water Distiller

Above is a non-electric water distiller that uses almost any heat source to distill pure water anywhere, anytime. Look, I am not saying you need one, just letting people know what one of their water distilling, non-electric options are.

The tap water is heated to boiling point so the impurities are separated from the water, and the water then becomes steam. This is then condensed back into pure liquid form. The impurities remain as residue and are removed leaving 100% pure, pH balanced water. That my friends is how distilling water is done.

For $369 you  can buy the one pictured above at Real Goods Dot Com. According to their site the water distiller is, “…a high output stove top water distiller that operates on a variety of heat sources for daily and emergency use. Distillate capacity, based on a 2,600W electric burner: 3.2 qt. in 1.2 hours; up to 16 gal. per day. Stainless steel with no moving parts or fan; digital timer with alarm, 12″H x 12″ Diameter. 9 lbs. Three-year limited warranty. China/USA”.

Distilled water is literally water that has been boiled, evaporated and condensed – leaving all chemicals, toxins and waste behind and creating pure, clean water.  Distillation will remove bacteria, viruses, cysts, heavy metals, radionuclides, organics, inorganics, and particulates. However, it does not remove substances that have boiling points at a lower temperature than water. Some of these substances are oils, petroleum, alcohol and similar substances, which in most cases don’t mix with water.   Also, remember that substances removed from water remain in the boiler, so you’ll need to clean it up every once in awhile.

Zack Scott, makes a great video demonstrating how to make a mini solar water distiller.

I wonder if we’ll have any hot days left this year to try.

Hmmm…I might think of a way to build a real distiller. I may need to move to a tropical island to turn up the heat. You never know when you may need to distill mucky water in the middle of nowhere. Now at least you have an idea what to do.

Survivor!

-Cara

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I am on vacation and have not been writing many blog entries lately and need to catch up, so lets start with what we can do about dry-cell battery disposal/recycling.

First lets cover what dry-cell batteries are, they include alkaline and carbon zinc (9-volt, D, C, AA, AAA), mercuric-oxide (button, some cylindrical and rectangular), silver-oxide and zinc-air (button), and lithium (9-volt, C, AA, coin, button, rechargeable).

There are two types of batteries:
1.  Primary — those that can not be reused
2.  Secondary also known as “rechargeable” — those that can be reused.

Primary batteries include alkaline/manganese, carbon-zinc, mercuric-oxide, zinc-air, silver-oxide, and other types of button batteries. Secondary batteries (rechargeable) include lead-acid, nickel-cadmium, and potentially nickel-hydrogen.

Next, lets talk about some potential problems or hazards with throwing away your batteries in your household garbage.

  1. When burned, they pollute the lakes and streams as heavy metals vaporize into the air.
  2. Heavy metals leaking from old batteries into the Earth.
  3. Exposing the environment to more lead and acid.
  4. Containing strong corrosive acids.
  5. May cause burns to your eyes and skin.

In landfills, heavy metals have the potential to leak slowly into Earth’s soil, groundwater or surface water. Dry cell batteries contribute about 88 percent of the total mercury and 50 percent of the cadmium in the municipal solid waste stream. In the past, batteries accounted for nearly half of the mercury used in the United States and over half of the mercury and cadmium in the municipal solid waste stream. When burned, some heavy metals such as mercury may vaporize and escape into the air, and cadmium and lead may end up in the ash.

Here are some tips to reduce battery waste, starting with prevention, which create less potentially hazardous waste from seeping into our Earth.

  1. First, whenever possible, buy hand operated, solar powered, kinetic powered, water powered, wind powered, potato powered :] items that function without batteries. If that is not an option, I feel as though plug operated is better for the environment than buying heavy metal laden batteries.
  2. If you need batteries buy rechargeable batteries, but remember that they also contain heavy metals such as nickel-cadmium, so it is still a problem, but less of one than non-rechargeable batteries.
  3. Look for the batteries that contain less mercury and heavy metals than others.
  4. Lastly, if batteries are your only option, before buying more check to see if you already have some at home.

We must keep in mind, that yes, rechargeable batteries result in a longer life span and use of fewer batteries. However, rechargeable batteries still contain heavy metals such as nickel-cadmium. The use of rechargeable nickel-cadmium batteries can reduce the number of batteries entering the waste stream, but may increase the amount of heavy metals entering unless they are more effectively recycled. As of 1992, the percentage of cadmium in nickel-cadmium batteries was higher than the percentage of mercury in alkaline batteries, so substitution might only replace one heavy metal for another, and rechargeable batteries do use energy resources in recharging. When disposing of rechargeable batteries, recycle. [Source: ESHO]

Here is a great link to Call-2-Recycle, whom I wrote about in my fourth TDAAIT entry, back in January! All you need to do is put in your zip code and they will tell you where to take your recyclable batteries (and old cell phones).

If you did not find a place through Call-2-Recycle for your rechargeable batteries, you can always bring them to any of these locations to recycle:

In the US: Alltel, Batteries Plus, Best Buy, Black & Decker, Cingular Wireless, The Home Depot, Milwaukee Electric Tool, Orchard Supply, Porter Cable Service Center, RadioShack, Remington Product Company, Sears, Staples, Target, US Cellular, Verizon Wireless, and Wal-Mart.

If you are in Canada: Battery Plus, Bell Mobility, Canadian Tire, FIDO/Microcell, Future Shop, The Home Depot, Home Hardware, London Drugs, Makita Factory Service Centers, Personal Edge/Centre du Rasoir, RadioShack Canada, Revy, Sasktel, Sears, The Sony Store, Telus Mobility and Zellers.

There are not a lot of places that recycle non-rechargeable (typically “alkaline batteries”) that I could find. The best bet is to go to Earth 911 and put in their search feature, “alkaline batteries” and the zip code where you live. I know in NYC we have places for New York residents (only) to take alkaline batteries, maybe you do to!!!

One day I hope we no longer need batteries.

:]

-Cara

The Place

The Place

On our way to Connecticut’s Stonehenge, Marine and I passed an amazing solar powered house in the middle of a wildflower field, while in Sachem Head, CT.  One of the best parts of road trips I think is finding these types of hidden places. Marine threw the car into reverse, and I snapped some quick pics. Here they are for your viewing pleasure.

The Studio

The Studio

Right Section

Right Section

Panels Close-Up Shot

Solar Panels Close-Up Shot

There were these cool bird houses that seemed to grow out of the flowers, one of the houses I saw had the word “VIEW” etched on it. It makes me wonder, with all this crazy art and such, maybe I have stumble upon an alien colony right here in Connecticut. Someone call Art Bell!

Bird Houses with the Sun Behind Them

Bird Houses with the Sun Behind Them

Bird Houses

Bird Houses in the Sun

View

View

It turns out that it is not a house, but an art studio and garage, built by Eileen Eder, a local artist, and her husband, Andrew, located in the back of their house (which I never noticed). The two completed this barn like studio in November of 2007. It looks like a crazy sort of dark, futuristic barn in the middle of a wild field.

The Field

Part of the Field

According to Solar Connecticut’s web site, the solar panels were installed on the studio’s 60-foot long roof by Aegis Electrical System of Branford. If you’d like to read more about the studio’s solar set-up click here.

It really is beautiful.

-Cara

The last few Fridays I’ve given people some cool, eco, usually recycled ideas to buy, but for this Friday I thought we would slow it down a bit and MAKE something new out of stuff we already [most probably ] have.

The first of the three entries is a video from Make Magazine’s [MAKE brings the do-it-yourself mindset to all the technology in your life. MAKE is loaded with exciting projects that help you make the most of your technology at home and away from home. This is a magazine that celebrates your right to tweak, hack, and bend any technology to your own will.] YouTube channel. The video is of this girl, Cristen Andrews, who shares with us her super fantastical plastic bag crafting skills by showing us how to get started with are own crocheting of said plastic bags.

Enjoy…

The next one is hot. I found it on ecobites.com. It is a solar powered food dehydrator made from two cardboard boxes, some clear plastic wrap, and a little tape and voilà, you to can build an inexpensive solar dehydrator. Click the picture below for all the exciting instructions on how to build it and know when your goods are dry.

Dry

I can build it and put it on my fire escape to dry all the fruits and vegetables I want, seeing as I am in the penthouse apartment. I knew there was a reason I lived on the 5th floor of a walk-up, my unlimited access to the sun…or at least for a few hours. Good times.

My Very Own Super Fresh Recycled Idea!

What you need…

A used can depending on if it will be a pen/paint brush holder, a lamp base, a vase, a container to gift a gift in or whatever it may be, you choose the size.

Craft Paint [if you so decide you want to paint it]

Glue

Cool Pictures, Greeting Cards, Magazine Pictures, Drawings

Colored Sharpies [optional]

What you need to do…

Paint can with craft paint and allow to dry if you so choose.

Cut pictures from a magazine, greeting card, drawings, photos etc. to adorn the can or use colored sharpies to draw your own craziness on said can.

It is now an original piece of art.

I have discussed many ideas and a variety of products within my posts.  I have stated once I tried a project or product I would give you all the 411. I recently decided the best way to get that information back to you is by creating a page(s) of all my reviews of projects, products, petitions, protests, experiments and the like. That way they are separate from my daily blog entries. I think it will just be more organized.

We’ll see.

-Cara

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When faced with a flock of spent hens, an egg farmer may choose to induce production again by way of a forced molt–accomplished with starvation and water deprivation for periods of up to two weeks. No U.S. law prevents this heinous practice. Some major U.S. producers have phased it out but then need to bring twice the number of hens into production for the same number of eggs.

Super Solar Phone Concept By Nokia is dedicated to Marine’s blog entry, Nokia has the Green Light.

Nokia’s new mobile phone concept reveals a self-reliant, no plug-in socket phone consisting of a solar paneled case to convert sun power to electricity. It sparkles! I mean how awesome is that. No more charger…sweet.

Word on the street is the concept is about a year from being produced commercially.

I’m ready.

-Cara

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