Gratis X1 jetski

Electric jetski lets you ride through more waterways

While relatively small and convenient, jetskis aren’t always allowed on all waterways because some areas forbid water vehicles that use a gas-powered internal combustion engine. The Gratis X1 by Free Form Factory just might change things, though. The electric jetski is emission-free and does not make any noise, and the body itself is made from a 100% recyclable polymer blend. Charging it for 1.2 to 4 hours gives you a running time of 30 to 65 minutes, and the Gratis X1 runs at a top speed of 40 knots.

The Gratis X1 costs $17,990 and it comes in four colors. Limited edition versions are also available for pre-order on their site.

La Casa Verde

Want to own an eco-friendly guesthouse in Ecuador?

Doug and Rebecca Greenshields began traveling in South America in 2005, and, thanks to the rich culture and the pace of life, found a new place they could call home: a half-finished construction a mile and a half away from Baños, Ecuador. This was where they raised their two kids and got started on a greener life, even opening their own eco-friendly guesthouse, La Casa Verde. Rebecca has even shared her thoughts and experiences as an expat in an interview with Stuff.

The time has come for the family to move on, however, with Doug about to explore a new career. Which is why La Casa Verde is currently up for sale for the low, low price of $29. All you need to do is buy Doug’s e-book, Back to Earth, and you’ll be entered into a raffle to win the guesthouse. They’re even throwing in $10,000 to help you get started on your new life.

Sounds like worth a shot, to be honest. And hey, even if you don’t win the guesthouse, at least you’ll have a good green living resource.

Photo from the La Casa Verde website

Olli flipflops

Olli flipflops take steps to help people and the planet

In July 2014, Heather Shuster forgot to bring along her flipflops on a trip to Hawaii, so she did the logical thing: she looked for a new pair. You’d think it would be easy to find a great pair of flipflops given where she was, but all she found were flipflops made with plastic. That incident sparked an idea: to create eco-friendly flipflops made with natural rubber and won’t harm the planet or the skin. Olli was born.

She then set out to find natural rubber with which to make flipflops, and her search took her to India and Sri Lanka. She found the sources of the material she needed, but she also found poor working conditions. So, she added one more goal: make eco-friendly flipflops, and make sure that the people who help turn these flipflops into reality are treated well and paid a fair wage. Heather shares on Olli’s Kickstarter page:

I joined the Fair Rubber Association, which means Olli only purchases rubber from audited plantations that maintain Fair Trade standards that include safe working conditions, medical care, and a fair wage. We pay a premium for our rubber which goes directly to the rubber tappers.

The goal now is to raise $10,000 for production. If all goes according to plan, production begins in April and the products will be shipped to backers in July. Check out the Kickstarter page for more details and maybe help Heather out as well in creating these eco-friendly flipflops.

Photo from Olli’s Kickstarter page.


With Ecobricks, plastic waste is turned into building materials

The concept of Ecobricks has been around for a while, but hey, this blog has been silent for sometime, so we simply have to talk about it now. I’m hearing about a lot more people joining in and making their own Ecobricks at home nowadays, which is great. If you haven’t heard about them yet, simply put, they’re plastic bottles stuffed with non-biological waste, and they can be used to make modular furniture and even buildings. Last year, the #StuffItChallenge was launched in the Philippines to encourage more people to make Ecobricks, setting designated dropoff points for the bricks, which will be used for low-cost housing in various communities.

Ecobricks can be connected using silicone, cement, and other materials, and they’ve been used to build or fortify various structures throughout the world already, such as a clay bottle house owned by Jane Liwan, a utility worker at the Besao District Hospital, in Besao in the Northern Philippines, and a classroom in South Africa. Currently, the Ocean Ecobrick is being developed, which can be used for outdoor and even floating constructions on the water.

Making an Ecobrick is extremely simple, and it’s definitely a good way to eliminate plastic waste and encourage creativity when it comes to building structures, too.

Photo from the Ecobricks website

Eco parking lot, MS

New environmentally friendly parking lot completed in Mississippi

The United States Naval Construction Battalions or the Seabees have completed work on a low-impact 98-slot parking lot for NAS Jacksonville Building 919, the headquarters of Commander, Navy Region Southeast, in Jacksonville, Mississippi. The new parking lot uses permeable paving to absorb storm runoff, and it will be illuminated with LED lights.

Photo from JaxAirNews

The next eco-friendly plastic bags will come from shrimp shells

It’s no secret that the planet is at risk of choking on all the plastic we produce and throw away, which is why researchers and manufacturers are scrambling to find alternatives to plastic, biodegradable plastic, and plastic made out of more natural materials. Researchers at Nile University in Egypt came up with a possibility: making plastic out of shrimp shells. According to The Australian, the team has already created a thin, clear prototype using chitosan, which is found in the shells of many crustaceans. They purchased shrimp shells from restaurants, supermarkets, and fisherman, and “the shells are cleaned, chemically treated, ground and dissolved into a solution that dries into thin films of plastic.”

Researchers at Harvard’s Wyss Institute for Biologically Inspired Engineering hit upon the same solution a few years ago and found that material made from chitosan breaks down weeks after disposal and can even provide nutrients for plants.

Photo from

Leaf Republic

Leaf Republic turns leaves into paper plates

Making plates out of leaves has been practiced in India for centuries, and eating on banana leaves is not unheard of in other countries, such as the Philippines as well. German company Leaf Republic has taken the concept and taking it to the rest of the world too with their disposable leaf plates.

The plates are a fully funded Kickstarter project and they were shipped out to customers beginning in January 2017. They’re made from leaves of a creeper that grows wild in Asia and Southern America, which are sourced directly from local villagers. They also stay green after being pressed, too, and the plates are waterproof. Some people have asked if they can be reused; according to Leaf Republic’s Kickstarter FAQ, the plates can last for weeks if used for dry food, but cleaning them is difficult, and hot water would compromise the stability of the plates. They’re also biodegradable and have a life span of 28 days, but only if you put them in your compost heap–they won’t fall apart if they’re just stored in your cabinets.

They’re definitely much more attractive and interesting than your usual paper plates and would be an eyecatching choice for your next party, and they’re also great for use during camping.

Leaf Republic ships all over the world.

Photos from Leaf Republic

Vertical forest

Vertical forests to clean the air in Nanjing, China

In 2011, plans for a vertical forest in Milan were announced. Stefano Boeri Architetti was the brains behind the project, and Bosco Verticale (Vertical Forest) was formally opened in October 2014, featuring a pair of residential towers in the Porta Nuova district of Milan. Bosco Verticale has since won quite a few awards; the jury of International Highrise Award (IHP) 2014 considered the project the world’s most innovative highrise, and the Council on Tall Buildings and Urban Habitat promoted by the Illinois Institute of Technology of Chicago has recognized Bosco Verticale as the Best Tall Building of 2015.

The second vertical forest by the same company is set to rise in Lausanne, Switzerland, and the project features apartments, a gym, offices, and a restaurant on the top floor. Construction is set to begin this year on the 117-meter-tall building, which will be called “La Tour des Cedres” or “The Cedar Trees Tower.”

Now the vertical forest concept is being brought to Asia for the first time with the Nanjing Towers, which will rise in Pukou District of Nanjing, China, and is expected to feature 1,100 flourishing trees from 23 local species, as well as 2,500 cascading shrubs and plants. Overall, the buildings are expected to produce 132 pounds of oxygen every day. The taller tower (200 meters tall) will house offices, a museum, a green architecture school, and a private club on the rooftop. The smaller tower (108 meters tall) will house a Hyatt hotel and a rooftop swimming pool, and the podium will contain restaurants, a conference hall, and shops, among others.

Photo: Stefano Boeri Architetti