EcoModo - The Best of Treehugger

This week at TreeHugger: Dell launched the 'Plant a Tree for Me' initiative, a project to keep the planet cool while our computers hum away. The Consumer Electronics Association is celebrating the new year by launching a new website, at myGreenElectronics.org, which aims to be a resource for finding both electronics recycling and greener electronics. The big news of the week might've been that Apple had finally taken the wraps off their iPhone, but the greener gossip was to be found in the Motorola camp with their new bike-powered battery charger. Lastly, the eco-cube helps keep water and money from getting flushed right down the toilet. Literally.


Amidst announcements and displays of gadgetry gone wild at CES, Dell joined forces with the Carbonfund.org and The Conservation Fund to launch their 'Plant a Tree for Me' initiative. The new program, smoothly integrated into the computer configuration options, helps make computer use carbon neutral by planting new trees to help absorb the carbon dioxide emitted by the computer's power use. Neutralizing the carbon impact of a new notebook will cost you $2, while desktops go for $6.

The Consumer Electronics Association is celebrating the new year by launching a new website, at myGreenElectronics.org, which aims to be a resource for finding both electronics recycling and greener electronics local to your area. Working from the idea that electronics are both ubiquitous and helpful in our everyday lives, they don't want you to quit using them (and certainly don't want you to just throw them away); myGreenElectronics hopes to help you learn more about minimizing the environmental impact of these gadgets and toys through responsible use, reuse and recycling. They've also added a fourth "R" — Rethink — to the old Reduce, Reuse, Recycle mantra that we chant even in our sleep.

While the iPhone was dominating the new-gadget news, Motorola checked in with some greener gossip. The communications giant unveiled a more modest gadget; while designed for "emerging markets," it's ready to help millions of people right away. Their new bicycle-powered mobile phone battery charger is just that: ride the bike, power your phone. Motorola's CEO, Ed Zander, believes in the technology so much that he rode a bike into his recent keynote speech to highlight the technology. Rural China seems like a prime market for such a gadget, who suggested that in a country with 500 million commuting cyclists, there are also five million new mobile phone subscribers every month, though there's nothing that says you can't get a little exercise and stick it to your local utility at the same time, too.

Lastly, we take a gander at the eco-cube, which, while it isn't battery-powered or have an on/off switch, still manages to save water, save money and beg for a few pee jokes all at the same time. Basically allowing urinal owners to plop it down and pull the plug on the water supply, it works by using naturally occurring microbes to break down lime scale, uric scale and ammonic salts naturally ensuring there are no bad odors or scale build up that could cause future blockages or smells. They're being used to cut back on the amount of water and money going down the drain in UK schools; we wonder if that makes for more or less pee jokes in school.

TreeHugger's EcoModo column appears every Tuesday on Gizmodo.