EcoModo - The Best of Treehugger

This week at TreeHugger: Apple has improved its recycling program, taking back your old iPods and cell phones (of any brand or model, not just iPhones) for free recycling. We got turned on by "Gravia," an LED-lit floor lamp concept that combines human power and gravity to create a lighting source that will work for 200 years or so, and never need to be plugged in.

Technology from around the globe comes together in a cosmic synergy to create — hold on to your hats — a solar-powered lawnmower. Lastly, the clunker of a car pictured above is in the Guinness World Record book — and not for ugliest design, even — as the souped-down ride achieved an astonishing 376.59 miles per gallon of gasoline.

Clap your hands and say "Yeah!" for Apple, who recently announced an upgrade in its recycling program. You can now send your old iPods and cell phones (of any brand or model, not just iPhones) for free recycling. Even better, according to their site: "All the e-waste we collect in North America is processed there and nothing is shipped overseas for disposal...Apple does not allow the disposal of hazardous electronic waste in solid waste landfills or incinerators, including waste-to-energy incinerators." (All together now: "Awww..."). You can also recycle your old computer and monitor, but it is only free when you purchase an Apple computer. A little sneaky, but who doesn't need a new MacBook?

Trading more traditional alternatives to grid power, like solar or wind, "Gravia" is an LED-lit floor lamp that combines human power and gravity to create a lighting source that will work for 200 years or so, and never need to be plugged in. The lamp has a weight that's raised every four hours or so; as it slowly descends, the downward motion is converted to torque via a high-efficiency ball screw. The torque is overdriven (at 1:160 for those of you scoring at home) by a harmonic drive gear hand, and the output from that spins a set of 12 high-strength neodymium magnets (which act as the rotor), spinning to power 10 high-output LEDs. Simple, no?

Our Down-Under TreeHugger recently had the pleasure to get hands on with an amazing piece of Australian technology that combines solar power, electric motors, spinning blades of death and striking red plastic to create a killer green gadget. What could it be? You guessed it: a solar-powered lawnmower. The verdict? Your lawn's ass is grass.

The clunky car pictured above may not look like much, but its claim to fame is getting an amazing 376.59 miles per gallon of gasoline, and that in a 1973 contest sponsored by Shell Oil (har, har). The car was chopped, shaved, cropped and otherwise souped down to get it as light and aerodynamic — remember, this was the '70's — as possible. Add some super-hard low-friction tires, an insulated fuel line and a few other odds 'n ends, and there you have it: almost 400 miles per gallon. Almost makes you wish the '70's had never ended.

TreeHugger's EcoModo column appears every Tuesday on Gizmodo.