This week at TreeHugger: Brazil is the biggest importer of condoms in the world (!), and now the Brazilian government wants to make condoms with latex from Amazon forest trees to help fight deforestation and reduce imports.

Many companies are working hard on batteries and ultracapacitors for plug-in hybrids and electric cars, but some are doing better than others. The concept of a hybrid garbage truck is somewhat ironic - it's still garbage - but we might soon start seeing them on trash day.


According to Acre's news agency, these will be the first condoms to be produced with natural materials from seringai trees. This initiative will help preserve the Amazon by ensuring the sustainable exploitation of the materials, and will reduce the amount of imported condoms to the country, which are distributed freely to fight AIDS as part of a national campaign. Brazil is the largest importer of condoms in the world, the Health Ministry informed according to BBC Mundo.

The 12 battery and ultracapacitor companies that got report cards are: A123 Systems, Altair Nanotechnologies, Compact Power, EEStor, Ener1, Hitachi, Johnson Controls, Lithium Technology, Maxwell Technologies, Automotive Energy Supply, Panasonic EV, Valence Technology.

The Volvo hybrid garbage trucks will be powered by a 7-liter (320 hp / 238 kW) diesel engine coupled with a 120 kW electric motor and a lithium-ion battery pack. They can drive in all-electric mode up to 12 mph, and over that the diesel engine kicks in. When the truck stops, the diesel engine shuts down instead of idling. This can help improve air quality and reduce fuel use.


TreeHugger's EcoModo column appears every Tuesday on Gizmodo.