This week at TreeHugger: We find a way to avoid having to throw out our busted iPods (until Jobs unleashes another new one, at least). Now that the RoHS Directive deadline has passed, how many gadget manufacturers are actually keeping nasty stuff out of their electronics? (hint: not that many). Our ideas for the next "ultimate car" include gadgets galore. Lastly, our very own TreeHugger TV, previously available in a slew of formats including iTunes video podcast and YouTube, is now available for your viewing pleasure in DIVX.
We recently paid a visit to Matt Bremner, who, before starting up iRepair, was fixing notebook computers and buying parts on eBay, where he noticed that there were lots of broken iPods for sale. He even heard of people just tossing them in the garbage and buying new ones. Seeing a niche, Matt tossed up a website opened a storefront in late June, and iRepair was born. In keeping with the theme, it is elegant, tiny and white, and feels like a high style reception room, albeit nano-sized at 250 square feet. They'll get you in and out with a fixed-up iPod in mere moments (ours was done in 10 minutes or so), all for mere pennies from our gadget budget dollar.
The Restriction of Hazardous Substances (RoHS) Directive has been in effect for more than a month, and yet "65 percent of  survey respondents said they wouldn't be able to confidently report compliance." Apparently the lack of confidence by a majority of the survey respondents stems from concerns about how compliance was decided and documented. The inference is that: "When it comes to compliance in general, a large percentage of companies just plain don't understand..." Apparently, electronics manufacturers are concerned that new regulations (in China and the US, for example) will start the compliance procedures all over again, and that's just too much damn work, so why bother? The bottom line: it's still not a good idea to go around putting your personal electronics in your mouth.
Gas prices are high and not heading south for the winter, so we thought we'd take a stab at creating "the ultimate green car." Get ready for this mouthful: a car that is both a solar-powered, plug-in electric and a biodiesel-powered hybrid. Requiring extensive gadgetry to make it go, the car would plug into a solar electric system (or other renewable energy system) for charging. This clean electric power would be used for trips under 100 miles. For longer trips, over 100 miles, the car would switch over to biodiesel fuel, just like hybrid cars today. Sounds like a piece of cake to us.
Lastly, a bit of shameless self-promotion. TreeHuggerTV, our video podcast, is kinda like reading TreeHugger and watching TV at the same time, proving beneficial to both the audio/visual learners and those too lazy to read. There are many ways to get a regular TreeHuggerTV fix: aside from getting it straight from the source, you can subscribe via iTunes, watch on Blip.tv or YouTube; starting this week, you can also get it via DIVX. At this rate we'll soon be broadcasting on your toaster oven. Watch out, CNN!
TreeHugger's EcoModo column appears every Tuesday on Gizmodo.