Time was that products and materials were either recycled or not. These days, “upcycled” products are becoming increasingly popular. The difference between “upcycling” and “recycling” being that the former involves reusing a material without degrading its quality or composition. So, used beer bottles being turned into jeans or asphalt or new beer bottles are examples of recycling (because the old beer bottles are melted down into cullet before being reused). But used beer bottles being turned into, say, a Thai temple is an example of upcycling.
In the increasingly diverse (and, some would say, nutty) language around eco-friendly concepts, other terms for reusing material emerged. One can not only recycle or upcycle but also downcycle, freecycle, precycle and e-cycle. But there’s only one other -cycle we’re concerned with for this post: Hipcycle.
On the inside of an item of clothing made by Icebreaker—a wonderful manufacturer of activewear using a merino wool fiber layering system—you’ll find the usual tag with machine washing care instructions.
Below that you’ll find another tag that isn’t so usual, one that contains a unique nine digit code.
Using that code you can go to the internet and see exactly where the sheep live that provided the merino wool for that specific garment!
You needn’t be an avid fashion designer, à la a Project Runway contestant, to create your own men’s dress shirt. All you need is access to a cool website. Like Blank Label.
On Blank Label most anyone can create their own shirt—within limits, of course. The basic shirt concept and range of fabrics is pre-determined. But within that, it is impressive how many design options you have.
Cardamon. Cranberries. Cookie dough. Potato chips. Cinnamon toast cereal. Bacon . . . Wait, bacon? Yes, Either real or vegetarian. . . . Macadamia nuts. Oreo pieces. Ground coffee.
What sound like random items on a shopping list are ingredients you can use to construct your own personal chocolate bar at what might be the internet’s most delicious website: Chocomize
Almost everyone knows Amazon.com for its bargain deals on books and electronics. Amazon is also a good source for discount groceries. We like their DRM-free MP3 store (even more than iTunes). And we love their Amazon Kindle. But Amazon also has a surprisingly large selection items that defy categorization, from the odd to the downright wacky.
Here’s our look at some of the weirdest items for sale on Amazon and the solution they provide to some of life’s most common problems:
A carpet may be among the last items on a list of household items you’d think about designing yourself. But there’s one website that makes doing exactly that surprisingly easy: Carpetzz.
Moments ago, Spot Cool Stuff placed a pre-order at the Quirky online store for a Trek Support Backpack. The waterproof, airport-friendly backpack comes with a form-fitted electronics dock and a 7-hour battery. You charge up the backpack and then can use the dock to charge up to three gadgets at once while on the go.
The Trek Support Backpack is very cool. Or, we should say, it seems to us like it will be very cool. And we aren’t the only ones who think so. Afterall, the Trek Support Backpack is the product of virtual crowdsourcing—it was proposed, vetted, designed, refined and branded by a diverse online community. All the other items sold through Quirky are communally designed too.
Spot Cool Stuff laments the general direction children’s toys have taken away from requiring imagination. Surely, part of the issue has been the proliferation of online gaming websites aimed at kids.
But if websites have been part of the problem maybe they can be part of the solution? That’s the idea behind the Israel-based start-up Shidonni.
Shidonni has a variety of fun, imagination-enhancing online games for children. Kids can draw animals, for example, upload the drawing to the Shindonni site, and then have their animal creation roam around the virtual Shindonni world for others users to see.
And here’s our favorite part: On Shidonni you can take a child’s drawing of an imaginary creature and then turn it into a real life stuffed animal!