Mark Harris
10 BEST GREEN GADGETS - The Independent, 10 August 2004

Show your appreciation for the environment by investing in a cool eco-gadget, says technology expert Mark Harris

Wind-up universal remote control £24
This single remote can mimic up to 400 different TVs, videos, satellite systems and DVD players. It doesn’t have any batteries and is powered by an easy to wind mechanism on the back. Now you’ve just got to decide whether turning a little plastic wheel is really that much less effort than simply getting up and changing channels yourself…
Natural Discovery (0845 458 2799;

Sava Plug £20
It’s easy to buy an efficient new fridge or freezer by choosing an A-rated appliance, but there are still millions of power hungry older models out there. This smart plug controls the flow of electricity to your fridge, typically reducing running costs by 20%. It’s best suited to older, larger models and can’t be used on fridges with digital displays, drinks dispensers or other electronic circuitry.
Natural Discovery (0845 458 2799;

Bio Bulb £14.95
Compact fluorescent lamps (CFLs) use 75% less power and last 10 times longer than traditional light-bulbs. But if lower electricity bills aren’t enough to put a smile on your face, CFLs can also banish the winter blues. This full spectrum daylight bulb casts a natural, white light that’s easy on the eyes and may even help sufferers of insomnia or Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD).
Eco Zone (0845 230 4200;

Ikon Pedal and Power £24.95
Get on your bike to power up anything from a GPS unit to a mobile phone. The multi-functional dynamo and charger kit is simple to fit, although you will need a cigarette lighter adaptor for your device. Just over an hour’s cycling will fully charge most mobiles, and there’s even a handlebar bracket so you can navigate or text on the move (safety permitting, of course).
Ikon Global (no phone;

Newspaper Log Maker £29.95 --- BEST BUDGET BUY
Some bright spark came up with this unique way of giving your copy of the Independent a second lease of life. Instead of lugging your newspapers down to the recycling bins, soak them in a bucket of water and pop them into the Log Maker. A squeeze of the handles compresses the pulp into a solid log (roughly one per newspaper). Once it dries out, each log will burn for about an hour.
Natural Collection (0870 331 3333;

Seiko Arctura Kinetic watch £450 ---- BEST LUXURY BUY
The Kinetic Chronograph is the world’s first and only power-generating quartz watch. Just by wearing the watch all day, you’ll be powering up a capacitor that drives the quartz movement (accurate to 15 seconds a month). There’s no battery to be replaced (ever!) and couch potatoes will be reassured to know that even if the watch is motionless, it stores enough energy to last up to six months.
Seiko (01628 770988;

Smart Solar charger £34.95
Rechargeable batteries are much better for the environment than disposable cells, and are greener still if you use the power of the sun to refresh them. This portable unit can charge five AA batteries (included), a selection of popular mobile phones or even a USB device like an MP3 player, if you’ve got the right cable. It’s best used in summer as a full charge requires up to 15 hours of sunshine.
Boys Stuff (0870 745 2000;

Freeplay Summit radio £60
Never miss The Archers again, with a multi-band radio that offers a choice of wind-up, solar or rechargeable battery power. Winding energetically for half a minute will get you through a whole episode (plus a fair chunk of the Afternoon Play) and direct sunshine should keep it alive indefinitely. The Summit comes with a worldwide power adaptor, shortwave aerial and headphones for personal listening.
Tango (01452 621888;

Terra Grass Armchair £70
This bizarre kit encourages you to grow your own soft furnishings. Simply assemble the cardboard frame, fill it with soil, sprinkle with the grass seeds provided, and water. Within weeks you’ll have a comfortable garden chair – and a nightmare for your lawn-mower. Everything, including the cardboard, is completely bio-degradable, making this the most environmentally sound furniture ever. Green fingers not included.
Firebox (0870 241 4289;

Recycled Ink Cartridges £7.50-£28.50 ---- BEST BUY
It’s all very well popping leftover plastic into green bins but true eco-warriors will ‘close the loop’ by purchasing recycled products. These refilled and fully guaranteed ink cartridges fit most popular printers, and cost at least £5 less than they would new. Cartridges come with a freepost envelope to encourage further recycling and best of all, profits fund Action Aid’s development work worldwide.
Action Aid Recycling (0845 310 0200;

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