Monthly Archives: June 2011

Under Armour Green

I recently bought a green shirt. Yes, the color of the shirt is green, but in this case the “green” theme actually goes a bit further. It’s part of Under Armour’s UA Green line, which actually uses recycled materials. After a few test runs, I’m happy to report that recycled shirts feel exactly the same as regular shirts (at least in the case of Under Armour) and I definitely recommend giving them a look: check out the product line on their website. (I bought the Catalyst short-sleeve t-shirt.)

According to their website, 100% of each UA Green product (shirts, shorts, hats, pants, etc) is made from recycled material — primarily plastic bottles. The video below gives an overview of the process.

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Mighty Wallet

Thanks to my brother, I’ve found a cool new (old) wallet. The Mighty Wallet is made from 25% post-consumer content, but it’s also 100% recyclable. It’s made from Tyvek, also known as “house wrap”. You may have come across USPS envelopes made from Tyvek, or used a Tyvek suit (as I did in New Orleans a few years ago when we were helping to deconstruct houses).

The second coolest thing about the Mighty Wallet is the variety of designs. I picked up one with retro Star Trek comic prints, but their website shows the full range of designs inspired by everything from television to comic books to simple dot matrix printed paper. They even have a DIY version that’s blank and allows you to draw your own design (permanent marker recommended). A few of my favorites are below.

The wallets don’t have a zippered pocket for change, but they don’t have any stitching either and they claim to instantly adjust to fit lots of stuff or only a little bit. And there are more pockets that you think you’d find in a thin, light-weight wallet so you shouldn’t run out of places to put things. Overall, it seems like a great wallet for its price ($15), with free shipping available to US customers.

Flippy-Floppies

Summer 2007: Paestum, Italy and the Mediterranean Sea (photo above)
Summer 2011: Delaware, United States and the Atlantic Ocean

They may be worlds apart, but the basic principle is still the same. Kick off your flip-flops and relax in the hot sand. Happy summer!

Energy in Your Zip Code

While doing research for one of my recent internships, I came across an interesting page from the Department of Energy’s Alternative Fuels & Advanced Vehicles Data Center. It includes a calculator that takes in a zip code, reads out energy sources for electricity in that area (e.g. gas, coal, nuclear), and calculates the emissions of electric vehicles in that area based on the grid.

One of the arguments against electric vehicles is that since electricity is powered by non-renewable sources, these cars aren’t reducing emissions. Put a different way, is an electric car that’s receiving electricity from a coal plant any cleaner than a Hummer? According to the Department of Energy, the answer is yes.

The calculator is also a cool way to see how energy sources are used in your area. There are some obvious conclusions, such as more coal being used for my parents’ house in Pennsylvania than in my current Massachusetts area. But there are some other things I wouldn’t have predicted, such as a higher-than-average percentage of biomass in New England, and Illinois using a higher percentage of coal than Pennsylvania. Some areas have a diverse range of sources, while others are more dependent (Purdue is almost entirely coal and nuclear). Click here to visit the calculator and try your own zip code.