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  • Writer's pictureSecond Opinion Magazine

Balanced Living » May/June ‘12

Did you know that coffee ground do so much more than deliver a delicious brew and enrich our compost piles?  They also help power electronics.  In early 2011, an engineer in England found a way to convert old coffee grounds collected from local shops into fuel to power a car.

The coffee car sped up to 66.5 mph and broke a Guinness World Record for vehicles run on organic waste, beating out 2010’s record of 47.7 mph by a wood-burning car.

To modify the car to run on coffee grounds, the coffee car team equipped the vehicle with a gasifier that burns organic materials at high temperatures. When the coffee grounds are burned, they produce combustible gases, which, after cleaning and cooling, are used to fuel an adapted combustion engine. Super cool!

Adapted from

Solar Power Your Kindle

Want to charge your cell phone with free energy from the sun – and get paid for it?

Kindle owners can now harness the power of the sun to illuminate and charge their e-readers, using the new SolarKindle Lighted Cover. The flexible, lightweight cover features a built-in solar panel that charges an attached LED reading light and provides extra power to the Kindle. One hour in direct sunlight can provide almost three days worth of reading time on the Kindle.

This information is uploaded to a database where you can track your energy savings and inspire friends and family to do the same. Finally, the system will not only power your electronic gadgets, but will also earn you credits to redeem at select retailers and promote your energy savings to friends through social media. Get rewarded for being green.

For more information or to purchase visit

Big Microfiber News

Norwex antibacterial microfiber is one of the most innovative products in the industry! Norwex has developed a unique agent with our Microfiber.  The antibacterial silver-based agent is actually embedded inside the tiny microfiber, so when the cloth is used to clean surfaces, it not only has the ability to remove 99.9% of the bacteria on that surface, it also inactivates that bacteria within 24 hours. The silver antibacterial fiber has self-purfication properties, where germs and bacteria are inactiviated. This means cleaner cloths, less frequent laundering, and reduction in cross-contamination. When you use these cloths dry, the static effect created enhances the ability to attract dirt and dust particles. As you wipe, the surface the microfiber attracts and draws up even the smallest particles of dust, trapping them in the fibers until they are rinsed or laundered. You can also use the cloths wet to wipe away germs and bacteria from all washable surfaces.  The Norwex Microfiber can be used anywhere cleaning is required and you can just use water!

The rule of closet management is if you haven’t worn it in 6 months, toss it.  Well toss it is harsh, but you could swap or sell it.

At you can sell, buy or swap women’s wear, kids, maternity clothes, shoes, and accessories. You can also use the site to cash in on your old books, DVDs, electronics and purchased but unused cosmetics. Sorry guys, ladies clothing only, but check out where the whole family can swap.

Save a Tree

According to LeaseRunner, every year more than 1.5 billion sheets of paper are used during the leasing process. To make things worse, more than 34 million rent checks are written each year.  But there is a light at the end of the tunnel. LeaseRunner is a new consumer-facing web application that offers free, paperless property leasing.

And with 38 million rental homes in the U.S,  landlords could save as much as $796 million by going paperless for one year.

In addition to saving cash, opting for online leasing could save more than 184,000 trees and 222.5 billion BTUs of energy each year, LeaseRunner said.

Want to take your rental property paperless? Visit online to find out how.

Resolution Time

Forget January Resolutions, how about Summer Resolutions? In the warm months, especially in the Chippewa Valley, fresh, local food is so prolific it’s easy to make a renewed vow to yourself and your family that being an eco-eater is best. So this summer, make a bigger impact and do your part for the environment. With so much sunlight, turn off house lights; when cooking, make plans to cook more at once to utilize the energy more effectively. And of course, there is the power we wield with shopping habits. With more than ____ farmers markets in the valley, it’s one of the most eco-friendly choices to make. You are not only supporting community agriculture, but also buying the freshest foods available. If we make them a regular stop in our weekly summer activity, they will only continue to thrive and grow.

“If 40 percent of American households bought only organic milk, it would change dairy production,” says Michel Nischan, co-owner of the Dressing Room restaurant in Westport, Connecticut, and author of Sustainably Delicious. “You really can be a hero one product at a time.”

So take these tips to heart this summer and be eco-minded.

  1. Look for bunches of lettuces or spinach at your farmers markets or grocery stores. You are not only supporting your local farmer, but you are buying zero packaging. The landfills will thank you.

  2. Buy the heirloom varieties for a new change. The terms means that the crop has been grown from seeds passed down for generations.

  3. Buy in bulk. Freezing and canning is not only a great family activity, but you get to enjoy fresh and local foods all throughout the year.

  4. Make it a challenge. Make the weekly menu from only the foods found at your farmers market. Often times it isn’t too difficult, since meat, produce, and dairy are all right there at one market.

  5. When you buy local eggs, get them directly from your local farmer at the market. Just because the package says cage free at the grocery store, doesn’t mean the chickens were allowed outdoors. They may have been kept indoors, but not in cages.

Disposing of E-waste Responsibly

Did you know you can recycle your old tech?  Check out YouRenew, BuyMyTronics, or Gazelle, and receive up to $1,000 per recycled item.

Just answer a few quick questions about the age and condition of your items and send them in via prepaid postage.

All three sites will send you a check in the mail or pay you directly via PayPal. Gazelle will also give you a Walmart Prepaid Visa or Amazon gift card instead of cash, and YouRenew allows you to donate your earnings to environmental causes like tree plantings and renewable energy projects.

Ants are pests, whether indoors or out. Fortunately, they’re easy to control, once you’ve figured out who you’re dealing with.  Different ants are drawn to and repelled by different foods.

Carpenter ants are the most destructive variety and destroy support beams much like termites.

Brown Argentine ants, which nest outdoors and are drawn to sweets.

Pharaoh ant, yellow and red, nests inside of buildings and aren’t picky foodies.

Reddish thief ants, attracted to meats and grease

Pavement ants, which are black and brown, nest in foundations.

Prevent them from entering your home.

Easiest preventions is to cut them off.  Seal food, wipe crumbs, wash dishes right away, keep garbage controlled and sealed.  Water is also an attractant, so make sure your faucets are in good shape.

When you do find them, follow them to the entry point and try to seal them out.  If you can’t seal them out, light helps confuse their patterns, so a night light can throw them off after a while.

Finally vacuum.  Add some cornstarch to the vacuum bag to suffocate them, and make sure you are using a HEPA filter. Dispose of the bag immediately to prevent living ants from finding their way out.

Make your own ant bait.

There are lots of ordinary foods that ants won’t come close to, so use these to create your barrier naturally.

Citrus oil (can be soaked into a piece of string), lemon juice, coffee grounds, cucumber peels, mint tea bags or dried mint leaves, cloves, cinnamon or cayenne pepper.

To kill and drive away ants that you see, mix a teaspoon of dish soap with water in a spray bottle; this will also clean up the scent trails they leave for others to follow. Citrus oil and water or plain white vinegar is equally effective.

At home recipe:

Mix a half teaspoon each of honey, borax and aspartame in small bottles. Place bottles on their sides, with lids off. Ants will carry the bait back to their colonies. Important: use indoors only; must be kept away from pets and children.

#CoffeeCar #Norwexantibacterialmicrofiber #SaveaTree #ewaste #SolarPower #Resolutions #Ants #Kindle

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