Hardware Goes Green: Environmentally Friendly Products
Every year we have the pleasure of attending the National Hardware Show. This year’s industry-only event consisted of 3,500 exhibitors who showcased the latest and greatest in hand tools, power tools, lawn and garden equipment – just about anything that you can find at your local hardware store, home center or lawn and garden center.
As with previous year’s events, there were noticeable improvements in specific products and technology from the previous year. For example, cordless power tools with rechargeable batteries are more powerful, lighter weight, more ergonomic and more affordable. This trend is true for many of the product categories, especially lawn and garden tools and power equipment and hand and power tools in general.
The most noticeable change in the hardware industry is the shift toward “green,” more environmentally sensitive products.
Paint has been a notoriously offensive building product, which stems from its link with lead. Paint manufacturers have been working for years to reduce paint toxicity by lowering volatile organic compounds (VOC’s) that are bad for our environment. Now companies such as Mythic™ paint have come out a zero VOC, non-toxic, ultra low odor paint that provides the durability and coverage one would expect from a premium paint without the off-gassing VOC’s and illness-causing toxins. The paint is free of solvents, dispersants, surfactants, preservatives and other carcinogens that are ingredients in most traditional paints. www.mythicpaint.com.
Having a green lawn is great. Mowing your lawn the “green” way is better. First there were push reel mowers; then came gas powered mowers, followed by electric mowers. Cordless mowers powered by rechargeable batteries have been around for about a decade and continue to grow in popularity seeing as they don’t produce emissions and there is no electric cord with which to hassle. However, the big news this year is that push reel mowers are the green alternative. The only energy that they use are calories burned by the operator and there is no harmful exhaust. Today’s push reel mowers aren’t what you may remember while growing up. They are lighter, easier to maneuver and do a great job of cutting.
Using toxic chemicals to clear a clogged drain is anything but green. The alternative is to call a plumber or attempt to clear the clog using a drain snake, which can be cumbersome at best and lead to a real mess. The folks at Superior Tool have come up with the perfect alternative called the Yellow Submarine Power DrainStick. Though the name may sound a bit intimidating, the devices consists of a thin 18” flexible plastic snake (with an auger tip) that is connected to a mini screw gun that fits neatly in the palm of your hand. The device is powered by four AA batteries. Simply insert the snake into the drain and pull the trigger. No chemical, no plumbers snake and no plumbing bills. At $25.00, no home should be without one.
Rechargeable power and lawn and garden tools continue to be the rage. There no messy fuel or oil to deal with and they are extremely portable. But rechargeable batteries aren’t just for tools. Look around and you will see rechargeable batteries everywhere – computers, cell phones, digital and video camcorders, small appliances – you name it. The problem is that all portable rechargeable batteries such as Nickel-Cadmium, Nickel-Metal Hydride, and Lithium Ion are randomly disposed of and routinely end up in landfills, which allow the hazardous chemicals to leach into ground water supplies.
The Rechargeable Battery Recycling Corporation (RBRC), a nonprofit organization dedicated to the recycling of rechargeable batteries and cell phones has teamed up with major hardware and electronics retailers to make the recycling process easier. Since 1995, RBRC has recycled a total of over 42 million pounds of rechargeable batteries. Today there are more than 50,000 enrolled participating battery recycling “drop off” locations across the U.S. and Canada. After you drop off your rechargeable batteries and old cell phones, the store will ship them to a recycling and refurbishing facility. The rechargeable batteries that power the cell phones are sent to a state-of-the-art facility where they are recycled to reclaim reusable materials that are used in stainless steel production (nickel and iron) and to make new batteries (cadmium). The cell phones are either refurbished for reuse or recycled in an environmentally-sound manner. There is no cost to the consumer. Log onto www.call2recycle.org or call 1-877-2-RECYCLE to find a participating retailer where you can drop your off your rechargeable batteries and old cell phones.
For more home improvement tips and information search our website or call our listener hot line 24/7 at 1-800-737-2474.