This week on Treehugger…

Post holiday wrap up from our pals at Treehugger! Go to the supermarket for soap? Fugheddaboudit – we show you how to make it at home. Exercise without even leaving your couch on the couchbike. And, we have a great tip on how to whiten your laundry naturally. We go in-depth with a solar-powered pontoon. Somewhere, a college dorm rejoices–a clever reuse for beer caps. And, an attempt at a bicycle-powered iPod charger.



Easy homemade soap Caution: This is not for careless. We have a little project that requires you to handle hot and caustic chemicals with great care. However, with a little time and caution you could be rolling in . . . homemade soap. OK, so homemade soap doesn’t hold the glory of some other homemade projects, but it is likely to be one of the most useful you will come across. Check out Ruben’s step by step guide on mixing the right mixture of lye, water and oils (all fairly easy to find items) and how to let it set safely. After a few tries, you are sure to be a soapmaking pro. Not only are you saving some cash, think of how much pacakaging you are saving from the landfill. Stick it to the man – never buy a bar of Dial again!


The Couchbike Maritime Adventure Sometimes, OK a lot of the time, we would rather sit on the couch and watch reruns of “Will & Grace” as opposed to getting up and exercising outside. Well, even if you can’t take your TV with you, at least you can take your couch for a ride. The couchbike not only looks like a fun way to elicit strange looks from your neighbors, it is meant to make a statement about our sedentary lifestyles. There is nothing like promoting human-powered transportation and activity like doing it from the comfort of your couch.


TH Tip: Whitening Your Whites, Naturally Why use chemical heavy (and eco unfriendly) bleaches when you can whiten your white laundry naturally on your stove top. Via Martha Stewart Living (insert joke here) we found a trick that involves a pre-wash soak in boiling water with lemon slices. After the soak, just do your laundry as you normally would, and hang it to dry. No bleach, and superwhite whites – behold the power of citrus!


The Loon: Solar-Powered DIY Pontoon Boat Ah, the seafaring life. For most, this is a life of nature, tranquility, and… well, pollution. Monte Gisborne is out to change that. He rigged his pontoon, The Loon, with a 738 watt solar panel to give himself clean, not to mention free, power for those sunny summer days. His backup plan isn’t too shabby either. Eight 6-volt batteries allow him to plug the boat in at night, and still be ready if the skies are overcast. It makes you wonder why it has taken so long for other boaters to solarize their rides.


Beer Cap Belt Most classy families have memories left over when the holiday season draws to a close. My family, however, has scattered beer bottles around the house and strained relations. Luckily, we can at least do something with the caps of the bottles. The Beer Cap Belt makes unconventional eco-fashionfrom materials most of us simply throw away . Recycled beer caps attached to a recycled bicycle inner tube is not only creative reuse, it gives the belt hipster points to spare.


DIY iPod Bicycle Charger If you drive your car everywhere you go, there are plenty of products on the market to charge your iPod while you drive. Transport via bicycle, however, brings a host of difficulties for your iPod, namely what to use as a power source. Well, look no further than your feet. Mark Hoekstra built a bike charger for his iPod mini that uses only pedal power to build a charge. After a few rounds of tests with varying degrees of success he is still working out the kinks, but it seems he is well on his way to perfecting it. All I can say is, I want one.

That is it for this time, look for more TreeHugger goodies next week.

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