5 Interesting Energy Saving Gadgets for 2013

As energy costs proceed in one direction only, it is fair to say that any new invention that can serve its purpose and use less power, has to be a darn good idea. Tesco may assure us that ‘every little helps,’ but if everyone in the world relied permanently on the following new gadgets, it wouldn’t be a little help to the environment, it would be a lot.


Water Powered Can Clock

The Can Clock is so simple to use that it is easier to operate than a TV set. Simply fill the clock up with water and watch it tick away for the next six months. What do you do after six months? You fill it up with water again.

Apparently the water releases electrons once inside the body of the can and this creates an electric current that powers the clock.

You can buy the Can Clock for a mere £9.99. Would they replace Big Ben in London with a giant version? – We doubt it.

For more information check out Can Clock


USB Cell Rechargeable Batteries

The USB Cell Rechargeable Battery manufacturer makes some pretty boastful claims regarding the efficiency of its energy saving gadget. The manufacturers, USB Cell, say that you save 7kg of carbon and 3kg of toxic waste if you use them just 50 times!

USB Cell also claims that these batteries can be charged 500 times, which, costing just £10.99 for a two cell pack will save an awful lot of money.

Simply plug the batteries into a USB port and utilise your PC’s power to have fully charged batteries.

For more information check out USB Cell


Computer Eco Button

An office that comprises just 50 PCs will save a whopping £2,500 in electricity a year just by installing the Eco Button – apparently.

All you have to do is press this little button when you get up to make cuppa, go for a meeting, or whatever, and your computer will be left in its least energy consuming state without totally shutting down. On your return, simply press the button and, hey presto, it is restored to its optimum working power.

For more information check out Eco Button


Cold Solar TV Remote

The Cold Solar TV Remote does exactly what you’d expect it to do, with the additional bonus of charging out of direct sunlight.

No more annoying battery failure when you are frantically trying to switch away from the adult channel as you hear your wife or, worse still, you mum coming down the stairs!

For more information check out Cold Solar TV Remote


The Hy-Mini Hand Held Wind Generator

The Hy-Mini Wind Generator is one cute device, which is almost therapeutic to use. This lightweight and compact eco-gadget has a built in battery, which you can charge up in winds of over 9 MPH. Once the battery is charged simply plug in your mobile phone, ipad or whatever, and suck all the power into the chosen device.

Imagine that you are on top of Ben Nevis and you need to make an emergency telephone call but your cell phone’s battery is flat. The Hy-Mini could well bail you out of the pickle, providing of course that you can actually get a signal on top of Ben Nevis!

For more information check out Hy-Mini Hand Held Wind Generator

iGo batteries go green

Eco-friendly power solution developer iGo has turned its attention to the rechargeable battery and come up with a line of non-toxic batteries which, it says, can hold their charge for up to seven years.


The iGo Green Rechargeable Alkaline Batteries are dubbed as a low-cost, environmentally friendly solution to disposable batteries. They will, says iGo, start saving you money after two recharging cycles – one rechargeable battery is equivalent to 40 single-use disposable batteries.

We’ve always tried to use rechargeable batteries (with the amount of battery-operated toys in this house it would be of benefit both to my wallet and the planet) but we’ve always been disappointed in them. They never seem to hold their charge for long, and small people are not patient enough to wait for them to be recharged.

Howver, iGo reckons it has got this problem licked, as, unlike nickel-cadmium and nickel-metal hydride cell batteries, they can hold their charge for up to seven years. This means they will be ready to go as soon as you get them out of the packet, but will likewise still be ready if you have them sitting fully charged in the drawer for a few weeks, or even years. This means you can have a store always ready to go (pretty vital when a small person needs that train to go RIGHT NOW!)

The batteries come in AA and AAA sizes and cost around £7.99 for a four-pack and £12.99 for an eight-pack. You’ll need an iGo Green Charger (£15.99, including four AA batteries). iGo also sells a two-way USB charger for those on the move. It costs £12.99 and comes with two AA batteries.

What to do with unwanted gadgets: Weeebuy.co.uk, freecycling and charity

A study has revealed that Brits throw away an unbelievable £6 billion a year in unwanted gadgets.

With just 20% of electrical devices recycled, the report, from www.weeebuy.co.uk, reckons each of us is around £90 out of pocket thanks to our wasteful habits.

As we know our readers love their gadgets (well, you wouldn’t be reading this otherwise would you?) we don’t like to think of you throwing good money down the drain, when you could be using it to indulge in your next piece of gadgety goodness.


So, here are a few ideas about what you can do with your unwanted gadgets, whether it’s making yourself a bit of cash, doing a good turn for someone less fortunate, or saving the earth with a bit of the old reduce, reuse, recycle ethos:

Sell them
As you, our astute readers are obviously aware, www.weeebuy.co.uk didn’t carry out that study entirely for philanthropic purposes. They wanted to get their name out into the open, so that we tech-heads would sell them our gear. So, let’s pander to them, and we’ll tell you how it works.

Log on to the site, enter the products you want to sell and they’ll tell you how much they’ll get. They then data wipe and refurbish devices before selling them on. Personally I’d wipe my device myself, but I guess it adds an extra level of security. If they’re not working, they may be broken down and used for parts to fix other devices.

I though I’d check out a few of my own devices – my EOS 350D DSLR would get me just over £13, while my Sony Ericsson F500i phone (I know, I really need to upgrade!) would get me a paltry two quid. My Nintendo Wii, however would bring in a not inconsiderable £47. You can also swap your gadgets for vouchers if you prefer.

If you send in five or more gadgets you get a better price, so if you have a drawer (or cupboard) full of old gizmos, it’s worth a go. I’d say for more up-to-date kit you’d be better off selling privately on eBay or on a second-hand site such as pre-loved.com or gumtree.com – or even at a car boot sale. At most car boot sales I’ve sold at (especially in London) dealers will pounce on you as you arrive asking for old cameras, electrical and computer equipment, so you’ll be in demand. Just go prepared, with an idea of what your gadgets could fetch, and if they ask how much, always go in with a higher price as they will want to haggle you down.

Recycle mobile phones
You’ve all seen the sites for mobile phone recycling from the likes of Envirofone and Mazuma Mobile. But which one to choose? Well, just like pretty much everything else these days, there are price comparison sites that will trawl the recycling sites and find the best deal for you. I used this and discovered I could get £130 for my husband’s Apple iPhone 8GB 3g (don’t tell him though!).

Donate to charity
Last month, Michael Lucas, retail director at the British Heart Foundation, appealed for Britons to donate their small electrical items to charity shops. Rather than hoarding old CD players, radios and other electronic, give them to charity. Last year the British Heart Foundation raised more than £9 million from selling old electrical goods. Oxfam and Cancer Research also accept small electricals, but it’s worth checking with your local shop that they will accept them before you haul in a boxful of gizmos.

Diabetes UK, meanwhile, offers a free collection service for gadgets including mobile phone, laptops, notebooks and even ink cartridges. They will receive upwards of £3 for each phone, 50 for ink cartridges and up to £100 for old laptops, so it’s a simple way to donate to charity without doing any legwork yourself. For details log on here.

Your local council has to offer a similar service under the WEEE directive, which is aimed at reducing the amount of electrical products produced and the amount thrown away, rather recycled (find out more about WEEE here ). You might find you have to pay them to take your gear away though.
Check out more about local recycling at www.recyclenow.com

Give it away
Don’t forget that someone (almost) always wants what you don’t! Communities such as Freegle and Freecycle are great places to advertise old gadgets. Often you’ll find it populated by at least one person who refurbishes laptops (whether they sell them on for their own gains, or donate them to some charity organisation or school), as well as someone desperate for a CD player that works because their new puppy just chewed theirs to bits. You’ll have to register to join your local site before posting up your offerings.

Make something new!
Finally, if you’re feeling creative and inventive, you could actually make some new gizmos from your old gadgets. Glean some inspiration from 62 Projects to Make with a Dead Computer (Workman; £9.99; ISBN 978-0-7611-5243-9). This ingenious book has bright ideas for making a breathalyser machine, a water-gun alarm clock and USB-enabled fruit! Your old mobile phone can become a safe for money and thumb drives and your old Palm Pilot can become a doodle pad.
Find out more here.