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Use as many gadgets as you like, without the guilt

By Jeana Lee Tahnk

It’s great to see a concerted effort on everyone’s part these days to conserve our natural resources. Kids are growing up knowing the importance of being environmentally responsible, especially with our society’s widespread adoption of “reduce, reuse, recycle,” and everything from hybrid cars on the roads to smart appliances in our homes. The rise of full-performance, full-speed electric cars with extended range, like the super-efficient Chevrolet Volt—“electric when you want it, gas when you need it”—is setting a new precedent for the next generation of drivers, who’ve come to associate powering up just as much with plugging in as with going to the gas station. (With a fully-charged battery, in moderate conditions and depending on the temperature, terrain, battery age and how you drive, the Volt offers an initial electric range of 38 miles*—totally gas-free and tailpipe-emissions free.)

While we’re moving in the right direction when it comes to overall energy efficiency, there’s a lot more we can do to cushion the impact of our ubiquitous tech usage. From disposing of used gadgets properly to replacing certain tech must-haves with greener alternatives, we can collectively continue to positively impact our Earth and ensure that our resources are preserved for many future generations to enjoy.

Here are a handful of very cool eco-friendly tech alternatives that we can use in our everyday gadget-filled lives:

Logitech Solar Keyboard

It seems unheard of to have a tech gadget that needs no wires to charge it, but this Logitech Solar Keyboard fits that bill exactly. Powered by any light—indoor or direct sunlight—this keyboard utilizes light that’s already in your house to add a sleek and solar-powered addition to your computer or laptop. And like the incredibly efficient Volt that can go up to 380 miles** between charges—thanks to the gasoline generator—this keyboard lasts a whopping three months after a full charge, even in total darkness!

Solio Classic2

This high-powered solar charger has a large enough battery to power your iPad, iPhone, tablet, e-reader and more on the go. After getting its energy from the sun, it will bring new energy-efficient life to any device that would typically recharge with a USB wall charger.

SecondWind Battery Charger

If you mentally tally all the things in your house that need batteries, you’ll likely come up with a long laundry list: the remote, kids’ toys, flashlights and so on. But constant disposal of these alkaline batteries does a number on our landfills. That’s why the SecondWind Battery Charger is so brilliant. It recharges regular non-rechargeable alkaline batteries and makes them usable after they’ve seemingly lost all power, making them fit for use over and over again.

Belkin WeMo Switch + Motion

How many times have you gone into your kids’ rooms to find every possible light on? No matter how often you tell them to conserve electricity, it doesn’t always stick. The Belkin WeMo motion sensor automatically turns off lights and gadgets when your kids leave the room.

This is just a sampling of the many cool products that help us maintain our gadget usage in an efficient and eco-friendly way. When it comes to our environment, every little bit helps.

The trademarks mentioned in this story are held by their respective owners.

Jeana Lee Tahnk is a tech writer and contributes to sites like Mashable, and Daily Candy. She is also Associate Editor at Cool Mom Tech, a site that helps parents navigate the best and coolest tech and gadgets for their families. Follow her on Twitter @jeanatahnk.


*EPA-estimated 38-mile all-electric range based on 98 MPGe (electric). Actual range varies with conditions.

**342-mile range based on 35 MPG city/40 highway (gas). Actual range varies with conditions.



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