Top 5 Silliest Eco-Inventions

by , 07/29/09


It goes without saying that there have been some truly impressive and useful innovations in world of eco-friendly products, but with everyone racing to develop the next big thing there are bound to be a few flops. Here at Inhabitat we applaud every effort to help us reduce our carbon footprint and live greener cleaner lives, but we can’t help but notice that some attempts have missed the mark. This list is comprised of our favorite silly eco inventions, products and ideas. Really, what fun would it be if we only covered the good stuff?

sustainable design, green design, top ten silliest eco gadgets, products, greenwashing, pet-a-potty

5. PETaPOTTY for Dogs

Ahhh another attempt to bring the outdoors in. While we usually endorse this kind of greening of one’s living space we’re afraid the people at PETaPOTTY might have taken it to far. This portable patch of grass (available with and without wheels) comes equipped with its very own concealed drainage system, and claims to be easy to clean. While featured on ABC news, PETaPOTTY claims that now “spoiling your best friend is even better for the environment”. News flash from Inhabitat – just because it contains grass it does not make it green.

sustainable design, green design, top ten silliest eco gadgets, products, greenwashing, solar powered bra

4. Solar Powered Bra

Can I just say that I love Triumph Lingerie! A solar powered bra that comes equipped with two-cup holders, an electronic billboard, and can charge my cell. What more could a girl ask for? This is absolutely silly but totally amazing.

sustainable design, green design, top ten silliest eco gadgets, products, greenwashing, suv

3. The Hybrid SUV

While I fully recognize that Hybrid technology is an extremely important innovation in the field of transportation I feel that this list would be incomplete if I did not mention the hybrid SUV. Tracing along the lines of oxy-morons like jumbo shrimp, free love or working holidays, the hybrid SUV gets worse gas mileage than most sedans and requires tremendous amounts of virgin resources to produce. This “green” vehicle certainly falls short of ever really being eco.


2. Eco Button

Plug this earth-emblazoned eco button into your computer and then press it to automatically send your computer into sleep mode. I have heard that one could achieve a similar effect by either closing their laptop or using the ever-so-complicated drop down menu.

sustainable design, green design, top ten silliest eco gadgets, products, greenwashing, solar hat fan

1. Solar Powered Fan Hat

There are a couple of things that should never have been invented – socks and sandals, the fanny pack, and this solar-powered fan hat. Sure to brighten your day or the planet – if only because you will be laughing and pointing at the person wearing it. It does absolutely nothing to help the environment, and one could probably produce the same amount of cooling air by waving a magazine in front of their face.

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  1. RoosterAmy January 21, 2010 at 1:57 pm

    Thank you, thank you, thank you for bringing the stupidity of the hybrid SUV to light!! Non-hybrid minivans give you more hauling capacity in a way much less harmful to the planet. The batteries in hybrid vehicles are actually incredibly un-ecofriendly. The electric engine on a hybrid vehicle is only active when driving below 30mph, a speed which very very people actually use, and if you have ever gone out into a parking lot and heard a Prius start up, well, you shouldn’t hear it start because it SHOULD be in electric mode but you can here the gas engine running, and what savings is that? I have actually witnessed several hybrid vehicles at red lights with the gas engine running. If car manufacturer’s wanted to make a difference in fuel consumption they could make many different changes. If you look at car mileage in car models of the 80s and 90s you will see that today’s standards are drastically reduced. For example, a 94′ Honda Civic got 50mpg highway while today’s Civic is rated at 36mpg highway. The hybrid? a mere 45mpg highway.

  2. eliansito October 31, 2009 at 4:47 am

    booo to most of the comments,

    1 for lacking sense of humor
    2 for failing to see the bigger picture (especially the SUV supporters)

    When something is silly, its silly and the fact that few or a lot of people can find an utility to a silly gadget does not make that gadget green, nor implies that if everyone used (or needed) such a gadget the world would be a greener place, in fact the case in all of the above is exactly the opposite.

    Riding up a downward wave does not make you go up.

  3. Waynski August 4, 2009 at 11:50 am

    Mmmmm. I have an ecobutton and I must say your researcher has done a pretty poor job including a product that can actually SAVE energy and thus reducing CO2 emmisions as well as saving me money, do any of the other products here do that??? Like most people, I left my PC running when I got up to go to the toilet or answer a phone call for short breaks, and I BET EVERY SINGLE ONE OF YOU in your office leave yours on just like I did?

    I would suggest that smug little comment about “using the drop down menu” is ill thought out….. comments like that really don’t help your cause. I’m not one for plastic gadgets but in this case I think it is one of the few that not only pay for itself very quickly but create its own negative carbon foot print the more you use it.

    Perhaps Miss Paul should look at the bigger picture (small, easy to use things like this gadget can easily make a BIG difference en mass)….and perhaps even consider a different vocation, you really aren’t giving credibility to yourself or your website.

    To give a balanced point of view, I trust you will publish this post.

  4. lynniepoo August 3, 2009 at 4:33 pm

    The Solar Powered Fan Hat is NOT silly. I have a friend in San Diego who always uses one when she’s gardening to keep her face cool. In case you didn’t know: while gardening–certainly one of the most eco-friendly activities–an individual needs to use BOTH hands. One does not have the luxury to fan oneself with a magazine.

    Incidentally, when I was teaching 4th grade, I allowed the kids to wear my Solar Powered Fan Hat at recess while we were studying alternative energy sources. Every day, they would be vying to wear that hat so that they could keep cool while running around and so that they could “check out” how the fan would stop when they stepped into the shade. It was a great learning device for solar energy.

  5. mattgup August 1, 2009 at 1:46 pm

    #4 shouldn’t be on this list. Saying that a Hybrid SUV is silly because it doesn’t match the MPG of a sedan is a silly argument. Some people need the functions of an SUV and I think that a hybrid SUV is a greener alternative to a Suburban. There’s a difference between green and greener (or eco and eco’er?) and while we shouldn’t settle for greener we can’t dismiss it.

    If you compared a LEED platinum corporate office building to my 1000 sq ft ranch house which has almost no energy saving features built in, my house uses far less energy and has a much smaller footprint. So… by your logic my house is greener and LEED is silly and pointless. Let’s drop the Fox News style logic, ok?

  6. SereniTee July 30, 2009 at 6:27 pm

    What’s the matter with socks and sandals? I live in the Pacific Northwest…it’s part of our uniform. :)

  7. SierraC12 July 30, 2009 at 10:19 am

    The Escape Hybrid certainly is not silly. This is a great example of a vehicle that focuses on consumers wants (space/cargo, high visibility) and needs (high MPG relative to other SUV’s)

    The fact that The Ford Escape Hybrid was applauded by the Sierra Club shows that Ms. Paul is way off the mark.

    what a bunch of terrible hype without appropriate research, Inhabitat.

  8. 00SolarTJ July 30, 2009 at 10:12 am

    i don’t think hybrid SUV’s are silly. as a consumer if you need the utility they provide the hybrid versions are a viable alternative to the gas powered versions. i think it’s silly to vilify all SUV’s.

  9. NickD July 30, 2009 at 9:10 am

    An indoor dog crap lawn, nice, just what you need to brighten up any living area.
    Im sure it truly is a breath of fresh air, erm on second thoughts you might want to open the window….

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