There are many things you can do if we want to live greener and be more environmentally conscious – from getting your hands dirty doing some organic gardening, to making sure the blog you write for has green web hosting. Some are clearly more bizarre than others, though, as you’ll soon see! Be it eco-friendly burial options and sex industry establishments, or green products that recycle human and animal waste, we’ve gathered together the cream of the crop.
10. Elephant Dung High-Heels
The words 'watch where you step' take on new meaning when you look at these shoes. In a piece of work entitled ‘Anything Goes When it Comes to (S)hoes’, London-based designer INSA paid homage to Trinidad-based artist Chris Ofili by making humungous 10-inch stiletto heels replete with beads and – get this – soles made using the same elephant dung Ofili used in his paintings in the early 90s. Well, not quite the same elephant dung, but oversized droppings that did come from the same family of elephants.
INSA sourced his jumbo poop from local zoos, and you have to admit, it’s a strangely potent recycling idea – and one that’s caused no small hullabaloo! Considered pieces of art, INSA’s creations have even been displayed in London's Tate Gallery.
Intended to be a commentary on the sexualization of women in modern consumer society, these elephant dung shoes amount to going green in a big way! And while you may not be able – or want – to wear these particular poop-based heels, you can choose environmentally-friendly shoes when you shop. We know for a fact there are some other pretty bizarre choices of recycled footwear on the market.
9. Plastic Plates Made from Pig’s Urine
Think of all the disposable plastic plates, knives and forks you use which fill up landfills and take centuries to biodegrade. Finally, there’s a solution! Agroplast, a company from Denmark, takes urea from pig’s urine and transforms it into a bioplastic. They reckon one of their product’s main uses could be in the manufacture of plastic plates. What a way to bring a final touch to a hog roast!
Agroplast sees it as a win-win solution, as not only does pig urine have to be disposed of – it’s considered a biohazard – but there are high costs to getting rid of it. As for other uses to which the company reckons pig’s pee could be put... ready for this? In lotions and as a flavor enhancer for cigarettes! Of course, you don't have to go to such lengths to keep your own dinnerware eco-friendly at home. Just use china and stainless rather than plastic, and you’ll be headed in the right direction by reducing the quantity of waste materials that don’t biodegrade easily.
8. Brothel Offering Discount for Green Travel
Most businesses have been hit by the economic downturn, but in Berlin, Germany one red-lit establishment has come up with a creative – and green – way to attract more customers. In 2009, a brothel in the German capital called Maison d'Envie (‘House of Desire’) decided to do their bit for the environment by offering a discount to clients who arrived by bicycle or on public transport.
So many customers took advantage of the discount by proving they didn't drive there that business apparently took a turn for the better. Unfortunately, walking won’t get you the markdown as there’s no way to prove you arrived by foot, but if the customer shows a bicycle padlock key or bus ticket, they get 5 Euros off their 45 minutes of paid-for 'passion' in a room. This is something that all businesses could take a look at doing! It doesn't have to be left to the sex industry, either; restaurants and bars could just as easily take the idea on board, too.
7. Cremated Ashes Turned into Vinyl
If you want to really make a record of your presence on earth, And Vinyly has an idea for you. Rather than taking up space in an urn, you can be pressed into a vinyl record for posterity. You can even include music or your will on the recording, and for an extra premium have your portrait painted with some of your ashes mixed in by artist James Hague. For a mere £2,000 ($3,300) you can become a recording star in death (if not in life) and do something eco-friendly with your remains. The only drawback, of course, is that you’ll never get to spin the slab of wax yourself. Still, as the website’s strapline has it, you’ll certainly ‘live on from beyond the groove.’
6. Eco-Friendly Vibrators
Yes, the bedroom can be green as well, and where better to start than getting an eco-friendly vibrator (to add to your collection!). Such sex toys have been around for much longer than some might imagine: hand cranked vibrators were used in the early 1900s and probably earlier. But you don't have to go to the lengths of retrieving one from an antique store. For one, a number of companies offer phthalate-free vibrators – pthalates being the chemicals used to make plastics softer but which are harmful to the environment. Also, look for rechargeable vibrators to save money, energy and the Earth by reducing the reliance on batteries. Being green definitely doesn't have to be boring!
5. Re-usable Toilet Wipes
For many, the felling of forests for making toilet paper doesn’t justify this wasteful paper product’s use – but some of these people really stick to their word! Rather like those who prefer their babies to wear cloth diapers, these green-thinking folks use fabric squares as toilet paper and wash them after use. Just cut up a flannel sheet or some other piece of material, and put the squares in the bathroom, all ready to go. Then, find a small garbage can that gets emptied directly into the washing machine, and you’re set. Some people will do anything for the environment, though we’re not sure this offbeat idea will catch on with the general public anytime soon.
4. Eco-Kink: Greener Sex Clubs
Get your green kink on is the message of this next entry! An S&M bar in Tokyo prides itself on its green quotient. For one, Bijo to Yaju (‘Beauty and the Beast’) doesn't offer disposable wooden chopsticks, but this establishment also goes a few steps further in making its premises green...
Bijo to Yaju features a life-size doll (named Usako) that was handmade by the bartender from recycled pillows for people to be able to practice their bondage and whip work on. Many of the bar’s play toys, including ropes and candles, are also made of recyclable material, as are the toilet paper in the rest rooms and napkins in the bar area. Another Japanese sex club, Nemureru Bijo no Mori (‘Sleeping Beauty’) also boasts clean energy, plus organic food, beer and more. We just hope other bars and restaurants won't have to be whipped into doing the same.
3. Cremated Remains Reef Memorial
Want to leave something of yourself that grows into a practically permanent legacy? Eternal Reefs, based in Georgia, USA, has the thing for you: a memorial reef. Composed of human ashes mixed with environmentally friendly cement, these funereal reefs will survive for 500 years; a lasting, if slightly bizarre way to deal with cremated remains – and a sustainable one, too. Once in the ocean, the reefs become home to coral and fish, while the loved ones of the deceased get a rubbing of the bronze plaque placed on the reef. Thus, all sides are satisfied – human and animal. In some areas, people will even be able to dive to pay their respects to the sunken dead. Well, beats a visit to a cemetery!
2. Vegan Condoms
Safe sex may have been difficult for committed vegans in the past, but now they can get on the love-wagon and stay true to their principles at the same time. Most condoms contain a derivative from animals called casein, but vegan condoms substitute this with vegetable extract. Thus, vegans and vegetarians can enjoy themselves without compromising their ethics. Companies like Glyde have a full range of flavored condoms (no beef, of course!) for even more fun. Guess you can be an animal in the sack, without harming one!
1. Solar Film Bikini that Charges your iPod
Now you can listen to your favorite tunes on the beach without using environmentally damaging batteries. Andrew Schneider has come up with a two-piece bikini that does more than show off a great body. Just by wearing it in the sunshine it will keep your iPod charged.
Schneider was in class one day brainstorming ideas that might be sustainable at a local level. His first thought was of a bikini that could cool your beer (let’s get our priorities straight here!) but it was difficult to generate the power needed for such a cool operation. So, he plugged in his iPod and – voila! – along came the image of a beautiful woman enjoying the sun and surf while listening to music. Okay, so you have to dry off thoroughly before charging (otherwise it won't work properly) but for some that’s a small price to pay. The solar film bikini is a deserved number one in our countdown of bizarre ways to go green! In what ways might you be able to go green and save energy in your own home or business?