On the house: Eco-friendly hardware

On the house: Eco-friendly hardware

By JAMES CAREY and MORRIS CAREY For The Associated Press Good news for power tool fans: Cordless tools are getting more powerful, lighter weight, more ergonomic and more affordable. Not only that, they’re getting green. Those were among the advances on display at this year’s National Hardware Show, an industry-only event of 3,500 exhibitors who showcased the latest in just about anything you can find at your local hardware store, home center or lawn and garden center. As in other industries, the emphasis now is on environmentalism. Here are a few of the highlights: PAINT Paint manufacturers have been working for years to reduce paint toxicity by lowering volatile organic compounds (VOCs) that are bad for our environment. Now companies such as Mythic paint have come out with zero VOC, nontoxic, ultra low odor paint that provides the durability and coverage one would expect from a premium paint. The paint is free of solvents, dispersants, surfactants, preservatives and other carcinogens that are ingredients in most traditional paints. The environmental group Green Seal lists eco-friendly paints that have passed its safety and performance tests at its Web site: http://greenseal.org/ MOWERS Cordless mowers powered by rechargeable batteries have been around for about a decade and continue to grow in popularity since they don’t produce emissions. However, push-reel mowers are coming back as a green alternative. The only energy that they use are calories burned by the operator, and there is no harmful exhaust. Today’s push reel mowers aren’t what you may remember while growing up. They are lighter, easier to maneuver and do a great job of cutting. DRAIN CLOGS Using toxic chemicals to clear a clogged drain is anything but green. The alternative is to call a plumber or attempt to clear the clog using a drain snake, which can be cumbersome at best and lead to a real mess. The folks at Superior Tool have come up with an alternative called the Yellow Submarine Power DrainStick: a thin 18” flexible plastic snake that is connected to a mini screw gun that fits neatly in the palm of your hand. Simply insert the snake into the drain and pull the trigger. No chemical, no plumbing bills. BATTERY RECYCLING Rechargeable batteries are everywhere — in tools, computers, cell phones, digital and video camcorders and small appliances. The problem is that portable rechargeable batteries routinely end up in landfills, allowing hazardous chemicals to leach into ground water supplies. The Rechargeable Battery Recycling Corporation, a nonprofit organization dedicated to the recycling of rechargeable batteries and cell phones, has teamed up with major hardware and electronics retailers to make the recycling process easier. Today there are more than 50,000 free battery recycling drop-off locations across the U.S. and Canada. Log on to www.call2recycle.org or call 1-877-2-RECYCLE to find out where to take your old batteries and cell phones. ——— For more home improvement tips and information, visit our Web site at www.onthehouse.com or call our listener hot line at 1-800-737-2474 (ext 59). Published in The Messenger 6.4.08

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