Mrs Green receives a text from her ‘fridge

Filed in Blog by on December 1, 2010 9 Comments
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Share your Open Planet ideas with Sony and WWF

Share your Open Planet ideas with Sony and WWF

You know how we’re always blabbing on about viewing ‘rubbish’ as a resource here on My Zero Waste?

Well now you have a chance to combine this with technology to make the most of our planet’s resources thanks to Sony and WWF.

As you’ll be aware from previous posts, Mr Green has recycled a broom handle into a wooden leg for a patio chair. He’s reused old shelves for made-to-measure shelving in my bathroom and he’s turned his hand to create a treehouse from scraps of wood. Now it’s time to add a little more technology to the mix.

Sony and WWF have teamed together and want to hear YOUR ideas for actively changing people’s behaviours and encouraging a more sustainable lifestyle through their Open Planet Ideas initiative.

What you need to is browse their technology showcase and start thinking how you could utilise these and any other technologies to address the challenge. Their technology showcase includes such wizzardry as FeliCa, Presence Sensing and PSP Go (yeah, thought I’d lose you on that one). You don’t necessarily need to use one of these technologies for your concept but they are there to inspire you.

So whether you think we should create TVs that turn themselves off when they sense no one is in the room watching it or plant seed sized sensors into trees to prevent forest fires it’s time to put your thinking caps on and share your ideas.

As you know, I get a bit hot under the collar about food waste. I’m aware that the ‘out of sight, out of mind’ approach is one that frequently leads to unintentional food waste and I was thinking it would be great to get a fridge with a clear glass door, a bit like the ones in shops. I spent time searching back in the summer and could only find wine fridges. Much as Mr Green thought it would be a smashing idea, I couldn’t see how I could store anything in there apart from the odd melon.

Not only would you know exactly what was in your fridge, but you would spend far less time opening the fridge and having a rummage around while looking for inspiration, so emissions would be less too. Combine this with a built in sensors that can tell when the condition of your food changes and can warn you about what it is that needs using up then you’ve got a pretty high tech tool for dramatically reducing food waste.

Not only that, but I want people’s fridges to start talking to them. Oh yes I do! So when you’re sitting in a boring afternoon meeting or have nothing better to do on the Underground what better than to get a text on your mobile telling you a certain item in your fridge is about to turn into a green, furry thing? You could go henceforth to your friendly green grocer to purchase a few tomatoes and an onion and use up the offending item for tea.

So you’d be saving money on running costs and wasted food, while the planet would enjoy us all using less emissions and there would be less methane being given off from food rotting in landfill. Not to mention the amazing joy in your heart of receiving a text or email from your very own fridge.

I’ve entered my idea about saving 8.3 million tonnes of food waste with my friendly fridge,  so if you like it and feel charitable go along and ‘applaud’ my idea! While you’re there, Join the challenge and come and tell me about it in the comments below.

Along with the community, an expert panel will  chose the winning concept and you’ll get to work with them to turn your concept into reality.  How exciting is that!

Find Out More About Open Planet Ideas

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About the Author ()

I am a long time supporter of the Green and Sustainable lifestyle. After being caught in the Boscastle floods in 2004, our family begun a journey to respect and promote the importance of Earth's fragile ecosystem, that focussed on reducing waste. Inspired by the beauty and resourcefulness of this wonderful planet, I have published numerous magazine articles on green issues and the author of four books.

Comments (9)

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  1. Julie Day says:

    Hey love the idea of a talking fridge telling you about food waste. Gives me an idea for a children’s book based in the future. Can I nick the idea for that? My mum has been saving biccie boxes to put her tools in in the cupboard, so they are saved. I don’t know what to do about our compost savings if the snow stays as mum has said that it will be too dangerous to walk to the top of the garden to put it in our bin. We shall see.

  2. sandy says:

    I want one of them, maybe we could some how attach it to an online supermarket, then we could sit by the fire and not bother going anywhere LOL XX

  3. Jane says:

    Remembering what is in the fridge without having a look to check when nowadays people buy so much at a time and have such big fridges is hard. Long distance communication with your fridge? Why not?

  4. Mrs Green says:

    @Julie Day: Thanks Julie; well sure, go ahead and use the idea for a book; I’d be honoured… Hope you find a solution to the compost.
    @sandy: What an excellent suggestion; anything that gets me out of having to go shopping gets my vote!
    @Jane: I think it’s possible; I’m sure there was a story a while ago about a fridge that could tell you when you were running out of things; it’s the next step from that….

  5. John Costigane says:

    The food waste issue is clearly a success for enthusiasts at home, Mrs Green, with compost bins, bokashi’s and worm trays covering all categories. During an enjoyable seasonal stint at M&S opportunities for expansion of home efforts seem feasible. Used coffee grounds, tea waste, green waste and cooked waste from the various eateries are all potentially home compostable, though requiring a group of Zero Waste householders to share the load. This could be a feature throughout the UK at least for the spring to autumn period. Since my previous stint, a few years ago, Plan A is still developing. One issue is the segregation of all food waste from recyclables within the superstore, reducing waste volume. Rinsing, then drying, may allow improvement in this aspect and I rinse out all my paper coffee cups, though not to completely dry. Zero Waste locally is still unusual with plastic avoidance raising eyebrows in some retail locations even now.

    On the Grow Your Own front, difficult at present, 4 Sweet Basil plants are still enjoying the sunny window though the oldest one is decaying. This plant had late flowers, not fully developed, in all growing stems which may be the cause, apart from the cold conditions. The other 3 are not yet full grown and seem healthy as ever. I aim to over-winter these by minimising leaf cutting for cooking. The tomatoes are long gone but the last feature was the paper bagging of full grown green tomatoes which eventually ripened some six weeks later, showing the accuracy of previous tomato growing tips.

  6. Mrs Green says:

    @John Costigane: Hi John, it sounds as though M&S are leading the way with some of their waste and recycling policies. Good that some of your basil is still alive; we have a dill plant that was dying; so I put it outside to take to the compost. When I thought about it a few days later it had revived itself and is now providing food for the rabbit and garnishes for humans 😉 Glad the green tomatoes reddened up for you!

  7. John Costigane says:

    @Mrs Green: Great to see you still have active plants as well, Mrs Green. As you stated in an earlier topic, Sweet Basil is quite resilient with regard to watering, which I avoided during the recent cold spell. There is some leaf damage but sunny days since have produced new growth. I still use warm water preferably from the hot tap rather than kettle warmed. The pot soil temperature is lower now but the sharp rise during watering has had no ill-effect on the plants.

  8. Brilliant idea, Mrs. Green! I definitely would like to have a ‘fridge like that! so helpful especially to those who are on a tight food budget.

  9. Mrs Green says:

    @myfreightaudit: Hi 🙂 Welcome to the site and thanks for your comments. I’m glad you like the texting fridge idea!

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