Design plays a great role in Sustainable Computing as I share with clients the intention behind the look, feel, and function of our various devices and apps. You’ll hear me regularly speak about the language of technology and how I help you communicate more effectively with it so you can feel confident, productive, or flexible.

This edition of Mac Mondays has nothing to do with Apple but everything to do with technology and how it helps us reduce waste.

Back Straps

For ten years, I have been carrying a Victorinox backpack that satisfied my needs for often carrying a laptop and lots of other stuff. However, it was never very comfortable to wear for long trips, designed with length instead of depth and lacking waist and sternum straps.

I recently purchased an Osprey backpack to replace it and I think I’m going to be really happy traveling with it. While it lacks quite as many pockets for specific items, it will absolutely be the most satisfying pack to carry.

I bought the Osprey Ozone 46, whose red variant [at time of writing] is not currently sold by Osprey but is still on sale at REI.

Security Solidity

For all the ways TSA creates barriers to efficiency, their rules against large containers of liquids led me to travel with more solids instead. For all the water I use in the shower, why bother blend it in shampoo and then have to package that in plastic?

A decade ago, I switched from liquid shampoo to bar shampoo, having discovered Soap for Goodness Sake. I further consolidated a few years ago to a single bar (I prefer tea tree) that serves as soap for both hair and body, which I buy in bulk every several months.

Save the Towels!

When I read about a squeegee for my body in Treehugger in 2006, I was instantly sold. Wendy Brodie designed Bodyflik to fit the contours of the human body and wipe off water after bathing so less water would absorb into a towel. As a result, towels stay fresh longer and require less laundering.

Unfortunately, Wendy retired from producing BodyFlik in 2016 so the product is no longer for sale. Know any 3D printing investors who might like to reawaken this amazing invention?

Get a Handle on It

This month, I started using my fifth toothbrush handle—in 15 years! After dental hygiene challenges as a child, I got really good at brushing my teeth with a manual brush, but couldn’t handle the amount of toothbrush waste every time one set of bristles out. Around 2004, I discovered the wonders of the TerraDent replaceable head toothbrush from Eco-Dent.

Recently, Lotus Brands, the domestic company that has imported Eco-Dent products from Germany over the years, stopped carrying TerraDent head replacements. The company suggested I try Fuchs Ekotec, but the handle turned out to me a half-inch too short and really uncomfortable to hold while brushing. Also, the bristles are dyed.

Then I found Smile Brite in Lotus’ product line and rediscovered correspondence about it from 2010 when I asked them about bristles without dye. I hope this toothbrush (handle), with its extra soft bristles, lasts for many more years. Meanwhile, the spent heads I accumulate will eventually go to TerraCycle for recycling.

How do you reduce waste and increase efficiency at home and on the go?