The other weekend, I went to the Sustainability Fair in Balboa Park, San Diego. It was actually a lot of fun, although more of a craft faire than an actual information session.
A couple of highlights:
The aquaponics booth, which is combining aquaculture (read: raising fish) with hydroponics (read: growing plants with nutrient-enriched water, not soil). Because fish naturally excrete nitrogen-rich droppings, fish tank water can be used to grow plants without adding any fertilizer or commercial plant food to the water. All you have to do is feed the fish.
I thought it was an interesting idea, if a bit expensive and mildly inconvenient. Still, if you can raise edible fish like trout or somesuch, it may have some value for the local consumer.
There was a booth in which the owner was selling reusable lunch supplies made of fused plastic bags. According to Etsy, you can fuse your basic plastic grocery bags into a cloth-like medium with an iron to make more useful things, like sandwich holders or tough Ziplock-like bags. Though it's downcycling, I will be definitely experimenting with this in the future. I like the idea and it might be a nice way to make myself a makeup bag or a sandwich wrapper, but I decided against buying.
One thing I did splurge on was a HankyBook. It's basically a cotton handkerchief, but with a cover and pages so you have a clean place to hold when you blow, thus avoiding getting germy cloth all over your hands/bag as a handkerchief does. To clean, you throw it in with a load of laundry.
I'm fairly tactile, so I actually enjoy the feeling of fabric in my hand as opposed to a tissue. As well, the maker's website points out that 80% of American consumer goods are single-use, and tissues are a key example of this. Should seasonal allergies attack, I'll post a review.