These eco-friendly torches and radios all work on solar or wind-up power, or a combination (with back-up mains if needed). Most only need daylight (not necessarily hot sun) to work.
Conventional batteries can leak toxic chemicals, and are choking hazards (all stores that sell them must by law take batteries back from any store, for recycling). Take car batteries to your local mechanic. Most batteries are also sold in plastic packaging. If you have to buy them 9say for smoke alarms), choose quality brands that last longer, rather than cheap ones that you will have to keep replacing.
Power a Life sells chargers for your phone that help give natural light to developing countries. The PAL Solar Lantern is good for outdoor light.
All these items are by PowerPlus, a brand that offers quality items that will last years. So whether you wish to use them in the garden or when camping, see which one fits your lifestyle, then treat yourself!
- Falcon Lantern uses the power of the sun to charge using the solar panels, or you can wind it up. With an LED lifetime of over 50,000 hours (you can replace battery packs without having to recycle the whole lantern), it has a USB-out emergency device charger powerbank, a personal alarm, an LED lantern with 8 bright LEDs.
- Camel Solar Charger uses 3W solar cell with 2W output to charge mobile and other USB devices. It can be attached to a window using provided suction pads, then just connect your device.
- Stork Solar Radio gives DAB and FM radio stations with high sound quality thanks to the telescopic high-frequency antenna. Solar power can charge a li-ion battery within the radio, or charge from a USB source or batteries. Comes with LED display and alarm.
- Lynx Radio is a high performance mobile radio and flashlight. Just wind up or expose to the sun to store the charge and give up to 9 hours of radio on a full charge.
- Parrot Solar Powered Thermometer is good for indoors or outdoors. The suction cup can be attached to glass or other flat surfaces. Small and compact, it offers a bright display.
more battery-free lights
Any light that does not contain batteries, is always going to be better for the planet. Batteries are sometimes needed (say for smoke alarms), but overall they are pretty toxic, and choking hazards for people and pets. Any store that sells batteries must legally take them back for recycling (no matter where you bought them), and good councils offer battery recycling banks (as do some supermarkets).
The Million Mile Light is a crowdfunded battery-free light for runners. Visible for up to 200 metres (44 car lengths), it’s powered by your own movement and has a 5 year guarantee. Just clip and go.