Top 10 Cottage Industry Products

Harvey Lacey’s block press turns recycled plastic trash into beautiful, durable and extremely strong homes.
Harvey Lacey’s block press turns recycled plastic trash into beautiful, durable and extremely strong homes.

We covered cottage industry appropriate technology in a previous blog post. The aim here is to identify the top 10 products for ease of construction, impact on community and potential profitability. These products obviously go way beyond just creating jobs and making a buck. The products featured here will have a big impact on local communities. Some are saving thousands of lives. Water filters, for example, help prevent disease. Treadal pumps have enabled hundreds of thousands of farmers to greatly increase crop production.

#1 Rocket stove Rocket stoves have become ubiquitous because they are extremely efficient and practical. You can burn twigs, plant stalks and other free, readily available material.

#2 Treadal pump Paul Polak’s book The Business Solution to Poverty covers the amazing impact of these pumps in detail.

#3 Solar oven Clean, safe, easy to use and requires only sunlight for cooking. Other solar oven plans.

#4 Clay Oven — Build Your Own Earth Oven book These have become quite popular with natural builders and permaculturists. One drawback is these ovens use quite a bit of wood.

#5 EMAS water pump Instructions show how to build a low cost pump with plastic pipe fittings.

#6 Earthbag water tanks A 4,000 liter (1,056 gallon) water tank can be made in a few days for $200.

#7 Recycled plastic block press Ubuntu Blox Harvey Lacey’s new press and block design is better than ever with 3 strands of poly baling twine for ease of construction and improved performance.

#8 Solar water disinfection Solar water disinfection is a type of portable water purification that uses solar energy to make biologically-contaminated (e.g. bacteria, viruses, protozoa and worms) water safe to drink. Water contaminated with non-biological agents such as toxic chemicals or heavy metals require additional steps to make the water safe to drink.

#9 Solar bottle light This is a winner because of its effectiveness and simplicity.

#10 Pedal powered grain mill This device uses a Country Living Grain Mill

Extras: (it’s very hard to choose just 10)
Clay water filter
Water filter
Biosand water filter
Solar water distiller
VITA still
Twig stoves (ex: foldable camp stove)
Ferrocement boat
Skep beehives — Beehives for Honey Production, Smolke
How to Build a Temporary Wood-fired Brick Pizza Oven with Cheap, Easy to Find Materials
CEB press The best value for the money at this time, in my opinion, are Star Top CEB presses You can make your own CEB press with free plans from the Internet, but the quality will not be the same.
Well driller
Briquette press
Tanzanian Stoves Burn Sawdust or Rice Hulls
Home-based bandsaw sawmill (turns storm damaged trees into valuable lumber)

Image source: D Magazine: How to Rebuild Haiti Using Trash

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