My first thought after opening up Sneaky Green Uses for Everyday Things, a new book by Cy Tymony: Cy’s place must look pretty different from mine, because his “everyday things” are definitely not things I have laying around my apartment. No, I don’t have any voltmeters or heavy copper wire at home, much less a “small solar cell, with wire leads attached”!

Which is to say: Cy’s book wasn’t quite what I expected — but was still engaging for totally different reasons. Sneaky Green Uses is like a sneakily educational science class full of fun demonstrations and experiments. Always wondered how a hybrid car works? Sneaky Green Uses doesn’t just explain the tech; it lets you make your own mini hybrid using a toy car and common office supplies. Curious about solar power? Sneaky Green Uses lets you turn your toy car into a solar toy car.

That latter task will, however, require your acquiring a “small solar cell, with wire leads attached” from I don’t know where — which makes me think Sneaky Green Uses is not really about using everyday things in new ways, but more about explaining how everyday eco-things work for the curious environmentalist.

To be fair, Sneaky Green Uses does contain some reuse ideas — but those ideas aren’t particularly original. Cutting up a cereal box to create a magazine holder, mixing green household cleaners, or folding origami (to reuse paper) are not particularly new ideas. Still, projects like using cereal boxes to design a robot-shaped recycling bin could make for a good crafty afternoon for kids.

Choose your project wisely though. Directions for making a “Sneaky Green Eco Hat” or “Sneaky Green Vest” basically just consists of sticking everything from a tire gauge to a collapsible cup to “eco-fact cards” onto a perfectly good cap or vest. I fear the resulting hats and vests will not be particularly functional — and that the poor eco-conscious kid who dares wear such a contraption in public may get picked on and beaten up pretty fast.

That perhaps explains Cy’s book bio, which begins thusly: “In grade school, Cy Tymony defended himself from bullies with the help of a spring-loaded shocker hidden up his sleeve.” Unfortunately, the directions for this shocker aren’t included in the cap or vest-making instructions…. Some helpful energy-conservation and recycling tips are, however. Sneaky Green Uses is available at Amazon for $10.18.

Image: Courtesy

The opinions expressed by MNN Bloggers and those providing comments are theirs alone, and do not reflect the opinions of While we have reviewed their content to make sure it complies with our Terms and Conditions, MNN is not responsible for the accuracy of any of their information.