The Last Furlong

Comments on the race of life.

Frugal innovation


I love the idea of frugal innovation. The Furlong household are not consumers. We repair, make do and I, on purpose, wear second-hand clothes to reduce the impact on the planet for resources.  I have heard of people who buy new shoes only every second year, for the same reason.

Does that sound silly? Maybe, but it’s better than mindless consumerism.

So frugal innovation is the idea that we can – and should – innovate with the idea of simplicity and flexibility, with the least environmental impact. 

To explain, Professor Jaideep Prabhu, co-author of Frugal Innovation: How to do Better with Less published in 2015, points to a small clay box in the corner of his office. “It’s an ingenious invention! It consumes no electricity, is 100% biodegradable and produces zero waste.” The MittiCool fridge is the brainchild 
of Mansukh Prajapati, a potter by trade. Water in an upper chamber of the clay box seeps through the walls of a lower chamber, cooling it through evaporation. In a country where 500 million people live without reliable electricity, Prajapati realised that his clay fridge could provide huge health benefits by keeping food cool without the need for electricity and at an affordable price; he trained a local workforce and started mass production. Forbes magazine has since named him among the most influential rural Indian entrepreneurs. Link

Link  Indian news report video

I like the idea of a clay fridge! It reminds me of simple things we had when I was a child – canvas bags that we hung on car front bumpers that gave the most delicious chilled drink of water  on long hot African journeys – like the “Safe”  mounted on a tray of charcoal and water in the kitchen with netting sides that kept food cool, protected from flies. Like storing cool water in a clay jar. Like cooking in a Hay Box.

Simple things.

That show me, there IS life in simple things, despite the myth that we’ve got to have the latest, most modern inventions to be happy.


Author: Elizabeth

I'm someone also pounding the Path, just like you.. I'm retired, going into Old Age and loving my life. I'm hoping to remain happy and well for as long as possible. Old Age is not SO bad - yet!

5 thoughts on “Frugal innovation

  1. I am not a Consumer, mainly because I never had money enough to waste, for one reason or another. I put three children through Public Boarding School on that principle. That was money well spent. Although they aren’t now exactly keeping Mummy in the lap of luxury. They developed allusions of grandeur along with the decent education. Par for the course, I suppose.
    Fortunately, Mummy doesn’t want the trappings of Credit Cards and really likes living in a basic farm cottage in Brittany and not actually owing anything to anybody.
    But I think I’ll keep The Fridge. The first ever new one I ever bought, last year

    PS. I bagged a whole kilo and a half Chicken today at Lidl for 50 Centimes just because the outer packaging was a bit scruffy. That’s about another 3 Euros towards the first time ever New Gas Cooker that I am saving up for.


    • Oh – new fridge? New cooker? Saved up for? Your brownie points just went up two levels on the satisfaction//joy/self esteem scale! Well done.

      In winter, when I think we should buy a croft in the Outer Hebrides because I’m sick of so called civilisation. just looking at the central heating units in our house, makes me instantly get grateful!


      • Central Heating? What’s that? And don’t kid yourself that it’s warmer here just because it’s 200 Miles further south. I just put on two more jumpers.

        And the cold in The Highlands is a different kind of cold. I lived there for a long time. In fact I would probably be there now if house prices hadn’t rocketed. Scotland is my spiritual home.

        I paid Twelve Thousand Pounds for my two houses here, although it was some time ago, and I have spent about another Twelve Thousand since. But none of it was on Central Heating. I never did get used that. Freezing cold bedrooms during the 40s and 50s harden me.
        I now light a huge log fire in my massive fire place when it gets down to below freezing.

        PS. I did live in Singapore for a while, which was one of my better experiences, but didn’t actually help. So I do know what it feels like to be forever warm.

        However, I think you will find that it is much warmer in England at the moment than it is here. Pissing down poor, again.


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