A beer crisis is brewing in Germany as bottle recycling slows amid heatwaves

August 15, 2018 by  
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With summer still in full swing and heatwaves gripping countries around the world, breweries across  Germany have been scrambling to keep up with the beer demand from hot and thirsty customers. The brew masters have enough of the bubbly beverage to go around, but companies are running out of containers to distribute their goods as people continue drinking  beer without returning the bottles for reuse fast enough. While there are approximately 4 billion beer bottles in circulation within Germany, the demand for beer is higher than the return rate of the glass bottles. Germany is very proactive in recycling , having one of the highest recycling rates in the EU at around 50 percent, according to a Eurostat data report . Customers pay a small deposit on bottles when they buy beer from the store, which they get back when they return the empty cases. This small incentive, and a high regard for the environment, encourages customers to reuse and refill the glass bottles up to 30 times. Related: France plans to make recycled plastic bottles less expensive Greif Brewery recently told its customers to return their empty bottles, or they would have to go without beer. “We’ve had a beer bottle shortage since the middle of May,” said Christian Schuster, employee of Greif Brewery. “We can’t get hold of used ones fast enough, and ordering new ones takes time. I’m having to send my delivery guys out to look for old, empty bottles.” According to master brewer Thomas Tyrell, who heads up the Berlin plant for California’s Stone Brewing, German attitudes toward aluminum cans are contributing to the problem as much as the heat is. Most Germans believe that cans are not environmentally friendly, so they prefer glass bottles. This is not the case, he pointed out, and the cans hold the same small deposit fees as their glass counterparts. Many Germans also see drinking beer out of a can as being crass and ill-bred, but soon they may not care as many breweries struggle to put fresh beer on the shelves. Related: The world’s largest beer brewer invents low-carbon beer bubbles Meanwhile, Stone Brewing may have found the only solution to the problem. Stone opened its first brewery in Berlin two years ago — with canned beer. Manners aside, Tyrell added, “We think it’s best for the beer… there is no light ingress and, over time, there are some oxygen permeations through the lid of a bottle, which the can doesn’t have.” Any beer is good beer when there is none to be had, but with crisp and refreshing beer, Stone seems to hold a sustainable recipe for success. Via NPR Image via Kaktuslampan/Flickr

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A beer crisis is brewing in Germany as bottle recycling slows amid heatwaves

France plans to make recycled plastic bottles less expensive

August 14, 2018 by  
Filed under Business, Eco, Green, Recycle

Take that, plastic! France has announced that it plans to make bottles made with recycled plastic less expensive than those made from new plastic, part of a larger plan to intensify regulations on plastic use. Other aspects of the plan include increasing taxes on landfill and lowering the value-added tax on recycling activities. Related: Coca-Cola rewards recycling in the UK with half-priced theme park tickets According to Junior Environment Minister Brune Poirson, the French government will introduce further specific measures to address the problem of plastic pollution . “We need to transform the French economy,” she said. “We are launching a movement that will be scrutinized and followed by our European partners.” Part of this movement is a plan to reduce the price of products packaged in recycled containers by up to 10 percent. The discount-premium system encourages its consumers to recycle by making sustainability the more affordable option. “Tomorrow, when there is a choice between two bottles, one made with recycled plastic, the other not, the first one will be cheaper,” Poiron stated. Related: Dominica makes historic pledge to combat plastic pollution Currently, France has the second-worst recycling rate in Europe, with just 25.5 percent of its plastic packaging waste recycled. By comparison, Germany and the Netherlands recycle about 50 percent of their plastic waste. Nevertheless, the French government plans to change its plastic recycling rate to 100% by the year 2025, with the recent announcement marking the first steps toward this goal. Veolia and Suez, recycling powerhouses in the French market, have long been calling for the regulation changes, which would provide a boost for business. Retailers have also joined the cause; for example, French company E.Leclerc has pledged to eliminate the sale of throwaway plastics and replace them with more eco-friendly alternatives, such as bamboo , and is testing a loyalty point system for customers who deposit plastic and glass bottles in some store outlets. + Eurostat + Le Journal de Dimanche Via Reuters

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France plans to make recycled plastic bottles less expensive

Abandoned house gets a gorgeous, energy-efficient refresh

August 9, 2018 by  
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Few homes undergo the trials and tribulations of Boston Villa – and fewer still receive a gorgeous renovation that also wins an architectural prize. But in the Fitzroy neighborhood of Melbourne, Australia, that’s exactly what happened. For years, Boston Villa stood abandoned, serving as a shelter for indigent wanderers. Even after Nest Architects ‘ clients Dean and Lisa saw promise in the property, someone set it on fire halfway into the preliminary stages of the rebuilding process. The couple remained undaunted, however, and Nest Architects forged ahead with the overhaul, creating a beautiful, light-filled home with numerous energy-saving and sustainable features. For the project’s first phase, the architects tore down walls to let natural light and air flow freely through the space. This demolition also opened up views of courtyards and created light sources throughout the structure. Skylights illuminate the laundry room and bathroom, louvered windows let filtered light brighten the children’s bedrooms, and an enormous glazed glass wall brings the glow of sunlight into the study, guest room, dining room, kitchen and living spaces. Rustic timber columns and beams accentuate this wall and help it harmonize with the rest of the home’s aesthetic. Two large windows flanked by striking Victorian brickwork highlight the front of the structure. Related: Abandoned house transformed into a gorgeous sanctuary on a remote Chinese mountain Because the clients wanted a sustainable home as well, Nest Architects included a number of features that reduce the house’s overall footprint. The concrete slab foundation effectively controls heat loss, and internal thermal blinds coupled with low-E glass fend off heat from the sun. The architects used recycled fittings and fixtures in every room; additionally, all the plywood and timber came from recycled sources. Low-voltage lighting and appliances with five-star energy ratings further reduce the amount of electricity consumed. Boston Villa won the Victorian Institute of Architects Award in the Alterations and Additions Category in 2011. + Nest Architects Images via Jesse Marlow

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Abandoned house gets a gorgeous, energy-efficient refresh

Locally salvaged zinc panels clad a seaside getaway in Chile

August 9, 2018 by  
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Designed by Chilean architecture firm Ortuzar Gebauer Arquitectos , the Coo Lodge is a seaside getaway that is tied into the surrounding landscape history with its weathered zinc cladding. The reclaimed metal plates, sourced from old construction sites, have been oxidized to a reddish color similar to the color of the ground. Located on the beach with spectacular views of the sea and distant volcanoes, the building was constructed to feel like an extension of the landscape. The zinc -clad Coo Lodge is located in Queilen, a tiny town in the southern Chilean archipelago of Chiloé known for its beaches and beautiful views. The architects looked to the landscape for much of the inspiration for the house design and even delved into the early history of the original inhabitants, nomadic navigators known as ‘Chonos or Payos’ who made their living from the sea. “To discover their vestiges was to discover their vernacular condition, it was to discover a culture,” the architects wrote. “The above opened our senses to work on the pre-existing.” The architects also divided the site into three main parts: a green field near the main road, a grass-covered rocky “intermediate level” and the white sand beach that was formerly covered by a large growth of weeds before the designers cleared out the space. Because the 1,722-square-foot Coo Lodge was placed on the “intermediate level,” the architects created a series of block-y volumes — six of which house bedrooms and one larger structure for the communal living areas — to complement the large sculptural rocks. The buildings are elevated  and fan out across the landscape, and they are connected by outdoor walkways. Large windows punctuate the sea-facing facades. Related: Chile’s rustic Casa Pollo is made from recycled zinc plates and reclaimed wood “The enclosures being separated are intimate, typical of the visitors who keep them in their status as a nomad in the place,” the architects continued. “A great volume is the space of encounter, public space, exposed, that around the fire and the kitchen , invites to live according to the logic of the rural ensemble in Chilo.” + Ortuzar Gebauer Arquitectos Images by Federico Cairoli

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Locally salvaged zinc panels clad a seaside getaway in Chile

Modern LEED Gold home embraces outdoor entertaining in Aspen

August 7, 2018 by  
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Aspen’s historic West End neighborhood is best known for its ornate Victorian houses, but one residence in particular is turning heads for its modern, award-winning design and LEED Gold certification. Local firm Rowland + Broughton Architecture & Interior Design designed the ground-up home — dubbed “Game On” — that splits a historic landmark lot with a neighboring late-19th-century home. The new residence incorporates environmentally friendly and energy-efficient features throughout, from its solar roof tiles on the garage to its sustainably harvested materials palette. Constructed with a traditional gabled form and front porch that mirrors the surrounding architecture, Game On stands out from its neighbors with its clean lines and white-painted exterior. The 4,291-square-foot abode’s contextual design earned approval from Aspen’s Historic Preservation Commission. The minimal design approach carries over to the restrained landscaping as well. “Inspired by the residential vernacular of Aspen’s historic West End neighborhood, this home brings a sense of clarity and elegance to a traditionally ornate Victorian form,” the architecture firm said. “With the clients’ personal and professional lifestyle in mind, the design is intended to accommodate a large number of guests for entertaining yet provides a sense of intimacy for private relaxation. The open plan connects the indoor and outdoor spaces with seamless lift and slide pocket doors. Interiors feature custom built-in and floating furnishings and custom fixtures.” Related: Solar-powered mountain home is a sustainable prototype for Aspen development In additional to solar roof tiles , Game On minimizes its energy footprint with a highly efficient mechanical system, radiant in-slab heating and heat loss control. The sustainable water strategy includes high-efficiency fixtures and an irrigation system as well as a bocce ball court in the backyard that collects and filters all stormwater runoff. The interior is dressed in natural and recycled materials with no VOC paints for a healthy indoor environment. + Rowland + Broughton Architecture & Interior Design Images via Brent Moss Photography

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Modern LEED Gold home embraces outdoor entertaining in Aspen

Japan considers adopting daylight savings time for 2020 Summer Olympics

August 7, 2018 by  
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This summer’s deadly heatwaves in Japan  have caused government and Olympic officials to consider the benefits of adopting daylight savings time for the  2020 Summer Olympics to ensure athlete safety. Prime Minister Shinzo Abe has ordered his ruling party to consider what impacts a two hour shift forward would have on the country after backlash on social media followed the announcement. Adopting daylight savings time would allow events such as the marathon to be scheduled in the cooler morning hours. Masa Takaya, spokesperson for the 2020 games, urged the time push, saying it would also “help protect the environment and realize a low-carbon society in Japan,” alongside other efforts to add more plant life and heat-inhibiting pavements in the city. Although the time shift would provide both energy-saving and safety measures in the face of climate change , many citizens are protesting that the change would result in longer working hours for them. This is not a light claim made by the Japanese labor force, as a 2017 report by BBC News revealed that most individuals in the nation clock in more than 80 hours of overtime each month. Related: Japan wants to make 2020 Olympic medals from recycled smartphones Japan has not used the daylight savings system since the U.S. Occupation following World War II from 1948 until 1952. The event, a sour subject for many Japanese, also impeded initiatives during the 1970s and early 2000s to return to the system in the hopes of conserving energy in the country. The 2020 Summer Olympics are set to be held in Tokyo from July 24 until August 9, 2020, followed by the Paralympics from August 25 until September 6. As these are typically the hottest months of the year and likely to become hotter with global warming , the decision to enforce daylights savings time in Japan weighs very precariously in the balance for now. + 2020 Tokyo Summer Olympics Via Reuters and  The Japan Times Image via T-Mizo

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Japan considers adopting daylight savings time for 2020 Summer Olympics

These bold, eco-friendly bathrooms reduce water usage by 80%

August 3, 2018 by  
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Hong Kong-based design practice Ida&Billy Architects have completed an unusually eye-catching bathroom redesign for a Guangzhou shopping mall that boasts striking looks and sustainable elements. Crafted with human comfort in mind, these renovated toilets at the TaiKoo Hui mixed-use development are almost a destination in themselves due to the colorful patterned aesthetic, sculptural clean lines and adherence to green design principles. In addition to the use of recycled materials and gray water recycling systems, the eco-friendly bathrooms also feature air-purifying indoor plants. Tucked underground, the bathrooms at TaiKoo Hui are designed to embrace their subterranean location with a modern grotto-like appearance featuring curved doorways and openings. White paint brightens up the curved walls while LED strips illuminate the space. The original bathroom layout was preserved during the renovation to minimize structural and piping changes. The original sandstone and gray tiles were crushed and turned into aggregate for the newly cast dark gray terrazzo floors. “The sustainable design toilet aims to raise the environmental awareness in the public realm and to become the role model of sustainability in the commercial and retail sector,” the architects explained in their project statement. “The design aims to tie back to nature, formally as well as environmentally. Sustainability, spatial sculpting and human comfort drive the whole design.” Related: 8 toilet designs that could save millions of lives around the world The architects chose glass fiber reinforced gypsum (GRG) panels (made with recycled content) to create the curved surfaces that seamlessly connect the walls to the ceilings in the eco-friendly bathrooms. Aided by two fans for circulation, indoor plants improve indoor oxygen levels and bring a splash of green to the windowless space. Collected and filtered gray water is used for irrigation. The waterless urinal and water-saving toilets are estimated to save water usage by 80 percent and reduce waste by 60 percent on a daily basis. + Ida&Billy Architects Via ArchDaily Images via Ida&Billy Architects

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These bold, eco-friendly bathrooms reduce water usage by 80%

LEED Gold hub for artists and activists takes over an abandoned NYC firehouse

August 2, 2018 by  
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An abandoned firehouse has been reborn as the newly certified LEED Gold home for the Caribbean Cultural Center African Diaspora Institute (CCCADI) in Harlem. Developed by CSA Group NY Architects & Engineers in conjunction with real estate agency Denham Wolf , the cultural center celebrates New York City’s Afro-Caribbean and African-American populations with exhibition and performance spaces, meeting and community rooms, a media center, classrooms and offices. The adaptive reuse project respects the architectural integrity of the historic building and features a variety of sustainable elements, including a green roof and 100 percent Forest Stewardship Council-certified timbers. Located in the heart of East Harlem’s cultural district at 120 East 125th Street, the Caribbean Cultural Center African Diaspora Institute serves as a neighborhood anchor and catalyst for cultural and economic development. The CCCADI took over the former municipal firehouse , Engine Company Number 36, as part of the NYC Economic Development Corporation and Department of Housing Preservation’s initiative to turn decommissioned firehouses into cultural institutions. All parts of the 8,400-square-foot landmark building were preserved wherever possible, save for adjustments needed to meet the city’s current building codes, such as the addition of egress stairs. “Originally built to serve the local community , before being abandoned and becoming a symbol of blight, the firehouse has fittingly been restored for a public purpose,” said Ronzard Innocent, Director of Project Management at Denham Wolf. “As a connector to arts, culture and social justice, CCCADI brings the story of this building full circle.” Related: East Harlem celebrates opening of vibrant LEED Gold-seeking Center for Living and Learning To reach LEED Gold status, CCCADI focuses on saving energy and water while minimizing waste. Thanks to highly efficient bathroom fixtures, the project saves an estimated 37.2 percent in water use compared to standard baselines. The building also boasts an estimated 36.1 percent  energy savings from high-efficiency heating, ventilation and air conditioning units. Approximately 92 percent of the project’s construction waste was recycled . The team installed a high-albedo membrane on the roof along with a green roof. Low-emitting paints, coatings, flooring and agrifiber products were used throughout, and more than 20 percent of the materials used were sourced regionally. + CSA Group NY Architects & Engineers + Denham Wolf Images by Sakeenah Saleem

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LEED Gold hub for artists and activists takes over an abandoned NYC firehouse

Recycling Mystery: Should You Refill or Recycle Ink Cartridges?

August 1, 2018 by  
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From an environmental standpoint, reusing a product is almost always … The post Recycling Mystery: Should You Refill or Recycle Ink Cartridges? appeared first on Earth911.com.

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Recycling Mystery: Should You Refill or Recycle Ink Cartridges?

United Nations recognizes first-ever carbon-neutral soccer club

July 31, 2018 by  
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The Forest Green Rovers , a Gloucestershire-based team in the English Football League that prides itself as “the world’s greenest football club,” has been recognized by the United Nations carbon-neutral – a world first. The team joined the Football League last year in its first-ever debut in the 129-year history of the club and is part of Britain’s  League Two . In addition to receiving the prestigious UN designation, the professional soccer club has signed up for the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change’s (UNFCCC) Climate Neutral Now initiative for the upcoming 2018-2019 season. The Climate Neutral Now initiative was developed in the wake of the  Paris Agreement  to encourage climate action around the world. Related: Adidas unveils a Manchester United jersey created with ocean plastic The club also serves vegan food to its fans and was awarded a vegan trademark from the Vegan Society as well. The Forest Green Rovers came up with the idea because they wanted to create awareness of the “huge environmental and animal welfare impacts of livestock farming.” They also wished to improve player performance all while giving fans “healthier, tastier food on match days.” The Forest Green Rovers stadium uses 100% green energy supplied by the club’s chairman, Dale Vince, founder of renewable energy company Ecotricity . The parking lot features electric car charging facilities, making it easier for eco-conscious fans to attend the games. All rainfall is collected and recycled from the field and stand areas in order to minimize water consumption. And, in true futuristic and sustainable fashion, the club even has a solar-powered robot to mow its beautiful, organic soccer field. Cheers to that! + Forest Green Rovers + UNFCCC Via The Guardian

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United Nations recognizes first-ever carbon-neutral soccer club

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