Archstorming announces winning proposals for a school made of recycled plastic in Mexico

October 11, 2019 by  
Filed under Eco, Green, Recycle

Architectural competitions platform Archstorming recently presented the winners of its “Tulum Plastic School” competition that sought proposals for a school built of plastic for the NGO’s MOM I’M FINE Project and Los Amigos de la Esquina in Tulum, Mexico. From 230 submissions, an international jury selected three winning projects that draw attention to the problem of plastic waste in Mexico and found imaginative ways to reuse common plastic objects. First prize was awarded to Daniel Garcia and William Smith from Harvard University. The duo used the international plastic pallet as the building block for their proposed school . Instead of melting down plastic and reforming the material, the designers took advantage of the stability of pallets to create the school’s exterior walls and its very steep roof. The transparent, recyclable and corrugated plastic facade not only allows light into the school, but it also protects the school from the elements and can glow like a beacon when illuminated at night. Related: Passive solar school in Indonesia celebrates the natural landscape Malaysian designer David Nee Zhi Kang was awarded second place for his proposal of a school scaled and designed for children. The multifunctional school could also be opened up for community use. Rather than use processed plastic materials, the conceptual building is constructed from common plastic waste materials, such as recycled plastic bottles, and assembled with simple tools without the need of heavy machinery. The vision is for a building that can inspire the residents of Tulum to adopt similar recycling and building practices. In third place, Argentinian designers Iván Elías Barczuk, Matías Raúl Falero, Agustín Flamig and Adrián Eduardo Mendez proposed a modular design to reduce waste and for quick assembly with non-specialized labor. Each modular panel would be built from recycled, shredded-plastic liners and reconstituted wood. To further reduce the environmental footprint, the school can be equipped with vertical gardens, a rainwater collection system and photovoltaic panels. “The result of this contest shows that there are new, very attractive ways of designing a school using recycled plastic and that it is possible to introduce this material into architecture,” Archstorming said. + Tulum Plastic School Images via Archstorming

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Archstorming announces winning proposals for a school made of recycled plastic in Mexico

This furniture collection is made from repurposed military parachutes

October 11, 2019 by  
Filed under Eco, Green, Recycle

Innovative design firms Layer and RÆBURN  are known for creating stunning items out of repurposed materials . Now, the two firms have teamed up again to create the Canopy Collection, a series of chairs and screens made out of former military parachutes. The Canopy Collection is a series of six low-slung rocking chairs. Welded steel frames create the base, which is then covered in repurposed old military parachutes and aircraft brake parachutes. The textiles are secured to and tautly stretched over the frame with a combination of concealed zips and different textile techniques. The armrests are wrapped with extra material for added comfort. Related: RÆBURN upcycles North Face tents into one-of-a-kind bags The parachute fabric, which is made from ultra-thin ripstop nylon material, is incredibly durable and makes perfect sense to be used in everyday furnishings . In addition to the chairs, the collection also includes a reconfigurable screen with three panels that would make for an eye-catching centerpiece in any home. According to the designers, “The Canopy Collection uses the strict geometry of the steel frames as a base on which to experiment with innovative and forward-thinking recycled parachute upholstery.” Both studios are well-known for their dedication in creating responsible, sustainable products, especially when it comes to using undervalued or discarded materials. Earlier this year, RÆBURN made headlines for its collaboration with North Face to reconfigure old tents into unique bags. The Canopy Collection, which was launched to coincide with the recent London Design Festival 2019, is an innovative way to show the world that modern furnishings can also be sustainable . This is not the first time that the design studios have worked together, and hopefully it will not be the last. + Raeburn Design + Layer Design Via Dezeen Images via Layer Design

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This furniture collection is made from repurposed military parachutes

Rammed-earth walls make up a beautiful retreat hidden in the Zhejiang mountains

October 10, 2019 by  
Filed under Eco, Green, Recycle

Hidden in the misty mountains of Zhejiang , a new eco-sensitive resort made from local materials entices visitors with spectacular views and laid-back charms. International architecture firm kooo architects designed the Retreat Village, which comprises a cluster of luxury suites, for their client Hangzhou Origin Villa Hotel & Resort in the Dashan Village in Zhejiang, China. Taking inspiration from the local vernacular, the architects used local materials and techniques, such as rammed-earth construction, to create a resort that blends into its surroundings. Completed over the course of two years, the new Retreat Village is located on a remote, rural mountain. Although most of the original village architecture was built from rammed earth walls using local soils, the architects decided to only use rammed earth for a portion of the new construction so as to keep the interior from feeling too dark and constrained. The earthen walls are complemented by a natural material palette of bamboo, red bricks, stone and carbonized wood. To reduce site impact, the architects used locally produced as well as recycled materials and carefully sited the buildings to follow the natural contours of the mountain. Each of the buildings point in different directions to preserve privacy and to maximize views. An indoor- outdoor living experience is also emphasized in the design. Moreover, the use of natural materials and careful siting help make the village disappear into the landscape. Related: MAD’s ethereal Yiwu Grand Theater will “float” on Zhejiang waters “There is no light coming from this lonely village’s surrounding at night, so one can feel sufficient brightness even with a minimum amount of lighting,” adds the firm. “We kept the lights that can illuminate the entire space uniformly, such as downlights, to the minimum, and used all-directional soft umbrella-like lights such as free-standing lamps and table lights throughout the space. These fixtures project soft arches of light and shadow, illuminating the seamless finish and rounded edges of the walls and ceilings. Wrapped with the warmth of light, the rooms feel more calming and comfortable.” + kooo architects Images by Keishin Horikoshi / SS

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Rammed-earth walls make up a beautiful retreat hidden in the Zhejiang mountains

When in Rome, recycle more to earn free metro and bus travel tickets

October 10, 2019 by  
Filed under Eco, Green, Recycle

Rome’s Mayor Virginia Raggi recently unveiled an eco-friendly pilot initiative that is gaining popularity in the Eternal City. Called “Ricicli + Viaggi” (or the “Recycle + Travel” program), consumers who recycle empty plastic bottles earn credits toward free public transportation travel tickets. How does it work? Commuters who recycle empty plastic bottles via a designated compactor will then earn accrued credit-points, redeemable as free digital travel tickets. For a standard ticket, one must recycle 30 empty plastic bottles. That same standard ticket, which is good for one metro ride or 100 minutes on a Roman bus, costs about 1.50 euros. Related: Indonesia accepts plastic bottles in exchange for free bus rides The environmentally friendly campaign is widely appealing for good reasons. Empty plastic bottles no longer have to accumulate on Roman streets, and the travel tickets awarded are digital rather than paper. In other words, litter is minimized. Many Romans approve of this new way to save cash, and it couldn’t come at a more critical time. A 2017 study, conducted by consultancy group Expert Market, found that Italy ranked fourth among The Most Wasteful European Countries. The Eternal City has gained notoriety for its dysfunctional waste management. With only three major landfills — one that shut down in 2013 and the other two ravaged by frequent fires — Rome has since been spiraling into decline with refuse spewing all over the streets after years of neglect. Both tourists and residents have long complained about the garbage littering ancient monuments, the burgeoning vermin infestations and the lack of sanitation strategy as successive mayors from different parties have struggled unsuccessfully to resolve the Italian capital’s waste crisis. Prior to the trash-for-tickets program, recycling was patchy and very inefficient. “The situation has been quite disastrous,” president of environmental group Legambiente Stefano Ciafani said. “Rome has failed to create an efficient system for differentiated waste collection, as Milan has done, and it has not built the recycling plants that are fundamental for a city where three million people live.” But there has been a ray of hope ever since Raggi entered office in 2016 as the first female mayor in Roman history. While Raggi has had a stormy start battling deeply entrenched ways, this new pilot initiative of swapping plastic for transit credits is a step in a more positive, eco-friendly direction. Of course, with Ricicli + Viaggi still in its infancy, there are at present only three public transportation metro stations in Rome offering the recycling compactor machines. Despite that, more than 350,000 bottles have been recycled so far, and it is hoped the numbers will continue to rise. Raggi happily shared, “We are the first major European capital to present this innovation.” The Eternal City’s roll-out follows at the heels of similar programs already in place in both Beijing and Istanbul. + Ricicli + Viaggi Via BBC and Phys.org Image via Juan Enrique Gilardi

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When in Rome, recycle more to earn free metro and bus travel tickets

Save the Duck introduces new winter line of outerwear

October 10, 2019 by  
Filed under Eco, Green, Recycle

When you’re wearing clothing made from fur or leather, it’s hard to ignore the fact that it comes from an animal, but even vegetarians and vegans have an easier time closing their eyes to what’s hidden inside winter’s ubiquitous puffy jackets. Fortunately, brands like Save the Duck are making it possible for humans to stay warm and stylish without causing ducks pain and suffering. This month, the Italian clothing brand is revealing new designs. They’re kicking it off with a special brand dinner hosted by stylist Rachael Wang at the eco-luxury 1 Hotel Brooklyn Bridge . The collection features cruelty-free outerwear, including faux fur coats and feather-free down puffer jackets. Some of the new jackets are also waterproof. Save the Duck rounds out the collection with tees and sweats. The company promises, “In addition to providing animal free, ecological fabric, Save the Duck‘s penchant for bold color combines seamlessly with clean silhouettes and genderless, unisex pieces this fall.” You can choose basic black, but why not light up the winter in a bright yellow hooded puffer vest or a deep red fake fur coat? Related: The 2019 Redress Design Awards showcased the very best of emerging eco-designers Down is the soft feathery layer that grows closest to a duck’s skin, mostly on the chest. Manufacturers love the ease of working with these feathers, since they lack quills. Usually feathers are removed during slaughter, but ducks and geese being raised for foie gras or meat are sometimes plucked repeatedly while they’re alive. Save the Duck developed a synthetic down from recycled polyester they call Plumtech. The company designs all its jackets to be lightweight and easy to pack, as well as to spare the suffering of birds . The company Forest SRL owns the Save the Duck brand. Its roots go back more than a hundred years, to when tailor-turned soldier Foresto Bargi started experimenting with a water-repellent material he learned about during his time in the First World War. Now his grandson Nicolas Bargi runs the company. He launched the Save the Duck brand in 2011 to address people that are sensitive to environmental issues and sustainable living. One of his great victories was partnering with Kuntai A. Joisher, the first vegan Indian climber to reach the top of Mount Everest. Save the Duck managed to design a jacket that would withstand sub-zero temperatures and wicked winds. Even better, at press time the company estimated they helped save 17,975,456 ducks so far. + Save the Duck Images via Save the Duck

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Save the Duck introduces new winter line of outerwear

Old power station in Berlin is converted into off-grid arts center that runs on energy generated by woodchips

October 9, 2019 by  
Filed under Eco, Green, Recycle

The former industrial town of Luckenwalde now has a beautiful new arts center that not only aims to bring a little vibrancy back to the German region, but a whole lot of sustainability. Artist Pablo Wendel just unveiled E-Werk , a defunct power station that he has turned into an innovative arts center that is projected to run on recycled wood chips rather than coal. Although an artist at heart, Wendel obviously has an admirable talent and passion for creating machinery that generates clean energy. Over the last five years, he has created numerous wind sculptures and mobile battery packs that can usurp energy from supply points. His patented Kunststrom (art electricity) system is what will be used to bring power to the local grid as the old building used to. This time, however, it will be powered by recycled wood chips. Related: Uber transforms 19th-century industrial buildings into hub for futuristic tech To create a system of clean energy for E-Werk, he developed a series of woodchip-burning machines that are compatible with the power station’s pre-existing mechanics. This means that the massive 107,000 square-foot interior has the potential to not only generate its own power, but could possibly become a functional power station that generates clean energy for the surrounding area. “At first, people were skeptical, but Kunststrom has moved far beyond an idea. We forget to talk about how much energy is needed to make art, how much energy museums use through lighting , cleaning, conservation and transport . They spend much more of their budget on this than they do on young artists. I’m offering art as a power supply,” the artists explains. Currently, the building’s eight studios have been already rented to local artists, who can make use of the welding kits, milling machines, lathes and drills. Wendel says that he hopes E-Werk is the first of many similar projects to help Luckenwalde regenerate its urban landscape through sustainable practices, “One day we hope E-Werk will power the whole of Luckenwalde as it used to.” + E-Werk Via Wall Paper Images via Kunststrom

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Old power station in Berlin is converted into off-grid arts center that runs on energy generated by woodchips

Unilever ambitiously pledges to cut use of new plastics in half by 2025

October 8, 2019 by  
Filed under Eco, Green, Recycle

To better align with green initiatives worldwide, the British-Dutch conglomerate Unilever recently pledged to invest in a more circular economy for plastics via a two-part plan. First, by the year 2025, Unilever will halve the bulk of its non-recycled plastic packaging waste. Secondly, the company will accelerate its recycling endeavors by focusing more on collecting and processing waste plastic rather than selling single-use virgin plastics. Unilever shared on its website that it pledges to “make the blue planet blue again” and especially commits to “making sustainable living commonplace.” To do so, the company will follow a three-pronged approach: 1) investing and partnering to better the waste management infrastructure, 2) purchasing and utilizing recycled plastics, rather than virgin plastics, in its packaging and 3) participating in extended responsibility programs that directly pay for the collection of all Unilever packaging. Related: Unilever’s energy-efficient office is one of the greenest in Europe Currently, Unilever uses about 700,000 tons of plastic packaging annually. To curb its association with the growing plastic pollution crisis, the company will cut its plastic use by 100,000 tons. Unilever vows to replace single-use plastic packaging with recycled materials in a shift toward reusable, refillable and even compostable alternatives. Unilever will also annually collect and recycle more than 600,000 tons of plastic. “Our plastic is our responsibility, and so we are committed to collecting back more than we sell, as part of our drive toward a circular economy,” said Alan Jope, Unilever CEO. “This is a daunting but exciting task, which will help drive global demand for recycled plastic.” Unilever is a portfolio powerhouse, owning many popular brands in both the food and cosmetics industries. It is the parent company that manufactures and distributes Ben & Jerry’s ice cream, Breyers ice cream, Klondike bars, Hellmann’s mayonnaise, Knorr spices and Lipton ice tea.  Among its many cosmetics lines, Unilever owns Brut aftershave, Dove soap, Noxzema, Pond’s, Q-tips, Suave shampoo and conditioner and Vaseline. Despite its behemoth range of products that rely on plastic packaging, Unilever has been operating under the “Less, Better, No” plastic framework, planning to eliminate unnecessary packaging by innovating with the refill, reuse and recycled plastic sector as it moves away from virgin plastics. “Over the last five years, Unilever has collaborated with many partners to collect plastic packaging, including the United Nations Development Programme, to help segregate, collect and recycle packaging across India,” reads a company press release. “In addition, it has helped to establish almost 3,000 waste banks in Indonesia, offering more than 400,000 people the opportunity to recycle their waste. In Brazil, Unilever has a long-running partnership with retailer Grupo Pão de Açúcar to help collect waste through drop-off stations.” + Unilever Image via Shutterstock

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Unilever ambitiously pledges to cut use of new plastics in half by 2025

Scandinavian company Tikkurila debuts new paint collection to protect endangered species

October 7, 2019 by  
Filed under Business, Green, Recycle

Headquartered in the Finnish city of Vantaa, Tikkurila has been producing paints since 1862 but its latest paint collection, Endangered Colors, shines the light on endangered animals and will donate one euro of each package sold to protect endangered species . The paint manufacturer has long been in the business of creating products that stand the test of both time and weather. Now, Tikkurila seeks to cross-apply this stewardly value set to the global crisis facing vulnerable and endangered species. Related: Microplastics accelerate cell death at 3 times the normal rate, study says “The goal of Tikkurila’s paints has always been to protect buildings and furniture, thus increasing their lifespan,” shares Elisa Markula, CEO of Tikkurila. “With Endangered Colors, this effort expands to the most threatened species on the planet. I believe that we can raise awareness, help protect threatened animal species, and make sure future generations can enjoy a colorful tomorrow.” Nature is in crisis, with humans threatening over one million species, pushing each closer to extinction at an unprecedented rate. And, as each species goes extinct, the world loses each of their natural colors. Tikkurila therefore aspires to bring widespread awareness to the endangered species predicament.  The new Endangered Colors collection serves as a way of preserving the color palette unique to species that are at the brink of extinction. Nine different hues, each representing an endangered animal, comprise the assortment. The names of these nine paints call to mind the animals they represent — Giant Panda Black, Siberian Tiger Orange, Snowy Owl White, Saimaa Ringed Seal Grey, Steppe Eagle Brown, Gibbon Grey, Sumatran Orangutan Orange, Siamese Fighting Fish Blue and Red Panda Red. Designed to be as environmentally-friendly as possible, all the paints are low-emission and water-based. They are also packaged into recycled plastic buckets. This is in alignment with Tikkurila’s mission “to serve our customers with user-friendly and environmentally sustainable solutions,” per the company website. Markula explains further, “Quality, sustainability and safety are our guiding principles in raw material selection and product development, and throughout all our operations. Our goal is to continuously reduce our environmental impact by investing in the development and promotion of water-borne and low- emission paints.” The Endangered Colors collection will debut in 2020 globally, with the first phase to launch in Russia, China and the Baltics. + Tikkurla

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Scandinavian company Tikkurila debuts new paint collection to protect endangered species

The Ocean Cleanup has first success collecting plastic from Great Pacific Garbage Patch

October 4, 2019 by  
Filed under Business, Green, Recycle

The Ocean Cleanup, a Dutch nonprofit dedicated to eliminating plastic pollution in the oceans, recently announced its first success. After years of trials that left its engineers scratching their heads over design challenges, the nonprofit’s newest prototype device has consistently collected plastic waste from the Great Pacific Garbage Patch . Following years of repeat returns to the drawing board, The Ocean Cleanup has finally experienced its first success of consistently capturing and collecting plastic, thanks to the self-contained System 001/B prototype. As an added bonus, not only was the prototype able to collect large, visible items but also microplastics as small as one millimeter. Related: Trash-collecting device returns to Great Pacific Garbage Patch “After beginning this journey seven years ago, this first year of testing in the unforgivable environment of the high seas strongly indicates that our vision is attainable and that the beginning of our mission to rid the ocean of plastic garbage , which has accumulated for decades, is within our sights,” said founder and CEO Boyan Slat. “Our team has remained steadfast in its determination to solve immense technical challenges to arrive at this point. Though we still have much more work to do, I am eternally grateful for the team’s commitment and dedication to the mission and look forward to continuing to the next phase of development.” The patch, located in the waters between Hawaii and California, is infamous as the area with the largest accumulation of plastic debris. As a trash vortex, its circular motion draws litter into itself, trapping all the junk into a concentrated mass. The hazards are compounded by the leaching out of noxious chemicals linked to health problems. Marine life is also harmed, with numerous reports of disruptions in feeding and migrating patterns, ultimately threatening species’ survival and reproductive success. The need to remove the plastic waste polluting the Pacific Ocean inspired Slat to establish The Ocean Cleanup in 2012. The nonprofit’s engineers have since been striving to develop a device to rid the ocean of the garbage. The various device prototypes employ a passive system that moves with the currents while catching plastic refuse. The nonprofit aspires to develop more prototypes in hopes of deploying a future fleet of ocean debris-collecting systems. The collected plastic will, in turn, be recycled onshore and sold to business-to-consumer (B2C) companies. The recycling revenue will be reinvested into the nonprofit’s expansion plans for further ocean waste management and sanitation. + The Ocean Cleanup Images via The Ocean Cleanup

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The Ocean Cleanup has first success collecting plastic from Great Pacific Garbage Patch

Mirage Architecture envisions a solar-powered glass cube for Lithuanias national concert hall

October 3, 2019 by  
Filed under Green, Recycle

In response to an international design competition for Lithuania’s National Concert Hall in Vilnius, Iranian architecture firm Mirage Architecture Studio designed a conceptual solar-powered venue sheathed in a double skin facade. Dubbed Tautos Namai, the cuboid building proposal houses art inside and out — the exterior transforms into a vibrant artwork at night with holographic displays. Per the competition’s brief for sustainability, the conceptual project would not only produce more energy than it uses but would also minimize site impact and be built of recycled materials. In February 2019, the Vilnius City Municipality announced an international competition for a concert hall to be located on Tauras Hill, a popular park that offers a sweeping view of the city. To preserve the proportions of the old trade union palace and reflect the natural surroundings, Mirage Architecture Studio proposed a glass cube with a transparent outer shell and an opaline inner shell.  Related: Steven Holl’s solar-powered concert hall plays up the dramatic contrast between new and old “One reflecting the outside, and the other reflecting the enigmatic atmosphere inside,” explained the architects of the facade. “These glasses are made of photovoltaic tiles and produce a wide range of solar energy . So, in addition to creating a sense of belonging in the unconscious of the audience, an inexpressive and semi-transparent state of truth within it appears in mind. And all of this happens on the daytime. But at night time, the project has another story to tell. The Lithuanian National Music House is shining like a diamond using more than 18,000 holographic display; thus, the building’s appearance will never be reiterative at night, displaying a variety of surreal and abstract images.” The multifunctional, 550-capacity concert hall would be tucked underground, while the above-ground spaces could be used for artist workshops, training venues and other purposes. To reduce environmental impact, structural materials would be recycled from the previous building on site, site impact would be minimized wherever possible and recycled natural materials would be used for acoustic padding on the walls of the hall. Mirage Architecture’s submission did not win the competition; Spanish architecture firm Arquivo was recently announced the winner. Still, the design is an innovative way to combine solar power and art under one roof. + Mirage Architecture Studio Images via Mirage Architecture Studio

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