Supermarket happy hour reduces food waste

September 10, 2019 by  
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A Finnish supermarket chain is fighting food waste by offering steep discounts during a “happy hour.” Every night at 9, food with a midnight expiration date is discounted 60 percent off already reduced prices. Shoppers are flocking to S-market’s 900 stores to avail themselves of bargains on meat and other food that has reached its sell-by date. S-market’s initiative is part of a much larger movement to decrease food waste. According to the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations , nearly one-third of food made for humans winds up lost or wasted. This unused food weighs in at 1.3 billion tons annually, with a value of almost $680 billion. Related: New York is curbing food waste and helping people in need with a new initiative Not only is this a terrible waste, given that 10 percent of the world’s population is undernourished, but all that food rotting in landfills worsens climate change. As food decomposes, it releases methane . This gas is about 25 times as dangerous to the environment as carbon dioxide. Wasted food also requires a ridiculous amount of unnecessary transportation. Food is transported from where it is grown to stores all over the world. Then, after its expiration date, unsold food gets a final ride to the landfill . That’s a huge waste of water and fossil fuels. But S-market wants to help reduce food waste while also minimizing its own losses from thrown-out, expired foods. The chain will sell hundreds of items that are already reduced in price by 30 percent for an additional 60 percent off after 9 p.m. until closing time at 10 p.m., and many customers are enjoying the happy hour. “I’ve gotten quite hooked on this,” shopper Kasimir Karkkainen told the New York Times . Karkkainen scored pork mini-ribs and two pounds of pork tenderloin for US$4.63. While this is happening in Finland, U.S. grocers could benefit from adopting a similar initiative as Americans can be especially wasteful. “Food waste might be a uniquely American challenge because many people in this country equate quantity with a bargain,” said Meredith Niles, an assistant professor in food systems and policy at the University of Vermont. “Look at the number of restaurants  that advertise their supersized portions.” Via New York Times Image via Nina Friends / S-Market

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Supermarket happy hour reduces food waste

Hotel group in Rome eliminates plastic bottles for Earth Day

April 2, 2019 by  
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Rome’s Bettoja Hotels Collection is demonstrating that you may not be able to single-handedly solve the world’s problems, but cleaning up your own house — or hotel — is a significant step that anybody can take. Starting this Earth Day, the hotel group will remove all plastic bottles from its restaurants and minibars. “The elimination of plastic bottles in our nearly 500 rooms has been a great desire of ours,” said Maurizio Bettoja, president of Bettoja Hotels Collection . “We are taking action on Earth Day this year, and we hope to achieve a new sustainability goal every year.” Related: 6 fun, meaningful ways to celebrate Earth Day The group’s three hotels — Hotel Mediterraneo, Hotel Massimo D’Azeglio and Hotel Atlantico — have a total of 495 rooms. If each room were occupied and each guest consumed a single minibar offering, there would be nearly 500 fewer landfill-bound plastic bottles per day, or 180,000 per year. When you consider how one good decision can influence others, the Earth Day-inspired actions of a three-hotel chain could have a much larger ripple effect through Rome, Italy and the world. The Bettoja Hotel Collections, founded in 1875, has been passed down through five generations of family ownership. Its three hotels are within walking distance of each other. The Hotel Mediterraneo, Bettoja’s flagship property, blends Art Deco style with maps and marble busts of Roman emperors. Hotel Massimo D’Azeglio boasts a collection of original paintings from the 1860s. Hotel Atlantico is known for its ancient wine cellar. In such high-end, artistic and history-focused hotels, plastic is an unnecessary modern intrusion. Guests will probably not bemoan its absence. Italy is already ahead of much of the world when it comes to recycling . It’s goal of “ rifiuti zero,” or no waste, has led to complex schedules of waste bins and pickup days. Residents sort trash into four different types — paper, compost, mixed materials and non-recyclable garbage. Many Italian buildings have sets of color-coded bins to make this easy. As more individuals and businesses ditch plastic altogether, perhaps the amount of waste, recyclable or not, will continue to shrink. + Bettoja Hotels Collection Images via Bettoja Hotels Collection

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Hotel group in Rome eliminates plastic bottles for Earth Day

Solar-powered home stays naturally cool in Keralas tropical heat

April 2, 2019 by  
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In the South Indian city of Kochi, local architectural practice Meister Varma Architects recently completed Maison Kochi, a contemporary home for a family of four that mitigates the region’s intense tropical heat with energy-efficient and cost-effective techniques. Inspired by the concept of chiaroscuro, a Renaissance artistic technique named after the strong contrasts between light and dark, Maison Kochi features a solid white exterior and a dark interior finished in polished concrete to create a cool indoor environment. The interior layout is also arranged to buffer the heat, while the roof is equipped with solar panels and a rainwater collection system. Slotted on a tight, 1,830-square-foot lot, Maison Kochi was commissioned for a family of four who also sought a studio and office space in the home. As a result, the west-facing building is split into two volumes — the volume on the south side is slightly taller to provide shade on the second volume throughout the day — for a clear division of space between the work areas and the primary living spaces. An open-plan layout and large windows allow for cross ventilation, while a vent in the roof access hatch lets hot air escape for natural cooling. On the ground floor, the work areas (a studio, tool shed and flex meeting room that can be used as a guest bedroom) are located on the south side of the house, while an open-plan living and dining room are located opposite; the two volumes are joined by the entry foyer and a compact kitchen. The master bedroom with a terrace, a children’s bedroom, a TV room and a study are upstairs. To soften the polished concrete walls and black oxide floors, the interior is dressed with Kerala sari-inspired fabrics and multicolored baskets that mimic traditional urban crafts. Almost all of the interior furnishings are custom-made. Related: This rammed earth home in India uses recycled materials throughout “ Rainwater channels are integrated in the roof design as are solar panels,” the architects added. “Collected water is used to recharge the groundwater through an injection system. Flat roofs are insulated with hollow clay blocks and sloping roofs with polyurethane sandwich panels.” + Meister Varma Architects Photography by Praveen Mohandas and Govind Nair (drone photography) via Meister Varma Architects

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Solar-powered home stays naturally cool in Keralas tropical heat

Pilot whale dies in Thailand with more than 17 pounds of plastic in its stomach

June 5, 2018 by  
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A small male pilot whale, found unable to breath or move in a canal in Thailand  last week, has died from large amounts of plastic clogging its digestive system. After being found near the Malaysia border, the pilot whale was treated by veterinarians while kept afloat by buoys and protected from harmful solar radiation by umbrellas. Despite days of effort, the whale ultimately passed away, but not before vomiting up five plastic bags. Upon post-mortem investigation, it was discovered that the whale had ingested more than 17 pounds of plastic, including 80 shopping bags, which had inhibited its ability to eat. Scientists believe that the pilot whale mistakenly identified plastic as food, eating it until full. “At some point their stomach fills up with trash and they can’t eat real food,” Regina Asmutis-Silvia, executive director for Whale and Dolphin Conservation’s North American operations, told National Geographic . “You’re not getting any nutrients in and you’ve basically completely clogged your digestive system.” This particular whale’s death is symbolic of a much larger problem plaguing marine life. “We have no idea how many animals aren’t showing up on a beach ,” Asmutis-Silvia said. “This is one pilot whale, this doesn’t consider other species. It’s symbolic at best, but it’s symbolic of an incredibly significant problem.” Related: Orca learns to mimic human speech for the first time About 18 billion pounds of plastic are dumped into oceans each year, while more than 300 marine animal species are known to have been killed by plastic pollution in Thailand’s waters. The Thai government has proposed enacting a tax on plastic bags to reduce the amount of plastic polluting the world’s waters. In addition to policy changes, individuals and communities are encouraged to fight plastic pollution by recycling and reducing their own plastic use. Saving the whales, which are known as the gardeners of the sea for their role in fertilizing oceanic ecosystems, is in humanity’s self interest. “It should be a huge red flag for us as a species,” warned Asmutis-Silvia, “that we need to stop killing ourselves.” Via National Geographic Images via Barney Moss and Ron Knight

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Pilot whale dies in Thailand with more than 17 pounds of plastic in its stomach

Beautiful French Plateau Will Be Home to 100 MW of Solar Power By End of Year

May 31, 2011 by  
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On the lovely Puimichel plateau in Les Mées, France, two solar farms that are currently generating 18.2 MW are expanding into a much larger solar park capable of generating about 100 MW by the end of the year.

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Beautiful French Plateau Will Be Home to 100 MW of Solar Power By End of Year

450-MW Biglow Canyon Wind Farm Completed

September 9, 2010 by  
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Oregon has really committed to wind power development.  The 450-MW Biglow Canyon wind farm in northern Oregon has been completed and more large projects are in the works.

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450-MW Biglow Canyon Wind Farm Completed

Florida Getting First High-Speed Rail Funds

January 27, 2010 by  
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Last year, the government promised $10.5 billion in funds for high-speed rail development and the first state to receive some of that money is Florida.  Tomorrow, President Obama will be awarding $2.5 billion to the state to jump-start the first phase of their train system that will run from Orlando to Tampa. Phase 1 will run along the heavily traveled  I-4 corridor and take passengers to Orlando Airport, Orlando, Disney, Lakeland and Tampa at speeds above 120 mph – not a bullet train, but still faster than a car.   Phase 2 will connect Orlando to Miami by two different routes (I-95 and the Turnpike).  The system will eventually connect all the major cities in the state and points in between. The first phase will cost $3.5 billion, so after the government funds the state will still have to raise $1 billion from private investors to complete the project.  The state expects the first trains to be running by 2014.

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Florida Getting First High-Speed Rail Funds

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