Ochis Coffee releases a new line of sunglasses made from organic coffee grounds

August 21, 2019 by  
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It’s been almost a year since Ochis Coffee launched its first eyewear collection, reached its Kickstarter goal and began full-scale production. Now, it’s time for 2019 fashion updates with a brand new line of sunglasses made from organic coffee grounds. Inhabitat reported on this Ukrainian optical company last year. A brief overview: Max Gavrilenko, the mastermind behind Ochis Coffee, found a way to compress organic coffee grounds into a compound he calls “coffee cake,” which is then turned into sunglasses. Related: Make your own custom sunglasses from recycled plastic with FOS “My father owned an optical store and workshop, where I studied glasses from my very childhood,” Gavrilenko said. “From this, I saw a lot of glasses and wanted to create really eco-friendly, comfortable and universal glasses that each person can adjust to themselves.” The company’s 2018 Kickstarter campaign was so successful that Ochis Coffee is using the fundraising site again this year. For 2019, it is introducing two new frame shapes and two new lenses, both of which provide UV and HEV protection or polarization + UV filter. The lenses are made from recycled cotton . Then, the team adds a UV filter to protect the eyes and a hydrophobic coating to repel water and dirt. If you use Ochis Coffee glasses while looking at your computer, the anti-reflective coating and blue light-blocking features add further eye protection. Perhaps the most enticing part of these innovative sunglasses is that they actually smell like a freshly brewed cup of Joe. The new styles are attractive, too, with a modern Wayfarer shape as well as a trendy, rounded option. Instead of eventually winding up in a landfill , Ochis Coffee glasses will one day fertilize a garden. They take about 10 years to break down; compared to plastic glasses, this is impressively quick — about 100 times faster, according to the company. Prices for the new styles will start at $79. Ochis Coffee aims to raise $15,000 to fund the new eyewear line in this Kickstarter round, which will begin late August 2019. + Ochis Coffee Photography by Yaroslav Boychenko and Akim Karpach via Ochis Coffee

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Ochis Coffee releases a new line of sunglasses made from organic coffee grounds

Washington’s wolf population is down to 122 after a pack is shot by state hunters

August 21, 2019 by  
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Washington’s wolf population has dropped to 122 after a pack of four were killed by state hunters on August 16 near a ranch in rural Ferry County. The incident has environmentalists up in arms as they believe the deaths of these wolves benefit this particular ranch. Sam Montgomery, a spokesperson for the Washington State Department of Fish and Wildlife, said that the hunters were inside a helicopter when they shot and killed the wolf pack. Related: Trump administration wants to remove the gray wolf from the endangered species list “It’s unbelievably tragic that this wolf family has already been annihilated by the state,” Sophia Ressler of the Center for Biological Diversity, which tried to stop the incident, told the AP. “It seems like Washington’s wildlife agency is bent on wiping out the state’s wolves.” The ranch where the wolves were recently killed is no stranger to this particular pack of wolves — originally a group of 7 — as its livestock have been attacked, killed and hurt at least 29 times since 2018 as well as another nine times in the past four weeks, the state agency reported. Before the wolves were killed on Friday, the owner of the ranch tried using horse riders to scare the wolves before the choice was made to shoot them, the agency said. Wolves in Washington nearly disappeared entirely in the 1930s, primarily because of the growing cattle industry. They began returning about 15 years ago. Many of the gray wolves today are said to live in rural and mountainous regions of northeastern Washington. They have also been seen roaming the Cascade Range. In the past, Washington has approved the killing of wolf packs if they have attacked cattle, but activists believe annihilating the animals won’t protect livestock. In the end, conservationists suggest other control methods, such as better management systems, to deter the wolves from preying on cattle. Via The Guardian and Associated Press Image via Krystal Hamlin

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Washington’s wolf population is down to 122 after a pack is shot by state hunters

Are bioplastics better for the environment or a waste of time?

August 21, 2019 by  
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There has been massive pushback against the use of plastics over the past few years, including single-use plastic bans in cities all over the world. Industrial entrepreneurs have responded to these mounting concerns with a new product that seems like the perfect solution– bioplastic. It looks and feels like plastic, but its made from plants, so it’s good for the environment, right? Turns out, the answer is much more complicated and likely just another case of greenwashing . What are bioplastics? Traditional plastic is a petroleum-derived product that is made from fossil fuels. In fact, 8 percent of all oil is used for the production of plastic. Bioplastic, on the other hand, is made at least partly from plant-based materials. There are two subcategories of bioplastics that are important to understand: Bio-based plastics These plastics are entirely or partially made from plant-based materials. Most are made from sugarcane that is processed in industrial ethanol facilities, but some bioplastics use corn and other plant materials. The plant materials are used in a lab to create chemical compounds that are identical to petroleum-based compounds. For example, polyethylene terephthalate (PET) can be made from either plant or petroleum products, but the end material is the same and it is not biodegradable. “There are a lot of bioplastics or materials that are called bioplastics that are not biodegradable,” said Constance Ißbrücker, the lead for environmental affairs at European Bioplastics. There are two main types of bioplastic produced: polyactic acid (PLA) and polyhydroxyalkanoate (PHA). PLA is made from plant sugars, while PHA is made from microbes that produce the substance when they are deprived of nutrients. Related: A guide to the different types of plastic Biodegradable plastics Biodegradable plastics are typically plant-based items that can be broken down by microbes within a reasonable time frame. All biodegradable plastics, however, require very specific conditions within an industrial composting facility. Otherwise, these so-called “biodegradable plastics” also function like petroleum-based plastic and remain in the environment for hundreds of years. What are the benefits of bioplastics? Although they aren’t perfect, many environmental and waste experts still believe bioplastics have the potential to reduce our negative impact on the environment. Here are a few of the main benefits of bioplastics: Bioplastics reduce fossil fuel demand Since bioplastics are made from plant-based materials instead of fossil fuels , their rising popularity means less oil extraction specifically for the purpose of producing plastic. Bioplastics are less toxic Despite their chemical similarity, bioplasitcs do not contain bisphenol A (BPA) which is known to be a toxic hormone disrupter. BPA is commonly found in conventional plastics, although it is increasingly avoided. Bioplastics support rural, agrarian economies Oil is concentrated in just a few countries and controlled by major corporations but plants, on the other hand, are everywhere. For this reason, it is believed that bioplastics support a more equitable and distributed economy. Who would you rather give your money to, a wealthy oil executive or a farmer ? Related: How to easily make your own reusable produce bags What are the drawbacks? Bioplastics require monocultures While you might feel better about supporting agriculture instead of the oil execs, there is still a lot of controversy about industrial agriculture and the use of land for plastic production. Currently, only 0.02 percent of agricultural land is used to supply bioplastic factories, but with the rising interest and demand, the percentage of land use is expected to rise. If the bioplastic industry expands into more agricultural land, some worry it will take over land that is needed to feed the world population. In addition to the threat to food security, the spread of monoculture crops like sugar and corn wreck havoc on natural ecosystems. The conversion of land to agriculture causes deforestation, desertification, loss of biodiversity and habitat, and increased pressure on limited water reserves. So these new straws aren’t saving the seas? Many people have seen the photos of sea turtles suffocating from a plastic straw stuck in their nose. In fact, these images were so powerful it further convinced people to ditch straws and opt for the biodegradable plastic straw, which we all thought would surely save the sea turtles without getting soggy in an iced coffee. Unfortunately, all biodegradable plastics can only biodegrade in industrial composting facilities, where temperatures reach a consistent 136 degrees Fahrenheit. And if your town doesn’t have those facilities, these new “green” straws are no better than regular straws in terms of threatening marine life. In other words, they don’t breakdown in the open environment and they don’t break down in the sea. Frederik Wurm , a plastic chemist, believes drinking straws made from PLA are “the perfect example for greenwashing.” They cost the vendor more money and they don’t break down on the beach or in the ocean. Some PHA materials have been found to break down on the seafloor, but the efficacy depends on the environment. Although it only took two weeks to breakdown in the tropics, it took months in colder climates and might never break down in the Arctic. Innovation and investment are imperative Given the surging popularity of bioplastics and biodegradable plastics, there is a need for increased investigation and investment in the industry. The best tool against the overwhelming challenge of climate change is human innovation. New products that aren’t just greenwashing but are actually sustainable are needed and may be possible with demand for more research. “This is a field right now for entrepreneurial investors. There’s no shortage of incredible opportunity for alternatives that are marine degradable, that don’t overtax the land and our food production system,” said Dune Ives , founder of an environmental nonprofit focused on business solutions. Via Undark Images via Flickr , Wikimedia Commons

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Are bioplastics better for the environment or a waste of time?

How Starbucks brewed a stronger sustainability bond

November 16, 2017 by  
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It’s been a year since the coffee giant issued the first bond of its kind. What’s the effect on the marketplace, and what’s next?

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How Starbucks brewed a stronger sustainability bond

Can companies measure employee engagement?

November 16, 2017 by  
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A novel and encouraging way to measure the impact of sustainability efforts on employee engagement.

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Can companies measure employee engagement?

The case for linking disaster response to community resilience

November 16, 2017 by  
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Instead of donating money randomly, align corporate resources behind helping get local economies and small businesses back on their feet.

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The case for linking disaster response to community resilience

Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill: New Study Gives More Accurate Picture of the Disaster

September 6, 2011 by  
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The BP Deepwater Horizon oil rig ablaze. Oil spill picture. Image: U.S. Coast Guard . Looking Back on an Environmental Tragedy It’s been more than a year since the Deepwater Horizon oil rig blew up , releasing vast quantities of crude oil and natural gas into the Gulf of Mexico, but we’re still trying to figure out exactly how much damage was done. A new study by the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution (WHOI) e… Read the full story on TreeHugger

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Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill: New Study Gives More Accurate Picture of the Disaster

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