The high environmental cost of popular holiday gifts

December 24, 2020 by  
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As we scramble around gathering up last-minute Christmas gifts, we often worry more about hurting somebody’s feelings if we don’t get them something compared to how much we consider that gift’s impact on the environment. But the societal pressure of all this gift-giving has many bad consequences for the planet. The top 10 types of Christmas gifts given in the U.K., in order, are: clothes and shoes, food and drink, health and beauty products, toys and games, books, jewelry, vouchers, music, movies and computers. Each of these items has its impact on the environment. Related: 10 eco-friendly holiday gift ideas for friends Pajamas are one of the most popular holiday presents. Many gift-givers and recipients would be shocked to find out that those cute cotton pajamas took 20,000 liters of water to produce — enough water to keep a U.K. household of two running for 2.5 months. Then there’s the pesticides . While cotton only represents 2.4% of the world’s croplands, about 24% of the world’s insecticides and 11% of pesticides are used for growing this crop. About half of the usable cotton ends up as waste product. Then, consider health and beauty products. Half a million animals die every year in makeup and toiletry tests . When it comes to packaging, those little plastic containers can take a millennium to break down. So what are we to do if we don’t want to be the Grinch around Christmas? Be a little choosier. Think of a gift the recipient will actually use, preferably for a long time. When possible, buy secondhand. Do a little research — at least read the labels or look at the company website — to ensure that ingredients are vegan and sustainably sourced. If this is too much work, shop where somebody else has already done the research for you, such as Shop Like You Give a Damn . Maybe it’s too late this year, and your presents are already wrapped and under the Christmas tree, or you already exchanged them at Hanukkah or on the solstice. But there’s always next year, and the many holidays, birthdays and other occasions in between. Each gift is a choice; choose wisely. Image via Kari Shea

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The high environmental cost of popular holiday gifts

New Urban Park in Portugal gets eco-conscious renovation

December 24, 2020 by  
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Community gathering spaces for indoor and outdoor use are central to the idea of shared land. As such, parks should be structured to maximize these benefits, though sometimes this comes at the cost of the surrounding landscape. However, the new Urban Park and Environmental Interpretation Center in construction for the Portuguese city of Oliveira de Azeméis offers over roughly 12 acres of public-use area designed with special consideration for the ecosystem.  The project began with the winning bid submitted anonymously to the city . A design by Ad Quadratum Arquitectos earned the support of decision-makers for its comprehensive and holistic outline. Related: French housing project “I Park” has a double-skinned green facade The first goal centers on creating a usable space for the community and its visitors. Citizens and tourists alike will enjoy the walkways and sitting areas scattered through the five hectares. Architects constructing the space aim to better the physical and mental health of the entire community . The outdoor arena will include a slide, tree-climbing structures, circuits and maintenance sports equipment, and rest areas, among many other recreational and leisure features. Additionally, the project will repurpose an existing building to  minimize site impact . When complete, the building, coupled with the surrounding infrastructure, will house the park café and café concert terrace, along with the provision of areas for the Interpretative Center and Pedagogical Center. The building renovation in the area commonly referred to as “old” Quinta dos Borges will also include restaurant spaces. Indoors and out, the project promises energy efficiency and environmental neutrality. Lead architect José António Lopes insists on respecting the history, culture, and materials by lifting the building up to new uses, rather than tearing it down. In addition to the preservation of the building, the team stresses the need to protect the surrounding ecosystem. They will retain as much of the existing  vegetation  as possible and also introduce new specimens to round out a self-sustaining ecosystem for long term success. + Ad Quadratum Arquitectos Images via Ad Quadratum Arquitectos

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New Urban Park in Portugal gets eco-conscious renovation

A 1905 home reborn as greenery-filled office in Mexico City

December 24, 2020 by  
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Mexican architecture firm  Gabriel Beas Arquitectura  has transformed a 1905 building in the historic  Mexico City  neighborhood of Colonia San Rafael into Corporativo BNS, a contemporary office space surrounded by lush landscaping. Completed in phases over four years, the adaptive reuse project recovered much of the carved stonework, iron windows, carpentry and tiled floors original to the 1905 construction while introducing a new contemporary aesthetic that welcomes the outdoors in.  Oriented east to west on a long and linear site, the 1,095-square-meter Corporativo BNS consists of office spaces, meeting rooms, storage and other service spaces. In remodeling the structure, the architects learned that the building was converted into an  office  in the 1970s. After this, a series of added extensions covered up the original patios. To reconnect the new office with the outdoors, the architects restored the original patios and — taking advantage of the building’s walkable location in the city center — removed the sheltered parking areas. Those spaces were replaced with lushly planted  courtyards  that serve as waiting and meeting areas as well as the main circulation pathways through the various parts of the building. The open patio is also connected to the ground-floor kitchen and dining room for employees.  Related: Midcentury warehouse becomes a community-building asset in Mexico City The original structure has also been reinforced with two new steel-framed extensions sympathetic to the architectural design of the ground floor and fitted with partition walls and floor-to-ceiling glass. Vegetation introduced on the upper levels and along the parapets, roofs and terraces appears to immerse the  adaptive reuse  building in a jungle-like environment. “The result is a homogeneous group of buildings in which the different times of construction coexist with the vegetation, generating a space of calm between the chaos of the city,” the architects noted in a project statement.  + Gabriel Beas Arquitectura Photographrapy by Onnis Luque

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A 1905 home reborn as greenery-filled office in Mexico City

Algae and Mushrooms and Pineapples, Oh My! Bioutilization in Action

September 14, 2020 by  
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Algae and Mushrooms and Pineapples, Oh My! Bioutilization in Action   What opportunities exist to incorporate bio-based materials into products and packaging, how can they be sustainably sourced, and what benefits or challenges do these materials afford? From fish scales in electronics to fabrics made from milk protein, the utilization of biomaterials can often seem like a page out science fiction. Whether futuristic or highly practical, new uses of biological materials are garnering attention as a new and exciting approach to circular products. Can the use of these materials offer a sustainable pathway forward? How can bio-based materials be effectively and sustainably scaled, and when should your company take advantage of them? This discussion explores these questions. Speakers Suz Okie, Circular Economy Associate Analyst, GreenBiz Group Sea Briganti, CEO, LOLIWARE Dr. Carmen Hijosa, Founder and Chief Creative & Innovation Officer, Ananas Anam UK ltd Meghan Olson, Business Development Lead, MycoComposite, Ecovative Design Holly Secon Mon, 09/14/2020 – 10:51 Featured Off

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Algae and Mushrooms and Pineapples, Oh My! Bioutilization in Action

Scaling the Market for Post-Consumer Recycled Content

September 14, 2020 by  
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Scaling the Market for Post-Consumer Recycled Content What will it take to scale the domestic market for post-consumer recycled content? The demand for recycled plastics has skyrocketed — so much so that brands and packaging producers are experiencing limited supply. This is due, in part, to ambitious recycled content commitments by CPG giants across the nation and globe. What will it take to scale the domestic market for post-consumer recycled content and meet this growing demand? Hear perspectives from stakeholders across the value chain — from plastic producers and brands to recyclers and investors. Speakers Allison Shapiro, Executive Director, Closed Loop Partners Eunice Heath, Corporate Director, Sustainability, Dow Monique Oxender, Chief Sustainability Officer, Keurig Dr Pepper Susan Robinson, Senior Public Affairs Director, Waste Management Holly Secon Mon, 09/14/2020 – 10:39 Featured Off

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Scaling the Market for Post-Consumer Recycled Content

Michelin and GM are moving down the road with airless wheel prototype

June 21, 2019 by  
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The term, “Sustainable mobility” is likely to become increasingly more common as we work to identify ways for transportation to have less of an impact on the environment. This year, recognizable names Michelin and GM teamed up to deliver this message with the reveal of an airless wheel at the Movin’On summit for sustainable mobility. The Uptis prototype (Unique Punctureproof Tire System) is the product of a joint venture between the two companies with a common goal to introduce the airless wheels on passenger vehicles as early as 2024. To ensure long-term durability and safety, the product will endure intense testing starting with a fleet of test cars that will be monitored beginning later this year. The selection of Chevrolet Bolt EVs will hit the road in Michigan while being observed for performance. Related: These new airless 3D-printed bicycle tires never go flat The airless design eliminates the possibility of tire blowouts, which obviously adds a significant safety feature to vehicles on the road. In addition to safety, the simultaneous goal is to change the future of tire design for the sake of the planet. Currently, manufacturing and post-consumer waste from tires is a growing environmental concern. Michelin estimates that approximately 200 million tires worldwide are scrapped prematurely every year as a result of punctures, damage from road hazards or improper air pressure that cause uneven wear. However, this waste is diminished with a tire that doesn’t require air pressure and won’t go flat from a puncture. At the same Movin’On summit in 2017, the company outlined plans for the new design with four pillars of innovation: airless, connected, 3-D printed and sustainably made from renewable or bio-sourced materials. Two years later, the developed prototype is headed for the road. “Uptis demonstrates that Michelin’s vision for a future of sustainable mobility is clearly an achievable dream. Through work with strategic partners like GM, who share our ambitions for transforming mobility, we can seize the future today,” says Florent Menegaux, chief executive officer for Michelin Group. + Michelin Images via Michelin

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Michelin and GM are moving down the road with airless wheel prototype

Three Gorgeous iPad Cases Made Of Sustainable Wood

May 3, 2011 by  
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Images via Substrata We’ve seen a lot of cases created for the Apple iPad, but these wooden cases by Substrata take the cake. Coming in three models — a flat case, one that opens up, and one that stands the iPad up — they are eye-catching, and sustainably made. In fact, even the wood scraps are used for heating the shop!…

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Three Gorgeous iPad Cases Made Of Sustainable Wood

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