New study finds eco-glitter just as damaging as ordinary glitter

October 16, 2020 by  
Filed under Eco, Green

Bad news for those of us who love sparkly stuff. Even though you thought you were saving the world one reflective particle at a time, that orange eco-glitter you sprinkled on your Halloween craft project isn’t any easier on rivers and lakes than conventional glitter. Despite the promises and inflated price tag, biodegradable glitter ends up the same way as old-school glitter — wreaking havoc on aquatic ecosystems. Anglia Ruskin University (ARU) in Cambridge, U.K. ran tests to compare ordinary glitter with “eco” glitter. “Glitter is a ready-made microplastic that is commonly found in our homes and, particularly through cosmetics, is washed off in our sinks and into the water system,” said Dannielle Green , a senior lecturer in biology at ARU. “Our study is the first to look at the effects of glitter in a freshwater environment and we found that both conventional and alternative glitters can have a serious ecological impact on aquatic ecosystems within a short period of time.” Related: Scientists call for a worldwide ban on the global hazard of glitter Regular glitter is made from PET plastic. Eco-glitter comes in a couple of varieties. One type is made from eucalyptus-sourced modified regenerated cellulose (MRC) with a reflective aluminum coating and thin plastic layer. The other main type of eco-glitter is made from mica, that shiny mineral often used in cosmetics. In the ARU study, researchers spent 5 weeks observing how traditional, MRC and mica glitters affected an aquatic ecosystem. They were especially interested in how glitter influenced chlorophyll and root levels of plants . All three types of glitter yielded similarly negative results. Worse, the eco-glitter attracted New Zealand mud snails, an invasive species that steals food from local species. Sixty U.K. festivals had already announced a switch to biodegradable glitter by 2021. But this new research threatens to steal the sparkle from eco-conscious party people and render an already bleak 2020 even drabber. The U.K. supermarket chain Morrisons is axing glitter from its own brand before Christmas. So don’t expect any sparkle on your holiday cards, ornaments and present bags. If you just can’t handle ditching glitter entirely, try making your own with sugar or salt and non-toxic, natural food coloring. Via The Guardian Image via Sharon McCutcheon

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New study finds eco-glitter just as damaging as ordinary glitter

LEED Gold office in Austin offers wearables to promote employee wellness

October 16, 2020 by  
Filed under Business, Eco, Green

The Texas Mutual Insurance Company’s new headquarters in Austin, Texas’s Mueller Development has earned both LEED Gold and Austin Energy Green Building 4-Star certifications in recognition of the building’s energy-efficient design and focus on occupant wellness. Designed by Texan architecture firm  Studio8 Architects , the four-story office building is notable for its adherence to the “Design for Active Occupants” LEED innovation strategy to prioritize a healthy and active workplace as opposed to the traditionally sedentary office environment. Texas Mutual also provides occupants with wearable devices to track activity and employee access to an online portal for evaluating individual health scores and biometric data.  As one of the first members of the Austin Green Business Leaders group, Texas Mutual has used its headquarters as an inspiring example of the firm’s sustainable objectives. The four-story headquarters is strategically located in the LEED ND Gold-certified Mueller neighborhood, a  mixed-use  and mixed-income area that’s pedestrian and bicycle-friendly. The offices sit above ground-floor retail space — currently occupied by a restaurant and daycare facility — and a parking garage. To meet  LEED Gold  standards, architects wrapped the building with a highly insulating envelope punctuated with full-height windows and wove biophilic design elements throughout the interior. Daylight responsive LEDs and an HVAC system that draws chilled water from Austin Energy’s Mueller District Energy System help to further reduce the building’s energy footprint.  Related: SUNY New Paltz Engineering Innovation Hub achieves LEED Gold Natural materials, daylighting and greenery indoors further promote a healthy work environment. Occupant health is also targeted with ergonomic workstations with adjustable sit/stand desks, an on-site gym and a Green Housekeeping program to maintain a clean and non-toxic space. “Social spaces were sporadically placed to encourage movement across floors, a multi-story  green wall , and a courtyard and rooftop terrace with Wi-Fi connection encouraged employees to be connected to each other and to nature,” the architects said. + Studio8 Architects Images by Lars Frazer

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LEED Gold office in Austin offers wearables to promote employee wellness

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