The durable Solo New York backpack can accompany all of your adventures

September 28, 2020 by  
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Back in July, Inhabitat introduced readers to the Solo New York brand, a sustainable fashion company making bags out of recycled plastic water bottles. Since then, we have had the opportunity to use the popular Re:vive Mini Backpack ourselves, testing it out on more than a few outdoor adventures. With the environmental tolls of fast fashion becoming more and more apparent, sustainability has certainly become a buzzword in the textile and fashion industries. Solo New York’s recycled fabric production starts with discarded plastic bottles. Through an environmentally friendly process, the plastic bottles are finely shredded and re-spun into durable and lightweight recycled PET polyester yarn. According to Solo New York, this recycled material reduces energy use by 50%, water use by 20% and air pollution by 60%. Related: Each purchase of this bag made from recycled plastic helps plant trees The Re:vive Mini Backpack is just the right size for a day trip. We took one on a hike down to McClures Beach in Point Reyes, California in the height of summer. Despite its seemingly small size, it easily held a small beach towel, a large water bottle, keys, wallet, sunglasses and a tube of sunscreen with room to spare. The short fabric key clip built into the top of the bag helped keep us from digging around in the bottom for keys (always a plus), and the bag itself was so lightweight that it was easy to forget it was even on. When a sandwich mishap produced a small stain on the outside of the backpack , a simple dose of spot-cleaning made it good as new — a great characteristic if you plan on using the backpack in your everyday life. Another feature we noticed was the versatility of the design; the heathered gray material on the outside and the subtle black camo on the inside are just as appropriate for a big city subway or the office as they are for exploring a national park. Apart from aiding our fight against plastic pollution, this backpack also proved itself as a great conversation starter. Once people found out that it was made from recycled plastic bottles , most couldn’t believe that the fabric could be so soft and similar to other popular textiles like cotton or polyester. The sturdiness of the plastic fiber is apparent in its durability as well, so it is easy to tell that the bags are designed to last a long time. The mini backpack measures 14″ x 9″ x 4″ and weighs only 0.57 pounds. Priced at $24.99, it is affordable, too. Along with the aforementioned key clip, there are also adjustable shoulder straps and a front zippered pocket to hold more quick-grab items like cellphones and wallets. According to the company, the first run of the Re:cycled Collection was responsible for recycling more than 90,000 plastic bottles, and the line is still continuing to expand with new bags. As of September 2020, the collection features four backpack versions priced from $24.99 to $64.99, a laptop sleeve, two carry-on-size luggage pieces, a briefcase, a tote and a duffel. Solo New York was founded by John Ax, who arrived to the U.S. in 1940 with his family. They only had $100 and the clothes on their backs. As a skilled craftsman, he began rounding up leather pieces and scraps that were destined for the trash from local tanneries to turn into sellable goods. His small company, which eventually became known as the United States Luggage Company, thrived for decades before rebranding as Solo New York. Today, the company has already set solid, transparent goals to become even more sustainable in the future. The goal is to eliminate plastic from all packaging by the end of 2020. Hang tags are already printed on 100% recycled and biodegradable material with a recycled cotton string and a completely biodegradable clasp. The Solo New York headquarters on Long Island takes advantage of New York’s average of 224 sunny days per year with 1,400 rooftop solar panels (producing enough energy to power 87 homes). Plus, the company has a zero-tolerance plastic water bottle policy for its employees, instead offering filtered smart fountains and water dispensers throughout its locations. Solo New York has also partnered with the United States National Forest Foundation, pledging to help aid in reforestation by planting one tree per every bag purchased from the Re:cycled collection. Customers also have the option of taking the “Green Pledge” and promising to say no to plastic bottles for the following 30 days. For every pledge signed, Solo NY will plant a second tree. Overall, we think any of the bags from this sustainable collection would be a great gift option for the Earth-lover in your life, especially for the upcoming holiday season. Even for someone who hasn’t found their stride in sustainability quite yet, the gift of a Re:cycled Collection bag or backpack is sure to be pretty eye-opening as to how far recycling can really go. Even better, if more people pivot to eco-friendly bags, that means we can help cut down on the number of plastic items being manufactured and distributed globally, leading to fewer toxic chemicals released into the atmosphere, less resources spent and less waste produced overall. + Solo New York Images via Katherine Gallagher / Inhabitat Editor’s Note: This product review is not sponsored by Solo New York. All opinions on the products and company are the author’s own.

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The durable Solo New York backpack can accompany all of your adventures

The durable Solo New York backpack can accompany all of your adventures

September 28, 2020 by  
Filed under Eco, Green, Recycle

Comments Off on The durable Solo New York backpack can accompany all of your adventures

Back in July, Inhabitat introduced readers to the Solo New York brand, a sustainable fashion company making bags out of recycled plastic water bottles. Since then, we have had the opportunity to use the popular Re:vive Mini Backpack ourselves, testing it out on more than a few outdoor adventures. With the environmental tolls of fast fashion becoming more and more apparent, sustainability has certainly become a buzzword in the textile and fashion industries. Solo New York’s recycled fabric production starts with discarded plastic bottles. Through an environmentally friendly process, the plastic bottles are finely shredded and re-spun into durable and lightweight recycled PET polyester yarn. According to Solo New York, this recycled material reduces energy use by 50%, water use by 20% and air pollution by 60%. Related: Each purchase of this bag made from recycled plastic helps plant trees The Re:vive Mini Backpack is just the right size for a day trip. We took one on a hike down to McClures Beach in Point Reyes, California in the height of summer. Despite its seemingly small size, it easily held a small beach towel, a large water bottle, keys, wallet, sunglasses and a tube of sunscreen with room to spare. The short fabric key clip built into the top of the bag helped keep us from digging around in the bottom for keys (always a plus), and the bag itself was so lightweight that it was easy to forget it was even on. When a sandwich mishap produced a small stain on the outside of the backpack , a simple dose of spot-cleaning made it good as new — a great characteristic if you plan on using the backpack in your everyday life. Another feature we noticed was the versatility of the design; the heathered gray material on the outside and the subtle black camo on the inside are just as appropriate for a big city subway or the office as they are for exploring a national park. Apart from aiding our fight against plastic pollution, this backpack also proved itself as a great conversation starter. Once people found out that it was made from recycled plastic bottles , most couldn’t believe that the fabric could be so soft and similar to other popular textiles like cotton or polyester. The sturdiness of the plastic fiber is apparent in its durability as well, so it is easy to tell that the bags are designed to last a long time. The mini backpack measures 14″ x 9″ x 4″ and weighs only 0.57 pounds. Priced at $24.99, it is affordable, too. Along with the aforementioned key clip, there are also adjustable shoulder straps and a front zippered pocket to hold more quick-grab items like cellphones and wallets. According to the company, the first run of the Re:cycled Collection was responsible for recycling more than 90,000 plastic bottles, and the line is still continuing to expand with new bags. As of September 2020, the collection features four backpack versions priced from $24.99 to $64.99, a laptop sleeve, two carry-on-size luggage pieces, a briefcase, a tote and a duffel. Solo New York was founded by John Ax, who arrived to the U.S. in 1940 with his family. They only had $100 and the clothes on their backs. As a skilled craftsman, he began rounding up leather pieces and scraps that were destined for the trash from local tanneries to turn into sellable goods. His small company, which eventually became known as the United States Luggage Company, thrived for decades before rebranding as Solo New York. Today, the company has already set solid, transparent goals to become even more sustainable in the future. The goal is to eliminate plastic from all packaging by the end of 2020. Hang tags are already printed on 100% recycled and biodegradable material with a recycled cotton string and a completely biodegradable clasp. The Solo New York headquarters on Long Island takes advantage of New York’s average of 224 sunny days per year with 1,400 rooftop solar panels (producing enough energy to power 87 homes). Plus, the company has a zero-tolerance plastic water bottle policy for its employees, instead offering filtered smart fountains and water dispensers throughout its locations. Solo New York has also partnered with the United States National Forest Foundation, pledging to help aid in reforestation by planting one tree per every bag purchased from the Re:cycled collection. Customers also have the option of taking the “Green Pledge” and promising to say no to plastic bottles for the following 30 days. For every pledge signed, Solo NY will plant a second tree. Overall, we think any of the bags from this sustainable collection would be a great gift option for the Earth-lover in your life, especially for the upcoming holiday season. Even for someone who hasn’t found their stride in sustainability quite yet, the gift of a Re:cycled Collection bag or backpack is sure to be pretty eye-opening as to how far recycling can really go. Even better, if more people pivot to eco-friendly bags, that means we can help cut down on the number of plastic items being manufactured and distributed globally, leading to fewer toxic chemicals released into the atmosphere, less resources spent and less waste produced overall. + Solo New York Images via Katherine Gallagher / Inhabitat Editor’s Note: This product review is not sponsored by Solo New York. All opinions on the products and company are the author’s own.

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The durable Solo New York backpack can accompany all of your adventures

Meet Phade, the biodegradable, bioplastic eco-straw

September 14, 2020 by  
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Environmentalists say straws are harmful, and the argument makes a lot of sense. But as an iconic beverage accessory, many people don’t know how to live without straws. Thanks to Phade, they don’t have to. This biodegradable plastic straw looks and fees like a standard disposable straw. There’s just one twist: Phade is way better for the environment. If you’ve ever tried paper straws, you may have a pretty bad impression of biodegradable straws options. Phade straws are different; they’re crafted to have the feel and texture of plastic . The “eco-straw” from Phade accomplishes this by using polyhydroxyalkanoate. Polyhydroxyalkanoate comes from canola oil and is marine and soil biodegradable and compostable. In a marine environment, Phade straws degrade by 88.1% within 97 days. Not bad, considering that standard plastic straws made with polypropylene can take about 200 years to degrade. Polypropylene, made from crude oil , shows up in a staggering variety of products. Used in housewares, furniture, automobiles, appliances and shipping materials, polypropylene is everywhere. Phade hopes to make a change by starting with straws, one of the most common and recognizable single-use plastic products circulated in the market. Straws are ubiquitous — you get them for free with purchase at any gas station, restaurant or bar you visit. You probably have at least one in your silverware drawer right now. When these straws get used, they create a lot of plastic waste. Considering that the world’s oceans already hold an estimated 5 trillion pieces of plastic, reducing plastic waste via innovations such as the Phade eco-straw could help prevent further pollution. The Phade eco-straws won the 2020 Innovation in Bioplastics Award from the Bioplastics Division of the Plastics Industry Association. Phade is one of the products created by WinCup, a company that makes disposable bowls, cups, lids and other food and beverage items. + Phade Via PR Newswire Image via Phade

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Meet Phade, the biodegradable, bioplastic eco-straw

Sumo wrestles sustainability into an all-natural, biodegradable diaper

February 14, 2020 by  
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Sustainable living is an ongoing pursuit that requires evaluating each purchase and every product we use. But some daily tasks just don’t have suitable solutions. The spotlight on disposable diapers is one example, and the only real option so far has been cloth diapers. Even though cloth diapers do keep the plastic variety from sitting in a landfill for hundreds of years, the plastic ribbing and diaper inserts typically keep cloth diapers from being recyclable. As part of her master’s thesis, Luisa Kahlfeldt created Sumo, a natural, biodegradable diaper that is as gentle on the planet as it is on a baby’s skin. Sumo diapers are created from a material called SeaCell, which is made up of algae extracts and eucalyptus wood . Both materials are soft and naturally antibacterial, making a great combination for something that will be against a baby’s skin. Additionally, SeaCell is sustainably harvested and produced with a low environmental impact. It is also biodegradable. Related: Pacific nation Vanuatu is the first to ban disposable diapers Anyone who has children knows that while it is important to strive for sustainability, if a reusable diaper doesn’t do its job, it’s out. The Sumo incorporates performance into the design with three layers of protection that include a soft inner layer, an absorbent center and a waterproof outer layer to combat leaks. Once the performance and material issues were hammered out, Kahlfeldt turned to finding an alternative to the standard elastic used for gathering fabric around the legs in traditional cloth diapers. In the process, she developed a way to knit natural yarns that stand up to the task while offering elasticity. The design is gaining notice from some notable organizations, namely the James Dyson Award, where Sumo was the winning entry from Switzerland in 2019. Kahlfeldt completed the project before graduating Ecole cantonale d’art de Lausanne (ECAL), one of the world’s top design schools. She is currently working as a senior designer at Konstantin Grcic Design in Berlin. + Luisa Kahlfeldt Via Dezeen Images via Sumo

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Sumo wrestles sustainability into an all-natural, biodegradable diaper

Technology uses banana leaves as a biodegradable alternative to single-use plastic

September 20, 2019 by  
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Plastic pollution negatively impacts the health of our planet. Waste management has led to an irreversible environmental crisis that is felt by wildlife, especially in the oceans. One organization, called Banana Leaf Technology, is helping to address the stark reality by proposing banana leaves as a biodegradable alternative to single-use plastic . Using 100 percent organic banana leaves as raw material, the novel, eco-friendly preservation technology transforms the cellular structure by enhancing its properties so that the leaves remain green for an entire year without any chemicals. Plus, their shelf lifespan is extended to up to three years. Related: Bananatex launches a sustainable material revolution at Milan Design Week After the preservation process, the enhanced leaves have increased load-bearing capabilities, resistance to extreme temperatures, durability, elasticity and flexibility. Banana Leaf Technology’s website additionally states that the processed leaves are more pathogen-resistant with antiviral, antifungal and antibacterial properties. How does it do this? The technology fortifies the banana leaves’ cell walls and prevents pathogenic agents from degrading the processed biomaterial’s cells. Currently, Banana Leaf Technology offers 30 products that utilize its preservation methods. These products include plates, cups, cones, boxes, writing paper and envelopes. Because the patented Banana Leaf Technology is customizable, other products are expected to be developed in the future, such as natural packaging alternatives. Banana Leaf Technology products provide several advantages. Besides curtailing the destructive damages to wildlife and landfills, using preserved banana leaf products decreases the risks of plastic leaching byproducts and toxins into food and beverages, making them a far healthier cookware, dinnerware and food storage alternative to plastic. Moreover, after their primary use, they can, in turn, serve as animal fodder or garden fertilizer to make soil more arable. First formulated in 2010 by Tenith Adithyaa, a precocious 11-year-old who was working in his homemade laboratory, the now-patented Banana Leaf Technology has since received seven international awards. The company’s mission, according to its website, is “to solve the global climate crisis without compromising the economy.” Adithyaa’s vision is to make Banana Leaf Technology “available to all human beings, regardless of their geographical and economical boundaries.” Interestingly, the company’s current business model is to “sell the tech license worldwide to any company” that shares in Adithyaa’s vision. The website elaborates further, stipulating that “any commercial or non-commercial company can purchase the license to this technology by technology transfer. The license will be granted for lifetime to operate worldwide.” + Banana Leaf Technology Images via Banana Leaf Technology and Pkraemer

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Technology uses banana leaves as a biodegradable alternative to single-use plastic

An abandoned market becomes a light-filled homeless shelter in London

September 20, 2019 by  
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We love it when old buildings can be put to good use, but it especially warms our hearts when architects use adaptive reuse to convert empty structures into spaces specially designed to help those in need. London-based firm Holland Harvey Architects has recently done just that by converting a derelict supermarket into a stunning, light-filled homeless shelter with an attached cafe. Launched in 2017, Shelter From The Storm is a charitable organization that aims to house and support people who are homeless in London . The organization approached Holland Harvey Architects for help converting an abandoned supermarket into a shelter. Working together, the charity and the architects envisioned a welcoming, temporary home that also offers holistic support to reintegrate the residents into society. As such, the design revolved around creating a purpose-built space to meet the distinct needs of an urban homeless shelter . Related: A decaying shop in Cambodia gains a new life through adaptive reuse principles The design features two parts: the shelter and a cafe. The cafe features a large, glazed entrance that leads to a well-lit interior with plenty of seating. To create the dual spaces, the designers were determined to use adaptive reuse to cut down on costs and completion time. The existing building featured brick predominantly throughout the interior as well as the exterior, which was kept intact during the renovation. For a unique touch, the team painted the brick walls various, subdued colors. The private areas of the homeless shelter feature three dorms (two for males and one for females) with 42 beds. Each person has their own bed and lockable wardrobe. In addition to required amenities such as showers and bathrooms, the building also includes meeting space, a counseling room, a clothing store and a lounge area. Behind the scenes, volunteers and residents work in the shelter ‘s commercial kitchen to prepare food for breakfasts and dinners. In addition to providing a safe place to stay and freshly cooked meals, they also offer language classes and other resources to help residents get back on their feet. Shelter from the Storm admits guests to the dorms in the evening only, but during the day, the cafe is open to the local community. Adding this public space to the project enables the locals to feel connected to the organization and those that are in need. + Holland Harvey Architects + Shelter from the Storm Via Dezeen Photography by Nicholas Worley via Holland Harvey Architects

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An abandoned market becomes a light-filled homeless shelter in London

Study shows biodegradable plastic bags still hold groceries 3 years after being discarded

May 1, 2019 by  
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Biodegradable plastic bags are not as eco-friendly as their labeling might suggest. A new study discovered that these biodegradable plastics can actually survive years in various environments without fully decomposing. Researchers examined different types of biodegradable plastic bags and found that they were still intact after spending three years in the ground, water and air environments. In fact, the bags were still able to carry groceries without tearing. The study was recently published in the Environmental Science and Technology journal. The scientists believe their research indicates that biodegradable plastic bags might not be a viable substitute for single-use plastics, because the rate of degradation is much longer than previously thought. Considering the growing concern surrounding plastic waste , the study could have significant impacts on the industry. Related: A guide to the different types of plastic “After three years, I was really amazed that any of the bags could still hold a load of shopping,” lead researcher Imogen Napper explained. “For biodegradable bags to be able to do that was the most surprising.” Researchers examined five types of plastic bags. This includes biodegradable, oxo-biodegradable, compostable and high-density polyethylene (conventional plastic) bags. The only bag that fully decomposed in marine environments was the compostable bag , which completely disappeared within three months. The reason the compostable bags did not perform well in the other environments is that they are designed to break down in the presence of micro-organisms. If they are buried in soil that lacks these organisms, the bags will not break down properly. In light of the study, the company that makes the compostable bags, Vegware, issued a statement about how its bags will only decompose in the right environment, which is what the product was designed to do. Based on the findings, experts believe the general public is being misled when it comes to biodegradable plastic bags and that companies should be required to change their labeling to reflect the reality of the situation. + Environmental Science & Technology Via The Guardian Images via Imogen Napper

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Study shows biodegradable plastic bags still hold groceries 3 years after being discarded

Tips and tricks to make spring cleaning more eco-friendly

April 3, 2019 by  
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When the spring cleaning season comes around, many homeowners turn to their favorite cleaning products to tidy up. But not all of your go-to cleaners are good for the environment. Many products on the market feature harmful chemicals that leach into the ecosystem, causing harm to people and the environment alike. If you are looking to get into spring cleaning mode without potentially hurting your health, here is a quick guide on what chemicals to avoid and how to clean with the environment in mind. Chemicals linked to health problems Cleaning chemicals may eliminate harmful bacteria from your home, but they also can lead to serious health problems. This includes irritating eyes, skin and respiratory systems. The most obvious health issues that arise are due to skin contact with toxic chemicals that are absorbed by the body. According to AcuuWeather , harmful chemicals can also enter the air and cause respiratory problems. Individuals who clean on a daily basis are more susceptible to these issues, especially when it comes to long-term health concerns. Identify harmful chemicals There are a number of different chemicals that the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has deemed volatile. According to SF Gate , this includes ammonia, nitrogen and phosphorus, all of which are commonly found in household cleaning products. For example, most dishwasher detergents contain about 40 percent phosphorus, while nitrogen is a common ingredient in glass cleaner. Related: How to decode confusing labels on common household cleaners Keep chemicals out of the water Many of the chemicals you use in the spring cleaning process end up in the sewage, whether they are rinsed down the sink or flushed in the toilet. Fortunately, the majority of chemicals are filtered out in sewage plants before the water goes to rivers and lakes. That said, nitrogen, ammonia and phosphorus are not removed in treatment plants. Instead, these three chemicals usually end up in waterways, where they contaminate larger bodies of water like lakes and oceans . Once they enter freshwater environments, they can wreak havoc on aquatic life and plants. These chemicals can also contaminate water supplies if they are dumped in large concentrations. Avoid air contamination As noted earlier, harmful chemicals in household products can enter the air and cause respiratory issues. If you open windows while cleaning for better ventilation, you are simply pushing these volatile chemicals into the atmosphere. In fact, the EPA has found that cleaning chemicals contribute to pollution and smog, which is why some are restricted in select locations, such as California. Ventilating the harmful chemicals outside may be better for the indoor air quality , but it is more harmful for the environment in the long-term. Although using harmful chemicals has major side effects, there are plenty of ways you can keep your house clean without harming yourself or the environment. Use eco-friendly cleaners The best way to avoid harmful cleaning products is to look for non-toxic chemicals. These products are usually equipped with an eco-friendly or biodegradable label. You should also avoid buying products that are known to irritate skin or are flammable. Related: Truman’s wants to reduce single-use plastics in the household cleaner industry You can also make your own eco-friendly cleaning products with a few household staples. Ingredients like lemon, vinegar, baking soda and glycerine are great at combating dirt and grease. A mixture of soap and water or water and vinegar can easily remove tough stains while eliminating germs. You can also add a little baking soda for some added abrasion. Get rid of paper towels You can burn through a lot of paper towels during spring cleaning, which is not great for the environment in the long run. As an alternative, try buying reusable towels to clean. You can pick up some affordable towels at your local grocery store or cut up old T-shirts. Using old clothes will also keep waste out of the landfill. Clean up the laundry There is no denying that dryers are a big convenience of modern society. But, according to Planet Aid , you can significantly reduce your carbon footprint by hang-drying your clothes on a regular basis. Dyers consume a lot of electricity, so only using them on rainy days helps the environment and puts some money back in your pocket. Related: Get ready to use soapnuts for everything from cleaning to self care When it comes to washing, look for detergents that have an eco-friendly label. Although these cleaners used to be expensive, the costs have come down considerably, and you can usually find natural alternatives at competitive price points. You can also purchase cleaners in bulk to save even more money. Reuse household items for cleaning Instead of throwing away old clothing items or toothbrushes, use them for cleaning. Toothbrushes are great for reaching tight corners, and even an old sock can be put to work dusting. If you are really creative, you can even sew together old towels to create a makeshift mop cover. Once you are done with these items, you can either wash and reuse them or put them in the recycle bin. Images via Public Domain Pictures , Fotoblend , Pasja1000 , Alex and Stevepb

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Tips and tricks to make spring cleaning more eco-friendly

Burger King unveils the plant-based Impossible Whopper

April 3, 2019 by  
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The Impossible Burger is coming to a Burger King near you. The fast food chain is releasing a new burger with a vegetarian patty called the Impossible Whopper. The company is teaming up with the creators of Impossible Foods to bring a plant-based vegetarian option to nearly 60 Burger Kings in the St. Louis area and potentially to thousands across the country. Burger King hopes the Impossible Whopper will quickly become the new staple for people looking to swap meat for plant-based options. To that end, Burger King is partnering with Impossible Foods to bring the vegetarian patty to a much wider audience than ever before. The vegetarian option will include the same toppings and bun as the regular Whopper and will cost about $1 more. Related: We tried the new Impossible Burger at CES — here’s what we thought Impossible Foods has collaborated with other burger joints in the past. The company featured its Impossible Burger in more than one thousand Carl’s Jr. franchises. It also partnered with White Castle , which sold a slider variety of the food in a little under 400 of its establishments. But the new deal with Burger King is much larger in scale. In fact, the fast food chain plans to release the burger in more than 7,000 restaurants across the United States. That is well over double the amount of venues that currently offer the Impossible Burger. The head of marketing for Burger King, Fernando Machado, said that early tests confirm that people have not been able to tell the difference between the old beef Whopper and the new plant-based one. “People on my team who know the Whopper inside and out, they try it and they struggle to differentiate which one is which,” Machado shared. Burger King is featuring the Impossible Whopper in 59 restaurants in St. Louis to start before expanding to other locations. If things in St. Louis go smoothly, then the company plans to release the Impossible Burger to its other restaurants. Machado believes that the new burger will be a major hit with customers and has every intention in spreading it to other locations. The company hopes that offering the Impossible Burger in multiple venues across the U.S. will encourage people to stop eating beef and opt for a more eco-friendly diet. + Impossible Foods Via NY Times Image via Impossible Foods

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Burger King unveils the plant-based Impossible Whopper

Biodegradable tableware made from wheat bran debuts at Toronto’s Green Living Show

March 25, 2019 by  
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This week, Toronto citizens learned that wheat bran is good for more than enhancing digestive regularity. An innovative Polish company displayed its disposable, biodegradable tableware made from unprocessed wheat bran at Toronto’s Green Living Show. While an ordinary disposable plastic plate could take 500 years to break down, Biotrem’s tableware biodegrades through composting within a single month. They’re made from compressed wheat bran, a by-product of the cereal milling process. Biotrem can make up to 10,000 biodegradable plates and bowls from one ton of wheat bran. Related: Shellworks upcycles leftover lobster shells into biodegradable bioplastics The wheat bran tableware can handle hot or cold food, liquid or solids and is microwave-safe. From picnic spots to barrooms, the new biodegradable cups and plates could decrease landfill -bound garbage. Wheat farmer and miller Jerzy Wysocki devised the process of turning wheat bran into plates. Every time he milled wheat, Wysocki found himself with excess wheat bran. Through trial and error, he discovered that mixing the bran with water, then heating and pressurizing it resulted in a sturdy material. He started what would grow into Biotrem with a single machine that he built on his farm . Biotrem’s production plant in Zambrow can currently produce about 15 million biodegradable bowls and plates per year. They also make disposable cutlery, which combines wheat bran with fully biodegradable PLA bio-plastic. So far, Biotrem products are available in a dozen European countries, the U.S., Canada, South Korea and Lebanon. Transform Events & Consulting, based in Charlottestown, Prince Edward Island, distributes Biotrem products to the Canadian market. The event company introduced more consumers to wheat bran plates at this month’s Green Living Show at the Metro Toronto Convention Centre. “As event organizers, we see just how much plastic waste is generated at events of all kinds, especially festivals,” said Mark Carr-Rollitt, owner of Transform Events & Consulting. “We are thrilled to partner with Biotrem to offer a well-designed, viable alternative to single use plastics.” Via Biotrem Images Biotrem

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Biodegradable tableware made from wheat bran debuts at Toronto’s Green Living Show

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