These modular furniture focus on sustainable production

May 19, 2022 by  
Filed under Eco, Green, Recycle

The premise behind Loose Parts, a sustainably-minded furniture company, is to make furniture from organic materials and ensure a long lifespan. The goal is to keep furniture out of the landfills, investing instead in a modular design and repair services.  Founder Jennifer June believes in circular design. Inasmuch, the mission at Loose Parts is to make furniture that is flexible enough to serve multiple functions and change with the needs of the user. The furniture systems are made up of versatile parts that can be endlessly configured and reconfigured. That means a display shelf can convert to a garment rack and later become a table or a plant stand.  Related: Veev takes environmental approach to modular home building Furthermore, the wood for Loose Parts furniture is sourced from ethically and sustainably-managed forests. FSC-certified wood is used whenever possible. Otherwise, they aim to source certified and recycled /reclaimed woods. They also stand against wood that is illegally harvested, violates civil rights, counterbalances conservation efforts, is cut as a result of clearing for non-forest use and/or is grown among genetically-modified trees. Moreover, these natural, single-origin wood materials speak to the importance of environmental and human health in relation to furniture. For their efforts, Loose Parts earned several recognitions, including a high rating from The National Wildlife Federation and Sustainable Furnishings Council. Loose Parts also received a Declare label, which shows every ingredient that goes into the making of the furniture, right down to the chemical makeup of the finishes they uses.  A primary goal of Loose Parts is to maximize usable life through quality materials and modular design . In addition, Loose Parts offers a repair service where furniture can be repaired and resurfaced rather than sent to the dump.  The company reports, “By rethinking furniture as a system rather than a stand alone object means you can stay inspired while limiting waste . In other words, you can update a part rather than throw out the whole thing.” + Loose Parts  Photography by Black and Steil, Matt Libassi and Madeline Tolle

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These modular furniture focus on sustainable production

PANGEA recycled jackets upcycles trash plastic

April 29, 2022 by  
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PANGEA is a company on a mission. They want to not only clean up the environment, but use trash cleaned up to create recycled products. They have now achieved one important goal: using 100% recycled and reclaimed trash plastic to create their Eco-Jackets. We’ve written about the PANGEA jacket before, and the company has made big strides since then. With a growing line of products and an impressive list of accomplishments helping clean some of the world’s dirtiest rivers , PANGEA is going places. Related: PANGEA Movement’s Eco-jacket uses 100% recycled materials The problem is that 11 million tons of trash ends up in the oceans every single year. It is a growing problem that kills 100 million marine animals, damages coral reefs and contaminates the food chain with toxic chemicals. As a result, PANGEA’s approach is to tackle the problem at the source: rivers that carry pollution to the ocean. The company uses trash-catching barriers to clean five tons of trash per month out of the world’s dirtiest rivers. So far, they have prevented 60,000 pounds of trash from reaching the ocean . Then, they pluck the plastic out of that trash to make recycled products. This reduces waste from new plastics and prevents more pollution. PANGEA jackets are now made from 100% recycled plastics, and even include a free microplastic-trapping laundry bag to keep waterways clean. Every 100 tons of new polyester created for backpacking gear and clothing requires 100 barrels of crude oil to make and generates 2,000 pounds of CO2 emissions. PANGEA is on a mission to create recycled outdoor gear that cleans the environment more than it pollutes. The goal: carbon positive gear. With a growing movement of volunteers harvesting reusable plastics from rivers before they enter the ocean, the circular economy of reusable plastics helps the climate on several fronts. Furthermore, PANGEA donates 5% of sales to build and deploy new river barriers. This makes the PANGEA Eco-Jacket the first and only jacket that prevents ocean pollution . They are working to reduce the pollution that reaches the oceans from rivers by 80%. The company has made over $750,000 in revenue with 10,000 customers. Their web store grew 10 times in 2021 alone. For every Eco-Jacket purchased, 68 pounds of trash are pulled from rivers and 68 pounds of carbon dioxide are offset from the environment. “Purchases from PANGEA do not aim for a neutral impact on the Earth ,” the founders say. “We want to improve it.” + PANGEA Images via PANGEA

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PANGEA recycled jackets upcycles trash plastic

The first zero-waste, recyclable toothbrush in the world

April 12, 2022 by  
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Reswirl created the world’s first zero-waste , fully recyclable toothbrush to help address the plastic pollution. They are an eco-friendly dental hygiene brand that aims to help the climate by not compromising on quality or comfort to consumers. Reswirl brushes are made from something called Bio-PBS. It is a biodegradable and industrially  compostable  material mixed with calcium carbonate for stiffening and whitening. The company offers these brushes through a subscription service where new brushes are sent out quarterly. In exchange, used brushes are returned in provided pre-paid packaging to be recycled. Related: Why are toothbrushes so hard to recycle? The brand does this because much of what consumers recycle from their homes still end up in landfills . It also provides the company with a practical supply of materials to reuse for creating new products, which helps the bottom line. First, all returned brushes are washed. Then materials are separated. The handles are shredded and blended with new materials to create consistent quality for new brushes. Bristles and boxes are recycled. Lastly, sleeves and any unusable handles are composted. We’ve seen a number of compostable bio-based plastics come out in the last decade. If bio-plastics become the norm, consumers won’t notice any difference in the durability of their plastic products , but once they’re thrown out, they will degrade in the landfill decades faster than traditional, fossil-fuel-based plastics. Reswirl brushes are ergonomically designed for comfortable use. You can purchase one to try before you subscribe. All purchases include shipping to and from the U.K. Therefore, there’s no extra cost for ordering them at a distance. While there is a carbon footprint to shipping, all packages are shipped in prepaid biodegradable packaging. The system creates a circular manufacturing system with this “infinite brush” solution. They are helping to replace some of 3.5 billion toothbrushes sold worldwide annually that are used for only a few months before thrown away. + Reswirl Images via Reswirl

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The first zero-waste, recyclable toothbrush in the world

The first zero-waste, recyclable toothbrush in the world

April 12, 2022 by  
Filed under Eco, Green, Recycle

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Reswirl created the world’s first zero-waste , fully recyclable toothbrush to help address the plastic pollution. They are an eco-friendly dental hygiene brand that aims to help the climate by not compromising on quality or comfort to consumers. Reswirl brushes are made from something called Bio-PBS. It is a biodegradable and industrially  compostable  material mixed with calcium carbonate for stiffening and whitening. The company offers these brushes through a subscription service where new brushes are sent out quarterly. In exchange, used brushes are returned in provided pre-paid packaging to be recycled. Related: Why are toothbrushes so hard to recycle? The brand does this because much of what consumers recycle from their homes still end up in landfills . It also provides the company with a practical supply of materials to reuse for creating new products, which helps the bottom line. First, all returned brushes are washed. Then materials are separated. The handles are shredded and blended with new materials to create consistent quality for new brushes. Bristles and boxes are recycled. Lastly, sleeves and any unusable handles are composted. We’ve seen a number of compostable bio-based plastics come out in the last decade. If bio-plastics become the norm, consumers won’t notice any difference in the durability of their plastic products , but once they’re thrown out, they will degrade in the landfill decades faster than traditional, fossil-fuel-based plastics. Reswirl brushes are ergonomically designed for comfortable use. You can purchase one to try before you subscribe. All purchases include shipping to and from the U.K. Therefore, there’s no extra cost for ordering them at a distance. While there is a carbon footprint to shipping, all packages are shipped in prepaid biodegradable packaging. The system creates a circular manufacturing system with this “infinite brush” solution. They are helping to replace some of 3.5 billion toothbrushes sold worldwide annually that are used for only a few months before thrown away. + Reswirl Images via Reswirl

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The first zero-waste, recyclable toothbrush in the world

Take a toxic tour to learn about pollution from locals

March 1, 2022 by  
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Toxic Tours, a new initiative by #breakfreefromplastic , is giving people an inside look at some of the planet’s dirtiest secrets. Instead of your typical tour that focuses on history or scenery, Toxic Tours takes you via video to the epicenters of nasty air , water and soil pollution. Conceived by environmental justice organizations, Toxic Tours raises awareness on the toxic impacts of plastic production on frontline communities, according to #breakfreefromplastic consultant Estelle Eonnet. Frontline communities are often composed of low-income residents and/or people of color who bear the first and worst consequences of climate change. Related: Innovative biomaterials to help the world replace plastic “Toxic tours have been organized in person by local organizations and communities for decades,” Eonnet said. “The goal of the project was to amplify these local stories at a global level. On the Toxic Tours platform, frontline communities can directly share their stories and map the petrochemical build-outs around their homes.“ This isn’t poverty tourism , where outsiders gawk at the poor locals. Instead, all Toxic Tours footage is filmed by community members and local environmental justice groups who want to raise awareness of the conditions forced upon them.   International tour of the website The Toxic Tours site launched on Jan. 27 and provides interpretation in English, Spanish, French, Portuguese, Filipino, Mandarin and Hindi. From the homepage, you can click on Asia, Europe , Africa, USA or Latin America, which takes you to a map of the region. Featured cities are clearly marked. For example, click on Manali, India. You’ll learn that the country’s Central Pollution Control Board has categorized the area as critically polluted for almost a decade. You can see a video about the petrochemical cluster stretching from North Chennai to Manali, which is the site of more than 30 polluting industries. Resident M.K. Elampazhuthi talks about the sewage and petroleum waste in the Buckingham Canal of Chennai, and local youths model awful face masks they made to help them breathe outside. They look like homemade gas masks. In Turkana County, Kenya , you’ll learn about the lands rights and health risks issues created by new oil extraction activities. Julius Loyolo shows a public latrine that multinational oil company Tullow built for the community. Nice to have toilets, but the company still hasn’t addressed worries about land ownership, employment and health. “Environmental justice organizations work closely with community members to capture the pressing issues that the communities face, due to the petrochemical build outs,” said Eonnet. “The Toxic Tour platform remains open to members of frontline communities, who continue to pin their stories to the map.” Toxic U.S. The U.S. also gets its star turn on the Toxic Tours platform. In fact, instead of having a North America section, there’s just USA. The platform features “Cancer Alley,” an 85-mile corridor along the Mississippi River between Baton Rouge and New Orleans, Louisiana . Cancer Alley is known for the country’s highest concentration of petrochemical plants and refineries. It also has the most particulate pollution and highest cancer rates. The EPA determined that the risk of getting cancer from air pollution here is 95% higher than for people living in other parts of the country. Most of Cancer Alley’s damage is in predominantly Black and low income communities. In California , Diego Mayen leads a toxic tour of West Long Beach. “My community is affected by the petrochemical industry at every stage of the production of plastic,” he said. “From the extraction of oil, there are oil drills next to people’s homes in Wilmington and also in Long Beach.” Residents also contend with 40% of the nation’s goods transiting through their neighborhood , multiple refineries operating 24/7 and incineration. “We live next to one of two incinerators in California that burns trash from over a thousand cities, including more affluent communities ,” Mayen said in his video. In his 21 years, he’s experienced health impacts such as headaches and nosebleeds linked to incinerator fires. Lots of his friends have asthma. “I don’t think it’s fair that our community should have to wonder if it’s safe to go outside.” Toxic Tours’ vision Toxic Tours aims to elevate local voices and ensure that community fights are amplified. “We need robust regulations for the petrochemical industry, structured by a global treaty on plastics ,” Eonett said. “With the Fifth Session of the United Nations Environment Assembly taking place in Nairobi end of February, it is a crucial time for the public to uncover the negative impacts of plastic production and call on policymakers to support a resolution for a plastics treaty that covers the whole life cycle of plastics.” Via #breakfreefromplastic Images via #breakfreefromplastic

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Take a toxic tour to learn about pollution from locals

Inclusive companies and communities advance environmental justice

February 21, 2022 by  
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Building lasting solutions is a multifaceted and complex undertaking that requires addressing the roots of racial injustice while empowering Black, Indigenous and people of color professionals.

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Inclusive companies and communities advance environmental justice

Inclusive companies and communities advance environmental justice

February 21, 2022 by  
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Building lasting solutions is a multifaceted and complex undertaking that requires addressing the roots of racial injustice while empowering Black, Indigenous and people of color professionals.

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Inclusive companies and communities advance environmental justice

9 Black environmentalists you should know about

February 1, 2022 by  
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There are way too many Black environmentalists doing important work to list in a single article. But in honor of Black History Month, here are just a few who are making a big difference in the world, from scientists to vegan chefs. Walter McDowney From the time he was just a boy living in the Washington, DC area, Walter McDowney was fascinated by Kenilworth Aquatic Gardens . He loved learning about both the history and the natural world at Kenilworth, which is now preserved by the National Park Service . In 1967, he became Kenilworth’s first African American park ranger. He took local urban kids on their first camping trips, sharing his enthusiasm for nature. In 1985, he won the National Park Service’s highest honor, the Freeman Tilden Award for excellence in interpretation. Through his involvement with developing the Junior Ranger Program, he turned untold numbers of children of all races into budding environmentalists. Related: How to support environmental justice Erika Boyd Erika Boyd has always loved food. Her mother was a nutritionist who ran a community food service program for the city of Detroit . Her grandmother taught her how to cook soul food dishes and her father co-owned and cooked at a Detroit café. But after losing her father to cancer in 2010, Boyd started rethinking her family’s diet. She veganized soul food recipes. In 2012, she partnered with entrepreneur Kirsten Ussery to open Detroit Vegan Soul . Since then, the pair have been educating fellow Detroiters about the health and environmental benefits of veganism . As they say on their website, “Detroit Vegan Soul helps people live healthier lives by providing great-tasting, high-quality, nutritious vegan food that appeals to everyone while at the same time doing our part to support a sustainable earth.” Dr. Beverly L. Wright Dr. Wright founded the Deep South Center for Environmental Justice , a community/university partnership that helps people along the Mississippi River Chemical Corridor. The center investigates health and environmental inequities in the area and trains a new generation of underserved populations for environmental justice jobs. Disasters like Hurricane Katrina and the BP Deep Water Horizon oil spill have kept the center busy. Wright co-authored two books, “Race, Place & the Environment After Hurricane Katrina” and “The Wrong Complexion for Protection: How the Government Response Endangers African-American Communities.” Genesis Butler Fourteen-year-old animal rights activist Genesis Butler has already been making international news for several years, notably for asking that Pope Francis go vegan for Lent in 2019. Disappointingly, he didn’t — even with a consortium of celebrities backing Butler and offering one million dollars going to a charity of the pope’s choice. Butler has identified as an animal rights activist since the age of six. “But once I learn about the devastating effects of animal agricu l ture has on the climate and the environment when I was ten, then I became a climate activist,” she states on her website. She leads the group Youth Climate Save and is one of the youngest people to ever give a TEDx talk. Rue Mapp San Francisco Bay Area resident Rue Mapp founded Outdoor Afro to encourage Black people to develop their connection with nature, and learn to love hiking, fishing, camping, biking and kayaking as much as she does. She’s led volunteer trainings for almost a decade now to teach other people to lead nature outings and promote conservation . Justin Dunnavant and Ayana Flewellen Drs. Ayana Flewellen and Justin Dunnavant cofounded the Society of Black Archaeologists and are involved with creating more sustainable archeological practices. They work with Diving With a Purpose and the Slave Wrecks Project to document and interpret maritime heritage of the African diaspora.  Their respect for ecology and involvement of locals in community -based archeology has introduced many Saint Croix youth to scuba diving, archeology and historic preservation at the Estate Little Princess, an 18th century sugar plantation in the Virgin Islands. Venice R. Williams As executive director of Alice’s Garden Urban Farm in Milwaukee , Venice R. Williams oversees garden plots, farmers’ markets and events that bring together gardeners from many countries.  The garden’s aims to “provide models of regenerative farming, community cultural development and economic agricultural enterprises for the global landscape,” according to its website. Williams sees herself as a cultural and spiritual midwife to this verdant, peaceful oasis in Milwaukee . She strongly believes that “she was put in Creation to help bring forth all that is good and whole in people and places.” Majora Carter Real estate developer Majora Carter combines urban renewal and environmentalism. She grew up in the South Bronx in the 1970s, where she witnessed a neighborhood decimated by leveling buildings in favor of putting in a highway and other urban problems. As an adult, she set out to revitalize her community. Spearheading the development of Hunts Point Riverside Park is just one of her many accomplishments. She also founded Sustainable South Bronx to improve environmental and economic conditions and provide green job training. Her consulting firm The Marjora Carter Group tackles issues of the intersection of technology, environment and business. John Francis A 1971 San Francisco Bay oil spill changed John Francis’ life in a profound way. After scrubbing beaches and trying to save petroleum-coated birds, he decided to give up all motorized transportation. Instead, he walked. Even though he took a 17-year vow of silence, he still became famous in environmental circles. He spent 22 years walking through the U.S. and South America, which earned him the nickname Planet Walker . When a car hit him in 1990 — just after he started speaking again — he managed to convince the ambulance drivers to let him walk to the hospital. “Part of the mystery of walking is that the destination is inside us and we really don’t know when we arrive until we arrive,” he said. He is the author of “Planetwalker: 22 Years of Walking. 17 Years of Silence.” He holds a PhD in land resources and teaches environmental studies at the university level. Lead image via Pexels

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9 Black environmentalists you should know about

Chic tiny house connects to outdoors with unique features

January 31, 2022 by  
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Australian tiny home builder Tailored Tiny Co.’s Blue Mountain tiny house packs some serious luxury and modern style into a miniature footprint. This tiny home has plenty of headroom and an updated look that connects to the outdoors via several skylights, outdoor awnings and a deck for expanded living space. Have you thought about building a tiny home but wanted to check out tiny house designs or architectural drawings first? You can order architectural drawings for a Tailored Tiny Co. tiny home for just $250. This is a far cry from a typical country house in the Blue Mountains. Surrounded by trees and a steep hillside to the front, the black and ultra-chic tiny home screams cutting-edge style. The home’s all-black steel cladding exterior includes timber trim under the angled overhang, and the extra-long roof is covered in skylights. Shade cloths cover the deck surrounding part of the home, creating extra outdoor living space. Related: You can stay in this retro school bus turned cute tiny home Inside is just as unique, with custom-fitted flooring that angles wood in the kitchen up against a jagged edge of hexagonal tile in the bathroom. There is an open staircase up to a loft with windows looking out on a cat run in the back. This allows the cats to use an exterior litter box, a thoughtful detail for such a small living space. The roof is elevated compared to most tiny homes on wheels , which means easier living but more permits required if relocated to another property. ?Double mirrors hide wardrobes in front of the bathroom, with enough room for two. Interior fixtures include a luxury rain shower with dual heads, a floating sink, an oven fitted under the stairs for more space, a large kitchen sink sunk into marble countertops, and custom blue drawer fronts. The living room enjoys lighting via hanging fixtures decorated with plants along the ceiling. The space even has enough room for a TV and sofa. Meanwhile, the loft is tall enough to stand in, making it feel extra spacious. From the loft, inhabitants can look up at the spectacular skylights or out the large windows at the wilderness around the home. Between the windows, skylights , glass doors and covered deck, this tiny home fosters a strong connection to its outdoor surroundings. + Tailored Tiny Co. Images via Tailored Tiny Co.

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Chic tiny house connects to outdoors with unique features

Dear CEO: Are you a dodo or a phoenix? Larry Fink wants to know

January 19, 2022 by  
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What to make of the BlackRock CEO’s annual letter.

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Dear CEO: Are you a dodo or a phoenix? Larry Fink wants to know

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