The Ocean Cleanup has first success collecting plastic from Great Pacific Garbage Patch

October 4, 2019 by  
Filed under Business, Green, Recycle

The Ocean Cleanup, a Dutch nonprofit dedicated to eliminating plastic pollution in the oceans, recently announced its first success. After years of trials that left its engineers scratching their heads over design challenges, the nonprofit’s newest prototype device has consistently collected plastic waste from the Great Pacific Garbage Patch . Following years of repeat returns to the drawing board, The Ocean Cleanup has finally experienced its first success of consistently capturing and collecting plastic, thanks to the self-contained System 001/B prototype. As an added bonus, not only was the prototype able to collect large, visible items but also microplastics as small as one millimeter. Related: Trash-collecting device returns to Great Pacific Garbage Patch “After beginning this journey seven years ago, this first year of testing in the unforgivable environment of the high seas strongly indicates that our vision is attainable and that the beginning of our mission to rid the ocean of plastic garbage , which has accumulated for decades, is within our sights,” said founder and CEO Boyan Slat. “Our team has remained steadfast in its determination to solve immense technical challenges to arrive at this point. Though we still have much more work to do, I am eternally grateful for the team’s commitment and dedication to the mission and look forward to continuing to the next phase of development.” The patch, located in the waters between Hawaii and California, is infamous as the area with the largest accumulation of plastic debris. As a trash vortex, its circular motion draws litter into itself, trapping all the junk into a concentrated mass. The hazards are compounded by the leaching out of noxious chemicals linked to health problems. Marine life is also harmed, with numerous reports of disruptions in feeding and migrating patterns, ultimately threatening species’ survival and reproductive success. The need to remove the plastic waste polluting the Pacific Ocean inspired Slat to establish The Ocean Cleanup in 2012. The nonprofit’s engineers have since been striving to develop a device to rid the ocean of the garbage. The various device prototypes employ a passive system that moves with the currents while catching plastic refuse. The nonprofit aspires to develop more prototypes in hopes of deploying a future fleet of ocean debris-collecting systems. The collected plastic will, in turn, be recycled onshore and sold to business-to-consumer (B2C) companies. The recycling revenue will be reinvested into the nonprofit’s expansion plans for further ocean waste management and sanitation. + The Ocean Cleanup Images via The Ocean Cleanup

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The Ocean Cleanup has first success collecting plastic from Great Pacific Garbage Patch

Stunning boho-style tiny house comes with open-air bar

October 4, 2019 by  
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Byron Bay-based tiny home builders, Little Byron , have unveiled a gorgeous tiny home design that not only has an ingenious living and sleeping area, but also includes an open air bar area. The Banjo tiny home is just 23 feet long and 8 feet wide, but its breathtaking, space-efficient design makes it seems so much bigger. The stunning time home on wheels was built for one of Little Bryon’s clients who was looking to have a guest home on their property for visitors, but ultimately had plans to move into the beautiful space down the road when her children left the nest. Related: This gorgeous tiny home features a greenhouse and wooden pergola The tiny home is a beautiful design that pays homage to typical tiny home practicality, namely natural light. The home is built with an abundance of windows that really open up the space, creating a vibrant, healthy interior space. Not only are there large operable windows in just about every corner of the home, including the bedrooms and bathroom, but there is a massive window in the middle of the living space that opens outward. Definitely at the heart of the home, the farmhouse-style kitchen is where the design really shines. With plenty of storage space in the form of open shelving under and above the counterspace, the kitchen is both functional and beautiful. On the other side of the kitchen is the dining area. Instead of the typical window ledge, a small table top was installed to create a dining or work area. The large window swings open horizontally to provide a wide open space that not only brings in more natural light and air, but really connects the interior to the exterior. The rest of the home and its interior design is equally as sophisticated. White walls and wooden flooring and trim give the home a fresh, modern vibe. A double height ceiling also opens the interior space, while providing room for a sleeping loft on one side of the home, accessible by ladder. The living space is a space-efficient design that sees the living room pulling double duty as a comfy lounge and bedroom. The very unique bunk-bed design sees the living room, with a small sofa, suspended off the ground floor on a wooden platform. Below the space is the master bedroom, which has enough space for a queen-sized bed. + Little Byron Via Tiny House Talk Images via Little Byron

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Stunning boho-style tiny house comes with open-air bar

Spectacular installation in London turns scaffolding planks into sculpture

October 4, 2019 by  
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In the most ambitious of British Land’s Landmark installations to date, internationally renowned British designer Paul Cocksedge has transformed more than a thousand scaffolding planks into a large-scale structure with undulating curves. Named Please Be Seated, the installation provides Broadgate, London’s largest pedestrianized neighborhood, with a beautiful piece of art that doubles as seating. The art piece was created in collaboration with Essex-based, high-end interiors company White & White as part of the 2019 London Design Festival. Located at Finsbury Avenue Square, the Please Be Seated landmark project is a physical representation of the community’s changing rhythms. The curvaceous, wooden structure spans 15.5 meters across, while its curves reach a peak height of 3.4 meters, high enough for people to walk under and comfortably rest against when sitting or lounging. The installation was constructed from 1,151 reused scaffolding planks bent into three ribbon-like concentric circles. Related: Artist suspends a giant cube filled with images of ocean plastic inside a London museum “Every single aspect of the installation is tailored to its environment as well as the function it serves,” Cocksedge said in a press statement. “The curves raise up to create backrests and places to sit, as well as space for people to walk under or pause and find some shade. It walks the line between a craft object and a design solution. It occupies the square without blocking it.” Supported by Broadgate and British Land, Please Be Seated was presented to the public on September 14, 2019 in parallel to the London Design Festival . An exhibition of Cocksedge’s work that was displayed at Broadgate’s The Space | 3FA also showed the process behind creating Please Be Seated. The installation will remain in place until October 11, 2019. + Paul Cocksedge Photography by Mark Cocksedge via Paul Cocksedge

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Spectacular installation in London turns scaffolding planks into sculpture

Earth911 Podcast, Oct. 4, 2019: RightWater Goes Plastic-Free

October 4, 2019 by  
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RightWater, a mineral water distributor, is setting a new standard … The post Earth911 Podcast, Oct. 4, 2019: RightWater Goes Plastic-Free appeared first on Earth911.com.

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Earth911 Podcast, Oct. 4, 2019: RightWater Goes Plastic-Free

Big companies, big commitments at Climate Week

September 27, 2019 by  
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The historic announcements and procurements from businesses showed that climate action is picking up pace, but is it fast enough?

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Big companies, big commitments at Climate Week

From the farm to the restaurant, how people are investing in regenerative agriculture

September 27, 2019 by  
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Farming itself could regenerate the land — but it might take both public and private sectors to achieve success.

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From the farm to the restaurant, how people are investing in regenerative agriculture

Climate Week: Big companies, big commitments

September 27, 2019 by  
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The historic announcements and procurements from businesses showed that climate action is picking up pace, but is it fast enough?

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Climate Week: Big companies, big commitments

Mergers are coming: How to manage ESG through the M&A process

September 17, 2019 by  
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As business leaders across industries pursue mergers and acquisitions, there will be substantial ESG opportunities and risks. Here’s what to look for.

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Mergers are coming: How to manage ESG through the M&A process

EPA repeals water protections, choosing industry over wetlands

September 13, 2019 by  
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On Thursday, the Trump administration repealed the Waters of the United States (WOTUS) rule, an Obama-era policy designed to protect waterways. Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Andrew Wheeler said the EPA plans to reinstate 1980s water rules. The EPA and U.S. Army will decide this winter which waterways to regulate. “Today’s Step 1 action fulfills a key promise of President Trump and sets the stage for Step 2 — a new WOTUS definition that will provide greater regulatory certainty for farmers, landowners, home builders and developers nationwide,” Wheeler said in a statement. Related: Nestlé plans to bottle 1.1M gallons of water daily from natural springs in Florida WOTUS stipulated which wetlands and streams would be protected from pesticides , fertilizer, mine waste and other pollutants under the 1972 Clean Water Act . But farmers, miners and other industry players complained the policy was overreach, interfering with their business interests. The states are divided on WOTUS and its repeal. Twenty-two states — as well as the District of Columbia and U.S. territories — have been following the Obama-era policy, while 27 states never moved on from the ’80s regulations. California’s Attorney General Xavier Becerra, no friend of Trump, plans to fight the repeal, which would cut federal protection to California’s water. Meanwhile, North Dakota Governor Doug Burgum is celebrating. Environmental groups, including Earthjustice, worry that repealing WOTUS will imperil safe drinking water and thwart safeguards against pollution and flooding. “President Trump’s administration wants to turn back the clock to the days of poisoned flammable water,” said Abigail Dillen, Earthjustice president. “This is shameful and dangerous.” Nor were environmentalists impressed with the repeal being announced at the headquarters of the National Association of Manufacturers, feeling this privileged industry over public health . Craig Cox, senior vice president for agriculture and natural resources at the Environmental Working Group, said, “The EPA is no longer in the business of safeguarding our resources and protecting us from pollution, but is openly working to advance the agenda of those who profit from fouling our water and threatening our health.” Via Reuters Image via Pixabay

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EPA repeals water protections, choosing industry over wetlands

The environmental cost of the pumpkin spice latte

September 13, 2019 by  
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With fall around the corner, the pumpkin spice latte (PSL) has already taken over Starbucks menus across the country, and it’s likely that the crisp mornings will send you straight for the drive-thru. But before you prove your loyalty to the iconic, autumnal beverage, consider the effects your morning brew might have on the environment and your health, from the ingredients to the drive-thru to the disposable cups. The ingredients can be bad for the Earth and our health The recipe varies from one place to another, but it’s worth asking the question, “What is in that pumpkin spice latte, anyway?” Most contain a combination of traditional fall spices, steamed milk, espresso, often sugar and sometimes some pumpkin puree, topped with whipped cream and pumpkin pie spice. While that might sound wholesome, researchers have found things like sulfites, potassium sorbate and annatto, which have been linked to breathing conditions, damage to genetic material and effects on blood pressure. Even when Starbucks announced its intention to switch to real pumpkin instead of a mixture of artificial flavors, other ingredients might also be problematic, such as commercially produced milk and non-organic pumpkin that contributes antibiotics, pesticides , insecticides and herbicides to our diets and ecosystems. Organic is a better option, and some groups have pressured Starbucks to make the change to no avail. Related: The problem with coffee pods and the eco-friendly alternatives to use instead You should also know the concoction is barely even coffee, with a very low amount of caffeine. While it’s difficult to know exactly what’s mixed into your cup, before you indulge, do your own research about what you’re ordering. Note that a 16-ounce cup, or “grande,” with 2 percent milk and whipped cream serves up 380 calories , 14 grams of fat, 52 grams of carbs and 50 grams of sugar. PSL impacts our planet in many ways Cultivating the ingredients for your cup of seasonal Joe is rough on the planet. Consider the impact to the Amazon alone, where 2.5 million acres have been cleared in favor of coffee plantations over the past few decades. Sure, your single PSL isn’t to blame, but the cultural and habitual elements of the daily coffee run are; not to mention the whipped cream topping and the ever-growing awareness of the effect cattle has on the planet. Animal agriculture is one of our planet’s largest contributors to air quality issues, making that frothy topping and milky foundation anything but a treat. Then, there is the fact that coffee is a water-intensive crop, with Mother Nature Network reporting that it takes about 37 gallons of water to grow and process the coffee beans to make one cup of coffee . Take into account the process of making a cup of PSL and washing dishes afterward, too. Humans are responsible for polluting our waterways , which comes as no surprise after many years of headlines regarding landfills, lawn fertilizer runoff and microbeads. What you might not realize is something as simple as a cup of PSL can result in water pollution. While it might not be as toxic as Roundup , a group called Sound Citizen has monitored the waterways around the Pacific Northwest for the past decade and reported finding higher amounts of cinnamon and pumpkin spice throughout the fall season. PSLs leave a trail of waste Following the damage that the ingredients of the PSL have on the planet is the waste left behind. To perform at the level we expect, manufacturers coat the disposable paper cups in plastic, for which the planet does not thank us. Even when the paper manages to break down naturally, the residual plastic is left to sit in the soil and eventually the waterways. Add to that the plastic lids and straws (unless of course, you have your own ), and you’ve contributed plentiful carbon emissions and landfill waste in a single sip. The larger point to this is that everything we produce and consume has an effect on the water and earth, from the pumpkin and coffee remnants tossed at the cafe to the garbage full of drippy, plastic-lined cups to the waste we release in our urine. How to enjoy an eco-friendly PSL You might not be able to pass up the PSL 100 percent of the time, and we’re not saying you should, but awareness is a huge part of the battle. There are several things you can do to lessen the burden on the planet. Firstly, bring your own refillable cup and skip the single-use option. At the very least, avoid the lid and straw. Secondly, skip the whipped cream and opt for soy or almond milk options. Finally, avoid idling in the drive-thru. Organize coffee stop carpools at the office, walk to your morning spot or at least turn off the engine while you wait. Related: The homesteader’s guide to a perfect pumpkin spice latte Another alternative option is to make your own PSL at home. Enjoy the warmth and endearing scent emanating from your mug with ingredients sourced locally. Plus, using your own recipe means you know what went into it, like organic milk and pumpkin. If you’re not sold on making your own concoction, seek out local coffee shops that offer organic and natural ingredients. Cheers! Via Care2 , Society 19 , Earth Day , Independent , Mother Nature Network and Atlas Obscura Images via Pexels , Mimzy , Robert Couse-Baker , Daniel Spils and Jill Wellington

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The environmental cost of the pumpkin spice latte

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