Project Blu turns plastic bottles into sustainable pet products

March 31, 2020 by  
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Project Blu is a U.K.-based startup company that is creating sustainable pet products made from recycled materials such as plastic, textiles and leather. Each Project Blu product is made using anywhere between 1 and 300 plastic bottles, and each sale comes with a company pledge to clean yet another pound of plastic from oceans and coastlines through its partnership with the nonprofit Plastic Bank. “Our oceans bear the brunt of our plastics epidemic, with up to 12.7 million tons of plastic ending up in them every year,” said Geryn Evans, founder of Project Blu. “We are working to collect and manufacture high quality pet products from the mounting number of plastic bottles and discarded fishing nets already in our oceans, rather than make more.” Related: 7 ways to be a sustainable and eco-friendly pet owner The plastic is broken down into flakes and melted into pellets before being converted into polyester yarn, while fibers are extracted from fabrics to be made into cotton yarn. The yarn combination is then used to fashion sturdy pet toys and beds. Leather is a bit trickier; pieces of discarded leather waste destined for landfill are broken down into leather fiber and made into a composite using a hydroentanglement process. This allows the leather scraps to be transformed into one single roll of material that is then handcrafted by Italian artisans into stylish leashes and collars. The process uses no harmful chemicals, less water than traditional pet product manufacturing and is carbon-neutral . Project Blu also works with a tree-planting organization in Africa to help counteract any carbon emissions from transportation. Most of the plastic used for Planet Blu’s products is collected in the Maharashtra state in India, one of the world’s countries that is most impacted by plastic pollution. Project Blu recently partnered with Mars Petcare, a globally-recognized pet health and nutrition manufacturer with a $200,000 investment to help jump-start the business. The startup has already delivered more than 80,000 products to international distributors and was voted “Best New Product” at the PATS exhibition, U.K.’s popular pet industry event. + Project Blu Images via Project Blu

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Project Blu turns plastic bottles into sustainable pet products

EY’s Veli Ivanova on the company’s 2020 carbon neutral commitment

February 26, 2020 by  
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Just before GreenBiz 20 in February 2020, financial services company EY announced that it would become carbon neutral by the end of the year. Veli Ivanova, Americas climate change and sustainability services leader at EY, joined GreenBiz 20 Sidebar cohosts Heather Clancy and Sarah Golden to discuss the announcement. Ivanova noted that EY has been doing similar work with client organizations for about a decade and that it was important for the company to do the same. “Our employees are really the driving force behind that commitment,” she says.

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EY’s Veli Ivanova on the company’s 2020 carbon neutral commitment

EY’s Veli Ivanova on the company’s 2020 carbon neutral commitment

February 26, 2020 by  
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Just before GreenBiz 20 in February 2020, financial services company EY announced that it would become carbon neutral by the end of the year. Veli Ivanova, Americas climate change and sustainability services leader at EY, joined GreenBiz 20 Sidebar cohosts Heather Clancy and Sarah Golden to discuss the announcement. Ivanova noted that EY has been doing similar work with client organizations for about a decade and that it was important for the company to do the same. “Our employees are really the driving force behind that commitment,” she says.

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EY’s Veli Ivanova on the company’s 2020 carbon neutral commitment

UN Global Compact’s Marie Morice on where we are with the Sustainable Development Goals

February 26, 2020 by  
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Marie Morice, head of sustainable finance at the U.N. Global Compact, says that there’s strong interests with corporates for the Sustainable Development Goals — often referred to as SDGs — but with many of goals, “we’re not there yet.”

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UN Global Compact’s Marie Morice on where we are with the Sustainable Development Goals

ZHA gets the green light for worlds first all-timber soccer stadium in England

January 10, 2020 by  
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After years of delays, Zaha Hadid Architects has finally gained planning approval for Eco Park Stadium, the world’s first all-timber soccer stadium in Gloucestershire, England that will serve as the new home of the Forest Green Rovers football club. As a beacon of sustainability, the structure will aim to be carbon neutral or carbon negative and will include renewable energy systems as well as low-carbon construction methods and operational processes. Set in a meadow, the Eco Park Stadium minimizes its visual impact on the surrounding landscape with a natural material palette and a soft, undulating profile topped with a transparent membrane roof to reduce the building’s volumetric impact and encourage turf growth. The building will be constructed almost entirely of sustainably sourced timber , from its structure and roof cantilevers to the seating terraces and floor slab — elements that are typically built from concrete and steel in most stadiums. The stadium design can also accommodate future growth; the structure will initially serve 5,000 spectators, while phased development can increase capacity to 10,000 seats without the costs of major construction works. “The really standout thing about this stadium is that it’s going to be almost entirely made of wood — the first time that will have been done anywhere in the world,” said Dale Vince, Ecotricity founder and Forest Green Rovers chairman. “When you bear in mind that around three quarters of the lifetime carbon impact of any stadium comes from its building materials, you can see why that’s so important — and it’s why our new stadium will have the lowest embodied carbon of any stadium in the world.” Related: Zaha Hadid’s 2022 World Cup stadium in Qatar adapts for future use The Eco Park Stadium will be the centerpiece of the £100 million Eco Park development, Ecotricity’s 100-acre sports and green technology park proposal. Half of Eco Park will include state-of-the-art sporting facilities, including the new stadium, while the other half will be dedicated to a green technology business park with sustainably built commercial offices and light industrial units. The proposal will also include a nature reserve on the site and a possible public transport hub. + Zaha Hadid Architects Images by MIR and negativ.com via Zaha Hadid Architects

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ZHA gets the green light for worlds first all-timber soccer stadium in England

Carbon-neutral, prefab development targets sustainable urbanism for Rotterdams Rijnhaven area

December 19, 2019 by  
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In a bid to revitalize the area of Rijnhaven, a Rotterdam port dating back to 1895, Blueroom and Urban Crossovers have designed a proposal for a new, mixed-use development that could serve as a leading example of sustainable urbanism. The project, titled ‘Rotterdam Next Level! — SmartMoves 51.90,’ proposes high-density development built from low-waste, prefabricated architecture in a range of building typologies, from high-rises to floating creative communities. The development is also designed with carbon-neutral targets and aims to increase biodiversity on both land and water. As a delta city, Rotterdam has had to cope with flooding for years as the majority of the urban area sits below sea level. Building on Rotterdam’s experience and reputation for resilient design, Blueroom and Urban Crossovers want to turn the Rijnhaven area into a forward-thinking example of urbanism that addresses climate change, climate adaptation and housing shortages all at once. Related: ODA to transform Rotterdam’s historic post office into a vibrant destination “A development that is attractive and accessible for all, but also, a development that adds a unique urban condition to the entire metropolitan area,” the designers said. “A district that further enforces the innovative and sustainable ambitions of Rotterdam. Thus, setting an example for climate adaptive urbanism for urban deltas around the world.” The proposal calls for a mixed program of hotels, retail, cafe, offices, makerspaces and dedicated facilities for housing international institutions focused on fighting climate change. The masterplan would also include a wide variety of residences that serve all market segments, from floating creative communities to single-family houses with gardens to high-rises with apartments and penthouses. Prefabricated construction would be used for efficiency and to minimize disruptions to the surrounding areas. Green public spaces, a floating park and a park promenade would be woven throughout, with areas set aside for urban vegetable and fruit farming. + Blueroom Images via Blueroom

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Carbon-neutral, prefab development targets sustainable urbanism for Rotterdams Rijnhaven area

Vegan holiday cookie recipes for every plate and palate

December 19, 2019 by  
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Any day is the perfect day to celebrate cookies, but when the holidays roll around, we really itch to get baking. Whether you’re planning to hand out cookie gift plates, donate to a bake sale or leave a treat for Santa, many people in your community will be seeking out vegan holiday cookies, so we’ve put together a list of possibilities. Get baking! Chocolate peppermint crinkles You just can’t go wrong with a combination of chocolate with peppermint all topped with sweet, powdered sugar. Besides, peppermint is a hallmark ingredient for any recipe in December. Thanks to My Darling Vegan , this recipe requires basic ingredients, so there’s no need to hit the specialty store for anything unusual. Note there is a recommended 4-hour refrigeration period, so keep that in mind if you are in a rush to make a treat for an upcoming cookie exchange. Related: How to make delicious, raw almond cranberry Christmas cookies The process for these yummy treats is pretty straight-forward. Mix the dry ingredients, mix the wet ingredients and then mix everything together. After refrigerating the dough and rolling it into balls, you’ll dip them in granulated sugar and powdered sugar. For the best results, pull them out of the oven just before they are completely cooked. This will help them stay soft. Gingerbread The season isn’t complete without gingerbread, and while you may have already decorated a gingerbread house , you can whip up a batch of these gingerbread cookies for a quick activity. No one says you have to decorate them, though, so we’re on board with turning them into drop cookies, too. These cookies might be rated as ‘intermediate’ on the vegan grocery supply list, because they do include ingredients like vegan butter and a flax egg. But if you frequently cook vegan recipes, you might already have these in the house. Check out this recipe at Loving it Vegan , which even includes a vegan frosting for decorating if you choose to do so. Tips: Make sure you don’t roll your dough too thin, and use a cookie cutter with sharp edges for the cleanest cuts. Dip your cookie cutter in flour between each use to help the dough slide out easily, and be generous in flouring your surface to keep the dough from sticking. Pumpkin sugar cookies Why decide between pumpkin cookies or sugar cookies, when you can have both? From The Minimalist Baker , these cookies are topped with a buttercream frosting enhanced with the flavors of pumpkin and warming spices. This recipe also calls for vegan butter, but there’s nothing surprising on the ingredients list. If you’re not familiar with arrowroot, it’s an alternative to cornstarch. For your milk substitute, you can use any non-dairy option you prefer . In the frosting, the pumpkin butter is optional, but really, why wouldn’t you? When it comes to making the dough, factor in some chill time, meaning that it needs to get cold in the fridge or freezer before baking. While baking, make sure to pull them from the oven right when they become a light, golden-brown color. Molasses cookies Perhaps it’s the smell of pine in the air or the thoughts of sweet treats for Santa’s arrival, but there is just something that connects molasses to Christmastime. So as the holidays approach, whip up a batch of molasses cookies for visiting guests or as a gift to conscientious co-workers. These Chewy Ginger Molasses Cookies by Making Thyme for Health offer spicy sweetness that is vegan, gluten-free and sans refined sugars. Even with all the things they are not, the ingredient list is straightforward. As an added bonus, they’ll make your house smell amazing! Chocolate chip cookies Chocolate chip is a year-round classic that everyone loves. This version from Sweet Simple Vegan includes easy-to-find ingredients and has earned high reviews. Use coconut oil as a healthier option to vegetable oils, toss in your favorite vegan chocolate chips and use whichever plant-based milk you prefer. Related: Impress loved ones with these homemade foods for holiday gifts Be sure to read the notes regarding whether to chill the dough or not. It’s optional depending on your preferred style of cookie. Oatmeal cookies This recipe from The Minimalist Baker is a mix of oatmeal with delicious fruits and optional nuts and seeds for a versatile recipe that you can make your own. Choose your favorite ingredients to suit the tastes of your friends and family. The ingredients list itself is very short, so have fun playing around with different combinations. Tips: Read through the recipe completely before getting started. It does a good job of anticipating your concerns. Is it too wet? Too sticky? Unlike many other cookies, these don’t spread out when they cook. Rugelach While many holiday cookies center around Christmas traditions, those who celebrate Hanukkah wouldn’t want to suffer through the season without the traditional rugelach on the plate. So here’s a vegan version straight from the website of Sunnyside Hanne . Enjoy! Images via Shutterstock

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Vegan holiday cookie recipes for every plate and palate

Sono Motors self-charging solar electric car will feature an air-purifying moss interior

September 19, 2019 by  
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German mobility startup Sono Motors recently unveiled the first interior renderings for the Sion, a fully electric vehicle with full-surface solar integration that will feature a strip of air-purifying moss inside. Designed for autonomous charging using solar power, the Sion will be integrated with a smart system to monitor the vehicle’s solar range and energy consumption. Series production is set to begin in the second half of next year with a total of 260,000 vehicles produced for the European market with an expected cost of 25,500 euros ($28,077 USD). Billed as a Solar Electric Vehicle (SEV), the Sion is defined by its full-surface integration of solar panels that are visually blended into the hood, fenders, sides, roof and rear of the vehicle. The solar panels are protected with a scratch-resistant polymer and the energy collected is used to charge the 45 kWh lithium-ion battery to help extend the range of the vehicle, expected to clock in at 255 kilometers for everyday use. The solar cells are estimated to provide additional range of up to 5,800 kilometers per year. Related: Meet ‘Blade’, the world’s first 3D-printed hypercar “With solar cells seamlessly integrated into the entire body, the Sion can easily charge its battery through the sun,” said the company in a press release. “Thus, under ideal conditions, up to 34 kilometers of additional range per day can be achieved with pure solar energy — CO2-neutral and completely free of charge. This means full self-sufficiency on short distances. For solar integration, we use monocrystalline silicon cells that produce energy even under cloudy skies or in the shade. At peak performance, the integrated cells can generate up to 1.2 kilowatts.” The Sion will also be equipped with bidirectional charging for drawing and storing energy and sharing energy to power all common electronic devices as well as other electric cars. The interior of each car will be fitted with island moss as a natural air filter system. Electrostatic attraction will also filter up to 20 percent of particulate matter from the air. Sono Motors has thus far accepted over 10,000 pre-orders and counting. + Sono Motors Images via Sono Motors

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Sono Motors self-charging solar electric car will feature an air-purifying moss interior

New York allows students to miss class for the climate strike

September 19, 2019 by  
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Tomorrow, on September 20, a global climate strike is scheduled to bring awareness about the need for transformative action against the growing climate crisis . The strike will take place three days before the United Nations Climate Summit in New York City. Unlike other strikes, this one invites New York City minors to participate, thanks to the event coinciding with efforts already begun by Swedish teen activist Greta Thunberg. In support of Thunberg’s efforts, the New York City Department of Education recently announced via Twitter that it will excuse any of the city’s 1.1 million students who are interested in attending the scheduled September 20 climate strike . But they must provide parental consent, per their school’s attendance protocols, to be formally excused from class. Related: Can’t make the climate strikes? Here are a few tips on how students can live sustainably New York Mayor Bill de Blasio similarly tweeted his stamp of approval, saying, “We have 10 years to save the planet. TEN YEARS. Today’s leaders are making decisions for our environment that our kids will have to live with. New York City stands with our young people. They’re our conscience. We support the 9/20 #ClimateStrike.” Thunberg will be speaking at the NYC event, as will climate activist Xiuhtezcatl Martinez. The event is supported by organizations such as Fridays for Future, National Children’s Campaign, OneMillionOfUs, 350.org, Zero Hour and many more. Participants in the New York City climate strike are asked to assemble on Foley Square at noon Eastern Time, then head southward toward Battery Park, where the rally is to take place between 2:30 p.m. and 5:00 p.m. local time. Meanwhile, students and adults alike will be striking around the world, with strikes taking place in cities from September 20 to September 27. You can join in by using this map to find an event near you. + Global Climate Strike Via CNN Image via Jasmin Sessler

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New York allows students to miss class for the climate strike

Carbon-neutral science museum in Sweden will be powered by bicycles

July 19, 2019 by  
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Danish architectural firm COBE has unveiled designs for a new science museum in the Swedish university city of Lund that will be powered not only with rooftop solar energy but also with pedal power. Museum visitors will be invited to help generate electricity for the carbon-neutral museum by riding “energy bikes” on its concave roof. Constructed primarily from prefabricated cross-laminated timber, the eco-friendly building will be a sustainable landmark and help cement Lund’s position as a science city on the international stage. Winner of an international competition, COBE’s proposal for the science museum will be located in the heart of the city’s new urban district, Science Villa Scandinavia. The museum will be sandwiched between the high-tech institutions ESS (European Spallation Source) and MAX IV, which are currently under construction and slated to become the world’s most powerful and advanced research facilities within neutron and X-ray research. The science museum’s purpose is to make the institutions’ groundbreaking research more accessible and inviting to both children and adults and to promote general interest in natural science and research. Spanning a total floor space of 3,500 square meters, the two-story science museum will comprise exhibition halls, a gallery, a reception area, workshops, a museum shop, a restaurant, offices and an auditorium. A viewing platform and patio will top the concave 1,600-square-meter roof as will energy bikes and a solar array large enough to meet the museum’s electricity needs. A large, nature-filled atrium will sit at the heart of the museum to help absorb carbon dioxide, boost biodiversity and serve as a water reservoir and overflow canal in case of extreme rainfall. Excess heat from ESS will be used to heat the museum through an ectogrid system. The timber building is expected to reach completion by 2024. Related: Industrial building is reimagined as a zero-carbon paragon for Paris 2024 Olympics “Ambitions for the design of the museum have been sky-high, and we feel that we have succeeded in designing a unique and inviting building, whose open atrium and concave roof lend it a dramatic and elegant profile that stands out and offers novel and innovative ways of using a museum,” said Dan Stubbergaard, architect and founder of COBE. “Moreover, we have made climate, environment and sustainability integral aspects of the process from the outset. By choosing wood as the main construction material, incorporating solar cells, using excess heat and creating an atrium with a rich biodiversity and a rainwater reservoir, among other features, we have achieved our goal and succeeded in creating a CO2-neutral building, if the design is realized as intended. Our hope, as architects, is that we can continue to increase the focus on and improve our ability to create sustainable architecture and construction for the benefit of future generations and the condition of the planet.” + COBE Images via COBE

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Carbon-neutral science museum in Sweden will be powered by bicycles

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