The high environmental cost of popular holiday gifts

December 24, 2020 by  
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As we scramble around gathering up last-minute Christmas gifts, we often worry more about hurting somebody’s feelings if we don’t get them something compared to how much we consider that gift’s impact on the environment. But the societal pressure of all this gift-giving has many bad consequences for the planet. The top 10 types of Christmas gifts given in the U.K., in order, are: clothes and shoes, food and drink, health and beauty products, toys and games, books, jewelry, vouchers, music, movies and computers. Each of these items has its impact on the environment. Related: 10 eco-friendly holiday gift ideas for friends Pajamas are one of the most popular holiday presents. Many gift-givers and recipients would be shocked to find out that those cute cotton pajamas took 20,000 liters of water to produce — enough water to keep a U.K. household of two running for 2.5 months. Then there’s the pesticides . While cotton only represents 2.4% of the world’s croplands, about 24% of the world’s insecticides and 11% of pesticides are used for growing this crop. About half of the usable cotton ends up as waste product. Then, consider health and beauty products. Half a million animals die every year in makeup and toiletry tests . When it comes to packaging, those little plastic containers can take a millennium to break down. So what are we to do if we don’t want to be the Grinch around Christmas? Be a little choosier. Think of a gift the recipient will actually use, preferably for a long time. When possible, buy secondhand. Do a little research — at least read the labels or look at the company website — to ensure that ingredients are vegan and sustainably sourced. If this is too much work, shop where somebody else has already done the research for you, such as Shop Like You Give a Damn . Maybe it’s too late this year, and your presents are already wrapped and under the Christmas tree, or you already exchanged them at Hanukkah or on the solstice. But there’s always next year, and the many holidays, birthdays and other occasions in between. Each gift is a choice; choose wisely. Image via Kari Shea

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The high environmental cost of popular holiday gifts

Send your coworkers these sustainable holiday gifts

December 7, 2020 by  
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It’s the age-old question that manages to stump people in the workforce every year: what to buy coworkers for the holidays? With many people working from home this year, navigating what to buy for your teammates can be trickier than ever. Inhabitat has you covered with 11 thoughtful and eco-friendly gifts for the coworkers in your life. Fair-trade coffee For those who are unfamiliar, coffee that is certified as “ Fair-Trade ” has been vetted to ensure that the product has been produced to a certain set of ethical standards. When you buy Fair-Trade coffee, you’re not only supporting farmers who receive a fair price but supporting communities and their local environment as well. A gift of certified Fair-Trade coffee is the perfect present for the coffee-lovers in the office. Choose from some popular favorites like Cafedirect , which makes 90% of its farmers shareholders in the business, or Higher Ground Roasters , which has established partnerships with non-profits that protect important wild areas. Rok espresso machine Chances are, you have more than one coffee-lover in the office, so we just had to include this zero-waste and zero-energy espresso machine by Rok . The hand-operated machine produces a strong, double shot of espresso with no plastic pods or paper filters needed. Simply add coffee grounds to the steel portafilter, add boiling water and pull the steel arms of the machine down to produce either one double shot or two single shots at once. Its minimal design is perfect for an office kitchen or on top of a desk, and the device itself is light enough to carry around. Related: This zero-waste espresso machine is powered by human strength Zero-waste lunch kit Switching to a waste-free lunch box is one of the easiest ways to go green in the office. Package Free makes a zero-waste lunch kit complete with a silicone sandwich bag, organic cloth napkin, a bamboo cutlery set and an airtight stainless steel container. Everything inside the gift set is reusable and comes inside a handy drawstring produce bag to make it completely package free. At about $50 for everything, it won’t break the bank, either. Eco notebook Choose an eco-friendly or ethically sourced spiral notebook for meetings and conferences (in-person or virtual!), like this one from Marie Mae that’s designed, printed and packaged in the U.S. by family-owned production partners. All notebooks are fully recyclable , and a percentage of the paper composition is made from either post-consumer waste or sourced from certified sustainable and renewable wood. The Growing Candle It’s no secret that candles always make great gifts, no matter the occasion. Opt for one made from essential oil and sustainably sourced soy wax, coconut wax or beeswax for an eco-friendly flair and non-toxic fumes. The Growing Candle is made from 100% pure soy wax and a lead-free cotton wick with additive-, colorant- and phthalate-free fragrances. Even better, the candle comes in a beautiful ceramic holder and wrapped in paper embedded with wildflower seeds, so it can be repurposed as a flower planter after it has been used. ChopValue phone stand Give your coworkers a cute little home for their phones on their desks with this phone stand made from repurposed chopsticks. The ChopValue phone stand boasts 150 chopsticks recycled with 220 grams of carbon stored per product. With custom engraving available as well, this piece is sure to be a conversation starter. Welly tumbler  Featured everywhere from CNN and Vogue to Bon Appetit and Goop, this reusable bottle from Welly is made from bamboo and stainless steel . The company donates 1% of sales to charity:water to bring fresh water to those in need around the world. Choose from five different sizes and three different models plus various colors and patterns to accommodate everyone on your list. Biodegradable wood planters These biodegradable wood planters from Etsy shop MinimumDesign are 3D-printed using a sustainable blend of recycled wood and bioplastic made from corn. Available in a variety of shapes and sizes, choose the perfect style to sit on your coworker’s desk and add a little low-maintenance succulent or bonsai tree to top it off. Is your coworker lacking in gardening skills? The company also makes flower vases, coasters and even wall decorations. Upcycled circuit board supplies Another unique Etsy find (and who doesn’t love those?), these gifts from DebbyAremDesigns are made from recycled circuit boards. Perfect for the IT department or resident coworker who is always stuck fixing computer problems around the office, choose from budget-friendly bookmarks made from a recycled vintage circuit board or a more elaborate wall clock crafted from circuit board, vintage brass jewelry stampings and a recycled vintage vinyl record. Recycled plastic backpack Environmentally friendly and stylish, these $27 recycled plastic backpacks from Earth Easy come in three different colors and roll up into built-in pouches, making them lightweight, compact and convenient. The fabric is made from 100% post-consumer recycled plastic bottles and is machine-washable. With a zippable front pocket and a fold-over main compartment, it’s much more professional-looking than a standard school backpack. GoSili reusable straws Although plastic straws and single-use beverage cups are (hopefully) on their way out, there are bound to be one or two office mates who just haven’t gotten the memo yet. Along with cups and food storage containers, GoSili makes universal silicone straws tops that fit onto a wide range of different reusable cups, making them spill-proof and reusable. Kits even come with travel tins for sipping on the go. Images via S. Hermann & F. Richter , Inhabitat, Package Free, Marie Mae, The Growing Candle, ChopValue, Welly, MinimumDesign, DebbieAremDesigns, Earth Easy, GoSili and Freestocks

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Send your coworkers these sustainable holiday gifts

The best eco-friendly gifts for your grandparents

November 30, 2020 by  
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There’s no denying the holiday season is upon us. Whether that makes you ripple with excitement or reluctance, we have help for at least one of your holiday woes — what to buy the grandparents. Grandparents are notoriously difficult to buy for, but keep in mind that many of our loved ones enjoy useful household goods and homemade goodies. As a bonus, these ideas are even good for the Earth! Homemade bread There are endless variations of homemade bread, from cinnamon rolls to a pumpkin loaf. Make it with wheat flour or cater to gluten-free needs. Add seeds or nuts. Mix in some flax, chia or hemp — and don’t forget to add love! Make your homemade gift pretty with a beeswax or cloth food wrap, either of which can be reused again and again. Alternately, place it into a reusable produce bag that they can take to the grocery store later. Related: 9 sustainable living tips to take from our grandparents Aprons At the grill or over the stove, aprons take a beating. Supply grandma or grandpa with a new linen apron from Son de Flor . Linen is made from flax, a plant that is gentle to the environment. In addition to enriching the soil , flax requires less energy and water to manufacture into material than cotton. Even better, linen is completely biodegradable. Earth Polo For a classic polo that honors the planet, lean into the Ralph Lauren Earth Polo . Give grandpa one of 13 color options, all manufactured using an innovative fabric made entirely from plastic bottles. In addition, the rich colors are achieved using a waterless process . Organic handmade pasta Even if you haven’t mastered the art of making handmade pasta yourself, you can give the gift of organic food. Semolina Pasta uses semolina milled from organic durum wheat and makes its pastas in Los Angeles. Organic semolina is non-GMO and is grown sans pesticides or fertilizers. The mill sells by-products to the dairy industry, and there is nearly zero waste in the Semolina Pasta kitchen. For $25, you can put together a gift box filled with three pasta shapes of your choosing. Upcycled cribbage board For the grandparent who enjoys classic game time, give the gift of cribbage with the added benefit of reusing materials off the street. The Upcycled Cribbage Board from Art of Play is made from maple and other hardwoods. The unique inlay in the top is created using upcycled skateboards . Eliminating plastic in the design, the pegs are made of metal and can be neatly stored in a compartment on the bottom of the game board. Eco-friendly cookbooks Chelsea Green publishing not only provides a variety of unique cookbooks, but it is a leading publisher of books on all topics related to sustainable living. All books and catalogs are printed on chlorine-free recycled paper , using soy-based inks whenever possible. They are also printed in partnership with North American printing shops. Plus, Chelsea Green is 100% employee-owned. Here are a few of the popular book options that the grandparents in your life might appreciate. The Fruit Forager’s Companion provides insight for making use of fruit often left hanging on the branch. The art of fermentation has perhaps never been more in the spotlight, for the simple fact that fermented foods are good for your gut. Check out Koji Alchemy for recipes and processes related to koji. Also take a look at Wildcrafted Fermentation , a guide to lacto-fermentation using wild edibles. For grandparents committed to a restrictive diet for health or other reasons, consider The Grain-Free, Sugar-Free, Dairy-Free Family Cookbook , which is loaded with recipes that might even get the grandkids excited to roll up their sleeves and start cooking. Buckwheat pillow If your grandparents have the common issue of neck pain and trouble sleeping, a buckwheat pillow may be the solution. The heavy, firm Slumbr Ara Buckwheat Pillow offers personalized support with a design that is shaped by pushing around the buckwheat hulls. Once situated, the pillow retains its shape for consistent support through the night. Laundry kit Laundry is a fact of life, so a gift that makes the process more efficient is thoughtful for your recipient and the planet. LooHoo Wool Dryer Balls Gift Set includes three all-natural dryer balls that help dry clothes faster, and more economically, by saving energy. Wool is locally sourced near the business location in Maine. The gift set also includes a package of SoulShine Soap Company’s all-natural laundry soap, which comes without any wasteful plastic jugs. In addition, there is an equally Earth-friendly stain stick. The entire bundle comes in a box made from recycled cardboard and is plastic-free. Mason Bee Barrel Animal and nature enthusiasts will love this adorable Mason bee barrel via The Grommet . Not only is it visually appealing, but it provides a home for mason bees, which are crucial to planetary health. In return for a safe home, the bees will pollinate nearby flowers and gardens. Frog/toad house for garden If your grandparents enjoy their pond, this Ceramic Frog & Toad House is the perfect complementary item. The ceramic is made from natural materials and is 100% recyclable, giving a home to frogs and toads without damaging the ecosystem in which they thrive. Knitting needle system Keep those hand-knitted sweaters coming with this Adjustable Straight Knitting Needle System . The repetitive action of knitting can be hard on hands, especially when the yarn continuously slips down the needle. This rosewood knitting needle system uses a stopper and spring-loaded slider to keep the stitches at the top of the needle for easier, more enjoyable knitting. Images via Pixabay, Unsplash, Son de Flor, Ralph Lauren, Semolina Pasta, Art of Play, Slumbr, LooHoo and The Grommet

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Will shifting to smaller turkeys help combat food waste?

November 25, 2020 by  
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Will shifting to smaller turkeys help combat food waste? Jesse Klein Wed, 11/25/2020 – 05:00 Thanksgiving looks different this year in America. Grandpas and grandmas, uncles and aunts, and cousins of all numbers probably aren’t gathering together for dinner, unless it’s over Zoom. That reality is creating challenges for producers and suppliers — and new implications for holiday food waste. Holidays — and Thanksgiving, in particular — are huge food waste days. During a typical year, American families throw away 200 million pounds of turkey on Thanksgiving. And anothe r 200 million pound s of sides will also wind up in the garbage can. But with the coronavirus contracting many people’s Thanksgiving dinners to just their immediate households this year, those numbers are likely to be dramatically different for 2020. Just as food producers shifted at the start of the COVID-19 pandemic to accommodate the decrease in demand from restaurants, some are pivoting this fall again to provide smaller turkeys for smaller Thanksgiving dinners. Heifer USA , part of Heifer International, a nonprofit that works with small farms, helped farmers change tactics to produce these smaller turkeys. Heifer USA sells through the e-commerce organization Grass Roots Coop directly to consumers.  “Because of the short value chain, we could to pivot very quickly,” said Donna Kilpatrick, the ranch manager and land steward of Heifer USA. “There’s much more agility as a short value chain.” Because of the short value chain, we could to pivot very quickly. According to Kilpatrick, big supermarket chains order their turkeys almost a year in advance, so it’s hard to adjust to shifting demand. Grass Roots was able to get feedback directly from its customers and communicate their changing preferences this year to poultry farmers. Poultry farmers, in turn, sent their turkeys to be processed a few weeks earlier than usual to give cooks smaller and lighter-weight options. According to Grass Roots, the extra-large turkeys were the last to sell out this year, and it made the decision to cut up a higher percentage (compared to last year) of the larger turkeys into breasts and legs because it expected customers to have smaller gatherings. “If it threw anyone off track it would be in our processing facility that is booked and has to quickly change dates,” Kilpatrick said. “Now that can be difficult. I would say they bore the brunt of having to make some shifts.”  Grass Roots sold 3,000 turkeys this year, but also saw an uptick in turkey products including legs, breast and ground meat, signaling that some consumers maybe aren’t cooking an entire bird for just a few people but looking for alternatives to get their turkey fix. This year, Grass Roots reported that it saw a 219 percent lift in ground turkey sales and a 440 percent lift in turkey breast sales. Selling smaller turkeys, especially this year, will hopefully cut back on those millions of pounds of food waste and put consumers on a path to a less wasteful Christmas and 2021 Thanksgiving, even when the COVID pandemic is hopefully behind us Pull Quote Because of the short value chain, we could to pivot very quickly. Topics Food & Agriculture Food Waste Featured in featured block (1 article with image touted on the front page or elsewhere) On Duration 0 Sponsored Article Off Turkey sales are shifting to smaller birds this year and could help decrease Thanksgiving food waste.//Courtesy of Unsplash

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Will shifting to smaller turkeys help combat food waste?

Vegan hotel in Scotland wins National Geographic Award

October 27, 2020 by  
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Scotland’s first vegan  hotel  opened in June 2019, and it’s already winning awards. National Geographic just bestowed a “Good Egg” award on the  Saorsa 1875  for its commitment to sustainability. The 11-room Victorian lodging features vegan dining, upcycled furniture, eco cleaning products and runs on renewable energy. Sandra McLaren-Stewart and her son Jack head the Scottish getaway. “We wanted to create a space where everybody— vegans  and otherwise—can come together to celebrate the incredible innovation and diversity that we’re seeing across the movement,” Sandra said. “This isn’t about abstinence or sacrifice, it’s an environment where guests can experience amazing food, drink, and design that doesn’t come at the expense of our fellow animals.” Related: Hong Kong welcomes Veda, the first vegetarian restaurant inside upscale hotel Ovolo The Saorsa resides in Highland Perthshire in central  Scotland . Rich in culture and history, this area boasts gorgeous landscapes. Scottish monarchs used to soak up the beauty of the green hills and rivers from their Perthshire residence, Scone Palace. The vegan hotel sits nestled within two acres of woodlands and overlooks the town of Pitlochry. The 11 rooms of the 19th-century baronial house feature individual styles, antique furnishings and luxury linens. Each room’s name comes from a different local animal , such as the golden eagle, water vole and lynx. One is even named after the very Scottish-sounding western capercaillie, known to Americans as the wood grouse. A lot of attention goes into the Saorsa’s dining. Australian chef Deborah Fleck changes the menu daily and cooks five-course set meals featuring local organic produce, some from on-site  gardens . Meals are served communally, with guests encouraged to share stories and get to know one another. With carbon offset in mind, the Saorsa contracts with Green Earth Appeal to plant a tree for every dinner served. Faodail, the hotel  bar , mixes up innovative cocktails. Guests can try the ginger laddie, a combination of Bruichladdich classic laddie, Port Charlotte, Oloroso sherry, sweet vermouth and orange bitters. The auld pal features Copper Dog whisky, Cointreau, sweet vermouth, strawberries and verbena. The hotel offers some fun weekend packages planned for Christmas and Hogmanay — New Year’s Eve to Americans. The three-night  Christmas  weekend starts with a champagne cocktail welcome reception and includes special meals, a Christmas film, guided walk and cocktail master class. The four-night Hogmanay extravaganza begins on December 30th and features similar activities, plus a street party in Pitlochry, afternoon tea and a New Year countdown. Groups can take over all 11 rooms of the Saorsa for special events. Corporate getaways, wedding receptions, family gatherings and  yoga  retreats will all enjoy the Saorsa’s combination of Victorian elegance and luxurious modern amenities. + Saorsa 1875 Via VegNews Images via Saorsa 1875

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COVID-19, 3D printing and the digital supply chain reckoning

May 14, 2020 by  
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COVID-19, 3D printing and the digital supply chain reckoning Heather Clancy Thu, 05/14/2020 – 03:28 Proponents of 3D printing technology and digital manufacturing solutions have been seeking their breakthrough moment for years. It took mere weeks to showcase their potential as enablers of flexible supply chains — capable of decentralizing worldwide production and responding to violent, unforeseen disruption. Every day, there is news of some inspirational pivot that points toward the future possibilities for creating far more sustainable supply chains. The most vivid illustration, of course, is the literally hundreds of companies diverting at least some portion of their production capacity to creating urgently needed supplies for the medical community. It’s part altruism, part capitalism. Just a few examples: 3D printing provider HP Inc. and its network of customers and partners has so far “printed” more than 1.5 million parts for front-line healthcare workers — components for face shields and PAPR hoods. Digital manufacturing specialist Fictiv has mobilized its network to produce batches of 10,000 shields daily with lead times of as little as 24 hours.  Another player, Carbon , teamed up with Resolution Medical and Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center in Boston to design and start producing nasopharyngeal swabs for COVID-19 in just three weeks. The partnership is producing hundreds of thousands of swabs every week using Carbon’s M2 printers. Markforged , which makes metal and carbon fiber 3D printers, is part of a similar collaboration driven by several hospitals and research institutions in San Diego. With supply chains experiencing such significant disruption right now, we could see trends in different sectors toward decentralization and localization … “With supply chains experiencing such significant disruption right now, we could see trends in different sectors toward decentralization and localization, including in the way products are designed and made to rely less on centralized production and mass production,” noted Carbon CEO Ellen Kullman, in response to questions I sent her for this article. A similar sentiment was shared by Ramon Pastor, interim president of 3D printing and digital manufacturing at HP, also via email: “Many companies look to digital manufacturing service providers to help speed development of new products, shorten time to market, create leaner supply chains and reduce their carbon footprint.” The global 3D printing market was worth about $12 billion in 2019, with a compound annual growth rate of 14 percent predicted from 2020 to 2027. One of HP’s high-profile customers is Volkswagen, which is using its technology in the design of electric vehicles. VW aims to produce more than 22 million EVs worldwide by 2028. The pandemic is proving to be what Sean Manzanares, senior manager of business strategy and marketing for Autodesk, describes as an “unfortunate catalyst” that is accelerating corporate evaluations of alternative, more sustainable production methods. (To sate that interest, the software company is offering free access to the commercial versions of its cloud-hosted design applications through June 30.) Autodesk is putting considerable muscle behind demonstrative facilities that help companies explore the potential of 3D printing and localized manufacturing, such as the Generative Design Field Lab that is part of the 100,000-square-foot MxD innovation center in Chicago. Autodesk doesn’t make the hardware; it has added artificial intelligence to many of its applications to make “push-button” manufacturing simpler. One company exploring how these technologies could support its sustainability initiatives is IKEA, which has been examining how it might use reclaimed furniture scraps to create new products that combine wood and an emerging form of “sustainable power” from Arkema, which makes resins for 3D printers, Manzanares said. The first thing you have to do is show people that they have options. Dave Evans, founder and CEO of Fictiv and a former Ford engineer, said the pandemic has helped underscore the notion that digital manufacturing networks — ones that allow organizations to be more agile when it comes to sourcing — will be key to ensuring resilience in the long term, as disruptions brought on by climate change become more frequent. The seven-year-old company just logged its best first quarter. One ongoing dialogue within Fictiv is the role of design in moving toward a more circular, agile economy — one in which products can be repaired and serviced far more easily. The company’s gift to employees last Christmas: the 2002 book ” Cradle to Cradle ,” which it hopes will spur innovation from the bottom up. “The first thing you have to do is show people that they have options,” Evans observed. “If you can show someone a [total cost of ownership] or landed cost, you can show them the emissions of hyperlocal versus some different view. Our role isn’t to push sustainability, but it’s to give them a better choice. If you can do that, you’re enabling leaders to make both better business decisions and better environmental decisions.” This article first appeared in GreenBiz’s weekly newsletter, VERGE Weekly, running Wednesdays. Subscribe  here . Follow me on Twitter:@greentechlady. Pull Quote With supply chains experiencing such significant disruption right now, we could see trends in different sectors toward decentralization and localization … The first thing you have to do is show people that they have options. Topics COVID-19 Supply Chain Innovation Technology 3D Printing Featured Column Practical Magic Featured in featured block (1 article with image touted on the front page or elsewhere) Off Duration 0 Sponsored Article Off A piece of manufacturing machine from Fictiv’s digitally connected network. Fictiv Close Authorship

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COVID-19, 3D printing and the digital supply chain reckoning

This aluminum water bottle is a reusable alternative to single-use plastic

February 25, 2020 by  
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Pathwater, based out of northern California, began with a Christmas Eve run to a grocery store, where three friends lamented about the lack of truly sustainable water bottle options. So they rented a space, added two like-minded partners and got down to the business of providing water in something other than plastic . The result is a sleek, aluminum water bottle that keeps you hydrated, even when you are on the go. The team knew there were already alternatives to single-use plastic on the market, such as paper-based products. But even though paper is a more eco-friendly option to petroleum-based plastic, it is still resource-intensive and ends up in the landfill or littering beaches. Related: Coca-Cola to offer Dasani water in aluminum cans and bottles to reduce plastic waste The team brainstormed around the idea of widely popular, refillable metal water bottles. From there, they settled on a sturdy, aluminum bottle with a wide-mouth, twist-off lid that is easy to refill. The bottle is filled with locally sourced water purified through a seven-step reverse-osmosis process.  Pathwater is readily available in the northern California region and is continuing to grow in popularity. It can be found online through Amazon and in a growing number of stores and hotel snack centers — more than 4,000 to date. When you find a bottle of Pathwater, you will also discover it is fairly priced at $2.19 for a 25-ounce bottle that is both reusable and recyclable. It makes it easy to use sustainable options, even if you might be traveling and forgot to pack a reusable vessel. The future could see Pathwater bottles in vending machines and on store shelves instead of plastic bottles. In addition to taking the steps to create a viable alternative to single-use plastic, the team is dedicated to fighting plastic pollution by regularly volunteering for and partnering with beach clean-up organizations. The company has launched the PATHWATER Student Ambassador Program (PSA) to inspire and educate youth. The BAN Single-Use Plastic Bottles at Schools initiative also inspires the next generation to carry the torch in the fight against single-use plastic. + Pathwater Images via Dawn Hammon / Inhabitat

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This aluminum water bottle is a reusable alternative to single-use plastic

All-natural, gender-neutral Juniper Ridge fragrances offer new scent options

December 20, 2019 by  
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What makes a fragrance pleasant is highly subjective — what appeals to one person may be objectionable to another. However, one thing almost everyone can agree on is that using natural ingredients is better than dousing yourself in synthetic ones. Providing an alternative to synthetic scents, Juniper Ridge has released a new line of gender-neutral colognes with nature on the label and in the bottle. Based in Oakland, Calif., Juniper Ridge collects ingredients for its products on the trails of the Western United States. With a passion for the outdoors, Juniper Ridge’s team developed the cologne line in conjunction with a host of other products to bring natural scents into the home. This is done with essential oils created from locally sourced wildflowers, plants, bark, moss, mushrooms and tree trimmings. Many ingredients are hand-harvested, while others make use of waste , which would otherwise be burned, from the timber industry and the California Department of Transportation. Related: Some fragrances in the US may be made using urine, antifreeze and other awful ingredients With only two ingredients in the bottle — steam distilled essential oils and organic sugar cane alcohol — this fragrance line stays true to its all-natural essence. Such a simple recipe doesn’t leave room for the chemicals present in most fragrances. In fact, the cologne line is missing a lot — meaning it’s 100% plant-based and free of parabens, phthalates, preservatives, dyes and animal cruelty. The idea is that nature is vast, yet primitive; Juniper Ridge aims to capture that experience in a bottle with the scents White Sage, Desert Cedar, Coastal Pine and Redwood Mist. Each scent is also available as a solid perfume inside a metal tin. Juniper Ridge produces an assortment of other naturally sourced products including room sprays, massage oils, soaking salts and candles. Inhabitat’s review of the Wilderness Colognes Juniper Ridge sent me samples of three of the four available colognes. I’ve had them for a few weeks, so I’ve had a chance to share them with family members and experience the scents in various ways. It’s difficult to provide a comprehensive review of something as personal as fragrance, but generally, I would say the colognes’ profiles range from slightly sweet to woodsy, with strong initial scents that diffuse quickly into overtones reminiscent of trees, salty breezes and crisp air. White Sage was a favorite for my daughter and myself. Although the initial blast was overwhelming, especially for people with strong reactions to scents of all kinds, within a few minutes we found it to be subtly floral, with light earthiness and a dash of spice. My husband favored Redwood Mist, a strong woodsy scent that transports the mind to the mighty and vast Redwood Forest. Having visited the region and currently living in Oregon, we can verify this scent captures the essence of evergreen forests . My adult son immediately adopted the Coastal Pine, a cologne that initiates a flood of memories of forest walks and cutting down Christmas trees. After a few minutes of settling, the scent mutes into a subtle hint of fresh cut wood lingering in coastal mountain air. All of the scents are a distinct diversion from typical perfumes and colognes, which have mostly been banned from our home due to sensitivities. I am happy to report that none of these colognes caused allergic reactions for anyone in the house so now our challenge may be tracking down bottles as they disappear into personal caches. + Juniper Ridge Images via Juniper Ridge and Dawn Hammon

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All-natural, gender-neutral Juniper Ridge fragrances offer new scent options

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

Maven Moment: Great-Aunt Lucy’s Christmas Tree

December 11, 2019 by  
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Decorating for the holidays reminds me of my great-aunt Lucy. … The post Maven Moment: Great-Aunt Lucy’s Christmas Tree appeared first on Earth911.com.

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Maven Moment: Great-Aunt Lucy’s Christmas Tree

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