This zero-waste espresso machine is powered by human strength

August 12, 2019 by  
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While cafe-worthy espresso machines still lie out of the price range for most people, there are more and more affordable versions hitting the market. Still, many models at all price points either create waste from pods and filters or use a lot of energy — or both. In searching for an option that fulfills our love for coffee without creating waste and consuming a lot of electricity, we found ROK. The ROK espresso maker promises a strong, double shot of espresso with zero-waste and zero-energy needed. After opening the box, we felt pretty intimidated by the machine. It is made from strong, sturdy steel, and is small enough to carry around, but the instructions weren’t incredibly informative. There is also a metal portafilter, which holds the coffee grounds, as well as a plastic coffee scoop that doubles as a tamper, a splitter to turn the double shot into two single shots and a mysterious additional piece that we still do not know its purpose. (If you know, leave us a comment below!) Related: The problem with coffee pods and the eco-friendly alternatives to use instead Luckily for ROK users, the company has an informative YouTube channel, where we found plenty of tutorials as well as helpful tips and tricks to make the best espresso possible. After familiarizing ourselves with the routine, we decided to give it a go. We added fine coffee grounds to the portafilter and tamped it firmly, but not too firmly, using the back of the coffee scoop. Inserting the portafilter into the machine is probably the trickiest part; we recommend squatting down and looking to see where the notches line up to avoid missing and dumping the grounds everywhere (speaking from experience here). After the portafilter is secured in place, make sure your mug is lined up at the bottom under the spout, and add boiling hot water to the black plastic rim at the top of the machine. We found about 100 to 110 mL gave us the perfect amount with enough to pull a thin layer of crema at the top of the cup as well. Pull the arms of the machine up slowly, then push down. If you feel a lot of resistance, don’t push further! The coffee might be tamped in too much, and forcing the arms down could cause the water to burn you. If the arms are moving with just slight pressure, you are doing it correctly. Push slowly, and the water will run through the portafilter and espresso will pour into your mug. After the arms are all the way down, feel free to pull the arms up and push down one more time to get rid of any excess water and to pull crema. If you want to create two single shots of espresso (a great way to take a quick break with coworkers!), simply attach the clear, plastic splitter to the end of the portafilter after it has been secured into the machine. Place an espresso mug under the end of each side of the splitter, and operate as usual. After our trial run, we were so surprised at how easy it was to use the ROK espresso maker. We simply composted the used grounds, wiped the machine and portafilter down and it was ready to go for the next round of espresso. We love it so much, in fact, that we use it multiple times a week. It makes a strong cup of espresso, it is a breeze to use, it is quiet (so we aren’t disturbing the people working around us) and it is quick to clean. It also is small enough to fit on a desk. Prices vary depending on where you purchase ROK, but it costs about $160-180 USD. The company sells bundles on its website that include the machine as well as a milk frother, coffee and more. Although the plastic parts do feel sturdy, if they happen to break, ROK sells small replacement kits as well, so you can service your machine and get the coffee breaks you deserve for years to come. + ROK Images via Inhabitat Editor’s Note: This product review is not sponsored by ROK. All opinions on the products and company are the author’s own.

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This zero-waste espresso machine is powered by human strength

MASK Architects design a sustainable pavilion nestled in a German forest

July 19, 2019 by  
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Turkish architect Öznur P?nar Çer’s firm MASK Architects has designed a sustainably minded pavilion proposed for Waldspielpark Heinrich Kraft Park, the largest forest game park in Frankfurt, Germany. Created with a leaf-shaped structure, the building is designed to blend into the forest with its natural materials palette that mainly comprises locally sourced timber. Dubbed Leaf and Bean Co Pavilion, the building will house a coffee shop, a semi-open library, recreational areas and an events space. Shaped like an ovate leaf, the Leaf and Bean Co Pavilion will span an area of more than 2,000 square feet across two floors. The pavilion’s ground floor will be semi open and house exhibition space, while the upper level will include the coffee shop with the service areas placed inside a circular core at the heart of the building. Optimization of views of the surrounding forest informed the decisions for placing the programming. In addition to providing structural support, locally sourced timber will be used to give the pavilion a sculptural appeal. The architects propose crisscrossing long timber blocks around the building exterior for a nest-like appearance that evokes branches in a forest. Large amounts of glazing wrap around the building to create an immersive experience in nature. The roof of the pavilion directly above the coffee service areas will be planted with trees and greenery visible from the coffee shop below. Related: A modern reusable pavilion is sustainably designed to pop-up almost anywhere “We carried out a design in which people can provide unforgettable experience without disturbing the mathematics and physics of nature,” Öznur P?nar Çer said in a press statement. “This pavilion can be adapted to any kind of forest area, the development offers visitors an escape from the city with the celebration of fresh and organic dining. A hub educating and reestablishing gastronomy’s historic and appropriate connection with nature. Guests may enjoy the leisure and programmed resting on the terrace level while connected with the natural forest. By wandering in the forest, visitors not only discover co-creation programs but also meet with the people involved with the project and explore their creative process.” + MASK Architects Images via MASK Architects

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Zara pledges 100% sustainable fabrics by 2025

July 19, 2019 by  
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This week, major fashion brand Zara announced a pledge to use 100 percent sustainable fabrics by 2025. The company also upped the ante for large-scale sustainable fashion by promising to use 80 percent renewable energy for its headquarters, factories and stores by the same deadline. “We need to be a force for change, not only in the company but in the whole sector,” said Pablo Isla, CEO of Inditex, the corporation that owns Zara. “We are the ones establishing these targets; the strength and impulse for change is coming from the commercial team, the people who are working with our suppliers, the people working with fabrics.” Related: H&M releases sustainable fashion line from fruit and algae Inditex is the third-largest apparel company in the world and promises that its other brands, including Massimo Dutti, will follow Zara’s example. Zara is by far the corporation’s largest brand, pulling in 70 percent of its sales, which totaled $29 billion USD last year. A major component of the sustainability plan involves increasing the offerings and sales from Zara’s eco-conscious line, Join Life. Zara also partners with the Red Cross to donate leftover stock and has an ongoing project with the Massachusetts Institute of Technology to innovate new ways to recycle fabrics. The announcements come after increased pressure from consumers worldwide who seek sustainable fashion choices and critique the waste generated by the fast fashion industry. Zara claims it is not “ fast fashion ,” even though a documentary recently revealed that factory workers are judged by a woman holding a stopwatch and that the time between spotting a trend and having it hit Zara stores is only 2 to 4 weeks . Most fashion brands, by comparison, take 40 weeks. Critics and experts of the fashion industry noted that the new sustainability plan does not address concerns about the conditions for factory workers, despite recent controversies when disgruntled workers stitched S.O.S. notes into Zara clothing. + Zara Via The Guardian Image via Shutterstock

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Zara pledges 100% sustainable fabrics by 2025

Breezy brick house with a ground-floor cafe mimics the shape of a cuckoo clock

July 16, 2019 by  
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In the coastal Vietnamese city of Da Nang, Ho Chi Minh City-based architectural firm Tropical Space has combined a single-family home with a coffee shop to create an architecturally striking mixed-use building that evokes the playful shapes of a cuckoo clock. Dubbed the Cuckoo House, the home is built predominately from locally sourced clay brick to tie the structure to the local vernacular, while the use of bold geometric shapes throughout the building give it a distinctly contemporary edge. The home also takes advantage of sea breezes with its porous facade that harnesses natural cooling for relief from the tropical heat. Built for a couple and their two children, the Cuckoo House spans an area of nearly 3,000 square feet across two floors and an attic. To make the most of its rectangular east-west plot, the architects split the ground floor into three sections: the entrance gate and parking pad on the east side along with a small storefront and bathrooms; the coffee shop and bar in the middle; and a semi-enclosed courtyard with a pool on the west side. Large arches surround the brick-paved courtyard and bring cooling breezes and views of the surrounding garden into the space, and full-height glazing wraps the coffee shop to blur the line between indoors and out. Related: Solar screen brings beauty and heat relief to a Vietnam home The residential section of the building is located atop the ground floor “base block” and split into three blocks: the double-story Block A with the master bedroom on one floor and the bathroom and walk-in closet on the other; the double-story Block B with the kids’ bedroom above and the living room below; and Block C that contains the kitchen and dining area. All three blocks are connected and open up to outdoor terraces with operable glazing and views. “Like a habit, most of people’s daily activities usually take place in functional spaces. Tropical Space detaches walls, which are used to defined the place and offer the buffer space to urge people to leave their rooms and join together,” the architects explained. “These buffer layers can be used flexibly, connecting the indoor and the outdoor of the house, which could make the family activities be both private and open. Meanwhile, it allows the breeze to go through all corners of the house, and make it chill in the tropical summer.” + Tropical Space Images via Tropical Space

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Breezy brick house with a ground-floor cafe mimics the shape of a cuckoo clock

Should you stop watching Netflix because it is bad for the environment?

July 16, 2019 by  
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The world’s digital obsession doesn’t come without a carbon footprint. By 2022, 60 percent of the world’s 7.5 billion people will have internet access and 80 percent of that internet use is for streaming videos. Data streaming now surpasses the aerospace industry in terms of carbon emissions . So should we stop watching Netflix? One French think-tank seems to think so. According to The Shift Project, until the world economy can realistically shift to renewable energy in every country where the internet is used, people should consider limiting their video streaming. Its recent report indicates that online video watching released 300 million tons of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere in 2018 alone, about the same amount of annual emissions as the entire country of Spain. Related: Your favorite playlist has a carbon footprint “We have limited energy resources. The internet is a worldwide thing, so it would require every country in the world to be powered by renewable energy,” said Maxime Efoui-Hess from The Shift Project. Because that goal is still far off, he also said we should not allow the internet to grow as fast as it has now — essentially advocating to limit internet access and global connectivity for poor and rural populations, which are among the last to access and readily use the internet. Efoui-Hess also recommended slight changes like watching on smaller screens and not using high definition — changes that are insultingly small personal sacrifices and inconveniences while the top 100 corporations continue to emit more than 70 percent of the world’s greenhouse gases . If you’re suffering from climate anxiety and every small action makes you feel like you’re doing your part, by all means stop watching your favorite Netflix shows. But the best bet would be to continue advocating for major policy and economic changes that reduce the unchecked polluting and emissions among those companies and sectors in a position to make changes at a meaningful scale. + The Shift Project Via EcoWatch Image via Unsplash

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Kick the K-Cups: How to Make Coffee Consumption Sustainable at Home

July 4, 2019 by  
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Coffee is part of our modern-day culture. If you consume … The post Kick the K-Cups: How to Make Coffee Consumption Sustainable at Home appeared first on Earth911.com.

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Kick the K-Cups: How to Make Coffee Consumption Sustainable at Home

Earth911 Quiz #65: Know Your American Environmental History

July 4, 2019 by  
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It’s the Fourth of July, our most American holiday and … The post Earth911 Quiz #65: Know Your American Environmental History appeared first on Earth911.com.

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Earth911 Quiz #65: Know Your American Environmental History

Get cozy this season with these 7 hot vegan drinks for winter

January 8, 2019 by  
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Thoughts of snowy winter days bring to mind a toasty fire, slippers, sweaters, blankets and warm drinks. It makes sense, because they all equate to the perfect combination of coziness. While traditional tea or coffee is a lovely choice, it’s fun to explore new flavors. For those that are vegan by choice or by circumstance, traditional drinks can be limiting. We’ve conjured up a varied blend of hot drink options to fit your vegan lifestyle. Note that most of these options can also be adapted for the over-21 crowd. Cider Apple cider quickly comes to mind in any discussion of hot drinks, and it is undisputed as a sweet, delicious option. But cider encompasses a host of other possibilities as well. Because fruits and herbs are naturally vegan, there are endless combinations to suit your preferences. How about some apple-berry cider? Cranberry makes a colorful, flavorful and delightful cider that you can drink as-is or use as a base for any number of warm drinks. Take advantage of mint, basil and lavender for tasty spins on the classic ciders, too. Related: 12 delicious and crowd-pleasing vegan brunch ideas Coffee Another age-old vegan option is coffee . However, contemporary methods have turned this once black-only option into dairy-filled whipped, stirred and frothy concoctions. The advantage of modern inventions is that they’ve also come up with an assortment of creamy options that don’t come from an animal source. Replace the cow’s milk and heavy cream with rice milk, almond milk, coconut milk or the sturdy oat milk. From there, you can embellish with a dash of almond or peppermint extract and top with vegan whipped cream and chocolate shavings. There’s no reason to miss out on the seasonal peppermint mocha or cinnamon-spice latte you see everywhere when you can recreate it at home. Hot cocoa Cocoa is a childhood favorite with its sweet flavor and creamy texture. It became a classic for a reason — it’s delicious! But even the classics are due for an upgrade at some point, so take cues from the coffee suggestions above with the addition of extracts, vegan chocolate , milks and whipped cream. You can even mix it up with white chocolate or dark chocolate, too. In the family of cocoa is a vegan Mexican favorite called champurrado, made from masa and either water or milk. You can enhance the flavor with anise, cinnamon or nutmeg for a yummy twist. Gingerbread coconut milk hot cocoa is another delectable option to consider. Simply combine a can of coconut milk with cocoa powder and season with maple syrup, ginger, allspice and vanilla. Top with vegan whipped cream if desired. Tea Tea might be the oldest hot beverage on the planet. For thousands of years, native communities around the world have infused leaves into water to create a calming brew. While English breakfast and peppermint varieties are divine on their own, jazz them up a bit for an extra special treat. London Fog tea  latte is one such treat. To make it vegan, substitute your favorite milk product. Steep a cup of earl grey tea with some fresh lavender. Meanwhile, steam some alternative milk . Combine the two and use a milk frother if you desire. Top with sweetener and a dash of vanilla. Chai tea latte is another notable culinary combination. Make the tea and steam the milk separately. Then, froth the milk and combine with the tea. Add honey or another sweetener to taste and top with cinnamon or nutmeg. Related: 10 tasty and easy vegan dinner ideas Mulled wine Mulled wine is an alcoholic beverage made from wine infused with fruit. Cinnamon, cloves and orange are the typical options, but star anise, clementines and other citrus or sweeteners can be added too. To make mulled wine, simmer a bottle of inexpensive red wine on the stove with the added ingredients. You can alternately let the mulled wine simmer in a slow cooker. Eggnog Did you know you can make eggnog from scratch? Yep, you can. The great part of that news is that it means you can make it from your favorite vegan milk , too. Try coconut or cashew milk. The following recipe is from the Tasty Yummies website : 2 cups homemade cashew milk or other non-dairy milk of your choice ½ cup full fat coconut milk ? cup raw cashews, soaked overnight or for at least 30 minutes (optional) 4-6 Medjool dates 1 teaspoon vanilla extract 1 teaspoon freshly ground nutmeg pinch of ground cinnamon pinch of ground cloves pinch of sea salt Add all of the ingredients to your high-speed blender and process until smooth and creamy. Serve immediately as-is or add spiced rum, bourbon, brandy or whiskey for a spirited version. Add a pinch of freshly ground nutmeg on top. Wassail If you’ve never had wassail, you’re in for a treat. It’s kind of a combination of apple and cranberry cider with an extra kick of spices. It’s fabulous warmed, and you can even throw in a shot of rum or vodka for an extra warming affect. Winter is the perfect time to cozy up to a warm cup of goodness. Enjoy! Images via Shutterstock

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A guide to the best holiday gifts for an eco-friendly home

December 5, 2018 by  
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As adults, receiving gifts to adorn a home or apartment is one of the greatest joys in life. Whether you’re searching for a unique furniture piece for your parents, adorable trinkets for a friend or something extra special for yourself, these gifts top our list of favorite presents for a green home this year. Natural Escape Mattress This holiday season, give the best gift of all: the gift of a good night’s sleep. Free from the toxic VOCs and chemical flame retardants that lurk in most traditional mattresses, the Natural Escape mattress from My Green Mattress is organic and USA-made, making it the perfect gift for just about anyone on your list. We certainly won’t judge you for purchasing it for yourself — once you’ve slept on the contouring, supportive layers of organic cotton and latex as well as natural wool, it will be even harder to leave your bed each morning. Smart thermostats This green technology will allow its recipient to keep their home cozy and comfortable year-round while saving energy and lowering utility bills. Check out the high-tech options by Nest or ecobee . Related: 4 things you need to know about smart thermostats Cork and bamboo coffee press Made from cork, bamboo and glass, this eco-friendly French press is a stylish gift that will look beautiful on any kitchen counter. The wood is left unstained for food safety, and the simple device is just as quick and easy to use as any other coffee maker but without throwaway filters or electricity. Best of all, each purchase helps the company, GROSCHE, provide more than 50 days of safe, clean drinking water for those in need. Bidet Is a bidet attachment for a toilet the most romantic or exciting gift? Maybe not. But it is incredibly useful and better for the environment, considering people around the world flush the equivalent of about 27,000 trees daily . Nomadix Many people have towels for different purposes: bathing, camping, swimming, yoga. But  one towel from Nomadix  can do it all, and these brightly patterned towels are even made from post-consumer  plastic  bottles. It’s a win-win. Terra Klay If you really want to take someone’s breath away, snag some impressive dishware from Terra Klay . From bowls and mugs to teapots and casserole dishes, this pottery is handcrafted with care by women artisans in Manipur, India. They make a striking addition to any kitchen. Fan-folded paper lights Really wow someone you love with these luxurious (but budget-friendly) pendant lights . The fixture of each light is made from upcycled vinyl records, while the intricately folded shade is made from scrap cardboard paper. It also includes LED bulbs and comes in four colors, from neutral to flashy. Rio sofa from Stem At first glance, this is a simple couch that can blend into any living room. But this sofa also features eco-friendly and customizable materials from colors and fabrics to fillings and legs. The sofas are made with FSC-certified timber frames and avoid harsh chemicals. Inmod Azara dresser This stylish dresser is made from 100 percent Moso bamboo and features six soft-close drawers to hold plenty of clothing, accessories or extra blankets. The finish is distinct enough to stand out, but subtle enough to match the recipient’s existing furnishings. Wool comforter We spend a lot of time sleeping or snuggling in bed. Make that time count with these warm, snuggly wool comforters that are made with 100 percent organic wool and cotton. This is also a durable comforter that will last and last. Melrose furnishings from Urban Woods You can’t go wrong with the Melrose set from Urban Woods . Each piece uses reclaimed wood as well as low-VOC and non-toxic materials. These furnishings are also made in L.A., reducing the environmental impact of shipping (compared to ordering items shipped from outside the country). This collection is bold and modern, but you can also find many other sets or make a custom order to suit your gift recipient’s style. Teak wood bowls and salad servers Made from reclaimed teak wood, these bowls and salad servers are a must-have for anyone who loves to entertain. Each is hand-formed with distinct graining, leaving no two items the same. From salads to fresh fruits, anything served in these bowls will be the star of the show. Recycled pouf The incredibly relaxed lounge chair, or the pouf, is becoming a staple for modern living rooms. Choose a unique, sustainable option like this eye-catching black pouf made from recycled textiles like leather and cotton. Each pouf uses a different blend of materials, making each one an original. Organic crinkled percale sheets It’s no secret that well-loved (read: old) sheets are the most comfortable to sleep in, so imagine the joy of opening a set of brand new, organic sheets that already have that worn-in softness from the start. These sheets come in soothing neutral shades to match any bedroom, and the soft, slightly crinkled cotton will make your bed even cozier than normal. Images via My Green Mattress , Nest , GROSCHE , Amazon , Terra Klay , Nomadix , ABCD , Stem , Inmod , Haiku Designs , Urban Woods , CB2 ( 1 , 2 ), Coyuchi and Amira Hegazy

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These sustainable sunglasses smell like coffee and decompose into fertilizer

October 9, 2018 by  
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In a world headed toward sustainability at every turn, Ochis Coffee is ahead of the curve with its newly-revealed sunglasses made from natural coffee and flax. Unlike standard plastic frames, this coffee-scented eyewear is biodegradable — according to the company, these sunglasses decompose 100 times faster than traditional glasses and become a natural fertilizer for plants . The only thing better than a morning greeted with sunshine is the smell of coffee , which makes the subtle coffee scent of these sunglasses a win-win. The sleek glasses can be fitted for any prescription lenses, or buyers can select one of four colorful UV options. In an innovative design, the temples flex to comfortably fit all face shapes, and the ear-tips can be bent to further improve the fit. Related: HuskeeCup is an eco-friendly cup made entirely from coffee waste The mastermind behind these eco-friendly sunglasses is Max Gavrilenko, who as a child observed as his dad worked in an optical store. Gavrilenko wanted to do things differently though, and after extensive research and development, he is about to launch a Kickstarter campaign to fund the first five sustainable models of the organic sunglasses. Ochis Coffee isn’t the first to focus on sustainable sunglasses. However, while most other companies tend to focus on bamboo products for the frames, Gavrilenko and his team have developed a process that eliminates all petroleum, opting instead for a biopolymer made from coffee cake (not the breakfast kind, but rather compressed coffee grounds), flax sawdust and a natural glue made from soybean oil. If you garden, you know coffee is good for the soil — these frames will naturally decompose at the end of the wear cycle, taking about 10 years to break down and become fertilizer. The Kickstarter campaign is preparing to launch soon. In the meantime, you can sign up on the Ochis Coffee website to receive notifications and discounts. Glasses are expected to be priced between $69-$120. + Ochis Coffee

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These sustainable sunglasses smell like coffee and decompose into fertilizer

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