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

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

Earth911 Podcast, August 13, 2018: Sustainability in Your Ear

August 13, 2018 by  
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Earth911 Podcast, August 13, 2018: Sustainability in Your Ear

Enjoy Your Coffee With Less Waste

August 6, 2018 by  
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This British caf is serving to-go coffee in ceramic mugs to combat waste

July 5, 2018 by  
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A coffee shop northeast of London wants to serve its customers coffee in a mug from your home.  La Tour Cycle Café has a novel idea to stop its reliance on disposable coffee cups: pour everything into reusable ceramic mugs, even if the order is to-go. A 2017 report from Britain’s House of Commons discovered as many as 2.5 billion coffee cups are disposed across the United Kingdom every year. This equates to more than 6.8 million cups per day. To cut down the amount of waste from hot beverages, the La Tour Cycle Café has started serving everything — including to-go beverages — in  reusable mugs . Although customers sometimes choose to take their beverages with them, supplying more mugs for the next customer isn’t a problem for the café. Every day, the business puts out a collection basket for coffee drinkers to return their cups . While many choose to come back with their glassware, even more use the opportunity to clean out their cabinets and donate their unused mugs to the café. “We’ve all got mugs languishing in our cupboards that we no longer need,” Anna Matthews, the owner of La Tour Cycle Café, told the BBC . “Why not donate them to your local coffee shop and allow people to actually have a hot drink in a china cup while they walk around?” Related: German city offers ingenious alternative to single-use coffee cups The unique program allows people to reduce the amount of waste destined for landfills  while still enjoying their favorite beverages. But reusing and recycling isn’t a new concept for Matthews and La Tour Cycle. Earlier in 2018, Matthews worked with a contractor team to transform a vacated building. Matthews was able to move her business into the bigger space, which features better wheelchair accessibility and public art displays. The café — and its eclectic collection of coffee mugs — only plans to be in the new space for two years;  Matthews has aspirations to move and give new life to another abandoned building by then. + La Tour Cycle Café Via BBC , The East Anglican Daily Times  and  Treehugger

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This British caf is serving to-go coffee in ceramic mugs to combat waste

Rags to Riches: Ditch Fast Fashion and Earn Cash From Your Clothes

June 26, 2018 by  
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Rags to Riches: Ditch Fast Fashion and Earn Cash From Your Clothes

Broccoli powder could pack a veggie punch in smoothies, soups and lattes

June 7, 2018 by  
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Do you consume the recommended serving of vegetables every day? Last year, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) published a study finding only one in 10 adults eat enough vegetables or fruit. Scientists in Australia — a country where the average person also isn’t getting the recommended daily veggie intake — came up with a possible solution: broccoli powder . A Melbourne-area cafe, Commonfolk Coffee , recently tested it out with a latte. How do you take your coffee? Milk, sugar…broccoli powder? There's a new latte shaking up Melbourne's coffee culture. #TenNews @CaryRachel pic.twitter.com/FBMv0JYkkq — Ten News Melbourne (@tennewsmelb) June 6, 2018 Australian science agency  Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organization (CSIRO) and Hort Innovation developed broccoli powder that provides one serving of broccoli in two tablespoons. They created it using what CSIRO called imperfect-looking broccoli — produce that otherwise might have been trashed. Related: Korean barista creates incredible works of latte art The Melbourne cafe’s broccoli lattes received mixed reviews — in a Ten News Melbourne video , one person said it wasn’t bad; another person said they liked it but described the taste as “milky broccoli.” But there are other uses for the powder for those who can’t stomach a broccoli latte, like in soups, smoothies or baked goods, according to Hort Innovation CEO John Lloyd. “With a rising trend in healthy eating across the board, Australian growers are always looking at ways to diversify their products and cut waste while meeting consumer demand,” Lloyd said in a statement . “Research shows the average Australian is still not eating the recommended daily intake of vegetables a day, and options such as broccoli powder will help address this.” ?????????… …nah but drink whatever floats your boat. Although can you really go past a sustainable and ethical single origin espresso *sans broccoli* ????? > > > #broccolatte #broccocino #coffee #cafe #cafes #melbourne #instacoffee #coffeeoftheday #coffeelovers #vsco #vscocam #vsco_hub #vscobest #vsco_best #vscogood #vscocamphotos #vscofeature #liveauthentic #MKexplore #neverstopexploring #letsgosomewhere #shootaward #igmasters #justgoshoot A post shared by C O M M O N F O L K (@commonfolkcoffee) on Jun 6, 2018 at 1:15am PDT Whole broccoli goes into the 100 percent broccoli powder, which is made through pre-treatment and drying processes. The final product keeps the nutrient composition, color and flavor of fresh broccoli, according to CSIRO. Lead researcher Mary Ann Augustin said broccoli’s high fiber and protein content, as well as bioactive phytochemicals, means the vegetable is an ideal candidate to turn into powder. John Said, managing director of leading broccoli producer  Fresh Select , seems to be on board, describing the project as “the emerging new food trend.” He said farmers in Australia “will have access to an alternative market whilst improving farm yields and sustainability.” + CSIRO Image via CSIRO

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Here’s why you might see a cancer warning on your coffee in California

March 30, 2018 by  
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The battle has been raging for years: is coffee a carcinogen or not? A judge in California wants to put the matter to rest – and he’s declared that there’s enough evidence for risk that California coffee sellers should have to post cancer warnings. But that doesn’t necessarily mean that the science is settled. For eight years, a lawsuit between the non-profit Council for Education and Research on Toxics and big coffee has been raging in the courts. The non-profit states that acrylamide, which is used in processing the beans, is a known carcinogen and potentially harmful to anyone who consumes coffee. Related: Could coffee help fight cancer? But a lawsuit involving Starbucks and 90 other coffee makers claim that the chemical exists in small enough concentrations that it’s no big deal. This week, Superior Court Judge Elihu Berle ruled that the coffee companies hadn’t defended their argument and that coffee sellers should have to warn buyers of the risks. Science hasn’t been able to completely answer the question. Some studies show that coffee actually helps lower your risk for some cancers, and the jury is still out on its impact for other cancers. Coffee makers have a few weeks to challenge the ruling before the order would go into effect. Via CNBC Images via Unsplash ( 1, 2 )

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German city offers ingenious alternative to single-use coffee cups

December 5, 2017 by  
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What do you do when you arrive at a coffee shop and realize you’ve forgotten your reusable mug ? Many of us, in need of caffeine, would guiltily accept the disposable cup that may or may not be recyclable. But the city of Freiburg, Germany came up with an inventive solution. They created the Freiburg Cup , which coffee lovers can snag for one Euro and return to participating stores to be cleaned and used again – up to 400 times. In Germany, over 300,000 disposable coffee cups are consumed every single hour, according to Freiburg representatives . And the 2.8 billion disposable cups consumed a year require 43,000 trees, 320 million kilowatt-hours of electricity, 1.5 billion liters of water, and 3,000 tons of crude oil – not to mention many aren’t even recycled . And these resource-intensive cups are typically used for a mere 13 minutes before being tossed out. The city launched the Freiburg Cup around a year ago, and there are now around 107 bakeries and cafes participating. The cups are manufactured in southern Germany. Related: Vancouver on track to kill wasteful single-use packaging Coffee drinkers can obtain the plasticizer- and BPA-free cup comprised of recyclable polypropylene at participating cafes, identifiable by a green sticker in the window. When they’ve finished the beverage, they can return it to any one of those cafes, which will disinfect the containers. The city doesn’t offer a reusable lid, for financial and hygienic reasons, they said. But they seem to think the disposable lids have a good chance of being recycled – when the cup is returned for cleaning, the lids are placed in a yellow bag for recycling. So far the Freiburg Cup has been incredibly successful, according to TreeHugger , with other cities in the country expressing interest. Coffee drinkers can find the locations of participating cafes on the Freiburg Cup website . + Freiburg Cup Via TreeHugger Images via Freiburg Cup ( 1 , 2 , 3 )

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London buses swap out diesel for a coffee-based biofuel

November 22, 2017 by  
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Brits may prefer tea, but their busses will be getting a buzz from coffee. U.K. startup bio-bean , Shell, and Argent Energy have teamed up to fill London’s double-deckers with an innovative new java-based fuel. According to CNN , bio-bean has already brewed up 6,000 liters (1,585 gallons) of the high-octane joe, an amount able to power one city bus for an entire year. So, how is the coffee oil manufactured? As bio-bean shares on its site, the company gathers grounds everywhere from small cafes to Starbucks-like chains to universities and even instant coffee factories. The grounds are then brought to the bio-bean plant where they are dried and coffee oil is extracted. Related: Could coffee help fight cancer? The extracted oil is then blended with other fats and oils to create a “B20” biofuel, which is further mixed with traditional mineral diesel. The new concoction offers a 10-15 percent reduction in CO2 emissions as compared to pure diesel, and prevents the release of any methane that would have occurred had the grounds been sent to a landfill. Notably, the mix does not require a specialized engine and can be used with any diesel bus, making the switch easy. Bio-bean estimates that Britain produces nearly 500,000 tonnes of coffee grounds a year—enough to power a third of London’s entire transport network. At the moment, bio-bean’s plant has the capacity to recycle 50,000 tonnes of grounds a year. Company founder Arthur Kay, however, hopes to scale the project. Kay, in fact, has his sights set on the U.S. where coffee consumption is the highest of anywhere on the planet with 400 million cups downed daily. + bio-bean Via CNN Images via Pixbay and bio-bean

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