Africa’s first sustainable chocolate brand plans to sell in the US

October 7, 2019 by  
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While Africa grows 70 percent of the world’s cacao, very little chocolate is made on the continent. Instead, most of the raw material is shipped to other countries that then produce delicious chocolates. But De Villiers Chocolate is now working on becoming the first African-made, sustainably sourced chocolate brand available in the U.S. “Once we discovered the cocoa beans of the vibrant Bundibugyo region in Uganda , we began to realize the potential of the journey we had embarked upon,” said Pieter de Villiers, CEO and master chocolatier at De Villiers Chocolate. “It became our mission to create a chocolate brand true to its origin and the exotic taste of Africa .” Related: Cargill announces plan to reduce deforestation from cocoa De Villiers Chocolate currently sells its products at its studio on a historic Cape Dutch estate, online and through an upmarket grocery chain in South Africa. Now, De Villiers Chocolate has launched a Kickstarter campaign to raise $10,000 to help bring its chocolate to the U.S. From humble origins in a garage 10 years ago, De Villiers Chocolate has now grown into a Capetown, South Africa-based business producing chocolate, ice cream and coffee in South Africa’s Cape Winelands region. The cocoa and coffee qualify for three voluntary sustainable standards: Fairtrade, Rainforest Alliance and UTZ . De Villiers ethically sources all ingredients. It does not use palm oil, for the health of rainforests and the planet in general. It does not add artificial flavors, colorants, stabilizers, preservatives or hydrogenated vegetable oils to its chocolate. The company uses unrefined brown sugar as a sweetener, and the De Villiers dark chocolate is vegan. In a press release, De Villiers noted that Africans have not historically profited much from chocolate, despite the fact that most of the world’s cacao crop is grown there. “So how does Africa achieve sustainability ? Not by charity; charity to Africa is not sustainable. The only truly long-term endeavor is to facilitate and allow Africans to do it for themselves,” the press release reads. Through its sustainable sourcing and mission-driven products, De Villiers Chocolate is trying to put Africa on the map as a home to world-renowned chocolate artisans. + De Villiers Chocolate Image via De Villiers Chocolate

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Africa’s first sustainable chocolate brand plans to sell in the US

Finland plans to complete its coal ban one year early

March 12, 2019 by  
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Finland is following through with its coal ban initiative and making it a top priority over the next 10 years. The country promised to eliminate its reliance on coal by 2030, and Finnish Parliament just pushed through a motion to complete the ban a year earlier than the previous goal. One year may not seem like much, but moving the ban up means  Finland  will be completely coal-free in the next decade. The move also means that the country will have to increase its phasing out program by around 10 percent to meet the new goal. This might seem like a lot of pressure, but other companies have successfully switched to renewable energy faster than expected. Related: Renewable energy could overtake fossil fuels in Britain by next year According to TreeHugger , LEGO reached its goal of 100 percent renewable energy three years before its deadline, while Norway reduced its carbon dioxide emissions three years ahead of schedule. Sweden also changed to renewables about 12 years before the original goal, and both India and China have met their eco-friendly goals ahead of time. Coal currently comprises about 8 percent of Finland’s annual consumption. Even still, the country will have to move quickly if it wants to eliminate coal entirely. This includes pursuing long-term programs that will provide clean energy to residents while being cost-effective for businesses. Fortunately, Finland has already invested in these types of programs, and lawmakers are confident that the country will reach the newly proposed deadline. Finland’s coal ban initiative is a clear indication that the world is decreasing its reliance on non-renewable energy sources. Hopefully, other countries will follow Finland’s lead and move forward with their own coal-free programs in the near future. Many countries have voted in coal bans similar to Finland’s, but with climate change already having an impact around the world, the faster we implement coal bans, the better. Via TreeHugger and CleanTechnica Image via Ninara

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Finland plans to complete its coal ban one year early

Taiwan introduces one of the world’s most comprehensive plastic bans

March 12, 2019 by  
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Taiwan aims to be completely free of plastic bags and all single-use plastic items, such as utensils and beverage cups, by 2030. But first, the straws. Starting this year, chain restaurants will be restricted from giving straws to customers for in-store use. Environmental Protection Administration (EPA) Minister Ying-Yuan Lee announced the new policy at a press conference last month. “”We aim to implement a blanket ban by 2030 to significantly reduce plastic waste that pollutes the ocean and also gets into the food chain to affect human health,” said Ying-Yuan Lee. Related: Simple tips to reduce single-use plastic Aspects of Taiwan’s new program will be phased in over the next decade. Retail stores will face fines for giving customers disposable food containers, utensils and plastic bags in 2020. By 2025, those fees will increase. As for straws, the new policy will first affect in-store diners, then later extend to carry-out. By 2030, the straw ban should be complete throughout Taiwan. Taiwan’s new plastic policy is among the farthest-reaching in the world, though other countries are also stepping up the war against plastic waste. Scotland has banned single-use straws. In Kenya, people caught producing or selling plastic bags face stiff fines and even jail time. Rwanda banned plastic bags all the way back in 2008. Cities around the world have enacted anti-plastic policies to try to put a dent in the 8 million metric tons of plastic that wind up in the oceans every year. A 2018 policy to severely decrease plastic bag use in Taiwan met great success. Starting January 1 of last year, businesses like pharmacies, bakeries and beverage shops could no longer offer customers free plastic bags. Follow-up research indicated that 70 percent of customers chose to forego buying plastic bags . The EPA minister isn’t losing any sleep over the despair of single-use straw devotees. “You can use steel products, or edible straws — or maybe you just don’t need to use straws at all,” Ying-Yuan Lee said. “There is no inconvenience caused at all.” + Environmental Protection Administration (Taiwan) Via Global Citizen Image via Hans Braxmeier

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Thailand bans the import of e-waste

August 17, 2018 by  
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Over the next six months, Thailand will ban the import of 432 types of scrap electronics, or e-waste . E-waste includes any device with an electric cord or battery, and recyclers often mine these trash deposits for valuable metals. But the devices can also contain hazardous and polluting chemicals, such as lead, mercury and cadmium. Thailand has been struggling to deal with overflowing waste deposits following China’s imported trash ban last year. Since then, Southeast Asian nations such as Hong Kong, Thailand and Vietnam have become dumping grounds for the world’s garbage. While Hong Kong has been expanding landfills and building recycling plants, Vietnam has stopped issuing new licenses for the import of waste and cracked down on illegal shipments of paper, plastic and metal. Since May, a series of raids on factories that have been illegally importing and processing foreign e-waste has prompted the Thai government to finally take a stand. Related: Hong Kong faces ‘growing mountain of waste’ in wake of China’s trash ban In a comment to Reuters on Thursday, an anonymous senior environment ministry official said, “The meeting yesterday passed a resolution to stop importing 432 kinds of electronic waste and to ensure … that this is enforced within six months.” The meeting was chaired by Thailand’s Environment Minister, Surasak Kanchanarat. The minister spoke with Thai media on Wednesday, stating that some imports would still be allowed into the country as long as the second-hand devices had a chance at repair and reuse. Related: China bans ‘foreign waste,’ causing recycling chaos in America While scrap metals are still allowed, aluminum, copper and steel must be separated and cleaned in their countries of origin before they are shipped to Thailand for industrial use. Plastics, on the other hand, are not so welcomed. The country is planning to ban the import of plastic waste within the next two years, and there could also be a tax on plastic bags and plastic bans in tourist destinations, government agencies and businesses. While no official decisions have been made, Thailand has a target to recycle up to 60 percent of plastics by 2021. Via Reuters

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Thailand bans the import of e-waste

Apple fronts clean energy fund to invest $300 million in China

July 12, 2018 by  
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Model could be replicated in other countries.

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Apple fronts clean energy fund to invest $300 million in China

China Bans ‘Foreign Waste,’ causing recycling chaos in America

December 11, 2017 by  
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When you drop those bottles and plastic containers off to be recycled, do you know where they go? The United States exports around one third of its recycling , and almost half of that heads over to China . But China recently decided to ban the import of some solid garbage , saying foreign waste often has too many hazardous or dirty non-recyclable items. This means some waste collection and recycling companies may have to resort to taking items that could have been recycled to a landfill . In filings with the World Trade Organization this summer, China said it would ban 24 kinds of solid trash “to protect China’s environmental interests and people’s health .” A July Waste360 article said the trash the country will ban includes “plastics waste from living sources, vanadium slag, unsorted waste paper , and waste textile materials.” The complete ban doesn’t go into effect until January 1, but some Chinese importers have not renewed licenses, according to NPR – and American recycling companies are already feeling the impacts. Related: We’ve made enough plastic trash to bury Manhattan under 2 miles of the stuff Rogue Waste Systems in Oregon gathers recycling via curbside bins, and manager Scott Fowler told NPR there are always non-recyclable items mixed in with recyclables. China used to sort through it. But now the items don’t have a place to go. Recycling bales are piling up in Rogue Waste’s warehouse, and employee parking spaces have been consumed by compressed cubes of junk mail, broken wine bottles, and food containers. The company said they had no choice but to take the recycling to a nearby landfill. NPR reported over a dozen companies in the state have asked regulators if they can send recyclables to landfills. Pioneer Recycling president Steve Frank said he’s moved materials to other countries, but “the rest of the world cannot make up that gap.” Via NPR Images via Depositphotos ( 1 , 2 )

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China Bans ‘Foreign Waste,’ causing recycling chaos in America

13 heirloom gifts that will stand the test of time

December 11, 2017 by  
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A gift that will stand the test of time is one that can be treasured by many people – not just the current recipient! Heirloom gifts such as cast iron cookware , pocketwatches , and rare books can literally last for generations if loved and cared for properly, so check out our list of gorgeous heirloom gift ideas that can suit anyone on your holiday list. HEIRLOOM GIFT IDEAS >

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13 heirloom gifts that will stand the test of time

Episode 26: Inking the Paris climate pact, Disney’s green guru

April 22, 2016 by  
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This week on the GreenBiz350 podcast: Countries make COP21 emissions goals official, San Francisco seeks resilience and Disney wades into environmental education.

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Episode 26: Inking the Paris climate pact, Disney’s green guru

Could this solar-powered bike lane in Korea inspire other countries to add one?

April 9, 2015 by  
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Click here to view the embedded video. And solar panels run through it. This video, shot by a drone, shows a stretch of highway in Korea featuring a solar-powered bike lane that running right down the middle. While the lane is offset and looks safe with barriers, it is also protected with solar panels. The lane runs from Daejeon to Sejong, a distance of around 20 miles (32 km), which is a few hours’ drive from the capital city Seoul. It’s a fantastic idea if it works, it could lead the way for similar commuting-style bike lanes in the future. Via Carscoops Images via YouTube screengrab Permalink | Add to del.icio.us | digg Post tags: grade-separated bike lane , how to make a safe bike lane , korea bikes , korean bike lane , korean solar panel bike lane , safe bike lane , solar bike lane , solar bike path , solar panel bike lane

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Could this solar-powered bike lane in Korea inspire other countries to add one?

Facebook signs on Frank Gehry to design two more buildings for their California campus

April 9, 2015 by  
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Facebook is still getting settled in their brand-new headquarters designed by Canadian architect Frank Gehry , and they must really ‘like’ it because they’ve got plans in the works to add two more buildings to the campus. The San Francisco Business Times reports that Facebook has proposed plans to the Menlo Park City Hall for two more blocks of social media presence, to be situated just west of the new HQ. The new additions will reportedly add 90,000 square meters (968,750 square feet) of work space for Facebook employees. Read the rest of Facebook signs on Frank Gehry to design two more buildings for their California campus Permalink | Add to del.icio.us | digg Post tags: Facebook , Facebook headquarters , facebook headquarters expansion , facebook hq expansion , Facebook Menlo Park headquarters , Frank Gehry , frank gehry architect , franky gehry-designed buildings , mark zuckerberg

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Facebook signs on Frank Gehry to design two more buildings for their California campus

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