In China, a billion cockroaches are leading the fight against food waste

December 13, 2018 by  
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Warning: This story could make your skin crawl. As China’s cities continue to grow at a rapid pace, problems are arising with the country’s food waste. The Chinese population is producing so much food waste that the landfills can’t keep up, and this has led to some out-of-the-box thinking — using a billion cockroaches to take care of the problem. According to a new Reuters report , a plant outside of the city of Jinan — the capital of the eastern Shandong province — is disposing of the 50 tons of kitchen waste it receives every day by feeding the food scraps to the cockroaches. This process is not just a creative solution for food waste, but it is also providing livestock with nutritious food once the cockroaches die. Related: 5 simple ways to reduce your food waste right now “It’s like turning trash into resources,” said Shandong Qiaobin chairwoman Li Hongyi. Shandong Qiaobin Agricultural Technology runs the Jinan plant, and the company hopes to open three more plants next year, with the goal of eliminating one-third of the city’s food waste. Jinan currently has a population of around 7 million. This novel approach to urban waste starts with the waste arriving at the plant before daybreak, and then workers feed it through pipes to cockroaches in their cells. China banned the use of food waste as pig feed because of outbreaks of African swine fever. Now, this new process is encouraging the cockroach industry to grow. Shandong Qiaobin is beginning to serve as an example for others throughout China , with many people opening their own cockroach farms. Humans waste about one-third of the food produced across the globe each year — around 1.3 billion tons — and this is negatively impacting the environment as well as the economy. If the cockroach trend takes off outside of China’s borders, it could mean that these little pests will be soldiers on the frontline of the global war against food waste. Via Reuters Image via Shutterstock

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In China, a billion cockroaches are leading the fight against food waste

California approves rule to require solar panels on new houses

December 12, 2018 by  
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The California Building Standards Commission has given its final approval to a new housing rule that is the first of its kind in the United States. Starting in 2020, the commission is requiring that all new homes built in the state include solar panels. “These provisions really are historic and will be a beacon of light for the rest of the country,” said commissioner Kent Sasaki. “[It’s] the beginning of substantial improvement in how we produce energy and reduce the consumption of fossil fuels .” Related: California waters could open soon to offshore wind farms In addition to the solar panel requirement, the new standard also includes an incentive for homeowners to add a high-capacity battery to their electrical system to store the sun’s energy. The rule does have an exemption for homes that are built in locations that are often in the shade. California has a history of setting trends across the country, and this new rule is the next step in the state’s progressive environmental policy. The state has a goal of sharply reducing greenhouse gas emissions and drawing all of its electricity from renewable energy sources. The California Energy Commission first endorsed the solar panel rule back in May as part of California’s Green Building Standards Code. This past week, the Building Standards Commission added the requirement with a unanimous vote. Drew Bohan, executive director of the energy commission, said that the homes built under the new rule should use about 50 percent less energy compared to previous standards. The new solar power requirement is for single-family homes and multi-family buildings up to three stories high. It will add about $10,000 to the upfront cost of a home, but the lower electricity bills should balance that out over time. Bohan said that over the course of a 30-year mortgage, a homeowner should save about $19,000. Homeowners will have the option of buying the panels outright, leasing them or taking part in a power purchase agreement with the home builder. Via NPR Image via Ulleo

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California approves rule to require solar panels on new houses

A tiny farmhouse in North Carolina is as energy-efficient as it is adorable

November 13, 2018 by  
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For those looking to get a taste of tiny home living, this charming, energy-efficient home located on a working farm outside of Winston-Salem, North Carolina is just for you. Despite its small stature, the Roost 18 is a sustainable powerhouse, complete with sheep’s wool insulation, energy-efficient kitchen appliances and a composting toilet. The adorable abode can be rented out on Airbnb starting around $88 per night. Located on the rolling hills of a historic farm just outside of downtown Winston-Salem, the Roost 18 is a dream getaway for anyone looking for a serene retreat in the country. The tiny farmhouse is clad in white wood panels with an itsy-bitsy but welcoming front porch. The black, A-frame roof pays homage to the many barns in the area. Related: Enjoy a mint julep on this tiny farmhouse’s charming front porch The living space offers a small bench for sitting and enjoying the views or simply snuggling up with a good book. The home is kept warm and toasty during the colder months thanks to the sheep’s wool insulation and the mini wood-burning stove. For added sustainable measures and to reduce waste, the kitchen was installed with energy-efficient appliances. The small bathroom, which has a stock tank tub for soaking, is installed with a composting toilet . The tiny home sleeps up to four guests, with one queen-sized bed in a sleeping loft and a fold-out sofa bed downstairs. The interior of the home benefits from plentiful windows that provide stellar views of the stunning natural surroundings. (According to the reviews on Airbnb, this is a prime spot to watch the sunset.) Better yet, guests can enjoy a stroll around the working farm, which has a number of free-roaming animals and historic farm buildings. + Perch and Nest Via Tiny House Talk Images via Perch and Nest

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A tiny farmhouse in North Carolina is as energy-efficient as it is adorable

This green-roofed home for a master gardener embraces nature

November 1, 2018 by  
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Tapped to design a home for a master gardener in Portland, Oregon, Olson Kundig crafted the Country Garden House, a light-filled home that frames garden views from every room. Designed for indoor-outdoor living, the home features walls of glass that overlook stunning vistas and spans 5,300 square feet to accommodate the needs of a multigenerational family. Clad in reclaimed barnwood, the home’s simple gabled form and ample glazing are evocative of traditional farm architecture. Completed in 2013, the Country Garden House is designed to harmonize with its lush landscape. Timber is used throughout, from the exterior siding and soffits to the interior surfaces and furnishings. Large grid windows with black metal framing help to break up the timber palette while also brightening the interior with natural light. American plantsman and garden writer Dan Hinkley was brought on to collaborate on the design of the gardens, which are visible from every room in the home. A green roof further ties the house into its surroundings, as do the easily accessible outdoor living spaces designed for family gatherings. “The entry sequence brings visitors underneath leafy trellises to a front door that opens to a long vista through the living room, opening to views of the verdant hillside beyond,” the architects explained in a project statement. “A long gallery corridor separates the private bedroom spaces from the more ‘public’ living spaces, and showcases the owners’ artworks. Their art extends into the main living areas with custom casework designed to display a rich collection of Asian porcelain, as well as a hand-painted mural by Leo Adams in the dining room.” Related: This Puget Sound eco cabin is made almost entirely from reclaimed materials Enclosed by cedar walls and grid glazing, the living areas are anchored by a stone fireplace that separates the den from the living room. Exposed timber ceilings create “a sense of rustic refinement” and give the home another rustic counterpoint to the mix of contemporary and antique furnishings used throughout. + Olson Kundig Photography by  Jeremy Bittermann Photography via Olson Kundig

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This green-roofed home for a master gardener embraces nature

6 tips to reduce your foodprint while dining out

November 1, 2018 by  
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When you eat at home, it is relatively easy to make choices that will lower your ‘foodprint,’ because you are in charge of the shopping, preparation and disposal of all the food. But when you eat out at a restaurant or grab takeout, it is much more difficult to eat sustainably. To make it a little bit easier, we have put together six tips to help you eat green while dining out or grabbing something to go. Ask questions Ask your server about the restaurant’s sources. What farms do they buy from? Is this dish in season? If the server doesn’t know, they can ask the manager or the chef. If the restaurant has a philosophy of incorporating seasonality into the menu, the workers will be more than happy to share the food’s origins, and the menu items will change with the seasons. Do your research to know what is in season where you live and what local restaurants embrace seasonality. When you are looking over a restaurant menu, also keep in mind your location and what is in season locally. If you are in a landlocked area, ordering ocean fish isn’t smart, because it certainly isn’t local. If you live in Missouri and it’s the middle of winter, tomatoes are not in season. Get a box American restaurants are famous for the extra-large portions of food that they pile up on plates, making it nearly impossible to finish the meal in one sitting. According to Sustainable America , the average restaurant meal is eight times larger than the standard USDA and FDA serving sizes, and 55 percent of leftover restaurant food doesn’t get taken home. Related: 5 simple ways to reduce your food waste right now Big meals mean even bigger waste. Instead of leaving behind food and letting it go straight to the trash, ask for a box. It will help cut down the food waste, and it gives you an instant lunch for the next day. If you don’t want to take leftovers home, consider splitting a large appetizer or entree with your dining partner. Choose farm-to-table Farm-to-table is one of the most popular buzzwords of the moment, and many restaurants have been more than willing to capitalize on the trend. More chefs have started to incorporate local and seasonal items on their menus, and some restaurants have even started growing their own food. Eating at a restaurant that locally sources its ingredients results in a major downsize of your foodprint, because there is no need to ship the ingredients across the country. Just make sure that the restaurant is truly farm-to-table — that’s when asking the right questions becomes important. Just say no If you don’t want that basket of rolls or chips they automatically put on the table, just say no. Tell your server not to bring it, so it isn’t wasted. The same thing goes for items on your entree. If you don’t want onions on your burger, tell your server to leave them off it. If you don’t want that side of coleslaw, ask for a substitution or tell them to skip it completely. Watch buffet portions To reduce your food waste at a buffet, use smaller plates. People who use large plates waste 135 percent more food than those who use smaller plates. Watch your portions when enjoying a buffet, or avoid going to one. Decline takeout bags, utensils and condiments When you order takeout, reduce your carbon footprint by bringing your own coffee or water cups, saying no to straws and plastic bags and declining plastic utensils and napkins. You can bring your own reusable container and see if the restaurant is willing to use it. Say no to extra condiments and seasonings. All of these to-go items might seem convenient, but they often end up in the trash. Instead, just grab the food, and use the cutlery, condiments and seasonings that you have at home. If you really do need some of the extras like sauces or condiments, only take what you need. When you dine out, you can eat sustainably by keeping these tips in mind. Just remember to choose the right restaurants, ask questions and minimize your food packaging and waste , and you will be doing your part to reduce your foodprint. Via Foodprint and  Sustainable America Images via Steffen Kastner , Thabang Mokoena  and Shutterstock

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6 tips to reduce your foodprint while dining out

Harnessing the wind to help a sovereign culture thrive

October 31, 2018 by  
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An unprecedented partnership uniting six tribes of the Sioux Nation is poised to leverage one of the country’s strongest wind resources across North and South Dakota, accelerating the shift to clean energy, breaking decades of generational poverty, and creating a long-term path to self-sufficiency for the Cheyenne River, Flandreau Santee, Oglala, Rosebud, Standing Rock and Yankton Sioux Tribes.

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Harnessing the wind to help a sovereign culture thrive

Creating the workplace of the future

October 31, 2018 by  
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How Google and WeWork are creating spaces that enable workers to thrive – varied approaches and solutions, lessons learned and their visions for the future of work.

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Creating the workplace of the future

How Do I Get Rid of My Old Barbecue Grill?

October 17, 2018 by  
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In most parts of the country, once the garden is put … The post How Do I Get Rid of My Old Barbecue Grill? appeared first on Earth911.com.

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How Do I Get Rid of My Old Barbecue Grill?

Earthling Survey: Have You Helped a Neighbor Recycle Better?

October 17, 2018 by  
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Express your opinion and help drive environmental change. Every week, … The post Earthling Survey: Have You Helped a Neighbor Recycle Better? appeared first on Earth911.com.

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Earthling Survey: Have You Helped a Neighbor Recycle Better?

Survey Results: Your Single-Use Plastic Water Bottle Purchases

October 17, 2018 by  
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Thanks to those of you who responded to last week’s … The post Survey Results: Your Single-Use Plastic Water Bottle Purchases appeared first on Earth911.com.

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Survey Results: Your Single-Use Plastic Water Bottle Purchases

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