High levels of plastic byproducts discovered in children, study finds

September 18, 2019 by  
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A “human biomonitoring” study, jointly conducted by the German Environment Ministry and the Robert Koch Institute, is sounding the clarion warning that plastic pollution is present — and not just in our oceans, estuaries and the fish we eat. Rather alarmingly, the study found toxic levels of plastic byproducts in 97 percent of the blood and urine samples gathered from 2,500 children tested. The children in the research study ranged from 3 to 17 years of age. Of the 15 plastics under scrutiny, researchers detected 11 in the children’s test samples. Presence of these plastic byproducts in the children’s bodies increases their risk of hormonal dysfunction. That’s because plastics , at the micro level, can mimic the action of particular hormones, thus confusing the human endocrine system. The disruption, in turn, can manifest as obesity, metabolic disease, cancers, reproductive disorders, behavioral aberrations or developmental delays. Related: How to teach children about climate change What’s disquieting is that exposure to these plastic substances can arise from the most mundane things — storage containers, DVD cases, receipts, package linings, PVC piping, imitation leather, treated furniture, carpeting, even toys and medical devices. Plastics and microplastics surround us; consequently, we cannot avoid being exposed. One of the scientific authors, Marike Kolossa-Gehring, stated, “Our study clearly shows that plastic ingredients, which are rising in production, are showing up more and more in the body.” The study also revealed that the most susceptible subjects were younger children and children from poorer families. Both at-risk groups registered more plastic residue than their counterparts. Similarly, the study addressed the issue of replacements, citing that substances classified as perilous to humans should not be replaced by similar chemicals. After all, the substitutes might be just as toxic and detrimental. Hence, replacing with similar chemicals does not mitigate the chances of being exposed to harm. Researchers expressed uneasiness about the high levels of perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA) in the young subjects. The apprehension surfaces from the fact that PFOA is extremely persistent, bioaccumulative and rather toxic. PFOA is typically used in the process for making Teflon, which explains why it is usually found coating non-stick cookware and waterproof clothing. PFOA is a threat because it is toxic to both the reproductive system and the liver. The European Union is expected to ban PFOA in 2020. The scientists concluded that more research is needed to discover the pathways that plastics take to enter the human body. A solution is likewise needed to minimize the risks of children accumulating plastic byproducts at unsafe levels. Via Spiegel Online and TreeHugger Image via Ruben Rubio

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High levels of plastic byproducts discovered in children, study finds

Ireland plans to ban single-use plastics

September 18, 2019 by  
Filed under Business, Eco, Green, Recycle

In a move that has environmentalists cheering, Ireland recently overhauled its waste sector by announcing a ban on single-use plastics, including cutlery, straws, cups, food containers and cotton bud sticks. The initiative also called for doubling the rate of recycled material and is considering new levy requirements for non-recyclable plastics, such as those found in food packaging at groceries. Richard Bruton, the Minister for Communications, Climate Action and Environment, explained that the new policies are part of the Irish government’s improved climate action campaign to eliminate unnecessary packaging, reduce food waste by 50 percent, improve plastic recycling by 60 percent and cut landfill disposal by 60 percent. Related: Ireland will plant 440 million trees in 20 years In recent years, single-use plastic pollution has skyrocketed, prompting dismal reports that project an Earth of 2050 where our oceans are filled with more plastic than fish. Many people are realizing the urgency, and government officials are being pressured into addressing the plastic waste dilemma. Accordingly, the European Union has proposed banning single-use plastics — and Ireland is the latest EU member to join the bandwagon. That the campaign to remove single-use plastics has already taken hold on the Emerald Isle is a profound step in the right direction. To date, it is estimated that every person in Ireland annually generates more than 400 pounds of waste packaging, of which 130 pounds are plastic, and these per capita statistics are above the EU average. Implementing this single-use plastic ban is expected to bring promising results to Ireland’s ongoing war on plastic pollution . Bruton said, “All along the supply chain we can do better — 70 percent of food waste is avoidable, half of the material we use is not being segregated properly, two-thirds of plastic used is not on the recycling list and labels are confusing.” For those sectors unable to readily comply with the ban, heavy environmental taxes will have to be paid. These tax levies are a further measure designed to deter the widespread use of single-use plastics, especially non-recyclable ones. Conservation and ecology advocates are supportive of Ireland’s ban, confirming that plastic consumption must be reduced to safeguard the environment. Supporters also uphold that the cost of the added tax should reflect the dire impact single-use plastic has on the environment. Of course, the issue is not without its critics, some of whom claim the tax would do little to alleviate environmental conditions but would instead disproportionately affect lower-income consumers. Nonetheless, optimists assert that the Irish ban on plastic waste will mobilize a shift in industrial, business and consumer behavior that can ultimately contribute to a cleaner, greener Ireland, perhaps bringing the country closer to a sustainable Emerald Isle ideal. Via EcoWatch , RTE and Irish Times Image via Flockine

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How to pull off a tech-free family vacation the whole family will enjoy

May 1, 2019 by  
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It’s a full-blown modern challenge to get through even an hour of the day without using technology. So considering a tech-free trip for the entire family may seem insurmountable. While we acknowledge that there will likely be some discomfort at times, we’re happy to report that it’s certainly attainable. Here are some tips to get you headed in the right direction towards a tech-free family vacation. Preparations We are so accustomed to having technology at our fingertips that you might have to remind the people in your life that you will be checking out. Provide an alternate phone number, like that of the hotel, if necessary. Also let family and friends know you’ll be off-grid so they don’t wonder why you haven’t responded to their text. If you plan to cheat with an occasional phone-on check in, at least remove email push from your phone so you’re not tempted to scroll through. Create a meeting point Not all things about technology are bad, but you might not realize how much you rely on it so it’s important to think ahead. You won’t be able to simply throw out the, “Where are you?” text. If your group is going to be separated for any reason, make sure you have a plan for meeting up again. Divide and conquer in the grocery store and meet by the checkout, for example. If you’re at an amusement park, zoo or museum, pick a time and place to meet. Paper maps Nope, we’re not kidding. Generations of successful roadtrips have spawned from the use of paper maps so there’s no reason not to make them your go-to navigation guide. Plus, map reading is always a good skill to brush up on and is something you’ve likely never taught your kids how to do. Grab road maps for any area you’ll be traveling and pick up city maps and attraction maps when you reach your destination. Visit your local Chamber of Commerce and that at the destination for information that you’re otherwise tempted to find on your phone. Related: Kin Travel is offering unique vacation ideas that benefit destinations through conservation and sustainability Road games If you’re older than twenty, you likely remember playing games with your family on road trips that didn’t require a board, dice or cards. Contrary to current norms, family trips without DVD players, phones or iPads can still equal a good time. Teach your kids the art of identifying each letter of the alphabet on road signs. Play 20 questions or engage in Ispy. It’s also a good time to list those items for your next trip using the alphabet (I’m going on a camping trip and I’m taking…). For older children, start a story and pass the storyline along with each person contributing to the plot. For younger children, create a bag of surprises before your trip. Each 100 miles or when you cross state lines or once an hour, introduce a new activity. This can include small containers of finger dough, jigsaw puzzles, word puzzles or toys (non-electronic of course!) Board games Often times, voids in activity lead to mindless swiping of the cell phones. Instead of engaging in online game play, engage with each other. Be sure to bring along board games for in-between activities at the hotel and smaller versions for the car rides. Handheld card games work well for this. Ask a local In the old days, mom and dad had to stop and ask for directions when they couldn’t find their way. The waitress at the diner and the clerk at the store are still strong resources for this information when you decide to go tech-free. Plus, you can ask about the best place to pick up a pizza without relying on Yelp. Wear a watch Speaking of time, it’s likely that you also rely on your phone to know what time it is. Plan ahead by wearing a watch or identify clocks in the space you’re to help keep you manage your time. Go remote If you don’t trust your ability to to go tech-free, plan a vacation that takes the decision out of your hands. Head into remote areas where you don’t receive cell service and enjoy the solitude of nature . Once the kids stop whining that their phone’s don’t work, they’ll discover the simple pleasures of stacking rocks and skipping rocks. Teach them fire building, take them on a hike or take them backpacking where they can learn map and compass, fishing and how to filter water. Take an alarm clock Hopefully your vacation doesn’t require you to rise early or be anywhere at a specific time, but it’s a good idea to throw in a small alarm clock, both so that you know the time and so you don’t need to rely on a phone for your alarm. Use long math Education never ends, and not toting a phone means not having a calculator at your disposal. That makes for a good opportunity to calculate tips, percentage off deals and admission totals the old fashioned way. It will feel strange at first to eliminate the technology in your life for a few valuable days, but in the end you will achieve more quality time and true engagement without electronic distraction. After all, isn’t that what a vacation should be about? Via Matador Network Images via t_watanabe , Shutterstock

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How to pull off a tech-free family vacation the whole family will enjoy

Recycling Stealth Electronics

June 11, 2018 by  
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The word “electronics” brings computers, DVD players and TVs to … The post Recycling Stealth Electronics appeared first on Earth911.com.

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Recycling Stealth Electronics

Iconic Game of Thrones battle brought to life with massive 3D embroidery

July 16, 2016 by  
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Game of Thrones   Night King , leader of the White Walkers, resurrected hundreds of slain Wildlings in what is now widely considered one of the hit HBO series’s most thrilling scenes. To celebrate the show’s DVD release, HBO commissioned the  Embroiderer’s Guild to recreate the massacre of Hardhome . The result is awe-inspiring 3D embroidery made by Britain’s leading textile artisans. READ MORE > 

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Iconic Game of Thrones battle brought to life with massive 3D embroidery

Ditching DVDs Would Result in Massive CO2 and Energy Savings, New Study Shows

June 2, 2014 by  
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The days of DVD video have been numbered for years now as online streaming and instant video downloads have been taking over . Now a new study reveals that getting rid of DVDs altogether would result in massive energy savings and greenhouse gas reductions in the United States. Estimates show that if everyone who currently rents or buys DVDs shifted to streaming in 2011, American households would emit about 2 billion kilograms (about 4,400,000 pounds) less carbon and use about 30 petajoules less energy – about as much energy needed to power 200,000 U.S. homes. Read the rest of Ditching DVDs Would Result in Massive CO2 and Energy Savings, New Study Shows Permalink | Add to del.icio.us | digg Post tags: carbon , CO2 , dvd , entertainment , Environmental Research Letters , greenhouse gas emissions , Lawrence Berkley National Library , Northwestern University , reduce greenhouse gas emissions , renewable energy , video streaming

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Ditching DVDs Would Result in Massive CO2 and Energy Savings, New Study Shows

Original Unverpackt: Germany’s First Zero-Waste Supermarket to Open this Summer

June 2, 2014 by  
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Germany is set to unveil the country’s very first zero-waste supermarket . Berlin’s Original Unverpackt is the brainchild of friends Sara Wolf and Milena Glimbovski. Frustrated by the overpackaging and wastefulness they saw in the retail food industry, the young women decided to take action and launched a crowdfunding campaign in early May that has succeeded beyond all expectations. They now have the funds to open their first outlet this summer, with a second to follow soon after. Read the rest of Original Unverpackt: Germany’s First Zero-Waste Supermarket to Open this Summer Permalink | Add to del.icio.us | digg Post tags: berlin , bulk foods , Crowdfunding , food , germany , Germany’s first zero-waste supermarket , no packaging , Original Unverpackt , packaging , packaging free , zero waste grocery store , zero-waste supermarket

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Original Unverpackt: Germany’s First Zero-Waste Supermarket to Open this Summer

Karin Matz Renovates Tiny Dilapidated HB6B Apartment Into a Beautiful Daylit Home in Stockholm

June 2, 2014 by  
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Read the rest of Karin Matz Renovates Tiny Dilapidated HB6B Apartment Into a Beautiful Daylit Home in Stockholm Permalink | Add to del.icio.us | digg Post tags: apartment renovation , green renovation , HB6B apartment , HB6B apartment Stockholm , HB6B renovation , Karin Matz architecture , Karin Matz design , small apartments renovation , small space renovation , small spaces , Stockholm apartments , stockholm architecture , tiny apartments

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Karin Matz Renovates Tiny Dilapidated HB6B Apartment Into a Beautiful Daylit Home in Stockholm

Artist Jeff Ivanhoe Creates Pop Art Mosaics from Recycled Aluminum Cans

May 18, 2012 by  
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AluMosaics is an art form that transforms aluminum cans into stunning works of art. Founded by artist Jeff Ivanhoe, AluMosaics combines recycling with creativity and imagination. Ivanhoe recycles soda and beer cans into beautiful mosaic-style images that celebrate Americana. The subjects of Iavanhoe’s mosaics span everything from classic cars to Elvis. Want to create your own aluminum can mosaics? Use the code “FB050912″ to receive 10% off an instructional DVD from the alumosaics website . + Alumosaics The article above was submitted to us by an Inhabitat reader. Want to see your story on Inhabitat ? Send us a tip by following this link . Remember to follow our instructions carefully to boost your chances of being chosen for publishing! Permalink | Add to del.icio.us | digg Post tags: AluMosaics , beer cans , Jeff Ivanhoe , Mosaics , pop art , Recycled aluminum , recycled art , Recycled Materials

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Artist Jeff Ivanhoe Creates Pop Art Mosaics from Recycled Aluminum Cans

How To: Recycle a Cardboard Box Into a DIY Earring Holder

May 18, 2012 by  
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Read the rest of How To: Recycle a Cardboard Box Into a DIY Earring Holder Permalink | Add to del.icio.us | digg Post tags: craft , diy design , DIY Earring Holder , diy projects , do it yourself design , green design projects , how-to , how-to earring holder , recycle jewelry , recycled design , recycled earring holder , Recycled Materials , sustainable design

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How To: Recycle a Cardboard Box Into a DIY Earring Holder

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