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

Vegan diets deliver more environmental benefits than sustainable dairy or meat

June 1, 2018 by  
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Want to lower your environmental impact? Go vegan . That’s one idea researchers uncovered in what The Guardian described as the most comprehensive analysis thus far of farming’s impact on Earth. University of Oxford scientist Joseph Poore, who led the study, told The Guardian, “A vegan diet is probably the single biggest way to reduce your impact on planet Earth, not just greenhouse gases , but global acidification, eutrophication, land use, and water use. It is far bigger than cutting down on your flights or buying an electric car .” “Animal product-free diets…deliver greater environmental benefits than purchasing sustainable meat or dairy ,” according to Oxford’s statement on the study published today in the journal Science . Scientist Thomas Nemecek of Swiss agricultural research group Agroscope joined Poore to create a database of close to 40,000 farms in 119 countries to assess environmental impacts of 40 major foods representing 90 percent of what we eat. Related: Here’s what could happen if America went 100% vegan They discovered that meat and dairy generate 60 percent of greenhouse gas emissions from agriculture and use up 83 percent of farmland — but offer just 37 percent of protein and 18 percent of calories, The Guardian reported. Without dairy and meat consumption, global farmland use could be slashed by over 75 percent. The scientists also uncovered variability in producing the same food: for example, high-impact beef producers raising beef cattle on deforested land use 50 times more land and create 12 times more greenhouse gases than low-impact beef producers raising cows on natural pastures. But there’s still a sharp comparison between beef and plant protein like peas: even low-impact beef generates six times more greenhouse gases and uses 36 times more land. You might think grass-fed beef has a low environmental impact, but the researchers discovered the product’s impact was still higher than that of plant-based foods. Poore told The Guardian, “Converting grass into [meat] is like converting coal to energy. It comes with an immense cost in emissions.” Many food experts praised the study. The University of Edinburgh’s Peter Alexander told the Guardian he was impressed but said, “There may be environmental benefits, e.g. for biodiversity, from sustainably managed grazing and increasing animal product consumption may improve nutrition for some of the poorest globally. My personal opinion is we should interpret these results not as the need to become vegan overnight, but rather to moderate our [meat] consumption.” + University of Oxford + Science Via The Guardian Images via Depositphotos

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Vegan diets deliver more environmental benefits than sustainable dairy or meat

Ovie’s ‘Smarterware’ smart food storage aims to help reduce food waste

May 22, 2018 by  
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Around 40 percent of food goes to waste in America yearly, which costs the average family of four about $2,000 a year. Luckily, Chicago startup Ovie has an answer to this problem: Smarterware. Ovie’s Smart Tags, which keep track of food items’ freshness, can be clipped on food, placed on six-cup containers, or attached to bottles or take-out boxes. According to the company, their system essentially transforms any regular refrigerator into a smart fridge, but without the steep price tag — and they’re crowdfunding on Kickstarter right now. Ovie’s Smarterware aims to change how people eat by helping them keep track of their food’s freshness level. Rings around their Smart Tags light up as green, yellow or red to let people know if food is safe, about to spoil, or has gone bad. Using the technology is simple: you just press the button on a Smart Tag, and your food is tagged via Amazon Echo or an app. Related: New refrigerator camera takes aim at food waste The app aims to help users really take advantage of what’s in their fridge, letting them see items they’ve tagged or even search for recipes that will use the tagged ingredients. The app notifies users when the light ring hits yellow and offers recipe suggestions. Ovie also plans to send a personalized recap every month to let users know how they’ve been doing and provide tips based on their consumption trends. Ovie CEO and co-founder Ty Thompson said in a statement, “People don’t want to waste all of this food — it just happens. We’re busy, we invest time and resources to make a great meal, and then we end up throwing away a large amount of food simply because we forget about it. We wanted to help solve this problem by creating a product that would be simple to use and bring a more mindful approach to food storage .” You can snag early bird discounts on Ovie’s Kickstarter , which ends June 21. The company plans to start shipping in early 2019. + Ovie + Ovie Smarterware Kickstarter Images courtesy of Ovie

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Ovie’s ‘Smarterware’ smart food storage aims to help reduce food waste

Amazing plant pods can grow more lettuce in a 1010 room than a farm can grow on 1/2 acre

May 2, 2018 by  
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Do you live in a tiny apartment and want to grow your own food ? Aggressively Organic has an answer. The Indiana-based company offers Micro Growth Chamber Systems that can grow more lettuce in a 10-by-10-foot room than an organic farm can grow on a half-acre. The systems use less water, too — a typical Aggressively Organic plant only requires watering once every few weeks. To feed the nearly 10 billion people that could be living on planet Earth by 2050, the Food and Agriculture Organization estimates food production globally will have to increase by 50 percent . The organization also said world hunger seems to be on the rise. Aggressively Organic seeks to tackle food insecurity one micro-garden at a time by giving people the tools they need to grow their own food – whether that’s in an office, dorm room or small studio apartment. Their growth systems are even suitable for people who lack gardening experience. Even cats can’t resist our delicious #BokChoy in our Micro Growth Systems. #hydroponics #AggressivelyOrganic A post shared by Aggressively Organic (@aggressivelyorganic) on Nov 7, 2017 at 7:31am PST Related: This hexagonal indoor farm grows more food in less space with 90% less water Aggressively Organic’s systems employ hydroponics in a simple form without filters or pumps. Their product consists of a foldable cardboard chamber, a liner, a coconut coir disc in which seeds are planted, reusable net cups to hold the plant, and a nutrient solution. There’s no electricity required, although growers can place their indoor gardens under a desk lamp if they can’t keep them in a windowsill. The system is extremely water efficient – it takes 25 gallons of water to grow a head of lettuce in the ground, but Aggressively Organic can produce the same amount of lettuce with 16 ounces of H2O. It’s really this simple to make a huge difference. Are you growing your own food yet? #AggressivelyOrganic A post shared by Aggressively Organic (@aggressivelyorganic) on Nov 8, 2017 at 4:42pm PST Aggressively Organic is currently manufacturing their systems and plan to begin a “Beta 2” round of orders this month. The company will offer different options of its Micro Growth Chamber Systems: a nine pack, which includes nine systems, 108 refills of seeds of your choosing and a grow light for $119; a six pack, with 72 refills and a grow light for $92; or a three pack, with 36 refills and a grow light for $74. Learn more on the Aggressively Organic website . + Aggressively Organic Images courtesy of Aggressively Organic

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Amazing plant pods can grow more lettuce in a 1010 room than a farm can grow on 1/2 acre

This fine-dining chef transforms food waste into creative gourmet dishes

April 20, 2018 by  
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Around one third of food produced in America is thrown out. But Tim Ma, a former electrical engineer-turned-chef, incorporates food scraps others might throw out, like kale stalks or carrot peels, into dishes at Kyirisan , his Washington, D.C. restaurant. Ma told NPR , “I’m in this fine-dining world, but I spend a lot of time going through my garbage.” It’s spring in THIS bowl ?? A post shared by Kyirisan (@kyirisan) on Apr 7, 2018 at 12:40pm PDT Carrot tops aren’t tossed out at Kyirisan, a MICHELIN Guide 2018 Bib Gourmand awardee . Oh no, they’re given new life in pesto, blended up with basil, parsley, pistachios, water, oil, scallions, and sautéed garlic. Carrot peels become garnishes after they’re fried up into strips. And those kale stalks you might throw out? After being braised and fried, they might find their way into a salad with duck confit, radishes, and pickled shallots at Kyirisan. Can you improve on perfection? #rhetoricalquestion #always!!! New set-up for the carrots with miso bagna cauda, with black vinegar, honeyed pistachios, and this silky carrot purée. A post shared by Kyirisan (@kyirisan) on Mar 2, 2018 at 2:31pm PST Related: OLIO launches revolutionary food sharing app to reduce waste NPR said a signature dish of Ma’s, crème fraiche chicken wings with sudachi and gochujang, got its beginnings as an experiment to use up food scraps. At his previous restaurant , Ma would pour sauce he’d created on wings leftover from whole chickens ordered for the restaurant, and serve them to staff. They were so popular they’re now on the Kyirisan dinner menu. Hudson Valley Magret Duck Breast, with three mushrooms, charred shishito, and onion soubise. #duckforgoodluck ????! A post shared by Kyirisan (@kyirisan) on Feb 16, 2018 at 12:05pm PST Reducing food waste makes sense environmentally and economically for Ma. He told NPR, “At the end of the day, it’s a business decision. You do this as a function of saving every penny that you can, because the restaurant margins are so slim right now.” Part of what inspired him to cut food waste was his experience with his first restaurant in Virginia, which almost went under months after opening. He realized he could make changes: for example, instead of ordering in bulk via large distributors, he would order just what he needed from local sellers. Then this happened! A post shared by Tim Ma (@cheftimma) on Sep 11, 2016 at 12:37pm PDT Ma told NPR, “I walk through the restaurant and see, this is what I have and I think about tomorrow and today. How much of something do I really need?” + Kyirisan Via NPR Image via Jackelin Slack on Unsplash

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This fine-dining chef transforms food waste into creative gourmet dishes

White Castle is now offering ‘bleeding’ vegan Impossible Burger sliders

April 17, 2018 by  
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Iconic fast-food chain White Castle is now offering a vegan version of its signature sliders, with the “beef” provided by Redwood City-based start-up Impossible Foods . It’s the first time that a major chain has offered the meatless burger alternative and marks a shift in what consumers are demanding these days. The Impossible slider re-creates the sensation of eating meat, complete with “blood,” in hopes to bridge the gap between the dry veggie burgers of yore and real meat. While the Impossible Burger is offered at 1,300 different restaurants in the United States, including Fat Burger, Umami Burger, and Momofuko Nishi, its featured debut at White Castle, the largest chain to partner with Impossible Foods, is a landmark for the companies involved. Impossible Foods CEO Pat Brown hopes that the White Castle partnership will help the burgeoning vegan “meat” company better understand how to “popularize plant-based meat with mainstream burger lovers.” Founded in 1921 in Wichita, Kansas, White Castle is credited as the first fast-food chain as well as the inventor of the slider. It also has been owned and operated by the Ingram family for four generations. White Castle CEO Lisa Ingram cites the strong relationship that the company has with its customers as a primary reason to explore a vegan burger option.  “It really starts by listening to our customers as we try to do with all of our innovations,” Ingram told Marketplace . “We also have some customers that grew up on White Castle but have decided to be vegetarians… This was a natural evolution for us when we found out that Impossible Foods was creating a plant-based product that looked and tastes like beef both for the people that like meats and for the people that are choosing to have a vegetarian diet.” Related: NYC’s first vegan butcher shop set to open this spring Founded in 2011, Impossible Foods opened its first high-volume production facility in Oakland , California in the fall of 2017. Despite this facility’s taking up a full city-block, the demand for Impossible Foods “meat” has become so high that the company is looking double its production in the near future. The Impossible Burger slider at White Castle costs $1.99, in contrast to the $.77 per beef slider, and is available in select stores in New York, New Jersey and the Chicago area. If this trial run proves to be a success, consumers may soon be able to enjoy the Impossible slider at White Castles across the United States . Via Grub Street and Marketplace Images via Impossible Foods and White Castle

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White Castle is now offering ‘bleeding’ vegan Impossible Burger sliders

Major supermarket chain is the first in the UK to remove palm oil from all its food

April 10, 2018 by  
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Over half of products in supermarkets contain palm oil , according to United Kingdom (UK) grocery store chain Iceland , and demand is contributing to deforestation . Iceland plans to do something about it by becoming the “first major UK supermarket” to eliminate palm oil from its own label products by the close of 2018. BREAKING NEWS: We're the UK's first supermarket to commit to removing #palmoil from our own label products by the end of this year! Watch here to find out why… #PalmOilAlarmCall pic.twitter.com/hfGvH2QRDW — Iceland Foods ?? (@IcelandFoods) April 10, 2018 Palm oil is one of the largest causes of deforestation in the world, according to Iceland , which specializes in frozen foods. So they plan to remove it from their own brand products. “By the end of 2018, Iceland will stop using palm oil as an ingredient in 100 percent of its own brand food production, reducing demand for palm oil by more than 500 tonnes per year,” head chef Neil Nugent said in Iceland’s video above. Iceland said Nugent is working to replace palm oil with fats and oils that aren’t destroying rainforests — The Guardian said this includes oils like vegetable or rapeseed oils. Related: UK researchers are developing an orangutan-safe alternative to palm oil Iceland quoted their managing director Richard Walker on their website as saying, “Until Iceland can guarantee palm oil is not causing rainforest destruction, we are simply saying ‘no to palm oil.’ We don’t believe this is such a thing as sustainable palm oil available to retailers, so we are giving consumers a choice about what they buy.” Deforestation is threatening many species, including the critically endangered orangutan — their population “has more than halved in the last 15 years,” according to Iceland. The World Wildlife Fund describes the animals as gardeners of the forest, “playing a vital role in seed dispersal.” They’re vulnerable in part due to their low reproductive rate — since females only give birth to one infant around every three to five years, it can take a while for the species to recover from declines in population. + Iceland Foods on Twitter + Iceland Environment Via The Guardian Images via Depositphotos ( 1 , 2 )

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Major supermarket chain is the first in the UK to remove palm oil from all its food

This plant-based spray makes fruits and veggies last up to four times longer

March 23, 2018 by  
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How do you preserve fruits and vegetables after harvest? Generally, you need cold temperatures. But what if there were an alternative to refrigeration ? That question inspired Santa Barbara-based Apeel Sciences  to create  Edipeel , a post-harvest protection product made with edible extracts from plants . Inhabitat spoke with CEO and founder James Rogers about the product, which forms a micro-climate around each piece of food so it lasts around double the amount of time it would untreated — at least. Hunger continues to be a pressing problem, and as the population grows, humanity must figure out how to feed 10 billion people. This issue formed the basis of a podcast Rogers was listening to while driving through the Salinas Valley. He looked out the window at the greenery of the valley, dubbed the “Salad Bowl of the World,” and wondered how people could go hungry if we were growing so much food. Digging into the issue, he discovered it’s not so much about growing enough calories to feed the planet as it is about keeping what we do grow from perishing. Related: This company wants to turn food waste into building materials — here’s how Rogers found out fruits and vegetables rot through water loss and oxidation. “As a materials scientist, immediately this rang a bell with how people solve this problem for steel ,” he told Inhabitat. “Most people don’t think about it, but steel is highly perishable. It rusts. Metallurgists solved this problem in creating stainless steel, and the way that they did that was by adding additional elements, like chromium or nickel.” Edipeel creates an invisible, edible barrier to keep oxygen out and water in. Apeel recombines edible oils from plants in blends tailored for different kinds of food; think citrus or avocados. The result is a powder that Apeel mixes with water and sprays on the surface of food. It dries into a thin added peel, creating a micro-climate for each piece of produce. “The result is that it can last two, three, four times longer, even without refrigeration,” said Rogers. Worried about harmful chemicals on your food? So were Rogers’ friends. “They said, ‘Hey, sounds like a cool idea, bro, but we don’t want any chemicals,’” Rogers said. Although food is technically comprised of chemicals, some people don’t always think about it that way, so he wondered, “What if we could relegate ourselves only to using those materials that are found in high concentrations in the fruits and vegetables we eat every day to make formulations to use food to preserve food?” Apeel has been developing Edipeel for around six years now with that goal in mind. “We’re not a large chemical manufacturing company saying ‘let’s manufacture a new chemical to solve this problem.’ We’re looking at it from this perspective of: how do we work with nature to solve this problem the right way — not the fast way, not the cheap way, not the way that sacrifices the long-term health of the planet, but how do we solve this with the tool set nature has provided us?” Rogers told Inhabitat. The extracts for Edipeel can come from any vegetable or fruit. “We’re not looking for any weird botanical extract from some crazy flower in the Amazon,” Rogers said. “The materials we need are ubiquitous. If it grows above the surface of the earth, basically we can use it to create our formulations. The materials we’re using are all inert materials. They don’t have any action in and of themselves; they’re just structural. We recompose that structure on the outside of produce. “ Since spoilage is so significant, the way Apeel prices Edipeel means it’s more expensive for retailers not to have it. According to Rogers, “If you’re a retailer and you’re throwing away eight percent of your avocados, we’re able to price our product such that by paying us, you’re still going to save enough money to pay us for the product.” Edipeel is designated “Generally Recognized As Safe” by the Food and Drug Administration and can be used on organic produce. “As soon as you see how it works, you know that this is going to be a thing in the world,” Rogers told Inhabitat. “Seeing it work, even at a small scale, it was like, ‘This is the future.’ It just feels like an eventuality.” This year, Apeel is gearing up to offer Edipeel to commercial partners. Rogers couldn’t say who those partners might be quite yet, but he did say they are premier retailers. + Apeel Sciences Images courtesy of Apeel

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This plant-based spray makes fruits and veggies last up to four times longer

Redesigned Flow Hive 2 snags whopping $13.6 million on Indiegogo

March 6, 2018 by  
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Record-smashing crowdfunding project Flow Hive offered honey on tap: a beehive that makes it easier for beekeepers to harvest honey. Over 50,000 Flow Hives have gone out to 130 countries around the world, and now the Australian father-son team behind the design are back. The pair redesigned their groundbreaking hive, drawing on customer feedback and adding brand new features, and took to Indiegogo again with the Flow Hive 2 for a campaign that was just 18,983 percent funded. Flow Hive 2’s design is simple: inside a body comprised of laser-cut sustainable Western red cedar rest Flow Frames, which Stuart Anderson and Cedar Anderson, father and son, describe as “the most revolutionary beekeeping invention since the Langstroth hive was designed in 1852.” The frames are partially built honeycomb: add bees to do their thing — covering the honeycomb in wax, completing the cells, filling them with honey, and capping with wax — and then, when it’s time to harvest the honey, beekeepers insert and turn a handle to allow channels to form inside. The honey flows down into a waiting jar with minimal disturbance to the bees, who “are left to be, still standing on their wax capping.” A few hours later the bees realize the honeycomb is empty and they get right back to work, busy as bees. Related: How a simple honey harvester demonstrates the sweet success of viral crowdfunding campaign The Flow Hive 2 features an adjustable hive stand making it easier to set up on uneven ground. A multi-functional tray helps beekeepers trap pests. Deeper handles, a ventilation control system, a harvesting shelf, and observation windows on both sides are among the other upgrades to the hive. Beekeepers can obtain around five-and-a-half to six-and-a-half-pounds of honey per frame. The Flow Hive 2 costs $932; earlybird backers snagged it for $699. The Indiegogo campaign is over, raising an incredible $13,662,173. But it seems Flow Hive’s journey is really just beginning. You can find out more on the campaign page or their website . + Flow Hive + Flow Hive 2 Indiegogo Image via Flow Hive

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Redesigned Flow Hive 2 snags whopping $13.6 million on Indiegogo

"Most technologically-sophisticated commercial indoor farm" to grow 30X more produce

March 1, 2018 by  
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As our technology is advancing, so are our farms. Indoor farming company Bowery is constructing what they describe as the “most technologically-sophisticated commercial indoor farm in the world.” It’s their second, but this one (also in Kearny, New Jersey ) will far outpace the first, churning out 30 times more produce and growing more than 100 kinds of herbs and leafy greens. Bowery is drawing on technology to get the job done: that is, to grow what they describe as post- organic produce. They control the entire growing process indoors without pesticides , utilizing their fully-integrated technology system BoweryOS to generate ideal conditions, and said in information sent to Inhabitat this new farm will be “the most automated and precisely-controlled farm yet.” On their website , they describe their method as precision farming, saying they meticulously monitor growing, gathering a huge amount of data so they can give plants exactly what they require in terms of light, nutrients, and purified water. Sophisticated analytics let them harvest crops right when flavor is at its best. Related: Local Roots shipping container farms achieve cost parity with traditional farming Bowery’s produce is cultivated with 95 less water than traditional agriculture , and their crop cycles are twice as fast, according to the company. Their goal is to grow food close to the people who will be eating it — so they can deliver to stores or restaurants within one day after the produce is picked. That’s in contrast to produce grown in a traditional manner, which they say can take weeks to hit stores. They also say they can offer their greens at competitive prices since they own the process from seed to store. After opening in the late spring or early summer of this year, they’ll sell greens cultivated in their second farm to stores like Foragers and Whole Foods, with goals to expand. Currently they send produce to those two companies as well as restaurants in New York City. Bowery’s certainly not the only company pursuing indoor farming relying on technology; Inhabitat has covered others like Farm One and Local Roots . But as 70 percent more food will be necessary, according to Bowery, to feed the nine to 10 billion people who could reside on our planet by 2050, it will be intriguing to see what they can bring to the table with this second farm. + Bowery Images courtesy of Bowery

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"Most technologically-sophisticated commercial indoor farm" to grow 30X more produce

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