Pamper your partner with these eco-friendly gift ideas

December 18, 2019 by  
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Getting your significant other a holiday gift can be a daunting task, but if you go green, you’ll win every time. Here are Inhabitat’s recommendations for eco-conscious gifts that will show your partner and the planet plenty of love this holiday season. Repast Supply Co.’s wooden kitchenware and dining furniture Repast Supply Co. is a woodworking company that plants 10 trees for every piece of furniture it builds. Its furniture includes credenzas, dining tables, side tables, seating and benches. The Repast Supply kitchenware product line includes wooden rolling pins, ravioli boxes, bigolaros, polenta boards, cutting boards and wine totes. As an added bonus, it has recipes on its website for dishes like gluten-free ravioli with port-poached pear filling or ricotta-goat cheese ravioli with radishes for the refined palate. Any of these items are a great set-up for many romantic dinners to come. Related: Eco-friendly subscription boxes to gift this holiday season JOCO reusable, glass coffee cups JOCO has been a strong advocate for the “Refuse all plastic, stop disposable waste” message. The company has thereby created reusable coffee cups “designed for a lifetime of use,” thanks to being 100 percent plastic-free and certified non-toxic. Moreover, these reusable cups are “made by artists, not machines,” for they have been “artisan-blown.” Besides the coffee cups, JOCO also offers bottles, glassware and accessories. Accessories include silicone thermal sleeves and splash-safe lids that are 100 percent BPA-free. Recycled glass artworks Upcycling glass is a good way to minimize waste and create eco-art for all to enjoy. For example, Kitras Art Glass makes hand-blown ornaments from recycled glass. Refresh Glass , meanwhile, has rescued over 1.5 million bottles and continues to upcycle them into gifts, like self-watering planters, carafe and glass sets and personalized glass sets. EvrBottle similarly gives bottles new life as tumblers, vases, lamps, jars and candle holders. Bureo sunglasses and skateboards All of Bureo’s products are made from recycled fishing nets . Its top-sellers include skateboards and sunglasses, and it also has the first Jenga game ( called Jenga Ocean ) made from 100 percent recycled fishing nets. Bureo’s gift sets include insulated canteens, flying discs, mugs and surf fins, all made from recycled fishing nets as well. ReFleece ReFleece sources reclaimed textiles from the outdoor industry and makes felt from recycled bottles. The company makes all of its products in the U.S., too. ReFleece merchandise to gift this holiday season includes zippered pocket pouches, slim wallets, e-reader cases, iPad sleeves and wine totes. Personal care products from The Humble Co. Vegan , cruelty-free and certified organic, The Humble Co. has many eco-friendly and socially responsible products on offer. The Humble Brush is described as “the world’s most-sold bamboo toothbrush with a handle made from 100 percent biodegradable, sustainably grown bamboo.” The toothbrushes can be accessorized with a bamboo storage case or a bamboo stand to hold the Humble Brush. The Humble Co. also has natural toothpastes, including tablets, and non-toxic mouthwash that would all make for great stocking-stuffers. Because bamboo is The Humble Co.’s material of choice, it also sells bamboo cotton swabs and reusable, natural bamboo straws. Sleep masks and bedding from SOL Organics For a good night’s rest, consider organic cotton eye masks. Optimal health depends on getting enough sleep, and that can be helped with a sleep mask that both fits comfortably and blocks out the light. Plus, with organic cotton as the material, your partner will sleep better knowing it is eco-friendly. SOL Organics ‘ sleep mask is a fair-trade eye mask that is made of 100 percent organic cotton and has the GOTS certification. SOL Organics’ product inventory also includes sheets, bedding bundles, duvets, downs, and even robes and towels. Birdhouse succulent planter For those who love birds, plants, gardens or all of the above, then Shop Succulents’ living succulent birdhouse kit planter is sure to be a well-loved gift. Made from natural wood and supplied with succulents to plant atop for a green roof , this birdhouse will certainly make your partner smile. Cork yoga mats Yoloha cork yoga mats are comfortable, biodegradeable and recyclable. They also have a great non-slip grip, and cork is naturally antibacterial. With a Yoloha cork yoga mat, your partner can better their personal health and wellness and that of the planet, too. Images via Shutterstock, Repast Supply , JOCO , Jana , Bureo , ReFleece , The Humble Co. and Yoloha Yoga

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Eco-friendly Gifts for Kids

December 18, 2019 by  
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Maven Moment: The Feast of the Seven Fishes

December 18, 2019 by  
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For me, growing up as an Italian-American in the 1960s, … The post Maven Moment: The Feast of the Seven Fishes appeared first on Earth911.com.

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Easy & Eco-friendly ‘Experience’ Gift Ideas

December 9, 2019 by  
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Easy & Eco-friendly ‘Experience’ Gift Ideas

Proposed Florida bill could require prescription for sunscreens in effort to save coral reefs

October 18, 2019 by  
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In a bid to protect the Sunshine State’s reefs from coral bleaching , a new legislative bill has been proposed that requires a physician’s prescription for sunscreens containing oxybenzone and octinoxate, on grounds that these chemicals are harmful to marine coastal environments. The two ingredients are found in roughly 80 percent of all commercially available sunscreens. Discouraging their widespread use can help protect Florida’s fragile coral ecosystems. Following in the footsteps of Hawaii and Key West , all over-the-counter sunscreens will need to be free of both oxybenzone and octinoxate to be deemed safe enough for use, because both chemicals contribute to coral reef bleaching and the compromised health of reef aquatic life. If approved, the bill will take effect in 2020. Related: Pacific heat wave threatens coral reefs in Hawaii and other regions Coral reefs are a valuable asset to the Sunshine State. They are beneficial for environmental and economic reasons, such as protecting coastal communities from wave action and storm surges, providing ecosystem biodiversity, serving as a food resource and offering commercial tourism opportunities. What’s more, Florida is “the only state in the continental United States to have extensive coral reef formations near its coasts. These reefs extend over 300 miles,” according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) . Coral reef activities promote tourism and businesses that “generate $3.4 billion and support 36,000 jobs in the region each year.” Reputed to be the third-longest coral barrier reef in the world, Florida’s celebrated reefs, sadly, have not been faring well in recent years due to a combination of factors: warming ocean temperatures, acidification, rising sea levels, erosion, pollution, coastal development, offshore oil and gas drilling, dredging, boat groundings, propeller and anchor damage, unsustainable fishing activities, invasive species and infection and disease. Because the coral reefs are left at a delicate tipping point, a patchwork of restoration efforts, largely from marine conservation groups, have attempted to revitalize them. It is hoped this bill can help save the fragile ecosystem. Oxybenzone and octinoxate are harmful to corals. As documented by a NOAA study published in the journal Environmental Contamination and Toxicology , they damage coral DNA, beget aberrant growth and defective development in young coral, exacerbate coral bleaching vulnerabilities and ultimately prevent the coral from reproducing properly. Because both oxybenzone and octinoxate accumulate in coral tissue, the coral become highly susceptible to infection and disease, likewise culminating in reef degradation. Critics complain the new legislation will increase skin cancer risks; however, the bill’s proponents argue for a shift toward “reef-friendly” alternative sunscreens. The National Park Service , for instance, recommends “titanium oxide or zinc oxide, which are natural mineral ingredients.” Neither titanium oxide nor zinc oxide have been found to be harmful to coral reefs, making both appealing as eco-friendly substitutes. Via CNN Image via Shutterstock

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Proposed Florida bill could require prescription for sunscreens in effort to save coral reefs

Technology uses banana leaves as a biodegradable alternative to single-use plastic

September 20, 2019 by  
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Plastic pollution negatively impacts the health of our planet. Waste management has led to an irreversible environmental crisis that is felt by wildlife, especially in the oceans. One organization, called Banana Leaf Technology, is helping to address the stark reality by proposing banana leaves as a biodegradable alternative to single-use plastic . Using 100 percent organic banana leaves as raw material, the novel, eco-friendly preservation technology transforms the cellular structure by enhancing its properties so that the leaves remain green for an entire year without any chemicals. Plus, their shelf lifespan is extended to up to three years. Related: Bananatex launches a sustainable material revolution at Milan Design Week After the preservation process, the enhanced leaves have increased load-bearing capabilities, resistance to extreme temperatures, durability, elasticity and flexibility. Banana Leaf Technology’s website additionally states that the processed leaves are more pathogen-resistant with antiviral, antifungal and antibacterial properties. How does it do this? The technology fortifies the banana leaves’ cell walls and prevents pathogenic agents from degrading the processed biomaterial’s cells. Currently, Banana Leaf Technology offers 30 products that utilize its preservation methods. These products include plates, cups, cones, boxes, writing paper and envelopes. Because the patented Banana Leaf Technology is customizable, other products are expected to be developed in the future, such as natural packaging alternatives. Banana Leaf Technology products provide several advantages. Besides curtailing the destructive damages to wildlife and landfills, using preserved banana leaf products decreases the risks of plastic leaching byproducts and toxins into food and beverages, making them a far healthier cookware, dinnerware and food storage alternative to plastic. Moreover, after their primary use, they can, in turn, serve as animal fodder or garden fertilizer to make soil more arable. First formulated in 2010 by Tenith Adithyaa, a precocious 11-year-old who was working in his homemade laboratory, the now-patented Banana Leaf Technology has since received seven international awards. The company’s mission, according to its website, is “to solve the global climate crisis without compromising the economy.” Adithyaa’s vision is to make Banana Leaf Technology “available to all human beings, regardless of their geographical and economical boundaries.” Interestingly, the company’s current business model is to “sell the tech license worldwide to any company” that shares in Adithyaa’s vision. The website elaborates further, stipulating that “any commercial or non-commercial company can purchase the license to this technology by technology transfer. The license will be granted for lifetime to operate worldwide.” + Banana Leaf Technology Images via Banana Leaf Technology and Pkraemer

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An eco-friendly gift guide for Fathers Day

June 12, 2019 by  
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This Father’s Day, give your dad a gift he will not only love, but one that also won’t hurt the planet nor gather dust on his shelf: quality time together! Here are a few ideas of ways to get outside and celebrate with the father figure in your life as well as some eco-friendly gadgets he will enjoy when you aren’t together. Visit a national park together June is one of the best times to visit one of the country’s national parks . Whether your dad is a serious hiker or more of a couch potato, he will love getting some fresh air and seeing a beautiful new landscape together. Most parks have options for easy day trips, walking tours and more intense hikes. Some have visitors centers, museums and cafes, and many have short paved trails that are accessible for a wider variety of ability levels . Related: How National Parks benefit the environment Here are a few popular parks for Father’s Day: Acadia National Park, Maine This park has miles of rugged coastline that can be too cold for most people during the rest of the year but are beautiful during the summer. Grand Teton National Park, Wyoming Located near Yellowstone National Park, this park has gorgeous mountain vistas and overlook sites. It is popular in the summertime for mountaineering, climbing, hiking and walking. Shenandoah National Park, Virginia Only a few hours from Washington D.C., this park is gorgeous even from a car. There are a number of hikes and waterfall spots for different ability levels, plus you and your dad can brag about hiking part of the Appalachian Trail together. For more ideas, check out the National Parks Service’s Father’s Day Guide . Pick your own strawberries June is peak strawberry season in much of the U.S., and it’s a fun group activity with sweet treats along the way. Bring the loot home and make fresh strawberry shortcake for a Father’s Day dessert! Here is a guide to where you can go strawberry picking in different states. Make sure to call ahead to confirm that the farm is open, has strawberries left and is still offering a pick-your-own program this year. Give the gift of knowledge This year, take your father to a movie about the environment or nature, like The Biggest Little Farm . Not only will it allow you to spend quality time together, but you will learn something new about our planet. If your dad is interested, check out local events or talks about climate change and participate in local activism together! Sign up for a road race If you and your dad have a goal to be more active, exercise is a great way to spend quality time together while staying healthy . Research races in your area and pick one that works with your schedule and abilities. The entrance fee typically goes to help charities or medical research. Stick with a 5K or less if you’re a beginner — that is about 3.2 miles. If you’re more advanced, you can look for a 10K or higher. Related: 8 tips to make your exercise routine more eco-friendly Buy a bike tune-up Does your dad like to bike? Maybe he bikes to work, just on the weekends or very little at all, but we’ll bet his bike could use a tune-up to make sure it’s in the best and safest shape possible. Rent canoes or kayaks Now that the weather is nice, spend some time together as a family and rent canoes, kayaks or paddle boats. Many lakes and rivers have rental companies where you can pay by the hour or by the day. If you’re feeling even more adventurous, you could look at places where you can fish, too. Snag tickets to a sports game or concert Spend your money on an experience instead of an item. Do some research to find out if your dad’s favorite sports team or band is in town, and buy tickets to go with him. Plan a customized rainwater harvesting system If your dad loves to garden, get him a customized rainwater harvesting system. Many companies will take the time to learn about your dad’s space and needs and send an easy, customized kit to set it up. You can also try the DIY route . Get environmental gadgets for Dad Before buying more stuff for your dad, ask him what he wants. A good way to cut down on waste is by buying only something that he would really use. Otherwise, here are some good ideas: App-controlled light bulbs Does anyone else have a dad who is constantly reminding you to turn off the lights when you leave a room? Get your tech-savvy dad this app-controlled light bulb that lasts up to 27 years and uses just 10 percent of the energy needed for a conventional bulb. He can set timers for his schedule and say goodbye to the days of following the kids around and turning off lights after them. Swim shorts that save the sea These swimming shorts are made from 100 percent recycled plastic and are SPF 45+. Each design tells a story about ocean pollution , and they are available in matching Father + Son sizes. Grill tools made from recycled hockey sticks Is your dad a grill master and a sports fan? This California-based company recycles used hockey sticks to make unique grill utensils. According to the website: “We all know somebody (perhaps ourself) whose burgers always come off the grill looking like hockey pucks. They just don’t have the right tools.” Stainless steel coffee mug If your dad is like mine, he drinks a lot of coffee . Get him a sophisticated stainless steel coffee mug that he can take with him on the go or bring to coffee shops. Most shops offer a small discount for bringing your own mug, and some cities like Berkeley, California are piloting a program to start charging customers for using disposable coffee cups, just like plastic bags. Related: The problem with coffee pods and the eco-friendly alternatives to use instead Sustainable socks Put a twist on the typical gift for dad and buy him something from a sustainable brand. Check out the sock choices at Organic Basics . Organic wine Research the vineyards near you or your dad and find out which ones use organic, sustainable or biodynamic methods on their vineyard. After confirming its environmental impact, gift Dad with an eco-friendly bottle of wine. Via Earth 911 Images via Shutterstock

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An eco-friendly gift guide for Fathers Day

A Dutch village inspired the design of this solar-powered home

May 16, 2019 by  
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Within a cluster of traditional Dutch homes in The Hague, local firm Global Architects  designed a single-family home that stands out from its neighbors with its contemporary design, yet relates to the surroundings with a layout that references the concept of a village. Aptly named the Hidden Village, the modern home also distinguishes itself with its use of energy efficient technologies that span passive solar principles to the use of solar panels and an air-heat pump. As a potential forever home, the all-electric home emphasizes adaptability so that the rooms can be easily changed to fit different needs over time. With an area of 1,830 square feet, the Hidden Village offers a spacious environment for a family of four— two adults and two children— across two floors. To give each family member a sense of privacy while allowing them to have direct contact with one another, the architects organized the house around a central technical core that’s surrounded by living rooms, which have access to the outdoors. The upper floor consists of three bedrooms, a bathroom and a play space; the flex room on the ground floor can be used as a bedroom for visiting grandparents. The home features views of the outdoors and carries a strong theme of indoor/ outdoor living emphasized not only with outdoor decks and large walls of glass, but also with internal windows that frame views from room to room, as well as a balcony on the mezzanine. “Hidden Village has been designed by Global Architects as a total concept in which the design of the exterior, interior and outdoor space are fully aligned and reinforce each other,” the architects explain in their press release. “The entire design is a relationship between an open space, characterized by a playful composition of skylights, and the different functional rooms that enter it.” Related: Fabulous multigenerational home allows owners to comfortably age in place Hidden Village also prioritizes energy efficiency. In addition to ample natural lighting, the house is built with passive building blocks with insulation RC values of 9. Eco-friendly spray cladding is used on the facade and combined with dark gray aluminum frames, triple glazing  and Western Red Cedar slats for a contemporary appearance. Solar rooftop panels, a heat recovery system and an air-heat pump power the home. + Global Architects Images via Global Architects

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8 tips to make your exercise routine more eco-friendly

May 9, 2019 by  
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For most people, getting in a good workout on a daily basis is hard enough, let alone making sure it is also beneficial to the environment. While combining the best of both worlds seems difficult, there are ways you can create an eco-friendly exercise program without too much trouble. From working out at home to enjoying the splendor of the outdoors, here are eight ways you can improve the environment and your health. Go Outdoors Taking your workout to the great outdoors is one of the best ways to go green with your fitness. There are plenty of ways to get in a good eco-friendly workout under the sun such as walking, running and cycling. Walking is a good option if you do not want to put a lot of stress on your joints, while running a mile everyday will keep you in top shape. Whenever you exercise outdoors , remember to keep hydrated and always bring along some water. You can also explore various outdoor trails in your area if you want to mix things up. Related: 7 Ways to live an eco-friendly life while staying healthy Yoga Yoga is a total body workout that improves your mind, strength and flexibility. If you have never meditated before, yoga is a great way to introduce yourself to the practice of focusing your thoughts. You can do yoga in the comfort of your home or take your mat outdoors to enjoy the beauty and tranquility of nature. When it comes to buying a good yoga mat, consider purchasing one that is eco-friendly . There are a few companies that sell mats that are completely biodegradable and made from recycled materials. These products, which are usually made out of TPE, are also easy on your wallet. Home Fitness If you live in an area that is not conducive to outdoor activities or if the weather is bad, you can always move your eco-friendly workout indoors. All you need is a little space to stretch out and a good plan. If you do not know where to start, there are plenty of exercise programs online that are tailored to every experience level. Apart from keeping you in shape, working out at home has several benefits. For starters, your home workouts will save you from paying a monthly gym membership. You also use much less electricity at your home than you would at the gym. Recycling Workout Gear Recycling is one of the easiest ways you can improve the environment. If you work out on a regular basis, you will likely burn through several shoes over the course of a year. Instead of throwing away those old sneakers, consider donating them to a local charitable organization. For instance, Nike have their own recycling programs that turn old shoes into playground materials. You can also consider purchasing worn workout gear, such as shorts, t-shirts and other accessories. Ditch The Plastic Plastic waste is a growing concern around the world and plastic bottles are a big part of the problem. Three-quarters of plastic water bottles are thrown away in landfills every year instead of being placed in recycling facilities. You can help curb this waste by investing in some reusable water bottles. Not only will this help cut down on plastic waste , but it will also save you from buying bottled water every week. Gym Tips Sometimes, going to the gym is your only option. If you have to go to the gym or prefer it to a home workout, there are still plenty of ways you can be more eco-friendly. For starters, try and stay away from machines that use electricity. If you need to get some cardio in, for example, run on the track or do routines that combine lifting and cardio. If you have to run on a treadmill , incline the machine so that it using less electricity. You should also consider looking in your area for gyms that promote eco-friendly workouts. These establishments usually rely less on electricity and even have machines that generate energy as you work out. Change Your Commute Switching up your commute to work can give you a great workout while helping the environment. If it is feasible, consider walking or biking to your place of employment instead of driving. This will help cut down on air pollution, even if you only do it a few times per week. It will also get your fitness routine out of the way so that you can focus on other things throughout the day. Eater Greener Working out, of course, is only part of living a healthy life. While it is tempting to refuel with a post-workout protein bar or drink, consider opting for a more sustainable option. Eating organic fruits and veggies is a great way to replenish the body and give you all the nutrients you need to recover in time for your next workout. If you need to infuse more protein into your diet, consider investing in a good protein powder. You can find organically produced powders at your local supplement store, which are great for morning smoothies. For example, hemp powder is packed full of protein, has a delicious nutty flavor and requires less water than other sources of protein. Via Best Health Magazine.   Greener Ideal Images via Shutterstock

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20 Eco-Friendly Mother’s Day Gift Ideas

May 6, 2019 by  
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