Eco-friendly Everlasting Forest Pavilion champions circular living in Bangkok

May 13, 2020 by  
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For this year’s Bangkok Design Week, which took place in February 2020, Thai design firm Plural Designs created the Everlasting Forest Pavilion, a temporary, tunnel-like structure built of biodegradable materials that promotes sustainable ideas and products to the public. Created in collaboration with a team of multidisciplinary experts, the pavilion champions the idea of environmentally friendly architecture and circular living as part of a larger vision for sustainable urban living. Installed in front of Bangkok’s Grand Postal Building, the Everlasting Forest Pavilion follows a “BCG” concept named after its three zones of Bio Economy, Circular Economy and Green Economy. Each zone is a showcase of innovative products and ideas and seamlessly connects to the next space. The pavilion’s circular form reinforces the idea of circular living with its tunnel-like architecture; the pavilion is centered on an “Everlasting Forest”, a densely planted green space with a walkway. All materials used in construction are eco-friendly, biodegradable and made from waste material. Related: Futuristic Safezone Shelter battles air pollution in Thailand with a green oasis The first zone visitors encounter is the Green Economy, which introduces a variety of eco-friendly materials including lightweight fiber rebar, or glass-fiber reinforced polymer (GFRP), as a durable and low-carbon alternative building material to steel. The second zone is the Circular Economy , where examples of plastic waste upcycled into new, value-added products are showcased. Examples of uses for biodegradable and eco-friendly bioplastics are shown in the third zone, Bio Economy. The pavilion also includes a rest zone. As an extension of the project, a Smart Recycling Center was installed nearby to show the public how to responsibly sort and manage waste generated at the event. The architects said, “Everlasting Forest Pavilion is a space demonstrating the co-habitation between man-made structures and their surrounding environment including buildings, green spaces and daily life objects, whose resources and waste are all sustainably managed and utilized.” + Plural Designs Images via Plural Designs

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Eco-friendly Everlasting Forest Pavilion champions circular living in Bangkok

Eco-friendly Fun, Education, & Advocacy While Staying Home

April 21, 2020 by  
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Responsibly social distancing yourself from others during the coronavirus pandemic … The post Eco-friendly Fun, Education, & Advocacy While Staying Home appeared first on Earth911.com.

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LEED Platinum-targeted Santa Monica apartments are powered by solar energy

January 30, 2020 by  
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Los Angeles-based design practice KFA Architecture has recently completed Pico Eleven, a new multi-unit residential housing project designed to achieve LEED Platinum certification. In addition to the building’s inclusion of solar panels, energy-efficient appliances and passive solar strategies, Pico Eleven has also dedicated approximately one-third of its units to affordable housing, with four units set aside for very low-income households. Located near Downtown Santa Monica, the housing project reflects its waterfront environment with reclaimed timber siding that recalls the rustic California beach house aesthetic. Nestled into a sloping hillside just blocks from Downtown Santa Monica , Pico Eleven comprises 32 units spread out across four floors and is organized into three distinct masses that step down the slope. The 33,000-square-foot building also includes two levels of subterranean parking with space for 64 vehicles. Eleven of the 32 units — which mainly comprise one- and two-bedroom units — are reserved for rent control, while four units are designated low-income. Related: Eco-friendly crematorium is envisioned for Santa Monica To take advantage of the building’s proximity to the waterfront, the architects have added three upper-level decks with sweeping ocean views and amenities including built-in barbecue grills, gas fire pits and outdoor seating. Outdoor space is further integrated into the design with the private patios that come with every unit as well as the inclusion of two large, open courtyards with drought-tolerant landscaping. Open floor plans and expansive glazing on the sides of every residential unit also give residents access to ocean cross breezes and plenty of natural light. In addition to an emphasis on cross ventilation and daylighting throughout Pico Eleven, the architects have added photovoltaic panels to the roof to generate electricity for the entire building. All units come with energy-efficient appliances and residents have access to two electric vehicle charging stations as well.  + KFA Architecture Images via KFA Architecture

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This cool electric skateboard is made from recycled plastic

January 30, 2020 by  
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Native of Porto, Portugal, designer João Leão was becoming more and more concerned about the abundance of plastic waste he saw clogging up his city’s beautiful coastline. Inspired to act on the issue, the ambitious designer decided to find a way to clean the ocean by using that waste to create an innovative product. As a result, Leão created the PET MINI — an electric skateboard made completely out of plastic waste. Founder of the design studio Maker Island , Leão has made a career out of  creating innovative and collaborative designs that are geared toward addressing local problems on a global scale. But with his latest invention, Leão is trying to address an issue close to his heart — Porto’s plastic waste. Related: New line of men’s swimwear is made from recycled ocean plastic “It all started with two problems, the plastic waste I was seeing being gathered on the beaches of my hometown, Porto, and the increasing commute times due to the high increase of people on the city and poor public and personal transportation infrastructures,” Leão explained. The resulting design is the PET (Personal Electric Transport) skateboard. The process began by experimenting with various types of discarded plastic. By examining the most common types found in Porto’s waters — ABS, PP and PET HDPE — Leão was able to better understand the mechanical and aesthetic properties of each. Finally, he discovered that the most suitable type of plastic for creating the electric skateboard was HDPE. From there, Leão began to outline the design itself. Using the body of an armadillo as inspiration, he first created the electronics enclosure, which is a series of modular pieces that run along the underside of the board. The enclosure is durable enough to protect the board’s electronic components without affecting the smooth ride of the deck. The deck of the board was 3D-CNC milled at the local VIVA Lab using recycled thermoplastics as the main manufacturing material. The PET MINI electronic skateboard weighs just over 17 pounds and is 75 centimeters long. With a top speed of 21 miles per hour, the board can go up to 22 miles with a single charge time of almost 2 hours. Built for under $550, the innovative board is comparable to other commercial electric skateboards on the market that typically cost about $1,700. +  João Leão Images via João Leão

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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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Easy & Eco-friendly ‘Experience’ Gift Ideas

December 9, 2019 by  
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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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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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