Coop launches fragrance that smells of old milk to combat food waste

September 19, 2018 by  
Filed under Eco, Green

Food waste is a major issue all around the world, but one Swedish company is doing something about it. Coop has officially launched an ‘Old Milk’ fragrance — which, yes, smells like spoiled milk — to urge citizens to rely on their sense of taste and smell rather than expiration dates when deciding whether to throw away outdated food. A study by the Swedish Environmental Protection Agency shows that 30 percent of food waste in Sweden is still edible. It is estimated that most food waste in the world is from dairy products, tea and coffee. To combat wasting this amount of food, Coop, a popular grocery chain in the country, developed a spray that smells like spoiled milk. The hope is that the fragrance will encourage people to smell and taste food before tossing it out. Related: Mobile app Karma tackles food waste with discounted meals “With the fragrance Old Milk, we want to make people decrease their food waste at home by helping them understand the difference between drinkable and undrinkable milk,”  Anneli Bylund, the head of Coop’s sustainability division, explained. “Don’t be afraid to smell, taste and look at the food before you throw it out.” Another goal of the new fragrance is to teach Swedes not to rely solely on expiration dates. Coop hopes its product will educate citizens on how spoiled milk actually smells and encourage them to test all of the food in their households before tossing it in the bin. This is not the first time Coop has combated food waste. In previous years, the company has collaborated with organizations to extend food past the manufacturer’s recommended date. This includes working with organizations like Allwin and Whywaste to help distribute old food to nonprofits. Coop is also working with celebrity chef Paul Svensson to create better-tasting recipes for leftovers. Coop has taken home several awards for its contribution to sustainability in Sweden. This includes being named the most sustainable brand and the greenest company in 2018. The company is releasing free samples of the Old Milk fragrance on its official website . + Coop Images via Coop

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Coop launches fragrance that smells of old milk to combat food waste

Fight food waste with these 11 ways to use leftover greens before they spoil

September 19, 2018 by  
Filed under Eco, Green

While they are chock-full of nutrients, greens such as spinach, kale, chard and romaine typically do not make for good leftovers. Luckily, there are plenty of uses for this tasty produce — even if it is soggy and nearly bad — that won’t make you feel like you’ve wasted money or contributed to the growing food waste crisis. Here are 11 different ways you can use leftover greens before they spoil. Sautéed Greens Certain types of greens, like arugula, kale , chard and spinach, are ideal for adding to a stir-fry or sautéing. Add these greens with shallots, peppers and garlic, and sauté them with a bit of olive oil. If you are making a traditional stir-fry, the ribs of romaine and iceberg lettuce are great for adding a crispy element to the dish. Kale Pesto Who knew kale could be incorporated into a spaghetti dish? Start by making a pesto with kale with a food processor. Then, boil some spaghetti noodles and combine them with the pesto. Add a few sun-dried tomatoes to the mix and top everything off with some goat or vegan cheese. Once you have mastered making kale pesto, you can use it in a number of different dishes, including raviolis and fish, such as tilapia. Lettuce Soup It might not sound good, but leftover greens actually make a great soup . You can make a delicious soup out of an assortment of leftover greens, including Boston, romaine, butter, Bibb and iceberg lettuces. You can also play with a variety of spices, like thyme, garlic and tarragon, until you find a flavor combination you like. Add in potato for a heartier meal. Lettuce Cups and Wraps You can put just about anything that you would put on a sandwich in a lettuce wrap, and it will taste good. If you are looking for something new, try wrapping a mixture of rice, spicy peppers and other veggies and proteins of your choice. Like wraps, lettuce cups are a great way to use leftover greens before they spoil. Romaine lettuce and iceberg are better for cups, because they have large leaves and are a little sturdier than their counterparts. There is an assortment of lettuce cup recipes on the internet, but our favorite combines pine nuts, tofu (or chicken, if you prefer) and peppers to create a tasty treat. Green Smoothies One of the quickest ways to use leftover greens is to incorporate them into a smoothie. Greens make excellent smoothies that are both tasty and nutritious. Add a bit of fruit plus ginger for extra flavor. You can also try your hand at making a detox smoothie. For this drink, use leftover kale, apples, ginger and lemon. Start by slicing six apples. Juice three of them, and add the juice to your blender. Then toss in the chopped kale, lemon and ginger. Once everything is mixed in, add the rest of the apple slices and blend. One tip for this recipe is to use apples that are crisp, which will help give the smoothie a good consistency. But if you are trying to use up nearly-expired apples, those will work fine, too. Mac & Cheese Leftover kale actually makes great mac and cheese and can help infuse nutrients into the dish. Just cook the dish as you normally would (we recommend homemade, not boxed!), and combine the chopped kale at the very end as you are mixing everything together. Place in the oven to soften the kale and you are good to go. If you prefer spinach, it also makes a great addition to this classic comfort dish . Rice With Greens Mixing rice, including fried rice, with greens is a great way to make a traditional dish healthier. Start by cooking the rice as you normally would. Mix in a cup or more of chopped greens and your preferred spices. Cook until the kale is soft and serve hot. Coleslaw Leftover greens are great for making a quick coleslaw. Hardier greens, such as kale, mustard, chard or turnip tops, are more ideal for coleslaw, because they generally stay fresher longer. If you notice some yellowing leaves, simply cut off these portions and cut the rest into small strips. Add a vinaigrette to the mixture and the result is a fresh slaw that is sure to please. Grilled Lettuce Grilling lettuce is a great way to use it up before it wilts away. Start by cutting lettuce into wedges and coat with olive oil, salt and garlic. The sugars in the lettuce, especially if you use iceberg or romaine, will caramelize in the cooking process. Once the greens are fully cooked, sprinkle them with some cheese of your choice and enjoy. Spinach Yogurt Dip Spinach and kale can be combined to create an amazing yogurt dip. Gather Greek yogurt, mayonnaise, honey, kale, spinach, green onions, red pepper, carrots, garlic and some paprika. The key to this dish is to make sure all of the ingredients are finely chopped so that they combine well with the yogurt. You can also add artichoke hearts or water chestnuts for a little more variety. Serve this dish with veggies or chips. Braised Lettuce Did you know that you can braise lettuce? Well, you can, and it is pretty delicious to boot. You can try different recipes with this dish, but braising lettuce in coconut milk and then adding some ginger, black pepper and garlic makes for an amazing appetizer. To braise lettuce, start by chopping it up and sauté it until the leaves are slightly brown. Then add some vegetable broth and bring everything to a boil. Cover and heat for around 15 minutes to finish the braise. Images via Chiara Conti , Tim Sackton , Alice Pasqual , Stu Spivack , Vegan Feast Catering , Kimberly Nanney , Jodi Michelle , Zachary Collier , Gloria Cabada-Leman and Shutterstock

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Fight food waste with these 11 ways to use leftover greens before they spoil

Stefano Boeri Architettis iridescent tower breaks ground in Tirana

September 18, 2018 by  
Filed under Eco, Green

Stefano Boeri Architetti , the Italian architecture firm behind the vertical forest towers , has unveiled designs for the Blloku Cube, a mixed-use high-rise marked by its distinctive energy-efficient cladding. Located in the heart of Albania’s capital of Tirana, the Blloku Cube is a multifunctional center instrumental in the Tirana 2030 master plan — also designed by Stefano Boeri Architetti — that aims to breathe new life into one of the most prestigious districts in the city. Construction on the Blloku Cube recently broke ground in July 2018. Covering a project area of approximately 12,000 square feet (1,117 square meters), the Blloku Cube is currently being constructed on the intersection between the streets of Pjeter Bogdani and Vaso Pasha. The eye-catching cuboid structure was designed to enhance the vibrant district, which was reborn from a former military zone with restricted access into a major city hub flush with shops, bars and restaurants. Blloku Cube will comprise office space stacked atop multiple levels of retail. A Roof Garden Restaurant will occupy the seventh floor. “The identity of the building is strongly characterized by a special cladding, a standout feature that makes it recognizable and unique in the city skyline and, at the same time, highly performing in terms of thermal efficiency, thanks to a ‘double skin’ technological system,” the firm said in a project statement. Energy-efficient glass curtain walls are considered the first “skin,” and the second “skin” consists of a shimmering “sophisticated technological shielding system” made up of anodized aluminum modules carefully angled to filter the sunlight and optimize natural light indoors. Related: The world’s first vertical forest for low-income housing is coming to the Netherlands Francesca Cesa Bianchi, Stefano Boeri Architetti project director, added, “This particular cladding solution, specifically designed for our first Albanian project, plays an essential role in defining the uniqueness of the building and contributes to underlining its importance as a new landmark of this urban district.” + Stefano Boeri Architetti Images by Stefano Boeri Architetti

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Stefano Boeri Architettis iridescent tower breaks ground in Tirana

3 Ways That Participating in a Sharing Economy Will Change Your Life

September 18, 2018 by  
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You may be hearing the term a lot lately as … The post 3 Ways That Participating in a Sharing Economy Will Change Your Life appeared first on Earth911.com.

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3 Ways That Participating in a Sharing Economy Will Change Your Life

DIY fall decor using upcycled items from thrift stores

September 14, 2018 by  
Filed under Eco, Green, Recycle

Fall is a great time to bust out new decorations, but you don’t have to break the bank to make your house stand out. Making DIY fall decor is a great way to save money and help the environment at the same time. From floating shelves to fall clothing accessories, here are eight autumn decorations you can make from common thrift store items or materials in your craft drawer. Cake Stand Pumpkin Display Nothing says fall like fresh pumpkins . You can proudly display these seasonal staples ( before you cook them up for dinner ) using an old cake stand, or you can build your own from old plates and a candlestick holder. If you are building one, simply mount the candlestick holder between two plates and paint them as desired. Glue down the plates to hold everything securely in place. You can build as many of these as you like, using different sizes holders to vary the heights. Related: Fall decorating ideas Floating Bookshelves Floating bookshelves can add a cozy and mysterious feel to a room, and you can build these imaginative holders with a few old hardcovers and a metal bracket. With a floating bookshelf, the bottom book holds everything in place while concealing the support bracket. Once completed, the shelf makes it appear like the books are floating on their own. For this project, all you need are a few metal brackets and some hardcover books. Start by attaching the bottom of the hardcover book to a metal bracket with a piece of fabric fastener. The fabric fastener should be attached so that it holds the bottom cover in place. The rest of the hardcover book should rest on top of the bracket. Then screw the bracket in place and install the bottom book. You can stack multiple books on top of the first one, just make sure the weight isn’t more than the metal bracket can handle. Stagger as many of these floating bookshelves on your wall to complete the look, and top each with your favorite knick-knacks. Sweater Pumpkins Cable knit sweaters make great DIY pumpkins that won’t rot if you forget about them. You can make these adorable fall decorations with a cable knit sweater, stuffing, yarn, twine and a sewing needle. Start by cutting the sweater in half at the armpits. Then, use the needle and yarn to create a running stitch along the bottom of the fabric, pulling it tight as you work around. With the bottom closed, fill the fabric with your stuffing material, leaving around 5 inches of sweater on top. The stuffing should turn the sweater into a rounded shape. Close the sweater with another running stitch around the top and add a piece of twine for a stem. Lastly, run some twine in sections from the top of the sweater to the bottom to create ridges, pulling tight for a more pumpkin-like appearance. Related: Front porch decorating for fall Basket Storage We could all use some extra storage around the house. Instead of buying new plastic totes, you can convert an old basket to serve as decorative storage space for all the seasonal items taking over your house, like blankets, scarves and boots. All you have to do is take an old basket and repaint it a solid color to match your existing decor. You can also paint a pattern on the basket to really make it stand out. Attach thick rope to the top of the basket to serve as handles, making a basket full of scarves, coats or blankets easier to move from the living room to the laundry room. Fall Clothing There are plenty of things around the house or at your local thrift store that you can upcycle and wear in the cooler fall weather. If you have any sweaters that are beyond repair, you can cut off the sleeves and use them as leg warmers, knit socks or tall boot socks. You can even make several pairs using just one sweater, depending on the size. If you have a blanket that has seen better days, cutting it just right can turn it into your new favorite scarf. The key is to getting the right dimensions. If you have another scarf on hand, use it as a reference point. Traditional scarves are anywhere between 55 and 82 inches long and 5 to 10 inches wide. Depending on the condition and size of the blanket, you should be able to get multiple scarves out of one piece. Seasonal Throw Pillows Take your love for fall to the next level by making throw pillow covers with old sweaters or flannel shirts. Start by cutting off the sleeves of the sweater or flannel, carefully following the seams. Then, put the pillow inside the shirt to get an idea of the best placement. Try to center the pillows with the pockets or buttons, which will lend these covers extra charm. Trim around the pillow, leaving an inch of fabric all the way around. Flip the fabric inside out and sew all of the sides together. Avoid sewing shut the buttons, as this is where you will insert the pillow. Once everything is sewed together, turn the shirt the right side out, unbutton the front, insert the pillow and re-button the cover. If your top of choice doesn’t have buttons, sew in buttons or a zipper on one side of the pillow cover. Related: Refresh your furnishings for fall Mason Jar Pumpkins You can make super cute DIY fall decor using old glass jars. All you need are the glass jars, non-toxic paint , twine and some faux leaves and corks for the stems. Start by painting the lids brown and the jars a dark orange. Once they have dried, screw the lids on the jars and use a piece of twine to tie around the jar just below the base of the lids. Add faux leaves and corks to the top of the lids, and feel free to paint on some fun Jack O’Lantern faces as well. Patio Lights Turning old tin cans into patio lights is a lot easier than you might think. All you need are some snips or shears, a hole punch, paint and tea lights. Start by removing any labels from the cans and cleaning them thoroughly. Use a strong hole punch to create patterns on the cans and paint them a warm fall color. If you do not have a hole punch on hand, you can carefully use a hammer and nail to create the same effect. Simply insert the tea light into the cans and place them around your patio, porch or even indoors. Images via Kamelia Hayati ,  John M. P. Knox , Sarah Dorweiler , Max Conrad , Shutterstock

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Why Google is ready to entrust energy management to AI

September 14, 2018 by  
Filed under Business, Eco, Green

The technology has recommended strategies that hadn’t occurred to its human counterparts.

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Why Google is ready to entrust energy management to AI

NY man spends 6 years building this incredible, energy-efficient hobbit home

September 13, 2018 by  
Filed under Eco, Green

A lot of lives have been touched by the Lord of the Rings films, but super fan Jim Costigan took it one step further by building his own Bag End-inspired hobbit home . The New York construction supervisor and his family spent more than six years building the energy-efficient cottage with a curved shape and lush green roof that would even make Bilbo Baggins a little bit envious. Like millions of people, Jim Costigan was enthralled by The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring. Specifically, though, he was drawn to the home of Bilbo Baggins, Bag End. The curved home enveloped in greenery spoke to Costigan’s love of design.  “I thought that was the coolest house I’d ever seen,” Costigan said. “Architecturally, I thought that that house in the movie was just really well-done, that it was really original. The curvatures, everything about it was unique.” Although Costigan had spent most of his career working on skyscrapers in Manhattan, he decided to re-create the charming design in his own backyard, with a cottage he now calls Hobbit Hollow. Related: This earth-sheltered Australian hobbit home stays cozy all year More than just a fan’s whimsy, the ambitious builder set about to not only recreate the famed hobbit home, but to make it an earth-sheltered passive house . From the start, the entire project was integrated with energy-efficient details, including thermal bridge-free construction that provides a tightly insulated shell, as well as triple-pane thermal windows and a heat recovery ventilator. Starting with a concrete foundation, the 1,500-square-foot home was built with various creative features that showed off his attention to hobbit detail as well as his commitment to sustainability . Just like Bag End, the exterior of the house is clad in natural stone. However, when it came to putting in the signature round door, there was a bit of a snag, because it didn’t meet Passive House standards. Working around the problem, Costigan built a circular red frame that hides the rectangular door. And of course, no hobbit home would be complete without a lush green roof that follows the curve of the design, blending it deep into the landscape. On the inside of the home, a high barrel-vaulted ceiling gives the tiny space character and depth. The abundance of windows and skylights in every room, except the guest bathroom, flood the interior with natural light . Adding to the charm is the various geometric shapes and patterns that the family imprinted into the concrete ceiling and skylight borders themselves. As an extra nod to the beloved films, a replica sword hangs over the electric stone fireplace, a gift to Costigan from his sons. Located in Pawling, New York, the two-bedroom, two-bathroom hobbit home sits on 1.7 acres of natural forestscape with an open-air bluestone patio in the back. From there, the family and visitors enjoy the sounds of a babbling stream that leads to an idyllic Shire-like waterfall and pond. + My Hobbit Shed Via Houzz Images via Jim Costigan

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A 6-foot-tall man lives comfortably in this custom tiny home

September 12, 2018 by  
Filed under Eco, Green

We’ve seen tiny homes built for a number of distinct uses, such as homes for veterans , students and families. But one “large” group has been left out of the movement — until now. The Light Haus is a tiny home on wheels custom-built for a couple, including a man who is over six feet tall. Designed by Vina Lustado from Sol Haus Design , the light-filled home has an interior height of 6’8″. Going vertical didn’t mean sacrificing on space or style; the house has two separate offices, tons of storage space, a luxurious bathroom with a rainfall shower and even special access for the couple’s cat. Anna and Kevin approached Vina with their hopes of finding a tiny home on wheels that would be comfortable for Kevin’s height, but still provide the amenities of a traditional home. By creating a height clearance of 6’8″, there would be ample room for him to stand up, but that wasn’t sufficient when it came to creating a spacious living area. Therefore, the solution was to extend the structure horizontally to 24 feet long, which added much-needed space. The living space is flooded with natural light thanks to an abundance of windows, especially the multiple clerestory windows that wrap around the home’s upper level. The layout has a central living area with a compact kitchen on one side. On the adjacent wall, stairs with hidden storage lead up to the sleeping loft. Again, space efficiency was essential here, so there is a whopping 4’6″ of space above the loft. Related: This off-grid, prefab tiny cabin in Michigan fits a family of five A light color palette and custom-made, multi-functional furniture give the space a fresh, modern aesthetic. Ample storage in every nook and cranny helps keep the space clutter-free. Adding to the healthy atmosphere is the fact that the tiny home was built with non-toxic materials . + Vina Lustado Via Tiny House Talk Images via Vina’s Tiny House

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A 6-foot-tall man lives comfortably in this custom tiny home

Two design students build a charming, off-grid summer cabin in a remote Finnish forest

September 12, 2018 by  
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Design students Timm Bergmann and Jonas Becker (now Studio Politaire ) decided to put their learned knowledge to the test by building an off-grid cabin in a remote area of Finland. Not only did they build the stunning 280-square-feet cabin from scratch with their own hands, but they stuck to a modest budget of just $14,000, proving once again that great design can be affordable. Bergmann and Becker were both halfway through their studies when they decided to build the off-grid cabin as a project for their dissertations. The determined duo found the perfect building location on an undeveloped forest plot in Finland. Before construction on the project started, they carefully studied the area and its terrain. “There was no electricity or water. No path led to the plot,” Bergmann explained. “We carried out a soil analysis and drew up a design based on the results, under the supervision of architect Jan Kampshoff.” The students scraped together just $14,000 to complete the project, obligating them to do 100 percent of the work — with a little help from their friends. Although the modest budget was seen as an obstacle at first, they soon realized that by doing the labor themselves , they were able to enjoy a certain flexibility when it came to making changes quickly. “As we built everything ourselves, we not only cut costs, but we were also able to make changes along the way,” Bergmann said. “As a result, we extended the terrace, built the roof ourselves after all — contrary to the initial plan — and made the stovepipes ourselves.” Because of the remote location, the young designers spent the first weeks building an elevated wooden walkway that stretched 650 feet in length. Building supplies were delivered from their base camp via tractor before carrying the rest of the materials by hand on the walkway. Related: Norwegian cabin weathers a harsh climate for breathtaking views The frame of the home was placed on a foundation of galvanized water pipes that a local contractor welded together. Apart from the pipes, the rest of the home was built using as many  natural materials as possible, keeping non-essentials to a minimum. The modular frame was built out of local lumber pieces, with walls built from plywood boards. Although it gives off a purely minimalist aesthetic at first glance, the design behind the 280-square-foot cabin is quite complex. The structure is comprised of four staggered volumes, strategically placed to provide distinct views from every angle. According to Becker, the cabin’s windows are double-paned and installed in solid wood frames to insulate the home during Finland’s harsh winters. Inside, the rooms are arranged for efficiency. The layout includes a small kitchen and living space with a bedroom and sauna in the back. Although the duo built many of the home’s features themselves, such as the bedroom cabinetry, most of the furnishings were taken from Bergmann’s grandparents’ home, giving an extra personal touch to the design. The house is 100 percent off-grid and has no electricity. A small, metal wood-burning stove and a sauna stove manage to heat the interior, and there is a detached outhouse with a composting toilet just steps away. Currently, the home is also without running water, but the ambitious builders are working on building a water filtration system that would use water from the nearby lake. + Studio Politaire Via Houzz Photography by Andre Boettcher Photography

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Two design students build a charming, off-grid summer cabin in a remote Finnish forest

Natural Habitat Adventures launches world’s first zero-waste vacations

September 11, 2018 by  
Filed under Eco, Green, Recycle

In a travel-industry first, Natural Habitat Adventures is spearheading a zero-waste vacation package. The groundbreaking trip will take place in summer 2019, when 14 travelers will visit Yellowstone National Park from July 6-12. The Safari America: Yellowstone Country adventurers will explore the sustainable travel industry as well as refusing, recycling, composting , upcycling and reusing at least 99 percent of all waste produced during the trip. Natural Habitat Adventures hopes to avoid landfill contributions or incineration, fitting all waste into a single small container by the trip’s end. Founder and president of Natural Habitat Adventures Ben Bressler said, “One way we’re dedicated to protecting the planet is to inspire the travel industry to become more sustainable,” of the initiative that is more about setting a new standard for travel than anything else. “Our goal is to continually raise the bar on conservation, and our first zero-waste adventure will show that it’s possible to reduce our environmental impact while providing an exceptional experience for our guests,” he continued. Related: 100% solar-powered Fiji resort combines 5-star luxury with sustainability Trip leaders have already devised plans to mitigate waste , including providing travelers with a zero-waste toolkit containing reusable items such as water bottles, mugs, cutlery and totes as well as digitizing all pre-trip forms and vacation itineraries. Travelers are encouraged to refuse potential waste items such as single-use straws or individually packaged condiments. The vehicles, lodges and camps throughout the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem will be stocked with bulk foods that will be transported as individual meals in reusable containers. Napkins and biodegradable foods will be composted by the team, while hard-to-recycle materials will be sent to TerraCycle , a world-leading company that specializes in recycling difficult outputs. There is no better company in achieving this mission than Natural Habitat Adventures, which just celebrated 10 years of being 100 percent carbon neutral — in 2007, the ecotourism pioneer became the world’s first carbon-neutral travel company. Its  carbon offset program has thwarted more than 34.5 million pounds of carbon dioxide emissions generated through the company’s global nature adventures. The company hopes to inspire and educate its guests to make an impact beyond the trips. For Natural Habitat Adventures, showing people how to make conscious decisions about daily waste production at home and at the office is a cornerstone of the trips. + Natural Habitat Adventures Images via Collective Retreats & Natural Habitat Adventures

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