EU proposes plan to ban 90 percent of microplastics

February 4, 2019 by  
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Microplastics may appear small on the outside, but they take a major toll on the environment. Not only do these plastics ruin soil and jeopardize ocean life, but they also create health issues for people all around the world. Fortunately, a newly proposed ban on microplastics might offer a solution to this growing problem. This week, the European Chemicals Agency (ECHA) put forth a new law that seeks to ban over 90 percent of Europe’s microplastics. If countries in the European Union agree to the legislation, the prohibition could significantly lower the amount of microplastics on a global scale. “Microplastics are a growing concern to a number of human rights. The steps proposed by Echa are necessary to help ensure present and future generations can enjoy what is their human right: a clean, healthy and sustainable environment ,” UN reporter Baskut Tuncak shared. According to The Guardian, there are close to 400,000 tons of these small plastic particles that end up in European environments. These microplastics come from a variety of household sources, including fertilizers, detergents, paint products and cosmetics. The proposed ban would eliminate the vast majority of microplastics that are integrated into these products, many of which are not necessary. Related: Study finds microplastics in sea turtles around the world If passed, the law would not go into effect until 2020. By that time, companies would need to have made drastic changes in the production of goods. This includes removing microplastics from a variety of products, a move that would require a major change in design . The new ban is similar in nature to what the U.K. passed last year. The country prohibited the use of microbeads in certain personal products, such as shower gel and toothpaste. The new law, however, is much larger in scope and would eventually remove the vast majority of microplastics from production. The ban, of course, would only apply to countries that are still in the EU. Following Brexit, there is a chance that the U.K. will not adopt the law, though that has yet to be determined. In the meantime, the ECHA will continue to explore the proposed ban and will vote on the measure in three months. If passed, the law is not expected to go into effect until at least another eight months after the vote is tallied. Via The Guardian Image via Shutterstock

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Is your Thanksgiving turkey putting your family’s health at risk?

November 15, 2018 by  
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With Thanksgiving right around the corner, many of us are planning meals centered around a turkey. But a new report from the National Resources Defense Council (NRDC) and its partners at the Food Animal Concerns Trust says that you could be putting your family’s health at risk by eating turkey because of the way American meats are produced. Just last week, NBC News reported an outbreak of antibiotic-resistant Salmonella that is linked to raw turkey , and it is still spreading. So far, the outbreak has made 164 people sick, and one person has died. According to experts, at least 2 million Americans suffer infections caused by drug-resistant bacteria each year — resulting in more than 23,000 deaths — and those numbers are rising. Related: 6 vegan and vegetarian turkey alternatives for Thanksgiving If you are wondering what that has to do with your holiday planning, the NRDC analysis says that turkeys are given antibiotics more intensively than other livestock in the United States. The U.S. livestock industry raises animals with an intensive use of antibiotics, with most of the medicines being fed to groups of animals that aren’t sick to compensate for stressful and unsanitary living conditions. However, this is not necessary. Several European countries stopped this practice years ago, and last month the European Parliament voted to ban such practices. Using antibiotics this way is driving a crisis in antibiotic resistance, and the World Health Organization warns that if we want antibiotics to remain useful for treating people when they are sick, we have to use antibiotics more responsibly. So if you are buying a turkey this Thanksgiving, look for labels like “Animal Welfare Approved” or “USDA Certified Organic.” These certifications mean that the turkeys were raised without antibiotics or growth promoters. Also, be sure to properly handle and cook your turkey. It is in your best interest to choose a turkey that has not been fed antibiotics. In the future, maybe the turkey industry (as well as the American beef and pork industries) will figure out a way to protect the consumers who buy their products. Via NRDC and EWG Image via Shutterstock

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Hyundai’s first fully-electric SUV boasts 292-mile range

March 1, 2018 by  
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Hyundai just unveiled their electric SUV , the Kona Electric , and it can travel around 292 miles on a single charge. The company says this vehicle will be the “first fully-electric subcompact SUV on the European market,” and features progressive design , including a closed grille on the front of the car that enhances aerodynamics. Hyundai will be releasing short- and long-range models of the Kona Electric, boasting ranges of 186 and 292 miles respectively, according to The Verge . The short-range model includes a 99 kilowatt (kW) electric motor and 39.2 kilowatt-hour (kWh) battery, and reaches 60 miles per hour (mph) from zero in around nine seconds. There’s a 150 kW motor and 64 kWh battery in the long-range model, which can accelerate from zero to 60 mph in 7.6 seconds. Related: Hyundai unveils new Nexo fuel cell SUV with an impressive 370-mile range Both models charge up to 80 percent in 54 minutes at a 100 kW DC fast charger. Via a standard AC outlet, the short-range model will charge up fully in around six hours and 10 minutes, and the long-range model will charge up in around nine hours and 40 minutes due to the larger battery. Smart technology can be found throughout the vehicle. Both models will be equipped with semi-autonomous driving and safety technology like adaptive cruise control, blind spot warning, and lane keeping assist. A heads-up display provides speed and navigation information. There’s a wireless charging pad for Qi-enabled smartphones in the center console. The car also includes a button type shift-by-wire system so drivers can shift to park, neutral, forward or reverse with the press of a button. The car even boasts 21 exterior color combinations — with a two-tone roof and seven distinctive exterior colors, there’s plenty of room for customization. The Kona Electric is set to hit Europe and South Korea later in 2018. Hyundai has not yet said how much the car will cost. + Hyundai Kona Electric + Hyundai Kona Electric Highlights Via The Verge Images via Hyundai

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10 European Cities with the Best Eco-Hotels

September 28, 2017 by  
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Vacation planning is difficult enough, but when you want to … The post 10 European Cities with the Best Eco-Hotels appeared first on Earth911.com.

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Flexible Garden Modules make it easy to build your own green wall

April 27, 2017 by  
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Architects and twin sisters Luisa + Lilian Parrado are on a mission to make it easy to add a stylish splash of green to your walls. The designers created Garden Module, a customizable modular wall system with a minimalist appearance. Made of steel tubes strung together with polypropylene string, these simple and three-dimensional wall modules can support up to two potted plants at a time and can be expanded to create a sprawling wall of green. The Garden Module was recently recognized at the 2017 European Product Design Award , where it received bronze. The modules are built of either white or black carbon steel tubes that are easily assembled into triangle formations. Each module comes with two triangular concrete bases that fit inside the steel tube frame and are strong enough to support potted plants without the need of screws. Related: Flower Tower: 380 Potted Plants Line Parisian Apartment Facade “This project was born from the necessity of creating a green wall without the complexity of the traditional one,” write the designers. “From a single module you can create a three-dimensional panel with most varied combinations. Its irregular shape allows flexible compositions according to taste, purpose and destination: aligned, mixed, spread or contained.” + Luisa + Lilian Parrado Images by Bruna Hosti

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Unexpected living room with Soviet-era furniture pops up in a Lithuanian lagoon

September 9, 2016 by  
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The Living Boom offers an unexpected and quiet respite in Nida, the bustling popular resort town in Lithuania. A team of 18 international architecture students completed the project within a span of two weeks. The public space is partially hidden behind a five-meter-tall wooden wall so that visitors must physically walk onto the pier to see the entirety of The Living Boom. The wall, fixed to a concrete floor with metal bolts, serves as the symbolic threshold between the “interior” living room and “outdoor” nature. “A pier is a dead end. How can one change the ‘end of this long path’ and celebrate its end as a new space?” Write the designers. “Being already set into boundaries on three sides by the element of water, the start of the project was to construct a fourth wall that creates a new space. As one walks along the pier, approaching the wall in the middle of the plain landscapes of lagoon and sand dunes , one yet has to find out what the space behind the wall offers. Only after physically walking through, one can see and grasp the new space, with furniture shining in red, generating an unseen space in the middle of water, sky, sand dunes and forest.” Related: This timber installation challenges students to think about new ways to design homes The Living Boom is outfitted with local Soviet-era furniture modified with modern elements by the students and includes a three-meter-long table, multiple benches, a traditional wind vane, a giant wooden chair, and even a fireplace. All parts of the installation were painted the same shade of red. + The Living Boom Images by Alexandra Kononchenko and Miguel Angel Maure Blesa

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Unexpected living room with Soviet-era furniture pops up in a Lithuanian lagoon

Is Europe superior on sustainable business?

June 27, 2016 by  
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With the future of the European Union at the top of the headlines these days, I’ve been thinking about the differences between European and American companies on sustainability.My own experiences make me think Europe is way ahead of the United States when it comes to sustainable business. Working for McDonald’s, I quite often dipped into Europe from my Chicago base. I heard even crusty cab drivers pontificate about climate change and bemoaned, even publicly, that the sustainability IQ of Americans was 1 on a scale of 1 to 10, compared with Europeans at 10.

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INFOGRAPHIC: How the European Union is tackling energy consumption

July 15, 2015 by  
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Energy efficiency is a top priority for the European Union . To that end, the EU set several ambitious targets, including cutting greenhouse gas emissions by 40% as compared with 1990 and increasing energy efficiency by at least 27%. If you’ve ever wondered how the EU plans to achieve those goals, this infographic by Cast Iron Radiators 4u is a good place to start. The infographic explores the very basics of where energy is consumed the greatest, how the EU is aiding member nations in achieving the energy targets, major influences, and the progress to date. Keep reading to learn more! Read the rest of INFOGRAPHIC: How the European Union is tackling energy consumption

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EU vote clears the way for GM crops in Europe

January 15, 2015 by  
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The European Union just opened the door for genetically modified crops in Europe after the Member Elected Parliament voted to allow countries to decide whether or not to grow them . If the crop has already been approved by the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA), then member states can decide to grow them or not. Read the rest of EU vote clears the way for GM crops in Europe Permalink | Add to del.icio.us | digg Post tags: EU ban on GMO’s , european union gmo , gmo crops European Union , gmo crops UK , gmo fight , gmo’s in UK , greenpeace and gmo’s , UK gmo’s

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Antarctica’s Ice Loss is Significant Enough to Affect Earth’s Gravity

October 3, 2014 by  
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Scientists from the European Space Agency recently discovered that the loss of ice in Antarctica is so significant that it’s affecting the Earth’s gravity. The researchers paired data from the ESA’s GOCE satellite with data from the GRACE system of satellites and found that the Earth’s gravity dipped in the area because the ice lost so much mass. Read the rest of Antarctica’s Ice Loss is Significant Enough to Affect Earth’s Gravity Permalink | Add to del.icio.us | digg Post tags: Antarctic , antarctica , cryosat , european space agency , glacial melt , GOCE , grace , gravity , ice melt , Melting ice in Antarctica affecting Earth’s gravity , nasa , polar ice melt , west antarctic ice sheet

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