Farming insects too much too fast could create an environmental disaster

January 21, 2019 by  
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The potential of insects as an alternative source of protein is promising. But this week, Swedish scientists warned that more research is needed on the environmental impact of mass rearing insects before large-scale production begins if we want to avoid a potential environmental disaster. Writing in the Trends in Ecology & Evolution journal, the researchers explained that there is currently an “overwhelming lack of knowledge” about insects, especially basic things like what they need for housing and food, how to manage their waste and which are the most suitable species for mass rearing. Related: Modular Cricket Shelter grows edible insects in Brooklyn The UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) said that more than 1,900 species of insects are edible, but the researchers believe that we first need to get answers to those basic questions, so we don’t “risk creating an industry that replaces one environmental problem with another.” Both nutritionists and scientists have advocated insects as being a sustainable and cheap source of protein to feed our constantly growing population. They also have benefits like being high in vitamins, fiber and minerals. Insects produce fewer greenhouse gases than pigs or cattle, and they require a lot less land and water. Businesses have already started to enter the world of edible insects, producing things like sweet potato soup made with bugs, burgers made of buffalo worms and DIY insect farms. But this might be too much too fast, according to Asa Berggren, a conservation biologist at the Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences and the paper’s co-author. “How do you produce the feed they eat, where do you produce it, what do you use? There are so many questions,” Berggren said. “Are we going to use fossil fuels for heating and cooling the facilities (where insects are grown)? What about transportation?” She went on to say that one of the biggest threats to both natural and production systems is invasive species . There could be a big problem if insects are accidentally released in a country where they are imported. Other concerns include whether or not farmed insects that get sick will transmit diseases to consumers, and there is also a question of animal welfare . Berggren admitted that there could be a lot of insects that are good for us to eat, but further research is important. Via Reuters Image via Primal Future ( 1 , 2 )

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Farming insects too much too fast could create an environmental disaster

An itty-bitty tiny home on wheels is pretty in pink

January 21, 2019 by  
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Designed by architect Joshua Woodsman of Pin-Up Houses , this bright pink tiny home is one of the most vibrant we’ve ever seen. Adding to its whimsical exterior, Magenta is a prefabricated tiny home on wheels that has a living space of just 66 square feet. However, within that tiny space are plenty of creature comforts that make it a fabulous home for living life on the road. According to the team from Pin-Up Houses, the vibrant Magenta is “a manifesto of temporary independent housing, against debt and mortgages.” Built on a flat trailer, the tiny home was designed for people who want to live on the road with a transportable but comfortable home. Accordingly, Magenta was built with extremely lightweight materials, waterproof plywood and spruce beams. Polystyrene insulation was installed on every side of the home, keeping it cozy and warm in the winter months and cool in summertime. A large window lets natural light into the living space. Related: ‘France’ is a $1,200 tiny house that snaps together in just 3 hours The interior space is compact, but the designers were able to outfit it with almost all of the basic amenities. There is a comfy sofa bed along with a small kitchenette that has a water tank, a gas cooker, a sink and plenty of secure drawers. A dining table with two chairs offers a nice place to eat and work. When nature calls, a humble chemical toilet was installed in a tiny water closet. Additionally, there is a heating stove that keeps the place nice and toasty. The home was built with a pitched roof, which gives the interior extra space for storage. Besides the custom built-in furniture , such as pull-out drawers under the sofa, there are multiple stretched nets hung on the walls for stashing away personal items. There is also a larger net that spans the length of the ceiling, adding a ton of space for storing sporting equipment, clothing, books and more. + Pin-Up Houses Images via Pin-Up Houses

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An itty-bitty tiny home on wheels is pretty in pink

Nestle ditching plastic straws, water bottles to reduce plastic waste

January 18, 2019 by  
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Nestle, the world’s largest packaged food company, is on a mission to reduce plastic waste. This week, the Swiss group announced they will be dropping plastic straws from their products and will also focus on creating biodegradable water bottles. With environmental groups all over the world advocating for alternatives to single-use plastic, Nestle says these changes are part of a campaign to make all of their packaging reusable or recyclable by 2025.  Beginning next month, the company will begin using different materials such as paper, and will also be replacing their plastic straws and using innovative designs to reduce litter. The company is also working with Danimer Scientific to create a new biodegradable water bottle , and with  PureCycle Technologies to develop food-grade recycled polypropylene, which is a polymer used for food packaging, specifically for food packaged in trays, tubs, cups and bottles. Nestle Waters, the bottled water unit of the Nestle brand, is also aiming to increase the content of polyethylene terephthalate, or recycled PET, in its bottles. By 2025, they have a goal of increasing the recycled PET content to 35 percent globally, and 50 percent in the United States. Related: Zero-waste packaging is coming to a freezer aisle near you Magdi Batato, Nestle’s global head of operations, says that the company is still trying to figure out the impact of the new packaging,  Reuters reports. It could possibly reduce their products’ shelf life and increase manufacturing costs, but they don’t know for sure. “Some of those alternative solutions are even cheaper, some of them are cost neutral, and indeed some of them are more expensive,” Batato said. In their press release, Nestle said that the plastic waste challenge would require a change in everyone’s behavior, and they are committed to leading the way. All 4,200 of their facilities around the globe are “committed to eliminating single-use plastic items that cannot be recycled,” and will replace those items with new materials that can easily be reused or recycled. Via Nestle and Reuters Image via Shutterstock

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Nestle ditching plastic straws, water bottles to reduce plastic waste

Closing plenary: uncovering nature’s secrets to reinvent cities

November 6, 2018 by  
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The idea of buildings as a regenerative force sounds like an environmentalist’s pipe dream, but the concept is starting to be realized in offices, factories and other facilities. It requires vision and new design thinking, but also an understanding of how “the genius of biome” can make the built environment a positive contributor to cities around the world.

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Closing plenary: uncovering nature’s secrets to reinvent cities

What’s the Post-China Ban Future for Materials Recycling Facilities?

October 26, 2018 by  
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The first materials accepted for curbside recycling had to be … The post What’s the Post-China Ban Future for Materials Recycling Facilities? appeared first on Earth911.com.

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What’s the Post-China Ban Future for Materials Recycling Facilities?

How the U.S. Open aced a sustainable transformation

September 29, 2017 by  
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Efforts involved the U.S. Tennis Association, Billie Jean King and Venus Williams.

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How the U.S. Open aced a sustainable transformation

Bee-killing pesticides have been found in US drinking water

April 7, 2017 by  
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We’ve known that neonicotinoid insecticides are bad news for bee populations for several years now, but one thing we don’t know about these pesticides is how they impact human health. A new study from the US Geological Survey and the University of Iowa reveals how terrifying that question could be, revealing minute traces of neonicotinoid chemicals are present in at least some drinking water in the US. In the study, published in the journal Environmental Science and Technology Letters , researchers took samples from two water treatment plants in Iowa. Though many might assume waste treatment plants would be able to remove pesticides from drinking water, trace amounts of the neonicotinoids were still present after passing the water through the facilities’ carbon filtration systems. Granted, the amounts present ranged from 0.24 to 57.3 nanograms per liter, which Gizmodo describes as “like a single drop of water plopped into 20 Olympic-size swimming pools.” The amount is obviously incredibly small, but unfortunately scientists have no idea whether the residue that remains in drinking water could potentially impact human health. The Environmental Protection Agency has set no regulatory limits on the use of these substances, saying that previous studies have shown they have only low rates of adverse health effects for humans. There’s a catch, though – those older studies only looked at brief exposure to high concentrations of neonicotinoids. It’s still unknown whether low-level chronic exposure could result in long-term health problems. Related: Over 700 North American bee species are heading towards extinction Ideally, more research would be done to learn more about the effect these chemicals have on human health. But with Donald Trump and his cabinet attempting to loosen regulations on industries that pollute the environment and hobbling critical environmental research, it may be a few years before we know for certain whether low levels of neonicotinoids are harmful or not. Via Gizmodo Images via Pixabay ( 1 , 2 )

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Bee-killing pesticides have been found in US drinking water

Interface: How our engineers slash massive waste, emissions

March 17, 2014 by  
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Striving for zero impact drives a push for new tech. Here are 6 lessons to help other businesses innovate.

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Interface: How our engineers slash massive waste, emissions

Cleveland Browns kick off a new waste-to-energy plan

November 26, 2013 by  
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FirstEnergy Stadium, home of the NFL team, will divert tons of food waste this season and turn it into electricity and fertilizer.

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Cleveland Browns kick off a new waste-to-energy plan

What’s in store for energy management companies in 2014?

September 10, 2013 by  
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Corporations almost universally say they need better data about energy usage, and 45 percent plan to spend more to manage energy next year.   

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What’s in store for energy management companies in 2014?

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