Maven Moment: Mom’s Pizza Pan

April 3, 2019 by  
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Maven Moment: Mom’s Pizza Pan

Maven Moment: Eat Your Greens!

March 27, 2019 by  
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Maven Moment: Eat Your Greens!

This sleek lamp provides light and grows food

March 12, 2019 by  
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As the population of the planet continues to grow, the ability to produce enough food is a continual discussion. Not only are we busy finding ways to make enough of the right kinds of foods to sustain the masses, but we’re simultaneously investing in opportunities for the backyard (or living room) gardener to grow their own foods. With an urban lifestyle in mind, start-up Benditas Studio has created a lamp that doubles as a vegetable garden. Brot, a dual functioning lamp and garden, made its inaugural appearance at the Stockholm Furniture Fair in February in the “Greenhouse” category as a debut piece from duo Caterina Vianna and Ferran Gest, self-proclaimed food and design lovers. Related: This hexagonal indoor farm grows more food in less space with 90% less water “We love food, and we love design, and this is how Benditas Studio came up,” shared Vianna. “When we say we design furniture for food, we mean that we create objects/services, not only for persons but for the food itself. We wanted to play with the meaning of furniture because we saw projects of ‘furniture for public spaces,’ ‘furniture for the living area’ or ‘furniture for the contract sector’ … but we never heard about a furniture for food. We design products and services that dialogue with food; merge them in a way to spread a new message.” The terracotta material of the lamp brings a natural feel to the space and a supportive element for the growth of the seeds inside. The bottom of two pieces contains a stainless steel tray to hold the plant. Different seeds are available, but the process is the same for them all. Simply soak the seeds for the specified amount of time, and then place them into the tray and moisten them two to three times per day. Produce like sprouts are ready to eat in as little as four to six days. The heat and light from the lamp in the upper piece furnishes warmth for the seeds while providing ambient light for the surrounding space. The Brot is not yet for sale, but the company hopes to find a production facility soon. + Benditas Studio Via Core77 Images via Benditas Studio

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This sleek lamp provides light and grows food

New sweet potato dye spares bugs and pleases vegans

March 11, 2019 by  
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Cochineal beetles are rejoicing this month as the Hansen sweet potato proves a viable alternative for producing the carmine color crushed beetles have long added to foods and cosmetics . Chr. Hansen, a bioscience company based in Denmark and founded in 1874, developed and commercialized the Hansen sweet potato™ Ipomoea batatas . “For the first time, we’ve created a whole new variety of vegetable to create the natural color our customers are asking for,” said Jakob Dalmose Rasmussen, vice president of commercial development at Chr. Hansen Natural Colors. Vegetarians have long wanted an alternative to this common coloring, but the sweet potato took time to develop. “Over 10 years ago, we discovered a promising pigment in a root vegetable’s tuber, but the plant’s pigment content was on the low side. We took this plant and embarked on a process of selective breeding using traditional, non-GMO methods. The result is a plant-based , brilliant red that gives our customers a natural alternative to carmine and synthetic colors,” said Dalmose Rasmussen. Related: California becomes the first state to ban animal-tested cosmetics Chr. Hansen launched its FruitMax® line of concentrates to provide a variety of red coloring options. “Strawberry red is a popular shade for food products — from cakes to confectionery to milkshakes,” noted Dalmose Rasmussen. “But until now it has been nearly impossible to make a fire-engine red color with no risk of off-taste without using carmine.” Cochineal beetles live on cacti in Latin America. Their color comes from carminic acid, a substance which deters predation and makes up almost a quarter of the insects’ weight. The Incas and Aztecs both used the beetle for dye. Once Spaniards arrived in the New World, they quickly discovered that the cochineal beetle dye was far superior to anything they had in Europe, and dried bugs became the second most valuable export after silver. It’s still big business. In 2017, Peru exported more than $46 million dollars’ worth of carmine. Over the centuries, people have used the beetles to dye everything from cardinals’ robes to modern lipsticks. As the Hansen sweet potato gains popularity, perhaps the cochineal beetles will be able to relax on their cacti. While some studies indicate that plants also feel pain, the legless tuber could neither run nor be reached for comment. + Chr. Hansen Via Food Navigator Image via Aunt Masako

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New sweet potato dye spares bugs and pleases vegans

Is cargotecture the future of construction? What you need to know for your next project

March 11, 2019 by  
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As the construction industry continues to evolve and adapt to innovations like green buildings, the push for more sustainable materials  and the efforts to reduce waste, there is one trend that is pushing the limits of design — cargotecture. Steel shipping containers have been a key component of global trade for the past 50 years, and now these steel boxes that are 8 feet wide by 8-and-a-half feet high — and either 20 or 40 feet long — are becoming a recycled building material that you can use to build your own home. There are millions of shipping containers all over the world just sitting in various ports, as returning empty containers to their original location is extremely costly. But now, these shipping containers are being used to build everything from low-cost housing to fabulous vacation homes instead of being scrapped. However, could cargotecture be too good to be true when it comes to building a home? Here are the pros and cons of using shipping containers for your next construction project. Related: Massive shipping container shopping center to pop up in Warsaw Pros Cost-effective The shape of shipping containers makes them ideal for repurposing into buildings . Compared to building a similar structure with brick and mortar, on average, a cargotecture can be 30 percent cheaper. However, the savings will depend on the location and what type of home you are building. Another thing to keep in mind is that a cargotecture home won’t be the same as what you are used to in a traditionally-built home— if cost is a top priority. The look and function will be different, and you will have to make compromises.  You can upgrade to get the features you want with a little more money. Ultimately, you can definitely cut costs when using cargotecture. Structural stability Since steel containers are designed to carry tons of merchandise across rough ocean  tides, they are “virtually indestructible.” Earthquakes and hurricanes are no match for cargotecture, which make containers an excellent choice for building a home in areas prone to natural disasters. Construction speed A traditional housing structure can take months to build, but with cargotecture, all you need is about two to three weeks since they are basically prefabricated. Not to mention, modifications can be made quickly off-site. Or, if you are a hardcore DIYer , you can build a home out of a shipping container much easier than you could with lumber, a hammer and nails. You can also customize a layout by stacking the containers for multiple floors and splicing them together for a larger space. However, there is a lot of modification required when you use cargotecture. Depending on the design, you may need to add steel reinforcement. Heating and cooling can also be a major issue, so you definitely need to have a temperature control strategy in mind. Recycling materials When recycled shipping containers are used in cargotecture, it can be extremely eco-friendly . Repurposing the containers instead of scrapping and melting them can save a lot of energy and carbon emissions while preventing the use of traditional materials. Safety Good luck breaking into a cargotecture structure. Unless thieves have some dynamite or a blow torch, they are not getting inside. This makes cargotecture a perfect choice for building in rural and remote areas. Related: Stacked shipping containers transform into a thriving arts space in Venezuela Cons The green myth The downside with cargotecture is that sometimes it’s not as green as you would believe. Some people are using brand new containers instead of recycling old ones, and this completely defeats the purpose of cargotecture. And, to make a container habitable, there is a lot of energy required because of the modifications like sandblasting and cutting openings. Plus, the amount of fossil fuels needed to move the building makes cargotecture’s ecological footprint larger than you might think. Health hazards Obviously, when shipping containers are made, human habitation was not a factor in their design or construction. Many shipping containers have lead-based paints on the walls and chemicals like arsenic in the floors. You must deal with these issues before moving into a cargotecture home. Temperature control We mentioned earlier that modifications need to be made when you use cargotecture, and one of the biggest concerns is insulation and heat control. Large steel boxes are really good at absorbing and transmitting heat and cold. This ultimately means controlling the temperature inside your cargotecture home can be a challenge. You don’t want to be living inside an oven or a freezer, right? Building codes With cargotecture still being relatively new, it has caused some issues with local building codes. When you build small structures and don’t use traditional building materials , you should always check to see if they meet local regulations. Images via Julius Taminiau Architects, Mattelkan Architect, Whitaker Studio

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Is cargotecture the future of construction? What you need to know for your next project

New hope for plastic recycling with IBM’s VolCat technology

March 6, 2019 by  
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Think how much more material would be reused if plastic recycling didn’t entail washing, sorting and individual processing. Now, IBM researchers have developed a new chemical process called VolatileCatalyst that eliminates these steps. VolCat recycling grinds up plastics, adds a chemical catalyst and cooks them at temperatures above 200 degrees Celsius. The chemicals eat through polymer strands, producing a fine white powder ready to be made into new containers. By heating PET with ethylene glycol and the catalyst, lab workers depolymerize plastic . After distillation, filtration, purification and cooling, scientists eventually recover usable matter called a monomer—in this case the white powder. This process digests and cleans the ground plastic, separating contaminants like dyes, glue and food residue. Related: 6 places to find the best recycled building materials PET is an abbreviation for polyethylene terephthalate, the chemical name for polyester. This type of plastic is used to manufacture containers for two-liter bottles of soft drinks, water bottles, salad dressings, cooking oil, shampoo, liquid hand soap and carry-out food containers. It’s even found in carpet, clothing and tennis balls. DuPont chemists first synthesized PET in the 1940s, probably never guessing that 70 years later between 4.8 and 12.7 million tons of plastic would wind up in the ocean each year. Humans have produced more than 8 billion metric tons of plastic since its invention. About half of new plastic becomes trash each year. By 2050, some scientists project there will be more plastic than fish in the ocean . VolCat developers hope to reverse this destructive trend. According to the researchers’ statement, “In the next five years, plastic recycling advancements like VolCat could be adopted around the globe to combat global plastic waste . People at the grocery store buying a bottle of soda or container of strawberries will know that the plastic they’ve purchased won’t end up in the ocean, but instead will be repurposed and put back on the shelf.” + IBM Images via Shutterstock

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New hope for plastic recycling with IBM’s VolCat technology

Is sustainable agriculture the future, or the past?

February 9, 2019 by  
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The history of our food system isn’t just about food, it’s also about power.

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Is sustainable agriculture the future, or the past?

If you won’t go vegan for yourself, will you do it for Beyonc?

February 6, 2019 by  
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If going vegan to help better the environment does not appeal you, why not try it out for Queen B herself? Beyoncé just announced a new vegan initiative on Instagram, and probably did more for the cause in a single post than anyone has done for in the last decade. Last week, the iconic singer announced the start of The Greenprint Project , which aims to promote veganism with a very special offer from Beyoncé and her husband, JAY-Z. If you try out a plant-based diet through Beyoncé’s program, you have a chance to take home free Beyoncé tickets for the rest of your life. Let that sink in. For all of Beyoncé’s devoted fans around the world, few things would get in the way of scoring such an amazing prize — let alone switching up a diet. The program doesn’t call for a 100 percent vegan diet in order to enter the pool, however, the initiative is to push people out of the norm and to try a plant-based diet for a day or even just a single meal — which is incredible. Related: These are the world’s top vegan cities Even better, allowing people some flexibility in their diet still has tremendous benefits for the environment. Not only is it easier to go vegan for a day or a meal, but millions of people doing this on a weekly basis could really cut down on carbon pollution,  which is precisely what Beyoncé had in mind when she launched the project. “If 100,000,000 of my friends also ate more plant-based meals, we could cut enough carbon emissions equivalent to powering 1,169,169,665 homes for a year,” Beyoncé’s project statement reads. There are a few minor catches to the prize. For starters, the free tickets for life only last up to 30 years, which means you’ll still be able to watch Beyoncé perform until she’s in her late 60s. The lucky winner can also only receive $599 worth of tickets every year. Given how VIP tickets for such events usually cost around $2,000, that won’t get you far. The tickets are non-transferable upon death, but if you are eating a plant-based diet, you probably won’t have to worry about punching out early. Via Grist Image via Shutterstock

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How to make a meal out of leftover veggies

February 1, 2019 by  
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Hate seeing that half of an onion go to waste ? What about when you get a little too excited at the farmers market and come home with more veggies than you know what to do with? The U.S. wastes a whopping 30-40 percent of food every year. That’s right, in 2010 the USDA reported that the country threw away 133 billion pounds (or $161 billion worth) of food. You might just be surprised, however, at how many fun, satisfying dishes you can make with tools you already have in the fridge. Inhabitat has compiled a guide for what to do with all of those leftover vegetables in your kitchen, so don’t be afraid to get a little creative. Blend or juice Walk into a kitchen with a good juicer or blender, and the possibilities are truly endless! Save your leftover ends from veggies like carrots, beets or cucumbers to make into a delicious juice for later. The colorful vegetable peels pack a big nutritious punch. When you’ve got leftover leafy greens like spinach or kale, follow this guide for a flawless green smoothie: 1 portion liquid (something like apple juice, orange juice or almond milk) 1 portion greens ½ portion base (plain yogurt or a frozen banana works well) 1 portion of fruit Optional sprinkle of fiber like chia or flax seeds Sweetener to taste (raw honey or agave syrup) Related: Fight food waste with these 11 ways to use leftover greens before they spoil There’s nothing better than a warm bowl of soup when it starts to get chilly outside. Skip the trip to the grocery store (you don’t want to go out in the cold anyway), and throw together a hearty soup with some leftover veggies. Go with the traditional tomato or mushroom soup, or get outside the box with celery , cold asparagus or vegan broccoli cheddar . Follow Alton Brown’s recipe for this healthy mixed vegetable soup, or get creative with your own combination. Basic tomato soup recipe : Chop up some garlic, onion, red bell pepper and tomatoes, toss in olive oil and salt/pepper to taste. Roast in the oven together until cooked through and soft. Combine with vegetable broth and use a hand blender to blend everything together. Add herbs, cream or whatever toppings you want! Skewer Grab a wooden or reusable metal skewer and chop up any combination of leftover zucchini, yellow squash, eggplant, mushrooms, bell peppers and tomatoes. It will be both colorful and delicious. For even more flavor, marinate the vegetables for 30 minutes to an hour before putting them on kabobs. Break out the food processor Chickpeas, tahini, salt, lemon and olive oil — basic hummus is surprisingly simple to make, and it’s easy to jazz up with other leftover veggies like beets, carrots, peas or sweet potato. Check out this Bon Appetit arsenal of fun hummus recipes for inspiration. Pesto is super versatile. You can add things like roasted tomatoes, pumpkin , zucchini or squash for a unique twist. For a basic recipe, combine basil, garlic, salt/pepper, olive oil, Parmesan cheese (or other hard cheese or nutritional yeast) and any type of nut (traditionally pine nuts are used, but it is just as good with pecans, walnuts and even macadamia nuts). This is the perfect solution for when you buy a whole bunch of basil just to garnish dinner on the night before. Toss the pesto in some pasta, or spread onto a flatbread to make a meal out of it. Related: How to make homemade pesto in gourmet-looking recycled glass jars Bake Another great option is to use the leftover veggies for a healthy(ish) dessert. Grab the grater for some delicious zucchini bread or carrot cake . If you want to go even sweeter, try this recipe for chocolate avocado brownies from Tasty (technically avocado is a fruit, but we felt inclined to give it an honorable mention). Crack an egg For a nutritious breakfast (or dinner, there are no rules), a vegetarian omelet is definitely the way to go. Chop up leftover veggies from the night before, and whisk up some eggs to create the perfect omelet or scramble. If the vegetables are already cooked from dinner last night, even better! If not, saute up the veggies before folding them into the eggs. Pretty much anything goes here in the ingredients department: spinach, tomato, mushroom, squash, asparagus, diced carrot, broccoli, eggplant — you can’t go wrong. Pickle Pickling is a tasty way to add flavor to sandwiches or salads, and you can even eat them by themselves (also a great solution to those pesky recipes that only ask for half an onion). Some options for pickling include onions, heart of palm, peppers, carrots and cucumbers. To make pickling liquid, just heat up some white vinegar, sugar and salt until the sugar dissolves. Toss veggies into a heatproof container like a mason jar, and add enough pickling liquid to cover completely. You can also add some extra flavor like dill, peppercorns or bay leaves; just throw them in with the veggies. Make sure everything’s cooled before eating. Related: Preparing pickled and fermented foods Stir fry Simple, satisfying and fast, stir-fry is one of the easiest ways to tackle those leftover veggies. Just fire up the stove, chop, stir and eat. Combine with some soy sauce or hoisin sauce for extra seasoning. If you’ve got some leftover veggies and leftover rice then you’re in luck — leftover rice is preferred when it comes to fried rice (freshly-cooked rice will turn out too soggy). You don’t necessarily have to go with the traditional fried rice vegetables, either. This recipe uses kale and cauliflower. Make Buddha bowls If you’ve been on Pinterest in the last few years, chances are you’ve already come across a picture of a Buddha bowl . Basically, it’s a combination of vegetables, plant-based protein and whole grains, often brightly colored and Instagram-worthy. Use leftover veggies like cucumber, sweet potato, beans, spinach, cabbage, corn, broccoli, Brussels sprouts, carrots or whatever else you have on hand to create one. Check out this collection of yummy Buddha bowl recipes from Buzzfeed. Add a tortilla Throw your leftover veggies in a warm tortilla to make a vegetarian taco. Add a dash (or more) of hot sauce, or sprinkle on some cheese for an extra kick. More hearty vegetables like carrots and peppers work better in a burrito or a quesadilla. Check out these recipes from ohmyveggies for some inspiration. Images via Konstantin Kolosov , Carla Monson , Dagny Walter , Arinaja , Candace Towner and Shutterstock

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How to make a meal out of leftover veggies

Disconnect in this serene tiny home tucked into a coastal sheep farm in New Zealand

February 1, 2019 by  
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Tiny homes around the world offer guests stunning views and relaxing atmospheres, but this studio-style tiny retreat in New Zealand is right up the alley for anyone looking to reconnect with nature. Located in Akara, South Island, the compact, pitched-roof cabin has a floor-to-ceiling glass wall to provide stunning views of the rolling green landscape that leads out to the sea. If that’s not enough, the open-air front patio features a large cedar hot tub for watching the sun go down after a nice day of surfing in the bay. Located just 30 minutes from Akara, South Island, this charming tiny cottage is tucked into a coastal sheep farm just steps away from beautiful Little Akaloa Bay. To get to the property, guests must make their way on a five-minute stroll through scenic native bush. Nestled into the tall trees and rolling green landscape, the tiny home is a welcoming beacon. Related: This geometric cabin in Slovenia is a perfect romantic getaway for nature-lovers The tiny studio sleeps just two people, with a double-sized bed that folds up when not in use. There is a small kitchenette and bathroom. The home is kept warm and toasty during the chilly months thanks to a wood-burning stove. The massive, floor-to-ceiling glass wall looks out from the interior, providing stunning, unobstructed views all day long. Of course, at the heart of the retreat is the outdoor space, which includes an open-air deck. There’s a barbecue grill and small dinette set for meals, as well as plenty of seating and a hammock for just taking in the views. However, the best place to relax in and around the tiny cabin is definitely the round cedar hot tub. The picturesque area is the perfect spot for hikers and outdoor enthusiasts or those simply wanting a respite from the hustle and bustle of everyday life. Guests will be able to enjoy the beautiful remote bays that surround the beautiful property by renting the surfboards, paddle boards and fishing equipment available. + Glamping Hub Tiny Home Rental Via Tiny House Talk Images via Glamping Hub  

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Disconnect in this serene tiny home tucked into a coastal sheep farm in New Zealand

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