The Kind Lab creates greener toothpaste that doesn’t come in a tube

September 4, 2018 by  
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A tube of toothpaste is not the easiest thing to recycle . But what if you didn’t have to worry about recycling the tubes at all? The Kind Lab, a company based out of Los Angeles , has officially launched a zero-waste toothpaste that doesn’t come in a plastic tube. The company calls its product Bite Toothpaste Bits, and it could revolutionize the way we brush our teeth. The Kind Lab, a company started by Lindsay McCormick, makes the toothpaste tablets out of natural ingredients by hand. These plant-based components have been tested in clinical trials and performed well in both cleaning and protecting teeth. The company does not include fluoride in its toothpaste, making it safe for children to use, too. Bite Toothpaste Bits are molded into tablets and packed in a small jar. When you’re ready to brush your teeth, you simply pop a tablet in your mouth, wet your toothbrush and start brushing. The tablet dissolves into a paste as you brush and completely eliminates the need for the traditional toothpaste tube. The company has decided to go with a subscription-based approach for the Bite Toothpaste Bits, which means you can sign up for regular refills of toothpaste. The tablets currently come in two different flavors: mint and mint charcoal. The bottle is reused every month, and the refill tablets arrive in 100 percent biodegradable cellulose, which also cuts down on waste . The bits are ideal to bring along while traveling. Following a demonstration video that went viral, The Kind Lab has received so much attention that new orders can take three to six weeks to ship. Overall, the wait can be worthwhile, as Bite is an innovative solution to a growing problem of recycling old toothpaste tubes. It is estimated that people discard around 1 billion tubes of toothpaste every year, but these toothpaste tablets offer a zero-waste alternative. + Bite Via Core77 Images via Lindsay McCormick

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The Kind Lab creates greener toothpaste that doesn’t come in a tube

Eating seaweed could reduce cows’ methane production

July 5, 2018 by  
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Researchers at the University of California, Davis have found a surprising food source that could help reduce cows’ methane production: seaweed. A recent study from the university suggests bovines who eat an experimental mix of special food and a specific strain of seaweed produce less greenhouse gas than their peers. According to Pennsylvania State University , agriculture contributes up to seven percent of America’s greenhouse gas emissions. Each day, ruminal animals (like cows) belch up to 264 gallons of carbon dioxide and methane. As much as 20 percent of agricultural methane emissions comes from animal burps alone. Related: How seaweed eating super cows will save the world To reduce those emissions, UC Davis researchers experimented with new feed combinations for cows. The cows’ hay is mixed with up to one percent of a naturally occurring red algae , Asparagopsis armata. To encourage the cows to eat the new food, molasses is added as a natural sweetener and to mask the salty taste and smell. To measure effectiveness, researchers take the livestock to a special “breathalyzer” chamber three times daily, where cows’ breath is measured for gas content in exchange for a cookie. The cows who ate the seaweed-mixed feed saw a significant reduction in methane production . Across three two-week experiments, cows who ate the highest mix of algae saw their methane production drop by half. The research team called the findings a “dramatic reduction in methane emissions.” But did it change the dairy cows’ milk? Although the seaweed-eating cows produced slightly less milk, the feed didn’t change the milk’s taste. A blind taste-test conducted with 25 people discovered “no off-notes” in the dairy products . Any hints of saltiness or fish did not transfer over to the cows’ milk production. Before seaweed can become a major part of agricultural feed, the industry must overcome several hurdles. This includes changing the seaweed flavor to be palatable to cows and growing enough algae for agricultural purposes. In addition, growing feed must be economically viable for farmers. Using feed to reduce cow emissions is part of a bigger plan to cut greenhouse gases in California. State Senate Bill 1383 mandated that farms must reduce their methane production by 40 percent over the next 12 years. Via NPR

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Eating seaweed could reduce cows’ methane production

Dairy farmers’ excess milk gets a second life feeding the hungry

July 3, 2018 by  
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Automation may have caused a significant surplus of dairy products and a corresponding price drop, but one non-profit has stepped up to ensure food – and farms – don’t go to waste. Philabundance , a food bank in Philadelphia, is working with cow ranchers to help sell their foods while also keeping hungry families fed in the city. After shifting their farming focus away from traditional milk packaging and sales, Pennsylvania’s dairy farmers struggled to keep family businesses afloat. According to a study by the Center for Dairy Excellence , 120 Pennsylvania dairy farms closed their gates for good in 2016. Related: Transfernation volunteers will deliver your leftover party food to homeless shelters That’s where Philabundance came into the picture. Working with farmers across the state, the organization wanted to purchase excess dairy products to feed hungry families in Philadelphia. Traditionally, extra skim milk was dumped because farms didn’t have the equipment to turn the surplus into cheese or yogurt. In 2016, Pennsylvania farmers alone discarded 43 million gallons of excess milk. But with state funds provided by the Pennsylvania Agricultural Surplus System and the cooperation of dairy farms, Philabundance and other food banks purchased over 60,000 gallons of excess milk destined for waste and turned it into cheese. The result was a new food source for food banks and $165,000 in revenue for farmers. This partnership quickly turned into a much bigger idea: turning excess milk into artisan cheese. Philabundance took the lead by buying even more milk to produce the same food products , then selling them under the name “Abundantly Good.” The products went on sale through three retail partners, a direct-to-restaurant seller and an online shop . One dollar from each sale goes back to farmers, subsidizing the milk set aside for food donations. In one year, farmers sold $9,000 worth of products each and prevented further food waste. With the success of the cheese sales and donation programs, Philabundance is testing other products for retail shelves, including drinkable yogurt. The group is also expanding its line to include foods like spiced tomato jam. Much like the dairy program, portions of the sales go back to farmers who turn their crops into soup and sauces for people in need. This partnership closes the loop in agricultural waste. Instead of destroying products or sending food waste to the garbage, farms produce more food that goes to people in need. In turn, the farms’ bottom lines increase, keeping them sustainable well into the future. Which is something that everybody – from farm to table – can celebrate. Via NPR

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Dairy farmers’ excess milk gets a second life feeding the hungry

Arctic shipping routes could threaten "unicorns of the sea"

July 3, 2018 by  
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Narwhals, or the “unicorns of the sea,” could be at risk from additional Arctic shipping routes as polar ice continues to recede. A peer-reviewed study published in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences suggests as many as seven marine mammal species may face new threats and uncertain consequences from increased ship traffic. The Arctic Ocean is home to hundreds of animals, like narwhals, polar bears and whales. However, as the polar ice caps retreat, more shipping companies are taking advantage of open waters to reduce travel time. To determine how the increase of ships could affect marine mammals , the research team from University of Alaska Fairbanks and University of Washington studied wildlife during the fall shipping season. The group looked at 80 different subpopulations among the seven species to determine if they were directly exposed to the ships and how much these ships could affect the wellbeing of the marine life. Related: The melting Arctic is already changing the ocean’s circulation During the study period, over half of the subpopulations were impacted by ships, with narwhals inheriting the highest amount of risk. In addition to an increased risk of injury or death from collisions,  toothed whales also face communication challenges because of their audio sensitivity. Like dolphins, the ocean unicorn “talks” with a language of buzzing, clicking and calling. While narwhals could have the most to lose, polar bears and seals have the least risk because of the time they spend on land. But researchers note their populations also come with high long-term uncertainty, and the team concluded more data is required to determine how shipping affects their livelihood. The news wasn’t entirely bad for wildlife populations. The scientists noted through additional data collection, shipping companies could plan for environmentally-sustainable transportation options. “Regions with geographic bottlenecks, such as the Bering Strait and eastern Canadian Arctic, were characterized by two to three times higher vulnerability than more remote regions,” the researchers wrote in their study abstract. “These pinch points are obligatory pathways for both vessels and migratory [ocean mammals], and so represent potentially high conflict areas but also opportunities for conservation-informed planning .” Arctic planning groups are aware of the wildlife threats and are working out plans to balance shipping with environmental concerns. The Arctic Council instituted regulations on transport companies in January 2017, with the goal of making shipping safer for both crews and marine mammals. + Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences Via Earther

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Arctic shipping routes could threaten "unicorns of the sea"

Solar-powered Swiss home uses prefabrication to minimize site impact

July 3, 2018 by  
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Ralph Germann architectes  has completed the House MW, a contemporary prefabricated home designed to overlook views of the Lac de Joux in Vallee de Joux, Switzerland. Built for a couple and their child on a budget, the dwelling was constructed using prefab systems to reduce waste, costs, and site impact. The home was built with a concrete “skeleton” clad in locally sourced spruce with fiberglass insulation. Created as a modern home with traditional farmhouse influences, the House MW is topped with a simple black corrugated iron roof and embraces the outdoors with a shaded terrace measuring 592 square feet. The timber facades and gables were constructed through off-site prefabrication in a carpenter’s workshop and were later transported by truck to the site. Locally sourced spruce boards clad the facade. “The ‘skeleton of the house was made of concrete (raft foundation, slab and staircase),” explains Ralph Germann architectes. “After the concrete masonry part was completed, the prefabricated wooden facades were attached against this interior concrete structure. By using this method we could build a house for a reasonable cost, with low ecological impact and at the same time we were able to reduce the construction time.” Related: A 1920 Swiss barn is reborn as a modern home for a family of five The interior of the home, which is nearly 2,500 square feet, is bright, airy and lined with birch plywood panels. Concrete partitions finished with plaster, painted with RAL 9010 mineral paint, round out the interior siding. The ground floor ceiling and staircase are made from unfinished concrete. All furniture designed by the architects was constructed from birch venee,r save for the solid larch indoor and outdoor dining tables. An air / water heat pump and photovoltaic solar panels power the home. + Ralph Germann architectes Images © Lionel Henriod

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Solar-powered Swiss home uses prefabrication to minimize site impact

From Uber to Ford; Detroit and Honolulu see green

May 30, 2017 by  
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This month’s Names in the News roundup of green business career moves spans the world of transportation, cities and apparel.

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From Uber to Ford; Detroit and Honolulu see green

Episode 62: Where are we now? Adobe on hope in the Trump era

February 3, 2017 by  
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On this week’s episode: We talk about the findings of our State of Green Business report 2017; Richard Eidlin from ASBC and Vince Digneo of Adobe let us in on their plans for navigating our new political reality.

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Episode 62: Where are we now? Adobe on hope in the Trump era

A new power player at PG&E, Boeing grabs GE’s aviation chief

November 29, 2016 by  
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This month’s Names in the News roundup of green business career moves spans the worlds of utilities, cities, clean energy and more.

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A new power player at PG&E, Boeing grabs GE’s aviation chief

Tesla confirms SolarCity acquisition is complete

November 21, 2016 by  
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Last week, Tesla shareholders “overwhelmingly” showed their support for a merger with SolarCity , the solar energy company started by Elon Musk ‘s cousins. On November 21, a Tesla spokesperson confirmed the $2.6 billion acquisition is finished, which will enable Tesla to offer solar power to complement their electric cars and wall batteries . Tesla first floated the idea of an acquisition back in June , saying should the acquisition go through they would be the “world’s only vertically integrated energy company offering end-to-end clean energy products to our customers.” Tesla started Tesla Energy in early 2015, offering products such as the Powerwall battery, and saw a SolarCity acquisition as a logical next step. Related: Tesla shareholders “overwhelmingly” approve SolarCity merger Some people are still concerned the merger doesn’t make a lot of financial sense for Tesla in the short term. CFRA Research analyst Efraim Levy told CNBC about the acquisition, “Whatever the synergies are down the road, it’s negative for current holders.” Some analysts say the SolarCity acquisition is too risky. Tesla has recently unveiled products that make a lot of sense for a combined company, such as solar roof tiles and a glass solar roof for the Model 3. Tesla also indicated they think the merger will be beneficial for their company; in a statement in early November they said SolarCity would “add more than half a billion dollars in cash to Tesla’s balance sheet over the next three years.” Other people point to Musk’s drive as one factor that pushed the deal through, even if it won’t benefit investors right away. Musk addressed the merger in his Master Plan, Part Deux , saying that the fact that Tesla and Solar City were two distinct companies “is largely an accident of history.” He said, “Now that Tesla is ready to scale Powerwall and SolarCity is ready to provide highly differentiated solar, the time has come to bring them together.” Via The Verge Images via SolarCity Facebook and Heisenberg Media on Flickr

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Tesla confirms SolarCity acquisition is complete

The new solar-powered Wheelys 5 bicycle cafe serves up coffee and much more

September 29, 2016 by  
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https://youtu.be/mJinfBpfoMI The original Wheely’s café was little more than a humble coffee-making box on a bike. But, the company’s dedication to sustainable products and efficient design led to 550 cafés popping up in over 65 countries. The latest Wheelys cafe branches out from selling strictly coffee to act as a full-service, high-tech mobile kitchen. Related: Tiny Human-Powered Wheely’s Cafe Serves Coffee Brewed by the Sun The Wheelys 5 is decked out in cutting-edge technology. A solar panel on top the cart provides clean renewable energy, and built-in LED lights illuminate the cafe at night. The kitchen offers a 3 burner gas stove, running water, a hand sink, and a built-in display, and the cafe can event be outfitted with Wi-Fi. Despite all that tech, Wheelys is still a small organic business based on down-to-earth sustainable values. It’s still your friendly neighborhood cafe, just with more stuff. + Wheely’s 5 Open Source Bike Cafe

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The new solar-powered Wheelys 5 bicycle cafe serves up coffee and much more

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