Baux unveils sustainable acoustic panels made out of chemical-free pulp

February 22, 2019 by  
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Acoustic products manufacturer  Baux has just unveiled a truly innovative design for some stylish, plant-based acoustic panels. Made out of chemical-free pulp material sourced from sustainably harvested Swedish pine and fir trees, the decorative Baux Acoustic Pulp panels can be used to soundproof various environments such as homes, restaurants office spaces, classrooms and more. Launched during this year’s Stockholm Design Week, the eco-friendly Baux Acoustic Pulp panels were made possible through a collaboration between Baux, Swedish industrial design studio  Form Us With Love and scientists from the Royal Institute of Technology (KTH). The revolutionary design was based on more than 25 years of research, utilizing state-of-the art technology while keeping material usage to a minimum. Related: Beautiful sound-absorbing EchoPanels are made from recycled plastic bottles The panels are made through a complex process that is similar to making paper. The process begins with wood from sustainably harvested Swedish pine and fir trees. Cellulosic fibers from the wood are broken down into a liquid cellulose to form a chemical-free pulp. The material is then modified to be fire- and water-repellent. The result is an extremely resilient material that is durable and suitable for any number of environments. But not all of its design is practical functionality; the panels are also quite decorative. At the end of its manufacturing process, the pulp is colored with non-genetically modified wheat bran, giving the panels a pleasant neutral and natural hue that is suitable for almost any interior design scheme. Currently, the panels come in three patterns: Sense, Pulse, and Energy, which are all cut using advanced laser-cutting technology. The company is reportedly planning to experiment with other natural dyes such as lingonberries, blueberries and beetroot. According to Baux CEO Fredrik Franzon, the innovative design of the eco-friendly panels is completely in line with the company’s commitment to creating building materials that are “sustainable, surprisingly functional and remarkably beautiful.” “In the face of climate change , environmental pollution and excessive consumerism, we as an industry can no longer afford to ignore the part we play,” Franzon explained. “Designing and prototyping for the future is not enough. We need to create a sustainable future today. The Acoustic Pulp sound absorbing panel is the result of our deep commitment to this vision.” + Baux + Form Us With Love Via Dezeen Images via Baux

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Baux unveils sustainable acoustic panels made out of chemical-free pulp

Lather is the PETA-approved skincare that reminds us all to slow down

February 22, 2019 by  
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From its natural ingredients to its carbon-neutral operations and its eco-friendly packaging, you’re going to want to lather up with Lather. First spied by Inhabitat at this year’s Indie Beauty Expo, Lather’s long line of sustainable skincare products have made themselves a new home in our medicine cabinets. Founded in 1999, Lather was started by Emilie Hoyt after she battled with migraines — which were partially caused by the harmful ingredients found in conventional skincare and cosmetics. Hoyt is an “explorer at heart” with a deep appreciation for nature, so she drew upon this passion when creating a wellness brand that emphasizes natural ingredients while also keeping the planet in mind at every stage of production. Related: These are our favorite beauty retailers from the Indie Beauty Expo In addition to using ingredients straight from nature, Lather does not test on animals, nor does it work with manufacturers that do. Furthering its commitment to sustainability, Lather is a carbon-neutral company that uses EcoPure, recycled materials and soy-based inks in all of its packaging. As if that wasn’t enough to love, Lather also supports eco-focused charities such as the Baobab Guardians Program, which “employs and empowers women and works hard to ensure the survival of the oldest trees on Earth.” It’s hard to narrow down the products to our favorites, but we must say that the bamboo lemongrass body scrub is one of the most popular Lather products for good reason. The scrub has become an essential part of our showering routine — the scrub suds up to cleanse you while also gently exfoliating skin and emitting a really pleasant, natural fragrance. Follow this up with the matching body lotion for a refreshing scent that invigorates you and a moisturizer that leaves your freshly exfoliated skin at its softest. Along the lines of keeping your skin happy and hydrated, we recommend keeping Lather’s Hand Therapy with you at all times. This restorative lotion is made with shea, oats and olive. The scent is earthy in a pleasant way, and the cream helps relieve cracked hands and dry cuticles. Lather also offers a multitude of face cleansers that target various skin concerns, from dryness to oily textures and sensitivity to blemishes. There are also different formulas, such as gels, creams, oils, and soap bars. We tested the Ultra Mild Face Wash. It’s a powerful cleanser that removes makeup with ease without leaving skin feeling dry or tight. We weren’t in love with the smell, but we didn’t hate it, either. We followed this face wash with the Ultra Light Face Lotion, which doesn’t have much of a scent to it. It was perfect for a daily moisturizer — hydrating enough to banish dryness, but light enough to wear all day without feeling heavy or greasy. Overall wellness is a prime factor behind all of Lather’s products, which is why the company developed a gel based pain reliever for muscle aches and pain. The gel provides temporary pain relief with formulated herbal extracts used by the native tribes of Northern Mexico. The gel is incredibly fast acting once its massaged onto joints or muscles and has a lingering cooling and heating effect that is felt almost instantly thanks to the menthol, camphor and capsaicin in the product. While the scent is powerful, it’s not overbearing and definitely worth it as this gel can quickly alleviate pain. We have made this our go-to pain relieving gel. While Lather is designed to enjoy at home as its own act of self care, the company’s passion for wellness extends in-store, too. From free Pamper Parties for groups to indulge in an afternoon of natural  skincare to relaxation stations with cozy seating and “5-minute stories” from a machine that offers short stories for guests to read, Lather encourages clients to take a moment to breathe and enjoy each passing moment. The brand’s ethos to care about yourself and the environment is evident through and through. + Lather Images via Inhabitat Editor’s Note: This product review is not sponsored by Lather. All opinions on the products and company are the author’s own.

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Lather is the PETA-approved skincare that reminds us all to slow down

Saving the environment one hair wash at a time

February 22, 2019 by  
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In the ongoing dialogue surrounding water consumption and saving water, the length of your shower, how you water your yard and even your toothbrush usage probably come up. But there is another water-thirsty activity that should be added to the discussion — hair washing. Think about it. Daily shampooing by billions of people is destined to strain resources. So taking a moment to consider the ways you can cut back on the suds, the water and the money going down the drain can be the best way to help the environment. Frequency Your hairdresser recommends washing your hair twice daily, often followed by using a conditioner. Between the energy and water consumed, that’s a big hair care footprint. In addition to shorter showers, consider cutting back the frequency of your hair washing to every other day or even a few times each week. Dry shampoo and leave-in conditioner can help provide the look and feel you’re used to in between washings. Specially formulated to omit the use of water altogether, dry shampoo is a quick and easy way to get out the door faster without wasting time and water in the shower. Leave-in conditioner can keep the frizzies at bay with a expedited and no-water-required application. Hot water reduction Heating water is a major household expense and we’re often paying for a service we don’t need, such as washing clothes in hot water that will be just as clean in a cold wash. When it comes to hair washing, consider turning down the heat a bit in favor of cost savings. Of course, slashing your time in the shower will not only save on water-heating costs, but water consumption costs as well. Even better than turning the shower down is turning it off in between wetting your hair and rinsing out the shampoo. For greater results, adopt a less rigid hair-washing schedule altogether. Related: Compensation for conservation: water markets are economists’ answer to scarcity Product consumption While we’re on the conversation of conservation , give a little thought to the amount of hair products you’re using as well. Try cutting back on the amount you apply, since most people use a much larger amount than they need. This not only helps minimize the shampoo that heads down the drain, but offers cost savings too. Water conservation If you’re already cutting back on shower time, think of other ways you can conserve the water you use in your shower. After all, you wouldn’t be the first person to collect your sudsy runoff in a bucket as you bathe. As long as your hair products are earth friendly, the water you collect can be used to water plants , wash animals or irrigate the lawn. Also look into low-flow shower heads that either restrict the flow of water coming out or force air through the shower head so it feels like you’re getting a full stream with only half the water usage. While we’re on the topic of showers, they are almost always a better choice for the planet than baths. An average 10-minute shower uses around 20-25 gallons while a bath averages 35-50 gallons. Outside the home While your morning ritual is likely the culprit for most of your excess hair-washing water consumption, also implement a plan for when you are away from home. Conserving water at the hotel or the gym is still saving water, so keep it up when you’re out. Also, start a dialogue with your hairdresser who’s likely had the conversation before. Ask what he or she is doing to minimize water consumption and resources (think about how many heads get washed each day.) Yes, it might feel like you’re breaking some sort of code to head to the stylist without washing first, but if they are going to do it anyway, there’s no reason to wash twice. Alternately, wash at home and ask them to wet with a spray bottle instead of a full wash during your cut. Types of hair products More and more products are finding their way into the market that aim to satisfy the growing consumer desire for no-water, all-natural solutions to hair care. Remember that all those suds head straight down the drain and into the local water system, so choose non-toxic shampoos and conditioners that are biodegradable. Do it for the fishies and for the purity of the water your family drinks. While biodegradable products are better for the environment , remember that they are also better for you. Your scalp is skin, after all, and skin is the biggest organ in your body. With a high absorption rate, your skin takes in all kinds of chemicals and toxins in daily life. Don’t let your hair products be one of them. In addition to the ingredient list, look at the packaging of your shampoo and conditioner. Use an all-in-one product instead of separate ones to automatically cut plastic waste in half. Better yet, find a refillable option for serious waste-reduction points. There are a host of alternate products that can also aid in the clean-hair goal both in and out of the shower. Many people find success with natural products like apple cider vinegar, baking soda, lemon juice and clay. Baby powder can also work as a dry shampoo in a pinch. Images via Shutterstock

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Saving the environment one hair wash at a time

7 eco-friendly insulation alternatives for a green home

January 4, 2019 by  
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Insulation is an important part of any home. Not only does it retain heat during the winter by restricting air flow, but it also reduces the cost of heating and cooling throughout the year. For more than a century, most new homes were built with fiberglass insulation, but this can cause many health issues. If you are building a new house or remodeling in the near future, try one of these green home insulation alternatives to make your home safe and healthy. Sheep’s wool Not only is sheep’s wool fire retardant, but the material can keep your home warm the same way it helps sheep survive frigid temperatures. In recent years, scientists have figured out how to apply the insulating properties of sheep’s wool to home construction. The compressed wool fibers form millions of tiny air pockets, and the outer layer is resistant to water while the inner layer absorbs moisture. This helps it generate heat while preventing condensation, and it keeps your home warm in the winter and cool in the summer. When you use sheep’s wool, you won’t have to adjust your heating and cooling system often, and that will save you energy and money. Cotton/denim Because cotton is a natural and renewable resource, it is one of the most eco-friendly insulation options on the market. Leftover blue jean scraps are shredded and recycled into thick batts that fit into your walls just like fiberglass. To make it safe for humans as well as the environment, companies treat the cotton with a borate solution, so the insulation isn’t flammable. Cotton is also a natural insect repellent, doesn’t contain formaldehyde and doesn’t cause respiratory problems. However, compared to fiberglass, it is incredibly expensive, costing nearly twice as much. Icynene One of the strongest home insulation alternatives, Icynene is a spray foam made out of castor oil that expands about 100 times its volume when you spray it into a wall or ceiling. Not only does it seal leaks and drafts, but it also cancels noise. Related: 10 money-saving tips for a green home During the foaming process, Icynene traps in tiny air bubbles, and when the foam cures, the air remains in place. This is why the insulation works so well. However, the sealing powers of Icynene are so strong, you have to install a ventilation system. Because of the additional requirements, the upfront costs to install Icynene are expensive. However, it will reduce your energy bill so drastically, in the long run, you will save money. Polystyrene At first glance, this might not sound like a green option, but polystyrene is considered to be green because it helps you save an enormous amount of energy. Polystyrene is a plastic that comes in two forms: rigid foam boards that will add structural integrity to your walls and a spray foam. Aerogel This man-made material is 90 percent air, but it is difficult for heat to pass through it, making it excellent for insulation. The legend has it that Samuel Stephens Kistler invented aerogel in 1931 after making a bet with a friend. Kesler bet that he could replace the liquid in a jelly jar without causing the jelly to shrink, and he won by removing the liquid and replacing it with air. This led to aerogel, which is made by removing the liquid from silica under high pressure and temperature. Aerogel is ultra lightweight and comes in sheets or stickers for easy installation. However, it is pricey, costing up to $2 a foot. ThermaCork This option actually has a negative carbon footprint , because the finished product is made from the outer bark of oak trees. It is natural, renewable, recyclable and biodegradable, plus it cancels noise and is free of toxins. Cellulose If you are looking to minimize the toxins in your house, cellulose is a good choice. Made from recycled newsprint and other paper, it is safe to install. Using this kind of insulation means that the paper in your walls didn’t make its way to a landfill to release harmful greenhouse gases . When it comes to insulation, there is no right or wrong choice. But there are many different options out there with various qualities, good and bad. Be sure to weigh the pros and cons of each to find the insulation that works best for you and your home. Images via Icynene , Tony Webster , Jon Collier and Shutterstock

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7 eco-friendly insulation alternatives for a green home

Hemp-based insulation makes a comeback in Belgium

October 28, 2015 by  
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Hemp-based insulation makes a comeback in Belgium

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