This cool electric skateboard is made from recycled plastic

January 30, 2020 by  
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Native of Porto, Portugal, designer João Leão was becoming more and more concerned about the abundance of plastic waste he saw clogging up his city’s beautiful coastline. Inspired to act on the issue, the ambitious designer decided to find a way to clean the ocean by using that waste to create an innovative product. As a result, Leão created the PET MINI — an electric skateboard made completely out of plastic waste. Founder of the design studio Maker Island , Leão has made a career out of  creating innovative and collaborative designs that are geared toward addressing local problems on a global scale. But with his latest invention, Leão is trying to address an issue close to his heart — Porto’s plastic waste. Related: New line of men’s swimwear is made from recycled ocean plastic “It all started with two problems, the plastic waste I was seeing being gathered on the beaches of my hometown, Porto, and the increasing commute times due to the high increase of people on the city and poor public and personal transportation infrastructures,” Leão explained. The resulting design is the PET (Personal Electric Transport) skateboard. The process began by experimenting with various types of discarded plastic. By examining the most common types found in Porto’s waters — ABS, PP and PET HDPE — Leão was able to better understand the mechanical and aesthetic properties of each. Finally, he discovered that the most suitable type of plastic for creating the electric skateboard was HDPE. From there, Leão began to outline the design itself. Using the body of an armadillo as inspiration, he first created the electronics enclosure, which is a series of modular pieces that run along the underside of the board. The enclosure is durable enough to protect the board’s electronic components without affecting the smooth ride of the deck. The deck of the board was 3D-CNC milled at the local VIVA Lab using recycled thermoplastics as the main manufacturing material. The PET MINI electronic skateboard weighs just over 17 pounds and is 75 centimeters long. With a top speed of 21 miles per hour, the board can go up to 22 miles with a single charge time of almost 2 hours. Built for under $550, the innovative board is comparable to other commercial electric skateboards on the market that typically cost about $1,700. +  João Leão Images via João Leão

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This cool electric skateboard is made from recycled plastic

Sustainability career options you may not have considered

January 30, 2020 by  
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In the past 10 to 20 years, careers in sustainability have grown exponentially. This is partly due to increased awareness of climate change. It’s also a result of innovation in the field; for example, the use of wind turbines and solar panels create jobs that didn’t exist before. Looking into the future, more and more jobs will fall into the category of sustainability. Many industries will face stricter resource management, opening the door to an endless number of earth-focused jobs — including some that don’t even exist yet! If you’ve considered a career in sustainability, here are some green jobs you might want to look into. Engineer There are hundreds of types of engineering degrees and titles, with myriad job opportunities in sustainability. Wind, water and solar engineers study and develop those technologies while product, systems and mechanical engineers can also find ways for business and manufacturing to be more eco-friendly. Engineers focused on urban design can influence the infrastructure of an entire city, and structural engineers can work to design buildings with earth-friendly materials and passive energy systems. Then there are environmental, water, renewable energy and even recycling engineers, too. Solar, wind or water specialists Even if you’re not interested in becoming an energy engineer, there are many job opportunities relating to renewable energy. You can install solar panels or wind turbines. If you’re a mechanical type, you can work as a repair technician. Or, you could contribute to research and development for new systems. Another option is to educate others about renewable energy or work in product and system sales. Related: Former coal miners receive training for renewable energy jobs Organic farmer As the population of the planet continues to grow, food production is a central focus for many. But artificial, preservative-filled foods are a poor solution for feeding the masses. If you enjoy a hard day’s work and the satisfaction of literally seeing the fruits of your labor, working as an organic farmer might be for you. Energy broker As more and more clean systems become available to produce energy, we will continue to need ways to store, transport and use it. As a broker, you can facilitate this process by buying and selling renewable energy for clients. Green construction workers Opportunities for construction planning and work at the residential and commercial levels mean you can take part in helping to build more sustainable structures. Modern construction practices involve the use of energy-conserving HVAC systems, smart home technology , energy-efficient windows, improved insulation, non-toxic paints, water reclamation, solar panels and so much more. Jobs include construction worker, site manager, structural engineer, systems design engineer, architect, HVAC installer, technician or floor covering specialist. Electric car mechanic The number of electric cars on the road continues to rise, making a job as an electric car mechanic a promising career choice for the future. In this position, you can perform repairs or even convert gas-guzzling vehicles into electric ones. Teacher or public speaker Education is a powerful tool in the drive to inspire people to change their habits or get involved in a cause. As a teacher or public speaker, you can inform attendees in classrooms, offices and conference centers about important topics like climate change . This will allow you to educate the public about the needs of the environment and steps they can take as individuals or businesses to lower their ecological footprints. Writer There has always been power in words, but if public speaking isn’t your thing, perhaps you can express the same information through the written word instead. For example, you can work as a journalist researching companies who pollute or, on the other end of the spectrum, go out of their way to support environmental causes. There are also opportunities to create content on social media, formulating social media campaigns that create awareness about environmental topics. Consultant Depending on your background, you might not need to obtain additional education in order to work in an industry related to sustainability. As a consultant, you can use your existing knowledge to advise businesses. For example, if you have experience as a contractor, architect or engineer, you can help businesses identify eco-friendly materials or systems during construction or a remodel. Green jobs will continue to evolve and offer new challenges, but one thing is for certain — they are here to stay. Images via Shutterstock

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Sustainability career options you may not have considered

Compostable, portable Stak pods eliminate the need for individually wrapped snacks

December 19, 2019 by  
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Most of us spend much of our time on the go, rushing to work and shuttling kids to activities. Somewhere in the midst of the hustle, we have to eat. Stak has created a snacking pod to match those lifestyle needs, while aiming to create a long-lasting, eco-friendly product that eliminates the temptation of convenient but wasteful individually wrapped snacks. Convenience products have been flooding the supermarket shelves for decades, serving the needs of individuals and families who pack food to travel through the day with them. But these conveniences come at a cost in the form of single-use plastic packaging and excessive waste . Plus, the food is typically highly processed and loaded with preservatives. Stak developed an easy, zero-waste way to transport healthy snacks and is hoping to bring the product to market via a successful Kickstarter campaign. Related: This durable, recyclable cooler is made from bamboo, wool, steel and aluminum Traditional plastic storage containers are often bulky to pack and haul. Stak is a sleek, reusable vessel with three separate compartments that hold a variety of foods. Load up nuts, fruit, veggies or other favorites and take one or all three connectable containers to the office, daycare or park. Connect cups by easily screwing them together into a streamlined tower. The thoughtful design uses silicone seals to maintain freshness. As a unit, Stak fits easily into a world built for reusable water bottles, settling into automobile, stroller or bicycle drink holders as well as the side pouch of a backpack. Along with the intent to provide an alternative to processed, wasteful single-use packaging , Stak is made from plant-based materials and is compostable. Instead of using petroleum-based plastic, the company developed a corn-based option that functions like plastic but without harmful chemicals, such as BPA. The lid and cutlery are made from sustainable bamboo , and the straps are sourced from natural cotton. Even with commercially compostable materials, Stak is built to last for endless uses with parts that are dishwasher-safe and easy to clean. The Stak Kickstarter campaign ends January 1, 2020 with the goal of raising $17,815. + Stak Images via Stak

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Compostable, portable Stak pods eliminate the need for individually wrapped snacks

A tour of Seattle Chocolate elicits a deep appreciation for cacao

October 23, 2019 by  
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In 1900 BCE, Mesoamericans used cacao beans to make a bitter, fermented drink. By 1400, Aztecs traded cacao as currency. Spaniards later thought to add sugar. Nowadays, we just go to the store when we want to buy chocolate, divorcing the exquisite substance from its historic origins. But a tour of the Seattle Chocolate factory helps visitors deepen their appreciation of one of the world’s favorite treats. This woman-owned, Rainforest Alliance-certified company has put decades of thought into how to make its treats both delicious and sustainable. A tasty tour Seattle Chocolate started in Seattle in 1991. But the Nisqually Earthquake of 2001 destroyed the original factory. One of Seattle Chocolate’s investors, entrepreneur Jean Thompson, took over as owner and CEO. The company found a new, 60,000-square-foot factory in Tukwila, a town just south of Seattle. Visitors go to this nondescript building for the tour. It is hard to believe that something so plain on the outside turns out more than 30,000 colorfully wrapped chocolate bars per day. Our tour starts in the chocolate classroom, where guide Chris Hardwick talks to us about the history of chocolate in general and Seattle Chocolate in particular. In class, we learn it takes three to five years to grow cacao. Nigeria, Ghana and the Ivory Coast produce 70 percent of cacao beans. Midges pollinate chocolate, answering that age-old question, what are midges good for? Related: Fueled by chocolate — Ghana’s newest biofuel Hardwick explained that Seattle Chocolate has two directions, the line with the original name, and Jcoco, more of a culinary experimental brand. “Seattle Chocolate is a fruit-forward, acidic chocolate,” he said in the assured language of a wine expert. Jcoco is more likely to include ingredients like edamame or cumin. Hardwick passes around jars of cacao beans and nibs, so we can smell the terroir of beans grown in different countries. Because every good factory tour requires a hairnet, we don blue netting before continuing on to the next part of the tour: the factory floor. As well as chocolate bars, Seattle Chocolate is known for its 20 truffle flavors in bright metallic wrapping. High on the catwalk, we look down at workers bent over enormous boxes of truffles, scooping armloads into smaller containers. It’s a chocolate-lover’s fantasy come to life. The tour ends with a chocolate tasting. We sit at placemats with six chunks of chocolate to compare. The regular tasting includes varieties of white, milk and dark chocolate. The vegan version offers several types of dark chocolate. Hardwick guides us through a more mindful tasting process, rather than a simple devouring. The experience changes how visitors interact with this sweet treat — it makes them more appreciative of it. Tours are offered year-round. But if you visit on certain days in October, you can experience an exciting bonus — a haunted factory . The company website explains, “A troublesome spirit has escaped and is creating havoc for the Seattle Chocolate Factory! Help repair the damage while gathering clues to speak with Ixcacao, the Goddess of Chocolate. With her help, you’ll brave the dark factory and cast the fell spirit out.” Hardwick assured me this family-friendly tour is fun, not gory. Sustainability measures Seattle Chocolate carefully addresses social responsibility throughout the entire chocolate life cycle. It uses Rainforest Alliance Certified cacao to ensure just labor practices and good environmental measures in the countries the cacao is grown. In the factory, workers compost 25,000 pounds of chocolate scraps annually. They use non-GMO ingredients in the bars and truffles. Wherever possible, Seattle Chocolate sources ingredients like fruits, spices, mint and honey from local partners. Packaging is especially problematic for environmentally conscious companies. Seattle Chocolate has recently developed cellulose truffle twist wraps made from sustainably harvested eucalyptus trees . This is significant, as it churns out 12.5 million truffles a year, wrapped in about 8,000 pounds of bright truffle twist wraps. By mid-2020, all truffle flavors will be wrapped in the new cellulose material. Customers can throw the truffle wraps into their home compost piles, where they should break down in six to eight weeks. Giving back While the ordinary chocolate fan might question the presence of edamame beans in a chocolate bar, the Jcoco line isn’t just for foodies. Thompson created the line in 2012 with an underlying goal of feeding hungry families. The company donates a fresh serving of food to those in need every time somebody buys a Jcoco bar. So far, Seattle Chocolate has donated nearly 4 million servings of food to food banks in Washington, California and New York. In addition to tours, Seattle Chocolate invites the public in for events like tastings of new seasonal chocolate flavors or classes on pairing beer with chocolate. It hosts the haunted chocolate factory in October, and a large holiday party in December. + Seattle Chocolate Images by Teresa Bergen / Inhabitat and Seattle Southside Regional Tourism Authority

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Stroodles lets you eat your straw

October 21, 2019 by  
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Now you can one-up your most eco-conscious friends. Instead of composting your straw after you finish your drink, now, you can just eat it. Stroodles , a new straw made out of pasta, solves the ethical straw problem. Made in Italy, the pasta straws are made out of only two ingredients: durum wheat and water. So vegans are in luck, but people with Celiac disease aren’t. Other than a possible starchy taste, Stroodles are flavorless. If you choose not to eat your Stroodle, it will decompose in days rather than a month, like a paper straw, or never, like a plastic straw. Stroodles are stronger than paper straws, lasting up to an hour or two in a cold drink without getting soggy. But don’t use a Stroodle in a hot drink, as it will turn into an ordinary noodle. Related: Tooth: the eco-friendly toothbrush made from recycled and biodegradable materials The UK-based company donates a share of sales to Ocean Plastic, an organization fighting plastic waste, and other charities. When they arrive from the supplier, workers manually sort the pasta straws. Those deemed imperfect or inferior are donated to food banks through City Harvest and, presumably, turned into spaghetti . According to the Stroodles website, “With Stroodles, you don’t have to change behaviours and compromise on your drinking experience. By stroodling your drink , you can do good, the easy way. We call this ‘drink-easy.’” Americans alone use about 500 million plastic straws per day. Around the world, countries, states and cities are banning single-use plastics, including straws. Stroodles has picked the right moment to turn the world on to pasta straws. As they claim, “Stroodles is not just another straw company! Stroodles is a movement. Stroodles is here to help fight plastic waste and straws are just our first channel of choice. We want to inspire the world and show how easy it is to do good – with just one Stroodle at a time.” + Stroodles Images via Stroodles

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Stroodles lets you eat your straw

This plant-based ski wax keeps nasty chemicals off the snowpack

October 1, 2019 by  
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For those looking to hit the slopes as the weather cools down, a new eco-friendly ski wax will not only help you glide through the fluffy snowpack but will also help keep the environment free of the dangerous chemicals found in most ski waxes. In a world where nearly all ski wax is made from petroleum, the innovative MountainFLOW eco wax is made entirely from plants. The sight of white snow-covered hills is enough for most skiers to call off of work and hit the slopes, hopefully in a sustainable retreat . But whatever we put on our skis quickly enters the snowpack, eventually making its way into local streams and rivers. Considering that most ski wax is made out of petroleum, this means that pollution during the ski months increases substantially for these water systems. Related: Top 6 sustainable winter resorts for snowboarding and skiing in the US Thankfully, the eco-conscious team at MountainFLOW has kicked off a new Kickstarter campaign to announce the launch of North America’s only line of plant-based ski wax . Designed to keep harmful chemicals out of the environment, this eco-friendly product is rapidly catching the attention of the ski world. Over the years, the team has worked to develop a petroleum-free wax that offers the same hydrophobicity, durability and ease of application that most traditional petroleum-based waxes offer. Not only have they created a product that does just that, but they have created a ski wax that is much better for the environment. Other plant-based ski waxes have been made with soy. Although the MountainFLOW wax does include a little bit of soy, the eco-friendly product uses a high-quality combination of other plant-based waxes that offer a faster, more durable product. The MountainFLOW packaging is also made from 100 percent recycled materials and is completely biodegradable. + MountainFLOW Images via MountainFLOW

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This plant-based ski wax keeps nasty chemicals off the snowpack

Student designs a chic wooden stand mixer that requires zero electricity

September 25, 2019 by  
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Look into any typical kitchen, and you’re likely to discover cupboards full of gadgets, utensils and devices aimed at making food prep more convenient. Manuel Immler, a German design student, cringed at the lack of sustainability in owning multiple electronic kitchen tools and instead designed an electricity-free mixer as a prototype that changes the norm. Not only did Immler identify the wasteful practices of mass production but also noted the consumption of energy in manufacturing and using electronic kitchen devices. In what has become a consume-and-dispose society, Immler aimed to create a product that was durable and sustainable from start to finish. Related: Essential old-fashioned tools and practices to make your kitchen more sustainable On his master’s thesis at the Free University of Balzono, the stated theme was, “Development of a sustainable food processor with focus on regional materials and circular economy .” To achieve this goal, he tapped into his passion for eco-social design, evaluating the full product cycle. “For my master’s thesis, I asked myself how products and goods have to be designed so that their harmful effects can be minimized through resource and energy consumption but also through transport, waste and rebound effects,” Immler said. The result of this effort is a kitchen appliance called Pino that is sourced from local materials, minimizing the need for transport and providing local jobs. The device does not require electricity thanks to a manual hand crank. Pino is built to last to avoid the need for frequent replacement. Plus, it can do multiple functions to replace the need for numerous different kitchen gadgets. The design itself is not only aimed at sustainability but visual appeal as well with its natural wood exterior. These pieces are timeless but still interchangeable when you’re ready to update the look. For durability, the base is cast iron, and the inside components are made from steel. Using a series of available gears, Pino can vary from 50-1000 revolutions per minute to provide more power. This allows the machine and its attachments to grind, stir, mix, squeeze, scrape, plane, whisk or grate. + Manuel Immler Images via Maita Petersen and Manuel Immler

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Student designs a chic wooden stand mixer that requires zero electricity

Plumen Hive shade is 3D-printed and biodegradable

September 11, 2019 by  
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Light bulbs and lamp shades go together like peanut butter and jelly so when Plumen had an idea for a natural looking shade, they turned to designer Luke Deering with very specific goals in mind: make it elegant and make it sustainable . The Hive shade is the result of a vision to use biomorphic design to make a shade look like a natural honeycomb . Shadowing the design after well-sculpted art of the hive not only brings natural elements inside the living space, but also gives a nod to some of nature’s best architects — the bees. The woven material allows light to filter through while defusing the bright light of the bulb. Related: Benjamin Spöth weaves leftover birch plywood into beautiful Upcycle lamps While the design elements are striking as an idea and on paper, the finished product raises the bar above typical design with a unique production that is a result of the newest 3D printer technology. This process streamlines the manufacturing and supports the sustainability goals of the project too. That’s because the shade is printed from PLA bioplastic, a material that is made up of 90 percent recycled plastic and plant products. The U.K.-based company wanted to create a closed loop with the Hive shade and began by sourcing the manufacturing nearby to alleviate transport emissions. In addition, the shades are printed on demand to avoid unnecessary waste . To complete the circle, the Hive shade is commercially compostable and will biodegrade in about six months at the end of its usable life cycle. Like any good home decor, the Hive shade comes in a variety of options to suit your needs. The two available sizes fit over two of the most common bulb options from Plumen. There’s a choice of six colors: White, Black, Moss Green, Gold, Orange and Blue. Plus, you can submit special color requests. The shades fit neatly into the neck of the Plumen pendant, available in black or copper so you can make your selections and put together your desired look without worrying about the effect on the planet . It’s a bright idea! + Plumen Images via Plumen

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Plumen Hive shade is 3D-printed and biodegradable

The ultimate guide to eco-friendly period products

July 31, 2019 by  
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If you’re a person who is serious about protecting the environment, you’re probably conscious of how much trash you generate every time you have a period. In addition to being chock-full of plastics sent straight to landfills, pads and tampons also contain harsh chemicals that are toxic . Yet most people continue exposing their bodies to these products month after month. Luckily, there are better options out there for both you and the planet — here’s a guide to help you find what might work best for you. “Anything coming in constant contact with your skin will land in your bloodstream for distribution throughout your body,” Dr. Joseph Mercola wrote in an alarming Huffington Post article about the dangers of menstrual products. Despite the potential dangers, the chemical ingredients in tampons and pads are an industry secret, protected by nondisclosure policies that favor corporations, manufacturers and innovators but put consumers at serious risk. So if you want to cut down on polluting nature and your body, consider this comprehensive guide on more sustainable product options available right now. As always, be sure to consult with your healthcare provider to help determine the best options for you. Menstrual cups Menstrual cups are one of the most eco-friendly options out there. If you can get over the initial learning curve, they are easy and convenient to use. Why we love them Although the up-front sticker price is higher, when you calculate how much you spend every month on tampons or pads, the savings are obvious. The cups are comfortable and barely noticeable once they have been inserted — the same way you might get used to a tampon and hardly realize it is there. They are especially easy for travelers who want to save precious space in their luggage and say goodbye to last-minute, emergency trips to the convenience store. Most cup brands come in multiple sizes and some even come in varying levels of firmness, depending on your preference, flow, age and whether or not you have had a vaginal birth. The cups are capable of handling even heavy flow days, with most users reporting minimal — if any — leaks. Below is a brief review of a few popular brands. Diva Cup ($35) The Diva Cup is the most recognized and popular brand. It has three sizes (including one for teens), lasts up to 12 hours and is made from medical-grade silicone. Sustain Natural Period Cup ($39) These cups are flexible, compact and made entirely of medical-grade silicone . They claim to hold three tampons-worth of liquid and are available in two sizes. This is also the only brand that currently offers a microwave case for cleaning the cup. Peachlife Menstrual Cup ($22) Also made of medical-grade silicone, this cup uniquely comes in a variety of firmness levels (soft, medium-firm and extra-firm). Unlike other brands that come to a point, the Peachlife cup has a silicone ring at the bottom for easy removal (but remember, you still have to break the suction of the cup; you cannot just tug on the ring!). Cups are not without challenges Menstrual cups cannot be recycled at the end of their lifecycles, but when you calculate how many pads and tampons you averted from landfills, this product is worth it. The cups can also be difficult to maneuver at first. Once you have practiced and get the hang of folding the cup, inserting it and then breaking the seal to remove, it’s just as easy as any other option. It typically takes about three periods to fully adapt to using a menstrual cup. Because of cultural and religious beliefs, some people do have objections or hesitations to using a cup. Related: Study shows menstrual cups are safe and just as effective as tampons, pads A new spin on ‘period underwear’ Absorbent underwear brands like THINX and Lunapads are increasing in popularity and market share. They are simply underwear that you wear during your period that are specially manufactured to absorb menstrual blood. Why they’re so easy If you know how to put on your undies, then you know how to use these — they have all other products beat in terms of ease of use. They are also eco-friendly, because you wash and reuse them each time you have your period. That means they do not produce landfill trash every month. The downside of absorbent underwear Period underwear is more expensive than your typical pair of underwear because of their patented absorption technology . You will also need a few pairs depending on the length and flow of your period and how often you’re able to wash and dry them. Like the cups though, when you tally the cost of underwear against lifetime tampon expenses, they’re a smart economic choice. The horrors of tampons and better options “The average American woman uses 16,800 tampons in her lifetime — or up to 24,360 if she’s on estrogen replacement therapy,” said Dr. Mercola. That’s a lot of trash , but it is also a lot of time that your body is exposed to toxic chemicals. Cotton is better; organic cotton is best You may have heard health experts say that cotton underwear is best for promoting vaginal health — the same goes for tampons. Look for brands that specifically say they are made from organic cotton, but assume that most conventional brands are now made from plastics and synthetic materials. These materials are not breathable, can get fragmented and left behind and might encourage health problems like yeast and bacterial growth. Most tampons are also bleached with substances linked to abnormal tissue growth, abnormal cell growth and immune system suppression. Americans use 7 billion tampon applicators every year; the chemicals in the applicator, phthalates, have been generally linked to organ damage, lower I.Q. and asthma. What to try instead Using tampons without applicators will significantly cut down the plastic waste you generate. Brands like o.b. offer tampons that can be inserted with just your finger. Seventh Generation offers a chlorine-free, organic cotton tampon that reduces your exposure to chemicals. Organyc also offers a 100 percent organic cotton tampon. What about pads? Many people prefer pads for comfort or cultural reasons; however, the average sanitary pad contains “the equivalent of about four plastic bags, and this doesn’t include the other chemicals like BPA , BPS, phthalates and toxic dioxin created by the bleaching process.” Even though they have plastic in them, pads are never recyclable because they have been contaminated with bodily fluid. Because pads have a bigger volume than tampons, they produce even more waste. The average person throws away between 250 and 300 pounds of pads or tampons in their lifetime. What to use if you prefer pads There are reusable sanitary pads online that significantly reduce the amount of trash produced. Simply place the pad in your underwear; when it is dirty, rinse it with cold water and then add it to the laundry. You can buy reusable pads from Gladrags or find cute designs via Etsy. You can also try your hand at sewing your own . Disposable tampons and pads dominate the menstrual care market, but it doesn’t have to be that way. With small personal changes, you can protect your health, wallet and the planet. Images via Shutterstock

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The ultimate guide to eco-friendly period products

These sustainable headphones are making a debut just in time for Earth Day

April 2, 2019 by  
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The Exodus headphones are The House of Marley’s first release in its new 2019 line of eco-friendly audio products, and trust us when we say they are everything you’d want in a pair of headphones. Made from materials like FSC-certified wood, stainless steel, recyclable aluminum and soft natural leather, the Exodus headphones allow you feel good about your purchase while having a comfortable listening experience. The House of Marley doesn’t stop at headphones, either — the company also creates turntables built from natural bamboo and outdoor speakers made using organic cork. Not to mention all of its packaging is produced from 100 percent recycled paper. Inhabitat recently had a chance to try out the new Exodus headphones and interview The House of Marley’s Director of Product Development, Josh Poulsen. Eco-friendly and sustainable materials The headphone casing is made from wood that is FSC-certified, meaning that the trees cut down to produce the wood are guaranteed to be replaced and regenerated sustainably. The stainless steel making up the headphone architecture and fasteners creates less environmental impact and is more durable; it can even be recycled. Not only is aluminum (used for the headphone housing) one of the most eco-consciously produced metals, there’s no limit to how many times it can be recycled. Lastly, natural leather adds a sense of warmth and style while remaining a biodegradable option. Related: This eco-friendly wooden laptop is designed to curb e-waste Inhabitat: “What was the inspiration behind building the Exodus headphones with such eco-friendly and sustainable materials?” Poulsen: “We strive to build all House of Marley products with eco-friendly and sustainable materials, not as an inspiration but as our mission. With the Exodus, we aimed to design an over-ear headphone that can be listened to for long periods without discomfort or acoustic fatigue, offers premium construction and incorporates  sustainable materials while focusing on heritage and retro-inspired design elements. In the case of the Exodus, sustainability means more than just the materials from which the headphone is constructed. The quality craftsmanship means product life is extended and the emphasis on comfort allows the user to sustain longer listening sessions.” Sound quality The media website CNET called these the “Best new headphones of CES [Consumer Electronics Show] 2019.” The Bluetooth LE technology was fast while pairing with our devices, meaning less time waiting for a connection and more time enjoying music. 50mm hi-def drivers ensure quality sound, regardless of unconventional materials. Inhabitat: “What steps does the company make to ensure that these non-traditional materials don’t compromise the sound quality?” Poulsen: “Sound quality isn’t negatively affected by the sustainable materials we choose to use. In fact, often times the choice of wood can enhance and add to the warmth in acoustic we strive for. Wood is a premier choice for materials in many musical instruments for thousands of years, so it seemed logical that it be incorporated into audio listening products as well. We take it one step further by ensuring the non-traditional materials such as bamboo , cork and FSC-certified woods not only contribute the sound quality of our products, but are a sustainable design choice in the manner in which they are harvested and incorporated.” Long-lasting Not only is the sound long-lasting (the headphones boast a 30-hour lithium polymer battery life, the longest-lasting in the company’s history), USB-C charging makes it easy to plug into any USB-compliant outlet. The company doesn’t just exercise sustainable materials but also helps ensure that its products last longer than other audio makers. Related: Artist upcycles discarded cassette tapes into eco-friendly MusicCloth® Inhabitat: “We covered The House of Marley earbuds a few years back. Has anything changed about your products since then?” Poulsen: “It is important to produce timeless designs and high-quality products. The House of Marley intends for products to last longer without the need for replacement — meaning less products being sent to landfills . In the past five years, The House of Marley has increased durability and quality, while the product return rate has been brought down significantly.” Helping to save the planet As if it could get any better than a product that’s both high-quality and eco-friendly, The House of Marley has also been working with One Tree Planted since 2017 to fight global deforestation. One Tree Planted is a non-profit organization that has been planting trees in North America, Latin America, Asia and Africa since 2014. To celebrate Earth Day, The House of Marley will be contributing to tree plantings in Colorado, Kenya and Rwanda. Inhabitat: “How did your partnership with One Tree Planted come about?” Poulsen: “The House of Marley was conceived around carrying on Bob Marley’s legacy, which includes the charitable philosophy of giving back to the Earth what we take from it. Given our history of using FSC-certified woods, bamboo and cork in the sustainable construction of our products, in 2017 we were introduced to One Tree Planted to contribute to tree plantings around the world. Since then, we have planted 168,000 trees in an effort to bring awareness to the consumption and waste of the plastics-driven consumer electronics market. Reforestation contributes to positive environmental, social and economic impact through carbon offsets, cleaner air , water filtration and greater biodiversity within the world’s forests. By donating to the planting of trees, we hope to encourage growth and begin changing the minds of consumers and our industry.” Bottom line The House of Marley is not kidding when it says 30-hour battery life; these headphones can be enjoyed all day and then some. Over-ear headphones can get clunky or uncomfortable, and plenty of music-lovers out there prefer the smaller earbuds for these reasons, but the memory foam ear cushions combined with the natural leather definitely squash those excuses. The over-ear speakers are super comfortable and can be used for hours without getting painful. Related: Dimension Plus turned Oreo cookies into edible records that play music One of the best parts is the hinge allowing the headphones to fold into each other to easily fit into the premium stash bag (included) made from the company’s signature REWIND organic cotton fabric, helping to take up less space while traveling. We loved the option for plugging the headphones directly into your device with the included aux cable (because let’s face it, sometimes we forget to charge things), but even if you do forget to charge, it only takes two hours to get fully juiced. Any outdoor-lover will enjoy how the Exodus headphones look. The certified wood is a light, natural color, which pairs really nicely against the black color of the plastic and ear cushions. The charging and aux cables are designed with the same sturdy, braided design (a godsend for those of us prone to breaking those skinny plastic cables on other headphones). You can also control the volume and playback from the headphones themselves rather than fumbling for your device. Finally, we couldn’t help but pump some Bob Marley through these headphones, and unsurprisingly, it did not disappoint. + The House of Marley Images via Katherine Gallagher / Inhabitat Editor’s Note: This product review is not sponsored by The House of Marley. All opinions on the products and company are the author’s own.

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These sustainable headphones are making a debut just in time for Earth Day

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