Make friends while saving money and the planet in Buy Nothing groups

March 16, 2021 by  
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Back in the pre-internet days, if you were cleaning out your cupboards and found five empty jars, a can of beans you were never going to use and some mystery kitchen tools, you’d have to decide whether you were going to add them to the landfill, transport them to a donation site, pawn them off on unsuspecting guests or leave them in the cupboard for another 5 years. But thanks to the Buy Nothing Project , people with excess stuff can conveniently rehome it to neighbors in an online group. Same goes for those in need of something. They can ask neighbors for, say, a pair of size seven rollerskates or a cat-climbing structure. As the official Buy Nothing website stresses, “The rules are simple: Post anything you’d like to give away, lend, or share amongst neighbors. Ask for anything you’d like to receive for free or borrow. Keep it legal. No hate speech. No buying or selling, no trades or bartering, we’re strictly a gift economy.” Related: 6 of the best places to donate your things Behind the scenes in the Buy Nothing Project It all started when friends Liesl Clark and Rebecca Rockefeller started the first Buy Nothing group in their community, an island in the Salish Sea off the coast of Seattle . They wanted to focus on the “reduce” part of the three Rs of reduce, reuse, recycle, plus adding two more: rethink and refuse. Clark and Rockefeller soon witnessed the positive effects the group had on the community. “We saw this commitment to a single group help people build trust within a group that was made up of their real-life neighbors, and we saw people begin to understand that Buy Nothing groups are more about connections and trust between people than about the fast and anonymous transfer of free stuff,” they wrote on their website. They believe in the importance of coming from a place of abundance, rather than acting like a charity . People give, ask, share, lend and express gratitude. There’s strictly no bartering or money exchanged. Buy Nothing is about giving and sharing. As of now, Buy Nothing groups are set up through Facebook. There might already be one in your neighborhood. If not, you can start your own, with plenty of support from the Buy Nothing Project, as outlined here . This spring, the project is launching a sharing app in addition to its Facebook groups. Economic advantages of the gifting economy The most obvious advantage of a Buy Nothing group is saving money. Results from the project’s latest survey of over 2,000 members found that the vast majority saved money monthly by participating. To get some specifics about how Buy Nothing has helped members, I turned to my local neighborhood group in Portland , Oregon. Buy Nothing Laurelhurst/Sunnyside members proved as willing to share their stories as they are to part with their unused bikes and excess compost worms. People with fast-growing kids are especially enthusiastic about their groups. “I have two young children and it seems like they grow out of (or lose interest in) clothing and toys weekly,” Mandy Campbell said. “With Buy Nothing, I’ve received bags of barely worn, sometimes luxury brand clothing , for them and some of their favorite toys like the Black and Decker tool bench we gave to my 2-year-old for Christmas.” Another member, Maureen O. Morgan, gave high praises. “BN has been a pandemic godsend!” Morgan said. “We’ve received barn yard cookie cutters, costumes, expanded tinker toy sets , and a mountain of little people cars and figures which combine to a year of distractions.” Some cities even have Buy Nothing groups focused solely on kids’ needs, according to member Lesley Merritt. Parents also appreciate how Buy Nothing teaches children the joy of sharing. When Morgan’s toddler struggled to get his feet into shoes he’d outgrown, they decided it was time to pass them on to a smaller neighbor. “’That’s a sweet thing to share, Mom,’ he told me,” she said. Campbell appreciates the ease of Buy Nothing. “For working parents, it’s incredibly convenient to throw things on your porch rather than do regular trips to donation or junk facilities,” she said. “And on top of those great benefits, I love that we get to meet our neighbors and maybe even find neighborhood friends for our little ones.” The environmental benefits of sharing Members also like to keep from adding to landfills while also reducing demand for manufacturing more things. Kylie Jackson benefited from a Buy Nothing group with a very specific ask: old denim. “We were able to collect enough denim insulation from food delivery services to insulate our whole van!” Jackson said. “It was piles and piles of the denim and wool insulation.” People have especially turned to rampant online ordering during the pandemic. But those conscientious about emissions and packaging waste prefer walking, biking or driving (for heavy stuff) a few blocks to pick up used items from their neighbors. “I recently received a punching bag from the group for my son,” member Kirsten Burt said. “This saved me a lot of money, and saved me from ordering from Amazon, with all of the packaging and carbon emissions that would have been involved.” Helping others in need Some members are on the lookout for stuff for people they know are in great need. Kate Haas volunteers with a refugee family and has found items in a Buy Nothing group to help them out. “The mom can’t work because of COVID, so things are very tight for them financially,” Haas said. “Through BN I’ve found them a lovely rug, clothing, linens, a mixer, and most recently, a vacuum.” Campbell adopted a family in need for Christmas 2020. “I was able to give them just about everything on their list from Buy Nothing. From dolls to diapers to ceramic mugs, our neighbors were quick to drop things off for the family before the holidays, and the family we gave presents to was so grateful.” Community connections One of the best things about Buy Nothing groups is that people get to know their neighbors through sharing and lending, giving and receiving. Now, with most people staying close to home due to the pandemic , that seems more valuable than ever. “After being in this group and the larger group prior to this for almost 8 years, I have come to meet so many great neighbors,” said member Dev Ansel. “I am in a lot of free site groups and they all have their purpose, but only in these Buy Nothing groups have I made true connections, and that is priceless. I can make coffee and think of the neighbor that gave me the coffee beans and the cup. Even under COVID quarantine, I am having coffee with my neighbor.” + Buy Nothing Project Image via Adobe Stock

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Make friends while saving money and the planet in Buy Nothing groups

Your guide to sustainable holiday gifts for parents

December 16, 2020 by  
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Our parents give us so much, and the  holidays  present the perfect opportunity to give them something back in return. Read on to learn about the best eco-friendly and sustainable holiday gifts of 2020 for parents. Organic pajamas There’s nothing better than a pair of comfortable pajamas once the weather turns for the holiday months. Gift your parents a matching pair of jammies made from sustainable fabrics like organic cotton to keep them warm (and give them an excuse to take cute holiday photos).  This set  from Hanna Anderson comes in a ton of different festive patterns and colors with sizes for the whole family, and they’re super affordable as well.  Related: The sustainable wardrobe: it’s more accessible than you think Hand-woven baskets Help your parents decorate with a cute artisan gift like Lola & Mawu baskets made from upcycled vintage indigo fabric and natural undyed straw. The baskets are hand-woven out of indigo shawls made from locally grown cotton, handspun and dyed with natural vegetable pigments. Some of the fabric is 30 or 40 years old, so the textiles have varying shades and textures from age. All are woven in Bolgatanga, Northern Ghana. Low-flow showerhead If you have a little extra money to spend, why not help upgrade your parent’s home with an environmentally-friendly appliance?  Nebia , for example, makes low-flow showerheads that feature atomizing nozzles. Or, splurge for the Spa Shower 2.0 with re-engineered spraying nozzles for optimal temperature and coverage. Apart from saving up to 65% of water when compared to standard showers , they look super sleek and futuristic, too. Bamboo bathrobe Go along with the above shower theme with a fuzzy bathrobe made from  sustainable materials . Make your parents feel like they’re at the spa with one of  Cariloha’s  unisex robes, made of a super-soft blend of bamboo viscose and Egyptian cotton. The bamboo fabric is naturally moisture-wicking, odor-resistant and allergy-resistant. Or, try these waffle robes from  Coyuchi , made from organic, GOTS + Made Safe Certified cotton sourced and woven in Turkey. Loungewear Quarantine made 2020 the year of loungewear, so it only makes sense to end the year with some too.  GALERIE.LA  prides itself on high-quality sustainable loungewear made with Fair Trade principles and eco-friendly materials. Customers can even use a badge system to designate and search for purchases based on individually sustainable values such as recyclability and  vegan materials.  Matcha kit Inspire your parents to stay healthy with a superfood latte blend like the options from Golde. Cacao Turmeric offers a sweet and savory alternative to hot cocoa, with added health benefits thanks to its blend of seven essential  superfoods  that support skin, debloating and stress balance. Drink it on its own or add it to smoothies for a powerful antioxidant punch. The popular  Make Your Matcha Kit  includes everything you need to whip up a delicious and healthy Matcha latte, including a tin of powdered pure Matcha and a bamboo whisk. Fancy composter Composting  is usually reserved for those living in cities that support curbside compost bins or people with room in their yards for a bulky spinning composter. Enter Vitamix, the company that brought us one of the world’s most powerful blenders, and its compact  FoodCycler FC-50 . This high-tech composter only needs about one cubic foot of space and a power outlet to work. A carbon filter lid eliminates odors (meaning you can keep it conveniently inside your kitchen), and the removable waste bucket makes it easy to transport your newly-processed nutrient-rich fertilizer from the composter to your garden. Personalized wood cutting board Give a gift that is both decorative and functional for the holidays, like a personalized wood cutting board.  Etsy  offers plenty of beautiful options to fit any budget, with options to personalize anything from names to family recipes and even skylines. Not into personalization or don’t have time for a custom order? Check out  Totally Bamboo’s  cutting boards, shaped into different states with laser-engraved cities, sights and attractions. Wine and cheese set For parents who love a good cheese board, opt for this  Wine & Cheese Set  made completely from upcycled wooden chopsticks. Perfect for couples, the set includes a stylish 11-inch charcuterie board with two matching wooden coasters. The company is carbon negative, so you can feel even better about your sustainable purchase! Face masks Since everyone needs face masks these days, go for one that supports a good cause! Proceeds from sales of  these masks  go toward animal conservation thanks to a partnership between WNC Nature Center and Wildlife Artists. If you’re more into the ocean,  these  ocean-themed masks are made using recycled ocean plastic waste and sold at-cost by PADI to help raise awareness for ocean pollution. Vellabox Candles aren’t just perfect for housewarming gifts, they’re also a hit around the holidays.  Vellabox  offers a gift that keeps on giving with monthly subscription boxes delivering artisan candles made from natural materials, with options for one-month, six-month or twelve-month packages. The candles contain lead-free wicks, use phthalate-free fragrance oils and are made using sustainable 100%  soy , coconut or vegetable waxes. Images via Hanna Andersson, Lola & Mawu, Nebia, Coyuchi, GALERIE.LA, Golde, Foodcycler, Totally Bamboo, ChopValue, Pexels, PADI and Vellabox

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Eco-friendly holiday gifts your partner will love

December 14, 2020 by  
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If you’re a fan of Inhabitat, chances are your partner supports sustainable living as well! If not, what better time than the holidays to introduce your special someone to one or two of this year’s best eco-friendly products? Use our 2020 guide to the best holiday  gifts  for partners. Kimaï Jewelry Celebrating a special anniversary or ready to pop the question this holiday season?  Kimaï Jewelry  offers the perfect solution to unethically sourced minerals with its lab-grown diamonds and 18K recycled gold. Kimai diamonds are completely physically and chemically identical to the ones that come from the mining industry, making them a win for affordability and better treatment of the planet. Related: Where to find eco-friendly engagement and wedding rings Comfy, sustainable underwear Perhaps the best part of buying sustainable underwear? Those eco-friendly fabrics, like organic cotton , are always extra comfortable. Support companies like  TomboyX , which sources its material from OEKO-TEX 100 certified cotton (free from harsh or environmentally harmful chemicals) and provides inclusive sizes from XS-4X by fit-testing on all body types. Another one of our favorites is  Boodywear , made from organic, toxin-free bamboo plants. Bedding Snuggle up to your sweetie in bedding made of soft, sustainable material . Many of us are familiar with the popular  Avocado  organic bedding and eucalyptus sheets from  Buffy , but there are also plenty of lesser-known companies.  SOL Organics , for example, takes an ethical approach to its bedding, which is organic, fair trade-certified and tested for harmful substances. Eco-friendly eyewear An important accessory many of us use every day, eyewear doesn’t have to be made from unsustainable materials.  Bôhten Eyewear  makes lightweight handmade frames that are sourced from sustainable materials in Africa like Zebrawood, Walnut, Ebony and Maple wood carbon fiber veneer. The company even makes blue light filtering lenses that protect your eyes from harmful blue light exposure. You can also check out 100% biodegradable sunglasses from  Pela Vision . Proud Pour Wines In September, Inhabitat  reviewed  a wine company that uses a portion of its proceeds to benefit 22 different environmental nonprofits that do everything from protecting bees and wild oysters to sea turtle and coral reef  conservation . As the holidays approach,  Proud Pour Wines  should definitely stay on your radar. Bring a bottle or two to family dinner or gift your partner a starter pack, which includes three different bottles of wine supporting reefs (Rosé), oysters (Sauvignon Blanc) and bees (Pinot Noir). After you make a purchase, the company buys carbon offsets for your shipment. Loungewear A lesson in  sustainable fashion , Canadian-based  Kotn  uses direct trade to source raw ingredients straight from farmers (without the use of middlemen) to provide customers with fair prices that reflect quality and provide farmers with better prices and ethical business practices. The loungewear is made from authentic Egyptian Giza cotton, and proceeds help fund quality children’s education in the farming communities where the company sources its material. Sneakers For footwear lovers, there’s been no shortage of fun sneakers made from sustainable materials in 2020.  Allbirds , shoes made from eucalyptus wood pulp and Merino Wool are always a popular option, but you can also find amazing vegan footwear options at  Cariuma  or even fashion shoes made from  upcycled algae . Hobby classes Give the gift of knowledge with a subscription to unlimited online hobby classes by  Brit+Co  for just $10, or opt for more traditional educational courses from  Coursera  (where some classes can even be exchanged for college course credit). Masterclass ($15 a month billed annually) is also a fun idea, with online classes taught by some of the greatest minds in everything from arts and entertainment to cooking and sports. Book a staycation Choose a gift that benefits both of you by booking a staycation through Airbnb or Glampinghub. With coronavirus likely restricting travel well into 2021, opting for a vacation close to home is the way to go this year. Even better, an outdoor  camping  trip offers a great way to disconnect from the rest of the world while enjoying nature and staying safely socially distanced. Ethical cashmere sweater Cashmere is a natural fabric , made from a type of goat that produces fine, soft wool that is usually shorn off about twice a year. Unfortunately, cashmere goats are often mistreated due to the high value of the fiber, and an uptick in production has created grazing pressure leading to the degradation of native grasslands, so seeking out a company that produces sustainable and ethical cashmere is important. Naadam sources directly from Mongolian herders while investing in veterinary care for the goats, and Kering has partnered with the Wildlife Conservation Society to help educate herders on more sustainable approaches. Healthy cookbook Whether your partner is vegan , vegetarian or just likes to eat healthy, there’s a cookbook for it in 2020! Plus, cooking together is one of the best parts of the holidays and an even better idea for date nights. Vegan chef Marina Delio wrote a book called Vegan In An Instant  full of over 100 plant based recipes for your slow cooker (for those busy post-holiday evenings), and Dan Buettner has gathered recipes from Blue Zones to bring us The Blue Zones Kitchen: 100 Recipes to Live to 100 . Images via Amazon, Avocado, Bôhten Eyewear, Katherine Gallagher / Inhabitat, Kimaï, Kotn, Naadam, Pixabay, Proud Pour and TomboyX

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Pucker Up! Gift DIY Cocoa Lip Balm This Holiday Season

December 4, 2020 by  
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As the holidays approach, we are always thinking about gifts … The post Pucker Up! Gift DIY Cocoa Lip Balm This Holiday Season appeared first on Earth 911.

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10 eco-friendly holiday gift ideas for friends

November 27, 2020 by  
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Too often, the giving season feels like a mad rush to check tasks off a list. It’s all too easy (and embarrassing) to wind up giving our friends and family junk gifts that we regret buying. Our  shopping  guide makes it simple to find sustainably made, easy-to-purchase presents that you can feel good about giving over the holidays. Spent grain pancakes Everybody has to eat, and anybody sane likes a good pancake. This  spent grain mix  is low carb, high  protein , contains lots of fiber and uses recycled grains. What?! That’s right, these pancakes are called “spent” because the barley flour comes from microbrewery castoffs. You and your pancake gift recipient will feel even better about breakfast knowing that Grain4Grain donates to a food bank every time somebody purchases a box. Related: How to make soy wax candles for a cozy, autumnal home Shoes by Allbirds Buying shoes can be intimate, so this one is for your close friends.  Allbirds , best known for its sneakers, also makes boat shoes, slip-ons and flats. Choose from shoes made from wool — supposedly these New Zealand sheep have a fabulous life — or, for your  vegan bestie, choose shoes made from responsibly sourced eucalyptus fiber. As a carbon-neutral company, Allbirds puts eco-thought into all aspects of business. The laces are made from recycled plastic bottles, the insoles use castor bean oil and even the shipping boxes are made from 90% recycled cardboard. Digital thrift store gift card Some friends are easier to shop for than others. For some particular people, it’s best to let them pick out their own  gifts . Help them shop sustainably with a digital thrift store gift card from Rent the Runway or thredUP. Upcycled clutch from Jungalow Jungalow  specializes in bright colors and bold botanical patterns. The company is the brainchild of  design  blogger Justina Blakeney. Now you can get Jungalow’s super lush upholstery fabrics in a clutch purse. These clutches use upholstery scraps that wound up on the cutting room floor. Your friend can carry it as a small purse, or keep important things organized inside the clutch while tossing it in a larger bag. Darling little tassels adorn the clutch’s zipper. Girlfriend Collective activewear Through  fashion  alchemy,  Girlfriend Collective  turns old fishing nets, plastic bottles and other trash into chic leggings, bras, socks, sweatsuits and shorts. The company has already sidetracked about 4.5 million plastic water bottles bound for a dubious fate. You can find clothing for all sizes, and even a maternity section on their website. Homemade sugar scrub For a low-cost yet personal gift with a sweet scent, make your friend a sugar scrub. All you need is  sugar , coconut oil (or similar) and a few drops of essential oil. Use the essential oil straight out of the bottle, or make a special blend for your friend. Scoop the scrub into a mason jar, tie a bow around it, and it’s ready to gift. Full details on making sugar scrubs are available at  The Simple Veganista . Malala Scrunchie With a  Malala scrunchi , your friend can secure her hair while simultaneously promoting  education  for girls. When you buy these hair holders, the money goes to the Malala Fund, named for the brave and beloved Pakistani heroine and kick-ass activist Malala Yousufzai. The scrunchies are made from sustainably sourced bamboo fabric and dyed with natural plant dyes, like turmeric for yellow, indigo for blue and madder root for pink. We like the pumpkin color for fall and winter. Cruelty-free, 10-free nail polish from Pear Nova Ten what? Bad ingredients: toluene, formaldehyde, formaldehyde resin, DBP, xylene, parabens, camphor, fragrances, phthalates or animal ingredients. Not sure what all those ingredients are? The bottom line is you probably don’t want them on your nails.  Pear Nova  products are 10-free, designed in  Chicago  and look much more stylish than your average drugstore nail polish. The inventive colors have fun names, such as Cleo F*ckin Patra, Rub My Temples, It’s Summer Somewhere and Rooftop ‘Til You Drop. Wine barrel Apple Watch strap In another clever example of  upcycling ,  Uncommon Goods  offers an upgrade for your Apple Watch strap. Your oenophile friend will feel good knowing that her new watch strap was once a French oak wine barrel. These straps are made in Austria and compatible with Apple Watch Series 5, 4 and 3. Eco travel kit In this pandemic  holiday  season, everybody wants things to go back to normal ASAP. Give the gift of optimism with this  eco travel kit . Your friend will smell delightful with naturally flavored lip balm, deodorant, moisturizer and perfume in grapefruit, bergamot and rose scents. She’ll nap beneath a silky eye mask and wake to note her thoughts in an artisan-crafted kite notebook. The kits come in a vegan leather case and also include earplugs, q-tips, hair ties, disposable face masks and Emergen-Cs. You can upgrade and personalize the Aria Kit with extra add-ons. Images via Grain4Grain , Katherine Gallagher / Inhabitat, thredUP , Jungalow , Girlfriend , Pixabay, HARA , Pear Nova , Uncommon Goods , and Aria Kit

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10 eco-friendly holiday gift ideas for friends

Prime Roots offers ready-made, plant-based holiday meals

November 17, 2020 by  
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The pandemic is obviously creating many downsides for Thanksgiving this year. But one overlooked upside is that it will be much easier to eat what you really want to for the holidays without judgment. If you’re vegetarian, vegan or just cutting back on animal products, this is the perfect year to experiment with vegan meats without any hassle from the family. Plant-based meat producer Prime Roots is offering some special choices. If you’re craving plant-based versions of traditional foods like garlicky mashed potatoes or balsamic and bacon Brussels sprouts, Prime Roots will send them to you all cooked and ready to reheat. The Prime Roots Turkey Special even has something most vegan turkeys lack: legs. Yep, Prime Roots has fashioned little legs onto your mock bird so it looks much like its traditional meaty cousins. Related: 7 tips for a sustainable Thanksgiving celebration The secret to all Prime Roots’ flavor is koji, a substance sometimes called Japan’s national mold . Even if you’ve never heard of it, you’ve almost surely consumed some. The mold is added to cooked grains like barley or rice, then paired with a second product to become substances such as soy sauce, miso or sake. The result is a satisfying umami flavor. If you’re having a holiday away from your most carnivorous family members, this is the best year to try this. Remember when they were skeptical about that tofu dish you brought to the family party? You really don’t want to explain koji. Although this turkey does look and sound delicious enough to tempt meat-eaters, too. The folks at Prime Roots have a lot of goals, including making the food system more equitable and inclusive, educating people about decreasing their meat consumption and manufacturing nutritious, protein-filled products without the greenhouse gas emissions or cholesterol of real meat . “At Prime Roots, we make meals that matter for our planet, and for our connection to each other and food ,” co-founder Kimberlie Le says on the Prime Roots website. “I hope that one day we’ll be able to feed millions if not billions of people our delicious and sustainable foods. We’ll know that we are successful when every person on the planet has access to clean water and delicious and nutritious foods.” Check out the Prime Roots website for the new, seasonal meals, side dishes and limited-time holiday specials. + Prime Roots Images via Prime Roots

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Prime Roots offers ready-made, plant-based holiday meals

Brussels train station transformed into wooden shopping and event center

November 17, 2020 by  
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The Gare Maritime railway station in Brussels has seen a huge transformation. The building, formerly one of Europe’s largest railway stations for goods, has been renovated into a new city district shopping and event development made of cross-laminated timber. Reimagined as a multi-purpose public space for companies and events, the building is covered entirely in  wood  and highlights sustainable architectural practices such as solar energy and rainwater collection systems. According to the architects at Neutelings Riedijk, the structure is the largest  cross-laminated timber  project in Europe. Architects added a series of 12 new building volumes to accommodate a new program of 45,000 square meters. Along with the existing halls, roofs and side aisles, the new design creates a structure that mimics a small city with streets and parks. Related: Sweden’s tallest timber building could save 550 tons of CO2 The choice of wood came down to sustainability and weight, as a concrete construction would have been five times heavier. Cross-laminated timber with a facade finishing in oak offered the perfect solution to create a prefabricated and dry construction method with shorter building time. As a result, the design features demountable connections and modular wooden building elements to promote sustainability. The central space is reserved for public events and contains a green walking boulevard on both sides. Routes measure 16 meters wide, giving pedestrians plenty of room to enjoy the spacious inner garden complete with a hundred trees. Overall, the space includes a total of 10 gardens based on four themes: woodland, flowers, grass and fragrance. As Brussels enjoys a Mediterranean climate, designers chose plants that adapt to the specific growing conditions. The Gare Maritime also remains completely energy neutral and fossil-free thanks to glass facades and solar cells, with a total area of 17,000 square meters of roof space dedicated to  solar panels . The building uses geothermal energy and a rainwater collection system to water the massive gardens. + Neutelings Riedijk Architects Via ArchDaily Photo: Filip Dujardin/Sarah Blee/Tim Fisher | © Neutelings Riedijk Architects

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Brussels train station transformed into wooden shopping and event center

Brussels train station transformed into wooden shopping and event center

November 17, 2020 by  
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The Gare Maritime railway station in Brussels has seen a huge transformation. The building, formerly one of Europe’s largest railway stations for goods, has been renovated into a new city district shopping and event development made of cross-laminated timber. Reimagined as a multi-purpose public space for companies and events, the building is covered entirely in  wood  and highlights sustainable architectural practices such as solar energy and rainwater collection systems. According to the architects at Neutelings Riedijk, the structure is the largest  cross-laminated timber  project in Europe. Architects added a series of 12 new building volumes to accommodate a new program of 45,000 square meters. Along with the existing halls, roofs and side aisles, the new design creates a structure that mimics a small city with streets and parks. Related: Sweden’s tallest timber building could save 550 tons of CO2 The choice of wood came down to sustainability and weight, as a concrete construction would have been five times heavier. Cross-laminated timber with a facade finishing in oak offered the perfect solution to create a prefabricated and dry construction method with shorter building time. As a result, the design features demountable connections and modular wooden building elements to promote sustainability. The central space is reserved for public events and contains a green walking boulevard on both sides. Routes measure 16 meters wide, giving pedestrians plenty of room to enjoy the spacious inner garden complete with a hundred trees. Overall, the space includes a total of 10 gardens based on four themes: woodland, flowers, grass and fragrance. As Brussels enjoys a Mediterranean climate, designers chose plants that adapt to the specific growing conditions. The Gare Maritime also remains completely energy neutral and fossil-free thanks to glass facades and solar cells, with a total area of 17,000 square meters of roof space dedicated to  solar panels . The building uses geothermal energy and a rainwater collection system to water the massive gardens. + Neutelings Riedijk Architects Via ArchDaily Photo: Filip Dujardin/Sarah Blee/Tim Fisher | © Neutelings Riedijk Architects

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Brussels train station transformed into wooden shopping and event center

Bring the garden indoors with these eerie Halloween plants

October 30, 2020 by  
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October brings falling leaves, pumpkin spice and that devilish holiday that inspires all of us to turn our cozy abode into a haunted house. In addition to creepy treats, ghostly images and spooky decor, living plants are the perfect Halloween accent to celebrate both the holiday and the planet. Our friends at  Plants.com  conjured up some witchy good examples of indoor plants that will live long after the season has passed, all with no plastic, no waste, and a literal breath of fresh air.  Devil’s Ivy Any good Halloween event includes a touch of evil, making Devil’s Ivy the perfect match for the holiday. This plant earned its King of Hell status for its ability to live through any type of treatment, including lack of light and inconsistent watering . Even in less than ideal growing conditions, Devil’s Ivy stays green year-round, with the leaves forming a zigzag spine that will be the talk of the party. Related: Simple, sustainable DIY Halloween decor Polly (Alocasia) While other plants lurk in the shadows, Polly enjoys copious amounts of light and thrives on high humidity, such as that provided in the bathroom, kitchen or sunroom. During the Halloween season, use Polly as table decor, where the striking white veins running through the shield-shaped leaves create an eerie addition to the  decor . Black Echeveria The color black is ubiquitous during Halloween, making Black Echeveria a welcome addition to your spooky interior design. With nearly black leaves, the plant couples well with pumpkins or gourds for a festive touch. Or place it near a witch’s cauldron and broomstick on the  food  table as an accent for the scene. When the holiday passes, keep your Black Echeveria happy in a brightly lit area and enjoy its low-water needs. Painted Leaf Begonia The Painted-Leaf Begonia offers fabulous fall shades of green, red, silver and purple and makes the ideal accent to your orange and black decorations. Plus, the eye-catching texture sparks conversation long after All-Hallows Eve . Orange Fall Mum Bringing out  nature’s floral display  is easy with the intrinsically Halloween-colored Orange Fall Mum. The best part? These long-lasting blooms may stick around for the next holiday, to which the color theme still applies. Mums are forgiving enough to act as fireplace mantle or front porch decor and ask little in return for their colorful display. These options are just a sample of live decor that can brighten up your holiday . They add a naturally spooky vibe that makes an equally great hostess or guest gift for events now or in the future. For more information, visit www.plants.com. + Plants.com Images via Plants.com and Pexels

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Bring the garden indoors with these eerie Halloween plants

Maven Moment: A Greener St. Patrick’s Day

March 11, 2020 by  
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No one enjoyed celebrating the holidays more than my aunt … The post Maven Moment: A Greener St. Patrick’s Day appeared first on Earth911.com.

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