Find Bliss in this natural, cruelty-free and affordable skincare

September 16, 2019 by  
Filed under Eco, Green, Recycle

As self care continues to rise in popularity and importance, it is increasingly easy to get your hands on high-quality skincare . But the kicker is finding products that work without breaking the bank or relying on nasty chemicals and fillers. Bliss, a long-standing skincare and spa company, has been making natural, cruelty-free offerings for years, so we decided to test out some of its top sellers to find just how well these budget-friendly, natural skincare products work. We received six items: That’s Incredi-peel (glycolic resurfacing pads); Eye Got This (foil eye masks); Eye Do All Things (hydrating eye gel); Drench & Quench (cream-to-water hydrator); Ex-Glow-Sion (super-rich moisturizer); and Lemon & Sage Body Butter. Inhabitat editors Gaby, who has combination skin that can get oily throughout the day, and Paige, whose skin is drier than the Sahara Desert, tested and evaluated each item for packaging , ingredients, effectiveness and cost. Related: Lather is the PETA-approved skincare that reminds us all to slow down That’s Incredi-Peel First, we tested the resurfacing pads , which promise to “smooth and brighten” skin after swiping the pad across your face. This treatment works best before bed, as it does leave a sort of filmy feel on the face as the product works to improve the texture of skin. Overall, the product didn’t burn or cause any redness, even on sensitive, dry skin. The box, which retails for $22, contains 15 single-use pads that are meant to be used nightly; for a month’s worth of this product, you’d be spending about $44. We enjoyed how That’s Incredi-peel initially felt on our skin and how soft it left our faces in the morning, but we aren’t in love with the disposable nature of the pads. Each single-use wipe is wrapped in foil, also single-use , which comes in a recyclable box. Eye Do All Things Eye Do All Things was quite the eye-opener (pun intended). This eye gel is applied with a metal roller ball that you swipe along the soft, delicate under eye area. This creates a cooling sensation that softened our dark circles and truthfully just helped wake us up each morning. Although Bliss recommends this for day or night use, we preferred it as a morning wake-up call. Again, we are coming across a plastic tube that isn’t reusable, although it could be recycled through a program like TerraCycle . The tube costs $22, and we imagine it lasts well over a month with daily use, because just the smallest amount is needed for each eye. Eye Got This Perhaps because we are all just running on fumes and walking around exhausted, we tested yet another under eye treatment: eye masks. Eye Got This is a box of five iridescent, star-patterned eye masks that is priced at $15, or $3 per mask. These eye masks were the ultimate definition of a guilty pleasure — we loved how refreshing and relaxing they felt, but we were saddened by the disposability after 15 minutes of pure joy. The single-use items include two small masks, one for each eye, in a packet — all of which goes straight to the trash can after use. The cardboard exterior packaging is recyclable. Drench & Quench This cream-to-water hydrator is a shocking blue gel that you massage into your face day or night for a boost of moisture. The product moisturizes without leaving skin oily and seeps into the skin quickly, but the added fragrance in the product did cause some redness and tingling on extra-dry and sensitive skin. Some of the more impressive ingredients include vitamin C, chamomile, purified micro algae and passion fruit seed oil. A 1.7 ounce jar, which will last several weeks with twice-a-day use, is sold for $20. The plastic jar can be recycled, or you could repurpose it to hold DIY skincare concoctions, earrings or other random trinkets. Ex-Glow-Tion We loved Ex-Glow-Tion , a deeply hydrating and thick moisturizer free of nasty chemicals. There’s no added fragrance here, plus the added shea butter and cucumber and pear extracts keep skin from drying out or flaking. Just a small amount is needed for a huge boost of moisture. For dry skin, this cream works well day and night. For normal to combination skin, we would recommend this as a night cream as it is a heavier lotion. Like the Drench & Quench, a 1.7 ounce jar sells for $20, and the plastic jar can be reused or recycled. Lemon & Sage Body Butter For full-body moisture in a refreshing, summery scent, the Lemon & Sage Body Butter is a good option for a lightweight lotion. The smell is delightful without being overpowering, and the lotion itself is very effective in moisturizing hands, elbows, legs — you name it. We didn’t experience any burning or irritation after use, but do recommend reapplying the lotion if you have drier skin. The 6.7 ounce tube, only $12, will last for months. If you really love the stuff, Bliss also sells a massive 32 ounce container for $60. The tube and the larger container can be recycled , although they may require a specialized recycling program. Our thoughts on the ingredients There are so many ingredients in Bliss products to love, such as added vitamins, plant-based oils and extracts, minerals and more. In fact, Bliss even offers an entire ingredients glossary on its website to list the ingredients it uses in all of its products. Every product is free from parabens, phthalates, sulfates and more, and of course, we love that all of Bliss’ skincare items are cruelty-free. Our only ingredient complaint is added fragrance, which can irritate sensitive skin, but this isn’t an issue for everyone. So, should you buy Bliss natural skincare? With plant-based ingredients and cruelty-free products, Bliss natural skincare is impressive, especially when you consider its affordability and accessibility at many major retailers. If you have sensitive skin, we recommend checking ingredients of specific products to avoid fragrance, but most of the items really rejuvenated our skin and worked even on completely opposite skin types. We also prefer the items that came in recyclable and reusable packaging, like the jars of moisturizer, over the single-use products. All-in-all, Bliss is a natural, vegan and cruelty-free skincare you and your skin can feel good about. + Bliss Images via Inhabitat Editor’s Note: This product review is not sponsored by Bliss. All opinions on the products and company are the author’s own.

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Find Bliss in this natural, cruelty-free and affordable skincare

The environmental cost of the pumpkin spice latte

September 13, 2019 by  
Filed under Business, Eco, Green

With fall around the corner, the pumpkin spice latte (PSL) has already taken over Starbucks menus across the country, and it’s likely that the crisp mornings will send you straight for the drive-thru. But before you prove your loyalty to the iconic, autumnal beverage, consider the effects your morning brew might have on the environment and your health, from the ingredients to the drive-thru to the disposable cups. The ingredients can be bad for the Earth and our health The recipe varies from one place to another, but it’s worth asking the question, “What is in that pumpkin spice latte, anyway?” Most contain a combination of traditional fall spices, steamed milk, espresso, often sugar and sometimes some pumpkin puree, topped with whipped cream and pumpkin pie spice. While that might sound wholesome, researchers have found things like sulfites, potassium sorbate and annatto, which have been linked to breathing conditions, damage to genetic material and effects on blood pressure. Even when Starbucks announced its intention to switch to real pumpkin instead of a mixture of artificial flavors, other ingredients might also be problematic, such as commercially produced milk and non-organic pumpkin that contributes antibiotics, pesticides , insecticides and herbicides to our diets and ecosystems. Organic is a better option, and some groups have pressured Starbucks to make the change to no avail. Related: The problem with coffee pods and the eco-friendly alternatives to use instead You should also know the concoction is barely even coffee, with a very low amount of caffeine. While it’s difficult to know exactly what’s mixed into your cup, before you indulge, do your own research about what you’re ordering. Note that a 16-ounce cup, or “grande,” with 2 percent milk and whipped cream serves up 380 calories , 14 grams of fat, 52 grams of carbs and 50 grams of sugar. PSL impacts our planet in many ways Cultivating the ingredients for your cup of seasonal Joe is rough on the planet. Consider the impact to the Amazon alone, where 2.5 million acres have been cleared in favor of coffee plantations over the past few decades. Sure, your single PSL isn’t to blame, but the cultural and habitual elements of the daily coffee run are; not to mention the whipped cream topping and the ever-growing awareness of the effect cattle has on the planet. Animal agriculture is one of our planet’s largest contributors to air quality issues, making that frothy topping and milky foundation anything but a treat. Then, there is the fact that coffee is a water-intensive crop, with Mother Nature Network reporting that it takes about 37 gallons of water to grow and process the coffee beans to make one cup of coffee . Take into account the process of making a cup of PSL and washing dishes afterward, too. Humans are responsible for polluting our waterways , which comes as no surprise after many years of headlines regarding landfills, lawn fertilizer runoff and microbeads. What you might not realize is something as simple as a cup of PSL can result in water pollution. While it might not be as toxic as Roundup , a group called Sound Citizen has monitored the waterways around the Pacific Northwest for the past decade and reported finding higher amounts of cinnamon and pumpkin spice throughout the fall season. PSLs leave a trail of waste Following the damage that the ingredients of the PSL have on the planet is the waste left behind. To perform at the level we expect, manufacturers coat the disposable paper cups in plastic, for which the planet does not thank us. Even when the paper manages to break down naturally, the residual plastic is left to sit in the soil and eventually the waterways. Add to that the plastic lids and straws (unless of course, you have your own ), and you’ve contributed plentiful carbon emissions and landfill waste in a single sip. The larger point to this is that everything we produce and consume has an effect on the water and earth, from the pumpkin and coffee remnants tossed at the cafe to the garbage full of drippy, plastic-lined cups to the waste we release in our urine. How to enjoy an eco-friendly PSL You might not be able to pass up the PSL 100 percent of the time, and we’re not saying you should, but awareness is a huge part of the battle. There are several things you can do to lessen the burden on the planet. Firstly, bring your own refillable cup and skip the single-use option. At the very least, avoid the lid and straw. Secondly, skip the whipped cream and opt for soy or almond milk options. Finally, avoid idling in the drive-thru. Organize coffee stop carpools at the office, walk to your morning spot or at least turn off the engine while you wait. Related: The homesteader’s guide to a perfect pumpkin spice latte Another alternative option is to make your own PSL at home. Enjoy the warmth and endearing scent emanating from your mug with ingredients sourced locally. Plus, using your own recipe means you know what went into it, like organic milk and pumpkin. If you’re not sold on making your own concoction, seek out local coffee shops that offer organic and natural ingredients. Cheers! Via Care2 , Society 19 , Earth Day , Independent , Mother Nature Network and Atlas Obscura Images via Pexels , Mimzy , Robert Couse-Baker , Daniel Spils and Jill Wellington

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The environmental cost of the pumpkin spice latte

LEED Platinum CoLab Building brings first-ever CLT structure to Virginia

September 13, 2019 by  
Filed under Eco, Green, Recycle

Earlier this summer, William McDonough + Partners and HITT Contracting officially opened Co|Lab, an innovative research space in Falls Church that has received LEED Platinum certification for its high-performance design. It is also the first cross-laminated timber structure in Virginia and the first commercial mass timber building in the Washington, D.C. metro area. As a beacon for sustainable design, the impressive building incorporates a wide swath of green features — such as Cradle-to-Cradle materials and roof-mounted photovoltaic panels — and is expected to achieve Zero Energy Certification. Located close to HITT’s headquarters in northern Virginia, the 8,650-square-foot Co|Lab serves as a research and testing center for emerging materials and technology . In addition to a double-height lab workspace that offers room for full-scale spatial and building “mockups,” the building includes flexible meeting and conference spaces, all of which are oriented for maximum access to natural light. The layout is organized around the workspace to encourage engagement between clients and team members through direct observation and hands-on interaction. Related: Interview with green architect and Cradle-to-Cradle founder William McDonough Per William McDonough + Partner’s commitment to circular economy principles, Co|Lab is constructed with high-value mass timber elements that can be disassembled and reused or recycled if needed. The use of mass timber also reduces the building’s carbon footprint and aids occupant well-being. Cradle-to-Cradle, Health Product Declaration, Forest Stewardship Council and Declare products were also used to promote human and environmental health. All of Co|Lab’s energy consumption will be offset by a rooftop solar array to ensure zero-energy consumption. “We designed HITT’s Co|Lab based on our concept of building like a tree,” said McDonough. “Instead of just talking about minimal environmental footprint, we talk about beneficial environmental footprint — not just minimizing negative emissions — we talk about optimizing positive emissions.” The building will also pursue Petal Certification from the International Living Future Institute. + William McDonough + Partners Photography by John Cole Photography via William McDonough + Partners

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LEED Platinum CoLab Building brings first-ever CLT structure to Virginia

Designer creates algae-sourced alternative for plastic packaging

February 27, 2019 by  
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Food packaging has a become a target in the world of sustainability and environmentalism. Walk down the aisle of any supermarket or look in your own shopping cart, and you’re likely to see package after package made from petroleum-based plastic. A few resourceful scientists and engineers have chosen to tackle the problem, including designer Margarita Talep, who has developed an algae-based alternative to plastic. With the short lifecycle of most packaging, Talep wanted to create a material that would stand up to the task of holding food and other products but break down quickly once it hit the waste stream. Related: Nuatan is the bioplastic that could answer the plastic pollution crisis Agar, a gel-like substance sourced from seaweed, is not new to the food world, as it is commonly used as a food thickener. With that understanding, Talep heats the agar to create a polymer and then adds water as a plasticizer and natural dyes for color. To achieve the goal of all-natural ingredients, natural dyes are sourced from fruits and vegetables such as beets, carrots, blueberries and purple cabbage. After the mixture of agar and other ingredients is heated, it is cooled, a process that transforms it into a gel. At this point, the mixture is turned into thin plastic or poured into molds to cool. By adjusting the ingredients, Talep has created a firm material that will mold into shapes, such as the trays that a package of donuts sit in. The technique is versatile enough that it can also create a replacement for plastic bags, like those pasta is sold in. With the overarching goal of replacing single-use , disposable packaging, the algae packaging breaks down naturally within two to three months during warm summer months, depending on the thickness of the material. In the colder winter months, the material still breaks down, but requires a few extra weeks. + Margarita Talep Images via Margarita Talep

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Designer creates algae-sourced alternative for plastic packaging

How to host a zero-waste Thanksgiving dinner

November 19, 2018 by  
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Hosting a Thanksgiving dinner for friends and family can be an overwhelming task. When you are providing a meal for a group of people, it is tempting to opt for things like pre-cut fruits and veggies, snack portions of cheese, store-bought pie and other modern conveniences to make it easier to get through the day. However, using these items can come at a price. When you buy things that are packaged in single-use plastic, it wreaks havoc on the environment. This year, instead of just focusing on eating all of the delicious food during the celebration, focus on the preparation, and commit to a zero-waste Thanksgiving. Here is how to do it. Choose recipes and menu items wisely A zero-waste Thanksgiving always starts with your grocery list, so when you are planning your Thanksgiving dinner, go through your recipes and choose menu items that will use up whole veggies and full containers of things like broth, cream or soup. For example, if you have a recipe that uses half of an onion, find another recipe that will use the other half. If you are using recipes that have special ingredients that you don’t use often, like buttermilk or fresh herbs, have a plan to use up all of these ingredients. If you aren’t going to use them entirely for Thanksgiving, do some research on how to store the items for the long-term, like freezing, or find some post-holiday recipes where you can use the remainder of the ingredients instead of throwing them away. Shop local Opting for the local farmer’s market to purchase your ingredients instead of a supermarket will get you off to a good start for a zero-waste Thanksgiving. Food at farmer’s markets is often unpackaged, and it is usually organic , meaning you can steer clear of harmful pesticide residue. If you do not have access to a local farmer’s market, choose a grocery store that sells unpackaged produce. Avoid buying anything that is already prepared. Whether you visit the market or the grocery, don’t forget your reusable produce and shopping bags to keep every step of your Thanksgiving feast free from waste. Cook from scratch When you are deciding on a menu, make sure to plan ahead to cook everything from scratch. If you have a small kitchen or don’t feel like you are going to have the time to cook everything on the menu, don’t be afraid to ask your friends and family members to each bring a dish. If you do this, get specific about what each person will bring, so you don’t end up with several green bean casseroles. Related: Make your own tasty vegetarian turkey for Thanksgiving with this recipe If you don’t have the patience or time to plan out everything ahead of time, chances are you will end up with leftovers or unused items. If this is the case, throw some cooked turkey, veggies and herbs into some extra broth or stock and freeze the mixture to use later. You can also keep your scraps while you are cooking, and use those trimmings, bones and peelings for homemade stock. Encourage smaller portions It is very easy to load up your plate during Thanksgiving dinner and have food leftover, because you can’t eat it all in one sitting. To stop food from going into the trash, set out smaller plates and serving spoons to encourage smaller portions. You could also supply storage containers (or, better yet, ask guests to bring their own!) that your guests can use to package their leftovers and take home. Be sure to use real plates, utensils, glasses and cookware, and if possible, use cloth napkins. This will greatly reduce your Thanksgiving waste and keep your garbage can from overflowing. Make your own decorations Instead of purchasing Thanksgiving decorations from a store, get crafty and make your own centerpieces and decorations. You can reuse your Halloween pumpkins and other gourds for a beautiful centerpiece, or buy new ones to use as flower vases or candle holders. You can also use tiny pumpkins in place settings. You can cook or compost the pumpkins after the holiday. Be a gracious guest If you are not hosting a Thanksgiving dinner, you can still be a mindful guest. Be prepared with your own reusable containers for leftovers, and avoid bringing dishes in disposable plastic containers or foil. Having a zero-waste Thanksgiving is all about intention. You can’t do everything all of the time, but if you have the mindset to start with one holiday, you can bring those ideas into your everyday life and start to really make a difference. Via Care2 , Mind Body Green and Sustainable America Images via Chinh Le Duc , Ja Ma , Pablo Lancaster Jones , Jess Watters , Priscilla Du Preez and Shutterstock

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How to host a zero-waste Thanksgiving dinner

1960s home remodeled with energy-efficient and non-toxic hempcrete

November 19, 2018 by  
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When homeowner Pam Bosch was looking for ways to remodel her 1960s home in Bellingham, Washington, she was determined to renovate the older home with energy efficient and non toxic materials. Through her research into various potential sustainable materials, she found that hempcrete, a hemp-based render made out of a mixture of hemp, lime and water, would be the best option. Working in collaboration with Matthew Mead from Hempitecture , the now solar-powered Highland Hemp House was reborn and constructed with an insulative hempcrete thermal envelope. When inspired to renovate her home using sustainable , eco-friendly and non-toxic materials, Bosch decided to work with hempcrete, a bioaggregate building material that is derived from the woody core of the industrial hemp stalk. When combined with hydrated lime and water, it solidifies by absorbing carbon dioxide, resulting in a concrete-like material. However, when compared to concrete, hempcrete is a more sustainable and affordable material, which is estimated to absorb about seven pounds of CO2 per cubic foot. Related: The tiny solar-powered hemp home with a green roof To begin the process of remodeling the three-story home , Mead worked with local contractors to create a new framework suited for a hempcrete wall system. Once the home was primed for its new envelope, the next step was to create the hempcrete material by mixing 12,000 pounds of hemp aggregate with 23,000 of lime binder. When mixed at a specific ratio, the material solidifies, creating a concrete-like texture. The material was then cast around the home’s frame, forming a monolithic wall. From a distance, the home’s construction process may look like any other home renovation. However, in working with hempcrete , Pam Bosch’s madeover Highland Hemp House is insulated with a material that is fireproof, breathable, resistant to mold, pests, and regulates moisture. Additionally, the new thermal envelope of the home is estimated to sequester about 15,372 pounds of CO2. + Hempitecture Images via Hempitecture

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1960s home remodeled with energy-efficient and non-toxic hempcrete

Survey Results: Read Labels for Ingredients and Recyclability Info?

September 19, 2018 by  
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Thanks to those of you who responded to last week’s … The post Survey Results: Read Labels for Ingredients and Recyclability Info? appeared first on Earth911.com.

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Survey Results: Read Labels for Ingredients and Recyclability Info?

10 Easy and Delicious Vegan Recipes for Your Slow Cooker

November 13, 2016 by  
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A busy daily schedule doesn’t have to mean sacrificing a balanced diet or flavor. With a slow cooker , you can toss in your ingredients, set the timer, and come back hours later to a hot and healthy meal. Here are 10 delicious vegan recipes that will be sure to please your palate and fill your belly.    

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10 Easy and Delicious Vegan Recipes for Your Slow Cooker

RECIPE: Decadent Vegan Chocolate Cake (That’s Actually Full of Vegetables!)

November 9, 2014 by  
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Finding a knockout vegan chocolate cake recipe that’s going to appeal to all comers is one thing, but a recipe that also packs in a serve of veggies and extra protein is on a whole other level again. This incredible chocolate cake gets its moistness and some of its sweetness from roasted beetroot, and its protein content is boosted by the addition of pureed black beans into the mix and a tofu-based frosting. The recipe can be adapted to suit a gluten-free diet too. While the ingredients may be unconventional, this cake has the same moist, fluffy texture as regular mixes, so kids and suspicious adults will be none the wiser. With so much healthy goodness baked into one cake, it would be bad for you not to eat it, right? Click through for the recipe and step-by-step instructions. READ MORE > Permalink | Add to del.icio.us | digg Post tags: baking , beetroot , black beans , cake , chocolate , chocolate cake , chocolate cake with vegetables , dessert , Inhabitots , recipe , vegan , vegan cooking , vegan recipes , vegetarian

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RECIPE: Decadent Vegan Chocolate Cake (That’s Actually Full of Vegetables!)

Finally: A 100% Natural Alternative to Sickening Tree-Shaped Air Fresheners

August 20, 2014 by  
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Any car owner knows that the inside of a vehicle can get really “aromatic” over time, especially if pets and kids are regular passengers. Fortunately, a group of young entrepreneurs has a solution to this problem: a sustainable charcoal filter they’ve named Purggo. Charcoal is used around the world to remove noxious particles from both the water and the air, and now it can be harnessed to spruce up your car as well. With a German-engineered and patent-pending design, Purggo adsorbs and eliminates odor, is fragrance- and allergen-free, and lasts more than 365 days in the car. Read the rest of Finally: A 100% Natural Alternative to Sickening Tree-Shaped Air Fresheners Permalink | Add to del.icio.us | digg Post tags:

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Finally: A 100% Natural Alternative to Sickening Tree-Shaped Air Fresheners

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