Small cruise line treats the whole world as one ocean

July 26, 2019 by  
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Cruising between ports in Canada’s Maritime Provinces, the passengers and crew gather in a bar for the fundraising auction. The crew members take turns playing auctioneer, spinning wildly exaggerated tales of the attributes of lighthouse-shaped magnets, a maple syrup cookbook and a bottle of whiskey. Passengers get into a bidding war over a maple leaf mug, with a winning price of $60. The One Ocean Expeditions’ flag that’s been flying on the ship goes for over $200. It’s a silly and fun event that raises almost $1,200 for the cruise line’s favorite ocean-related charities, including the Royal Canadian Geographical Society, Scott Polar Research Institute and the penguin-tracking Oceanites. Over the past eight years, One Ocean’s passengers have contributed nearly half a million dollars toward conservation groups. This is just one way that the small, British Columbia-headquartered company balances business with social and environmental responsibility. As stated in One Ocean Expeditions’ philosophy on its website, “We view the world as one large ocean containing a series of large islands. So, it stands to reason that our actions in one part of the ocean will trickle down and have an effect in another part.” The company strives to give guests a fun and memorable travel experience while being a model of ecological sensitivity. Respectful port visits One Ocean Expeditions gives a lot of thought to partnering with its destinations, whether visiting wilderness or developed communities. Since the company began with polar expeditions, biosecurity has always been extremely important. To be sure that passengers aren’t bringing seeds and other contaminants ashore, guests must check their zippers and Velcro for debris and scrape out the treads of their shoes. Passengers line up to vacuum backpack pockets and closures on jackets. Everyone must also dip the soles of their shoes in a special chemical bath before visiting certain ports. Related: Meet Maya Ka’an — Mexico’s newest ecotourism destination On the Fins and Fiddles cruise of eastern Canada , the only stop that requires biosecurity measures is Sable Island. This long, narrow island southeast of Nova Scotia is famous for its wild horses and enormous gray seal colony. Bird life is also abundant. Ipswich sparrows nest here, and roseate terns will let you know you’re getting too close to their quarters by dive-bombing your head. “In Canada, Sable Island is really special to a lot of people,” Alannah Phillips, park manager of Sable Island National Park Reserve , told Inhabitat. “It has kind of a magic and mystery to it that people want to make sure it’s protected.” Only about 450 people per year manage to visit this remote island. Visiting requires special permits, and nobody but Parks Canada staff and a few qualified researchers are allowed to spend the night ashore. One Ocean Expeditions is one of the few small cruise lines to obtain a permit. The boot wash is the most important part of biosecurity, Phillips said, because the chemicals kill diseases that could be transported from horse farms. “You get a lot of horse people who want to go to Sable Island.” This is one of the most as-is beaches people will ever see. Seal skulls, shark vertebrae, plastics — all sorts of things litter the beach. What looks like kelp turns out to be long, unraveled seal intestines. “It’s an amazing platform to teach people,” Phillips said. “Even though it’s 175 kilometers from the mainland in middle of the Atlantic Ocean, what you drop in the water wherever you are can end up on Sable Island.” Helium balloons, coconuts and sneakers regularly wash up. The most exciting find Phillips remembers was a message in a bottle dropped from a Scottish ocean liner in the 1930s. Other Canadian stops feature low-impact activities, such as biking the Confederation Trail on Prince Edward Island, hiking in Highlands National Park on Cape Breton Island and taking a guided history walk of the ghost town island Ile aux Marins off Saint Pierre and Miquelon. A fleet of kayaks and stand-up paddle boards offer other planet-healthy options. Sustainable cruising One Ocean Expeditions is a tiny cruise line. At the moment, it’s only running one ship, the 146-passenger RCGS Resolute, which burns marine gas oil, a cleaner alternative than the cheaper heavy fuel oil. The ship avoids traveling at full speed, preferring a leisurely pace that reduces emissions while interfering less with the navigation and communication of marine animals. Cabin bathrooms feature fragrant biodegradable soap, shampoo and conditioner in refillable dispensers, made by an ethical producer on Salt Spring Island, Canada. Every guest gets a reusable water bottle. This is convenient, as there’s a water bottle filling station on every deck. Announcements over the loudspeaker remind passengers to bring their water bottles on expeditions, and One Ocean hauls a huge water dispenser ashore in case bottles run dry. Even the on-board gym offers a water dispenser but no cups. If you forget your water bottle, well, consider walking back to your cabin to retrieve it as part of your workout. One Oceans Expeditions has taken the #BePlasticWise pledge and is part of the United Nations Environment Programme’s “Clean Seas” working group, which aims to drastically reduce the consumption of single-use plastic . The cruise line regularly hosts scientists who do on-board research ranging from collecting meteorological data to tagging and tracking migrant whale populations to measuring plastic pollution in sea water. “OOE also takes part annually in the ‘Clean-up Svalbard’ program to protect the fragile ecosystem of the Norwegian Arctic,” according to Victoria Dowdeswell, part of One Ocean’s marketing and business development team. “Here, both staff and guests collect rubbish and assorted debris from fishing vessels, which are carried via the Gulf Stream to Svalbard’s shores each year. OOE know that there is only one ocean and that we all need to work to protect it.” + One Oceans Expeditions Images via Teresa Bergen / Inhabitat

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Small cruise line treats the whole world as one ocean

Recycled plastic art installation asserts that water is a human right in D.C.

July 26, 2019 by  
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In 2010, the United Nations General Assembly recognized access to clean water as a human right. To raise awareness about the “questionable privatizations” and climate change threatening this human right, Spanish design collective Luzinterruptus created ‘Let’s Go Fetch Water!’, a temporary art installation made from recycled plastic. Located on the grounds of the Spanish Embassy and the Mexican Cultural Institute in Washington, D.C., the art installation features an eye-catching waterfall effect created by a series of angled buckets cascading water sourced from a closed-loop system. When designing Let’s Go Fetch Water!, Luzinterruptus wanted to reference the daily toils that many people — mostly women — around the world must go through to fetch water for their family’s basic supply. As a result, buckets that are used to draw and transport water became the main motif for the piece. “These buckets transport this precious liquid from fountains and wells and are even hoisted down to the depths of the Earth in order to get it,” the designers explained. “They later carry them through long perilous trails during grueling journeys, where not even a drop must be spilled.” Related: A glowing river of books creates a traffic-free haven in Ann Arbor To minimize the loss of water, Luzinterruptus used a slow-flowing current and closed-loop system for the waterfall effect. The designers were also adamant about using buckets made from recycled materials rather than take the easy route of purchasing cheap buckets made in China. The buckets were mounted onto a wooden frame, and all of the materials will be recycled after the installation is dismantled in September. The installation is on display from May 16 to September 27 and will be lit up and functional at night as well. “We all know water is scarce,” Luzinterruptus said. “ Climate change is one of the main reasons; however, questionable privatizations are also to be blamed. Governments lacking financial resources give up this resource to private companies in exchange for supply infrastructures. Other governments just sell their aquifers and springs to large food and beverage corporations, which exploit these and everything around dry, leaving local inhabitants in deep crisis. We have enjoyed this particular commission since we have, for a long time, been dealing with issues concerning the recycling of plastic material, and we have experienced firsthand how these companies that sell someone else’s water, and seem to be especially focused on launching awareness campaigns for a responsible use of plastic, only try to deviate attention from this uncomfortable privatization issue.” + Luzinterruptus Photography by David Keith via Luzinterruptus

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Recycled plastic art installation asserts that water is a human right in D.C.

An eco-friendly island resort immerses guests in the wild beauty of northern Norway

July 23, 2019 by  
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On a remote island above the Arctic Circle, Norwegian architecture firm Stinessen Arkitektur has created the Manshausen Island Resort, an eco-friendly getaway with spectacular views that has also been recently expanded with a new extension. Located on the Steigen Archipelago off the coast of northern Norway, the resort comprises a series of contemporary cabins carefully sited and elevated off the ground to minimize site impact while maximizing individual panoramic views. The new addition, which was completed three years after the resort’s opening in June 2015, includes new cabins and a sauna that was constructed from materials leftover from the first stage of construction. Sandwiched between mountains and sea, Manshausen Island features a dramatic landscape and a harsh climate with long winters and temperamental weather conditions. Despite the short building season, remote location and disagreeable weather conditions, the architects succeeded in developing a low-maintenance and sustainably minded resort with cabins designed in the image of the island’s two main existing structures: the old farm-house and stone quays. Each compact cabin was crafted for minimum impact on the landscape; the resort team plans to make the island self-sufficient by 2020 and all waste is already treated on the island. Related: A cluster of wooden cabins create a serene weekend retreat in Norway As with the original cabins at the resort, the new cabins in the extension — dubbed Manshausen 2.0 — have been built from cross-laminated timber , aluminum sheet cladding and custom, full-height glazing that allows for unobstructed views of the landscape. Prefabricated elements were used for “plug and play” installation of the shelters. Each 30-square-meter cabin was designed to be as compact as possible yet can comfortably accommodate up to four to five people and includes a kitchen and plenty of storage space. “Although [the new cabins] enjoy much of the same undisturbed sea views, the positioning in the landscape offers a unique approach to the design,” the architects explained. “Wave heights, extreme weather conditions and also future raise in sea level were studied to determine the exact positions of the cabins.” + Stinessen Arkitektur Images by Adrien Giret, Snorre Stinessen, Kjell Ove Storvik

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An eco-friendly island resort immerses guests in the wild beauty of northern Norway

Endangered California condors are making a comeback with the birth of 1,000th chick

July 23, 2019 by  
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The largest bird in North America is making a comeback after reaching an alarming population size of about 20 birds . The California condor was highly endangered during the late 20th century but holds spiritual importance to indigenous tribes and nature-lovers. Last week, conservationists announced that the 1,000th chick hatched and successfully survived, giving new hope that the birds’ population will continue to grow. The condor population plummeted in the 20th century because of hunting , habitat loss and lead poisoning from eating the carcasses of animals that had been shot with lead bullets. When the population was nearing just 20 birds, conservationists began breeding them in captivity. Related: 10 species at risk of extinction under the Trump administration According to Tim Hauch, manager of the Peregrine Fund’s condor program, more than 300 wild California condors exist today. There is a total of more than 500 when those in captivity are included. The newest chick was born in Zion National Park, located in southwestern Utah. Condors lay only one egg at a time , and female condors do not nest every year. Conservationists are incredibly hopeful every time one is born. “We’re seeing more chicks born in the wild than we ever have before,” Hauck told NPR. “And that’s just a step toward success for the condor and achieving a sustainable population.” Although the chick was born in May, it was not considered to be a survivor until July, given the typical mortality of young condors within the first two months. The chick will be able to leave the nest and begin flying around November. California condors are unique birds that can live up to 60 years in the right conditions. That makes condors not only the largest bird in North America, with a wingspan of 10 feet, but also one of the longest living birds in the world. Those who study California condors also believe that the birds are capable of having distinct personalities, which separates them from many other avian species. Via NPR Image via Wikimedia Commons

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This solar-powered home in Brazil blends into its environment with a massive green roof and an open-air ground floor

July 23, 2019 by  
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When it comes to modern homes, most architects focus on creating a soothing harmony between the indoors and outdoors, meaning lots of natural light, floor-to-ceiling windows, natural vegetation and so on. But Brazilian firm Reinach Mendonça Arquitetos Associados has gone one step further by completely eliminating exterior walls. Located São Paulo, the solar-powered RFC Residence features an open-air ground floor that leads out to a connecting courtyard, blurring the lines between nature and the man-made. Spanning more than 6,500 square feet, the RFC Residence was built for a family of four with a strong passion for cooking. They asked the architects to design an open-plan layout that would place the kitchen at the heart of the living area to be not only a functional space for preparing meals but a spacious social area as well. Related: A micro home with a green roof sits atop a granite wine cellar in rural Portugal Topped with a green roof that shares space with a solar array, the home was built with a number of passive and active design measures. The rectangular volume is made up of two levels: an open-air ground floor and an upper floor clad in exposed brick with a long interior hallway lined in glass panels. The upper level houses the master bedroom and the kids’ bedrooms. The social spaces are all located on the first floor, which contains a living room, entertainment area, dining room and a large chef’s kitchen in the middle. Wrapped around a central courtyard , these wall-less living spaces are all connected, creating a seamless connection between the rooms as well as the interior and the exterior. Native vegetation was used in the landscaping to create a lush outdoor area. The main living areas all maintain a nice, cool temperature year-round thanks to natural air circulation . Additionally, the second level was built with overhangs that shade the ground floor, creating a more comfortable space for residents to take in the fresh air. There is also a small swimming pool as well as a wooden sauna and dressing room in the backyard. + Reinach Mendonça Arquitetos Associados Via ArchDaily Photography by Nelson Kon via Reinach Mendonça Arquitetos Associados

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This solar-powered home in Brazil blends into its environment with a massive green roof and an open-air ground floor

City of Berkeley bans natural gas in new buildings and homes

July 23, 2019 by  
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The Californian city of Berkeley has become the first in the country to pass a ban on natural gas piping in new buildings, including private homes. Although it is considered cleaner than oil, natural gas is still a fossil fuel and contributes to global warming . New buildings in Berkeley, with few exceptions, will have to rely on electricity for heating water and kitchen appliances starting in January 2020. The natural gas ordinance was spearheaded by councilmember Kate Harrison, who told the San Francisco Chronicle , “It’s an enormous issue. We need to really tackle this. When we think about pollution and climate change issues, we tend to think about factories and cars, but all buildings are producing greenhouse gas .” Related: California is the first US state to require solar energy for new houses The legislation passed unanimously, but some critics outside of the city town halls and council meetings argue that electricity prices are higher than natural gas . The mandate will come at an expense to homeowners and renters in the Bay Area’s already stifling housing market. The ordinance also comes with funding for a two-year position for one staff member in the Office of Planning and Development who will oversee the implementation of the ban. David Hochschild, chairman of the California Energy Commission, reported that at least 50 other cities throughout the state of California are considering such a ban in hopes of addressing the contribution that buildings make to climate change and to encourage higher usage of electricity and renewable energy. Berkeley has a history of progressive bans, including becoming the first city in the country to ban smoking in restaurants and bars back in 1977. Earlier this year, the city banned single-use plastic utensils in restaurants (such as plastic forks). Restaurants and cafes throughout the city must use compostable utensils for takeaway meals and beverages. The city also passed an ordinance adding a 25 cents tax onto single-use cups, such as coffee cups. Via San Francisco Chronicle and NRDC Image via Pixabay

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City of Berkeley bans natural gas in new buildings and homes

Bee + Hive to help explorers book green hotels and sustainable tourism experiences

April 30, 2019 by  
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Conscientious travelers often worry about the impact of their dollars and whether or not tourism improves lives in the local communities they visit. Now Bee + Hive, a not-for-profit association made up of hotels and other travel industry partners, is launching a booking engine to help travelers choose sustainable tourism experiences. Starting in June, Bee + Hive plans to take the guesswork out of global sustainable travel . “People are interested in traveling responsibly, but the process of identifying and selecting genuine sustainable options is complicated,” explained Bruno Correa, Bee + Hive founder. “In addition, there is growing interest in making travel choices based on experiences that are unique and transformative. Our booking engine will help do both.” Related: Kin Travel is offering unique vacation ideas that benefit destinations through conservation and sustainability So, what qualifies as sustainable? Canada-based Bee + Hive has worked with Conservation International to identify a group of indicators by which it evaluates prospective members’ impact on the local community  and the experiential impact they provide to guests. Areas of examination include sustainable management, cultural connections, nature, experiences offered and social-economic impact. Bee + Hive helps members develop an action plan to up their sustainability quotient. A much-cited 2013 report by the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) found that in most all-inclusive package tours, 80 percent of travelers’ money benefited airlines, hotels and other companies with headquarters outside the country the person is visiting. According to the World Tourism Organization (UNWTO), when a traveler from a developed country visits a developing country, only about 5 out of every 100 dollars spent stays in the local economy. Correa wants to improve upon this figure. “A responsible hotel cares about developing the local ecosystem and its community,” Correa said. “The best way to do this is by offering authentic activities that reflect the destination. As a not-for-profit, all of Bee + Hive’s revenues will be reinvested on promotional efforts for legitimate and inspiring sustainable hotels and experiences, in a virtuous circle where more hotels join our movement.” + Bee + Hive Images via Bee + Hive

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Bee + Hive to help explorers book green hotels and sustainable tourism experiences

Sparkman Wharf cargotecture restaurants revitalize Tampa’s Water Street neighborhood

April 30, 2019 by  
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Any successful restaurant requires communication among workers, but when you’re turning out quality food in a 30 by 8 foot space, even more cries of “below,” “behind” and “heard” are necessary to keep staff from trampling each other. “There’s not enough room to open the oven door and the beer cooler at the same time,” says Tampa restaurateur Ty Rodriguez, co-owner of Gallito. Rodriguez’ newest restaurant opened last November and occupies a former shipping container in Sparkman Wharf, a major project revitalizing Tampa’s Water Street neighborhood in Flordia. Sparkman Wharf , formerly known as Channelside Bay Plaza, is the southern anchor of a $3 billion district called Water Street Tampa. The plan includes about 180,000 square feet of office space, 65,000 square feet of ground level retail, a park and recreational lawn. Yet the most eye-catching feature is the collection of repurposed shipping containers which now house nine places to order a meal, get a coffee or an ice pop. Seating is outside — sorry, the micro-restaurants barely contain the staff. Related: Is cargotecture the future of construction? What you need to know for your next project Strategic Property Partners, LLC, who owns the wharf, worked with local art studio Pep Rally Inc. to paint a mural encompassing all the containers. SPP describes the result:  “The collage pattern of the mural includes natural elements and imagery celebrating the history and culture of Tampa. Water currents and raindrops move through mangrove roots. Egret, blue crabs, and anoles crawl through the artwork. Oranges and tobacco leaves are set over bricks, reminiscent of Ybor City. Nautical patterns as well as the latitude and longitude coordinates featured in the Sparkman Wharf brand are a nod to the wharf itself and to Port Tampa Bay. The varied and vibrant color palette complements the energy of the outdoor space and the diversity of the food concept available within the dining garden .” While the containers look gorgeous and upcycling materials always sounds like a cool idea, there is more than meets the eye at the Wharf when it comes to these small restaurants operating inside shipping containers. Rodriguez gave Inhabitat the lowdown. First of all, the owners had a lot of experience before opening Gallito . Rodriguez and his best friend, Chef Ferrell Alvarez, already own Rooster & The Till , named the top restaurant in 2018 by the Tampa Bay Times. Alvarez was a 2017 James Beard Best Chef South nominee. Tampa entrepreneur Chon Nguyen is the third partner in Gallito. The three had worked together prior to opening the Nebraska Mini Mart, a 400 square foot restaurant in a former drive-up market. So these guys know what they’re doing — even in small spaces. When they first heard about Sparkman Wharf, the partners were intrigued. “We thought it was an extremely interesting idea,” Rodriguez says. “What can we do in a 30 by 8 foot container that’s successful, good and most importantly, is feasible to pump good food out of an incredibly small area?” Since the other chefs involved were friends and colleagues, he was confident the wharf would have quality restaurants. The concept behind Gallito is an upscale, family-friendly taqueria with high-quality ingredients . “We wanted to do something palatable for a mass audience,” Rodriguez says. To work efficiently in a small space, they chose a pared-down menu with two appetizers, five tacos and a limited choice of Mexican beer, wines, sodas and house-made sangria. “We don’t have a wide variety of everything, but what we do is unique.” Prep was the biggest challenge. Even though Gallito doesn’t open until noon, the sous chef and cook get there at seven. On weekdays, three to four people are usually working. On the busy weekend days, the staff maxes out at six — which is all the container can hold. “If I went in there on a Saturday and tried to help, I’d just be in the way,” Rodriguez says. To keep things simple in the fast casual container, they also had to trim down the point of sale so that every product they sell fits on one screen, rather than having separate screens for drinks and appetizers, as they do at Rooster & the Till. “How many steps is it going got take to complete this taco?” Rodriguez and Alvarez ask themselves. Gallito’s front of house staff garnish the tacos as they come out, something that wouldn’t be done in a more formal setting. Since seating for both Gallito and Nebraska Mini Mart is all outdoors , Rodriguez has become addicted to the daily forecast. “I can tell you more about the weather in Florida than I care to talk to anyone about. We live and die by the weather.” If it rains, they have to cut labor and shorten that day’s operating hours to stay afloat. This will be Gallito’s first summer at Sparkman Wharf and he’s hoping Tampans will brave the heat. Rodriguez may be serious about food, but he’s not above the occasional cargotecture pun. “Because of tight quarters and where everything is situated inside the container, you have to think outside the box.” Images via Inhabitat

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Sparkman Wharf cargotecture restaurants revitalize Tampa’s Water Street neighborhood

Boutique Ibiza hotel sports a checkerboard facade to take in cooling breezes

March 27, 2019 by  
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Barcelona-based studio Ribas & Ribas Architects has transformed an old apartment building into Hotel Sir Joan Ibiza , a contemporary and chic boutique hotel designed with sustainability in mind. Located in the heart of the Spanish island of Ibiza, the building has been restyled to include 38 rooms and suites dressed to reflect the island’s nautical elements, from stripped wood yacht floors to porthole-inspired vanity mirrors. Its eye-catching, checkerboard-like facade features openings that take advantage of natural light and ventilation, while greenery can be enjoyed in abundance from ground-level green screens to rooftop gardens. In refurbishing the old apartments into a high-end hotel, Ribas & Ribas Architects wanted to refresh the image of the building with a minimalist white and glazed facade that evokes contemporary Ibizan architecture. Tel Aviv-based Baranowitz + Kronenberg designed the hotel’s interiors with luxurious fittings that pay homage to Ibiza’s yachting heritage and upscale club culture, from the highly polished stainless steel wall panels that emulate sunlit waves to the Carrara marble and wood details found in every bathroom. “For reasons of sustainability , the openings in the façade have been designed in order to achieve ventilation and lighting in accordance with the category of the building they will house,” Ribas & Ribas Architects explained in a project statement. “The exterior spaces of the building have been improved, providing them with abundant vegetation in order to ameliorate the visual from the outside and acoustically isolate the users of the hotel. In the west communication core, a vegetal wall is created, formed by a xtend mesh that connects with the roof, hiding the perimeter of the installations and creating a striking green volume.” Related: Centuries-old stable is converted into a self-sustaining dream home In addition to 38 rooms and suites, the hotel also includes two penthouses with views of Ibiza’s port and Old Town. On the ground floor, guests also enjoy access to a pool , cabanas and two restaurants. + Ribas & Ribas Architects Photography by LLuis Casals via Ribas & Ribas Architects

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Boutique Ibiza hotel sports a checkerboard facade to take in cooling breezes

Kooshoo introduces the first plastic-free, sustainable hair ties

March 27, 2019 by  
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Amid growing concerns of plastic waste around the world, one company has created sustainable hair ties that are better for the environment. Made from organic materials like cotton and rubber, Kooshoo has come up with the world’s first plastic-free hair ties that are completely biodegradable. These hair ties come in a variety of colors and styles and are made with sustainability in mind — from the way the materials are sourced to how the products are manufactured. About the company Jesse and Rachel, a couple based out of Victoria, Canada, founded  Kooshoo . The two, who made a name for themselves as yoga teachers, built the company from the ground up. Their goal was to create a business model with sustainability in mind. They are also hoping to lead the change in the fashion industry when it comes to eliminating plastics in clothing. With its core values being love, honesty and transparency, Kooshoo is well on its way to meeting its sustainability goals. Given that more than 20,000 pounds of hair-related products end up in the trash each day, Kooshoo’s mission is important in preserving the future of our planet. An inside look at Kooshoo hair ties People around the world lose hair ties on a daily basis. Most of these elastics end up in the trash or litter the environment, which is why it is important that Kooshoo hair ties are completely  biodegradable . Related: Saving the environment one hair wash at a time Kooshoo hair ties only contain two ingredients: natural rubber and organic cotton. This includes the thread that is used to keep the ties together. Each and every product is also certified by the GOTS, or better known as the Global Organic Textile Standard. Natural materials According to Kooshoo, all of the materials used in its hair ties are sourced from organic cotton. There are absolutely zero synthetics in the products, and the cotton is grown without the use of toxic pesticides . Not only is the end result better for the environment, but it is also beneficial to your skin. Each hair tie is manufactured in California, though all of the design work and testing is done in Canada. The materials are sent to local shops in Los Angeles , where workers cut, weave, sew and dye the ties before distributing them around the world. The dying process Kooshoo hand dyes all of its hair ties. The company employs a crew of artisans that are specially trained in dying  textiles , which also means that each product is unique. How fast do the hair ties biodegrade? The rate of degradation depends on how the hair ties are disposed. If the ties are put in a compost pile, then the organic materials — which make up about 75 percent of the product — will start to degrade in less than one year. In fact, microorganisms in the environment will feed on these organics until there is basically nothing left. The other 25 percent of the product is the natural rubber. This material is drawn from trees in a similar way as maple syrup. It does take a bit longer to biodegrade, though organisms will eventually eliminate it in anywhere from three to seven years. Compared to traditional hair ties that contain plastics, this is much more sustainable. Even if you were to lose the hair tie in water, it will still break down completely. According to a recent article published by  Kooshoo , it takes about double the time for its hair ties to completely biodegrade in water. Scientists estimate that these sustainable hair ties take about 14 years to break down in water conditions, but once they biodegrade, they leave absolutely no trace. What other kind of products does it offer? The main selling item for the company is its twist headband. These  organic  head pieces come in a variety of colors and styles and are suitable for men, women and children alike. The company, of course, has an assortment of plastic-free hair ties that come in various color schemes, including black and brown, blonde, rainbow assorted and sea shepherd. These ties are secure enough for the thickest of hair, yet soft enough to remain gentle on the head. Kooshoo also offers a few clothing options, including a versatile shawl for women and children’s pants that grow as the kid grows. Sustainability in mind Kooshoo facilities feature dye houses that are completely powered by solar energy . The organization also packages its hair ties in reusable shipping containers and bags. These practices help curb carbon emissions and lessen the amount of waste that ends up in landfills — and ultimately  oceans — across the globe. Charitable offerings For the people who own and operate Kooshoo, selling hair ties is not only about making money. The business has also donated a portion of its profits, along with some of its products, to  charitable  organizations. Related: 6 of the best places to donate your things For instance, the establishment initiated a fitness and wellness plan for people in marginalized communities. More than 1,000 individuals in these communities were given access to meditation courses and yoga classes. + Kooshoo Images via Kooshoo

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