Labo Mono turns plastic water bottles into Urban Jackets for cycling and everyday use

June 19, 2019 by  
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The process started with a miserable bike ride in the rain and ended with a new company, Labo Mono, and development of its first product: the Urban Jacket. London-based designer Ali Namdari sought out a fashionable and useful jacket after being caught in a rainstorm while biking home. With no luck finding this combination, he decided to make his own. The idea for bold prints on a jacket that can be worn socially as well as functionally repel rain has hit home with followers on the Kickstarter campaign, which has raised more than twice the original goal. It’s not just the colorful, stand-out look that has appealed to backers, but also the goal to produce the Urban Jacket with ethical manufacturing practices and sustainable materials . Related: Everlane introduces long-lasting outerwear made from recycled water bottles With this in mind, Labo Mono incorporates over 30 recycled plastic bottles into each jacket. The company notes that this not only provides a second life for water bottle waste, but also significantly reduces water, energy and carbon dioxide emissions during production. Labo Mono also set out to find an alternative to the traditional waterproofing material known as PFC (perfluorinated chemicals) that endangers water, humans and wildlife . The goal was to offer a trendy option coupled with functional design, so the Urban Jacket features high waterproof protection, discreet armpit zippers, roomy pockets, a hood created to allow room for a helmet, a long back to protect against road spray, reflective components and breathable fabric. “We definitely don’t aim to blend in. Colors, prints and usability are frontiers that we are always exploring,” Namdari said. “We’re on a mission to create pieces of clothing that aren’t just fun and pleasant to look at, but also cleverly functional and versatile. All that while using the most sustainable materials possible.” In seeking out partners for manufacturing, the company placed an emphasis on finding companies that share its philosophy of ethical practices. Labo Mono found what it was looking for in a production facility in China that specializes in outerwear and a German manufacturer that creates the PFC-free, water-repellent finish that will be applied to the fabric of the Urban Jacket. Looking ahead to future products, Labo Mono selected a company in Portugal for manufacturing tees and pants made from recycled materials . The Kickstarter campaign ends on June 20, 2019. + Labo Mono Images via Labo Mono

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Labo Mono turns plastic water bottles into Urban Jackets for cycling and everyday use

The reusable LastSwab might just be the last ear swab you ever buy

May 9, 2019 by  
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You may not think about it each day when you toss that cotton swab into the garbage after touching up your make-up or cleaning out your ears, but billions of people with the same habit create a massive amount of waste ! Fortunately, designers from Copenhagen, Denmark have come to the rescue with a reusable cotton swab. The LastSwab is potentially the last “cotton” swab you’ll ever need. Well, one of two anyway. The company offers the LastSwab for traditional applications and another one styled specifically for make-up . Like your typical cotton swab, the LastSwab is two-sided, catering to a multitude of needs. It’s as easy to use as any other swab, and the company advises that you use the same caution. After use, simply rinse the swab under water with a bit of soap and store it in the convenient carrying case, which is provided. The cases come in a variety of colors to suit your preferences. Related: Scotland to ban manufacture and sale of plastic cotton swabs LastSwab is the result of a dedicated effort to reduce waste and damage to marine animals . According to the Kickstarter campaign, “1.5 billion cotton swabs are produced every single day, and the average American uses 415 cotton swabs every year. In the U.K., damage is evident: For every 100 feet of beach, there are nine cotton swabs. Let’s make single-use cotton swabs a thing of the past!” The material is medical-grade silicone that is durable and strong yet delicate. Not only does this long-term solution eliminate immediate waste, but it reduces the emissions caused by the transport and repeated mass production of all sorts of cotton swabs. In a well-rounded plan to be friendly to the environment, the storage case for the LastSwab is biodegradable, and the package arrives in cardboard. Although the idea of reusing a cotton swab might sound cringey at first, it’s not so different from reusing your toothbrush each day or eating off the same plate after washing it. Obviously, many people support the movement, with nearly 12,000 backers pledging over $400,000 toward the meager $13,319 goal on the current Kickstarter campaign , which closes May 16, 2019. + LastSwab Images via LastSwab

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The reusable LastSwab might just be the last ear swab you ever buy

The Phox V2 water filter fights plastic pollution

April 25, 2019 by  
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While water filters solve problems by cutting plastic waste and removing nasties from our drinks, they add to environmental woes by sending 100 million cartridges to landfills every year. That’s enough to fill 50 jumbo jets, according to the makers of Phox V2, a new filtration system with a reusable cartridge. The world is ready for this solution to plastic pollution, judging from Phox’s Kickstarter campaign being fully funded in just 34 hours. The campaign, which ends Monday, April 29, rewards supporters with Phox jugs and bottles. Young Glasgow-based entrepreneurs Scott Dickson and Paul McTaggart founded Phox in 2016. After 18 months of design work, their trials have paid off with the Kickstarter win. “Getting this support has been brilliant — it’s a real highlight for us,” Dickson told the Scotsman . Related: Ovie’s ‘Smarterware’ smart food storage aims to help reduce food waste The Phox V2 is a glass pitcher that fits in the fridge door. The top is made from recycled, food-safe, BPA-free plastic and the bottom has a rubber, non-slip base. The Phox V2 comes in carbon black, seal gray, arctic white or marine blue. The filter — the only part that needs to be changed out — is made with coconut shells fired to a high temperature to produce extremely absorbent activated carbon. This removes bad taste, odor and at least 90 percent of chlorine, copper, lead and mercury. There are two choices of filters: one cleans and softens water, the other also adds minerals for an alkaline pH. Phox is conscientious about packaging and shipping, too. Manufacturing its products in England cuts air miles. “Seventy to 80 percent of the product is designed, manufactured, packaged and distributed within 50 miles of our Charing Cross base, so all of the money raised is going to go toward making sure we can manufacture the product here in the U.K.,” said Dickson. Other leading water filtration systems are produced in China. Phox eschews plastic packaging. The team has designed filter replacement packages to be thin enough to fit through an average letterbox, so they can use regular mail and avoid repeated delivery attempts. The first batch of Kickstarter-funded products are slated for August delivery. After that, Phox aims to supply brick-and-mortar retailers as well as pursuing online sales. + Phox Images via Phox

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The Phox V2 water filter fights plastic pollution

Energy-efficient vacation home holds court over 15 acres of restored tidal wetlands

April 25, 2019 by  
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Manhattan-based firm Ryall Sheridan Architects has unveiled a modern home that sits elevated over 15 acres of restored tidal wetlands on Long Island’s Peconic Bay. Located about 100 miles outside of New York City, the beautiful Orient House V is a three-bedroom vacation home that was built to harmonize with its incredible setting. Lifted 10 feet off the marshy landscape, the light-filled refuge was strategically designed to be energy-efficient and resilient against the local climate. After the clients purchased 15 acres of tidal wetlands, they approached Ryall Sheridan Architects, a firm specializing in designing low-energy residences, to create a home that would have a strong connection to the unusual landscape. According to the architects, the first step was to restore the property’s natural state by removing non-native, invasive plants and planting indigenous plants. In restoring the natural habitat, the area is now home to abundant flora that attracts insects, butterflies and birds. Related: This bold, sustainable home will age gracefully near an Indiana wetland Secondly, the marshland called for raising the home high above the landscape, not only for stability, but also as a resilient measure that would withstand storm surges that are common in the area. In addition to increasing resiliency, the elevated stature also provides stunning views that look out over a beautiful saltwater swimming pool surrounded by expansive greenery. The project boasts a number of energy-efficient features that make it nearly self-sufficient. Supported by concrete walls, the frame of the home is made out of a high-tech membrane that was chosen for its ability to stand up to wind and rain. Dark cedar boards were then used to clad the exterior walls, which were also incorporated with various industrial-grade stainless steel screens that are rust-resistant and can withstand the salty, humid atmosphere. Powered by a large solar array, the home generates much of its own energy and is also extremely well-insulated to reduce energy loss. Triple-pane windows and walls insulated with eco-friendly cellulose help keep the interior spaces at a comfortable temperature all year long. Related: 7 eco-friendly insulation alternatives for a green home Throughout the interior, the design’s strong connection to its surroundings is visible from every angle. Large windows welcome  natural light  into the 3,275-square-foot residence. Blond Douglas fir was used for the flooring and wall panels, giving the home a modern cabin feel. The main floor features the communal spaces in an open layout. The master suite is located on the top floor and features a large corner balcony that provides unobstructed views of the breathtaking scenery. + Ryall Sheridan Architects Via Dwell Photography by Ty Cole via Ryall Sheridan Architects

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Energy-efficient vacation home holds court over 15 acres of restored tidal wetlands

Ovie’s ‘Smarterware’ smart food storage aims to help reduce food waste

May 22, 2018 by  
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Around 40 percent of food goes to waste in America yearly, which costs the average family of four about $2,000 a year. Luckily, Chicago startup Ovie has an answer to this problem: Smarterware. Ovie’s Smart Tags, which keep track of food items’ freshness, can be clipped on food, placed on six-cup containers, or attached to bottles or take-out boxes. According to the company, their system essentially transforms any regular refrigerator into a smart fridge, but without the steep price tag — and they’re crowdfunding on Kickstarter right now. Ovie’s Smarterware aims to change how people eat by helping them keep track of their food’s freshness level. Rings around their Smart Tags light up as green, yellow or red to let people know if food is safe, about to spoil, or has gone bad. Using the technology is simple: you just press the button on a Smart Tag, and your food is tagged via Amazon Echo or an app. Related: New refrigerator camera takes aim at food waste The app aims to help users really take advantage of what’s in their fridge, letting them see items they’ve tagged or even search for recipes that will use the tagged ingredients. The app notifies users when the light ring hits yellow and offers recipe suggestions. Ovie also plans to send a personalized recap every month to let users know how they’ve been doing and provide tips based on their consumption trends. Ovie CEO and co-founder Ty Thompson said in a statement, “People don’t want to waste all of this food — it just happens. We’re busy, we invest time and resources to make a great meal, and then we end up throwing away a large amount of food simply because we forget about it. We wanted to help solve this problem by creating a product that would be simple to use and bring a more mindful approach to food storage .” You can snag early bird discounts on Ovie’s Kickstarter , which ends June 21. The company plans to start shipping in early 2019. + Ovie + Ovie Smarterware Kickstarter Images courtesy of Ovie

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Ovie’s ‘Smarterware’ smart food storage aims to help reduce food waste

Artist upcycles discarded cassette tapes into eco-friendly MusicCloth

May 16, 2018 by  
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When Singaporean artist and founder of Rehyphen®  Jessica Chuan Yi Xin stumbled upon a stash of forgotten cassette tapes in her room, she brainstormed a way to reuse the material rather than contribute to the growing problem of e-waste. A bit of ingenuity and experimentation led her to develop MusicCloth®, a handwoven textile made from upcycled magnetic tapes. According to the United Nations , nearly 45 million metric tons of electronic waste was generated in 2016 — an increase of 8 percent from just two years prior. As an advocate for the environment, Chuan created MusicCloth® to raise awareness for upcycling and the global problem of e-waste. Chuan developed the innovative textile after nine months of research and development using cassette tapes donated by friends and family. In 2016, she launched a successful  Kickstarter  campaign for MusicCloth® tote bags. The campaign not only raised the funds needed to take the project to the next level, but it also allowed her to collect cassette tapes from donors around the world. Chuan weaves MusicCloth® by hand in a simple yet labor-intensive process. In addition to tote bags, the malleable material has been used to create art , wallets, notebooks and dresses. Chuan and her team at Rehyphen® also expanded to offer workshops through Airbnb’s “Experiences” platform to teach visitors in Singapore how to weave MusicCloth® creations. The globally recognized textile has even found a place in New York City’s Material ConneXion library and has also been recognized by the University of Pennsylvania and Red Dot 21. The material was recently entered in the Golden Pin Design Award’s new Integration Design category. Related: This jewelry is made with upcycled gold from Dell computers “We hope to encourage people to see waste with fresh perspective, and get curious about how things are made,” Chuan said. “We throw things away for they are broken, no longer useful or having lost their charm. We, however, elevate everyday objects to a work of art, and to show that up-cycling art is not an environment movement but instead is a reminder that observing the other side of existence is the essence of art.” + Rehyphen® Images via Rehyphen®

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Artist upcycles discarded cassette tapes into eco-friendly MusicCloth

Meridian Line launches ethically sourced, organic cotton jeans for the outdoors

April 2, 2018 by  
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Adventure calling? Gear up with Meridian Line, a range of eco-friendly denim designed for conquering the great outdoors. Available for pre-ordering through Kickstarter , the men’s and women’s jeans infuse ethically sourced organic cotton with two percent spandex to allow “freedom of movement without looking like you just stepped out of yoga class,” according to the Kansas City, Missouri–based firm. Meridian Line is the brainchild of artist Jeremy Collins, who launched the company with a series of graphic T-shirts and accessories in 2014. Two years later, Collins enlisted Benji Thrasher, formerly the lead designer at Prana , to kick Meridian Line’s offerings up a notch; the jeans emerged from the drawing board shortly after. But active performance isn’t the denim’s only twist. Each pair of pants also boasts artwork by Collins on the inner pockets, yoke, and turn-ups. The print is based on one of Collins’s signature pieces: a greenery-ringed compass inset with a salmon and an eagle at play (or perhaps prey?) in a yin-yang configuration. Meridian Line’s denim is “built for outdoor activities, travel, and a casual, dareful, or professional lifestyle,” Collins and Thrasher said. “Our jeans are made to go wherever you do: urban, mountain, or board meeting.” Prices for both men’s and women’s styles start at an accessible $79, or 20 percent less than what the jeans will cost when they hit retail outlets later this year. If you’re looking for the whole top-to-toe look, a pledge of $105 will snag you a pair of jeans, an exclusive tee, and a trucker hat. + Meridian Line at Kickstarter + Meridian Line

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Meridian Line launches ethically sourced, organic cotton jeans for the outdoors

Ingenious hand-pumped Scorkl lets you breathe underwater for 10 minutes

June 19, 2017 by  
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Scuba  diving may seem like too much of a hassle, what with all the equipment, training and money you need to make it happen. A new product – that’s like something straight out of a James Bond movie – called  Scorkl  opens up the underwater world by combining the best of scuba diving with the ease of snorkeling. A hand pump refills the underwater breathing device that’s roughly the size of a water bottle, giving you 10 minutes of uninhibited exploration. The Scorkl is a lightweight device you put to your mouth to breath in air while underwater – no scuba diving certification necessary. The Australia -based company says their cylinder is manufactured to the same standards and specifications as a cylinder you’d use to scuba dive, but it can be refilled with a Scorkl hand pump. The device also comes with a scuba tank refill adapter so it can be refilled from a scuba tank. A pressure gauge on the Scorkl lets users know how much air they have left – they’ll be able to swim freely through the water for around 10 minutes. Related: The Easybreath Snorkel Mask Lets You Breathe Comfortably Through Your Nose Underwater Scorkl is crowdfunding on Kickstarter , and it appears there are a bunch of people out there who are drawn to the freedom offered by the device – the company set their goal at $22,765 but have already raised over $370,000. One Scorkl costs $199 – that’s 33 percent off the retail price. A Scorkl and pump are being offered at a discount price of $398. At this point you’re probably wondering about safety . The company says the Scorkl is safe and can be used by anyone, but untrained divers should be cautious when swimming with it, and shouldn’t go below 9.8 feet in depth or use it more than five times in a single day. Trained divers should be able to go further than 9.8 feet drawing on what they learned during their certification process. The device is accompanied by an information kit warning users and offering tips to avoid pulmonary damage. The company says the Scorkl is designed for shallow diving , and they recommend not using it below 32 feet, even though it technically can go to depths of around 65 feet. You can check out the campaign here . + Scorkl Images via Scorkl Facebook

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Ingenious hand-pumped Scorkl lets you breathe underwater for 10 minutes

World’s Smallest Garden lets you recycle old bottles into adorable hydroponic gardens

June 7, 2017 by  
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You can always recycle an old wine bottle , but what if you could transform it into a tiny garden instead? Urban Leaf empowers people to grow food at home through the World’s Smallest Garden, and upcycle used bottles into planters. It takes minutes to put together one of the mini gardens, which can grow greens and herbs year-round – and you can snag one on the cheap right now on Kickstarter . The World’s Smallest Garden is comprised of a 3D-printed cylindrical device, or plug, that fits right into the neck of an old bottle. The plastic used in the product is biodegradable . Users fill the bottle with water, insert the device filled with soil and seeds, and sit back and let the plants grow. Plants can draw on that initial water source for a month, and then users can add water as needed. Related: Build your own indoor garden with modular LEGO-like blocks Dill, lettuce, bok choy, and basil are just a few of the plants that can be grown with the World’s Smallest Garden. Users will be able to start harvesting the plants after around four to six weeks. The team designed the garden with the idea that plants would grow just in the bottle, although co-founder Robert Elliott told Inhabitat it should work to move a plant into a planter since hydroponically grown plants typically transplant well. They’ve been able to grow herbs like mint and parsley for five months in bottles, and even grew dwarf tomatoes to fruit in a World’s Smallest Garden. Elliott and Nathan Littlewood started Urban Leaf to work towards a better food system. On their website they say they believe growing food in urban areas solves many of the issues with the modern food industry , allowing for less waste, less packaging, and shorter supply chains. But many people living in cities don’t have a lot of space to grow gardens, an obstacle Urban Leaf overcomes with the World’s Smallest Garden. Elliott told Inhabitat, “The design process for the World’s Smallest Garden was an effort to create the most minimal product that still effectively grew plants. We started with a ‘bells and whistles’ prototype and removed lights, pumps, multiple substrates, nutrient packets, and even the reservoir. Brown or green glass bottles are a natural fit for a reservoir (they block harmful red/blue light while allowing you to see in) and most people just throw them away! By selling just the essential component to turn existing waste into a hydroponic reservoir we save customers money and reduce our manufacturing and shipping environmental impact.” Urban Leaf is currently crowdfunding on Kickstarter . You can get a single pack that comes with three plugs and seeds for $15. Check out the Kickstarter here . + Urban Leaf Images courtesy of Urban Leaf

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World’s Smallest Garden lets you recycle old bottles into adorable hydroponic gardens

The world’s "most compact folding bike" fits in your carry-on luggage

January 16, 2017 by  
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Imagine a bike that folds down so small you can take it on an airplane in your carry-on luggage. It exists – and it’s called the Kwiggle . The sleek, city-ready vehicle designed by German engineer Karsten Bettin can be folded up and stowed under a subway seat, in a car trunk, or even in an airplane’s overhead compartment. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6My3Xd40YI4 The Kwiggle is the “most compact folding bike in the world,” according to the company . The unique vehicle allows riders to speed through cities upright, and it can be folded in a snappy 10 seconds. The bike weighs in at about 19 pounds, and it can hit a top speed of nearly 20 miles per hour. And it folds up small enough to fit into a 55 by 40 by 25 centimeter carry-on bag, or a 1.8 by 1.3 by 0.8 foot carry-on. Related: World’s lightest folding bike weighs less than a watermelon A wrought alloy bike frame makes the Kwiggle stable and tough, and its aluminum wheels are highly corrosion resistant. An adjustable seat allows riders from 4’6 to 6’2 to ride the Kwiggle with ease. The upright riding position has other benefits beyond a higher point of view. According to the company, orthopedic specialists love the Kwiggle. The bike “uniquely supports the mobility of the back and prevents tension in the should and neck area,” the company says on their website . That makes the bike not only a perfect fit for swift urban travel, but for exercising as well. Bettin has developed the Kwiggle over seven years, and he’s now selling the bike on Kickstarter . Backers can snag a one-speed Kwiggle for 1,240 Euros, or around $1,315. Two-speed Kwiggles start at 1,340 Euros or about $1,421. You can check out the campaign here . + Kwiggle Via Treehugger Images via Kwiggle Facebook and screenshot

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The world’s "most compact folding bike" fits in your carry-on luggage

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