"Mount Trashmore" of Massachusetts transformed into clean energy hub

July 6, 2017 by  
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Who says there’s no such thing as second chances? An historically off-putting landfill in Brockton, Massachusetts, which was once dubbed Mount Trashmore for its overwhelming bad odor, has been transformed from a wasted space to a generator of clean renewable energy . This week, a new solar power system opened above the previously underutilized space at Thatcher Street in Brockton. Local officials estimate the new clean energy infrastructure installed on-site will offset the carbon emissions of more than 12,000 cars annually and will generate more than $300,000 in annual revenue for the city. The Brockton project is not the first instance of Massachusetts turning previously dead space into a net positive for the community. All along the Mass Pike, also known as Interstate 90, the Massachusetts Department of Transportation, in collaboration with private contractors, has installed solar panel arrays that make use of the land between the highway shoulder and privately owned residential and commercial plots. Over the next twenty years, these highway clean power plants are estimated to generate at least $15 million of revenue for the Commonwealth of Massachusetts. Related: 8 incredible parks created from landfills While these renewable energy additions to landfills are a welcome improvement, landfills themselves are relatively modern innovations in the United States. Before Congress passed the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act in 1976, trash was usually just dumped in massive holes in the ground, which created significant, unceasing environmental hazards, from increased methane in the atmosphere to leaching toxic chemicals into local groundwater. After the RCRA was passed, disposal facilities were required to be properly lined and equipped with vents through which methane may be burned. However, this increased costs, which incentivized municipalities to build larger landfills. In order to bring trash from disparate locations to one mega landfill, more greenhouse gases must be burned in their transportation. To solve this problem, perhaps Congress could take a second look at the RCRA and ensure that all landfills offset their emissions, like Mount Trashmore in Brockton. Via CBS Boston Lead image via Depositphotos , others via Flickr   (1)

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"Mount Trashmore" of Massachusetts transformed into clean energy hub

Tiny Wirmboden chapel in Austria is made of stone sourced on-site

July 6, 2017 by  
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Nestled in an alpine valley in Western Austria, this tiny chapel is a serene haven for local farmers. After an avalanche destroyed the town’s original chapel, including several other huts in 2012, the community decided to rebuild, so they commissioned Innauer-Matt Architects to design a space for gatherings and celebrations using locally-sourced materials.   The Wirmboden chapel is located in at the foot of the steep north face of the valley’s Kanisfluh mountain in Austria . Local farmers organized the initiative to rebuild the original structure, destroyed by an avalanche in 2012. Built over the course of three years, the chapel complements the surrounding alpine architecture and offers a space where people can gather, celebrate and pray. Related: Modern chapel makes a powerful but minimalist statement in the Austrian countryside Locally sourced stone make up the walls of the building, with rough split shingles covering the steep truss. A roof opening brings natural light into the interior. Memorial photo cards were placed in the space between rafters to commemorate loved ones. The entrance, truss and bell space were made from German spruce conventionally used for making violins and guitars. + Innauer-Matt Architects Via Archdaily Photos by Adolf Bereuter

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Tiny Wirmboden chapel in Austria is made of stone sourced on-site

Hollands first Vertical Forest to rise with 10,000 air-purifying plants

July 6, 2017 by  
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Hot on the heels of the world’s first Forest City in China , Stefano Boeri Architetti has announced their winning bid for the first Vertical Forest in the Netherlands. Set to rise in Utrecht, the Hawthorn Tower will, like its Milanese predecessor , be blanketed in greenery and is expected to absorb over 5.4 tons of carbon dioxide. The equivalent of one hectare of woods will be installed on the tower to create a real urban ecosystem with over 30 different vegetal species. Slated to begin construction in 2019, the Hawthorn Tower will infuse greenery into the heart of Jaarbeursboulevard area close to Utrecht Station. The tower is one of two tall buildings in the development, the other designed by Amsterdam-based MVSA studio. “The 90 meters in height tower designed by Stefano Boeri Architetti attempts to create, in Utrecht city center, an innovative experience of cohabitation between city and nature,” said the architects. Around 10,000 plants of different species—360 trees, 9,640 shrubs and flower—will be installed on all sides of the facade. The mixed-use building is positioned as the “new healthy center of Utrecht” and will comprise offices, fitness and yoga areas, bike parking, and public leisure space. Its scale and design will thoughtfully react and complement the surrounding urban fabric. The tower will also host the Vertical Forest Hub, a research center on worldwide urban forestation that’s open to the public on the ground floor and directly connected to the sixth-floor roof garden. The research center will showcase the different technical and botanic solutions chosen for the tower and track the progress of Vertical Forests under construction around the world. Related: China breaks ground on first “Forest City” that fights air pollution The Hawthorn Tower is the latest Vertical Forest of its kind to be unveiled, this time in the heart of Europe, and follows in the steps of other urban forestation projects designed by Stefano Boeri Architetti. Other projects include soon-to-be-completed Vertical Forests in Nanjing and Lausanne, a greenery-covered Mountain Hotel in Guizhou , and other green buildings planned in Paris, Tirana, and Shanghai. Construction on Hawthorn Tower is expected to finish in 2022. + Stefano Boeri Architetti Images by Imaginary A2 / Stefano Boeri Architetti

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Hollands first Vertical Forest to rise with 10,000 air-purifying plants

Chic, minimalist hydroponic garden makes growing your own veggies a snap

July 6, 2017 by  
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Hydroponic systems let you grow fresh produce indoors, but they can be a pain to set up. Fortunately, Seedo just unveiled a modern hydroponic garden that takes all the fuss out of harvesting your own fruits and vegetables. The device looks like a typical mini fridge, but don’t let its simple exterior fool you – the Seedo is an amazingly high-tech system that can help just about anyone grow the urban garden of their dreams. Especially useful for those who aren’t blessed with a green thumb, Seedo’s high tech system comes with a number of features that make urban gardening possible in just about any environment. The system comes with a sterile hermetic ecosystem that keeps insects away and built-in cartridges that automatically release CO2 during the photosynthesis phase. To create a healthy growing environment on the inside, a full spectrum LED system controls the lighting and an automated temperature control function keeps the interior temp and humidity at precise levels. Related: Start an Organic Garden Anywhere Using Fizzy Farms Compact Hydroponic Grower The Seedo is a great option for almost any type of plant profile , from veggies and herbs to flowers and medicinal plants. In order to monitor the system from the comforts of your own home or while on the road, the Seedo system also comes with its own app and an internal HD camera in order to closely monitor your garden. + Seedo Lab Via Geeky Gadgets Save

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Chic, minimalist hydroponic garden makes growing your own veggies a snap

Former landfill reborn as education center for underserved citizens in East Palo Alto

May 9, 2017 by  
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A former landfill has traded its dirty past for a new start as a nature reserve at the southern end of the San Francisco Bay. To educate the community about the reclaimed landscape, architecture firm FOG Studio teamed up with the East Palo Alto community to design the Cooley Landing Education Center. The community project is a tale of triumph in overcoming significant site obstacles, from seismic concerns to leftover landfill hazards. Selected by public vote to lead the design process, FOG Studio organized eight charrettes to determine the Cooley Landing Education Center’s program, form, material, and appearance with the community . The first phase of the project required capping potential hazards. The entire peninsula was covered with two feet of clean fill, while structural slabs and landscaping paving effectively capped the building site area. The 4,000-square-foot community design project celebrates the history of the area formerly known as Ravenswood. “Its significance as a shipping hub in the 1800s is acknowledged by the hull and sail forms sculpted in wood, while the brickworks that supplied materials for San Francisco’s Palace Hotel are honored by the brick service cores,” write the architects. “Layers of detail and history are overlaid via design onto the building and site, in a wordless celebration of the past and present citizens of this bayside town.” Related: 8 incredible parks created from landfills The Cooley Landing Education Center houses exhibits on local natural history, community meeting spaces, learning facilities, a presentation room with audiovisual equipment, a warming kitchen, storage, and restrooms. The landscape is also designed to educate and features abstracted tidal sloughs that weave through the site and show off the flow and capture of stormwater runoff . The project won the Gallery category at the 2016 Architizer A+ Awards . + FOG Studio Via Dezeen Images by Michael O’Callahan, FOG

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Former landfill reborn as education center for underserved citizens in East Palo Alto

Beer made from recycled bread is coming to the U.S.

May 5, 2017 by  
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A brewery in London is taking a bite out of food waste . Launched last year, Toast makes its beers from surplus fresh bread, including the heel ends of loaves, that would otherwise feed the landfill. Toast combines the bread with malted barley, hops, yeast, and water to craft its lagers, which are sold to raise money for charity. A full 100 percent of its profits, in fact, goes to Feedback , a nonprofit working to end wasted food across the globe. It is the rare bakery that doesn’t have a ton of leftover bread at the end of the day—more, perhaps, than any food bank can distribute. In fact, as much as one-third of loaves likely head directly from the oven to the landfill. Related: Quebec food waste program to rescue 30.8 million pounds of food Although food waste is somewhat of a modern concern, brewing tipple from bread isn’t. Toast uses a recipe based on a formula that hails from 4,000 B.C., when people in Mesopotamia and Egypt made a “divine drink” from bread baked from emmer wheat. Now, Toast wants to take its show on the road, specifically to New York City, where it hopes to produce an American pale ale by the Fourth of July. Related: British supermarket chain launches trucks powered by food waste “NYC bakeries are already knocking down our door to bring surplus loaves directly from their ovens to the brewery?,” it wrote on its crowdfunding page. “This campaign will guarantee our ability to produce 100 [barrels] of beer in NYC—with that, we’ve got a social business on our hands!” Cheers to that! + Toast on Indiegogo + Toast Via Treehugger

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Beer made from recycled bread is coming to the U.S.

5 Ways to make socially responsible clothing choices

January 15, 2017 by  
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According to the Waste & Resources Action Programme , the average U.K. household owns approximately £4,000 worth of clothes but only uses about 70% of their wardrobe. A third of that clothing often ends up in the landfill, even if it was worn just once . Our sister site Ecouterre put together five ways you can make this year a better one with socially responsible clothing choices. From mending clothes to fighting fast fashion, click through to see them all.

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5 Ways to make socially responsible clothing choices

Starbucks trials recyclable paper coffee cups for potential global use

July 26, 2016 by  
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In the UK, only one in every 400 paper coffee cup is recycled . Starbucks is partnering with Frugalpac , a manufacturer of recyclable cups made entirely from recycled paper , to help combat this wasteful dilemma. The trial launched last week, possibly leading to the use of these Earth-friendly containers in franchises all over the world. Frugalpac, founded by engineer Martin Myerscough, aims at providing a better alternative to conventional paper cups. Every year about 58 billion paper cups end up in landfills or are incinerated worldwide. Most cups involve paper treated with waterproofing chemicals, making them difficult to recycle. Frugalpac feature a thin, plastic liner lightly glued inside a 100 percent recycled paper cup. They claim recycling centers can easily separate the materials and recycle each on its own. Related: Starbucks opens new reclamation drive thru made from recycled shipping containers According to The Guardian , a Starbucks spokesman said, “We are very interested in finding out more about the Frugalpac cup and we will be testing it to see if it meets our standards for safety and quality, with a view to trialling its recyclability.” Myerscough is reportedly in contact with various coffee shops and grocers, which could lead to a revolutionary shift away from wasteful convenience to more environmentally-friendly libations. +Frugalpac Via The Guardian Images via Flickr , Frugalpac

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Martin Angelov upcycles an abandoned telephone booth into public seating

March 23, 2016 by  
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Now that mobile phones are ubiquitous, it seems like telephone booths have nowhere to go but the way of the dodo. While many governments and civilians may be fine with dumping those booths at the landfill, artist Martin Angelov shows that outdated structures can be given new life with just a bit of creative elbow grease. Angelov transformed parts of an old telephone booth into a chair in a project described as “a protest against hundreds of abandoned telephone booths in the era of mobile communications.” + Martin Angelov The article above was submitted to us by an Inhabitat reader. Want to see your story on Inhabitat ? Send us a tip by following this link . Remember to follow our instructions carefully to boost your chances of being chosen for publishing!

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Martin Angelov upcycles an abandoned telephone booth into public seating

Biodegradable algae water bottles provide a green alternative to plastic

March 22, 2016 by  
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