14 eco-friendly van life essentials every vanlifer needs

September 15, 2021 by  
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Whether you’re hitting the trail for a weekend trip or committing to van living, there are some items you need to make your time more enjoyable. These eco-friendly van life essentials will keep you comfortable and help reduce your environmental footprint. Wildland Coffee Minimize the coffee -making supplies required for your cup of joe with Wildland’s Coffee in a Tea Bag. This convenience produces your morning brew in five to eight minutes. Simply prepare it as you would tea; drop the compostable coffee bag into hot water and allow it to steep. Conscientious coffee lovers will appreciate that Wildland Coffee uses ethically sourced beans from Brazil. Related: Couple turns old van into home-on-wheels for just $1K Layover travel blanket A light, packable blanket can go where you go. At only 11.4 ounces, the Layover by start-up Gravel will clip on to your day pack or stash away in the van with packed measurements of about 5 inches by 7 inches. Even better, the compressible insulation is made up of 100% recycled PET plastic. Allez Another ethically sourced essential, Allez uses plant-based ingredients for natural cleansing. The cloths are biodegradable , compact, lightweight and handmade in the U.S.A. Through a partnership with Purchase to Protect, Allez has stewarded over eight acres of protected rock climbing areas. Bee’s Wrap There’s no reason to fill your drawers (or your garbage can) with plastic wrap. Instead, grab some Bee’s Wrap for your food storage needs. The wraps are compact, come in a variety of sizes and reduce  waste . Bee’s Wrap is made in the U.S. from certified organic cotton, responsibly sourced beeswax, certified organic plant oils, and tree resin. Mioeco reusable towels Skip single-use paper towels and napkins in favor of bleach-free, organic cotton reusable ‘ unpaper ’ towels. The GOTS-certified material is produced via carbon-neutral,  solar-powered  manufacturing too. Osprey Arcane bag Adventure requires gear. Whether heading to the library for research on your next destination or packing up for a week in the wild, the Osprey Arcane series has you covered with bags that keep your smaller items organized and your essentials close at hand. Every bag is constructed from 100% recycled polyester fabric made from water bottles and offers a lifetime repair guarantee. Big Potato Games We all need a little entertainment in our lives, so when choosing games for your limited space, look to Big Potato Games , a brand dedicated to using the smallest box possible for space efficiency in shipping and storage. The company has also implemented a  plastic -free initiative, aiming to make 64% of its games plastic-free by the end of the year. Plus, the brand plants one tree for each game sold, supporting mangrove trees in Madagascar and working toward reforestation in Mozambique and Kenya. Plants Speaking of trees, your van life also needs some greenery, so select a cute flower pot and a favorite  plant  to hang indoors during your journey. Succulents are a resilient and popular choice that will brighten up any space. Reli. biodegradable trash bags Although you may be close to zero waste, it seems there’s always some trash to deal with. When the need calls, ‘ Reli ’ on biodegradable bags that break down in the landfill after being exposed to soil, air and  water .  All-natural sponges Even if you move all your belongings into a van, cleaning is still part of life, unfortunately. When choosing tools for the job, go with  natural materials . Standard sponges are often made using polyester or nylon, which is not recyclable or biodegradable. In contrast, Helping Out Mother Earth sponges are all-natural. Bite Toothpaste Continue your zero waste journey with toothpaste bits that come in a reusable glass jar instead of a tube. Bite Toothpaste Bits are made with natural, plant-based ingredients, and refill packs are made from 100% biodegradable cellulose. Wood utensils Food tastes better in nature, and cooking is better for the planet when you eliminate plastic from the process. Stock up on bamboo cooking utensils, or sets made of sustainably sourced wood.  Canning jars You may not be canning jam or salsa, but canning jars are the ideal storage device throughout the entire van. Use half-pint jars for herbs and spices and larger jars for nuts and seeds. Outside the kitchen, use a jar to store cotton balls and swabs, make an easy toothbrush holder or pot plants. Clothing  A minimalist van lifestyle means choosing quality over quantity, especially when it comes to clothing . Whether you’re dressing for work or the mountain, look for natural materials that will biodegrade back into the soil at the end of the piece’s usable life. Brands like prAna, Patagonia, Tentree, and Cotopaxi can get you started. Reviewing the essentials Wildland Coffee and Allez sent sample products for me to try out. Although I haven’t moved into van life quite yet, it’s on my radar. I am an avid backpacker and camper , however, so both products are a good lifestyle match. The Wildland Coffee is a ‘wild’ idea. I typically go with French press or drip when I have room. When I don’t, I use a funnel and an unbleached coffee filter that I bury afterward. But a simple tea bag in hot water is brilliant and simplifies the process immensely. It doesn’t get any easier to make a cup of coffee. The flavor is described as chocolatey and creamy. I wouldn’t say there’s that level of complexity, but it’s worlds better than instant coffee (yuck!), and the flavors are mild and well-balanced. I would be grateful to have this brew as part of my backpacking wake-up call. The Allez wipes are ultra-convenient, especially considering space and weight constraints when backpacking. I was shocked at the generous size. They’re very thick, too. I think I could wipe down my car with these things, so they can certainly handle anything nature throws my way. Better yet, they didn’t leave my skin feeling stripped like a lot of wipes do. I’m extremely sensitive to scents, so the Cactus Bloom and Chaparral scent was a little strong for me. That said, my husband’s sniff test didn’t find it to be overpowering, and he really enjoyed using the cleansing cloths himself. Images via Wildland Coffee, Allez, Osprey, Lindsay McCormick , Pixabay , and Dawn Hammon / Inhabitat 

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14 eco-friendly van life essentials every vanlifer needs

Greening the board game industry with Big Potato Games

September 7, 2021 by  
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Party games can be a fun reason for everyone to get together, but they can also take a lot of resources to make. Big Potato takes a sustainable approach to make game time a little greener. You may have seen Big Potato games in the past. The company is responsible for titles such as Herd Mentality, Mean Girls the Party Game and The Chameleon. These games are available at major retailers all over the U.S., including Target. Big Potato gets ideas from everywhere for their games. People from game designers to everyday gamers have submitted game ideas. Related: Indie comic book characters are brought to life as unique cardboard cutouts While focusing on games that are easy to play and understand, Big Potato takes a sustainable approach to improve the planet with each game it makes. The company works with the Eden Reforestation Project and Ecologi to plant a tree for every game sold. It’s their “one game, one tree” commitment. Through this initiative, Big Potato is planting mangrove trees in Madagascar and working toward reforestation in Mozambique and Kenya. Almost 900 trees have already been planted. But wait, there’s more. Big Potato has cut back on excess packaging and transportation, streamlining its manufacturing and shipping practices. The games are put in the smallest possible boxes to reduce the space taken up inside the truck, meaning more items can ship at once. This helps lower the transportation pollution involved in shipping the games. Big Potato is also looking for ways to cut back on plastic. The company has committed to making 64% of its games being plastic -free by the end of 2021. This goal will be achieved by targeting the plastic waste commonly associated with boxed games, such as shrink wrap around the boxes and game cards and plastic box inserts inside the game. Instead, cellulose stickers will secure the boxes, and recyclable paper bands will keep the game cards in place. + Big Potato Games Images via Big Potato Games

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Greening the board game industry with Big Potato Games

A sustainable design response to Australia’s housing crisis

September 7, 2021 by  
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Designed by Jiri Lev of Atelier Jiri Lev, the Tasmanian House combines traditional and innovative approaches to architecture with local Tasmanian elements as a response to some of the area’s most pressing social issues. Lev is an architect focused on  community  values. Based in Tasmania and New South Wales, he highlights building design that is both sustainable and regionally appropriate. His expertise in education, heritage advising and legal proceedings add an important layer to his work with sacred and public architecture. Related: Off Grid House takes remote sustainability to new heights As such, Atelier Jiri Lev dedicates a significant portion of its work to pro bono and community building projects, often delivered via workshops and student engagement. Many of these projects are related to disaster recovery,  homelessness , community building and Australia’s housing crisis. The Tasmanian House is no exception — the building itself is a response to the country’s housing and environmental crisis to be sure, but with some impressive sustainable elements as well. For one, it uses sustainably sourced native timber and  sheep wool insulation , left raw, untreated and free from any paints or chemical treatments. Except for the metal components (and any furniture the owners decide to install inside), the Tasmanian House is designed to decompose and eventually become a certifiable organic garden at the end of its life thanks to the omission of synthetic materials during construction.  With unpainted plywood and a  corrugated steel  roof to match the building foundation and adjoining water tank, the design is modest without sacrificing convenience. The large bay windows bring ample light into the interior space, while the wood accents give off a minimalist, natural vibe. According to the designer, the private residence represents a contemporary interpretation of the Georgian period style, while maintaining the typical Tasmanian ability to “make the most out of quite little.” This is the first phase of a larger pavilion house meant to exist as either one or two independent residential units (a  studio  and a two-bedroom home) each with a private garden. The design helps demonstrate the state’s ability to become entirely self-sufficient when it comes to bulk construction materials. It also serves as a prototype for affordable and debt-free housing in Tasmania. The Phase I prototype home was completed in July 2021 and became open for public viewings in August 2021. + Atelier Jiri Lev Images courtesy of Atelier Jiri Lev

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A sustainable design response to Australia’s housing crisis

Study Confirms Mass Stranding of Whales Caused by Sonar Mapping

October 11, 2013 by  
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Humpback Whales in Madagascar, photo by Marco Zanferrari on Flickr Fleets of seafaring vessels have used sonar mapping to gain a clear picture of the ocean for years – however recently there has been growing concern over the effects of sonar on sea mammals. Now, for the very first time, an independent study confirms that this technique is responsible for a large-scale marine mammal stranding . In 2008, 100 melon-headed whales from the Loza Lagoon system in northwest Madagascar washed ashore due to sonar activities conducted by ExxonMobil Exploration and Production Limited. Read the rest of Study Confirms Mass Stranding of Whales Caused by Sonar Mapping Permalink | Add to del.icio.us | digg Post tags: dr. howard rosenbaum , exxonmobil , high frequency sonar , international fund for animal welfare , loza lagoon system , madagascar , melon headed whale , navy testing , ocean giants program , oil exploration , US Navy , whale mass stranding , wildlife conservation society        

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Study Confirms Mass Stranding of Whales Caused by Sonar Mapping

The Biomimicry Manual: What Can the Aye-Aye Teach Us About Echolocation?

August 21, 2013 by  
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You know bats and dolphins ‘echolocate’ to find their prey, sending out blips of squeaky SONAR-like sound waves that bounce off fish or moths in the dark. And people do it, too, using expensive equipment. But how about a monkey? The aye-aye ( Daubentonia madagascariensis ) is certainly no ordinary monkey. In fact, its not a monkey at all, but a highly specialized lemur from the island of Madagascar . Read the rest of The Biomimicry Manual: What Can the Aye-Aye Teach Us About Echolocation? Permalink | Add to del.icio.us | digg Post tags: aye-aye , bioinspired design , biomimicry , Dobby , echolocation , Gollum , lemur , madagascar , SONAR , Swiss Army Knife , ultrasound , yoda        

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Goal Zero’s New Lighthouse 250 Lantern Charges Your Devices in the Wilderness

August 21, 2013 by  
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Goal Zero prides itself in making products for living off the grid, but their new Lighthouse 250 Lantern brings a little technology to your camp . The solar powered lantern is equipped with a USB power hub, to keep gadgets fully charged while you relax by the fire . If you don’t have devices to power up, the rechargeable battery keeps the Lighthouse 250 Lantern aglow for up to 48 hours. Read the rest of Goal Zero’s New Lighthouse 250 Lantern Charges Your Devices in the Wilderness Permalink | Add to del.icio.us | digg Post tags: “portable generator” , eco design , goal zero , Goal Zero Lighthouse Lantern 250 , green design , solar powered lantern , sustainable design        

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Goal Zero’s New Lighthouse 250 Lantern Charges Your Devices in the Wilderness

Will a 10 Cent Fee Finally Get New Yorkers to Kick the Plastic Bag Habit?

August 21, 2013 by  
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They say the best things in life are free, but unfortunately so are some of the worst things – like plastic bags at New York City groceries, convenience stores and other retailers. But that could soon change if a new bill that was introduced today by the New York City Council is passed. The proposed legislation would charge consumers at least 10 cents per bag in hopes that frugal shoppers will quit the plastic habit and begin carrying around reusable totes. READ MORE > Permalink | Add to del.icio.us | digg Post tags: litter , new york city , plastic bag ban , plastic bags , plastic pollution , plastic tax , plastic waste , reusable bags , Shopping , shopping bags        

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London’s Largest Living Wall Sprouts Up on a Hotel in Victoria

August 21, 2013 by  
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London’s Largest Living Wall Sprouts Up on a Hotel in Victoria

Report Warns New York’s Indian Point Nuclear Plant is Vulnerable to Terrorist Attacks

August 21, 2013 by  
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A new report by the Nuclear Proliferation Prevention Project warns that the Indian Point Nuclear Power Plant located just 38 miles north of New York City is practically defenseless against terrorist attacks . The report states that the plant (which is already sitting on an earthquake fault line) is vulnerable to sniper and rocket-propelled grenade attacks, and it could be easily struck by a ship as well. READ MORE > Permalink | Add to del.icio.us | digg Post tags: department of defense , Department of Energy , Indian Point , National Institute of Standards and Technology , New York. , nuclear power , Nuclear Proliferation Prevention Project , Regulatory Commission , renewable energy , terrorism , terrorists , university of texas , Washington DC        

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Report Warns New York’s Indian Point Nuclear Plant is Vulnerable to Terrorist Attacks

Matali Crasset’s Pop Up Library Offers Light Reading and Shade on a French Beach

August 21, 2013 by  
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