Whole Foods prices just dropped by as much as 43%

August 28, 2017 by  
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Until recently, few people could afford to shop at Whole Foods regularly. Now that Amazon has bought out the grocery chain for $13.7 billion , however, big changes are underway. On its first day, the internet giant slashed some of the store’s prices by up to 43 percent. The goal is to upend the way customers shop and ensure more people have access to affordable, healthy food. The first step to addressing the store’s reputation for being overpriced (which has led some to call it Whole Paycheck) was to mark down the prices of food. Bloomberg reports that at the Whole Foods store on East 57th Street in Manhattan , organic fuji apples were marked down to $1.99 a pound from $3.49. Similarly, organic rotisserie chicken fell to $9.99 from $13.99 and organic avocados changed from $2.79 each to $1.99. All of the marked-down items have orange signs reading, “Whole Foods + Amazon .” The sign also lists that there is “More to come.” “Price was the largest barrier to Whole Foods’ customers,” said Mark Baum, a senior vice president at the Food Marketing Institute. “Amazon has demonstrated that it is willing to invest to dominate the categories that it decides to compete in. Food retailers of all sizes need to look really hard at their pricing strategies, and maybe find some funding sources to build a war chest.” 60-year-old Simon Salamon couldn’t be more pleased by the marriage between Amazon and Whole Foods . He said, “It reminded me why I shop at Amazon. Ninety-nine percent of the time they have the best prices and their return policy is great. With the prices lower, I think we’re more likely to shop here every day.” While Walmart has invested billions into lowering prices all around, it’s Costco that might be Whole Foods’ biggest competitor. The chain has a slate of organic items that are priced about 30 percent cheaper than Whole Foods, according to Sanford Bernstein. Prices can remain low, as Costco charges membership fees and sells bulk-sized goods to customers. Related: Whole Foods reveals the bleak future of dessert without bees Now that the deal is done, only time will tell if the organic grocery chain will be successful at changing its reputation and, in the process, serving a wider clientele. Via Bloomberg Images via Whole Foods , Pixabay

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Whole Foods prices just dropped by as much as 43%

Floating Cloud lamp adds levitating magic to any room

August 14, 2017 by  
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Take your home to new atmospheric levels with this incredible floating cloud lamp. Designed by Richard Clarkson Studio and Crealev , Floating Cloud is a magnetically levitating ambient lamp that adds a magical touch to any room it hovers in. The designers just announced a limited production run of these unique and fluffy lamps—read on for more details and to see the cloud come alive. Floating Cloud is the latest iteration of an ongoing collaboration between Richard Clarkson Studio’s cloud-themed designs and Crealev’s innovative levitation technology. Made from PETG and hypoallergenic polyester fiber, the fluffy cloud-like mass floats approximately 2.75 inches off its base using magnetic levitation. The Cloud is entirely wireless and the base is powered with a rechargeable lithium ion battery. The cloud spins and bobs side-to-side for a “more realistic atmospheric experience,” while hidden sound-reactive RGB LEDs create the powerful illusion of a storm cloud with lightning. To reduce weight and size, the Floating Cloud does not include a speaker, however it will react to existing sound systems and voices. The Cloud flashes to the beat of the music in four different styles using an embedded microphone. An infrared remote controls a range of ambient lamp modes from white to colored versions. Related: This water-filled lamp makes it rain in your home “The Cloud is held in place using both rare earth magnets, electromagnets, and a location sensor,” write Richard Clarkson Studio. “There is a discrete infrared locating beam in the center of the Cloud, which, if obstructed by an object (such as a hand) will result in the Cloud “falling off” it’s levitating balance point. In such an event the Cloud has a soft felt bottom to cushion the fall. To return the Cloud to its floating position, use your fingers to pry the Cloud off the base and with two hands hold the Cloud roughly in position, slowly move the Cloud from side to side until you feel it ‘lock’ in place.” The studio has released a limited 100-unit production run of the Floating Cloud, available on their website for $4,620 USD . + Richard Clarkson Studio

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Floating Cloud lamp adds levitating magic to any room

New online grocery store sells quality goods for just $3

July 17, 2017 by  
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Whether you’re shopping for a facial cleanser, gluten-free brownie mix, or bowls and mugs for your kitchen, everything you seek can be obtained at incredible low prices through Brandless . The new online retailer based out of San Francisco, California is selling nearly 200 generically packaged staples for a mere $3. Products include pantry items, beauty products, office and household supplies and personal care items. Best of all, over 50 percent of the items are organic , with many of the foods being free of preservatives, GMO-free and gluten-free. According to co-founder Tina Sharkey, the goal of Brandless is to “democratize goodness,” and ensure every consumer has access to affordable, basic necessities. “We feel like as a nation, we have become quite polarized, and we see all people as the same,” Sharkey  told NBC News . “We deeply believe people being able to live their values.” Some of the products presently being advertised on the Brandless website include organic applesauce, sea-salt quinoa chips, a six-ounce bag of fair-trade Colombian coffee, virgin coconut oil, and an eight-inch serrated bread knife. Because the store specialized in packaged nonperishables, no produce, bread, frozen goods, dairy or meat is sold. However, that doesn’t mean consumers aren’t receiving great deals. One can expect to pay $9 flat rate in shipping, unless they spend $72, in which case shipping is free. An annual membership costing $36 allows one to receive free shipping if their shopping cart totals $48 or more. As Today reports, Brandless can afford to sell a variety of high-quality products for $3 because none of the items on the shelves are brand names. In fact, all are unique to Brandless, which co-founder Ido Leffler says saves money in retail space, warehousing and distribution by eliminating the “brand tax” that often makes products cost up to 40 percent more. Before any item is sold, both Leffler and Sharkey approve the products, going through multiple rounds of taste tests before settling on what they want. They hope to attract health-conscious consumers and believe that in time, Brandless can rival stores such as Whole Foods , Sprouts and Trader Joes. Related: EarthCraft-certified Organic Life House teaches Atlanta agrihood residents about healthy living The co-founders are aware they need to sell a lot of the products to be successful, so the goal right now is to reach as many customers as possible. “We will absolutely scale our logistics and operations to work to delight everybody as quickly and we can,” said Sharkey. ”We’re just getting started.” + Brandless Via Today , GrubStreet Images via Brandless

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New online grocery store sells quality goods for just $3

How to Deal with Recycling Guilt

July 5, 2017 by  
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I tend to approach new endeavors with an excess of enthusiasm, and when I get into something, I get really into it. An environmentally friendly lifestyle was one of those things I embraced with zeal, and I’ll readily admit that I went a…

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How to Deal with Recycling Guilt

Nature-inspired Chrysalis pavilion pops up in a Maryland forest

May 18, 2017 by  
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New York-based architecture studio MARC FORNES / THEVERYMANY completed an experimental amphitheater that “provides an experience around the clock.” Located in Merriweather Park of Columbia, Maryland the organic, nature-inspired venue, called The Chrysalis, comprises cascading green arches that give it a sculptural appearance. In addition to their eye-catching beauty and structural support, The Chrysalis’ arches also vary in size and function. The largest arch frames Stage A, the main area for events located next to the smaller Stage B. Other arches frame a truck loading dock, a grand staircase entrance, and balconies with views to the city. The digitally designed amphitheater was created with a self-supporting shell with an exoskeleton of steel tubing. Despite the 12,000-square-foot venue’s lightweight appearance, the sturdy structure can sustain 2,000 pounds of equipment on each of its 70 point loads. Nearly 8,000 aluminum shingles fabricated by Zahner clad The Chrysalis. Related: MARC FORNES/THEVERYMANY’s ultralight informal amphitheater in France looks like an opening chrysalis “Each shingle is painted one of four shades of green that is taken from nature and pushed to the point of artificiality,” write the architects. “Together they amount to a subtle green gradient that renders The Chrysalis an iconic signal at the same time that it is camouflaged into its natural surroundings.” + MARC FORNES / THEVERYMANY Images via MARC FORNES / THEVERYMANY and Zahner

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Nature-inspired Chrysalis pavilion pops up in a Maryland forest

4 Ways to Kill Weeds the All-Natural Way

May 4, 2017 by  
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If you’re an avid gardener, you know just how toxic weed killers can be. Sure, they’ll knock out garden pests, but they may also hurt carefully tended flowers and vegetables and may be harmful to children and pets. Organic gardening is popular for…

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4 Ways to Kill Weeds the All-Natural Way

Episode 65: Kashi grows ‘transitional’ wheat; circularity takes off in cities

February 24, 2017 by  
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In this week’s episode: How Phoenix is kicking its reputation as “the world’s least sustainable city,” and thinking big and small when it comes to corporate projects in cities.

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Episode 65: Kashi grows ‘transitional’ wheat; circularity takes off in cities

Incredible sea creature sculptures are made from dangerously sharp colored pencils

February 8, 2017 by  
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It’s always fascinating to see common objects, like pencils, used in unexpected and amazing ways— Jennifer Maestre’s art is one such example. The Massachusetts-based artist creates alien-like sea creature sculptures made from hundreds of colored pencils . Though her vibrantly colorful pieces are beautiful and attractive, many of the pencils are sharpened into dangerous needle-like points to mimic defense mechanisms found in nature. In her artist’s statement, Maestre credits the original inspiration for her art to the form and function of sea urchins . She said she was drawn to the urchin’s beautiful yet dangerous spines, as well as that tension we feel between the desire to touch and the repulsion to pain. The artist captures this feeling of push and pull in her handmade pencil sculptures that combine smooth and sharp surfaces, from the flat pencil ends and overlapped shavings to the sharpened points. Related: Federico Uribe Creates Incredible Sculptures From Thousands of Colored Pencil Tips “Paradox and surprise are integral in my choice of materials,” writes Maestre. “Quantities of industrially manufactured objects are used to create flexible forms reminiscent of the organic shapes of animals and nature . Pencils are common objects, here, these anonymous objects become the structure. There is true a fragility to the sometimes brutal aspect of the sculptures, vulnerability that is belied by the fearsome texture.” The sculptures are made from pencils cut into one-inch sections that she then drills to turn into beads. The pencils are sharpened and sewn together, often with a peyote stitch technique. + Jennifer Maestre

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Incredible sea creature sculptures are made from dangerously sharp colored pencils

South Pacific islands introduce ban on western junk food

February 3, 2017 by  
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South Pacific islands are banning western junk food in favor of a more nutritious diet. As the islands can grow organic, local food themselves, leaders in Torba, a Vanuatu province, said they want to ban imported foreign food. Their goal is to be the first organic province in Vanuatu by 2020. Torba is Vanuatu’s most isolated province, according to community leader Father Luc Dini. Around 10,000 people reside in the province; most are subsistence farmers. But Dini said the remote islands are experiencing an intrusion of foreign junk food, the most popular of which have been sweets, biscuits, tinned fish, and rice. In contrast, the islands can yield pineapple, yams, paw paw, shellfish, crabs, and other fish for what Dini sees as a healthier diet. He told The Guardian, “It is easy to boil noodles or rice, but they have almost no nutritional value and there is no need to eat imported food when we have so much local food grown organically on our islands.” Related: Michael Moss Investigates How Junk Food is Engineered to Be Addictive Dini also leads the local tourism council, and starting this week, with the support of other local chiefs, he has ordered tourism bungalows to serve only local, organic food. He aims to introduce legislation in the next two years to wholly ban imports of foreign food. Vanuatu’s central government, in Port Vila, has been supportive, according to Dini. “In other provinces that have adopted western diets you see pretty young girls but when they smile they have rotten teeth, because the sugar has broken down their teeth. We don’t want that to happen here and we don’t want to develop the illnesses that come with a western junk food diet,” he told The Guardian. “If you really want to live on a paradise of your own, then you should make do with what you have and try and live with nature .” Via The Guardian Images via Wikimedia Commons and Harsha K R on Flickr

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South Pacific islands introduce ban on western junk food

Solar-power system could provide clean drinking water in rural India for the first time

February 2, 2017 by  
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A solar-powered purification system could slake the thirsts of rural India with clean drinking water for the first time. This would be no ordinary feat. Tens of millions of people in India lack access to potable water, and roughly 600,000 Indian children die every year from water- and sanitation-related diseases like diarrhea or pneumonia, according to UNICEF . In the country’s most far-flung regions, where 70 percent of India’s population lives, toxic bacteria routinely fouls at least half of the water supply . But while the Indian government has focused its efforts on treating surface water in rivers and streams, researchers from the University of Edinburgh in Scotland want to attack the source of contamination: sewage. They’ve developed a system that uses sunlight to induce high-energy particles within a photocatalytic material, which uses light to generate a chemical reaction. These, in turn, activate molecules of oxygen, mobilizing them to destroy bacteria and other organic matter. Because the materials require no power source, an off-grid system requires little more than attaching the photocatalyst to containers of contaminated water and angling them toward the sun until they’re safe to drink. If necessary, the system could be used in tandem with a filter to catch larger particles. Related: 6 Innovative, Life-Saving Designs for Clean Drinking Water The researchers are now working with the Indian Institute of Science Education & Research to scale up the technologies they honed during a five-month pilot project. “Working closely with our Indian partners, we aim to harness the sun’s energy to tackle a huge problem that affects many people around the world,” Neil Robertson, a professor from the University of Edinburgh’s School of Chemistry, said in a statement. + University of Edinburgh Via FastCo.Exist Photo by Jake Givens

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