Send your coworkers these sustainable holiday gifts

December 7, 2020 by  
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It’s the age-old question that manages to stump people in the workforce every year: what to buy coworkers for the holidays? With many people working from home this year, navigating what to buy for your teammates can be trickier than ever. Inhabitat has you covered with 11 thoughtful and eco-friendly gifts for the coworkers in your life. Fair-trade coffee For those who are unfamiliar, coffee that is certified as “ Fair-Trade ” has been vetted to ensure that the product has been produced to a certain set of ethical standards. When you buy Fair-Trade coffee, you’re not only supporting farmers who receive a fair price but supporting communities and their local environment as well. A gift of certified Fair-Trade coffee is the perfect present for the coffee-lovers in the office. Choose from some popular favorites like Cafedirect , which makes 90% of its farmers shareholders in the business, or Higher Ground Roasters , which has established partnerships with non-profits that protect important wild areas. Rok espresso machine Chances are, you have more than one coffee-lover in the office, so we just had to include this zero-waste and zero-energy espresso machine by Rok . The hand-operated machine produces a strong, double shot of espresso with no plastic pods or paper filters needed. Simply add coffee grounds to the steel portafilter, add boiling water and pull the steel arms of the machine down to produce either one double shot or two single shots at once. Its minimal design is perfect for an office kitchen or on top of a desk, and the device itself is light enough to carry around. Related: This zero-waste espresso machine is powered by human strength Zero-waste lunch kit Switching to a waste-free lunch box is one of the easiest ways to go green in the office. Package Free makes a zero-waste lunch kit complete with a silicone sandwich bag, organic cloth napkin, a bamboo cutlery set and an airtight stainless steel container. Everything inside the gift set is reusable and comes inside a handy drawstring produce bag to make it completely package free. At about $50 for everything, it won’t break the bank, either. Eco notebook Choose an eco-friendly or ethically sourced spiral notebook for meetings and conferences (in-person or virtual!), like this one from Marie Mae that’s designed, printed and packaged in the U.S. by family-owned production partners. All notebooks are fully recyclable , and a percentage of the paper composition is made from either post-consumer waste or sourced from certified sustainable and renewable wood. The Growing Candle It’s no secret that candles always make great gifts, no matter the occasion. Opt for one made from essential oil and sustainably sourced soy wax, coconut wax or beeswax for an eco-friendly flair and non-toxic fumes. The Growing Candle is made from 100% pure soy wax and a lead-free cotton wick with additive-, colorant- and phthalate-free fragrances. Even better, the candle comes in a beautiful ceramic holder and wrapped in paper embedded with wildflower seeds, so it can be repurposed as a flower planter after it has been used. ChopValue phone stand Give your coworkers a cute little home for their phones on their desks with this phone stand made from repurposed chopsticks. The ChopValue phone stand boasts 150 chopsticks recycled with 220 grams of carbon stored per product. With custom engraving available as well, this piece is sure to be a conversation starter. Welly tumbler  Featured everywhere from CNN and Vogue to Bon Appetit and Goop, this reusable bottle from Welly is made from bamboo and stainless steel . The company donates 1% of sales to charity:water to bring fresh water to those in need around the world. Choose from five different sizes and three different models plus various colors and patterns to accommodate everyone on your list. Biodegradable wood planters These biodegradable wood planters from Etsy shop MinimumDesign are 3D-printed using a sustainable blend of recycled wood and bioplastic made from corn. Available in a variety of shapes and sizes, choose the perfect style to sit on your coworker’s desk and add a little low-maintenance succulent or bonsai tree to top it off. Is your coworker lacking in gardening skills? The company also makes flower vases, coasters and even wall decorations. Upcycled circuit board supplies Another unique Etsy find (and who doesn’t love those?), these gifts from DebbyAremDesigns are made from recycled circuit boards. Perfect for the IT department or resident coworker who is always stuck fixing computer problems around the office, choose from budget-friendly bookmarks made from a recycled vintage circuit board or a more elaborate wall clock crafted from circuit board, vintage brass jewelry stampings and a recycled vintage vinyl record. Recycled plastic backpack Environmentally friendly and stylish, these $27 recycled plastic backpacks from Earth Easy come in three different colors and roll up into built-in pouches, making them lightweight, compact and convenient. The fabric is made from 100% post-consumer recycled plastic bottles and is machine-washable. With a zippable front pocket and a fold-over main compartment, it’s much more professional-looking than a standard school backpack. GoSili reusable straws Although plastic straws and single-use beverage cups are (hopefully) on their way out, there are bound to be one or two office mates who just haven’t gotten the memo yet. Along with cups and food storage containers, GoSili makes universal silicone straws tops that fit onto a wide range of different reusable cups, making them spill-proof and reusable. Kits even come with travel tins for sipping on the go. Images via S. Hermann & F. Richter , Inhabitat, Package Free, Marie Mae, The Growing Candle, ChopValue, Welly, MinimumDesign, DebbieAremDesigns, Earth Easy, GoSili and Freestocks

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Send your coworkers these sustainable holiday gifts

UN warns that humans will lose their war against nature

December 7, 2020 by  
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Fiction writing students learn about the handful of archetypal plots, including man versus nature . Usually that means something like 127 Hours, where a hiker in Utah gets stuck in a slot canyon, or Life of Pi, where a man and a tiger try to survive being shipwrecked together. But a plot about humans who set out to ruin the water, air, soil and planet that sustained their life would just be stupid, right? But that is exactly what we are doing, according to UN Secretary-General António Guterres, who issued a statement last Wednesday condemning humanity for waging war against the environment and urging people to change their ways. Related: Biden and Harris gear up for a fight to slow climate change “We are facing a devastating pandemic , new heights of global heating, new lows of ecological degradation and new setbacks in our work towards global goals for more equitable, inclusive and sustainable development,” Guterres said, speaking from Columbia University in New York. “To put it simply, the state of the planet is broken.” In case you need examples, 2020 has provided plenty: Wildfires in California and the Amazon; devastating hurricanes in Central America, the Caribbean and the southern U.S.; soaring temperatures in the Siberian Arctic, which people usually think of as cold; and record-setting temperatures in Death Valley, which most people thought was too hot already. Even Norway had a glacier-melting heatwave. The oceans are getting hotter, and sea ice is melting. Carbon dioxide levels have already rebounded from their early lockdown lows. Against this horrific backdrop, Guterres has outlined three climate priorities: achieve global carbon neutrality by 2050; align global finance with the Paris Agreement’s commitment of limiting global warming to 1.5?C; and focus money and human efforts on developing ways to adapt to the changing climate and increase resilience for future shifts in climate. “Let’s be clear: human activities are at the root of our descent toward chaos. But that means human action can help solve it,” Guterres said. “Making peace with nature is the defining task of the 21st century. It must be the top, top priority for everyone, everywhere.” Via CNN Image via NOAA

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UN warns that humans will lose their war against nature

Treat Fido and Fluffy with these eco-friendly holiday gifts for pets

December 3, 2020 by  
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Our  pets  constantly give to us, from a morning lick on the forehead to a bedtime purr. They bring out our best, most loving selves, and inspire us to get exercise in all types of weather. Even when they’re naughty — climbing the Christmas tree, zooming around the house when you’re trying to sleep, begging for a taste of your food — they’re so dang cute. They deserve to be number one on our gifting lists, so here are some eco-friendly gifts they’ll enjoy this holiday season. Wool toy Does your  dog  love a good game of tug-of-war? These 100% domestic wool  LooHoo Wooly Tug Toys  are soft enough not to hurt Spot’s teeth but easy to get a grip on. The 14- to 16-inch length gives you extra space between your hand and those powerful doggy teeth. Related: Keep your cat safe with these eco-friendly cat toys Zero-waste pet kit As those with canine companions know, walking Fido serves multiple purposes, not just exercise. In addition to quality time together, walks provide an opportunity for your dog to … um … let loose. With the  Zero Waste Fur Baby Kit , you won’t have to worry about  plastic  bags sitting in the landfill for the next few centuries. The kit includes biodegradable dog waste bags, plus a dog brush, conditioning dog shampoo bar and a toy. Fido will look his best while also saving the planet. Organic catnip During the recent election results, was Tigger showing signs of great cat interest — such as opening her eyes, or even blinking — when state measures on recreational marijuana passed? She’s clearly trying to tell you something. Sprinkle this USDA-certified  organic catnip  on toys or scratching posts, and your kitty will soon be rolling around on the floor in all sorts of silly positions. Dog shampoo bar Every dog owner believes (incorrectly) they have the world’s cutest dog (sorry, I do!). But we don’t always like to admit that sometimes our dogs can be a little smelly. This organic  natural shampoo bar  combines cedarwood and lavender with organic shea butter, castor oil, soap nuts and calendula. The castor oil and shea butter softly penetrate even the coarsest fur. Your dog will love the skin-soothing feel and anti-inflammatory benefits of calendula. Endorsed by cats that want the dog in the household to smell better. Cat basket Many people who live with cats notice that their little friends can get crabby if they aren’t allowed to sleep about 16 hours a day. All this sleeping should take place somewhere that befits your elegant cat. This  fair trade cat basket  is made of recycled saris , recycled plastic and hogla grass, which grows abundantly in Bangladesh, where this basket is made. The pillow and pillow cover are washable. At 13 inches in diameter and 11 inches high, this basket best fits the petite feline. Wood pet tags Rover can proudly wear this attractive  pet tag , and if/when he roves, it will be easy for somebody to direct him home using the tag’s info. Choose from natural, chestnut or black wood in various sizes of bones or circles. These tags are handmade in Palo Alto,  California and promise to be “water/drool and tear resistant.” Pet bowls These  bowls by Whom  artistically blend  wood  and metal in a way that will enhance the corner of your kitchen floor far more than an ordinary, plastic food bowl. As the website promises, “Each is manufactured to order and handmade by our expert craftsman. No warehouse full of these!” It’s kind of like getting Mr. Whiskers a bespoke suit instead of buying him something off the rack. There are even double and triple bowls for pets that enjoy eating next to each other. A word of warning, though — once you buy a beautiful custom bowl, Mr. Whiskers might expect you to fill it with filet mignon, not kibble. Paw rescue balm Do your hands dry out on those cold  winter  days? Well, dog and cat paws can, too.  Organic Winter Dog Paw Rescue Balm  eases the pain of chapped noses and rough paw pads. It uses natural ingredients like coconut oil, beeswax, shea butter, olive oil, calendula, vetiver and rosemary. While this treatment will feel divine for many pets, always check with your vet before applying any new topical products to your fur friends. Magical malachite Friendship Collar Paws down, this is one of the cutest  gifts  you can give this holiday season: matching vegan, cruelty-free, scratch-resistant bracelet and collar sets for human/canine duos. Buy a set for you and your dog, and extra sets to give as gifts to all your dog-loving friends. For every  Friendship Collar  set you buy, the maker will donate six pounds of food to shelter animals. Eco-friendly treats Is your best friend food-motivated? V-Dog makes  cruelty-free treats  that include pumpkin, carrots, broccoli and spinach in the ingredients list.  Pet Naturals of Vermont  has a whole line of treats that do double duty: tasting delicious while cutting down on Fluffy’s hairballs and easing hip and joint pain. Images via Unsplash, LooHoo, Package Free Shop, Pixabay, Eco Girl Shop, WoodLeon, Whom Home, BestFriendBeauty, Friendship Collar and V-Dog

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Treat Fido and Fluffy with these eco-friendly holiday gifts for pets

How two companies are building systems to scale reuse, which is vital for a circular economy

November 6, 2020 by  
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How two companies are building systems to scale reuse, which is vital for a circular economy Deonna Anderson Fri, 11/06/2020 – 01:15 In the past few years, as consumers looked to cut down on plastic waste at the grocery store, more mainstream supermarkets turned to bulk shopping bins as a solution. But scoop bins quickly have become a thing of the past this year due to the COVID-19 pandemic. For MOM’s Organic Market, a chain of family-owned and operated grocers in the Mid-Atlantic region of the United States that has the purpose of protecting and restoring the environment, it was only a small adjustment. “[Our reuse] programs are all still in operation, and we’re minimally impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic,” said Alexandra DySard, environmental and partnership manager at MOM’s Organic Market, during GreenBiz Group’s clean economy conference VERGE 20 last week. The chain has taken an innovative tack: it’s still encouraging its shoppers to use reusable containers for all areas of its stores, but it’s changed the way the bulk shopping operates. While scoopable bins are off limits in its stores, the chain is using gravity bins (the ones pictured above), which have a pull-down lever to dispense food without its having any contact with a person’s hand. It’s easy to use and easy to sanitize. On the B2B side of commerce, there’s another opportunity for reuse. In 2017, when LimeLoop, an IoT solution for sustainable e-commerce shipping logistics, started, it was in response to the amount of waste caused by e-commerce. “Online shopping was resulting in huge waste piles,” said Chantal Emmanuel, CTO and co-founder of LimeLoop. Additionally, she said, the brands that LimeLoop was working with faced challenges in making the transition from in-store experiences to an online one. “We saw an opportunity to solve both of these problems through use,” she said. We knew that we had to have a holistic approach to this solution, because it’s not enough to just drop off 2,000 shippers to a retail company and say, ‘Good luck getting these back.’ In 2017, containers and packaging made up a significant portion of municipal solid waste (MSW), about 80.1 million tons (29.9 percent of total MSW generation), according to the EPA . Reuse can reduce the amount of waste that will need to be recycled or sent to landfills and incinerators.  “[Reuse] is needed. It is possible. It is beneficial. It can be profitable, and it can work for all sizes of business, small, medium and large,” said Holly Kaufman, president of Environment & Enterprise Strategies, who moderated the session about advancing reuse. How to meet people where they are LimeLoop partners directly with retail companies and provides them with a set of reusable packages made from upcycled billboard vinyl and lined with recycled cotton. The partner companies are able to use those to fill orders in the same way that they would with a cardboard box or plastic poly mailer, except they’re reusable — for an estimated 200 uses — and include a prepaid return label.  When a person receives their package, they pull out the product, flip over the label and return the package by putting it into their mailbox. The package is returned to the retail company, which sanitizes it and then puts it back in rotation for another customer. “We like to remind people that it’s actually easier than recycling a cardboard box,” Emmanuel said. But for retailers, making sure the LimeLoop packages are actually reused also can be a challenge.  “We knew that we had to have a holistic approach to this solution, because it’s not enough to just drop off 2,000 shippers to a retail company and say, ‘Good luck getting these back,’” Emmanuel said, noting that they need the whole logistical system and supply chain technology to make sure that those packages get from point A to point B, then back to point A. “Otherwise, we’re creating more waste than we would have if we were using a disposable cardboard box,” she said. With that in mind, the retailers get access to LimeLoop’s software platform, which acts as an order management system and also as a tool for communicating directly with consumers.  Emmanuel said moving to such a reuse model demands an education process, because you need to let people know what to do with this packaging as it’s so different from a single-use cardboard package. Pushing the goalposts Back in 2005, MOM’s banned single-use plastic bags in its stores to encourage shoppers to bring their own reusable bags. That was nearly a decade before California became the first state in the United States to ban them. And in 2010, the grocery chain banned the sale of plastic flat bottled water in an effort to eliminate even more single-use plastic from its stores. In place of bottled water, it installed bulk water filling stations. We all know that there is actually no such thing as disposable — nothing’s disposable and ends up someplace, right? Everything goes somewhere. In addition to making these changes in its own stores, DySard said MOM’s is very active in local and federal advocacy and policy, by submitting testimony and attending hearings on plastics-related legislation. “I feel like that’s the direction that we need to go [if] we want to continue to grow this movement of reusables and really give it legs,” DySard said. Establishing a reuse program won’t be easy for every company Like the pivot that MOM’s had to make with its scoop bins during COVID-19 — as it works to open more locations, it is designing them to have mostly gravity bins — reuse models will need to be iterated. Emmanuel also shared a hiccup from LimeLoop’s first fleet of 500 shipping packages, which had a solid plastic envelope on the front of it to put the label in. She and her team didn’t realize that it’s customary for USPS to use permanent markers to mark on the labels. That wasn’t ideal. “I had to spend a couple of days literally just like popping out holes in the middle of the plastic so that they could start marking on the labels,” she said. For the next generation of its shippers, the company designed the packages in a way that USPS workers could mark directly onto the paper labels when they needed to. Nothing is ever going to be perfect, but reuse is a practice worth working to improve and scale. “We all know that there is actually no such thing as disposable — nothing’s disposable and ends up someplace, right? Everything goes somewhere,” Kaufman said. “We want it to go where we want it to go. And not into the ocean, the soil and bits of them go into our bodies. “Even with dental and surgical equipment — those are the ultimate reuse. And if we can do those safely, we can certainly do all kinds of packaging safely.” Pull Quote We knew that we had to have a holistic approach to this solution, because it’s not enough to just drop off 2,000 shippers to a retail company and say, ‘Good luck getting these back.’ We all know that there is actually no such thing as disposable — nothing’s disposable and ends up someplace, right? Everything goes somewhere. Topics Circular Economy Design & Packaging Reuse VERGE 20 Featured in featured block (1 article with image touted on the front page or elsewhere) Off Duration 0 Sponsored Article Off Photo by  Rosie Parsons  on Shutterstock.

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How two companies are building systems to scale reuse, which is vital for a circular economy

Certifications matter more than ever and brands should be promoting them

October 6, 2020 by  
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Certifications matter more than ever and brands should be promoting them Suzanne Shelton Tue, 10/06/2020 – 00:30 I’ve written quite a bit lately about how Americans are experiencing a “Maslow moment”  right now. Concerns about the environment are taking a backseat to worries about basic needs — our health and our economy (at both the macro and personal level). But that doesn’t mean we’re not at all worried about the environment. According to our latest polling of Americans in May, 43 percent of us are more concerned about climate change, 41 percent of us are more concerned about plastics in the ocean and 39 percent of us are more concerned about deforestation and environmental destruction than we were a year ago. While the percentage of Americans worried about these issues has gone down by a quarter to a third for the moment, the remaining 40 percent of us who are worrying about these issues are worrying more intensely. So what are we doing with that worry? At Shelton Group, we’ve seen for several years that Americans are increasingly working to manage their environmental concerns via their purchases. About a quarter of Americans, in fact, can name a brand — unaided — that they’ve purchased or not purchased because of the environmental record of the manufacturer. Which begs the question: How do they know a product is green? Americans are increasingly working to manage their environmental concerns via their purchases. If we go back in time to 2014, the No. 1 answer by far was, “I read the ingredients/detail on the package.” So Americans have trusted their own knowledge base as a way to determine what details or storylines matter most — and they’ve trusted brands to be honest with them. Fast forward to 2020 and while “I read the package” is still the No. 1 answer, it’s slipped a bit. And a significant number have lost confidence in their own ability to judge whether a product is green — 23 percent now say there’s no way to know. But one measure has gained traction that, in fact, is a way to know whether a product is green: third-party certifications. This is worth unpacking further for brands: 87 percent of Americans say green certifications are important when purchasing a product. So certifications can and should be used as a way to validate a brand’s green claims. But it’s not just about influencing purchases; certifications build trust: Energy Star and USDA Organic are named as the best third-party certifiers in ensuring a product is green (although Energy Star slipped significantly from 2014) and, not surprisingly, they’re the two most trusted third-party certifiers, with 69 percent of Americans mostly-to-completely trusting Energy Star and 46 percent mostly-to-completely trusting USDA Organic. Also not surprisingly, awareness is closely linked to trust. Let’s look at the Sustainable Forestry Initiative (SFI), whose label indicates whether a product was sustainably sourced (and full disclosure, it is a Shelton Group client). 52 percent of Americans have heard of the SFI label, and 90 percent of those people say they trust it. So awareness of the label can drive trust in the label and, by extension, the brand. That’s the most important piece for brands: Certifications on packaging/labels engender more trust than a brand’s advertising or press. And certifications backed by scientists would do ostensibly better, given that scientists are among the top three most trusted sources. The moral of the story for brands is that you should use third-party certifications, and once you’re using them, you should promote them and leverage their trustworthiness to communicate your green product story. This starts on pack. Don’t just put the third-party certification logo on your package, tell the story of why it’s on your package. Back to our client SFI: We often see their logo on packaging accompanied by a sentence that sounds as if it were written by the brand’s lawyers instead of a compelling message that communicates the value of forests in fighting climate change. Get the compelling message on your package to build both awareness and value in certifications which, in turn, will build value and believability in your sustainability story. (And if you’re an SFI user, reach out to them about this — we’ve crafted an entire toolkit of messages you can use on pack that we know will resonate with consumers.) Now, don’t limit your efforts to packaging; communicate about your third-party certifications in your social and digital efforts. Ensure people know about each certification you use, tell the story about what they each mean and why you’ve partnered with them. It’ll buy your brand more trust — and your sustainability story more credibility — than simply running an ad talking about your sustainability efforts or a press release with your latest goal announcements. In our current environment — where legitimate news organizations are branded as “fake news,” actual fake news is tough to spot and Americans are in the streets and on social media demanding change from governments and companies — certifications can be a trusted, trustworthy “spokesperson” that brands, and Americans, can rely on. Pull Quote Americans are increasingly working to manage their environmental concerns via their purchases. Topics Marketing & Communication Standards & Certification Market Intelligence Collective Insight Speaking Sustainably Featured in featured block (1 article with image touted on the front page or elsewhere) Off Duration 0 Sponsored Article Off

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Certifications matter more than ever and brands should be promoting them

Mysterious seeds from China arriving in mail across America

July 30, 2020 by  
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Agricultural officials from several states have expressed alarm over unsolicited packages of seeds delivered to residents. The packages appear to come from China, as they feature China Post labeling. Agricultural officers advise farmers not to plant the seeds, in case they are harmful or invasive. Warnings sent out to farmers and residents follow reports of unsolicited seed packages being delivered in residents’ mail. Several people reported receiving seeds in white pouches that featured Chinese writing and the words “China Post.” Another concerning detail is that the seed packages were not labeled as food or agricultural products. Envelopes included misleading labels, with some listing the contents as jewelry, toys or earbuds. States that have released public notices against planting the unsolicited seeds include Washington, Virginia, Kentucky, Delaware, Colorado, Iowa, Georgia, Minnesota, Maryland, Mississippi, Montana, Oklahoma, Nevada, New Hampshire, South Carolina, North Carolina, Tennessee, West Virginia, North Dakota, Texas, Alabama and Florida. Kentucky , one of the first states to receive reports of unsolicited seeds, issued warnings to residents. As Ryan Quarles, Kentucky’s Agriculture Commissioner, wrote on Twitter, residents should “put the package and seeds in a zip lock bag and wash your hands immediately.” Residents must also send any seeds they receive to the Department of Agriculture. Following the reports, several other states, including Arkansas, Michigan , Oregon and New Jersey, issued warnings to residents. Such measures may help prevent farmers from planting harmful, contaminated seeds. The Chinese Embassy in Washington claims these China Post packages “to be fake ones with erroneous layouts and entries.” Cecilia Sequeira, spokesperson for the U.S. Agriculture Department’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service, says the department is working with U.S. Customs and Border Protection to stop illegal importation of prohibited seeds. Should you receive any mysterious seeds in the mail, report it to the nearest Agriculture Office. + NY Times Image via Pexels

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Mysterious seeds from China arriving in mail across America

The pros and cons of online versus in-store shopping

June 20, 2019 by  
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In as little as a few clicks and confirmations your online purchase can be at your doorstep in a matter of hours. Online shopping is so simple there is barely enough time to consider the process your order goes through in order to reach its destination, not to mention the cost! It’s easy to condemn Americans’ obsession with online retail as unsustainable over-consumption, but when the numbers are pitted against in-store shopping, online shopping is actually the more eco-friendly option. Think of delivery services as public transportation for your packages, where everyone’s package rides the same bus instead of your personal car. Online shopping Online shopping constitutes one out of every seven purchases around the world, that’s nearly 15 percent of all shopping. The online retail industry is worth over $3.5 trillion, a massive total that rises by 20 percent every year. The average carbon footprint of a package is difficult to calculate because there are huge discrepancies. For example, the time and resources used comparing a local clothing delivery and a refrigerator that travels across the world from China. The advantages In Britain, the average package produces just six ounces of carbon dioxide, which sounds tiny but has to be multiplied by millions of deliveries. Going to the store to pick up your item and back, averaging an estimated 13 miles, produces approximately 144 ounces of carbon dioxide , which is 24 times more than the delivered package. You would have to pick up 24 items in order to break even. According to a researcher and author of Decarbonizing Logistics , even when you consider mis-deliveries and returns, the averages point to online shopping as a more environmentally-friendly option. Nowadays, many popular brands no longer have (or never had) storefronts. The carbon footprint of running a website alone is also drastically less than the energy it takes to power and maintain a building space. The disadvantages The biggest polluter for delivery services is the last mile, and those emissions are multiplied every time the delivery is unsuccessful. Between 12 and 60 percent of all deliveries are unsuccessful on the first try, so they often make a second or third attempt. If they are still unsuccessful, the consumer must drive to a warehouse to pick up the package– negating all benefits in terms of carbon emissions . Furthermore, about one fifth of all products purchased online are returned, which can double the carbon footprint. In-store shopping The advantages Shopping in person partially cuts down on returns because customers are able to touch, see and try on the items before purchasing. This means they are more likely to select something they like and that fits them and avoid the common online practice of buying one item in a few sizes and returning all but one. Additional advantages of in-store shopping lie in the personal choices people make to reduce their carbon footprint. Many people walk or bike to stores, while others utilize public transportation . Although a bus still has a carbon footprint, you technically aren’t adding additional emissions since the bus was simply completing a pre-determined route. Moreover, shoppers tend to purchase more than one item at a time, which minimizes the emissions per item. The disadvantages Depending on the distance the consumer travels and their mode of transportation, online shopping is highly inefficient. In most cases, shoppers drive individually in personal cars to malls or commercial areas. Although shoppers can make personal choices to cut down their emissions, such as carpooling and staying local, research shows these steps still do not compensate for the benefits of online shopping . Related: Over 6000 employees demand Amazon take climate change seriously How to make smarter shopping choices New innovations Delivery services are growing rapidly and getting creative. Amazon is piloting drone deliveries and other companies are experimenting with ground-based robots. New apps and shared economy services are also popping up, like bike courier companies. One innovative app called Roadie is playing with the idea of a package hitchhiking system that connects your package with a delivery already heading in that direction. Slow shopping You’ve heard of slow food , but it turns out that slow deliveries might be more environmentally friendly too. Most people who can afford it opt for speedy deliveries, but this forces retailers to send packages out individually, immediately and sometimes in emptier trucks just in order to meet deadlines. With the wiggle room of a few more days, shippers can bundle items going to a similar location together and reduce the number of trips and emissions. Buy Local If you can walk or bike to the store, that’s a great option. If you have to ship something, check out different retailers and chose the one located closest to you. The less distance your package travels, the lower the carbon footprint. Conspicuous consumption There are a few ways to be a more responsible buyer. If you know a delivery is coming, make sure to be home when the delivery arrives so it does not have to double back. Select slower delivery times when not in a rush and shop more purposefully to avoid returns. Overall, the best way to reduce retail-related emissions is to buy less! Carefully consider what you need and do not buy items that you will barely use. But most importantly, always consider all items before a purchase. Are they necessary? Afterall, an item not purchased has the lowest footprint. Via Ensia Images via StockSnap , HutchRock, kasjanf, RouteXL

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Cool off this summer at this tiny house water park with a natural lagoon

June 20, 2019 by  
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If the summer heat is already getting you hot and sweaty, cool down at this amazing tiny home water park in Wisconsin Dells. Guests to the Dells Resorts park have a number of accommodation options, but one of the best by far is this gorgeous tiny home built by Bantam Built Homes , which sits next to the park’s natural lagoon. The Bantam tiny home , which sleeps four, blends in nicely with the natural surroundings of the resort. Clad in a blend of dark wood and copper, the exterior boasts a tiny deck with a glass door that leads into a spectacular living space. Related: Try out tiny house living in Oregon’s new micro-home resort in Mt. Hood The home’s interior is light and airy, brightened by natural light from an abundance of windows. The compact kitchen comes with all of the basic amenities, including plenty of counter space and full-size appliances. To the right of the kitchen, the living room is made up of a sofa with what appears to be an attractive wooden accent wall. However, the wall actually conceals a mattress that can be folded out into a bed. Past the kitchen, a ladder leads up to the comfy sleeping loft , which has enough space for a queen-sized bed. Underneath the loft, the designers added a spacious bathroom with a large vanity, a stand-up shower, a toilet and an ingenious sliding shelf unit for linens. In addition to its charming tiny home accommodations, the water park also features a number of eco-friendly practices. The water pond, for example, is kept clean using natural elements instead of harmful chemicals and uses a waterfall to add extra oxygen to the water. + Dell Resorts + Bantam Built Homes Via Tiny House Talk Images via Bantam Built Homes

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Cool off this summer at this tiny house water park with a natural lagoon

New Airstream trailer is built to tackle off-roading for 40K

August 1, 2018 by  
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Want to tackle rough roads in style? Airstream , the makers of the iconic “silver bullet” trailers, has just unveiled the new Basecamp X Package, a compact camper specifically designed for rugged roads. The all-terrain Basecamp X Package comes with a convertible and multifunctional rear space that delivers style and the comforts of home to any adventure off the beaten path. Clad in shiny aluminum panels, the Basecamp X Package is the more rugged cousin of Basecamp , a tiny trailer launched two years ago. The newly unveiled trailer offers all the standard Basecamp features—such as versatile storage solutions throughout and a solar pre-wire kit for renewable power hookups—as well as brand-new features. These include a three-inch lift kit for added ground clearance, Goodyear Wrangler all-terrain tires, a stainless steel front stone guard, a solar front window protection, and a black shadow wheel design. “Our Basecamp X encourages you to go on bigger adventures,” said Airstream CEO and President Bob Wheeler in a press release. “You can tackle rough roads and cold-weather driving with confidence. “The higher departure angle along with the aerodynamic design opens up a new world to explore.” Related: Airstream’s new Basecamp is a tiny house you can tow practically anywhere The compact unit has a base weight of just 2,635 pounds—with a maximum trailer capacity (GVWR) of 3,500 pounds—and can be easily adapted for eating, sleeping, lounging or storage. Large rear cargo hatches make loading and unloading easy. The Basecamp X Package is towable with a variety of small and mid-sized SUVs and Crossovers. The pricing for the Basecamp X Package units starts at $39,600. + Airstream

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New Airstream trailer is built to tackle off-roading for 40K

UPS is developing an electric delivery truck with a startup

August 1, 2018 by  
Filed under Business, Green

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The odds are growing that the package you’ve been waiting for will be delivered in a truck powered by a battery.Delivery giant UPS announced this week that it’s partnered with a small tech startup called Thor Trucks, based in Los Angeles, to create and test out an electric delivery vehicle.The truck, a class 6 with a battery range of 100 miles, is supposed to be available later this year. UPS will test it out over a 6-month period and determine whether it wants to make a larger purchase order. 

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UPS is developing an electric delivery truck with a startup

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