Designer creates algae-sourced alternative for plastic packaging

February 27, 2019 by  
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Food packaging has a become a target in the world of sustainability and environmentalism. Walk down the aisle of any supermarket or look in your own shopping cart, and you’re likely to see package after package made from petroleum-based plastic. A few resourceful scientists and engineers have chosen to tackle the problem, including designer Margarita Talep, who has developed an algae-based alternative to plastic. With the short lifecycle of most packaging, Talep wanted to create a material that would stand up to the task of holding food and other products but break down quickly once it hit the waste stream. Related: Nuatan is the bioplastic that could answer the plastic pollution crisis Agar, a gel-like substance sourced from seaweed, is not new to the food world, as it is commonly used as a food thickener. With that understanding, Talep heats the agar to create a polymer and then adds water as a plasticizer and natural dyes for color. To achieve the goal of all-natural ingredients, natural dyes are sourced from fruits and vegetables such as beets, carrots, blueberries and purple cabbage. After the mixture of agar and other ingredients is heated, it is cooled, a process that transforms it into a gel. At this point, the mixture is turned into thin plastic or poured into molds to cool. By adjusting the ingredients, Talep has created a firm material that will mold into shapes, such as the trays that a package of donuts sit in. The technique is versatile enough that it can also create a replacement for plastic bags, like those pasta is sold in. With the overarching goal of replacing single-use , disposable packaging, the algae packaging breaks down naturally within two to three months during warm summer months, depending on the thickness of the material. In the colder winter months, the material still breaks down, but requires a few extra weeks. + Margarita Talep Images via Margarita Talep

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Designer creates algae-sourced alternative for plastic packaging

Tom Szaky: How to repackage packaging

February 16, 2019 by  
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Making reduce, reuse and recycle reliable.

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Tom Szaky: How to repackage packaging

Some of the largest manufacturers are going green with the milkman model

January 29, 2019 by  
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Loop, introduced at the World Economic Forum last week, is attempting to transform how we purchase and use everyday goods, from shampoo and laundry detergent to orange juice and oatmeal. Some of largest manufacturers are partnering with Loop to ditch  disposable packaging, and replace it with chic and reusable containers that consumers can leave out on the porch to be picked up, washed and refilled, just like the glass milk bottles of years past. “Loop is about the future of consumption. And one of the tenets is that garbage shouldn’t exist,” said Tom Szaky, CEO of TerraCycle, the international recycling company behind Loop. Related: 9 sustainable living tips to take from our grandparents Szaky added that we need to “get at the whole idea of disposability and single-use items” instead of just removing plastics from the ocean, according to NBC Los Angeles . So, Loop is going back to the 1950s “milkman model,” where the company owns the bottle, and customers can have them picked up when they are done using them. Top brands that are partnering with Loop include Nestle, PepsiCo, Procter & Gamble and Unilever. The goal, according to P&G vice president and chief sustainability officer Virginie Helias, is to have all the product packaging be reusable or recyclable by 2030. Products like Pantene shampoo will be delivered in a lightweight aluminum pump container, Tide will be packaged in a stainless steel bottle that has a twist cap and Crest mouthwash will be packaged in a glass bottle. Nestle products like Häagen-Dazs ice cream will be delivered in a stainless steel tub. CEO Laurent Freixe said the company hopes to get rid of its non-recyclable packaging by 2025 and have zero-waste at both the production and consumption levels. In the U.S., Loop will launch in New York , New Jersey and Pennsylvania this spring. The plan is to expand to the West Coast by the end of the year. + Loop Via NBC LA Image via Loop

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Some of the largest manufacturers are going green with the milkman model

Crayola Colorcycle initiative offers free recycling for markers used in K-12 classrooms

January 29, 2019 by  
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In the blur of school activity, students read, write, calculate and doodle. With that vision in mind, no company has created a bigger connection with the educational world than Crayola, monarch of colored pencils, crayons and markers. With that title comes a wave of concern regarding toxins and waste . After all, Crayola manufactures 465 million plastic markers alone each year, which begs the question of corporate responsibility. Fortunately, Crayola’s ahead of the curve on this one with the introduction of a voluntary marker recycling initiative for K-12 classrooms. ColorCycle, the cleverly-named program, came into being a few years ago when Crayola decided to take steps to divert billions of markers “marked” for the landfill . Since the ideology of the company focuses squarely on education, they feel it makes sense to take part in educating students about social and environmental responsibility. “The ColorCycle program has repurposed more than 70 tons of expended markers in the United States and Canada since 2013, and uses the most advanced plastic conversion technologies available today to make wax compounds for asphalt and roofing shingles as well as to generate electricity that can be used to heat homes, cook food, and power vehicles.” In conjunction with teachers, the front line in education, Crayola is backing the environmental movement with the ColorCycle plan that also includes educational-support tools. These lesson plans list supplies and activities that facilitate classroom learning about topics such as coral reefs, inventions, and how pollution travels across the planet. Related: 13 eco-friendly back-to-school supplies for a sustainable school year To participate in ColorCycle, school administrators or PTO members are informed about the program and an ambassador is chosen at the school. Collection boxes are then placed in classrooms or central locations around the school. When it’s time to ship the markers back, they are counted and packed into a plain cardboard box. A quick visit to the Crayola website will provide a shipping label and then FedEx ships the box on Crayola’s dime. To encourage involvement, Crayola also provides a letter that ambassadors can send out to parents and the community, informing them about the program along with signs that can be printed and posted around the school. There are no costs to the school or teachers so the time to set up, monitor, count and package the markers seems like a worthy investment both towards teaching children about eco-friendly practices and in promoting behaviors that help the environment. The Crayola ColorCycle program is currently available to K-12 classrooms across the United States and parts of Canada. Although not currently available outside the public schools, the company encourages daycares and other community members to take advantage of the drop boxes. Crayola will accept all brands of plastic markers, including dry erase markers and highlighters. See the Crayola website for more information about the program and how to sign up. + Crayola Image via ParentRap

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Crayola Colorcycle initiative offers free recycling for markers used in K-12 classrooms

4 Crafts That Reuse Cardboard Food Packaging

January 29, 2019 by  
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While it is tricky to recycle frozen food boxes, there … The post 4 Crafts That Reuse Cardboard Food Packaging appeared first on Earth911.com.

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4 Crafts That Reuse Cardboard Food Packaging

The Wally Shop is bringing zero-waste grocery delivery to Brooklyn

January 28, 2019 by  
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Zero-waste grocery delivery has made its way to Brooklyn. The Wally Shop is attempting to change the grocery game by delivering local, organic produce from farmers markets and bulk stores to customers. The food is placed in packaging that the company later picks up and reuses. The new delivery service wants to help with the global waste problem and reduce addiction to single-use plastic by making sustainable grocery shopping more convenient. The idea came from Wally Shop founder and CEO Tamara Lim after she noticed how much unnecessary packaging was used every day when she managed the packaging and shipping department at Amazon. Related: Precycle, a zero-waste grocery store, opens in Brooklyn “I want to help break down the boundaries that come with being a sustainable consumer — having a delivery service that brings you local , fresh produce in reusable packaging allows shoppers to make better choices without sacrificing time or convenience,” Lim said. “The reusable packaging supports a shift toward a circular economy, where there is no waste involved.” The Wally Shop is currently offering produce delivery, but in the coming weeks, it plans to expand to other product categories like meats , seafood, grains and herbs. The company is also committed to transparency with product sourcing by providing their customers with that information on their receipts. Lim said it is important to provide customers with locally sourced ingredients that have a low carbon footprint and are package-free. She added that this is the healthiest option for customers as well as the environment. When customers place their orders, The Wally Shop selects the produce and delivers them the same day. This means that the produce goes from farm to table in just hours. Couriers deliver all orders in reusable packaging that they pick up during a future delivery. This method creates a zero-waste “closed-loop system” that prevents packaging and shipping containers from ending up in a landfill. Currently, The Wally Shop is operating in select neighborhoods in Brooklyn , but it hopes to expand into other areas in New York City as well as cities like San Francisco and Boston. + The Wally Shop Image via Shutterstock

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The Wally Shop is bringing zero-waste grocery delivery to Brooklyn

ChimpFace could help fight the illegal trade in chimpanzees

January 28, 2019 by  
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There is now a new tool that can be used to fight the illegal trade in chimpanzees . The same facial recognition software that social media sites use is now being adapted to recognize trafficked animals, and this algorithm will be used to find the faces of these apes online. For an entire year, the BBC investigated the smuggling of chimpanzees and found that they often end up as performers in commercial zoos or as pets to wealthy owners. Baby chimps are so popular, that they can be sold for as much as $12,500. The idea surged after  conservationist Alexandra Russo was investigating online ape trafficking and came across posts on social media sites such as Facebook and Instagram where chimpanzees were being offered for purchase. Related: These AI-powered cameras can sense poachers and save wildlife “We were spending more and more time looking through the depths of the internet; it’s like a rabbit hole. You don’t know where to look, you click around pretty aimlessly until you start to find things that look suspicious. So, I thought there must be a more efficient way to do this,” she explains. “I began discussing the possibility of using some kind of software that could automatically find ape faces in online searches.” Russo then contacted Conservation X Labs, a non-profit group, and met with Dr. Colin McCormick, who is an expert in computer vision. The two ended up creating “ ChimpFace .” The software works by detecting images that show a chimpanzee, and then it identifies the individual.  They trained the algorithm to recognize different chimps using facial structures. Russo says that it is important to get as many images as possible of different positions, facial expressions and altered lighting. The algorithm uses a database of 3,000 different ape face images, and different chimpanzee conservation groups have contributed photos. Experts say that this new technology could help bring down large-scale criminal networks.  Facebook and Instagram are already starting to shut down wildlife trafficker accounts. Via BBC Image via PublicDomainPictures

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UK’s Guardian switches to biodegradable wrapping for newspapers

January 17, 2019 by  
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The Guardian — a national newspaper in the U.K. — has ditched its polythene packaging and replaced it with a compostable wrapper in an effort to reduce plastic waste. The newspaper and its inserts are now packaged in a clear, biodegradable material made from potato starch that will completely compost in just six months. The choice to scrap the plastic packaging makes The Guardian the first national newspaper in the U.K. to make such a switch, following publications like the National Trust members’ magazine and the New Internationalist. The switch to biodegradable packing will increase the paper’s production costs, so the price of print editions of The Guardian and its sister paper The Observer will go up. However, this is what their customers wanted. The weekday edition will rise in cost by 20p, and the Saturday edition will increase 30p. The Observer will also go up 20p. Related: UK’s Co-op to ditch single-use plastic bags for biodegradable bags This past weekend, The Guardian subscribers in London, Kent, Essex, Hertfordshire, Norfolk and Suffolk received the new packaging with their Sunday edition. The newspaper will gradually implement the packaging change across the entire country over the next few months. Guardian to be first national newspaper with biodegradable wrapping https://t.co/Yh88bMEXXD — The Guardian (@guardian) January 11, 2019 Readers in the Greater London area who use The Guardian’s home delivery service will also receive their weekday editions in the potato starch packaging. Related: 100% biodegradable, edible packaging is so much better than plastic The new biodegradable packaging on The Guardian includes instructions for customers to not to recycle the material but to instead dispose of it on a compost heap or in a food waste bin. + The Guardian Via Dezeen Image via Andrys

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UK’s Guardian switches to biodegradable wrapping for newspapers

Precycle, a zero-waste grocery store, opens in Brooklyn

January 10, 2019 by  
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For many of us, a trip to the grocery store results in a ton of waste, thanks to the mountain of plastic bags and food packaging. But some stores are trying to change that by going zero-waste and selling in bulk. Precycle is a zero-waste grocery store in Brooklyn that has opened for business, and it is avoiding all plastic by having its customers buy food from bulk containers. Katerina Bogatireva, the owner of Precycle , is from Latvia, and she said that in her home country,  food waste is not acceptable. Instead, she remembers bringing reusable containers into stores. “Things like that still exist in many countries,” Bogatireva said. Related: The free grocery store fighting food waste and hunger But when she moved to the United States, she quickly assimilated and used the plastic packaging she saw everywhere. Bogatireva said that you forget your values after a while, but as she got older, she started to reflect on her childhood. “I remember looking at my mother-in-law’s trashcan and thinking, ‘this is right,’” explained the store owner. This was when she decided to open her own zero-waste grocery store, but it took years for her dream to become a reality. At Precycle, they offer food from local farmers and distributors, so customers know where their food comes from. The store’s goal is to empower customers with information, so they can reduce their environmental impact. Bogatireva said that she will take it easy on new customers at first by offering paper bags. However, she hopes to encourage people to bring their own bags and would like to see that become the new normal. Bogatireva said that everyone has to make their own choices. Just one person making a change might seem like a “drop in the sea,” but this change has to start somewhere. Actually, it just has to make a comeback. Bogatireva continued by saying that this is an old idea, not something new. + Precycle Via Tree Hugger Image via Shutterstock

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Precycle, a zero-waste grocery store, opens in Brooklyn

How to Reduce Packaging Waste in Amazon Orders

November 19, 2018 by  
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We can order almost anything online now — home goods, … The post How to Reduce Packaging Waste in Amazon Orders appeared first on Earth911.com.

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