How Dell and Levi’s envision the future of repair

May 27, 2020 by  
Filed under Business, Eco, Green, Recycle

Comments Off on How Dell and Levi’s envision the future of repair

How Dell and Levi’s envision the future of repair Elsa Wenzel Wed, 05/27/2020 – 02:00 Doing away with a culture of disposability is one of the big dreams of the circular economy. A jolt in this direction came overnight as COVID-19 drove people indoors, forcing many to rethink how they reduce, reuse or recycle items they took for granted only weeks earlier. As U.S. unemployment claims soared to 30 million, buying non-essentials became an act of either audacity or foolishness. Even window shopping has been confined to a web browser. People have been making every can of beans and square of toilet paper last. “Like it or not, the coronavirus is changing the rules of consumption,” said GreenBiz Editorial Director Heather Clancy during the Circularity Digital virtual event last week. “Millions of consumers are putting off retail purchases and looking at the stuff in their closets and cabinets and desktops in a very different way. Why should this item be thrown away when it could be repaired or refreshed and for that matter, how long should I expect these things to last?” However, most brands are in the business of selling something new, so circular economy efforts generally have tended to put repair at the bottom of the menu. Will this pandemic create a lasting change in priorities for business and end users alike? There’s no surefire answer for now, but some of the people thinking the hardest about what all of this means are those who work in product design. Paul Dillinger, head of global product innovation at Levi Strauss & Co., works hands-on with denim, zippers and buttons. Being stuck at home lately has been tough. There’s got to be a better design solution to address end of life, how [products] can easily be refurbished, upcycled and disassembled. “It’s called on all of my home [economics] skills, all of my ability to prototype and ideate using just the materials around my house, which has been a really exciting exercise,” Dillinger said. “It has challenged me to remember a lot of the skill set we don’t often call upon to make from nothing, to repair the broken things around us.” Embracing imperfections and repairs is part of his vision for a pair of jeans to be loved and worn for a decade until ultimately being recycled. Levi’s heritage, after all, began with durable canvas work pants worn by miners around the California gold rush. “Everyone’s favorite jean has a repair in it, a stain they don’t mind,” he said. “That mustard was a great ballgame. The story of our lives [is] written in our jeans. People will resonate with that far more than with a disposable, unrepairable, unresolvable product.” With that mindset, Dillinger led the design of Levi’s innovative Wellthread shirts, jackets and jeans, which launched in 2015. The company rebuilt blue jeans for recyclability, also slashing the use of water and being mindful of workers’ well-being. A Wellthread denim jacket in the line, for example, uses four technologies to incorporate recovered, chemically recycled and mechanically recycled cotton in the buttons, exterior denim and lining. The end result is 100 percent cellulosic material, the type of single, “clean” input that’s easiest for a recycling system to handle, which is why simple glass bottles, aluminum cans and newspapers have such a long recycling track record. Wellthread jeans contrast with others that are labeled as cotton but actually use blended materials, including polyester, throughout. If it were up to Dillinger, the industry would be a blank page for design. But reality has a lot of stuff in it already — most of it barely used or valued. Six out of 10 garments are incinerated within a year of production, according to McKinsey research. That means important and scarce natural resources are ruthlessly consumed and discarded, like the more than 3,700 liters of water needed to produce a pair of jeans. It feels like we’ve moved to this throwaway society. I hope we’re moving in the other direction. Fast fashion and high-performance fabrics have compounded waste by accelerating the output of apparel that’s virtually impossible to recycle. Take, for example, a blend of wool, viscose, polyamide and cashmere in a scarf or sweater. “You would need a solvent for one, a mechanical process for another, heat for another,” Dillinger said. The problem is shared across industries, including in electronics, which make up the world’s fastest-growing waste stream. Only 20 percent of e-waste is recycled, according to a United Nations University report in 2017 . The fate of the rest is mostly unknown, probably either landfilled, reused or recycled informally. For Ed Boyd, an inside look at a recycling plant was a wake-up call. The senior vice president of Dell’s Experience Design Group recently visited a new Wistron electronics recycling plant in Dallas, one of the largest in North America. A typical notebook computer includes more than 200 ingredients, only a handful of which can be processed by such a facility. The rest get separated and sent around the planet for handling. “I’ve been involved in recycling materials for a long time, but seeing it firsthand in that kind of environment was kind of daunting,” Boyd said. “I was looking at this through a designer’s eyes thinking, I’ve kind of created this problem. There’s got to be a better design solution to address end of life, how [products] can easily be refurbished, upcycled and disassembled. And that has kicked off a lot of exciting work at Dell really aiming at changing that.” Over the past few years, Dell already has been getting more questions from customers about environmental impacts, reflecting a dramatic shift in sentiment that’s pushing electronics makers to rethink their approaches, Boyd said. Dell’s “moonshot goals” for 2030 include three things: for an equivalent product to be reused or recycled for every item bought by a customer; for recycled or renewable materials to make up all its packaging; and for more than half of the materials in its products to be made of recycled or renewable materials. Dell already has plucked some of the low-hanging fruit of closed-loop materials, such as by using reclaimed ocean plastics . In 2011, it introduced the use of mushroom-based cushioning to ship servers. Boyd said the PC maker is exploring with its suppliers how to rethink core product components responsibly, including battery cells, motherboards and displays. It’s also considering biopolymers to prevent waste and solar-powered smelting to reduce manufacturing footprints. And Boyd wants Dell to innovate by creating products that can be assembled and later disassembled quickly, extending life cycles by enabling repeated cycles of reuse or upcycling. That’s been the objective for DIY advocates such as Kyle Wiens, at the forefront of the right to repair movement for more than 15 years. The CEO and co-founder of the iFixit repair website, famous for ticking off Apple, pointed out how the 30 or so metals inside a given cell phone have a low recovery rate, making product reuse more efficient than recycling at this time. “It feels like we’ve moved to this throwaway society,” Wiens said. “I hope we’re moving in the other direction.” iFixit helps 100 million people a year fix things, including one in every five Californians, Wiens said. The company sees eight figures in annual sales of toolkits, switches, spark plugs and other parts, but its repairs database is free. It offers nearly 63,000 crowdsourced manuals and advice for an amazing assortment of products, including cars, garden hoses, jacket zippers and PCs. Some 70,000 people have accessed iFixIt’s instructions for repairing a countertop Starbucks Barista machine. iFixIt also rates products for their accessibility to fixers. A Dell Inspiron laptop that can be opened with a Phillips screwdriver got a 10 out of 10 score, while a Microsoft Surface that needed to be cut open received a score of three. (An upgrade later earned that model’s successor two more points.) Wiens is excited that iFixit is diving into on-demand 3D printing, starting with a component it sells for a coffee maker. He said he’d like to collaborate with companies to create products designed from the outset with components that can be printed in case of a breakdown. “We really think it needs to be a partnership between the repair community and the manufacturer to make it work,” he said. The story of our lives [is] written in our jeans. People will resonate with that far more than with a disposable, unrepairable, unresolvable product. Since the pandemic hemmed most of society into their homes, iFixit has seen a spike in searches for fixing devices, laptops and the Nintendo Switch. Last week, it dove into new territory and activism by publishing 13,000 manuals for medical devices , everything from hospital bed headboards to nebulizers to scales, becoming the world’s largest source of details for medical repairs. The company is hoping this ambitious effort will lighten the workloads of the exhausted biomedical technicians who keep hospital equipment humming and beeping. For better or worse, most appliances rely on human muscle and brainpower for longevity. But information technology is beginning to change some of this.  Boyd is intrigued by the possibility of “self-healing” electronics that reconstitute or repair themselves, made possible by artificial intelligence and machine learning. AI already helps predict when a laptop battery will fail. Also further out, and in Dell’s planning stages, is how to augment and design equipment that improves over the course of a decade or two. Product-as-a-service models could become part of an industry transformation, he said, eliminating the need for companies to keep up revenues by releasing whole new lines of modestly updated electronics every year. “We’re having an interesting moment in technology right now, with the birth of 5G and strong cloud connectivity — we can make products in the future that don’t degrade; they actually get better,” Boyd said. Dillinger, on the other hand, wants to remind people to “get a little analog” and take a stab at sewing a button. iFixit has directions for that, too. Pull Quote There’s got to be a better design solution to address end of life, how [products] can easily be refurbished, upcycled and disassembled. It feels like we’ve moved to this throwaway society. I hope we’re moving in the other direction. The story of our lives [is] written in our jeans. People will resonate with that far more than with a disposable, unrepairable, unresolvable product. Topics Circular Economy Consumer Electronics Circularity 20 Featured in featured block (1 article with image touted on the front page or elsewhere) On Duration 0 Sponsored Article Off Automation is only part of the picture. Shutterstock Serggod Close Authorship

Read more:
How Dell and Levi’s envision the future of repair

9 ways to add more houseplants to your home

February 18, 2019 by  
Filed under Eco, Green

Comments Off on 9 ways to add more houseplants to your home

Adding plants to your living space is an easy way to add beauty and character to your home. But aesthetics aren’t the only benefit of indoor gardening as houseplants can make your home’s air healthier  and also make you happier . No to mention, you can easily grow useful plants and herbs that work great for healthy cooking and as natural medicines . Even if you weren’t born with a green thumb or have a tiny space to work with, there are ways to go green with your decor. If you choose the right plants and get creative, your indoor garden will thrive. Here are nine ways to add more plant life to your home. Use the Windows For many indoor plants , sunlight is essential. So, placing your plants near windows is a no-brainer. A Beautiful Mess suggests a DIY ledge for the kitchen window to set up your herb garden or hang an over-the-window plant shelf in your living room or bedroom. Instead of hanging a curtain for privacy, you can create a “ plant shelfie ” and group a bunch of plants together or use a large sturdy tension rods to hang plants at the top of the window. Custom shelves around or under the window —  or added to the ledge— also work well, too. Wire Grid Jazz up a plain wall with a wire grid and S-hooks to display houseplants . You don’t need a ton of space for this idea, and it makes it easy to hang gardening essentials like scissors and a watering can. You can find wire grids in different shapes and sizes, and some also have mountable shelves. Kitchen Garden A window in your kitchen is an excellent place to grow an indoor herb garden , however, that’s not an option for everyone. You can still make it happen by hanging small planters on your cabinets .  Also, if you have the counter space,  you can create a small garden for succulents with a two-tier fruit basket and some fabric scraps. Related: How to grow 10 foods from kitchen scraps Pegboard Like the wire shelves, a pegboard is also a great idea for small spaces. They work well in any room, no matter how big or small. You can even use a peg board as a headboard . The great thing about pegboards is that you can use hooks, baskets and shelves to create the look you want. You can also add a pop of color with a few tiny potted plants or cover the board entirely. Ceiling Hangers Speaking of macrame, it has made a major comeback recently, which means you can easily find macrame plant hangers to hang from the ceiling. They are great to hang near windows, or you can use ceiling hangers in unexpected places like in the bathroom or over a dining table . When you live in a small space, ceiling hangers are a fantastic option. You won’t give up any shelf, floor or wall space, and they add a fun, unexpected layer to the decor . Wall Art Turn plants into pieces of living art by adding them to string art or macrame wall hangings . You can find tons of affordable options on sites like Etsy that can quickly turn plants and flowers into artwork. Plants and flowers nestled into different designs look great. Air plants are a great option for wall art because they are super easy to take care of. Related: Sustainable pencil stubs Sprout into plants Bookshelves and Picture Ledges If you have built-in shelves in your living room, bedroom or kitchen, don’t let the high shelves go to waste just because they are out of reach. Add some plants that drape down to add some green to your space. Trailing plants are very popular and they are low-maintenance. If you have the option of adding something to the wall, pictures ledges are perfect for displaying plants indoors because the small lip on the edge will keep them from falling. Picture ledges are usually cheaper than traditional shelves. Just make sure you choose ledges that are wide enough. Carts If there is a small, dull space in your home that needs some love, you can add some plants with a rolling cart . If you live in an apartment and can’t add shelves, grids or peg boards to the wall, a rolling cart is the perfect option for creating a mini- jungle . Or, if you have some dead space in a large room, the cart doesn’t even have to go up against the wall. Plant Corner If you have an empty corner that needs some attention, consider filling it with plants of different shapes and sizes. Place different pots (of various shapes and sizes) in the corner to create a plant corner. You can incorporate your plant cart into the area for some added height. Images via Shutterstock

See the rest here: 
9 ways to add more houseplants to your home

Under one roof: How companies can simplify renewable energy development

January 22, 2019 by  
Filed under Business, Green

Comments Off on Under one roof: How companies can simplify renewable energy development

Sponsored: Solar panels and wind turbines are only one part of the picture.

Originally posted here:
Under one roof: How companies can simplify renewable energy development

TransCanada natural gas pipeline explodes in West Virginia

June 8, 2018 by  
Filed under Eco, Green

Comments Off on TransCanada natural gas pipeline explodes in West Virginia

An explosion rocked a TransCanada pipeline in Moundsville, West Virginia and the surrounding community yesterday. Locals said it felt like a tornado and sounded like a freight train, and they could see flames from around 20 miles away, EcoWatch reported. TransCanada said in a statement they do not yet know the cause of the explosion. (function(d, s, id) { var js, fjs = d.getElementsByTagName(s)[0]; if (d.getElementById(id)) return; js = d.createElement(s); js.id = id; js.src = ‘https://connect.facebook.net/en_US/sdk.js#xfbml=1&version=v3.0’; fjs.parentNode.insertBefore(js, fjs);}(document, ‘script’, ‘facebook-jssdk’)); Early alarm this morningOn trebble run on fish creek Posted by Ruby Mason on Thursday, June 7, 2018 A natural gas pipeline exploded in West Virginia’s Marshall County, located right in the midst of the huge Utica and Marcellus shale formations, Reuters said . No employees were at the site when the pipeline ruptured around 4:15 a.m. EST, and the fire was at least a mile away from the closest home, Marshall County director of emergency management Tom Hart told the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette . BREAKING: More pictures from a viewer of the explosion. Viewers are calling in and telling us it felt like a tornado hit their house when this happened @WTRF7News pic.twitter.com/akYwSgED7j — Tessa DiTirro (@TDiTirroWTRF) June 7, 2018 Related: The Keystone Pipeline leak was nearly twice as big as we thought The pipeline, called Leach XPress, was placed into service at the start of this year . At that time, TransCanada CEO Russ Girling referred to it as “truly a best-in-class pipeline” and said the company looked forward “to many years to safe, reliable and efficient operation on behalf of our customers.” @MarshallCoWVOEM sent me this picture. This is the site of the pipeline rupture as it was burning off @WTRF7News pic.twitter.com/VINnMiq44G — Tessa DiTirro (@TDiTirroWTRF) June 7, 2018 TransCanada said after the event, which they referred to as the Nixon Ridge Pipeline Incident, “emergency response procedures were enacted and the segment of impacted pipeline was isolated. The fire was fully extinguished by approximately 8:30 a.m. Eastern Time. There were no injuries involved with this incident.” The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette said officials from the U.S. Forestry Service and West Virginia Department of Environmental Protection were on the site. This picture sent to me from a viewer in Short Creek, WV. Perspective: this is 20 MILES or more away, over a half hour drive! @WTRF7News pic.twitter.com/yAmFJUnKmO — Tessa DiTirro (@TDiTirroWTRF) June 7, 2018 Hart told the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette other companies were on the scene too — some operate pipelines just a few hundred feet away from the ruptured pipeline. He said some of those companies turned off the flow in their own pipelines, and that natural gas well operators shut down wells close by. This is drone footage from @MarshallCoWVOEM Director Tom Hart says this is at the end of Nixon Ridge near Fish Creek. The explosion left a crater. The DEP estimates 10 acres are affected @WTRF7News pic.twitter.com/QXTOsWBvNg — Tessa DiTirro (@TDiTirroWTRF) June 7, 2018 The event could impact around 1.3 billion cubic feet per day of gas service — Reuters reported that one billion cubic feet of gas could power around five million American homes. Via EcoWatch , the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette  and Reuters Image via Depositphotos

Originally posted here: 
TransCanada natural gas pipeline explodes in West Virginia

Creative ways to finance solar and storage systems

March 8, 2018 by  
Filed under Business, Green

Comments Off on Creative ways to finance solar and storage systems

The Investment Tax Credit is part of the picture, but there’s more.

Go here to see the original:
Creative ways to finance solar and storage systems

Praying mantises wearing tiny glasses help researchers discover new type of 3D vision

February 12, 2018 by  
Filed under Eco, Green

Comments Off on Praying mantises wearing tiny glasses help researchers discover new type of 3D vision

This praying mantis isn’t just wearing minuscule 3D glasses for the cute factor, but to help scientists learn more about 3D vision. A Newcastle University team discovered a novel form of 3D vision, or stereo vision, in the insects – and compared human and insect stereo vision for the very first time. Their findings could have implications for visual processing in robots . Humans aren’t the only creatures with stereo vision, which “helps us work out the distances to the things we see,” according to the university . Cats, horses, monkeys, toads, and owls have it too – but the only insect we know about with 3D vision is the praying mantis. Six Newcastle University researchers obtained new insight into their robust stereo vision with the help of small 3D glasses temporarily attached to the insects with beeswax. Related: Praying mantises hunt down and eat small birds, including hummingbirds The researchers designed an insect 3D cinema, showing a praying mantis a film of prey. The insects would actually try to catch the prey because the illusion was so convincing. And the scientists were able to take their work to the next level, showing the mantises “complex dot-patterns used to investigate human 3D vision” so they could compare our 3D vision with an insect’s for the first time. According to the university, humans see 3D in still images by matching details of the image each eye sees. “But mantises only attack moving prey so their 3D doesn’t need to work in still images. The team found mantises don’t bother about the details of the picture but just look for places where the picture is changing…Even if the scientists made the two eyes’ images completely different, mantises can still match up the places where things are changing. They did so even when humans couldn’t.” The journal Current Biology published their work online last week . Lead author Vivek Nityananda, a behavioral ecologist, described the praying mantis’ stereo vision as “a completely new form of 3D vision.” Future robots could benefit from these findings: instead of 3D vision based on complex human stereo vision, researchers might be able to take some tips from praying mantis stereo vision, which team member Ghaith Tarawneh said probably doesn’t require a lot of computer processing since insect brains are so small. + Newcastle University + Current Biology Images via Newcastle University, UK/Phys.org

Here is the original post:
Praying mantises wearing tiny glasses help researchers discover new type of 3D vision

This giant inflatable dome is made of hundreds of tiny pinhole cameras

February 8, 2018 by  
Filed under Green

Comments Off on This giant inflatable dome is made of hundreds of tiny pinhole cameras

Artists often try to get viewers to appreciate different perspectives, but Rhode Island-based design collective Pneuhaus is taking the task literally. They’ve created a giant inflatable “Camera Compound” made of 109 tiny pinhole cameras. The innovative camera obscura – which takes the form of a 20-foot geodesic dome – invites guests to wander inside to get a different perspective on the world they live in. Each hexagonal piece of the dome structure contains a tiny pinhole, which, like a camera obscura , projects an inverted image onto the translucent interior. In this case, the pinholes were covered with a single magnifying glass to focus the incoming light in a way that produces a crisper image than most camera obscuras. The installation’s flexible opaque fabric lets visitors create their own images by distorting the images as they wish. Related: Colossal Camera Obscura frames the picture-perfect Dolomites According to the artists behind the creation, (Levi Bedall, August Lehrecke, Matthew Muller, Zachary Weindel), the interactive photography installation is designed to provide people with a sense of changing perceptions, “Compound Camera offers a more analog perspective on how our surroundings can change the way we perceive the world.” The art installation was recently on display for the Pawtucket Arts Festival in Rhode Island, but its just one of their many pneumatic architectural installations. In 2015, they unveiled an inflatable RGBubble pavilion on the Brown University campus and later, they created a crazy Bubble Dome made up of hundreds of TPU balls . + Pneuhaus Via Core 77 Images via Pneuhaus

Go here to read the rest: 
This giant inflatable dome is made of hundreds of tiny pinhole cameras

FEMA contractor failed to deliver millions of emergency meals to Puerto Rico

February 8, 2018 by  
Filed under Eco, Green

Comments Off on FEMA contractor failed to deliver millions of emergency meals to Puerto Rico

Millions of meals never made their way to Puerto Rico after Hurricane Maria , according to Reuters . United States Democratic lawmakers recently said the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) awarded a contract of almost $156 million to a one-person company – which delivered 50,000 of an anticipated 30 million meals. The Atlanta-based FEMA contractor Tribute Contracting reneged on their commitment to deliver millions of meals to Puerto Rico after the island faced its “worst natural disaster in 90 years,” Reuters reported. House Oversight Committee Democrats referred to documents revealing the company delivered just thousands of meals. They were terminated for cause 20 days after they won the October 2017 contract from FEMA. This, the Democrats say, led to a “massive food shortage for weeks.” Related: $30M contract cancelled by FEMA after supplies to Puerto Rico fail to arrive Documents show Tribute had issues handling government contracts under $100,000 in the past and were barred from government work until 2019, according to Reuters. Elijah Cummings, representative for Maryland and top Democrat on the committee, and Stacey Plaskett, delegate for the United States Virgin Islands, wrote, “It is unclear why FEMA or any agency would have proceeded with a contract worth $156 million in light of this company’s poor contracting history and these explicit warnings.” Plaskett and Cummings sent a letter to chairman Trey Gowdy, Republican representative for South Carolina, asking him to subpoena FEMA for documents they say it has withheld for over three months regarding the failure to provide millions of emergency meals. They said in the letter their staff spoke with Tribute Contracting owner Tiffany Brown, who “explained that FEMA awarded the contract ‘because I was able to submit a proposal to supply 30 million meals at the cheapest cost.’ She stated that she ‘worked 24 hours a day, seven days a week to try and provide these emergency meals.’ She also explained FEMA knew she could not independently finance the production and delivery of this many meals in such a short time frame.” Gowdy spokesperson Amanda Gonzalez told Reuters although a subpoena was premature, they will continue to review hurricane recovery efforts. FEMA didn’t comment on Tribute but told Reuters when the contract was terminated, the distribution of food on the island “was not affected.” + House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform Democrats + Committee on Oversight and Government Reform Letter Via Reuters Images via Wikimedia Commons ( 1 , 2 )

Original post:
FEMA contractor failed to deliver millions of emergency meals to Puerto Rico

Elon Musk shows first glimpse of the Boring Company tunnel beneath LA

November 1, 2017 by  
Filed under Eco, Green

Comments Off on Elon Musk shows first glimpse of the Boring Company tunnel beneath LA

Elon Musk just gave us a peek into the future with a new picture of The Boring Company’s tunnel under Los Angeles . He shared the picture snapped recently on social media, and it seems the project started less than a year ago is well underway. In an image that looks straight out of science fiction, Musk shared a glimpse of what The Boring Company has been up to in Los Angeles. They’ve been anything but idle: the startup has built a tunnel for transportation beneath the city notorious for traffic woes. Musk shared the picture of the tunnel on Twitter on October 28, and said it had been taken the day before. Related: Elon Musk’s Boring Company receives green light to dig a two-mile test tunnel Picture of The Boring Company LA tunnel taken yesterday pic.twitter.com/TfdVKyXFsJ — Elon Musk (@elonmusk) October 28, 2017 Musk said on Twitter the tunnel is 500-feet-long right now, and in three to four months, will be two miles long, “and hopefully stretch the whole 405 N-S corridor from LAX to the 101 in a year or so.” Musk provided more detail on his Instagram, according to Twitter user Kilian/0strich, who shared a screenshot of Musk’s Instagram comment saying, “First route will go roughly parallel to the 405 from LAX to the 101, with on/offramps every mile or so. It will work like a fast freeway, where electric skates carrying vehicles and people pods on the main artery travel at up to 150mph, and the skates switch to side tunnels to exit and enter. This is a big difference compared to subways that stop at every stop, whether you’re getting off or not.” The Boring Company explains on their Frequently Asked Questions page that an electric skate is a “fast plate on wheels propelled by an electric motor.” The zero-emissions, autonomous vehicles can transport goods or automobiles – and if a vacuum shell is added, can become a Hyperloop pod. + The Boring Company Images via The Boring Company and Depositphotos

See the original post here: 
Elon Musk shows first glimpse of the Boring Company tunnel beneath LA

The smart city solution

June 23, 2016 by  
Filed under Business, Green

Comments Off on The smart city solution

Smart lighting and water are just part of the picture.

View original post here:
The smart city solution

Next Page »

Bad Behavior has blocked 1942 access attempts in the last 7 days.