Quorn introduces carbon footprint labeling

January 14, 2020 by  
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In a trailblazing move, Quorn, the meatless food manufacturer headquartered in the U.K., is now leveraging carbon labeling on more than half its product line. Carbon labeling delineates where greenhouse gas emissions are associated with production, manufacture, distribution and transport of a particular consumer product as it is brought to market. The carbon label serves to inform consumers of an item’s environmental impact and carbon footprint. By reading carbon labels, consumers may be motivated to make better and more sustainable choices. Quorn’s pioneering carbon footprint data is certified by the Carbon Trust. Why is carbon labeling important? Any increase in a product’s carbon footprint has environmental repercussions — like climbing temperatures, shifting precipitation patterns, rising sea levels and increasing frequency of extreme weather as well as species vulnerability and threats to biodiversity. Carbon labeling provides a rating system that scores the environmentally friendly and socially responsible characteristics of a product, so consumers can make better choices that ultimately lead to smaller carbon footprints. Related: Alliance of more than 11,000 scientists warns that our planet faces a climate emergency Quorn’s products are considered healthier and more sustainable. Why? The company does not utilize any livestock. As its website explains, a nutritious soil fungus ferments to produce mycoprotein. Mycoprotein is high in protein and fiber, while being low in saturated fat and cholesterol. Interestingly, mycoprotein’s carbon footprint is 90% lower than beef’s. “For over 30 years, we have been proudly delivering Healthy Protein for a Healthy Planet,” a spokesperson for Quorn said. “Quorn is proven to provide significant health and environmental benefits, and today we’re delighted we can offer carbon footprint data to our customers. This is about giving people the information needed to make informed decisions about the food they eat and the effect it has on our planet’s climate — in the same way that nutrition information is clearly labeled to help inform decisions on health — and we’re asking other brands to get on board with us.” The labels will appear on some products, including the mince, crispy nuggets, sausages, fishless fillets, ultimate burgers and wonder grains, starting in June 2020, with the entire line of products featuring the new labels starting in 2021. + Quorn Via The Guardian Image via Quorn

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8 attainable sustainability resolutions for 2020

January 1, 2020 by  
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Setting goals is a ubiquitous part of ushering in each new year. With a renewed vigor for healthy living, embrace the opportunity to incorporate more eco-friendly habits into your routine. This task can be achieved in a variety of ways, from changing your diet to reducing waste . Wherever you are on your sustainable living journey, we’ve got some ideas for how to lower your carbon footprint and enhance your sense of commitment to the planet. Commit to less driving Reducing miles equals reducing carbon emissions . To minimize personal auto usage, use public transportation for your daily commute. If subways and buses don’t take you where you need to go, set up a carpool to eliminate multiple cars going to the same location. Over the course of a year, replacing your 10-mile drive to work or school at least one day each week will greatly reduce emissions. If possible, skip the car altogether by walking or using a bike. Alternately, look into electric cars if you’re in the market for a new vehicle. Even if you must rely on your car daily, you can still reduce miles by combining errands when you head to town, organizing a carpool for kid drop-offs and pickups, sending the kids to school on the bus, eating your lunch in the office instead of driving to a restaurant and walking or biking to places in your neighborhood instead of jumping in the car. Related: People for Bikes is making cycling safer with Ride Spot Start a garden There’s nothing better than having fresh, organic vegetables at your disposal and no better way to achieve that goal than by starting a garden. If you have the space, plan for the seasons with cool weather leafy veggies and carrots in the spring, a salsa garden in the summer and squash in the fall. In a small space, prepare a container garden on your patio with cherry tomatoes, herbs and peas. If you don’t have space for your own garden, bring together like-minded people and start a community garden. As the saying goes, “Many hands make light work,” so having help with planting, maintaining and harvesting plants benefits everyone. If outdoor space isn’t an option, consider setting up a hydroponics system to grow indoors instead. Join an environmentally focused group Finding ways to help the environment can feel somewhat overwhelming, but when you join a group of like-minded people sharing in a common goal, you can achieve great things. Whether your passion is cleaning up the oceans or planting trees , find a local group that supports your cause. If there isn’t one in your area, set a goal to start one. Budget for the environment We are surrounded by prompts to constantly buy more stuff. Every billboard, bus and storefront is filled with enticing marketing meant to convince you that you need whatever they offer. But each product contributes to emissions from sourcing materials, manufacturing, transporting, maintaining warehouse and retail space and disposing of post-consumer waste. Of course, it’s important to make conscientious decisions about avoiding plastic and plastic foam, buying in bulk when possible and investing in durable products that will last many years rather than disposables, but avoiding the purchase in the first place is the best thing you can do for the planet. Boil purchases down to the essentials. Give experiences rather than physical gifts. Only buy in quantities you’re likely to use. Focus on multipurpose items that can suit alternate needs. Really evaluate whether you will use an item long-term. Set a goal to reduce unnecessary purchases, and do your budget a favor at the same time. Hint: Sharing or renting equipment, tools and supplies is another easy way to save money and reduce environmental impact. Take a class There are endless ways to lower your carbon footprint , so target a topic of interest and learn more about it. Some examples include beekeeping, preserving food, woodworking, sewing, gardening or learning how to build solar and wind technology. Become more self-sufficient by obtaining skills in homesteading, identifying edible plants or using plants in alternative ways. Reduce waste Becoming conscious of your waste is a huge step toward reducing it. Take a look at your typical waste. Do you fill a 64-gallon street container each week? If so, see if you can reduce that to a 32-gallon instead. If you don’t already, start recycling . Capabilities of local recycling centers vary widely across the nation, so educate yourself on the regional process. Most facilities accept glass, tin cans, large plastic containers and paper — at a minimum. Also, always return your bottles and aluminum cans for recycling or redemption. Related: Recycling Identifying Device takes the guesswork out of figuring out what is recyclable To repeat an earlier sentiment, the best way to reduce garbage is to keep it from entering the house in the first place. Look at the packaging when you make a purchase, and support companies that ship in recyclable or biodegradable containers. Set a tangible goal for yourself to reduce your waste production by half. Maybe next year, you can halve it again. Write a letter Believe it or not, companies want to know how you feel about their products. When you notice something you like, such as a commitment to carbon offsetting or sustainable material sourcing, let them know with your buying power and your word. Conversely, let businesses know when they miss the mark. Write a letter to the CEO or owner, and let them know you would be a loyal customer if they worked toward corporate responsibility. Near and far, make companies aware of changes they can make to be more sustainable. Offer suggestions to local restaurants to replace plastic straws or single-use plastic tablecloths. Ask if to-go containers are cardboard, and refuse them if an establishment only provides plastic foam. At a city, state or federal level, get your representative involved. Drop them a note each month of the year to let them know what is important to you. Educate them about issues they may not be aware of. Ask for representation around topics like reducing petroleum reliance, protecting nature and supporting organic farming. Make your voice heard by speaking out for what you believe. Clean your plate Feeding the planet’s population puts a burden on our limited resources, but there are many things you can do to lessen your individual impact. Start by buying as local as possible. Source food from the farmer’s market seasonally, and purchase directly from farms in your town. Buying organic produce supports farmers who make the extra effort to keep pesticides and other chemicals out of our waterways. You don’t want to eat chemical-laden food, anyway. Cut back on animal products, because animal farming is a major producer of methane. Skip meat a few days a week or altogether. Cut out dairy products where you can, too. Don’t buy more food than you need , and use up leftovers rather than throwing them out. Do most of your cooking at home. A commitment to home-cooked meals is better for your health, your budget and the planet. Setting resolutions for the new year is a healthy way to guide yourself toward your sustainability goals, which is a win for you and for Earth. Happy New Year! Images via Shutterstock

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Off-grid tiny cabin in Australia is just the place for a digital detox in the new year

January 1, 2020 by  
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Last year, we featured CABN ‘s collection of gorgeous, off-grid cabins that are designed to offer a serene respite away from the stresses of everyday life. Now, the Australian company has just unveiled another beautiful design, the Sadie, which is its first eco-retreat in Victoria. Tucked in the foothills of the Great Dividing Range, the solar-powered cabin is the ideal spot for reconnecting with nature in the new year. Like all of CABN’s projects, the Sadie is designed to go completely off the grid while still offering the ultimate in comfort for guests who are looking to immerse themselves in nature. Located on a remote property in Daylesford, the cabin is less than a 1.5 hour drive from Melbourne. Guests staying at the tiny cabin will enjoy the secluded area, which is surrounded by lush forest and unspoiled nature. Related: These Australian tiny cabins are designed to help us disconnect With a master bedroom and a comfy day bed, the cabin can accommodate up to four guests. In addition to the two sleep spaces, there is a main living area complete with the company’s signature, massive window that frames views of the forested landscape. This window is accompanied by a handful more, all of which brighten the space with natural light during the day. Despite its small size, the cabin has more than enough amenities to make guests feel at home. The bathroom sports a simplistic design of unfinished wood and has enough space for a shower and a composting toilet . For meals, there is a fully equipped kitchen and an outdoor grill. Guests can also enjoy a nice glass of wine while lounging around the firepit, provided its not bushfire season, of course. Although the cabin, which starts at $200 per night, is located in a remote forest seemingly at the end of the earth, in reality, the cabin retreat is in Daylesford, which has plenty of restaurants and shops nearby. Additionally, there are plenty of local wineries in the area to tour. + CABN Images via CABN

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Off-grid tiny cabin in Australia is just the place for a digital detox in the new year

10 holiday gifts for eco-friendly coworkers

December 16, 2019 by  
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If you have coworkers who are eco-conscious or you hope to encourage them to be, then a thoughtful gift will certainly convey that you appreciate everything they do as your teammates — all while helping the planet. Besides, showing gratitude for the people you work with is tremendously helpful for boosting morale, building rapport and cultivating a positive work environment. To spread the holiday cheer and the message of sustainability, here is a gift guide for eco-friendly presents for coworkers. Ecozoi stainless steel lunch box Stainless steel is better for the environment than plastic because it is meant to last. This stainless steel lunch box is free of BPA , PVC and phthalate. It also comes in recycled packaging that can be reused. A purchase comes with a bonus lunch pod for fruits, healthy snacks or dessert options, making it a great gift for your desk neighbor. Sustainable notebooks from ECO Imprints ECO Imprints has long been dedicated to social and environmental responsibility, often promoting positive change for greener merchandise that is recycled, reusable, reclaimed, organic, sustainable or ethically sourced . ECO Imprints has a wide range of notebooks from which to choose, and many of the notebooks are accompanied with eco-friendly pens for a complete gift set. Namaste water bottle from Yuhme Made from sugarcane, this water bottle is both BPA- and toxin-free. It is also 100 percent recyclable . The fun design will make everyone at work want one, in turn eliminating plastic bottles in exchange for stylish trips to the water fountain. HankyBook handkerchiefs These eco-friendly handkerchiefs are made of 100 percent certified organic cotton . HankyBooks are more sustainable and reusable than disposable paper tissues, thereby keeping our planet (and your work space) greener. Plantable Sprout pencils For a sustainable pencil option — made from 100 percent natural clay, graphite and PEFC-/ FSC-certified cedar wood — consider Sprout. Once you’ve finished with your Sprout pencil, you can plant the stub and watch it grow into herbs, flowers or vegetables. This is a truly unique and functional gift that you can give to everyone at work. Related: Sustainable pencil stubs Sprout into plants Living vertical wall garden from Portrait Gardens Available in three sizes — 4×6, 5×7 or 8×10 — this vertical wall garden allows its recipient to arrange plants (everything from succulents to flowers to herbs, vegetables and more) on a tray, pin them to a securing grid, then frame them, so the plants of choice will be ready for your coworker to display proudly. Abeego beeswax food wrap Abeego is renowned for saving honeybees. It is also a company that is sustainable, natural and zero-waste . This food wrap, made with beeswax, can be washed and reused. It’s a much better alternative for wrapping sandwiches or saving half of an avocado from lunch compared to single-use plastic wrap. Wooden tech accessories from iameco For more than 20 years, iameco has been crafting sustainable, ecological and high-performance computers, devices and accessories that are free from harmful chemicals. The company’s electronics do not harm the environment nearly as much as mainstream devices, especially given that they operate at a third less power. What’s more, iameco harvests the natural wood used for its electronics, devices and accessories from sustainable forests. As such, a fun wood keyboard or mouse from iameco makes an interesting gift for coworkers who love design, technology and the planet. Related: This eco-friendly wooden laptop is designed to curb e-waste Zero-Waste starter kit from Wakecup This kit has all the eco-friendly essentials: a vegan rucksack, a bamboo and stainless steel water bottle, a bamboo travel mug and two reusable bamboo straws. As Wakecup shares on its website, “Did you know that excluding food packaging, 90 percent of single-use plastic waste comes in the form of bags, bottles, cups and straws?” By giving these to your coworkers, imagine how much greener the Earth becomes as each person reduces their waste! Compostable phone case from Pela Pela is widely known as the company with the world’s first 100 percent compostable phone case. Phone cases are a simple way to show coworkers you appreciate them this holiday season, and a compostable phone case means less waste, too. Images via Shutterstock, Ecozoi, ECO Imprints, Yuhme, HankyBook, Sprout, Portrait Gardens, Abeego, iameco, Wakecup and Pela

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10 holiday gifts for eco-friendly coworkers

Study shows how plant-based catering can greatly reduce events’ carbon footprints

December 5, 2019 by  
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A recent analysis published by the Center for Biological Diversity’s Catering to the Climate report finds that replacing meat with plant-based menu offerings at conferences, corporate gatherings and holiday parties can greatly reduce the impact of these events. Production of meat and dairy contributes to nearly 15 percent of greenhouse gas emissions, which play a drastic role in the planet’s current climate crisis . The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) has repeatedly warned that reducing meat consumption and its accompanying emissions can help countries meet their climate goals. In the U.S. alone, half of all consumed water goes toward meat production. Did you know that 80 percent of agricultural land is set aside for raising animals and feed crops? As a result, there is a vital need to improve current agricultural, food and environmental practices. One such initiative is to address the catering sector. Related: IPCC landmark report warns about the state of the oceans, polar ice content and the climate crisis Last year, revenues for catering surpassed $11 billion, with industry growth in the past three years accelerating toward an annual 10 percent climb. By shifting the catering sector away from meat-dominant menus and toward more plant-based items, there’s likely to be a noticeable dent in accompanying emissions. “Avoiding meat-heavy menus at holiday parties and conferences can make a surprisingly big difference for our planet,” explained Jennifer Molidor, the Center for Biological Diversity’s senior food campaigner. “With Earth-friendly catering that focuses on low-carbon, plant-based choices, we can save wildlife habitats and avoid a lot of climate pollution.” Through plant-based catering, a 500-person event could minimize its carbon footprint by 10 tons of greenhouse gas emissions, equivalent to the amount emitted by a car driving 22,000 miles. The move will also conserve 100,000 gallons of water from food processing and irrigation, save 5 acres of habitat from animal agriculture and prevent 17 tons of manure pollution . “Public demand for plant-based, low-carbon menus is growing quickly,” Molidor said. “Even small changes in purchasing, like replacing dairy with plant-based milks and cheeses, can bring substantial benefits to suppliers and their clients. When the event and catering industry serves plant-based menus, it’s an environmental and culinary success.” + Center for Biological Diversity Image via Pixabay

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Study shows how plant-based catering can greatly reduce events’ carbon footprints

Building homes that fight against climate change

November 21, 2019 by  
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Even with concerted efforts to curb climate change, it’s clear we are already living through the effects of a warming world. As such, it’s time to get serious about where and how we build our homes to keep our families safe while also lessening our impact on the planet. From incorporating renewable energy and ethical labor practices to reducing waste and designing for resilience, B Corp-certified home builder Deltec Homes is exemplifying just how to design and build homes that keep your family and Mother Earth safe and secure for generations to come. Building for resilience With hurricanes intensifying around the world, resilient design is becoming more and more important as the climate crisis worsens. As such, it is important to design homes that can stand strong against these natural disasters. Deltec Homes keeps disaster-proofing at the forefront of its designs. For example, the company has homes that feature a unique, eye-catching panoramic layout. Deltec Homes has built structures that have withstood some of the most intense storms in recent years, such as Hurricanes Harvey, Maria, Michael and Dorian. The rounded design ensures that wind pressure doesn’t build up on a traditionally flat side of the home, which can collapse the walls. Instead, the pressure is dispersed around the structure. Additionally, Deltec Homes uses reinforced windows with impact glass to help keep the wind and water from breaking the windows and entering the building. The team also uses a special grade of lumber that is twice as strong as traditional lumber to boost resiliency. “We build what we believe to be the strongest wood homes on the planet, as evidenced by thousands of homes in the path of these major hurricanes that performed incredibly well,” said Steve Linton, president of Deltec Homes. Linton and the company are well aware that hurricanes are becoming more damaging, but Deltec Homes is continuously improving the strength of its homes. “We are seeing hurricanes hitting really high wind speeds. After Hurricane Dorian, we sat with our engineering team and said, ‘We know we can withstand 185 mph. What happens when these storms are 200 to 250 mph?’ We are continuing to innovate the system to stand up to the next generation of storms, whatever that turns out to be.” Following the Deltec Way for minimal impact Deltec Homes is the first prefabricated home builder to earn B Corp-certification , meaning it meets strict standards for ethics and sustainability. In an industry notorious for mass amounts of waste, the company is focused on lessening the impact that our homes tend to have on the planet. “Everything we build is with 100 percent renewable energy,” Linton said. “In 2007, we had, at the time, the largest solar array in North Carolina. We are proud to produce homes with low environmental footprints. Deltec is  not a company with a single-minded focus on profit; we want to solve social and environmental challenges. This is used as a way to gain clarity on our purpose, thinking of that purpose beyond financial. It’s a kind of concept that in order to be the best in the world, you also have to be the best for the world.” As such, renewable energy is important to the Deltec Way. Every prefabricated home is constructed through 100 percent renewable energy and is made almost entirely with local, U.S. building materials. The company also continuously works to reduce its own energy consumption while helping homeowners reduce theirs as well, with homes that exceed the energy code by at least 30 percent. Construction is a wasteful practice as we know, but it doesn’t have to be. Prefabrication is one of the top ways to reduce waste in homebuilding, not to mention it leads to faster building times — this way, your family can move into your dream home in no time. Deltec Homes’ prefabrication building techniques actually divert more than 80 percent of construction waste from our landfills, leaving the planet a cleaner place. Having proved that building for a better planet is possible, Deltec notes that its vision is to change the way the world builds. “We’ve been doing this for over 50 years. It’s hard for this industry to adapt to the changing world, but it’s crucial for future generations that we rise to the challenge of standing up to climate change,” Linton said. Reducing energy usage and choosing renewable energy sources One of the biggest impacts on the climate is energy usage. Relying on fossil fuels to power, heat and cool a home can quickly increase your family’s carbon footprint and drain the planet of its resources. Unfortunately, this means future generations will suffer the consequences. But if you are looking to build a sustainable home, Deltec Homes will work with you to design and build one that will last your family for years to come without sacrificing planetary health. Each Deltec home is, on average, 55 percent more energy efficient than traditional homes . This is in part to stringent airtightness, which prevents harsh winds (both hot and cold air, depending on the season) from entering the structure. Deltec Homes boasts structures that are three to five times more airtight than traditional new construction. Similarly, Deltec Homes emphasizes passive design, which means you won’t need to rely much on the furnace or the air conditioner. Instead, your home will naturally maintain a comfortable temperature year-round. If you want to further future-proof your home, you can also consult with Deltec Homes regarding renewable energy systems, energy-efficient lighting and appliances, LEED Certification and even the Zero Energy Ready Home program , which meets energy efficiency, water use reduction and indoor air quality goals. Deltec Homes works with each client personally to help them meet their sustainability goals and even encourage them to do more in giving back to the planet. “We have a dedicated sustainability manager who spends a large part of her time listening to customer goals and also offering suggestions on the latest tech to achieve those goals,” Linton explained. The team speaks with clients about how to “build a high-performance home and put renewable energy in today, or design to add [renewable energy] 5 years from now.” According to Linton, they use this consulting to get clients to think about the future and how to make their homes continue to fight against climate change. “What we try to do when working with a customer is to encourage them to think about their home in the future and for it to perform in a way that makes a difference, from reducing energy use and carbon to withstanding storms. We want to help people prioritize what they want to do in their home, so that together, we can change the way the world builds.” To learn more about Deltec Homes, you can schedule a call, attend an event or receive a free informational magazine here . + Deltec Homes Images via Deltec Homes

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Building homes that fight against climate change

This durable luggage is made with replaceable and recycled materials

October 30, 2019 by  
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Travel has a huge impact on the environment. From jet fuel to the broken luggage in landfills, exploring our world leaves a footprint . With this in mind, conscientious companies are designing products that encourage travel sans the burden on the planet. Introducing PHOENX, a modular luggage brand with a focus on sustainability through its use of recycled and regenerative materials. Sustainability begins with the materials sourced for the product. In the case of PHOENX, 95 percent of the materials are recycled or regenerative. For example, the shell of this hard-sided carry-on suitcase is 100 percent recycled polycarbonate. Related: Designers aim to reduce the waste and impact of airlines The suitcase is accompanied by an ultra-thin, removable backpack made from materials sourced from fishing nets and used carpet . This allows for day-tripping in an eco-friendly way. The set also includes a laundry bag to keep dirty clothes separate from the clean ones. The laundry bag offers a vacuum-sealed design for space efficiency. The products incorporate fishing nets, carpets, recycled plastics, rubber and aluminium to help divert these materials from landfills and create durable products that are built to last. This notion is further evidenced in the modular design. Several components of the suitcase are removable and replaceable in the case of breakage. This means that one tool allows you to remove components and replace them individually rather than trashing the suitcase when a wheel or handle malfunctions. Of course, PHOENX works to keep this from happening with a 5-year warranty, durable and quiet HINOMOTO wheels, a waterproof, zipper design and a strong, aluminum handle. “PHOENX is not just about the present but is made to accompany you in your future adventures,” said Francesco Salom, co-founder and CEO of PHOENX. “When you feel it is time to renew it, you can send it back to us and choose between having it restyled by our creative design team or getting a new model.” While responsible material sourcing and product longevity are both crucial components of its eco-friendly products, PHOENX is dedicated to both people and the planet. It participates in fair-trade practices for employees and has partnered with earth-friendly organizations like Oceanic Global, Whale Wise and Aquafil Global for a well-rounded theme of conscientious business practices. The goals for PHOENX are simple and lofty at the same time: to provide a sustainable business model while inspiring travelers to tread lightly. You can find the company’s Kickstarter campaign here . + PHOENX Images via PHOENX

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This durable luggage is made with replaceable and recycled materials

Tesla revives its clean energy business with new version of its solar roof tiles

October 30, 2019 by  
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Tesla’s newly released version of solar roof tiles is promising to be a better green energy alternative. For one, it is easier to install than traditional shingles. Plus, these new Tesla tiles are more cost-effective than purchasing a new roof with separate solar panels. Because of the innovative upgrades, Tesla CEO Elon Musk optimistically projects the company will install 1,000 of these new solar roofs per week. Tesla ventured into the solar roof industry three years ago in partnership with SolarCity, which Tesla acquired in 2016. The most recently upgraded solar roof tiles are designed to look like normal roof tiles yet double as power-generating solar panels. Related: Newly-revealed Tesla solar roof patent shows the secrets behind the technology This newly unveiled solar roof tile is a third-generation version that features more refinements like increased size, beefed up power density, reduced components for better efficiency and improved roof edges that no longer require time-consuming “artisanal” fine-tuning onsite. The new solar roof tiles are made from tempered glass and are three times more durable than standard roofing tiles. As Musk explained, “With versions one and two, we were still sort of figuring things out. Version three, I think, is finally ready for the big time. And so, we’re scaling our production of the version three solar tower roof at our Buffalo Gigafactory. And I think this product is going to be incredible.” Tesla’s website offers two varieties of solar roof — a normal roof with solar panels and the third iteration of the textured glass shingle roof. Musk has touted the latter to be cheaper, easier and faster to install than its predecessors. The version three roof has a 25-year warranty, and its glass material can endure 130-mph winds and hail of up to 1.75 inches in diameter. Efficiency is the name of the game in the solar roof sector. Thus, for Tesla, the company plans to implement a “Tesla-certified installer” program that enlists outside roofers that are local to the client. Similarly, Tesla has optimized its roof installation so that the whole process should only span eight hours. Musk has said that orders for Tesla’s version three solar panels have risen as a response to the power outages caused by California utility PG&E repeatedly shutting off electricity to hundreds of thousands of Golden State residents to prevent wildfires . Tesla therefore is recommending homeowners go green to avoid these rolling blackouts. “We can make roofs come alive,” Musk shared. “There are all these roofs out there just gathering sunlight, but not doing anything with it. In the future, it will be odd for roofs to be dormant or not gathering energy.” + Tesla Via CNBC Image via Tesla

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YouTube stars partner up in #TeamTrees campaign to plant 20 million trees

October 30, 2019 by  
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To combat the climate crisis , a coalition of YouTubers has joined together for a mammoth mission to plant 20 million trees beginning in January 2020. Called #TeamTrees, the reforestation campaign has social media all abuzz. They have, so far, raised enough funds to plant more than 8 million trees, and that number is rising. How did it all start? When YouTuber Jimmy Donaldson, or MrBeast, reached the 20 million subscribers milestone on his YouTube channel, which is dedicated to extreme stunts and philanthropic challenges, his subscribers dared him to plant 20 million trees to commemorate the occasion. The campaign quickly went viral. Related: Scientists confirm tree planting is our best solution to climate change “People keep making fun of our generation for retweet activism and not actually doing something … this is your chance to make a difference,” MrBeast said to his supporters. “Just to be clear, we all realize 20 million trees won’t fix climate change . But at the end of the day, 20 million more trees is better than zero! We want to take action because doing nothing is how we got here!” Upward of 600 YouTube creatives have since joined the #TeamTrees initiative, even rallying their subscribers to follow suit with the planting trees endeavor. To date, these social media influencers have a combined total of 650 million subscribers, double the United States population.  Each $1 donation plants a single tree. In the first 48 hours of the #TeamTrees website going live on October 25, the initiative raised more than $5 million — and the funds keep growing. All donations are sent directly to the Arbor Day Foundation, the nonprofit devoted to tree planting . For almost 50 years, the nonprofit has planted 250 million trees worldwide. Trees funded by the #TeamTrees endeavor will be planted across the globe beginning January 2020. The Arbor Day Foundation anticipates a December 2022 completion date; the year 2022 will mark the 150th anniversary of the first Arbor Day. To promote successful tree survival rates, the Arbor Day Foundation will partner with the United State Forest Service, the National Park Service and the National Association of State Foresters to ensure the trees planted will not be invasive species . The trees chosen will be native to the region in which they are planted, many in national forests managed by government agencies. To speed up the process, the #TeamTrees campaign is entertaining a collaboration with DroneSeed, a company that deploys drones to plant trees in a scalable fashion. Small drones first map out the landscape, followed by larger drones that drop seed vessels at locations ideal for growing trees. Additionally, this eco-friendly YouTube collaboration is flooding the platform with tree content. The #TeamTrees coalition hopes to game the algorithm and push for more environmental videos to rank at the top of the recommended playlists. With tree videos trending next to cat videos, Mother Nature would be proud. + #TeamTrees Via The Guardian Image via Shutterstock

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YouTube stars partner up in #TeamTrees campaign to plant 20 million trees

Aluminum cans vs plastic bottles: which is best for the environment?

October 30, 2019 by  
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We’ve all been guilty of buying an unsustainable beverage every once in a while, but when faced with the perplexing conundrum of whether to grab that plastic bottle or aluminum can, which do you believe to be more environmentally-friendly ? The history of plastic goes back to the early 1900s when the first fully synthetic plastic was invented as an alternative to the shellac used in electronic insulation. During World War II, plastic production increased by 300% in the United States as it was used for everything, from nylon in ropes and parachutes to plexiglass in airplane windows. After the war, commercial use of plastic had completely taken off and incorporated into virtually every product and market in modern life. By the 1960s, the first occurrence of plastic pollution in the oceans was recorded. Related: This rechargeable camping headlamp is made out of sustainable wood and recycled aluminum Today, the Environmental Protection Agency estimates that 80% of the marine debris found in our oceans originated as land-based trash that was not recycled. Over 90% of the plastics found in the ocean is comprised of microplastics, which commonly end up ingested by aquatic animals, often killing them through choking or toxicity. The National Geographic Society found that 91% of the world’s plastic was not recycled in 2018. That alarming statistic means that all but 9% of plastic waste ends up either in landfills or in the ocean. Plastic bottles are made from petroleum, or “crude oil.” Oil drilling, also known as fracking, wastes water, releases methane into the atmosphere, produces oil spills and generally wreaks havoc on the environment. Plastic bottles are typically too thin to recycle into more plastic bottles, but the material can be made into fibers for things like carpets, clothing and sleeping bags. In 2018, the recycling rate for plastic bottles was just over 29%. The use of aluminum cans was first introduced to the general public in 1959 by Coors. About five years later, Royal Crown Cola brought aluminum into the soft drinks game with their RC Cola and Diet Rite. Since then, they’ve been used for everything from energy drinks and sparkling waters to sodas and wine. Aluminum offered an affordable alternative to steel as well as a more convenient surface for company printed text and graphics. Aluminum cans can be recycled into more cans in a true “closed-loop” recycling process. In 2018 the recycling rate for aluminum cans was 49.8%. The liquid inside the aluminum can benefit from the material as well, since aluminum blocks light, moisture and oxygen from permeating the outside. This makes the drinks more sustainable , as they have a longer shelf-life. Lightweight cans have only decreased in weight over the years, with the first aluminum cans weighing about three ounces per unit and modern cans weighing less than half an ounce. Typically recycling programs value aluminum over plastic or glass, with the former holding $1,317 worth of value per ton of recyclable material versus plastic’s $299 per ton. This allows more municipal recycling programs to stay in service. IFC International, a global management consulting and technology company, found in a 2016 study that the greenhouse gas emissions associated with the transportation and refrigeration of aluminum are 7 to 21 percent lower than that of plastic and 35 to 49 percent lower than glass. The easy-to-recycle aluminum material doesn’t stop there; the shiny stuff’s strength is another advantage. According to the Aluminum Association , four six-packs can hold up a two-ton vehicle thanks to the packaging’s aversion to rust, corrosion and ability to withhold carbonation pressure. This stamina allows companies to package and transport more product using less material. Related: Prada jumps into the sustainability realm with six Re-Nylon bags made from recycled plastic waste When it comes to the amount of recycled material found in cans versus plastic bottles, aluminum has the upper hand, as well. In 2016 the Environmental Protection Agency found that aluminum cans contain three times the amount of recycled content than plastic. They also estimated that aluminum cans are made up of 73% recycled material on average.  Aluminum doesn’t occur in nature and is primarily comprised of bauxite rock, which is primarily found in Australia, India and Brazil. Collecting bauxite comprises of open-pit mining, which usually involves moving or bulldozing large amounts of vegetation and surface rocks. This type of mining negatively affects ecosystems and creates air and water pollution , which can cause health issues for wildlife and humans. Not to mention, the combination of electrolysis and chemical processing that it takes to turn bauxite into conventional aluminum takes a large amount of heat and energy. However, the Aluminum Association assures that land conservation has become an important focus among bauxite mining. Topsoil from the site is stored to be replaced after the process is finished, so “an average of 80 percent of the land mined for bauxite is returned to its native ecosystem.” So how can you make sure you’re not contributing to plastic or aluminum pollution? Always reach for that reusable water bottle before going out! Fill it with water, soda, juice or whatever you like. For those unavoidable times when you end up with plastic or aluminum waste, get some inspiration for recycling through Inhabitat! Images via pasja1000 , gepharts3d , filmbetrachterin , Enriquehgz , Mr.TinDC

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Aluminum cans vs plastic bottles: which is best for the environment?

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