4 Zero-waste Indoor Plant Fertilizers

March 23, 2021 by  
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Plants vitalize our homes and offices. They filter toxins from the air we breathe and… The post 4 Zero-waste Indoor Plant Fertilizers appeared first on Earth911.

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4 Zero-waste Indoor Plant Fertilizers

Recommended Viewing: John Oliver on Plastic Recycling

March 23, 2021 by  
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John Oliver is a master explainer of complicated issues who focused on plastic recycling in… The post Recommended Viewing: John Oliver on Plastic Recycling appeared first on Earth911.

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Recommended Viewing: John Oliver on Plastic Recycling

HempWood offers a sustainable wood alternative with endless applications

February 24, 2021 by  
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With an educational background in vinyl siding and wood flooring, Fibonacci owner Greg Wilson has developed HempWood, an American-produced wood material made from a fast-growing agricultural product. Hemp has long been acclaimed for its versatility, but regulations in the United States have historically hampered research and development on the material. Now, hemp may be the material surrounding you inside your home. Replacing wood with other natural materials The company’s name is Fibonacci, although it’s now mostly known as HempWood with a focus on its primary product. No trees were harmed in the making of HempWood, since it is made of all-natural, U.S.-grown hemp, and the uses are just beginning to take shape.  Related: Levi’s announces product line made with Cottonized Hemp In the grand scheme of things, HempWood sees the opportunity to sit alongside the major players in the wood industry. Its current products include flooring, furniture, countertops and accent walls. Basically anything for indoor use made out of hardwoods, tropical woods, cork or other agricultural products, such as bamboo and eucalyptus , can be made using HempWood instead. Wilson originally worked in China with another plant-to-product material, bamboo. While great for many things, bamboo lacked strength as a commercial product. Wilson was part of a team that unlocked a process that turned bamboo into a more durable product. Later, he used a similar process in working with strand wood eucalyptus. As hemp availability and an interest in the possibilities for the material grew, Wilson moved back to the U.S. and opened shop in Kentucky to use his prior experiences in the advancement of hemp development. The environmental impact of hemp Even with Wilson’s prior dealings with similarly behaving materials, hemp has presented some unique challenges. Plus, launching a business in 2020 was no easy feat. Wilson told Cool Hunting in a recent interview, “It’s all based off this one algorithm that allows you to transform a plant fiber into a wood composite,” he explained. “You’ve got to modify it a little bit for the different fiber coming in, but for hemp we’ve also had to duck and weave around government regulation, COVID, wildfires and everything else 2020 has to offer.” Wilson and his team were already aware of the sustainability aspects of hemp, like the fact that plants grow quickly and are ready for harvest in only 120 days. Compared to traditional tree-based woods such as oak, hickory and maple that grow for hundreds of years, hemp can provide a renewable option for the wood industry. Plus, as a plant, hemp naturally helps create cleaner air by removing carbon and releasing oxygen. Hemp’s versatility means every part of the plant is used, leaving no waste behind. While HempWood primarily relies on the bottom part of the plant, the upper parts of thhe plant has other commercial uses, such as chicken feed. From a sustainability aspect, HempWood offers additional advantages. Harvesting trees damages the natural habitat of plants and animals . For example, removing a single large oak tree takes away a food and housing source. Plus, it eliminates protection for the plants growing underneath it. Forests are a carefully balanced ecosystem, so removing a single component can easily upset the stability within the region. As an agricultural product, hemp doesn’t have that lasting effect.  As a bio-based product, HempWood avoids creating future issues with its natural ability to biodegrade . Even the non-toxic, soy-based adhesive can dissolve back into the soil. “It’s a wood-composite comprised of greater than 80% hemp fiber,” Wilson explained. “We take the whole stalk and put it through a crushing machine which breaks open the cell structure. Then we dunk it into these enormous vats of soy protein, mixed with water and with the organic acid used by the paper towel industry. It’s essentially papier-mâché.” Corporate responsibility Fibonacci chose a location within 100 miles of the hemp farms it relies on for materials. This decreases transportation costs and the carbon emissions that result from shipping materials across the country. The company is currently looking into expanding with more facilities to create a web of strategically placed hubs on each coast and around the U.S. Inside the HempWood facility, the company is committed to a small carbon footprint . In addition to basic steps like using low-consuming LED bulbs throughout the buildings, the company has installed a bio-burner. This device not only vents heat throughout the facility, but it also provides energy savings and comprehensive waste reduction by burning material off-cuts onsite. The team at HempWood has enjoyed promoting an alternative for the green building community as well as creating a base product that people can get creative with. Customers report making many types of products out of the material, including duck calls, art projects, bowls and picture frames. There is no cap on the number of applications this material can be used for in the building industry and beyond. + HempWood Images via HempWood

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HempWood offers a sustainable wood alternative with endless applications

Next-gen GMO entrepreneurs target consumers, not farmers

February 19, 2021 by  
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Next-gen GMO entrepreneurs target consumers, not farmers Jim Giles Fri, 02/19/2021 – 01:00 Want more great analysis of sustainable food systems? Sign up for Food Weekly , our free email newsletter. What does the future hold for genetically modified crops? This is a huge question in food and ag. It’s not one that will be answered quickly — new crops must emerge from the lab and clear regulatory hurdles before finding success, or not, in the marketplace. But a recent funding round provides an indication of what the 2020s might look like for this sector. To peer into this future, we have to start by looking back. The first generation of genetically modified organisms (GMOs), including herbicide-resistant soy and corn, continues to divide opinion: dominant on big U.S. farms, yet distrusted by many consumers. This dates back to the introduction of the crops in the 1990s, when critics portrayed GMOs as a risky technology with benefits that flowed only to big agricultural businesses. The entrepreneurs behind the second generation of GMOs are keen to avoid that outcome. That desire is clear in the pitch from Pairwise, a U.S. startup that earlier this month announced a $90 million funding round . To create the company’s first product, engineers took a mustard green and removed a gene that creates the plant’s signature pungency. Critically, the gene does not affect nutrition. The result is a green that combines the mild taste of lettuce with the nutritional benefits of the plant it’s derived from.  “We all know the healthier leafy green are things like kale and arugula, but we tend to eat romaine and iceberg,” Pairwise CEO Tom Adams told me. Pairwise’s new variety should hit stores in 2022, Adams said. Next in the company’s pipeline are blackberry plants engineered to lack seeds (to please consumers) or even thorns (to please pickers). Those are slated for a mid-2020s launch. By the end of the decade, the company hopes to be selling stone-free cherries.  During my chat with Adams, I was struck by how he repeatedly positioned his products as making fruits and vegetables more palatable to consumers, and the societal benefits that would flow from doing so. I don’t say this to question his motives — I’m highlighting it because it shows that, unlike in the past, future debates over the pros and cons of GMOs likely will center on these kinds of consumer benefits. If so, the crops could be much less controversial. In 2019, Calyxt, another U.S. gene-editing startup, launched a soybean engineered to have less saturated fat and more oleic acid, which results in a healthier oil for frying. Did the news pass you by? Perhaps because the benefits felt real, the launch wasn’t particularly controversial. In fact, late last year Calyxt announced that it would sell all of its current crop of gene-edited soybeans to food processing giant Archer Daniels Midland .  If gene-edited crops can find a smooth path to market, how might they be harnessed to make agriculture more sustainable? As a recent report noted , there are multiple possibilities, including rice varieties that emit less methane. The potential financial return on low-emission crops, however, is not as clear-cut, making this kind of research a lower priority for Pairwise, Calyxt and others. When it comes to gene-editing for sustainability, the leaders are not U.S. startups but the multiple government-funded teams leading China’s push to use gene editing to improve everything from wheat and rice to bananas and strawberries. China’s focus on the technology is one reason — admittedly among many — why the country’s government paid $43 billion for the agtech giant Syngenta in 2017. I thought of China’s work in this area when I read about the Biden administration’s plans to create a new climate tech agency dubbed Advanced Research Projects Agency-Climate, or ARPA-C. The project builds on ARPA-E, which focuses on energy. Yet advanced agtech is just as exciting and potentially impactful. Alongside gene editing, we would benefit from artificial intelligence systems for monitoring carbon sequestration in farmland and more efficient indoor growing environments. Maybe the administration also should create ARPA-Ag. Topics Food & Agriculture GMO Featured Column Foodstuff Featured in featured block (1 article with image touted on the front page or elsewhere) Off Duration 0 Sponsored Article Off Pairwise is working on modified black and red raspberries, as well as blackberries, that lack seeds and thorns. Courtesy of Pairwise Close Authorship

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Next-gen GMO entrepreneurs target consumers, not farmers

Respira, the hydroponic smart garden that purifies the air

January 28, 2021 by  
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Toronto-based New Earth Solutions is offering a sustainable and compact method for natural air purification. Respira , a hydroponic smart garden, helps improve the air quality of indoor spaces, something that society has found an additional need for since spending more time inside the home. The self-sustaining garden can be mounted on the  wall  or set up in a planter to complement multiple styles. Respira is completely user-friendly — no green thumb required. Installed in about 10 minutes, the garden essentially takes care of itself via a patented biofiltration process with a self-watering, self-feeding and self-lighting system built-into the design. An automated controller accessible through a touchscreen and phone app manages and monitors things like water temperature, water level, water flow, air temperatures, humidity and TVOC levels for  air quality . Related: Briiv air purifier uses renewable materials to naturally clean indoor air As for foliage, buyers can currently choose from three different kits: a “tropical” assortment with hearty and low light rainforest  plants , a “vibrant” assortment with bright and colorful plants, and a “pothos” assortment with a combination of Devils Ivy, Golden Pothos, Marble Queen and Jade Pothos. System dimensions are just 39 inches in height and 19 inches in width, while the body, made from  bamboo  and sustainably sourced ABS plastic, weighs about 48 pounds when full and holds 13 four-inch plants. A reusable pre-filter that removes larger particles from the air before they reach the plant’s roots supplements the plant’s natural filtration abilities. Since the walls are planted hydroponically, the system requires no soil and never needs to be replaced. Instead, plants are fed by nutrients and hydrated with a circulating stream of water while the exposed roots absorb and destroy harmful  toxins  from the air. Users need only refill the water basin every 10 days, add nutrients every six months and wash the pre-filter every two months. + Respira Images via Respira

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Respira, the hydroponic smart garden that purifies the air

Plant-Based Soups — Super for You & the Planet

January 5, 2021 by  
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Warm, rich, and hearty. Light and refreshing. Spicy and silken. The … The post Plant-Based Soups — Super for You & the Planet appeared first on Earth 911.

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Plant-Based Soups — Super for You & the Planet

CLAE launches vegan cactus leather sneakers

December 17, 2020 by  
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Independent footwear brand CLAE will be celebrating its 20th anniversary next year with the release of its newest shoes made from vegan cactus leather. The Los Angeles-based company is committed to conscious and sustainable fashion, with some of its previous eco-minded sneakers made of materials like hemp and recycled mesh. The cactus leather shoes are a collaboration between CLAE and DESSERTO , highly sustainable, plant-based vegan leather creators who won the Green Product Award in 2020. According to the sneaker company, this will be the world’s first shoe made from a perennial cactus. Related: Oliver Co. makes vegan leather wallets from apple waste and wood The leather is made in Zacatecas, Mexico from the mature leaves of the nopal (also known as prickly pear) cactus without damaging the plant. Cultivated only with natural minerals and rainwater at 8,000-foot altitudes, Nopal is known for its low ecological footprint and is 100% organic . The leaves are harvested every six to eight weeks to give the plant ample time to regenerate and help preserve the local biodiversity. After the mature leaves are cut, they spend a few days drying under the sun before undergoing DESSERTO’s patented process that transforms the plant into a soft yet durable vegan leather. CLAE doesn’t stop there; the Bradley Cactus sneakers are also fitted with laces made of recycled nylon from plastic waste, while the sole is made using 100% natural rubber. This natural rubber comes from the latex sap of Hevea trees and is harvested on sustainably managed forests that help maintain the global balance of atmospheric carbon. The shoes also come packaged in environmentally friendly materials such as recycled cardboard . Bradley Cactus sneakers are currently available for pre-order at an exclusive rate of $130, which is $20 less than the original price. They are available in white, black and green, colors inspired by the Nopal cactus plant. + CLAE Images via CLAE

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CLAE launches vegan cactus leather sneakers

Embracing the stylish, sustainable cottagecore trend

December 17, 2020 by  
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It’s the birthright of every generation to rebel against its forebears. So how can young people today define themselves as different from their phone-obsessed, digital-native parents? By donning Little House on the Prairie dresses, baking pies and cavorting with fairies. The cottagecore aesthetic has become popular with Gen Z, but what many don’t realize is how this trend actually finds its roots in sustainability. According to the Urban Dictionary, cottagecore is “a niche aesthetic based around the visual culture of an idealized life on a Western farm. Common themes include sustainability, gardens , farm animals, rural living and nature.” That makes this trend a good way to embrace an eco-lifestyle, learn some new skills, breathe fresh air and have fun. Related: What is cottagecore? “During the worldwide pandemic and long periods of stay-at-home orders, the movement accelerated rapidly as people looked for an escape from our dark reality,” said Amelia Ansink, accessories editor for Fashion Snoops, as reported by Today. “Cottagecore unintentionally represents the ideal quarantine life, where isolation in nature is strived for and everything we need can be produced at home and by our own hands.” Cottagecore apparel When the world is in lockdown and people are working from home (if at all), choosing clothes can feel like a game of dress-up. Who are we dressing for right now? Mostly ourselves. So if you’ve ever yearned to dress like a Holly Hobbie doll, this is your fashion moment. Whether you’re baking muffins, embroidering on the porch swing or picnicking in a field, prairie-inspired dresses of seersucker, faded denim, cotton and linen fit the aesthetic. Think ruffles and soft colors, paired with straw hats, jute bags and a wicker picnic basket. Gingham checks and floral prints are top choices. Hair is worn long and natural, topped with flower crowns or wrapped in a bandana. If you’re doing something a little dirtier — say, cleaning up after the chickens — striped overalls may be a better wardrobe option. Courtney Fox, 27, runs the cottagecore Instagram account @thefoxandtheivy . “I grew up in rolling farmland in rural Pennsylvania, not too far from Lancaster County, which has a large population of Amish, so this landscape and way of living helped to inspire me,” she said, as reported in Today. Her fashion role models include literary heroines like Anne of Green Gables and the characters in Little Women. The trend has helped Fox live in a more eco-friendly manner. “For me, cottagecore has meant trying to reduce my waste production and purchase things more sustainably, including my clothing,” she said. “There was a time when I was buying fast fashion , but I realized it didn’t really align with my values.” While cottagecore fashion tends to be femme, anyone can join in. Flat caps, tweed, knitted sweaters and walking sticks all help you dress the part. Bonus points if you take up beekeeping and baking. Your cottagecore home Because cottagecore makes the old new again, that means upcyling , thrifting, garage sales and flea markets are all part of the lifestyle. No need to contribute to the manufacturing of new goods and the accompanying emissions. If you picture a stereotypical grandmother’s cottage — lace curtains, floral tablecloths, vintage baskets and antique vases — you’ve got the right idea. Related: Unpacking the cottagecore home decor trend You may be able to tweak existing household accessories for the cottagecore look. Tone down brightly colored wood furniture with white chalk paint, which gives a rustic, shabby-chic feel, or use other muted paint colors like cream, light pink, yellow or green. If you’re lucky enough to live close to your mother or grandmother, raid their garage or attic — with their permission, of course — for cottagecore finds. They’ll probably be thrilled you can use something that’s just gathering dust and taking up space. Your cottagecore home needs a soundtrack. The Irish artist Hozier is at the top of the playlist, with Bon Iver, Florence and the Machine and any kind of romantic dark folk rock right behind. Taylor Swift has even joined in on the act with her new albums folklore and evermore. Cottagecore hobbies Cottagecore is about more than the way you and your house look. It also involves reviving wholesome hobbies of yesteryear. Gardening has become very popular during the pandemic and is directly tied in to other sustainable activities like baking and canning. Nothing beats growing your own rhubarb then serving it in a pie. Lockdown is the ideal time to improve your needle skills by sewing or embroidering. Top embroidery subjects are natural things like mushrooms , foxes and woodland fairies. Then there’s gaming. Cottagecore aficionados who can’t give up their technology can play rural- and nature-inspired games like Animal Crossing and Farmville. Everybody needs a break from the pandemic right now. Of cottagecore, popular British Instagrammer Keri-Anne Pink who runs @ gingerlillytea says, “I think it gives people a little bit of escapism from their own world and busy life.” Images via Bertrand Bouchez , Lê Tân , James DeMers and Lexi T

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Embracing the stylish, sustainable cottagecore trend

How To Make an Upcycled Jar Terrarium

November 10, 2020 by  
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Terrariums add variety, depth, and beauty to your plant collection. … The post How To Make an Upcycled Jar Terrarium appeared first on Earth 911.

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How To Make an Upcycled Jar Terrarium

We Earthlings: Plant One Tree

August 4, 2020 by  
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Plant one tree and it will capture about 13 pounds … The post We Earthlings: Plant One Tree appeared first on Earth 911.

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