Calm Booth is a soundproof office retreat made out of recycled plastic bottles

October 21, 2019 by  
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The stresses of work often make us want to crawl under our desks. Now, one innovative firm is providing offices with a designated place to tune out the noise and find inner peace. Designed by New York-based firm ROOM , the Calm Booth, which is made out of 1,088 recycled plastic bottles , was created for companies that want to provide their employees with a space to enjoy a moment of peace while working. According to the designers, the inspiration for the Calm Booth came from the common difficulty that workers face when wanting to find a moment of  peace during a long, hectic workday. The booth is designed to be a place where “meditation meets privacy,” allowing workers to enjoy a respite to relax and refocus during the day. Related: Upcycled plastic bottles are used to create this durable emergency shelter ROOM has long been known for its soundproof booths that are designed to create private spaces for office use . But this time around, it is partnering with a meditation app, called Calm, to create a soothing space that has an extensive library of meditation soundtracks, from nature soundscapes to music to “nap stories.” The Calm Booth is a simple structure clad in a crisp, white facade with a frosted, acrylic privacy door. The booth is made soundproof thanks to three layers of insulation made with more than 1,000 recycled plastic bottles . On the interior, the space is minimalist with a simple, green forest print on the walls. The booth also comes with a small shelf, a built-in Ethernet port, soft motion-enabled LED lighting and a ventilation system. According to the American Institute of Stress , work-related stress accounts for high absenteeism in offices around the country. Hopefully, companies will begin to take notice that providing a place for workers to practice mindfulness within the office is both beneficial to employees as well as the bottom line. Creating that space with recycled materials is better for the planet, too. + ROOM Architects Images via ROOM Architects

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Calm Booth is a soundproof office retreat made out of recycled plastic bottles

When in Rome, recycle more to earn free metro and bus travel tickets

October 10, 2019 by  
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Rome’s Mayor Virginia Raggi recently unveiled an eco-friendly pilot initiative that is gaining popularity in the Eternal City. Called “Ricicli + Viaggi” (or the “Recycle + Travel” program), consumers who recycle empty plastic bottles earn credits toward free public transportation travel tickets. How does it work? Commuters who recycle empty plastic bottles via a designated compactor will then earn accrued credit-points, redeemable as free digital travel tickets. For a standard ticket, one must recycle 30 empty plastic bottles. That same standard ticket, which is good for one metro ride or 100 minutes on a Roman bus, costs about 1.50 euros. Related: Indonesia accepts plastic bottles in exchange for free bus rides The environmentally friendly campaign is widely appealing for good reasons. Empty plastic bottles no longer have to accumulate on Roman streets, and the travel tickets awarded are digital rather than paper. In other words, litter is minimized. Many Romans approve of this new way to save cash, and it couldn’t come at a more critical time. A 2017 study, conducted by consultancy group Expert Market, found that Italy ranked fourth among The Most Wasteful European Countries. The Eternal City has gained notoriety for its dysfunctional waste management. With only three major landfills — one that shut down in 2013 and the other two ravaged by frequent fires — Rome has since been spiraling into decline with refuse spewing all over the streets after years of neglect. Both tourists and residents have long complained about the garbage littering ancient monuments, the burgeoning vermin infestations and the lack of sanitation strategy as successive mayors from different parties have struggled unsuccessfully to resolve the Italian capital’s waste crisis. Prior to the trash-for-tickets program, recycling was patchy and very inefficient. “The situation has been quite disastrous,” president of environmental group Legambiente Stefano Ciafani said. “Rome has failed to create an efficient system for differentiated waste collection, as Milan has done, and it has not built the recycling plants that are fundamental for a city where three million people live.” But there has been a ray of hope ever since Raggi entered office in 2016 as the first female mayor in Roman history. While Raggi has had a stormy start battling deeply entrenched ways, this new pilot initiative of swapping plastic for transit credits is a step in a more positive, eco-friendly direction. Of course, with Ricicli + Viaggi still in its infancy, there are at present only three public transportation metro stations in Rome offering the recycling compactor machines. Despite that, more than 350,000 bottles have been recycled so far, and it is hoped the numbers will continue to rise. Raggi happily shared, “We are the first major European capital to present this innovation.” The Eternal City’s roll-out follows at the heels of similar programs already in place in both Beijing and Istanbul. + Ricicli + Viaggi Via BBC and Phys.org Image via Juan Enrique Gilardi

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When in Rome, recycle more to earn free metro and bus travel tickets

This 1973 Airstream could be yours for $68,900

October 10, 2019 by  
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A clean, modern design. Plentiful storage. An abundance of natural light. What more could you want in a tiny home on wheels? Renovated by DIY experts Nate and Taylor, from Augustine Along the Way, this 1973 Airstream has a new life as Mattox . Mattox is a 25-foot Airstream trailer with a gorgeous interior design featuring bamboo hardwood floors and plenty of plants. The ambitious duo put a ton of work into renovating the old Airstream , and now, the shiny little home can be yours for just $68,900. Inside and out, Mattox is a beautiful example of a DIY Airstream renovation. Starting with the trailer’s signature aluminum exterior, Taylor and Nate polished its formerly dull facade into a gleaming, mirrored finish. The Airstream even comes with a retractable rolling awning that provides a shaded, open-air place to dine or simply enjoy the fresh air just outside the front door. Related: A dull, 26-year-old Airstream becomes a bright, cozy home on wheels Although Mattox’s gleaming exterior is impressive, its interior design is what shines the brightest. The compact living space feels bright and open thanks to an abundance of windows and a fresh coat of white paint on the walls and ceiling. Contrasting nicely with the all-white background, beautiful and ultra-durable bamboo hardwood floors with eucalyptus backing run the length of the interior. Just across the front door, the kitchen sits at the middle of the Airstream. The kitchen includes everything one would need to create culinary masterpieces, including a two-burner stove and a new refrigerator. The Zellige tile backsplash adds an earthy touch. Facing the kitchen and beside the entrance is the lounge area, which comes complete with a custom, built-in couch with storage underneath. In fact, most of the furniture in the Airstream was custom-made to use every inch of space strategically . This includes the two-person, drop-down walnut dining table and small desk area complete with book storage. In the back of the classic trailer is a bedroom big enough for a full-sized bed. This space also fits in plenty of storage both underneath the bed and in a small closet near the entrance. For those adventurers out there who would like to take Mattox on the road, rest assured that the Airstream’s mechanical systems have also been completely renovated. New tires, brakes, bearings, propane hook-ups, fresh water hook-up and more will give you peace of mind while you are exploring. + Augustine Along the Way Via Tiny House Talk Images via Augustine Along the Way

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Save the Duck introduces new winter line of outerwear

October 10, 2019 by  
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When you’re wearing clothing made from fur or leather, it’s hard to ignore the fact that it comes from an animal, but even vegetarians and vegans have an easier time closing their eyes to what’s hidden inside winter’s ubiquitous puffy jackets. Fortunately, brands like Save the Duck are making it possible for humans to stay warm and stylish without causing ducks pain and suffering. This month, the Italian clothing brand is revealing new designs. They’re kicking it off with a special brand dinner hosted by stylist Rachael Wang at the eco-luxury 1 Hotel Brooklyn Bridge . The collection features cruelty-free outerwear, including faux fur coats and feather-free down puffer jackets. Some of the new jackets are also waterproof. Save the Duck rounds out the collection with tees and sweats. The company promises, “In addition to providing animal free, ecological fabric, Save the Duck‘s penchant for bold color combines seamlessly with clean silhouettes and genderless, unisex pieces this fall.” You can choose basic black, but why not light up the winter in a bright yellow hooded puffer vest or a deep red fake fur coat? Related: The 2019 Redress Design Awards showcased the very best of emerging eco-designers Down is the soft feathery layer that grows closest to a duck’s skin, mostly on the chest. Manufacturers love the ease of working with these feathers, since they lack quills. Usually feathers are removed during slaughter, but ducks and geese being raised for foie gras or meat are sometimes plucked repeatedly while they’re alive. Save the Duck developed a synthetic down from recycled polyester they call Plumtech. The company designs all its jackets to be lightweight and easy to pack, as well as to spare the suffering of birds . The company Forest SRL owns the Save the Duck brand. Its roots go back more than a hundred years, to when tailor-turned soldier Foresto Bargi started experimenting with a water-repellent material he learned about during his time in the First World War. Now his grandson Nicolas Bargi runs the company. He launched the Save the Duck brand in 2011 to address people that are sensitive to environmental issues and sustainable living. One of his great victories was partnering with Kuntai A. Joisher, the first vegan Indian climber to reach the top of Mount Everest. Save the Duck managed to design a jacket that would withstand sub-zero temperatures and wicked winds. Even better, at press time the company estimated they helped save 17,975,456 ducks so far. + Save the Duck Images via Save the Duck

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Holiday Inn hotels will phase out mini shampoo bottles

August 1, 2019 by  
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The owner of Holiday Inn, InterContinental Hotels Group (IHG), has pledged to do away with the convenient but wasteful mini shampoo and soap bottles that are a staple in its 843,000 guest rooms. IHG owns more than 5,600 hotels around the world and announced that it will phase out the small plastic bottles and opt for bulk-sized containers for all its hotels by the end of 2021. According to the corporation, it uses over 200 million mini plastic bottles every year. Keith Barr, CEO of IHG, said, “Switching to larger-size amenities across more than 5,600 hotels around the world is a big step in the right direction and will allow us to significantly reduce our waste footprint and environmental impact as we make the change.” Related: Companies pledge $1.5 billion to reduce plastic waste IHG is the first global hotel corporation of its size to make this promise. According to Barr, the announcement is also related to the national and local governments’ inability to pass stricter sustainability regulations. “We collectively as an industry have to lead where governments are not necessarily giving the leadership to make a difference.” In addition to its interest in sustainability, the corporation’s board is also looking to attract more customers who are increasingly concerned about the environment. According to a survey sponsored by Hilton, a third of customers researched the company’s sustainability policies before booking a room. As a result, Hilton announced a pledge to cut its carbon footprint in half and double its investments in social good. In addition to eliminating the small plastic bottles, IHG is working to phase out plastic straws by the end of 2019. A similar pledge was also made by the company’s competitor, Marriott International. At least a third of IHG’s properties have already started using the bulk-sized toiletry dispensers, and the rest are working on the transition. The full phase-out will be completed by 2021. + IHG Via NPR Image via Melanie

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Have your plastic and eat it, too average American ingests 50,000 microplastic particles a year

June 10, 2019 by  
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The first-ever study to calculate how much plastic Americans are eating every year has some unsavory findings. According to research published in Environmental Science and Technology , the average American adult consumes 50,000 particles of microplastic every year. That number jumps to between 74,000 and 121,000 particles if combined with the average number of particles inhaled. The researchers used existing data on microplastic content in popular foods, including fish, sugar, salt, beer and water and multiplied these averages by the U.S. government’s daily dietary consumption guidelines. Because the existing data only covers about 15 percent of Americans’ caloric intake, researchers believe these estimates are modest, and the actual number of microplastics eaten every day is much higher. Related: Microplastic rain — new study reveals microplastics are in the air The research also concludes that water from plastic water bottles is one of the highest sources of microplastic ingestion. According to The Guardian, water in plastic bottles has 22 times more microplastics than tap water. Plastic materials are not biodegradable, which means they never decompose. Instead, they exist in landfills , oceans and ecosystems for centuries, slowly breaking down into smaller pieces through erosion and weatherization. Eventually, the particles become so small they are difficult to detect but can easily be ingested and inhaled by animals like birds, turtles, fish and apparently also humans. The implications on human health are still unknown as long-term studies do not yet exist; however, there is concern that the microplastics can enter human tissue and cause toxicity and allergic reactions. “Removing single-use plastic from your life and supporting companies that are moving away from plastic packaging is going to have a non-trivial impact,” said study lead Kieran Cox of the University of Victoria. “The facts are simple. We are producing a lot of plastic and it is ending up in the ecosystems, which we are a part of.” + Environmental Science and Technology Via The Guardian Image via Shutterstock

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Have your plastic and eat it, too average American ingests 50,000 microplastic particles a year

Ingenhoven breaks ground on a hedge-wrapped green heart in Dsseldorf

June 10, 2019 by  
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In May, German architectural firm Ingenhoven Architects broke ground on Kö-Bogen II, a sustainable mixed-use development envisioned as the “new green heart” of Düsseldorf , Germany. Designed to visually extend the adjoining Hofgarten park into the inner city, Kö-Bogen II wraps the sloping facades of its two buildings with hornbeam hedges that total nearly 5 miles in length. The hedges and turfed rooftop spaces will also help purify the air and combat the city’s heat island effect by providing a cooling microclimate. Located at Gustaf-Gründgens-Platz, Kö-Bogen II will serve as a commercial and office complex covering 42,000 square meters of gross floor area offering retail, restaurants, office space, local recreation and a five-story underground parking garage with 670 spaces. The development comprises a five-story trapezoid-shaped main building and a smaller triangular building that cluster around a valley-like plaza. The sloping facades, which will be planted with hornbeam hedges, open up the plaza to views of the iconic Dreischeibenhaus and the Düsseldorf Theater nearby. The architects will also be refurbishing the roof, facade and public areas of the Düsseldorf Theater. “In order to do justice to the overall urban design situation, the design of Kö-Bogen II deliberately avoids a classical block-edged development such as that along the Schadowstrasse shopping street,” the architects explained in a press release. “In addition, the idea of green architecture has been applied systematically, thus distinguishing the development from conventional architectural solutions.” Related: A rainforest-like green heart grows within Singapore’s Marina One Ascending to a building height of 27 meters, the hornbeam hedges will offer seasonal interest by changing color throughout the year. The turfed surfaces planted on the triangular building’s sloped facades will be accessible to passersby, who can use the space as an open lawn for rest and relaxation. Kö-Bogen II is slated to open in the spring of 2020. + Ingenhoven Architects Images via CADMAN

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Ingenhoven breaks ground on a hedge-wrapped green heart in Dsseldorf

Wild bees are building nests with plastic

June 10, 2019 by  
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While plastic use is going out of vogue with more enlightened humans, it’s catching on with Argentinian bees. Scientists don’t know why Argentina’s solitary bees are now constructing nests out of plastic packaging left on crop fields. Unlike the large hive model with queens and workers, wild bees lay larvae in individual nests. Researchers at Argentina’s National Agricultural Technology Institute constructed 63 wooden nests for wild bees from 2017 to 2018. They later found that three nests were entirely lined with pieces of plastic that bees had cut and arranged in an overlapping pattern. The plastic seemed to have come from plastic bags or a similar material, with a texture reminiscent of the leaves bees usually use to line nests. Related: McDonald’s creates McHives to raise awareness of the world’s decreasing bee populations The scientists’ study, published in Apidologie, is the first to find nests entirely made from plastic. But researchers have known for years that bees sometimes incorporate plastic into nests otherwise made of natural materials . Canadian scientists have chronicled bees’ use of plastic foams and films in Toronto. Like the Argentinian bees, bees in Canada cut the plastic to mimic leaves. Scientists aren’t yet sure what to make of this architectural development. “It would demonstrate the adaptive flexibility that certain species of bees would have in the face of changes in environmental conditions,” Mariana Allasino, the Argentinian study’s lead author, wrote in a press release translated from Spanish. But will the plastic harm the bees? More research is required to gauge the risks. While microplastics are a huge threat to marine animals, some enterprising creatures find ways to use trash to their advantage. Finches and sparrows arrange cigarette butts in their nests to repel parasitic mites. Stinky but effective. “Sure it’s possible it might afford some benefits, but that hasn’t been shown yet,” entomologist Hollis Woodard told National Geographic. “I think it’s equally likely to have things that are harmful.” Via National Geographic Image via Judy Gallagher

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SC Johnson to launch bottles made entirely from recycled ocean plastics

February 28, 2019 by  
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The consumer goods giant will start selling Windex Vinegar home cleaning products in 100 percent recycled ocean plastic bottles.

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SC Johnson to launch bottles made entirely from recycled ocean plastics

REPREVE: sustainable multi-use fiber made from recycled water bottles

November 29, 2018 by  
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Single-use water bottles have become a target for environmentalists concerned about the amount of petroleum required for each bottle and the massive amounts of waste generated from their short lives. But in recent years, companies have begun to use tossed-aside plastic in new and exciting ways. REPREVE, a sustainable fiber created from 100 percent food-quality and BPA-free post-consumer plastic, has opened up the door to give companies new options when sourcing eco-friendly materials. While using  recycled fibers is not new in the manufacturing world, Unifi, a leading global textile solutions company and the producer of REPREVE, has refined a process that allows it to create multiple fibers from the same material including nylon, thread, polyester and other fibers. Related: Clothing made from recycled water bottles highlights the ongoing crisis in Flint Unifi completes the water bottle-to-fabric process in a few stages. Beginning with the water bottles returned by consumers, Unifi transfers them to a modern bottle processing center where they keep a quarter of a million water bottles out of the waste stream each hour. Once broken down into a fine material called flake, the flake is then sent to the REPREVE recycling center where it is blended, melted and turned into small chips that are stored onsite in large silos. Each silo holds the equivalent of 27 million water bottles. The manufacturing plant itself is dedicated to zero-waste production as well. Related: Ford to recycle 2 million plastic bottles into fabric for its Focus Electric Dozens of companies are on board with the idea of incorporating the REPREVE fibers into their products. Backpacks, socks, dog beds, cloth car seat covers, activewear, dress pants, jeans, swimwear, flags and heat wraps are just a few products donning the REPREVE symbol. Notable companies supporting the sustainable practices of REPREVE include PrAna, Patagonia, Roxy, Quicksilver, Lane Bryant, Fossil and Ford Motor Co. In fact, Unifi lists over 60 companies using its products on its website. This is no surprise, considering the versatility of the materials created through the process. “Unifi’s advanced performance technologies provide textile solutions like moisture wicking, stretch, water-repellency and enhanced softness. Our technologies can be combined with REPREVE to offer increased performance, comfort and style advantages, enabling customers to develop products that are good for the planet, plus truly perform, look and feel better,” said Kevin Hall, chairman and CEO of Unifi. “REPREVE® is an innovative brand of fibers, chip and flake that is made from 100 percent recycled materials, including plastic bottles,” Hall added. “REPREVE’s U Trust® Verification program is a comprehensive certification designed to provide customers with a higher level of transparency. Unifi’s proprietary FiberPrint® technology is used to analyze the fabric content and composition to determine if REPREVE is present and in the right amounts. REPREVE is also third party certified.” The company takes pride in a robust, full-cycle dedication to sustainability through obtaining the proper certifications. + Repreve Images via Unifi

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