Everloops sustainable toothbrush comes with replaceable bamboo bristles

March 26, 2020 by  
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Mexico City-based NOS has come out with a design to address one of the many causes of plastic pollution that consumers tend to overlook: toothbrushes. The company’s Everloop toothbrush combines a reusable, recycled plastic handle with replaceable bristles made from compostable bamboo . The sheer number of plastic toothbrushes that end up in landfills every year is a much larger problem than most people realize. Most dentists, as well as the American Dental Association (ADA), recommend replacing toothbrushes every three or four months or whenever the bristles begin to fray. Seeing as there are over 300 million people living in the United States, that means there are about 1 billion plastic toothbrushes tossed into the garbage every year in this country alone. Related: Tooth — the eco-friendly toothbrush made from recycled and biodegradable materials The plastic handles on typical toothbrushes are regularly found during beach cleanups, and the tiny nylon bristles have the potential to contribute to microplastics in the ocean. Some modern designs aim to take the plastic out of disposable toothbrushes and replace it with bamboo handles. This is a step in the right direction, but it still leaves the issue of regular pollution every three months when it’s time to replace the toothbrush, especially considering many bamboo toothbrushes still have nylon bristles. NOS aims to stop this endless toothbrush pollution with its unique redesign of the bristle component. The head and base of the Everloop toothbrush is made of recycled plastic from other discarded toothbrushes, with a clipping mechanism that easily opens and closes to replace the bristles (made entirely out of natural bamboo) when it’s time to change them. The disposed bamboo bristles are 100% compostable. Each toothbrush comes with a set of eight bamboo bristles to be replaced every three months, enough for at least two years. Even the packaging, made from thermoformed paper pulp, can be safely composted . + NOS Images via NOS

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Everloops sustainable toothbrush comes with replaceable bamboo bristles

Scientists get closer to artificial photosynthesis for renewable energy

March 26, 2020 by  
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Scientists at Berkeley Lab are getting close to a long-held goal of using artificial photosynthesis to generate renewable energy from the carbon dioxide in our atmosphere. If produced in large enough quantities, the energy created from artificial photosynthesis could be a huge step to slowing climate change. Photosynthesis is the chemical reaction by which algae and green plants turn carbon dioxide into cellular fuel. Scientists at Berkeley have designed square solar fuel tiles containing billions of nanoscale tubes between two pieces of thin, flexible silicate. These squares will comprise the new artificial photosynthesis system. Related: New photosynthesis machine is twice as efficient at creating hydrogen fuel The Berkeley scientists recently published a paper in Advanced Functional Materials explaining how their design “allows for the rapid flow of protons from the interior space of the tube, where they are generated from splitting water molecules, to the outside, where they combine with CO2 and electrons to form the fuel.” So far, the scientists have managed to produce carbon monoxide as the fuel but are trying for methanol. “There are two challenges that have not yet been met,” said senior scientist Heinz Frei in a press release from Berkeley Lab . “One of them is scalability. If we want to keep fossil fuels in the ground, we need to be able to make energy in terawatts — an enormous amount of fuel. And, you need to make a liquid hydrocarbon fuel so that we can actually use it with the trillions of dollars’ worth of existing infrastructure and technology.” Once the scientists are satisfied with their model, they should be able to quickly build a solar fuel farm out of the tiles, which measure a few inches across. “We, as basic scientists, need to deliver a tile that works, with all questions about its performance settled,” Frei said. “And engineers in industry know how to connect these tiles. When we’ve figured out square inches, they’ll be able to make square miles.” + Berkeley Lab Images via Andreas Senftleben

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Scientists get closer to artificial photosynthesis for renewable energy

Vincent Callebaut unveils bioclimatic LEED-Gold timber tower

March 26, 2020 by  
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Known for their love of infusing modern structures with an abundance of greenery, the prolific Paris-based practice  Vincent Callebaut Architectures has just unveiled their latest sustainable design. Slated for the Island of Cebu, The Rainbow Tree is a modular timber tower draped in layers of lush vegetation to become an “urban forest” for the city. Thanks to the design’s strong sustainability features, which include passive bioclimatism and advanced renewable energies, the tower will be a  LEED Gold design . Slated to be a sustainable icon for the fairly remote island of Cebu, the Rainbow Tree will be a 32-story, 377-foot-high tower built almost completely out of solid wood. The building’s volume will be comprised of 1,200  CLT modules , inspired by the local Nipa Huts made out of wood, bamboo and palm leaves traditionally found throughout the Philippines. Related: Vincent Callebaut wins bid to sustainably revive Aix-les-Bains’ ancient thermal baths All of the modules, which come with basket-style balconies, will be prefabricated off-site in a factory to reduce energy and construction costs. Once on-site, the innovative design will be implemented with several passive bioclimatic features and advanced  renewable energies . To save energy, the tower will be double insulated thanks to an interior and exterior cladding made of all-natural materials such as thatch, hemp and cellulose wadding. The tower’s name and design were inspired by the Rainbow Eucalyptus, an iconic and colorful tree native to the Philippines. To bring the nature-inspired design to fruition, the  timber building  will be clad in vegetation native to the island. Using plants sustainably-sourced from local tropical forests, the tower will be covered in more than 30,000 plants, shrubs and tropical trees. Many of the plants will change color through the season, giving the city a living “rainbow” throughout the year. The Rainbow Tree will be a mixed-use property, split between office space and luxury condominiums. Interior spaces will be flooded with natural light and include several vertical walls. Guests and residents to the tower will be able to enjoy the building’s eateries, swimming pool and fitness center. Adding to the building’s amazing sustainability profile, residents will also have access to an expansive  aquaponic farm  that will span over three levels. Combining fish farming and plant cultivation, the Sky Farm is slated to produce up to 25,000 kilos of fruit, vegetables and algae and 2,500 kilos of fish per year — the equivalent to almost 2 kilos of food per week for each family residing in the tower. + Vincent Callebaut Architecture Images via Vincent Callebaut Architecture

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Vincent Callebaut unveils bioclimatic LEED-Gold timber tower

Where does your waste plastic go? This guide can help businesses develop the details

March 25, 2020 by  
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The Plastic Leak Project, created by Quantis in partnership with 35 organizations, takes a science-based approach to understanding plastic pollution in order to help companies reduce their waste flows.

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Where does your waste plastic go? This guide can help businesses develop the details

Infographic: Our Plastic Earth

February 13, 2020 by  
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The extent of plastic pollution has reached a level that … The post Infographic: Our Plastic Earth appeared first on Earth911.com.

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Infographic: Our Plastic Earth

China plans to phase out single-use plastics by 2025

January 21, 2020 by  
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As the world’s most populous country, with close to 1.5 billion denizens, China also produces the largest quantity of plastic . In fact, the University of Oxford-based publication Our World In Data (OWID) has documented China’s plastic production rate at 60 million tons per year. To mitigate the resulting plastic pollution , the Chinese government is set to enact a plastic ban, phasing out the production and use of several single-use plastic items by 2025, thanks to a detailed policy directive and timeline from the country’s National Development and Reform Commission (NDRC). Three avenues are currently available for plastic waste disposal: recycling , incinerating or discarding. Only an estimated 20% of global plastic waste is recycled, 25% incinerated and a whopping 55% is discarded, according to OWID. The more shocking statistic is that only 9% of 5.8 billion tons of plastic no longer in use has been recycled since 1950. Related: Ireland plans to ban single-use plastics Interestingly, of all the regions across the globe where mismanaged plastic is prevalent, East Asia and the Pacific alarmingly outrank all regions at 60%, followed distantly by South Asia at 11%, Sub-Saharan Africa at 8.9%, the Middle East and North Africa at 8.3%, Latin America and the Caribbean at 7.2%, Europe and Central Asia at 3.6% and North America at 0.9%. Discarded plastic accumulates in landfills, but some also enters the oceans, threatening marine life and ecosystems. OWID explained, “Mismanaged plastic waste eventually enters the ocean via inland waterways, wastewater outflows and transport by wind or tides.” Thus, China’s new initiative to curtail single-use plastic production might help substantially in solving the Pacific regions’, and by extension the planet’s, crisis with plastic waste. The plastic ban calls for several components, including a ban on China’s production and sale of plastic bags that are less than 0.025 mm thick; a ban on plastic bags in major cities before 20201, then all cities and towns by 2022 and all produce vendors by 2025; a ban on single-use straws in restaurants before 2021, and a reduction of single-use plastic items by 30% in restaurants by 2021; a phase-out of plastic packaging in China’s postal service; and a ban on single-use plastic items in hotels by 2025. Via BBC , EcoWatch and Our World In Data (OWID) Image via Lennard Kollossa

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China plans to phase out single-use plastics by 2025

Recycle Your Contact Lenses, Don’t Flush Them

January 16, 2020 by  
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When you think of plastic pollution, you probably imagine discarded … The post Recycle Your Contact Lenses, Don’t Flush Them appeared first on Earth911.com.

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Museum of Plastic pops up at Art Basel Miami

December 6, 2019 by  
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The Museum of Plastic is popping up once again, this time at the EDITION Hotel during Art Basel Miami, from Friday, December 6 through Sunday, December 8. Creative incubator Lonely Whale designed the art installation to raise awareness about plastic pollution in the oceans, first unveiling it earlier this year in New York during World Oceans Week. Lonely Whale is known for campaigns like the anti-straw Stop Sucking and the anti-single-use plastic water bottle Question How You Hydrate . Inhabitat talked with Lonely Whale executive director Dune Ives about the Museum of Plastic, and the importance of personal behavior change and radical cross-industry collaboration to solve the world’s plastic problems. Answers have been edited for length. Inhabitat: What exactly is Lonely Whale Foundation? Ives: We’re located at 30,000 feet. We’re virtual. We spend most of our time in various places around the world addressing ocean health issues. We’ve been around for four years. We actually officially launched at Art Basel in 2015. We call ourselves an incubator for courageous ideas to save the oceans. It got its start out of inspiration from this documentary film about finding this whale that speaks at a frequency no other whale has been known to speak at before or since it was found, which is the frequency of 52 hertz. What our co-founders (Adrian Grenier and Lucy Sumner) wanted to make sure we did as an organization was pull people closer to the ocean. To get them to become aware that there is an ocean, it’s in dire straits, we’re largely the cause for that state of affairs. There’s so much we can do to help make it a better place. Inhabitat: What have been Lonely Whale’s biggest accomplishments so far? Ives: I think our biggest accomplishment to date is connecting people to each other. We set out to raise awareness about plastic pollution . But we wanted to create content and initiatives that broke down barriers to engagement. So we didn’t want to make it feel too heavy or too dire or too negative. We also didn’t want it to feel too far away. So we launched our first campaign, Stop Sucking , and that was launched in tandem with Strawless in Seattle . It was really intended to take a lighthearted look at a really big, serious and growing issue of plastic pollution . It struck a chord with people. You could be funny and be an environmentalist at the same time. Related: Plastic straws are a thing of the past, but which reusable straw is best for the future? We have an Ocean Heroes boot camp, we call it, where we bring kids together from all over the world. To date, over 50 countries. This year alone, we’ll reach about a thousand kids, and they are working with each other across borders, across languages, across time zones, to stop plastic pollution. We work with individuals, with our impact campaigns. We work with youth with our Ocean Heroes program. Next Waves is our third big initiative, where we get global corporations to sit across the table from each other to provoke a conversation about plastic pollution. But really it’s about shifting our perception about what is waste and what is usable material and to challenge each other to do more, to go further than they ever thought that they could in being a solution to the problem of plastic pollution. So I think it’s that connectedness, that togetherness, which is a unique contribution that Lonely Whale has made in the ocean health discussion. Inhabitat: What is Art Basel Miami? Ives: It’s an amazing amalgamation of people who are cultural taste-makers and thought leaders and artists and musicians and business leaders who are really excited to drive a conversation about how art and technology and culture intersect and should really allow us to advance progress on the issues that we’re working on as a society. Inhabitat: Tell us more about the Museum of Plastic. Ives: We call it an experiential activation or art installation . It will be installed at the EDITION Hotel , which is right on Miami Beach. People will go through a series of experiences throughout the open spaces in the EDITION. The first experience they’ll go through is what’s called the Ocean Voyage Room, which shows what will happen if we don’t make much more progress than where we are. It’s estimated that in 2014, ’15, ‘16, ’17 and ’18, we had a minimum of 8-12 million tons of new plastic entering the ocean every year. We’re projecting 2020, ’21 and ’22 to have the exact same situation. This Ocean Voyage experience is going to illustrate that this is how bad it can be. But it will also show how we can help prevent this. Because everyone who’s coming through is going to agree to take a challenge to eliminate their use of single-use plastic packaging . One of my favorite things that we’ve produced is a plastic money receipt. We project, based on estimates, that every year, we spend over $200 billion on single-use plastic water bottles. This plastic money receipt shows everything else that we could spend 200 billion dollars on. We could actually protect the entire tropical rainforest with 200 billion dollars. This is a very engaging, kind of eye-opening, jaw-dropping experience for people, where you see what our choices are doing and what our choices could do instead. The third experience at the Museum of Plastic is what we call the ATTN Theater in partnership with ATTN. It’s an original film about how people are using less plastic and the solutions that they’re moving forward with to help protect our oceans. It’s an exciting way to really get engaged in the topic of solutions, but in a way, that’s really inspiring. Inhabitat: Your partners include fashion designer Heron Preston, tech giant HP, media company ATTN, and the EDITION Hotel. How does that work? Ives: We can’t solve these environmental issues on our own as an organization, as a nonprofit. If we’re going to solve for plastic pollution or climate change or illegal fishing or, name the issue, then we have to do so in partnership with industry leaders. That’s really what we’re doing at the EDITION Hotel, in partnership with Heron and with HP, is demonstrating this is a new model for environmentalism that has been tested out over the last few years and is working quite well. HP released the very first monitor that had several of its component parts made from ocean-bound plastic. What HP has done that others haven’t yet been able to do is that it has created a blended polymer . What [HP] is doing with Heron, though, is really fascinating. It is now taking this young, strong voice in the sustainable fashion industry and connecting it 100 percent to the plastic pollution discussion by getting Heron to build the pilot program to try to find alternatives to plastic poly bags. [Note: Short for polyethylene, poly bags are used in most industries. In fashion, these thin, plastic bags are used to protect garments during shipping. The Heron Preston/HP collaboration resulted in poly bags that are compostable at home.] Millennials and Gen Z are very focused on environmental issues, Gen Z even more so than millennials. So when you collaborate with someone like Heron Preston, you’re taking a somewhat difficult-to-engage-with topic of plastic pollution, and you’re now infiltrating the Gen Z market in a way that we haven’t seen any other technology company do to date. He’s edgy, he’s young. He’s really starting to drive the sustainable fashion conversation. Now, he’s bringing his art and his ingenuity together with a technology company that’s leading on ocean-bound plastic issues. So it’s a really nice integration of those two topics together, and what better place to showcase it than at Art Basel. Inhabitat: What are the top things the average person can do to decrease ocean pollution? Ives: The nice thing about plastic pollution and what the individual can do is that there are so many options. When you think about straws , unless you need a straw to drink, just drink with your mouth. Where you do have access to clean, safe drinking water, just drink from a tap. You don’t need a single-use plastic water bottle. Those are two of the easiest things that you can do. I think the third is just be aware. Be more aware. Once you realize that single-use plastics are everywhere, they’re in your life, then you start making choices about do you need the English cucumber, or are you okay with the regular cucumber that doesn’t come wrapped in plastic? Then, I think once you make those choices, you see how easy it is every day to be a solution to the problem. The plastic pollution crisis is solvable. There’s no doubt in my mind. + Lonely Whale + Museum of Plastic Photography by Craig Barritt / Getty Images via Lonely Whale

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Museum of Plastic pops up at Art Basel Miami

The Ocean Cleanup reveals the Interceptor to remove plastic pollution from rivers

October 29, 2019 by  
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After recently announcing its first success at collecting plastic waste from the Great Pacific Garbage Patch , The Ocean Cleanup team is widening efforts by addressing the main entry point of litter — rivers. To tackle the 1,000 rivers responsible for about 80 percent of global ocean plastic pollution, the nonprofit has deployed a new invention, the Interceptor. The Interceptor catches and collects plastic junk, preventing its flow from rivers into oceans. “To truly rid the oceans of plastic, what we need to do is two things. One, we need to clean up the legacy pollution , the stuff that has been accumulating for decades and doesn’t go away by itself. But, two, we need to close the tap, which means preventing more plastic from reaching the oceans in the first place,” shared Boyan Slat, CEO and founder of The Ocean Cleanup. “Rivers are the arteries that carry the trash from land to sea.” Related: The Ocean Cleanup has first success collecting plastic from Great Pacific Garbage Patch Development of the Interceptor began in 2015. As the company’s first scalable solution to stop the river rush of plastic entering oceans, the device is shaped like a catamaran and houses an anchor, conveyor belt, barge and dumpsters. It operates autonomously and can extract 50,000 kilograms of trash per day before needing to be emptied. The Interceptor is 100 percent solar-powered and operates 24/7 without noise or exhaust fumes. It is positioned where it does not interfere with vessel traffic nor harm the safety and movement of wildlife. How does it work? The Interceptor is anchored to the riverbed at the mouth of a river flowing to the ocean. With an on-board computer connected to the internet, it continually monitors performance, energy usage and component health. Guided by the Interceptor’s barrier, plastic waste flowing downstream is directed into the device’s aperture, where a conveyor belt delivers the debris to the shuttle. The shuttle then distributes the refuse across six dumpsters that are equally filled to capacity via sensor data. When capacity is almost full, the Interceptor automatically sends a text message alert to local operators to remove the barge and empty the dumpsters. The plastic pollution will be transported to local waste management facilities, and the barge will be returned to the Interceptor for another cycle. To date, three Interceptors are already operational in Indonesia, Malaysia and Vietnam. The Dominican Republic will receive the next Interceptor in the pipeline, while other countries are on the waitlist. In the United States, Los Angeles is finalizing agreements for an Interceptor of its own in the near future. A single Interceptor is currently priced at 700,000 euros (about $777,000). As production increases, Slat has said the cost will drop over time. Of course, the benefits of removing plastic far outweigh the cost of creating the devices. Slat explained, “Deploying Interceptors is even cheaper than deploying nothing at all.” + The Ocean Cleanup Image via The Ocean Cleanup

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The Ocean Cleanup reveals the Interceptor to remove plastic pollution from rivers

The Ocean Cleanup has first success collecting plastic from Great Pacific Garbage Patch

October 4, 2019 by  
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The Ocean Cleanup, a Dutch nonprofit dedicated to eliminating plastic pollution in the oceans, recently announced its first success. After years of trials that left its engineers scratching their heads over design challenges, the nonprofit’s newest prototype device has consistently collected plastic waste from the Great Pacific Garbage Patch . Following years of repeat returns to the drawing board, The Ocean Cleanup has finally experienced its first success of consistently capturing and collecting plastic, thanks to the self-contained System 001/B prototype. As an added bonus, not only was the prototype able to collect large, visible items but also microplastics as small as one millimeter. Related: Trash-collecting device returns to Great Pacific Garbage Patch “After beginning this journey seven years ago, this first year of testing in the unforgivable environment of the high seas strongly indicates that our vision is attainable and that the beginning of our mission to rid the ocean of plastic garbage , which has accumulated for decades, is within our sights,” said founder and CEO Boyan Slat. “Our team has remained steadfast in its determination to solve immense technical challenges to arrive at this point. Though we still have much more work to do, I am eternally grateful for the team’s commitment and dedication to the mission and look forward to continuing to the next phase of development.” The patch, located in the waters between Hawaii and California, is infamous as the area with the largest accumulation of plastic debris. As a trash vortex, its circular motion draws litter into itself, trapping all the junk into a concentrated mass. The hazards are compounded by the leaching out of noxious chemicals linked to health problems. Marine life is also harmed, with numerous reports of disruptions in feeding and migrating patterns, ultimately threatening species’ survival and reproductive success. The need to remove the plastic waste polluting the Pacific Ocean inspired Slat to establish The Ocean Cleanup in 2012. The nonprofit’s engineers have since been striving to develop a device to rid the ocean of the garbage. The various device prototypes employ a passive system that moves with the currents while catching plastic refuse. The nonprofit aspires to develop more prototypes in hopes of deploying a future fleet of ocean debris-collecting systems. The collected plastic will, in turn, be recycled onshore and sold to business-to-consumer (B2C) companies. The recycling revenue will be reinvested into the nonprofit’s expansion plans for further ocean waste management and sanitation. + The Ocean Cleanup Images via The Ocean Cleanup

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The Ocean Cleanup has first success collecting plastic from Great Pacific Garbage Patch

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