Amsterdam Announces Plan to Ban All Polluting Cars by 2030

May 8, 2019 by  
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On Thursday, the city of Amsterdam announced its plan to replace all gasoline and diesel-powered cars and motorcycles with electric vehicles by 2030. The plan is an attempt to address unhealthy and alarming rates of air pollution in the city due to high traffic. Currently, toxic air pollution in Amsterdam exceeds European Union standards. In 2018, the Dutch health council called on the government to develop a plan to address toxic amounts of nitrogen dioxide and particle matter, specifically in the congested cities of Amsterdam and Rotterdam. Related: Lyft vows to help customers find electric vehicles with Green Mode “Pollution often is a silent killer and is one of the greatest health hazards in Amsterdam,” said Sharon Dijksma , the city’s traffic councilor. According to Dijksma, Amsterdam residents lose an average of one year off their life expectancy due to air pollution. The Dutch government’s goal is to replace all polluting cars, buses, boats and motorcycles with electric vehicles or hydrogen powered vehicles. The plan will be rolled out in phases over the next decade, including: By 2020: All cars built before 2005 will be banned from the city. By 2022: All polluting public buses and taxis will be banned. By 2025: All polluting boats and mopeds will also be banned. The city will also increase the number of electric vehicle charging stations in order to reach a total of at least 23,000. Although climate activists are mostly supportive of the initiative, some groups fear that this car ban will unfairly affect poor families who cannot afford electric vehicles. The loudest voice of dissent comes from the Rai Association, an automotive industry lobbying group, which argues that the ban will shut low income families out of the city. However, supporters argue that electric vehicles have become increasingly less expensive and that the price is expected to steadily decline over the next 11 years. The government also plans to use subsidies and parking permits to incentivize drivers to switch to cleaner cars. Via Ecowatch Image via Shutterstock

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Amsterdam Announces Plan to Ban All Polluting Cars by 2030

Make your own custom sunglasses from recycled plastic with FOS

April 4, 2019 by  
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This company in Spain lets customers design and handcraft sunglasses, and that’s not even the best part! FOS sunglasses are made from 100% recycled plastic that would otherwise end up in a landfill . Head to the FOS studio in Barcelona to take part in the workshop, where clients can choose the color of the sunglasses and build them themselves with the help of FOS designers. After picking a color and assembling the frames, you then can choose a lens color that complements your design. Related: These marbled Bluetooth speakers are made from non-recyclable plastic waste Even better, the frame is designed to be recycled over again. Customers are encouraged to bring their sunglasses back to the studio instead of throwing them out so that someone else can benefit from the frames. The sunglasses come with frame repairs, screw replacements and even lens restoration. Can’t make it to Spain? You can purchase the glasses online from the FOS website–they ship internationally. If you are lucky enough to attend a workshop (reservations can be made on their website), the designers will lead you every step of the way in making your own recycled sunglasses. Classes are offered in multiple languages, and will also offer insight into different recycling techniques and sustainability practices. Don’t be intimidated if you don’t have any prior design knowledge or artistic skills, FOS promises that anyone can join the workshop. Through the two-hour-long class, participants will: learn the basics of plastic, understand the importance of recycling plastic waste , learn about molds, choose a color, craft, assemble, and polish their own new unique pair of sunglasses. The different plastic flakes allow for plenty of options for different patterns as well. After making the frames, it will be time to choose one of FOS’ five UV lens options (gray, brown, green, faded gray and faded brown). The workshops, held at Nest City Lab in Barcelona, include the price of the sunglasses and only cost 70 euro (less than $80 US). +fosworks Via Designboom Images via  Esfèrica

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Make your own custom sunglasses from recycled plastic with FOS

This skincare and natural deodorant is made from apple cider vinegar

February 27, 2019 by  
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Transitioning to natural skincare isn’t always easy. If you’ve used conventional products for years, it can take some time for your skin to eliminate the build-up of chemicals. Sway is hoping to help with that transition with a line of detoxing natural deodorants and new vegan and cruelty-free skincare, all of which is primarily made from apple cider vinegar. Sway’s mission is to gently help your body adjust from a lifetime of personal care products laden with toxins, synthetic fragrances and more icky ingredients to items made from natural ingredients, like apple cider vinegar, witch hazel, aloe vera and rose water. While anyone can make the switch, Sway’s products aid your body in detoxing years of build-up of chemicals, such as the aluminum used in antiperspirants. Moving from conventional body care items to plant-based products can often cause itchiness and irritation, but using carefully selected ingredients, Sway makes the transition comfortable, quick and easy. Related: These are our favorite beauty retailers from the Indie Beauty Expo We tested Sway at the Indie Beauty Expo in Los Angeles , and we were blown away. Founder Rebecca So is as passionate about skincare as she is about natural ingredients — she helped us try all of her products and explained the ingredients and health benefits of each and every one. Naturally, we decided to push the products to the limit by trying them for several weeks at home, the office, the gym and any other general, everyday situation we could think of. Sway’s claim to fame is a detoxing deodorant as well as an armpit mask. The deodorant’s main ingredient is organic apple cider vinegar. While the deodorant is lightly scented (we tried vanilla), it’s clear upon opening that ACV is the star of the show. Luckily, this smell dissipates quickly. Interestingly enough, this deodorant was originally developed as a face toner, which shows just how gentle it is for skin. Alone, the deodorant works best if you reapply a couple times throughout the day, especially if you are in the process of ditching antiperspirant. While it doesn’t block sweat (and it shouldn’t — sweating is a natural bodily function!), it does keep unpleasant odors at bay. It does take awhile to dry, so it is recommended that you apply it right after a shower and as you get ready for the day. This does make a reapplication more difficult, but Sway offers a dry dusting powder that helps the deodorant last longer. We have not tested the powder, but it would be great to help cut back on the need to reapply the deodorant. The armpit mask is completely game-changing. It’s a charcoal-based mask, not unlike a mud mask you’d use to wind down on a lazy Sunday evening. Other impressive ingredients include the brand’s beloved ACV, as well as bentonite clay and jojoba oil. Together, this roster of plant-based materials helps remove chemical build-up, particularly aluminum, from under the arm. It smooths dryness and flakiness and makes transitioning to natural deodorant simple. Long-term use of antiperspirant is also known to cause underarm discoloration, and this mask helps even out the skin tone in this area. It’s easy (and admittedly pretty fun) to apply, and a quick hop in the shower rinses the mask and all the gunk away. Sway also debuted a brand new line of natural skincare at IBELA, and we’ve been talking about it ever since. Particularly appealing, the cucumber face toner, the Vitamin C serum and the daily moisturizer have all become integrated into our all-natural morning skincare routines. The texture of each is very light, while still providing plenty of moisture to dry, wintry skin. The smell is nice, too — each offers a refreshing, slightly fruity scent. “Extending the same philosophy we used to develop our detox deodorant, we recently launched our skincare line that offers total body care solutions,” So said. “We understand using only flower extracts and oils cannot change the appearance of wrinkles, so we combine the best of nature with biotechnology in making our products. As you can see, all our products are jam-packed with high-quality ingredients, such as peptides, apple stem cell, etc. without the price tag.” + Sway Images via Inhabitat Editor’s Note: This product review is not sponsored by Sway. All opinions on the products and company are the author’s own.

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This skincare and natural deodorant is made from apple cider vinegar

Two energy-efficient cork homes are elevated off the landscape in northern Spain

February 27, 2019 by  
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Barcelona-based firm López-Rivera Arquitectos has unveiled two beautiful homes tucked into a dense forest in northern Spain. The natural forest, which is comprised of cork and pine trees, inspired the architects to clad both homes in a gorgeous cork facade . The sustainable material helped create an energy-efficient and resilient design that is also raised off the ground to reduce the impact on the landscape. Located in Platfrugell, Catalonia, the two cork houses are located on a rugged landscape, marked by uneven and steep terrain. The challenging topography, as well as the architects’ respect for nature, inspired the design to go vertical. Anchored into a strong base of concrete, the two homes are elevated on cross-laminated timber supports, which were locally-sourced. Related: Solar-powered cork house pursues healthy, sustainable living Both of the homes are entirely clad in two layers of cork to connect the homes into the environment, which is a dense, wooded landscape dominated by the presence of cork trees. The designers also chose the material for its durable and long-lasting features, and for its ability to tightly insulate the homes, conserving energy throughout the year. In fact, the project’s many passive features have earned both of the homes a Class A energy rating. The interior design of the two structures was also based on their natural setting. The wooden walls were left exposed to continue the cabin-the-woods atmosphere. To keep the residents warm and cozy in the cold months, the ceramic-tiled floors are heated through a system of underfloor heating. During the summer months, the adjustable casement wood windows enable almost constant air ventilation  through the interior. For those searing hot days, an adjacent swimming pool is the perfect cool-down spot. With no hallways and rooms of varying sizes, the living spaces were arranged so that there is no clear distinction between them. According to the architects, this was strategic so that the interior spaces would be defined by their relationship to the outdoors. Large open-air decks are at the heart of the design and offer stunning views of the surrounding forest as well as distant views of the sea. + López-Rivera Arquitectos Photos by José Hevia and Juande Jarrillo via López-Rivera Arquitectos

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Two energy-efficient cork homes are elevated off the landscape in northern Spain

Designer creates algae-sourced alternative for plastic packaging

February 27, 2019 by  
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Food packaging has a become a target in the world of sustainability and environmentalism. Walk down the aisle of any supermarket or look in your own shopping cart, and you’re likely to see package after package made from petroleum-based plastic. A few resourceful scientists and engineers have chosen to tackle the problem, including designer Margarita Talep, who has developed an algae-based alternative to plastic. With the short lifecycle of most packaging, Talep wanted to create a material that would stand up to the task of holding food and other products but break down quickly once it hit the waste stream. Related: Nuatan is the bioplastic that could answer the plastic pollution crisis Agar, a gel-like substance sourced from seaweed, is not new to the food world, as it is commonly used as a food thickener. With that understanding, Talep heats the agar to create a polymer and then adds water as a plasticizer and natural dyes for color. To achieve the goal of all-natural ingredients, natural dyes are sourced from fruits and vegetables such as beets, carrots, blueberries and purple cabbage. After the mixture of agar and other ingredients is heated, it is cooled, a process that transforms it into a gel. At this point, the mixture is turned into thin plastic or poured into molds to cool. By adjusting the ingredients, Talep has created a firm material that will mold into shapes, such as the trays that a package of donuts sit in. The technique is versatile enough that it can also create a replacement for plastic bags, like those pasta is sold in. With the overarching goal of replacing single-use , disposable packaging, the algae packaging breaks down naturally within two to three months during warm summer months, depending on the thickness of the material. In the colder winter months, the material still breaks down, but requires a few extra weeks. + Margarita Talep Images via Margarita Talep

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Harley-Davidson LiveWire Electric Motorcycle Debuts At CES

January 28, 2019 by  
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It may have taken five years, but Harley-Davidson’s vision for the electric motorcycle market is here and ready for pre-order. First conceptualized with a prototype in 2014, the production-ready model made its European debut at the Milan press conference of the EICMA show last November and appeared again at the Consumer Electronics Show ( CES ) in Las Vegas in early January. The company reports that deliveries on the sleek, speedy ride will ship in the fall, 2019 and the price tag will be $29,799. However, there is still a lot we don’t know, specifically detailed information about weight, horsepower or battery longevity. Harley-Davidson did provide some general information implying that the new LiveWire will launch off the line with a capacity for zero to 60 in 3.5 seconds and a top speed of around 110 mph, along with fast charge times and a battery-capacity MIC combined range of more than 110 miles. Related: Large scale 3D Printer capable of printing a motorcycle Unlike traditional clutch-driven motorcycles , the rider simply twists the throttle to accelerate without the need to shift. The motorcycle was designed with a sporty feel, placing the engine low on the bike for excellent balance and control from jump-start through braking and sudden stops. True to the history of Harley-Davidson, the engine makes a statement that will draw attention to the overall sleek and aerodynamic design. This look is furthered by the anodized-metal-like paint finish that draws the eye from the nose to the contoured rear fender. Not to be defined only by classic styling, the LiveWire incorporates useful modern technology as well. Bluetooth capability and a liquid-crystal display provides the rider visual and audio interaction. Connect the Harley-Davidson app on your phone to the color touch screen above the handlebars to receive notifications if someone touches or tries to hijack your ride. The screen also displays battery life and other essential information, along with easy-to-see navigation and your musical playlist. In addition to the LiveWire, Harley-Davidson showed their dedication to the future of electric motorcycles with two more prototypes. Both the models appear to target the moped class of urban transportation with low-end power and top speeds of around 30mph. + Harley-Davidson Images via Harley-Davidson

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Harley-Davidson LiveWire Electric Motorcycle Debuts At CES

UK’s Guardian switches to biodegradable wrapping for newspapers

January 17, 2019 by  
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The Guardian — a national newspaper in the U.K. — has ditched its polythene packaging and replaced it with a compostable wrapper in an effort to reduce plastic waste. The newspaper and its inserts are now packaged in a clear, biodegradable material made from potato starch that will completely compost in just six months. The choice to scrap the plastic packaging makes The Guardian the first national newspaper in the U.K. to make such a switch, following publications like the National Trust members’ magazine and the New Internationalist. The switch to biodegradable packing will increase the paper’s production costs, so the price of print editions of The Guardian and its sister paper The Observer will go up. However, this is what their customers wanted. The weekday edition will rise in cost by 20p, and the Saturday edition will increase 30p. The Observer will also go up 20p. Related: UK’s Co-op to ditch single-use plastic bags for biodegradable bags This past weekend, The Guardian subscribers in London, Kent, Essex, Hertfordshire, Norfolk and Suffolk received the new packaging with their Sunday edition. The newspaper will gradually implement the packaging change across the entire country over the next few months. Guardian to be first national newspaper with biodegradable wrapping https://t.co/Yh88bMEXXD — The Guardian (@guardian) January 11, 2019 Readers in the Greater London area who use The Guardian’s home delivery service will also receive their weekday editions in the potato starch packaging. Related: 100% biodegradable, edible packaging is so much better than plastic The new biodegradable packaging on The Guardian includes instructions for customers to not to recycle the material but to instead dispose of it on a compost heap or in a food waste bin. + The Guardian Via Dezeen Image via Andrys

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UK’s Guardian switches to biodegradable wrapping for newspapers

Solar-powered floating hotel room is designed to pop up anywhere on water

January 17, 2019 by  
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Valencia-based architecture firm Mano De Santo has proposed a plug-and-play hotel room that could be easily transported and installed thanks to its modular, off-grid design. Dubbed the Punta de Mar Marina Lodge, the conceptual floating pavilion is a sustainable tourism initiative that targets low environmental impact. Powered with solar energy , the Punta de Mar Marina Lodge would offer a private and luxurious experience on the water for two. Unveiled last year, the Punta de Mar Marina Lodge is envisioned to house two levels spanning a total of 74 square meters in size. The ground floor — approximately 40 square meters — includes a small front terrace that opens to the bedroom, which overlooks views of the water through full-height glazing. The bathroom, technical equipment and storage are tucked in a unit behind the bed, while a small outdoor terrace is located in the rear. Guests can also enjoy access to the roof, where an open-air lounge with seating is located. “Punta de Mar is a sustainable tourism initiative, since it does not generate waste because it is an installation of modules whose system is the ‘Plug & Go,’” the architects said in a project statement. The team also explained that the unit is integrated into its environment with low impact. The hotel can be easily relocated — it can be transported by land or sea — and can be enjoyed in an array of different settings for “unique and exclusive experiences.” Related: This modular outdoor swimming pool from Finland could make a splash near you In addition to the off-site prefabrication of the unit that minimizes waste, the Punta de Mar Marine Lodge was designed to follow passive solar principles to reduce energy usage. Moreover, the indoor temperature, lighting, alarm system and entertainment system can all be controlled remotely via the guests’ smartphones. + Mano De Santo Via ArchDaily Photography by Sergio Belinchon via Mano De Santo

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Solar-powered floating hotel room is designed to pop up anywhere on water

Perkins+Wills University of Hawaii building is an eco-conscious beacon in West Oahu

January 17, 2019 by  
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The University of Hawaii West Oahu has gained a new Perkins+Will -designed addition that’s not only visually striking but also site-specific to Kapolei, a planned community on the island of Oahu. Created in collaboration with Hawaii-based KYA Design Group, the campus building offers a mix of workspaces and learning areas for students, faculty and staff. All parts of the University of Hawaii’s new Administration and Allied Health Building was inspired by the site context, from the siting of the building to the sculptural zigzagging roof that references the area’s historic sugar mills. Located on land that had formerly been used as sugarcane fields, the University of Hawaii’s West Oahu campus is tied to a long agricultural history dating back more than a hundred years. Continued sustained tilling, however, has stripped away rich topsoil and rendered the land less fertile and less able to retain water. As a result, Perkins+Will has made environmental stewardship a priority in the project with a landscaping plan that will restore the topsoil through nitrogen fixing planting, improve onsite ecological water and nutrient management and revive native landscaping . Eco-friendly principles also guided the design of the 43,000-square-foot complex, which features deep open-air lanais (balconies) on the south-facing facade that provide shade against the harsh sun and promote natural ventilation . The textured monolithic skin is made from concrete masonry units (CMUs) that form a geometric pattern inspired by traditional Hawaiian kapa (cloth). Related: Perkins + Will’s KTTC building blends beauty and sustainability in Ontario “The challenge was how to best consolidate the distinct functions of teaching labs and classrooms within the same building as office space for the campus administration,” Mark Tagawa, associate principal at Perkins+Will’s LA Studio, said. “We wanted to create a facility that interacted with the landscape in a sympathetic way, through water management, landscaping and materiality. Cultural and ecological appropriateness was our filter for all design decisions.” + Perkins+Will Via Dezeen Photography by Andrea Brizzi via Perkins+Will

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Perkins+Wills University of Hawaii building is an eco-conscious beacon in West Oahu

Endangered bluefin tuna sold for $3.1 billion to sushi tycoon

January 10, 2019 by  
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A recent predawn auction at Tokyo’s new fish market brought a record-breaking bid for the endangered bluefin tuna. Sushi tycoon Kiyoshi Kimura, who owns the Sushi Zanmai chain, paid $3.1 million for the enormous fish, more than double the price from five years ago. Kimura’s Kiyomura Corp has won the annual action in the past, but the high price of the tuna this year definitely surprised the sushi king. Nonetheless, Kiyomura says: “the quality of the tuna I bought is the best.” The 612-pound (278 kg) tuna was caught off Japan’s northern coast, and the auction prices this year are way above normal. Normally, bluefin tuna sells for about $40 a pound, but the price has recently skyrocketed to over $200 a pound, especially for the prized catches that come from Oma in northern Japan. The biggest consumers of the bluefin tuna are the Japanese, and the surging consumption of the fish has led to overfishing which could result in the species facing possible extinction . Stocks of Pacific bluefin have plummeted 96 percent from pre-industrial levels. “The celebration surrounding the annual Pacific bluefin auction hides how deeply in trouble this species really is,” said Jamie Gibbon, associate manager for global tuna conservation at The Pew Charitable Trusts. However, there have been some signs of progress when it comes to protecting the bluefin . Japan and other governments have endorsed plans to rebuild the stocks of Pacific bluefin, and the goal is to reach 20 percent of historic levels by 2034. Last year’s auction was the last at the world famous Tsukiji fish market. This year, it shifted to a new facility which is located on a former gas plant site in Tokyo Bay. The move would have happened sooner, but was delayed repeatedly over concerns of soil contamination. Via The Guardian  Image via Shutterstock

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