Dutch company collects plastic pollution from rivers to make parks and products

December 3, 2019 by  
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Plastic pollution is a worldwide problem, with piles of debris along coastlines, on roadsides, in landfills and floating in waterways. Environmentally conscious companies are looking for ways to clean up the mess while simultaneously seeking out methods to recycle plastic waste into other products. One Dutch company, The Recycled Island Foundation (RIF), is tackling both problems with one solution — Litter Traps. According to the RIF website, the motivation for the project came from the knowledge that our waterways are part of global ecosystem, where everybody benefits or pays the consequences of waste management . “Plastic pollutes our seas and oceans and has a direct and deadly effect on marine life,” the foundation said. “Thousands of birds, seals, turtles, whales and other marine animals are killed every year after ingesting plastic or getting strangled in it. With the plastics breaking down into smaller particles, it also enters the human food chain.” Related: This floating park in Rotterdam is made from recycled plastic waste Knowing that the majority of ocean pollution comes from rivers that lead out to sea, RIF decided to stop plastic waste before it could travel that far. The foundation’s Litter Traps are aptly named. Sourced from recycled plastic themselves, the traps filter water, collect plastic and stop that plastic from traveling downstream. The collected plastic is then made into durable floating parks, seating elements, building materials and even more Litter Traps. The passive design of the Litter Trap allows it to float in the river, harbor or port, catching plastic once it floats inside the trap. The system does not rely on any energy source. Once full, the trap is emptied, and the usable plastic is sorted. The plastic then heads into manufacturing, where it is turned into a variety of products. This circular system allows the company to collect materials, clean up the rivers and make products without waste and at a minimal cost. The RIF has been busy collecting plastic from local waterways for some time. More than one year ago, it opened a prototype in Rotterdam, the Netherlands called the Recycled Park. This floating park is made entirely from recycled plastic gathered from the nearby Meuse River. You can read more about that project here . The initial park prototype is an example of how recycled plastic can be used to replicate the marine ecosystem, complete with live plants above and below the park that animals such as snails, flatworms, larva, beetles and fish call home. What began as a local movement has gone international. New Litter Traps are being manufactured to tackle river waste around the world. Belgium and Indonesia were the first countries to adopt the RIF approach, and the organization is now preparing similar projects in Vietnam, France, the Philippines, Brazil and more. As an example of how the mechanism performs, a single Litter Trap located in Belgium is emptied twice a week, and the average amount of waste collected is 1.5 cubic meters per month. The goal is to continue to expand the use of Litter Traps to divert plastic from the oceans on a large scale. The future of the Litter Trap is bright, with plans to make portable Litter Traps and Litter Traps that can collect and hold larger quantities of plastic before needing emptied. Now partnering with international companies, RIF hopes to create products that are in high demand in the areas where the plastic is collected. RIF is working with innovators to turn the plastic into a durable and easy-to-assemble housing material. It is also looking into large-scale, 3D-printing options using the marine plastic. For example, the company offers custom couches made entirely from salvaged marine plastic that is 3D-printed into shape. RIF feels knowledge is power in the campaign for plastic reduction, so it has implemented an educational program that includes ways to reduce plastic consumption, information about proper recycling techniques and an opportunity to participate in clean-up efforts. It hopes to continue to inspire action and raise awareness about the problem by visiting schools and organizing community events. When it comes to environmental efforts , the more hands involved in projects, the better. RIF has partnered with dozens of agencies with similar goals, creating a village of like-minded companies hoping to lead the way toward better plastic management and the creation of durable, reusable products. + The Recycled Island Foundation Images via The Recycled Island Foundation

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Dutch company collects plastic pollution from rivers to make parks and products

Minimalist, energy-efficient cabin is glazed in a mirror-like shine

November 26, 2019 by  
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Prolific Russian architect Alex Nerovnya has recently revealed designs for SOL House, an energy-efficient cabin with massive, double-glazed walls with a mirror-like shine that renders the building almost invisible when viewed from certain angles. Following the architecture team’s penchant for minimalist and contemporary designs set in nature, the SOL House features clean lines and a simple, gabled shape. Cross-laminated timber and steel elements form the structure of the house, which is painted black on the exterior to make the building recede into the forest surroundings. Conceived as a comfortable weekend retreat for guests looking to reconnect with nature, the SOL House spans approximately 100 square meters and features a generous, wraparound timber deck. The most striking element of the two-story building is the south-facing, glazed facade that provides an unbroken view of the outdoors from both floors. According to Nerovnya, the reflective glass can be treated with a special ultraviolet coating to prevent bird collisions while still appearing completely transparent to the human eye. Related: Contemporary A-frame home soaks up lakeside views in Mexico The interior features a relatively open layout, with the rooms oriented toward outdoor views, whether through the double-height, glass facade or the large windows on the east and west sides. Steel construction supports the weight of the glass walls but is hidden so that only the timber construction is exposed. The minimalist interior includes an open-plan kitchen, dining room and living area as well as a master bedroom and bathroom. “Three guiding principles that our team kept in mind when designing this project were clean shapes, genuine natural materials and energy efficiency ,” the architects explained in a project statement. “We were inspired by the possibility to merge commonplace, classic architectural shapes with the wild environment.” + Alex Nerovnya Images via Alex Nerovnya

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Minimalist, energy-efficient cabin is glazed in a mirror-like shine

This student housing is the largest Passive House-certified building in the Southern Hemisphere

November 19, 2019 by  
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At nearly 70,000 square feet, Gillies Hall at Monash University in Australia has become the country’s largest Passive House-certified building. The school has a population of about 4,000 students, most of whom are studying subjects of early childhood education, physiotherapy and nursing. Since the building was opened, modeling has maintained indoor temperatures between 22 °C (71 °F) and 24 °C (75 °F) throughout the year. At the forefront of the project was the usage of cross-laminated timber (or CLT), which inspired much of the design for the building’s interior. CLT is a type of prefabricated , solid wood paneling that is both lightweight and strong and is widely considered to have a low environmental impact in construction projects. Aside from providing superior thermal insulation, its simple and quick installation generates minimal waste onsite. Related: LEED Platinum UCSB student housing harnesses California’s coastal climate According to Simon Topliss, project director for Jackson Clements Burrows Architects, “CLT was a wonderful, low-carbon solution and is a robust, structural product with a warmth that concrete doesn’t have.” Close to 50 percent of the entire building’s internal walls and the partition walls in each apartment were made using CLT . There are two wings of apartments on each residential floor, each joined by a connective “knuckle,” allowing the building’s circulation to integrate with the communal kitchen, lounge and study. There are glazed, open stairs with outside views connecting to other floors as well. In Australia, Passive House -certified projects typically cost 6 to 10 percent extra to construct but use about 70 percent less energy than conventional buildings. The region where Gillies Hall was built often sees a large number of extremely hot summer days, so plenty of shading and cross-ventilation methods were implemented in order to keep the building within the temperature standards of Passive House certification. The project was completed in 19 months, just in time for students to move in for the 2019 school year. Topliss said that the university’s commitment to fostering community was one of the main focuses for the design of the building. “So we wanted to take every design opportunity to create spaces for students to socialize, play and study together,” Topliss explained. “There is one resident adviser per 30 students, and floor planning was developed around this model.” + Jackson Clements Burrows Architects Via Dwell Photography by Peter Clarke via Jackson Clements Burrows Architects

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This student housing is the largest Passive House-certified building in the Southern Hemisphere

Minimalist hotel gym made out of locally-sourced stone features one of the largest glass panels in the world

November 5, 2019 by  
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UK architecture firm  Invisible Studio has become known for its ground-breaking low-impact designs , but this time the innovative architects have just unveiled a beautiful structure that manages to combine sustainability with elegant minimalism. To put it simply, “Room in a Productive Garden” is a small hotel gymnasium made out of natural stone with a large window that looks out over a vegetable garden. However, even though it may just appear to be a big window, it is, in fact, one of the largest glass panels in the world! The new project is part of an expansion of a hotel in Somerset. Located on  the grounds of Hadspen House, the single-story 1,600-square-feet room is a bright and airy gymnasium where guests can enjoy a nice workout while taking in the serene view of the vegetable garden out front. Related: This tiny timber cabin was built from construction waste for under $30K The small gym was strategically designed to blend into its natural surroundings. It’s minimalist volume was intentional to reduce the project’s impact on the landscape. Additionally, the designers used natural stone sourced on site to create the exterior cladding. The stone was crushed and rammed into the walls to add an earthy tone to the facade. According to the architectural studio, the eco-friendly building was “conceived in a manner as ‘no building’ – more, a window on to a mature productive garden with as few distractions from the garden as possible,” they explain. “The garden provides food for the hotel, and is an important part of the arrival experience into the gymnasium. At the heart of the design is the massive glass window , which not only lets in optimal light into the workout space, but also provides serene views of the surrounding nature. At 50 feet wide and 10 foot tall, the continous glass panel is one of the largest in the world. The interior of the building is also an example of sophisticated minimalism . The gym walls are lined entirely in beech wood, with slats concealing the lighting and ventilation systems. At the base of the glass panel, there is a long continuous bench for those who would like to take in the unobstructed views calmly versus running on the treadmill. + Invisible Studio Via World Architecture Images via Invisible Studio

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Minimalist hotel gym made out of locally-sourced stone features one of the largest glass panels in the world

Biodegradable coffee pods are now available for composting

November 5, 2019 by  
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In the United Kingdom alone, approximately 95 million cups of coffee are consumed daily, with more than one-third of British coffee-drinkers admitting that they dispose of their coffee capsules into trash bins. Roughly 20 billion non-biodegradable, one-cup coffee pods end up in landfills. But Italian espresso giant Lavazza is offering a more eco-friendly alternative — a compostable coffee pod. Non-biodegradable coffee pods are a challenge to recycle because a single capsule is comprised of a mix of materials, including aluminum, foil and especially plastic . Plastic takes up to 500 years before it begins to disintegrate. Related: The problem with coffee pods and the eco-friendly alternatives to use instead Lavazza, meanwhile, is now offering more sustainable coffee pods, called Eco Caps, that are biopolymer-based. In contrast to the non-biodegradable coffee pods, Eco Caps take just six months to degrade. These pods are convenient to dispose of in the food waste bin, depending on your local composting rules. Lavazza has partnered with TerraCycle, a waste collection service that specialized in hard-to-recycle items, to make it easier for Eco Caps to be industrially composted if local composting is not available. The TerraCycle partnership was formed to solve the issue of consumers being generally confused about what can be recycled. Compostable and biodegradable coffee pods are becoming a trend. For instance, online retailer Halo also offers a separate range of compostable pods that are made with paper pulp and sugar cane. “The coffee revolution has happened, and one of the key challenges the industry now faces is the millions of tons of waste created as a result,” explained Richard Hardwick, Halo’s co-founder. “Aluminum and plastic coffee capsules are difficult to recycle, so most of them end up in the bin. And that’s why up to 75 percent are currently being sent to landfill every minute. Most people don’t understand the irreversible damage these coffee capsules are inflicting on the planet.” + Lavazza Via The Guardian Image via Shutterstock

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Biodegradable coffee pods are now available for composting

Sead Pod offers grassroots solution to air pollution and global warming

November 5, 2019 by  
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Gardening should be good for the environment, adding oxygen to the air, nutrients to the soil and filtering water for consumption. But plastic and toxins have become ubiquitous, leaving the home gardener to make intentional choices about which products to use. That’s where Sead Pod comes in, a vertical garden made using sustainable practices and recycled materials . Sead (Sustainable Ecology, Adaptive Design) Pod offers a simple plastic planter for bringing gardens into the smallest spaces while reusing plastic, which is problematic for the environment. The pod simply clips on to any chain link fencing, providing water efficiency from the vertical garden design while diverting plastic from the landfill. Related: This self-sustaining planter doesn’t require sunlight for plants to thrive “The Sead Pod represents a new way of thinking about green design in an urban context,” said Bryan Meador, Plant Seads’ Founder and Chief Design Officer. “By reimagining existing architectural elements like chain link fencing as a tool in the fight against climate change, we’re able to leap into the green movement immediately, fighting climate change at the grassroots level and making our cities cleaner, healthier, and more livable—right now.”  Based in Kingston, New York, Meador is familiar with the limitations of urban gardens so he designed the Sead Pod to jump start the urgency of climate change. What he described as “the sluggish response of government and multinational companies” lead him to take action, experimenting with 3d printing and rapid prototype development to finalize the design . Proving his self-labeled impatience, Meador had the Sead Pod designed, manufactured and released in less than nine months. “Our generation is the first to be born into Climate Change. This crisis is not hypothetical to us, and we’re tired of waiting around for others to address this issue in a meaningful way,” Meador said in a press release.  With lofty goals of tackling CO2 emissions at a grassroots level, the Sead Pod gives everyone the ability to contribute to the solution. Imagine every chain link fence in your community covered in greenery and you begin to see the potential. The pods also connect to chain link material the size of a picture frame and Sead Pod offers five sizes of sead frames to suit the needs of every home and office. They are designed to be durable for long-term use even when exposed to harsh elements, not to mention, they are recyclable at the end of their life cycle. This project will only be funded if it reaches its goal by Thursday, October 31, 2019 8:59 PM PDT. + Plant Seads Images via Plant Seads

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Sead Pod offers grassroots solution to air pollution and global warming

Reclaimed materials star in this surf villa with ocean views in Bali

November 5, 2019 by  
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The blissful charms of the Uluwatu Surf Villas have been elevated with a recent expansion that includes new villas designed by German architect Alexis Dornier in collaboration with Tim Russo. One of the additions is Puri Bukit, an ocean-facing, four-bedroom villa with sweeping views of the Indian Ocean in Bali. Built with reclaimed timber and locally sourced materials, the building blends traditional Balinese architecture with contemporary design. Located atop cliffs overlooking the ocean in southwest Bali , the Uluwatu Surf Villas were created as a luxury surfer’s paradise with premium villas, bungalows and loft accommodations. The 50-room retreat includes a mix of private and for-rent accommodations, the latter of which are categorized as Cliff Front villas, Ocean Front villas and Jungle View villas that range from one to four bedrooms in size. Related: This contemporary light-filled home feels like an extension of Bali’s tropics Dornier’s recently completed Ocean View 3 (Puri Bukit) villa measures 295 square meters and includes four master bedrooms with en suite bathrooms, making it one of the larger spaces on the property. Punctuated with a skylight, the tropical, modern villa is flooded with natural light and emphasizes indoor-outdoor living with large sliding glass doors that open up to views of the Indian Ocean. Guests can also enjoy access to a private, 40-square-meter saltwater pool. The open-plan living area includes a dining table that seats eight as well as custom-built sofas and a custom art piece by surf artist Andy Davis. As with the other properties, the villa was built with 100-year-old reclaimed teak from Java, reclaimed ironwood from Kalimantan, andesite, terrazzo and local limestone. “The center of the roof is crowned with a generous skylight that illuminates the expansive, centrally located living room,” reads the project statement. “While the main living area flows toward the outdoor pool side terrace and garden, the central core of the house corresponds to the prevailing linear axis running from the ascending entrance stairway, through the main living hall and all the way toward the sea.” + Alexis Dornier Photography by kiearch via Alexis Dornier

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Reclaimed materials star in this surf villa with ocean views in Bali

Geothermal-powered home fuses high-end luxury with restraint

October 30, 2019 by  
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In central Hungary, Budapest-based architectural studio Benyei Architectural Studio has designed an elegant family home that pairs luxury with restraint to beautiful effect. Fitted with custom designs and high-end finishes, the home’s decor is deliberately pared down for a modern and minimalist look that inspired the project’s name, “Bold, rather than brash.” The result of a close collaboration between architect and client, the residence follows passive house criteria and is equipped with a geothermal system that meets the family’s energy needs. Spread out across two floors and 517 square meters, the “Bold, rather than brash” residence was completed over the course of four years and was mainly built with reinforced concrete for a monolithic appearance. Citing 1930s architecture and mid-century design as inspirations, the architect sought to create a building that would communicate strength and elegance through simplicity. The home also comes with a spacious 1,600-square-meter garden, the enjoyment of which is enhanced by the building’s connected terraces . Related: Luxury condo in Budapest will bring residents closer to nature “It was crucial for Benyei’s team to ensure there was a purity to the building and born from that was its cavernous sense of attachment to the land, as though it is a natural part of the surrounding environment as it seems to subtly emerge from it rather than exist within it,” the firm said. The interior design complements the boxy silhouette of the building yet introduces a wider variety of textures and finishes for character and warmth. The living room wall, for instance, is covered with three-dimensional tiles created by KAZA Concrete that give the room a more tactile feel. Custom-designed pieces abound in the home, from the living room textiles created by textile designer Andrea Heged?s to the spectacular Manooi crystal chandelier that hangs above the Italian volcanic rock dining table. In addition to the minimalist decor, the home’s sense of grandeur and spaciousness is emphasized with an open-floor layout and large walls of glazing. + Benyei Architectural Studio Photography by Zsolt Batár via Benyei Architectural Studio

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Geothermal-powered home fuses high-end luxury with restraint

Newly released video game challenges players to survive the climate apocalypse

October 28, 2019 by  
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Ever wonder how you’ll survive an apocalyptic climate crisis ? You can now get a simulated preview of your survival chances in a newly released, multiplatform video game, The Climate Trail. Developed by William Volk, the game focuses on a group of climate refugees fleeing Atlanta for Canada as the conditions all around them worsen. Wanting to raise awareness about the climate crisis in hopes of dispelling climate change denial and inaction, Volk charged ahead with creating the game despite having to overcome “the challenge of learning a new development system (Ren’Py) and programming language (Python).” Thus, he released The Climate Trail, which combines visual graphic novel storytelling with simulation game elements. Related: Climate change is a public health issue amounting to billions in medical costs According to his developer blog , “I’ve self-funded the project because I want to make people care about the climate issue,” Volk explained. “I wanted to create an emotional impact, weave in science information and make a game that makes a difference. I’ve always believed that games can have social value.” Inspired by the iconic game The Oregon Trail, which was a hallmark of elementary, middle and high schools from the 1970s to the 1990s, Volk’s game is as an educational survival foray, wherein players are pitted against hunger, thirst, extreme weather and other cataclysmic disasters in a dystopian future ravaged by the excesses of climate change. Incorporating scientific information about global warming , greenhouse gas emissions and sea level rise , Volk hopes the game will be introduced to schools as an instructive tool, teaching the value of resourcefulness in unpredictable and risky scenarios. With education as his top priority for the game, Volk made sure to steer away from gun-toting scenes, even humbly apologizing in his blog, “Sorry, no shooting in this one.” Rather, he chose to focus on knowledge and information, saying he paid “a lot more attention to the science of climate change” to make the game convincing, for the purpose of “catching the conscience of the deniers and doubters, to really take climate change seriously.” Volk shared, “The catch-22 about this game is I started it with a much more optimistic attitude than when I finished it. The more I dug into it, the more it seemed things were actually worse than imagined.” There are three levels of difficulty: moderate, significant and extreme. Available free for download and even free of advertisements, the game can be played with Mac, PC Windows and Linux systems. Mobile versions for iPhone, iPad and Android Google Play are available as well. + The Climate Trail Via Gizmodo Images via The Climate Trail

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Newly released video game challenges players to survive the climate apocalypse

Earth911 Podcast, October 25, 2019: Project Repat — Saving US Jobs & T-Shirts From Landfills

October 25, 2019 by  
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Project Repat, founded by Ross Lohr and Nathan Rothstein, has … The post Earth911 Podcast, October 25, 2019: Project Repat — Saving US Jobs & T-Shirts From Landfills appeared first on Earth911.com.

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Earth911 Podcast, October 25, 2019: Project Repat — Saving US Jobs & T-Shirts From Landfills

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