Startup creates compostable, single-serve coffee bags for your busy mornings

February 12, 2020 by  
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Worried about the environmental costs of single-use coffee pods? Steeped Coffee has a game-changing solution for that. The startup has innovated coffee brewing by making it as convenient and simple as steeping a tea bag, only it’s coffee you’re tasting. And once you’ve finished your mug of coffee, you can simply compost the bag and recycle the packaging, which is already made from recycled materials as well. Steeped Coffee’s coffee grounds are nitro-sealed in bags. Because they are nitro-sealed, the coffee grounds stay fresh for months. What’s more, these bags are sustainable, plant-based and dressed in recyclable, compostable packaging. Rather than starting up an energy-intensive machine to brew one cup of coffee, you can steep a Steeped Coffee bag, like one does with tea, to get a quick cup of Joe. The bag needs to steep for just 5 minutes. Related: Biodegradable coffee pods are now available for composting According to the company’s founder and CEO, Josh Wilbur, “Premium coffee roasters have shied away from offering their specialty beans in single-serve packaging because it’s been nearly impossible to keep ground coffee fresh, which quickly ruins the taste. With our nitro-sealed bags, oxygen is replaced with nitrogen, so the coffee stays fresh as if it was ground moments ago.” The startup’s signature specialty coffee is also ethically sourced directly from farmers, and the flavor has earned excellent reviews. With Steeped Coffee bags, there is no need for any machines. That eliminates the noise of traditional coffee-making and minimizes cleanup and waste considerably. While it will certainly work for quick cups of coffee at home, the coffee bags could also work well as single-serve options at hotels and offices as well as an easy way to make coffee while camping. Wilbur was motivated to produce the renewable and compostable nitro-sealed Steeped Coffee bag when he realized that “10 billion unrecyclable coffee pods accumulate in landfills each year — enough to wrap around the Earth more than 110 times if placed side-by-side. Steeped Packs are the easiest way to make a delicious cup of coffee,” devoid of wasted energy and wasted materials. Headquartered in Santa Cruz, California, Steeped Coffee has been gaining recognition for its revolutionary “brewing” method and sustainable packaging. Last year, the company even earned the Best New Product accolade at the Specialty Coffee Expo, the largest annual coffee trade show in North America. + Steeped Coffee Image via Steeped Coffee

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Startup creates compostable, single-serve coffee bags for your busy mornings

How hobbyists are saving endangered killifish from extinction

February 12, 2020 by  
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Killifish biology has long intrigued fish enthusiasts and scientists. But human encroachment, habitat loss and climate change are dwindling killifish populations in the wild. Thankfully, collection efforts by conservationists are saving these creatures. The conservationists distribute specimens and their eggs to academic and hobbyist circles for captive breeding and stewardship. To date, at least 1,270 killifish species are known worldwide, according to Portland State University’s Podrabsky Laboratory . Every continent, save Antarctica and Australia, has killifish. Related: San Diego Tropical Fish Society’s Annual Show celebrates natural, eco-minded aquascaping The BBC and Smithsonian Magazine rank killifish among Earth’s “most extreme” fish. They live in small bodies of water that dry up quickly. Through evolution, they’ve adapted to grow and develop rapidly before their watery homes evaporate. Some killifish species even mature in just a couple weeks. To illustrate, the arrival of rain spurs the tiny fish embryos, dormant in the sediment, to rapidly develop and hatch. The fry next attain sexual maturity, complete the mating cycle, and deposit new batches of embryos — all before the puddle evaporates, sometimes within 14 days. Other adaptations, described by Science magazine, are that killifish can handle intense pollution , fluctuating salinity and unpredictable pH. Superfast maturation, highly evolved versatility and extreme coping strategies toward harsh water conditions have inspired many scientific studies on killifish to determine their secrets on aging and adaptability. Moreover, some species’ embryos, reported by Ecology Journal of the Ecological Society of America (ESA), are hardy enough to survive birds’ digestive tracts. In other words, these killifish embryos hatch even after ingestion by waterfowl. Birds can consume these resilient floating embryos from one body of water then deposit them in a different body of water, miles away, therefore ensuring species dispersion to counteract inbreeding risks. Inhabitat caught up with David Huie and John Pitcairn, avid killifish hobbyists who helped found the San Diego Killifish Group (SDKG) , a Southern California satellite of the American Killifish Association (AKA) . From 1980 to the early 2000s, both Huie and Pitcairn participated in several conservationist collection teams, traveling to Mexico to save endemic killifish. Inhabitat: What anecdotes can you share that show how killifish have become endangered? Huie: There was a time — the early ‘90s — when a professor and his grad students collected desert killifish to breed in the laboratory but lost them. They returned to collect more in the wild, but the fish were eradicated. Sometime before year 2000, the Mexican government, to grow more corn in the desert, pumped the water down 70 meters, drying up streams. Almost everywhere we collected were signs fish weren’t going to be there much longer. Many have gone extinct . But some species are just extirpated in the wild. You can’t find them out there anymore. But we have them in the hobby, the Cyprinodon alvarezi , for example. Ceciliae — they were named after the researcher’s daughter — they went extinct before we got there. I think veronicae was extirpated, but might still be in the hobby, and one type of fontinalis is still in the hobby. The hobby’s the only thing keeping them from extinction. Pitcairn: Actually, there’s still new killifish being found all the time, even during collections. In a way, we stop them from going extinct before they’re discovered [scientifically recognized and named]. Inhabitat: What fascinates you about killifish? Pitcairn: They’re neat fish because they aren’t common in stores. Lately, I’m getting into nothobranchius . There are fewer and fewer people who have nothos , making them hard to get. So somebody needs to start breeding them to keep them around. Inhabitat: Killifish can be tough to breed. That can make them rare in pet stores, making them highly prized. Huie: If you really want a variety of killifish, you just won’t see them unless you’re in the hobby, for no store will carry them by choice, since few customers buy them. Pitcairn: I went by a local fish store the other day and, surprisingly, they had a half-dozen pair of gardneri . Usually you don’t even see those. Killifish aren’t often in stores, mainly because they’re not easy to mass produce. Something like swordtails, you throw half a dozen pairs in a pond — you can go back and harvest a couple hundred fish. Huie: Same with cichlids — you spawn a pair, you’ll get a thousand. To get a thousand killifish, you’d have to work at it. You’ll maybe get just 20 to 30 per spawn. Pitcairn: Depends. With nothos , you can get 50, but then you can also get three, which is frustrating. It’s not so much difficult [to breed killifish] as it is labor-intensive. Inhabitat: How else are hobbyists protecting killifish species from extinction? Pitcairn: It’s more important to try and keep the species we’ve got, so hybridizing is frowned upon. Huie: Before 1960s, European killifish hobbyists crossbred killifish — it wasn’t about making a better-looking killifish — but just to find out which ones were related, by getting viable fry. In fact, a lot of books then were full of hybrids. But in the ‘60s and ‘70s, when they started finding different types of killifish, it became a real problem because you wanted to have the killifish name — hybrids just muddled that. So from the ‘70s to ‘80s, it became anathema to have hybrids. Inhabitat: What can you share about the hobby’s history in the U.S.? Huie: The reason the AKA started, and killifish became a hobby, was because at that time it was expensive to get killifish, but relatively economical to send eggs. For peat spawners, you’ve a couple of months where you can send eggs through the mail without a problem. Then for egg-layers, you’ve about a week or two where you can just mail eggs. That’s so much cheaper and easier than sending fish — it’s a smaller package, without worrying about water . Plus, eggs are more temperature-tolerant. The best eco tourism spots in San Diego The first time I really saw killifish as a group was when our friend Monty Lehmann became active as a killifish breeder. He contacted killifish people all over because, generally, there were only a few species available in pet stores back in the ‘70s. Even now, depending on availability, there’s not that many. So in the late ‘70s, I made Monty’s acquaintance, and he tried to get our group going in San Diego . That was a baby brother group to this group [SDKG]. That group kind of dissipated when Monty moved. Inhabitat: How did the current SDKG group start? Huie: We had board game meetings on Fridays and Saturdays. While we played Risk, we’d talk about fish. So our original name was San Diego Fish & Game. Pitcairn: San Diego Killifish and Games — that’s how we got San Diego Killifish Group now, because of the same initials, SDKG. Huie: Our group realized if we wanted to see killifish we didn’t have, we needed to host a show. To get the fish and egg listings, the group had to be part of the AKA. The AKA still supports the show because they run a Killifish Hobbyist of the Year award, where you receive points for entering fish in different sanctioned shows. It’s great for the hobby and killifish as a whole because you’re sending fish across the U.S. + San Diego Killifish Group Photography by Mariecor Agravante / Inhabitat

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How hobbyists are saving endangered killifish from extinction

NASA Mars Habitat Challenge winner is a 3D-printed pod made of biodegradable materials

May 17, 2019 by  
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Multi-planetary architectural firm  AI Space Factory has been awarded first place in the NASA Centennial Challenge with its innovative 3D-printed design , MARSHA. The 15-foot-tall, pod-like design was digitally printed using a base of biodegradable and recyclable basalt composite derived from natural materials found on Mars. Not only does the concept envision a sustainable and resilient design that could meet all the demands of a Mars mission, but the interior living space would be modern and bright, complete with indoor gardens. The New York-based company managed to beat out 60 challengers that submitted designs for NASA’s Centennial Challenge, which looks for sustainable housing concepts for deep space exploration, including Mars . The MARSHA habitat was designed specifically with the desolate Martian landscape in mind, but it could be potentially viable for any environment. Related: Martian tiny home prototype champions zero waste and self sufficiency The prototype was built out of an innovative mixture of basalt fiber extracted from Marian rock and renewable, plant-based bioplastic, with three robotically placed windows. The materials used in the construction not only stood up to NASA’s pressure, smoke and impact testing, but the structure was actually found to be stronger and more durable than its concrete competitors. In contrast to most designs created for Mars, MARSHA is a vertical shape comprised of various levels. The interior spaces are designated by floor, with everything needed to stay indoors for extended periods of time if necessary. Living and working spaces would feature a “human-centric” design that would see modern yet comfortable spaces lit by diffused light. There would also be ample space for indoor gardens . CEO and founder of AI SpaceFactory David Malott explained that the inspiration behind MARSHA was to design a resilient structure that would be sustainable for years to come. “We developed these technologies for space, but they have the potential to transform the way we build on Earth,” Malott said. “By using natural, biodegradable materials grown from crops, we could eliminate the building industry’s massive waste of unrecyclable concrete and restore our planet.” + AI Space Factory Via Archdaily Images via AI Space Factory

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NASA Mars Habitat Challenge winner is a 3D-printed pod made of biodegradable materials

Truman’s wants to eliminate single-use plastics in the household cleaner industry

March 21, 2019 by  
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The household cleaning aisle at the store features dozens of spray cleaners for different surfaces, and the ingredient lists are a mile long with chemical names that are impossible to pronounce. While many of those cleaners are effective for getting rid of dirt and germs, some of the chemicals inside are environmental hazards. Then, there are the  plastic  bottles, which get thrown into the trash once they are empty, adding to the plastic pollution problem. As the marketplace shifts to products with more sustainable packaging and more eco-friendly ingredients, a new company, Truman’s, is attempting to change the game in the household cleaner industry. Truman’s is trying to “upend the nearly $10 billion spray cleaner market” with its new direct-to-consumer subscription website that features four non-toxic cleaners shipped to customers’ doors in special bottles that they refill when the bottles are empty. “Cleaning is cluttered” Truman’s entered the cleaning market after discovering 57 different cleaners on local store shelves, with 43 different scents and 15 unique surface cleaners. The company founders became “obsessed with reducing waste and clutter” and wanted to find a way to reduce the number of cleaning products filled with harsh chemicals that are filling cabinets in homes across the country. Related: How to decode confusing labels on common household cleaners The plastic problem Plastic production went bonkers in the 1950s, with Life magazine praising an American future that would feature “throwaway living.” Since then, according to Truman’s website, the “planet has accumulated 9.2 billion tons of plastic,” which breaks down to “1.3 tons for every man, woman and child on Earth.” Globally, less than one-fifth of all plastic gets recycled , and in the United States, the number is less than 10 percent. Single-use plastic bottles are a major factor in the plastic problem. According to a recently published University of California study , in the past 13 years, the world has produced more plastic than it did in the previous 50. Research from the Ellen MacArthur Foundation says that by 2050, “the ocean will contain more plastic by weight than fish.” Truman’s says that if just 5 percent of Americans would opt for its delivery service instead of buying cleaning products at the store, it would save 4 billion pounds of water from being shipped in single-use, plastic-bottled cleaning products, and it would reduce the amount of plastic used by 300 million pounds. How does it work? Truman’s offers four spray cleaners: The Glass Is Always Cleaner, Everything and the Kitchen Sink, Floors Truly and More Shower To You. When they join Truman’s, customers receive a starter kit that they can use for 30 days, risk-free. After that first month, Truman’s will then ship refill cartridges, and the automatic shipments continue every six months. However, customers can order extras if needed, or the service can be paused or canceled. The refill cartridges work when mixed with water, and the bottles can be continuously reused . This allows customers to save space under the kitchen sink. Plus it’s significantly cheaper, because the refills are $3.75 while the bottles and shipping are always free. Truman’s always ships refills four at a time per cleaner, which is $15. They also ship all four cleaners, which means every six months, customers are charged $60. However, there is the option to remove certain cleaners from the subscription. This method reduces plastic waste by more than 90 percent, according to Truman’s website, and the bottles are also recyclable. The men behind Truman’s Jon Bostock and Alex Reed had years of experience working with companies like General Electric and Big Ass Fans. But when Big Ass Fans was sold for $500 million in late 2017, Bostock and Reed looked for something new to focus their efforts on. “Alex and I are both neat-freaks, and we knew the home cleaning industry needed real change,” Bostock said. “It’s dominated by a few global companies that add new cleaners you don’t need just to pad profits. Then they compete for shelf space at stores, which all get their share of the price.” Related: Scientists discover hazardous chemicals accumulate in household dust The duo felt that it was time for the cleaning industry to change, so they created a company that delivers easy-to-use cleaning products directly to the consumer. Bostock and Reed knew that large businesses already use concentrated refills to fill the same bottles over and over again, and they believe that if that model works for businesses, it could work for everyone else. They never planned to put their product on store shelves, because that would just add to the problem. Truman’s opted to avoid the shelf rental fees and sell directly to customers to keep costs low and get constant feedback from customers via the website. Truman’s definitely gives customers an eco-friendly cleaning option that can significantly reduce plastic waste. But just remember to ditch disposable paper towels and use reusable cleaning cloths and old T-shirts when using these cleaners. + Truman’s Images via Truman’s

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Truman’s wants to eliminate single-use plastics in the household cleaner industry

True Green Introducing Compostable Straws and Hot Cups

July 13, 2018 by  
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Terry Lehmann, founder and CEO of True Green Enterprises, talks … The post True Green Introducing Compostable Straws and Hot Cups appeared first on Earth911.com.

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True Green Introducing Compostable Straws and Hot Cups

Are Flocked Trees Recyclable?

December 21, 2017 by  
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Those dreaming of a white Christmas may participate in the … The post Are Flocked Trees Recyclable? appeared first on Earth911.com.

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Is Rusted Metal Recyclable?

December 4, 2017 by  
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In the recycling world, the condition of your products is … The post Is Rusted Metal Recyclable? appeared first on Earth911.com.

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Eco-friendly DIY modular furniture can be reassembled over and over into different pieces

September 12, 2016 by  
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Designer Stefano Guerrieri aimed to create DIY furniture kits that people can use to creatively modernize their office spaces. He started PlayWood , a company that offers innovative 3D-printed polyamide connectors that can attach user-supplied boards together to make imaginative desks, planters, or bookcases, to name a few. As the connectors don’t damage the boards, modular furniture made with them can be taken apart and reassembled to create different pieces. It’s easy to get creative with PlayWood and design custom furniture to fit your particular space. PlayWood connectors can attach boards at 90 degrees, 105 degrees or 150 degrees. They can be used with boards in varying thicknesses from 1.5 centimeters to 2 centimeters, or about half an inch to 0.7 inches. Users must furnish their own boards, but can use ” every kind of material with a variable thickness .” There are no power tools or even screwdrivers necessary to assemble the furniture; all a builder needs beyond boards and connectors is an Allen key. Related: Giant LEGO bricks snap together into life-size modular furniture If at some point you move or need a new piece of furniture, the old piece can easily be taken apart and reassembled into something new. Not using that side table as much as you thought you might? You can take it apart and transform it into a trendy bookcase. Guerrieri believes in “ modularity and creative freedom ,” and wanted to offer creatives the chance to change their furniture as their businesses evolved. The furniture that can be built with his connector kits is also sustainable – not only can PlayWood connectors be reused several times, but they are recyclable and “ eco-friendly .” PlayWood offers instructions for furniture like a hexagonal bookcase, cube planter, roller sofa, or modular desk. Kits are fairly inexpensive: a hexagonal kit with two 150 degree connectors and four 105 degree connectors is currently on sale for 15 Euros, or around $16. A square kit with six 90 degree connectors is 20 Euros, or about $22. Connectors can also be purchased separately for 3.50 Euros, or almost $4. + PlayWood Via Yanko Design Images via PlayWood

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Eco-friendly DIY modular furniture can be reassembled over and over into different pieces

Scientists record a human-like conversation between two dolphins for the first time ever

September 12, 2016 by  
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Yasha and Yana, two Black Sea bottlenose dolphins , have been chatting it up lately and scientists have been listening in. The recordings can clearly be heard to be conversations , as the mammals pause to let the other finish and can string distinct “words” together to form sentences. The research confirms for the first time that dolphins use an advanced form of communication similar to humans. The study , published in the journal Mathematics and Physics , was performed at the Karadag Nature Reserve in Feodosia, Russia. The two dolphins were recorded speaking to each other in a pool at the reserve and the analysis of their conversation was fascinating. Dr. Vyacheslav Ryabov, lead researcher of the study, stated: “Essentially, this exchange resembles a conversation between two people.” Related: Why the Feds want to ban swimming with dolphins in Hawaii A series of pulsed clicks were produced by each mammal , each distinct and representing a phoneme or word in the dolphin language. These pulses were strung together like sentences and it was clear both Yasha and Yana waited for the other to finish before responding. “This language exhibits all the design features present in the human spoken language, this indicates a high level of intelligence and consciousness in dolphins, and their language can be ostensibly considered a highly developed spoken language , akin to the human language,” explained Dr. Ryabov. Dolphins are already known to produce more than one thousand types of distinct whistles to communicate with one another, but the new evidence points to particularly advanced behavior in the form of a one-on-one, back and forth conversation. At this point in time, we still do not understand the content of their communication, but the researchers say this is clearly the next step to take. Via The Telegraph Images via Pixabay ( 1 , 2 )

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Scientists record a human-like conversation between two dolphins for the first time ever

Bookniture’s sleek tomes fold out into sturdy, versatile furniture

February 10, 2015 by  
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The vast majority of folding furniture isn’t exactly known for being elegant, or even that easy to store when it’s not in use. But Bookniture’s innovative pieces provide a novel solution for those in small apartments and tiny houses : their moleskine-like books fold out to form sturdy honeycomb tables and stools, and when you want that floor space back? They simply sit inconspicuously on the shelf. Read the rest of Bookniture’s sleek tomes fold out into sturdy, versatile furniture Permalink | Add to del.icio.us | digg Post tags: “green furniture” , bookniture , flat pack furntiture , folding chair , folding table , honeycomb , moleshine , paper furniture , recyclable

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Bookniture’s sleek tomes fold out into sturdy, versatile furniture

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