This giant Cup Monster wants Starbucks to use recyclable cups

October 12, 2017 by  
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A monster created with over 500 old Starbucks cups prowled outside a Seattle hotel this week. Advocacy group Stand.earth created the Cup Monster to pressure the company to deliver a better, recyclable cup. Although Starbucks has trialed recyclable cups , when you order that pumpkin spice latte or mocha today, the paper cup you hold still can’t be recycled in many regions. Stand.earth says Starbucks serves four billion disposable paper cups every single year – but many facilities can’t recycle them “because the inside plastic lining clogs the equipment,” according to the group . So they showed up at the Seattle Sheraton hotel this week, where Starbucks CEO Kevin Johnson was speaking at the 2017 GeekWire Summit, with the Cup Monster in tow. Related: Starbucks trials recyclable paper coffee cups for potential global use Ah the Cup Monster is out of control! Every @Starbucks unrecyclable cup that gets trashed only makes it stronger! Kevin Johnson, be a hero! pic.twitter.com/V0c8KNsq9L — Stand.earth (@standearth) October 10, 2017 According to Stand.earth United States campaign director Ross Hammond, over 8,000 cups go to landfills every minute. He said in a statement, “We hope Seattle’s tech leaders will join us in calling on Starbucks to stop serving 21st century coffee in a 20th century cup.” GeekWire reported although activists wore Starbucks uniforms, they aren’t affiliated with the coffee company. Starbucks vice president of communications Linda Mills told GeekWire the company’s cups can be recycled in some markets like Seattle, San Francisco, Boston, New York, and Washington, D.C. She said they are also working with municipalities so the cups can be recycled in more areas. Reusable cups are also an option; the company has offered a discount since 1985 for customers when they bring in cups that can be used over and over. On Starbucks’ webpage on recycling , they say, “We will continue to explore new ways to reduce our cup waste but ultimately it will be our customers who control whether or not we achieve continued growth in the number of beverages served in reusable cups.” You can sign Stand.earth’s letter to Johnson asking for a better cup here . + Stand.earth Via GeekWire Images via Stand.earth Twitter ( 1 , 2 )

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This giant Cup Monster wants Starbucks to use recyclable cups

Incredible green dreamscape made of recycled threads takes over a Taipei lecture hall

October 12, 2017 by  
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Taipei’s lush jungle landscape has crept indoors in the form of a “green dreamscape.” MVRDV and Argentinian textile artist Alexandra Kehayoglou transformed a 180-person lecture hall into an incredible sight with wall-to-wall carpets woven out of recycled threads that mimic natural textures like moss, water, trees, and pastures. Located at JUT Group’s head office, this public wall-covering artwork references Taiwan’s sub-tropical environment while providing acoustic control and an unforgettable lecture backdrop. Sprawled out across a 240-square-meter lecture hall, the massive installation looks surprisingly lifelike from afar. The variety of textures, shapes, and patterns evoke a diverse plants palette ranging from delicate flowers on the carpet floor to thick mosses clinging on the far back wall. Alexandra Kehayoglou created the site-specific textile work using discarded threads from her family’s carpet factory in Buenos Aires. The unique artwork was made with a laborious hand-tufting technique and took over a year to complete. Related: Amazing landscape carpets transform your living room into a lush, grassy meadow “The interior is literally a green dream,” says Winy Maas , MVRDV co-founder. “Together with the artwork, it represents the natural landscape of Taiwan and at the same time, acts as an acoustic intervention. In the midst of the hyper-urban condition of Taipei, audiences will be surrounded by this green dreamscape.” The interior design builds on the research of MVRDV and their think tank, The Why Factory , into the potential of future transformable elements. + MVRDV + Alexandra Kehayoglou Images via MVRDV

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Incredible green dreamscape made of recycled threads takes over a Taipei lecture hall

IKEA is offering furniture for pets – and it’s adorable

October 10, 2017 by  
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It’s here – the modern, inexpensive pet furniture of your dreams. IKEA is now selling furniture and accessories for dogs and cats , and they’re just as well-designed and affordable as the company’s furniture for humans. From a cute cat house to a cozy dog bed, you’ll drool over the Swedish giant’s pet collection . Pets are members of the family to many people, and IKEA said they were inspired by that sentiment to create the LURVIG – Swedish for ‘hairy’ – line of pet furniture. They got a little input from veterinarians to design their pet collection “so you and your pet can enjoy your home together.” LURVIG “covers all the bases of our shared life with pets indoors and out.” Related: Light-filled home for book lovers and their cute cats is built of recycled materials Pets can snuggle in on IKEA’s $49.99 pet bed , which looks like a mini couch for a cat or dog. There’s a $19.99 pet blanket , to minimize fur on the couch or car seat. The most expensive item in the new collection is a $54.98 cat house on legs that comes with a pad inside. A cheaper $5.99 cat house can even be incorporated with human furniture – it fits inside the open squares of a KALLAX shelf unit. There are also several inexpensive accessories that would be ideal for someone getting their first pet, including food and water bowls ranging from $0.79 to $4.99 and a $7.99 water dispenser. There’s a $4.99 litter tray, and $3.99 brush. IKEA is also offering several different dog leashes, with reflective, retractable, and anti-shock options – and even a cat leash if you have aspirations of grandeur. An IKEA spokesperson told Mashable the LURVIG collection had its pilot launch the beginning of October in five countries: the United States, Canada, France, Japan, and Portugal. You can check out the entire collection here . + IKEA Pets Via Mashable Images via IKEA

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IKEA is offering furniture for pets – and it’s adorable

Food-producing reACT home sustainably and intelligently adapts to your needs

October 6, 2017 by  
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The homes of the future will be smart, responsive, and even save us money. University of Maryland students let us take a peek into what the future may hold with reACT, a smart sustainable home that rethinks architecture as living organisms. Created as a “kit of parts,” this modular solar-powered dwelling is likened to a home-building kit that can be easily shipped out and readily adapted to different needs and environments. Most impressively, reACT —short for Resilient Adaptive Climate Technology—is self-sufficient and generates clean energy, recycles waste, self-regulates its building systems, and even produces clean water and grows nutrient-rich foods. UMD students designed and built reACT for a married couple living in Denver, Colorado, who are also members of the St. Croix Chippewa Indians of Wisconsin. The solar-powered home draws inspiration from the clients’ Native American roots to demonstrate how reACT’s innovative building system with off-grid capabilities can be customized to unique occupant needs. Thus, the reACT prototype incorporates Native American influences such as materials, patterns, and even ancestral farming practices, which can be found in the hydroponic garden, exterior vegetable garden, and movable living walls. The modular design allows the homeowners to expand or contract the house as needed. “Team Maryland created Resilient Adaptive Climate Technology to showcase how a sustainable future is more than just designing a better built home; it is a lifestyle system that incorporates a home with its surrounding environment, interacts with its occupants, and strives to give back more than it takes,” wrote the students. “This lifestyle system is supported by regeneratively mindful innovations that can be seen and explored throughout reACT communications. A modular ‘kit-of-parts’ home is the base of reACT as a lifestyle system. The ability to customize a home to adapt to the occupant’s unique needs is complimented by the technologies and innovations that increase energy efficiency , power generation, comfort, self-reliance, and overall enhance sustainable living.” Related: University of Maryland’s WaterShed Solar Decathlon House Takes First Place In Architecture! The modular reACT home is designed around a central courtyard with an operable glass roof and wall panels to bring light into the interior and serve as a solar heat collector. A solar electric photovoltaic array harnesses renewable energy and stores it in an on-site battery. Residents will have the option to sell energy back to the grid. The reACT home also produces clean water through rainwater and gray water collection and treatment systems. Indoor gardening creates the home’s green core where nutrient-rich foods are grown using organic waste gathered from the composting toilet. Self-regulating building systems, achieved through automation, program the home to become more energy efficient over time as the virtual house technology learns from its environment and the occupants’ lifestyles. The reACT home is the University of Maryland’s submission to this year’s Solar Decathlon competition. Once the competition is over, reACT will be shipped back to Maryland and installed next to Maryland’s Solar Decathlon 2007 second-place house in a sustainability park for further research and development. + Solar Decathlon Images via Mike Chino

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Food-producing reACT home sustainably and intelligently adapts to your needs

Breathtakingly beautiful tiny home is surprisingly luxurious inside

October 6, 2017 by  
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Meet “The Escher”—a stunning tiny home that’ll steal your breath away. Designed and built by New Frontier Tiny Homes , this gorgeous mobile home uses clever space-saving design, high-end materials, and craftsmanship to prove that living large is possible in small spaces. The Escher combines rustic appeal with contemporary design into a surprisingly luxurious and dreamy abode. The Escher model was designed and built as a full-time family home for a couple with a child. Although the clients originally wanted the firm’s flagship model, The Alpha, they later decided on a more spacious custom-build, The Escher, which was named after their child. Shou Sugi Ban cedar siding, Red Western Cedar siding, and Federal Blue Custom Metal Siding clad the 28-foot-long Escher, while mechanical seam metal tops the roof. The home achieves its spacious feel thanks largely to tall ceilings, ample insulated glazing (in particular the 8-foot-by-8-foot glass garage door), and recessed LEDs. Solid poplar shiplap is used for the interior siding and ceiling. Ebony-stained solid walnut hardwood lines the floors. Two bedrooms are placed on either end of the home—the master bedroom with a king-size bed located in the 7.5-foot-long gooseneck, while the child’s bedroom is placed in a spacious loft accessible via a custom solid oak ladder (made with only wooden joinery). In total, the home offers seven distinct spaces: two bedrooms, kitchen, office, bathroom, walk-in closet with storage, and a dining area. The dining/living area is located in a spacious area behind the giant glass garage door that opens up the home to the outdoors. Moveable and transformable furniture make up a custom dining table, two benches, four stools, and two coffee tables that can be stored beneath the kitchen floor and provide extra hidden storage. The gorgeous kitchen features a 33-inch porcelain farmhouse apron sink with a fridge, 36-inch gas cooktop with hood, dishwasher drawer, custom cabinetry and shelving, porcelain countertops, as well as a custom copper backsplash and accents. Custom shoji paper sliding doors separate the kitchen from the master bedroom that houses a king-sized bed on a hydraulic lift that allows for full floor storage underneath. Below the loft bedroom on the opposite side of the home is the office, walk-in closet, and bathroom. The office consists of a bifold walnut standing desk and windows that open up to an outdoor bar area. The bathroom includes a composting toilet , floating sink, washer/dryer, custom tiling, herringbone pattern flooring made of ebony stained walnut, and a beautiful shower that easily fits two people. Related: Tiny home clad in burnt wood packs a ton of luxury into just 240 square feet The stunning home’s space-saving design is impressive but we think it’s the craftsmanship and detailing that elevates The Escher high above the typical tiny home. In addition to high-end appliances, the home features custom stone and timber furnishings and detailing, as well as a one-of-a-kind mural wall by 1767 Designs. Pricing for The Escher starts at $139,000. The tiny home was recently unveiled on HGTV and DIY’s “Tiny House, Big Living” television series. + New Frontier Tiny Homes

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Breathtakingly beautiful tiny home is surprisingly luxurious inside

Bicycle highway in the Netherlands built using recycled toilet paper

October 3, 2017 by  
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People in the Netherlands use an estimated 180,000 tons of toilet paper every year. Because this amounts to a lot of trees, last Fall the Dutch province of Friesland repurposed the product to make a bicycle highway . The stretch of roadway, about 0.6-miles-long, connects the Frisian capital of Leeuwarden to the town of Stiens. It is the first bicycle lane in the world to be paved with toilet paper — but few can tell the difference. In the Netherlands , roads are typically paved with blacktop. Specifically, open-graded asphalt friction course (OGFC) is used because it is porous and water permeable. “When roads get wet, [they get] slippery, so we use this asphalt because it takes water away from the road surface quicker,” said Ernst Worrell, Professor of energy, resources, and technological change at Utrecht University. The country sees an annual rainfall of 27 to 35 inches per year, so this safety measure is important. While the method is effective, it isn’t the only way to build safe asphalt-type roads, as the province of Friesland recently proved. Last fall, a bicycle highway was built using tertiary cellulose extracted from waste streams. CirTec and KNN Cellulose developed the technology for extracting and cleaning the cellulose fibers. The process entailed sifting paper fibers out of wastewater with a 0.35-millimeter industrial sieve. The fibers were then run through a series of machines, which cleaned, sterilized, bleached and dried them. This produced a fluffy, grayish material. According to Chris Reijken, wastewater treatment advisor at Waternet, “If you look at it, you would not expect it to have originated from wastewater.” Technically, the uses for the reclaimed cellulose are endless. The product could be used in building insulation, biofuel , textiles, pulp and paper, filters — and more. But due to sanitization concerns, it cannot legally be used in products that come into direct contact with people. Related: London Unveils $1.51 Billion Bicycle Master Plan With 15-Mile Bike Highway As a result, the recycled toilet paper was used to construct a bike highway. And so far, officials are reportedly pleased with the investment said to have held up well so far. The success of the project resulted in the same mixture being used to reinforce a dyke on the West Frisian Island of Ameland and to repave a parking lot of a children’s petting zoo in Groningen. CityLab says the city of Amsterdam is now interested in using cellulose from wastewater in its roadways. “It’s a strange idea for people that there’s [toilet paper] in the road,” says Michiel Schrier, provincial governor of Friesland. “But when they cycle on it or feel it, they can see that it’s normal asphalt.” It’s still too early to say whether products from recycled toilet paper will become mainstream, but, in the Netherlands, at least, they’re off to a good start. To repair all roadways in the Netherlands, 15,000 tons of fiber would be needed. From toilet paper alone, this wouldn’t be possible. But using tertiary cellulose from other waste sources, such as diapers and beverage cartons, two million tons could be created. Greener roads are just around the bend. Via CityLab Images via Pixabay , KNN Cellulose

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Bicycle highway in the Netherlands built using recycled toilet paper

10 Things in Your Bedroom You Can Reuse or Recycle

September 29, 2017 by  
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Your bedroom may not be a space where you keep a recycling bin, but many common bedroom items can be recycled. We’ve put together a list explaining how to reuse or recycle 10 items in your bedroom you shouldn’t throw away. The post 10 Things in…

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10 Things in Your Bedroom You Can Reuse or Recycle

Former Tesla executives to produce battery "with significantly lower carbon footprint"

September 28, 2017 by  
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Tesla is attempting to shake up the car and energy industries with their battery -producing Gigafactory – and two past employees hope to bring the revolution to Europe. Former Tesla executives Peter Carlsson and Paolo Cerruti aim to build Europe’s biggest lithium-ion battery factory with startup Northvolt in Sweden . Carlsson said, “We will produce a battery with significantly lower carbon footprint than the current supply chains.” The $4.5 billion Northvolt factory in Sweden will pump out batteries for electric cars , ships, trucks, and snowmobiles. They’ll source materials like nickel and graphite from Swedish deposits, and cobalt from a Finland refiner. They’ll power the factory with renewable energy from Sweden’s hydropower dams. They’ll reuse waste heat and recycle old batteries. Northvolt just this week announced a “wide-ranging supply and technology partnership” with company ABB . Related: Tesla executives start mysterious new recycling company Northvolt batteries will have an almost zero carbon footprint, according to Carlsson. He said, “Right now the flow of batteries to Europe would mainly come from Asia. If you take the [ coal -powered] energy grids of China or Japan, both of their carbon footprints are pretty high. When you accumulate that into a battery pack for a vehicle, that’s a significant footprint.” Northvolt will be able to differentiate themselves using hydropower. They’ll also create their own anode and cathode chemical mixes rather than purchasing them from Asian or European manufacturers. Is Northvolt making a run for Tesla’s business? According to Wired, Carlsson said he’s not competing with old boss Elon Musk . He said, “Tesla is a very challenging culture, but it’s also a very rewarding culture. There’s one thing that nobody can take away from Elon; he has always put his mission above everyone else. Hopefully we can spread that kind of culture also within Northvolt.” The 32 gigawatt hour plant could begin production in 2020. + Northvolt Via Wired Images via Northvolt

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Former Tesla executives to produce battery "with significantly lower carbon footprint"

The world’s first mobile, solar-powered recycling plant just popped up in the middle of London

September 28, 2017 by  
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The mobile recycling factory of the future just landed in the 19th century courtyard of the historic Somerset House in Central London. Trashpresso is a giant solar-powered recycling plant that transforms discarded plastic bottles into architectural tiles. The machine is the brainchild of Pentatonic , a furniture and design company based in Berlin and London committed to using only post-consumer waste in their products – from chairs made from “felted” plastic to glassware made from smartphone screens. Trashpresso is the world’s first off-grid, industrial grade recycling solution designed to be mobile and functional in isolated locations where traditional recycling plants aren’t a feasible option. “Our non-negotiable commitment to the consumer is that we make our products using single materials. That means no toxic additives and no hybridized materials which are prohibitive of recyclability,” explains co-founder Johann Bodecker. Trashpresso made its global debut this week at the Design Frontiers exhibition during the London Design Festival . Visitors to Design Frontiers were invited to contribute their trash and watch the Trashpresso process from start to finish – from the sorting of plastic bottles to the compression of shredded PET into solid hexagonal tiles. Enormous black spheres made of recycled plastic were also installed in the courtyard, lending an imposing presence to the Edmond J. Safra Fountain Court. Throughout the week, the black spheres were gradually covered in the architectural tiles created by Trashpresso, with the public taking part in the installation. Large spheres made of metal mesh contained more plastic bottles, calling attention to the ongoing problem of tons of plastic a year entering our oceans. Starbucks UK recently announced a partnership with Pentatonic to turn their coffee shop waste into furniture, with their Starbucks Bean Chair reinterpreted with upcycled textiles and a frame made from plastic bottles and plastic cups. The Trashpresso machine debuting at Design Frontiers boasts upgraded engineering designed for global transportation. An earlier version of Trashpresso was previewed in Shanghai for World Earth Day by Pentatonic collaborator and investor Miniwiz , which is based in Taiwan and specializes in upcycling. Trashpresso was the featured installation at Design Frontiers, a new exhibition featuring more than 30 designers showcasing projects and products pushing the frontiers of innovation and material use. + Pentatonic + Design Frontiers + London Design Festival Coverage

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The world’s first mobile, solar-powered recycling plant just popped up in the middle of London

5 challenges to scaling the circular economy

September 20, 2017 by  
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International import barriers and trust issues can create barriers — or opportunities — for increasing the use of recycled materials.

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5 challenges to scaling the circular economy

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