Cameroon student nonprofit recycles plastic bottles into boats

August 10, 2017 by  
Filed under Business, Eco, Green, Recycle

Humanity has a plastic bottle addiction, purchasing one million a minute , and many bottles wind up not in recycling bins but in our oceans. Cameroon -based nonprofit Madiba & Nature is pioneering a creative use for all those polluting bottles: boats . They’re fabricating floating canoe-shaped crafts out of collected empties in an effort to prompt people to think differently about how they consume and dispose of plastic bottles. A group of students is transforming plastic trash into boats. They aim to promote a circular economy in Africa ; according to their website: “…we want to help change people’s attitudes and bad habits on the management of plastic waste that degrades sensitive ecosystems.” One Green Planet reports Cameroonian Essome Ismael invented the boats. Related: The world’s population buys one million plastic bottles every single minute Madiba & Nature volunteers have gathered to pick up thousands of plastic bottles near Cameroon’s largest city, Douala, to use those bottles for what they call ecological canoes. The boats could help not just the environment , but the local community as well. In a video, Ismael said there’s a great need for fishing boats in his area, and the plastic bottle boats could meet that need. Local fisherman Emmanuel Japa said at first they thought the plastic bottle boats were a joke, but it turns out the crafts are actually strong and seaworthy. Ismael also said plastic bottles clogging their waterways have led to flooding in the local area. The boats are just the beginning. Madiba & Nature’s website says in around a year of work, they’ve started a program for students and engineers to learn more about green business , and have developed an environmental awareness and education program. They’ve also helped develop a local waste management system and have supported other groups laboring to protect the environment. Their website also says they aim to research how to use recycled plastic in building or paving systems. + Madiba & Nature Via One Green Planet Images via Madiba & Nature Facebook

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Cameroon student nonprofit recycles plastic bottles into boats

Inexpensive new battery generates power with just a drop of saliva

August 10, 2017 by  
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In addition to aiding digestion, it turns out saliva can also power batteries. Researchers at Binghamton University discovered this while inventing a small, paper-based battery that generates energy when mixed with a drop of saliva. The batteries, which are more like tiny microbial fuel cells, are inexpensive to make and could be used in natural disasters and remote settings where on-demand power is hard (if not impossible) to come by. As a result, access to medical care and screenings in rural settings could improve. Binghamton University Electrical and Computer Science Assistant Professor Seokheun Choi spent the past five years developing the micro-power sources. His ultimate goal was to find a way to power medical diagnostic tests in poverty-stricken regions; finally, he succeeded at developing paper-based bacteria -powered batteries “On-demand micro-power generation is required especially for point-of-care diagnostic applications in developing countries,” said Choi. “Typically, those applications require only several tens of microwatt-level power for several minutes, but commercial batteries or other energy harvesting technologies are too expensive and over-qualified. Also, they pose environmental pollution issues.” Related: Indian startup pioneers new battery swapping system for electric buses The batteries contain freeze-dried exoelectrogenic cells which generate power when saliva is added. Astonishingly, with just one drop of spit, the paper batteries can produce enough power for low-power biological sensors in just a matter of minutes. Eureka Alert reports that a benefit of freeze drying the cells is that they can be stored for a long time before use. This means they can be stocked in medical clinics around the world. An additional perk is that the required biological fluid (saliva) can be easily obtained anywhere, anytime. At present, the battery can only produce a few microwatts of power per square centimeter. However, Choi and his research assistant, Maedeh Mohammadifar, are working on boosting the output. In the future, the team hopes to make the paper batteries more robust so they can sustain devices other than LED lights when connected in a series. The paper, “A Papertronic, On-Demand and Disposable Biobattery: Saliva-Activated Electricity Generation from Lyophilized Exoelectrogens Preinoculated on Paper,” was published in Advanced Materials Technologies. + Binghamton University Via Eureka Alert Images via  Binghamton University , Pixabay

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Inexpensive new battery generates power with just a drop of saliva

Watch the solar eclipse from a private plane AND stay in an amazing Airbnb dome

August 10, 2017 by  
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The upcoming solar eclipse is slated to be the event of the century , so it seems only fitting to celebrate in style. National Geographic and Airbnb have teamed up to treat two budding astrophysicists (or just you and your mom) to a stay in this cool geodesic dome in a remote area in Oregon the night before the eclipse. However, the real prize is watching the momentous occasion from the comfort of a private jet that will fly the winners high in the sky, following the eclipse’s path. The dreamy geodesic pod is located in a remote area of Oregon, and comes complete with an observation deck and with a variety of telescopes. Upon arriving on the 20th, the winners will be met by their hosts: Dr. Jedidah Isler, a National Geographic Explorer and the first African American woman to receive a Ph.D. in Astrophysics from Yale University and, Babak Tafreshi, a renowned National Geographic photographer and science journalist. Related: Coming Total Solar Eclipse to be an ‘event of the century’, scientists say Right before the actual eclipse is visible from the ground, the two lucky winners will board a small private jet at the nearby Redmond Municipal Airport. The pilot will take off over the Oregon shore – flying west while following the Path of Totality – in order to be witness to the very first moments of the eclipse from high in the sky. + Airbnb Solar Eclipse Stay

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Watch the solar eclipse from a private plane AND stay in an amazing Airbnb dome

Costa Rica eco-resort combines jungle yoga with sustainable design

August 9, 2017 by  
Filed under Eco, Green, Recycle

NALU boutique hotel in Costa Rica is a sustainable jungle retreat for exercise and relaxation. Merging sustainability with local craftsmanship, architecture firm Studio Saxe designed a series of pavilions scattered amongst the trees, offering each occupant an extra sense of privacy. The hotel is located in Nosara, a burgeoning tourist destination for health, wellness and surfing. The owners, Nomel and Mariya Libid, wanted the design of the new building to reflect this attitude by offering several tranquil spaces for various types of recreation and exercise. Dense jungle completely surrounds the individual pavilion homes. The architects determined optimal positions for each of the structures by conducting extensive analyses of wind and sun patterns. Related: 8 gorgeous green hotels to add to your bucket list The timber roofs made of recycled Teak planks protrude over each pavilion to create shade from the intense equatorial sun. Corridors lit from the pergola roofs frame views of the lush surroundings and connect separate rooms. “Our project Nalu represents the power of simple, low-key, modern tropical architecture ,” says architect Benjamin Garcia Saxe. “It has quickly become a town favorite, which shows that there is a real desire to occupy spaces that bring people closer to nature, while addressing the needs of contemporary life,” he adds. + Studio Saxe Photos by Andres Garcia Lachner

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Costa Rica eco-resort combines jungle yoga with sustainable design

Costa Rica aims to become the first country to ban all single-use plastics

August 7, 2017 by  
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Costa Rica is taking a stand against the plastic waste flooding our oceans and clogging up our landfills: the country is poised to become the first in the world to eliminate all single-use plastics . This isn’t just a ban on plastic bags or water bottles. Using a multi-prong approach, Costa Rica will eliminate plastic forks, lids and even coffee stirrers. And as if that wasn’t a lofty enough goal, they plan to do this by 2021. Plastic is one of the most dramatic problems that the environment is facing. There is so much plastic trash in the ocean that it is difficult to even comprehend, and we are constantly discovering more . By 2050, there could be more plastic in the ocean than fish. In Costa Rica, 4,000 tons of solid waste is produced every day, and 20 percent of that never makes it to a recycle center or landfill, ending up in the Costa Rican rivers, beaches and forests. Related: Costa Rica ran almost entirely on renewables in 2016 Costa Rica has taken environmental protection seriously. The country plans to be carbon neutral by 2021, in part by ditching fossil fuels . They are also dedicated to restoring their forests and protecting wildlife .  In order to move away from single-use plastic, the country will utilize both public and private sectors to accomplish five actions. The country will offer incentives and issue requirements for suppliers, in addition to investing in research and development and other initiatives that will move it closer to its goals. It will also replace single-use products with innovations like cellulose acetate-based materials. Via Costa Rica News Images via Deposit Photos ( 1 , 2 )

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Costa Rica aims to become the first country to ban all single-use plastics

Artist carves an intricate forest into an old delivery van

August 3, 2017 by  
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Artist Dan Rawling s likes to give old metal scraps a new lease on life by carving them into forest-themed art works. His most recent work, Nature Delivers, is a massive forest landscape carved into the entire body of an old delivery truck. Rawlings uses an arsenal of tools to create his detailed pieces such as a hand held plasma torch, files, grinders, scalpels, welders, etching chemicals, etc. The results are intricate, hand-crafted scenes that are spectacular on their own, however, the works take on a life of their own when illuminated, where viewers can really appreciate the amazing details of the metal sculptures . Related: Artist transforms scrap metal into incredible lifelike sculptures The artist works on everything from old signs, rusty tools, and even empty water tanks . In 2014, the artist carved an 18-foot-high grain silo into a beautiful illuminated piece that was on display in London’s Battersea Park. His most recent work, Nature Delivers, saw the artist painstakingly cut an entire forest backdrop into of the body of an old delivery van. The work was commissioned for the Lost Eden festival, but unfortunately, was set on fire earlier this year. According to the artist, his work is meant to take people back to a simpler time in life, “I try to create images that remind people of the moments when everything seems possible and free,” says Rawlings, “times when climbing a tree, or sitting admiring the way its branches twist and curl means nothing, but means everything.” + Dan Rawlings Via This is Colossal Images via Dan Rawlings Facebook

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Artist carves an intricate forest into an old delivery van

Score one of 4 solar-powered Voltaic Converter backpacks in Inhabitats Back to School Contest

August 1, 2017 by  
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With summer coming to a close, it’s back-to-school time for many students – but it doesn’t have to be a drag. We’ve teamed up with Voltaic to give four lucky readers an amazing solar backpack for their return to the studious life! Voltaic’s newly launched Converter backpack charges your phone and other USB devices using built-in solar panels , so you’ll never run out of juice between classes – and a single hour in the sun provides three hours of smartphone use. We’re giving away four backpacks over four weeks of August, so enter today! a Rafflecopter giveaway Voltaic is constantly reinventing itself with some of the coolest solar products out there, and this new backpack ranks high on their list of innovations. At a relatively low price point of $129, the Converter backpack is a great deal for what you’re getting. With a battery in your backpack, and a 5-watt solar panel that can fully charge a smartphone after three hours in the sun, you’ll never run out of juice again. The battery can also be charged via the grid, and the backpack is packed with even more useful features beyond its solar capability. Made of recycled PET , the Converter is large enough to accommodate a 15″ laptop and comes with a couple of extra pockets – including plenty of storage for all your cables and adapters. It’s waterproof, lightweight and UV resistant, and high-density padding in the shoulder straps and back make it super comfortable to wear – even for a day trip in the great outdoors. We’ll be announcing our winners in our newsletter on 8/11, 8/18, 8/25, and 9/1, so sign up now for your chance to take one of these beauties home! That said, we’re only shipping to US addresses, so please keep that in mind when you enter. Good luck! + Voltaic

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Score one of 4 solar-powered Voltaic Converter backpacks in Inhabitats Back to School Contest

How Car Battery Recycling Could Be Even Better

August 1, 2017 by  
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Which items in the waste stream are the most commonly recycled? Ten percent of plastic, 28 percent of glass, 49 percent of aluminum cans and 55 percent of paper is recycled. But the recycling award for the product with the highest recycling rate…

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How Car Battery Recycling Could Be Even Better

Maryland grad turns recycled plastic bags into eco-fashion

July 24, 2017 by  
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Plastic is Trisha Cheeny’s bag. A recent graduate of the Maryland Institute College of Art , where she majored in interdisciplinary sculpture, Cheeny is looking to launch Pälemer , a line of clothing and accessories derived from used plastic bags and other recycled materials. Cheeny created Pälemer to “challenge ‘fast fashion’ and eliminate consumer waste,” she wrote on Kickstarter , where she’s raising funds for her inaugural collection. Cheeny has created several prototypes, including a winter jacket made from 214 castoff carryalls and insulated with recycled fleece. She also constructed a windbreaker from roughly 90 used bags, then lined it with mesh made from recycled materials. Related: India’s capital of Delhi just banned plastic disposables For stuff-schelpping, there’s a book bag, which Cheeny assembled from roughly 80 used retail-shopping bags for extra durability. “Our planet is facing huge changes, so we need to be making huge changes,” Cheeny said. “Pälemer is changing how we use our planet’s resources and our planet’s waste. We hope you join us.” Related: Plastic-eating caterpillar could revolutionize waste treatment She won’t have a shortage of materials to work with: Roughly a trillion single-use plastic bags are produced and used every year, according to the Earth Policy Institute —that’s nearly 2 million per minute. Cheeny is currently an entrepreneur-in-residence at Open Works , a maker’s space in Baltimore where she’ll spend the next six months developing her line further. + Pälemer on Kickstarter

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Maryland grad turns recycled plastic bags into eco-fashion

We’ve made enough plastic trash to bury Manhattan under 2-miles of the stuff

July 21, 2017 by  
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Whether you get an iced latte to-go in the morning, your restaurant leftovers in a plastic takeaway container, or forget to take a reusable bags to the store, there are numerous ways  disposable plastic  adds up –   and that is a huge problem. According to the first global analysis of the production of plastics, humans now produce more plastic than anything else and, as a result, have created 8.3 billion tonnes of the stuff since the 1950s. If the trend continues, humans will eventually bury the planet in plastics, which require hundreds — if not thousands — of years to decompose. The study was published in Science Advances and unearthed some dizzying facts. For instance, around 79 percent of the plastic produced ends up in landfills, where it is simply buried and forgotten. Additionally, a large percentage of this waste goes into the oceans where it contaminates the environment , often times poisons or chokes wildlife, and breaks down into tiny pieces, which later collect in giant convergences such as the Great Pacific Garbage Patch . The study also found that only 9 percent of all plastics are recycled, and a further 12 percent are incinerated. “The only way to permanently eliminate plastic waste” is to burn or melt it down, the authors wrote . “Thus, near-permanent contamination of the natural environment with plastic waste is a growing concern.” For the study, the researchers looked at various kinds of plastics, from resin to fibers. They deduced that production has increased from around 2 million tonnes (2.2 m tons) a year in 1950 to an astonishing 400 million tonnes (440 m tons) in 2015. Plastic is now the most produced man-made material, with the exception of items such as steel and cement. However, unlike those two industrial materials which are put to use for decades, plastic is single-use, therefore, is most often discarded right away. The researchers make it clear that while it is not plausible to completely eliminate plastic from the modern world, production and use needs to decrease dramatically to benefit the ecosystem as a whole. “Most plastics don’t biodegrade in any meaningful sense, so the plastic waste humans have generated could be with us for hundreds or even thousands of years,” said Jenna Jambeck, who co-authored the study. “Our estimates underscore the need to think critically about the materials we use and our waste management practices.” The advice is spot-on, considering a recent paper found the micro plastics were present in every marine animal which was sampled in Australia — even those thought to be inaccessible. Related: Scotland bans plastic bags, spares landfill 650 million bags in just one year To reduce your dependence on plastic, you can buy whole, unprocessed foods and biodegradable soaps in bulk and keep them in mason jars at home, remember to take your reusable bags to the grocery store and farmer’s market and take advantage of thrift store offerings (or similar apps which connect you with second-hand goods) to reduce waste and needless packaging. Making this effort will help reduce the amount of plastic in the environment and, as a result, ensure a habitable environment exists for future generations. + Science Advances Via LA Times Images via Depositphotos and   Pixabay

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We’ve made enough plastic trash to bury Manhattan under 2-miles of the stuff

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