Rios $800 million Olympic Park sits nearly abandoned after 2016 games

February 23, 2017 by  
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Last year, during the 2016 Summer Games , it would have been hard to imagine the Olympic Park in Rio de Janeiro sitting empty in the hot Brazilian sun. Sadly, this is what has become of the space today. Despite having been officially reopened in January as a public recreation area, the park is treated to only a few visitors and a longstanding bad reputation. The $800 million Olympic Park was constructed in the months prior to last year’s Summer Games in a process that displaced residents and enraged others. Clare Richardson of Vice visited residents of the old Vila Autódromo favela, a community that was forced to move, later granted new public housing in the area. The city’s promises have fallen short of the agreed upon vision of building playgrounds, a court for sports, and a community center, leaving people with plain housing in an asphalt jungle. Residents have even resorted to creating their own speed bumps out of stones and trash cans to keep nearby roads safe. Related: Japan wants to make 2020 Olympic medals from recycled smartphones Visitors to the area feel shortchanged, as well. Vital services that were available during the park’s grand opening event, such as running water and electricity, are no longer available. The typical two-hour journey from the center of the city greets commuters with a sad skatepark , playground, and the ghostly spectacles of towering arenas. Bigger events, like the Rock in Rio music festival, are planned, but the park has become an inconvenient eyesore for the rest of the year. “I’ve seen about 12 people here since I arrived five hours ago,” Vinicius Martini, a beer vendor at the park, told Vice. “And I haven’t sold any beer.” Via Vice Images via Clare Robinson

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Rios $800 million Olympic Park sits nearly abandoned after 2016 games

Artists recycle hundreds of plastic bottles into a dynamic arch in Chiang Mai

February 16, 2017 by  
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Plastic trash is a major problem in Thailand’s beautiful Chiang Mai , but a team of designers has found a way to creatively rethink waste in a positive light. Design collectives VINN PATARARIN and FAHPAV combined handcrafted design with 3D modeling to create Self-Ornamentalize, a temporary installation made from 850 recycled plastic bottles. The experimental pavilion was installed a part of Compeung, an artist-in-residence program hosted at Chiang Mai’s suburban village of DoiSakt. The multidisciplinary team of designers developed Self-Ornamentalize through their discovery that the traditions of local craftsmanship and use of natural materials were fading as the village modernized. Given the proliferation of plastic, the designers saw plastic as the “true local materials of this present day.” Thus, the designers chose plastic bottles as their primary building material. Related: Bottle Seedling House turns bamboo and plastic bottles into shelter for Vietnamese farmers The plastic bottles were broken down by hand to create a textile -like material. The designers used computer modeling to generate the installation’s curved form that measured nine by four meters in size. Self-Ornamentalize was installed on an elevated walkway in the large lake, a major landmark in the village, to maximize visibility. The designers write: “‘Self-Ornamentalize’ is an experiment in totally transformed the unawareness of locals’ identity through technology, materials and craftsmanship towards the wonder of self-discovery in post-modern era.” + VINN PATARARIN

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Artists recycle hundreds of plastic bottles into a dynamic arch in Chiang Mai

British supermarket chain launches trucks powered by food waste

February 13, 2017 by  
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Food waste has always been something of a bugbear with Waitrose , an upscale British grocer that stopped shoveling its leftovers into the landfill as early as 2012. It even packages some of its fusilli pasta in boxes made, in part, from recycled food scraps, which it says reduces the use of virgin tree pulp by 15 percent while lowering greenhouse-gas emissions by a fifth. But Waitrose wants to take the issue further, both literally and figuratively. The supermarket just announced that it’ll be running its delivery trucks entirely on biomethane gas generated from food waste—making it the first company in Europe to do so. Food waste is a looming concern in the United Kingdom. At a time when 8.4 million U.K. families struggle to feed themselves daily, the volume of household food waste continues to soar, amounting to an estimated 7.3 million metric tons in 2015. Waitrose, according to the Times , is partnering with CNG Fuels to juice up 10 of its trucks with 100 percent renewable biomethane. The trucks can run up to 500 miles—almost twice the current average—on what is essentially rotting food. “We will be able to make deliveries to our stores without having to refuel away from base,” Justin Laney of the John Lewis Partnership , which operates Waitrose, said in a statement on Thursday. Related: Toronto Rolls Out Biogas-Capable Garbage Trucks Because its biomethane costs 40 percent less than diesel, any upgrades will pay for themselves in two to three years, CNG Fuels said. “Renewable biomethane is far cheaper and cleaner than diesel, and, with a range of up to 500 miles, it is a game-changer for road transport operators,” CNG Fuels CEO Philip Fjeld said. Another plus? The alternative fuel emits 70 percent less carbon dioxide, which would give a much needed boost to the European Union’s pledge to cut its greenhouse-gas emissions by 40 percent by 2030 under the Paris Climate Agreement . + Waitrose Via Grubstreet

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British supermarket chain launches trucks powered by food waste

This powerful video sheds light on 5 things about plastic you might not know

February 12, 2017 by  
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[youtube =http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=E98-aHrkeaA] This powerful video, titled ” 5 Things You Didn’t Know About Plastic “, uses a Rube Goldberg machine to follow the journey a plastic bottle takes from “factory to home” to shed light on the unintended consequences plastic waste has on our environment, and what we can do to eliminate waste, and save money. For example, did you know that 8 percent of all oil extracted from the planet is used to make plastic? Or that 91 percent of plastic never gets recycled? Every piece of plastic ever created still exists in some form… and hopefully this video can shed a bit of light on the planet’s plastic woes , and how they can be addressed. + CleanPath The article above was submitted to us by an Inhabitat reader. Want to see your story on Inhabitat ? Send us a tip by following this link . Remember to follow our instructions carefully to boost your chances of being chosen for publishing!

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This powerful video sheds light on 5 things about plastic you might not know

Desert Rain House in Oregon is one of the greenest homes in the world

February 10, 2017 by  
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There’s a new contender for the world’s greenest home: Desert Rain House in Bend, Oregon . Designed by Tozer Design , the LEED Platinum home recycles all its water, produces more power than it can use, and it is the first residential compound to be certified by the Living Building Challenge . Solar panels and a rainwater collection cistern help this super green home pioneer a new paradigm for sustainable family living. The five-building Desert Rain House boasts seriously environmentally friendly features. Human waste is composted thanks to a central composting system, and greywater is reused for irrigation via a constructed wetland. Natural and local materials comprise the elegant dwellings; reclaimed lumber and plaster made with local clay, sand, and straw are among the sustainable building materials utilized. Related: Kansas University students build net-zero home with LEED Platinum and Passive House certification Materials from old buildings that once occupied the site were repurposed for Desert Rain House, such as old stone salvaged from old foundations and used in concrete for patios. The team that built the home looked for ways to reduce their carbon footprint as much as possible. For example, instead of having a manufacturer ship them roofing panels, the team assembled roofing onsite from a large roll of steel. Red List-compliant sealants and finishes also make for a non-toxic environment. Indoors the air is clear: not only can the owners open large windows for air circulation, but a waste heat-capturing energy recovery ventilator also means fresh air continually wafts through the main residence. Three homes and two out-buildings add up to 4,810 square feet situated on 0.7 acres. Elliott Scott, who owns the home with his wife Barbara, said in a statement, “We can’t continue thinking we are building a better world by making a ‘less bad’ version of the world we have created. The Living Building Challenge forces us to think in terms of a new paradigm.” + Tozer Design + Desert Rain House Via International Living Future Institute and Curbed Images via Desert Rain House Facebook and Desert Rain House

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Desert Rain House in Oregon is one of the greenest homes in the world

Researchers invent paper that can be printed with light and reused 80 times

February 6, 2017 by  
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In an effort to fight the detrimental environmental impact of inkjet printing, researchers have invented a new type of “paper” that can be printed with light and re-written up to 80 times. Their invention employs the color-changing chemistry of nanoparticles, which can be applied via a thin coating to a variety of surfaces – including conventional paper . https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wnCyTb6bgJA Researchers from Shandong University in China, the University of California, Riverside and Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory recently published a study detailing the invention of light-printable, rewritable paper. “The greatest significance of our work is the development of a new class of solid-state photo-reversible color-switching system to produce an ink-free light-printable rewritable paper that has the same feel and appearance as conventional paper, but can be printed and erased repeatedly without the need for additional ink,” explains Yadong Yin, professor of chemistry at the University of California, Riverside. “Our work is believed to have enormous economic and environmental merits to modern society.” Why not just use recycled paper, you might ask? As Phys.org explains, the chemicals used in paper production are a leading source of industrial pollution, and abandoned paper makes up about 40 percent of the contents of landfills. Recycled paper contributes to the pollution problem through the process of ink removal. Add to that problems around deforestation, and the case for minimizing paper usage is a strong one. Related: Should your family give up paper towels? The new light-printable paper lends itself perfectly to applications where printed information is only needed for a short time, and it could be applied to any medium used for this purpose. “We believe the rewritable paper has many practical applications involving temporary information recording and reading, such as newspapers, magazines, posters, notepads, writing easels, product life indicators, oxygen sensors, and rewritable labels for various applications,” Yin said Via Phys.org Images via UC Riverside and Aidenvironment , Wikimedia Commons

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Researchers invent paper that can be printed with light and reused 80 times

Phoenix rising: Hand-in-hand, a city and a startup remap recycling

February 2, 2017 by  
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Recyclebank’s platform is using public engagement and incentives to bump Phoenix’s recycling rate to 40 percent by 2020.

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Phoenix rising: Hand-in-hand, a city and a startup remap recycling

CargoTek taps shipping containers for affordable UK homes and offices

January 27, 2017 by  
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Shipping containers can be a great solution for creating temporary, easily transportable spaces. London-based company CargoTek has recognized the versatility of modular, prefabricated structures with several cost-effective, rapidly deployable designs that require minimal infrastructure. Among their developments made from shipping containers is the Cobbler’s Thumb Development in Brighton and an emergency housing scheme for London ‘s Ealing borough. CargoTek’s plug-and-play innovative space solutions work across many sectors and applications, for both semi-permanent and temporary developments. All of their projects are designed to the same standard as regular buildings and are fully compliant with local building regulations. Related: Nha Trang’s first hostel built from recycled shipping containers pops up in Vietnam The Cobblers Thumb Development in Brighton comprises eight small business units, which range from five to 28 square meters. It took just 10 weeks to complete by local sub-contractors. The emergency housing scheme for Ealing in London addresses a housing shortage for vulnerable populations, offering accommodation for people who would have otherwise had to relocate away from their families and jobs. + CargoTek

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CargoTek taps shipping containers for affordable UK homes and offices

How Head & Shoulders, Unilever are washing beaches clean of plastic

January 23, 2017 by  
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Forty companies from Amcor to Veolia have pledged to recycle 70 percent of plastics. What’s good for the oceans is also good for business.

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How Head & Shoulders, Unilever are washing beaches clean of plastic

Minimalist Urban Nomad Kit lets travelers carry traces of home in a small wooden basket

January 17, 2017 by  
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Living a nomadic lifestyle just got a little more Zen thanks to the Japanese-inspired Nomad Life Kit. Mexican designer Geraldo Osio has created a minimalist wooden basket that carries a handful of basic necessities inside so travelers can have a sense of a home anywhere they go. All of the items in the kit are all manufactured by Japanese craftsmen and made of natural materials. Although the tiny wooden box may seem like a simple picnic basket, the idea behind the design is much more sentimental. Osio wanted to provide wanderers with a true sense of belonging while on the road. As the designer explains on his website , “This kind of lifestyle creates a tendency of losing a sense of belonging to a place.” Related: Tiny Helix Shelter made of laster-cut recycled cardboard is a temporary habitat for one Inside the box, nomads will find items that age as they use them. The leather straps on the box will soften and darken over time and the copper tableware set found on the inside will patina. The stone candle and incense holder are included in the set to offer the owner a familiar sense of smell and light wherever they may go. And if they ever find themselves without a place to rest or sleep, a simple straw mat and cushion will provide comfort for a quick rest or overnight stay . + Gerardo Osio Via Fast Codesign Images via Gerardo Osio

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