We Earthlings: Recycle Your Motor Oil, Don’t Dump It

July 23, 2019 by  
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We Earthlings: Recycle Your Motor Oil, Don’t Dump It

We Earthlings: Recycle your motor oil, don’t dump it

July 23, 2019 by  
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What connects us all? Nature and our shared relationships through … The post We Earthlings: Recycle your motor oil, don’t dump it appeared first on Earth911.com.

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We Earthlings: Recycle your motor oil, don’t dump it

Tiks cuffs aim to break the plastic waste circle

July 18, 2019 by  
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Companies around the globe looking for ways to battle plastic waste are coming up with innovative ways to tackle the issue. Cape Clasp, based out of Falmouth, Massachusetts, is an example of a business putting the health of the ocean front and center with the release of Tikós— a line of bracelets made from recycled plastic . While each bracelet, or cuff, represents 100 plastic bottles removed from the ocean, the message goes well beyond simply recycling plastic. The leaders at Cape Clasp believe that education is a more powerful tool than recycling. After all, the only way we will ever solve the massive single-use plastic problem is to change the habits of those causing the issue in the first place. Related: Surfing trip leads to 4Ocean cleaning coastlines around the world “Creating a new market for ocean plastic will drive its removal, but that won’t be enough to protect marine life ,” says Patrick Clarke, founder of Cape Clasp. “No matter how much plastic we remove from the water, there will always be more flowing in unless we change our habits.” So while the company turns post-consumer plastic into products, diverting that waste from landfills , their mission is to change the behaviors that produce the plastic waste currently endangering marine animals. With that in mind, each cuff stands as a reminder to the wearer. Color coded to represent different challenges, consumers can choose one or collect them all. Blue : “Bring a Bag” reminds consumers to tote your own reusable shopping bag to help conserve natural resources like petroleum (plastic) and trees (paper), plus eliminate the plastic bags tumbling down the coastline. Black : “Skip the Straw” by either asking your server to hold it when you order or by bringing your own reusable straw. Plastic straws are one of the top waste materials clogging beaches and endangering ocean wildlife . Teal : “Keep the Cup” your morning coffee comes in and find a way to reuse it. Better yet, bring your own cup in for refills and skip the single use altogether. Tan : “Clean the Coast” with every trip to the beach . Bring along a garbage bag and pick up debris as you stroll, or think big and organize a beach clean up event. With a purpose-driven mission to clean up the ocean and protect the animals, Cape Clasp has joined forces with myriad similar-minded organizations to further their goal. Donating 15 percent of their profits, the company has raised over $35,000 in the past two years, which has helped fund partners working to protect the dolphins, whales, sea turtles, sharks and the Cape Cod coastline. + Cape Clasp Images via Cape Clasp

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Tiks cuffs aim to break the plastic waste circle

This minimalist prefab playhouse features locally sourced timber, recycled rubber flooring and all-natural finishes

July 8, 2019 by  
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While many children’s playhouses might be filled with overly complicated bells and whistles, sometimes the minimalist route is the best way to go when it comes to connecting young minds with nature. Already known for its exquisite minimalist prefab structures , Japanese firm Koto Design has unveiled the Ilo Playhouse, a tiny prefabricated cabin made out of sustainable materials. Inspired by the simplicity of Scandinavian log cabins, the Ilo Playhouse was designed to create a space where kids could be inspired by nature. The tiny cabin is an angular volume with a sloped roof, adding a geometric aesthetic to the interior and exterior. Three walls envelope the interior with the fourth wall left entirely open to create a seamless connection between the indoors and outdoors. Related: BIG and WeWork design a nature-inspired school for kids in NYC According to the architects, the openness of the design, enhanced by additional cutouts in the walls, was intentional so that the space could be open just enough to not feel isolated. It also makes the structure a fun place to play in inclement weather, providing shelter from light rain, for example. The minimalist layout on the interior allows for children to make the space their own, with furniture, toys, art and craft tables, or to simply take in the fresh air during a good old-fashioned game of tag. In addition to being a nature-inspired design, the cabin is also entirely constructed out of sustainable materials chosen for their durability. The playhouse is clad in an attractive, locally sourced larch wood, and the flooring is made out of recycled rubber . Additionally, all of the paints and finishes used in the cabin’s construction were all sourced from natural products. The structures are prefabricated in the U.K. and can be delivered to nearly any location. + Koto Design Photography by Tracey Hosey via Koto Design

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This minimalist prefab playhouse features locally sourced timber, recycled rubber flooring and all-natural finishes

U.S. produces more waste and recycles less than other developed countries

July 5, 2019 by  
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Compared to the rest of the world, the waste and recycling stats in the U.S. just can’t compete. Although the U.S. is just 4 percent of the world’s total population, the country produces 12 percent of the total solid waste of 2.1 billion tons per year. When researchers from the global risk firm Verisk Maplecroft compared the numbers, they found that the U.S. lags behind other developed nations in terms of its capacity to handle and recycle waste. The average American generates 1,700 pounds of trash every year, including 234 pounds of plastic waste. That’s three times more than what the Chinese produce and seven times more than Ethiopians. But the problem isn’t just waste generation — what happens to all the waste is where the U.S. is embarrassingly behind the times. Related: Even the most remote islands are victims of plastic pollution “Where the U.S. is doing badly is the relationship between what it generates and its capacity to recycle,” said study author Niall Smith. “And relative to it’s high income peers, that’s where it is performing poorly.” On average, the U.S. is able to recycle 35 percent of all solid waste produced. Germany, in the lead for recycling efficiency, is able to recycle 68 percent of all waste. According to the researchers, the U.S. lacks the proper infrastructure to sustainably handle the waste and process the recycling and needs to find new places to send its plastic waste, with China refusing to accept more and the Philippines sending waste ships back at its shores. Much of the plastic in the U.S. is still burned in incinerators rather than recycled. While increased recycling and recycling infrastructure is paramount, Smith argues that there is already enough plastic in the world to cause a massive crisis for human and ecological health and that recycling is not enough. “There’s too much focus on recycling being the kind of silver bullet solution, which it is not,” Smith said. Instead, Americans need to focus on transforming into a zero-waste culture. Via BBC and The Guardian Image via Pexels

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U.S. produces more waste and recycles less than other developed countries

This summer sneaker is completely biodegradable

July 2, 2019 by  
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Earlier this month, Native Shoes showed its true sustainability colors with the unveiling of 100 percent biodegradable, plant-based shoes that are completely free of animal products, not to mention stylish and perfect for wearing all summer long. The natural-tone sneaker is a culmination of plant materials including a midsole composed of 90 percent cork and 10 percent sisal backing. The outsole material is produced from natural lactae hevea through a 50-stage process that takes up to two weeks to complete. An organic linen sockliner with kenaf originating in Africa and corn felt make up the insole. Rather than the toxic glues that hold together most shoes, the Plant Shoe is held together with olive oil-soaked jute thread and natural, latex-based glue. For the main upper, the material is formed from otherwise discarded pineapple husks along with eucalyptus and organic cotton fibers. The laces are 100 percent organic cotton as well. Related: SAOLA offers sustainable sneakers sourced from algae and recycled plastic This plant-based and biodegradable design is in sharp, and much-needed, contrast to typical sneakers made from petroleum-based products, plastic , leather and other chemical-laden fabrics. Americans alone dump more than 300 million shoes into landfills every year, almost none of which will break down in a timely manner. Aimed at a completely sustainable model for shoe manufacturing, use and disposal, now and in the future, the Plant Shoe can be commercially composted at the end of its lifecycle. “The Plant Shoe was inspired by Native Shoes’ mission to become 100 percent lifecycle managed by 2023,” said Michael Belgue, creative director of Native Shoes. “The next step beyond our current recycling initiative was to create something that wouldn’t need to be reused or recycled but instead generates zero waste . Something that was born from the earth and could go back into it.” Although each component was scrutinized for the most sustainable options, the sneaker was designed to be stylish yet classic enough to outlast short-term trends. Unisex by design, Plant Shoes can be ordered directly from the company online or found at a brick and mortar location. They retail for $200 and are available in sizes 8-13 for men and 5-10 for women. Founded in 2009, Native Shoes is a footwear company headquartered in Vancouver, Canada with the goal of producing shoes that are light on you and the environment. Taking charge in the fight against post-consumer shoe waste, “Live Lightly” is the company motto and the Plant Shoe is here to prove Native Shoes’ dedication to that mindset. + Native Shoes Images via Native Shoes

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This summer sneaker is completely biodegradable

This new community in Tampa is set to be the worlds healthiest neighborhood

June 28, 2019 by  
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A Tampa neighborhood design just became the first in the world to earn a WELL Design & Operations designation from the Delos International WELL Building Institute, a global community standard for wellness. You may have heard of the Delos company from advocates such as Leonardo DiCaprio and Bill Clinton, or you may have heard about it for creating the International WELL Building Institute (IWBI), a global movement designed to transform communities and buildings in ways that promote health and wellness. The IWBI WELL Community Standard studies how well a community’s public spaces positively impact individuals in their general well-being, sustainability and health. Under those standards, the WELL Design & Operations (“D&O”) certification recognizes implemented design and policy strategies aimed to improve the lives of local residents through the concepts of: Air, Water, Nourishment, Light, Fitness, Sound, Mind, Temperature, Materials and Community. Related: LEED Gold eco hotel in the Wine Country was built using reclaimed wood The only neighborhood design to earn a D&O title so far? Water Street Tampa , an aptly-named $3 billion, 53-acre waterfront community project being brought to life entirely with wellness in mind by Strategic Property Partners, Elkus Manfredi Architects and designer Reed Hilderbrand. The vision, which will create 13 acres of parks and public spaces and one million square feet of new retail, cultural, educational and entertainment spaces, is being built from the ground up to promote healthy living. Some of the ways Water Street will achieve these wellness standards is by building sidewalks with a width of 14 to 45 feet (exceeding the city of Tampa’s requirements), creating outdoor community activity programs such as yoga, offering free filtered water bottle filling stations, reducing light pollution through required light dimming times in designated public spaces, offering recycling in every building and implementing tree canopies and light-colored pavement to reduce urban heat. Additionally, Water Street will also have free public WIFI, app-based parking, a community wellness center, consistent farmers markets and a public kitchen with regularly scheduled chef-led classes in healthy cooking techniques. “Phase One” of the project is scheduled to be completed between 2020 and 2021 and will include over one million square feet of new office space, 300,000 square feet of new retail space (including a grocery store and a gym) and 1,300 new residential units that promise to provide a variety of price points and styles. + International WELL Building Institute Images via WELL

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This new community in Tampa is set to be the worlds healthiest neighborhood

7 sustainable travel experiences to have this summer as an ecotourist

June 24, 2019 by  
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Planning an international trip can be pretty overwhelming as it is, but it can be even harder for eco-friendly travelers looking for sustainable activities that promote cultural travel and ecotourism. Luckily, more and more travel companies and agencies are making it easier to travel with the environment in mind. Start off by researching green destinations, travel packages and green hotels at websites like Lokal Travel , Green Pearls or Responsible Travel . The World Travel Market Responsible Tourism website is a great resource, as it gives out awards each year recognizing worldwide travel organizations in categories such as “Best for Reducing Carbon & Other Greenhouse Gases” and “Best for Reducing Plastic Waste.” Look for hotels and resorts that have been certified eco-friendly or green, that have clear evidence of protecting the Earth, that are built with environmental sustainability in mind or that have made the investments to truly change their business models toward long-term sustainability. Once you’ve chosen a destination and accommodation, look for travel companies that are trying to help the local culture or the land in a positive, significant way and have hired local employees with fair wages. While these organizations are usually small and focused on a few specific places, there are larger companies doing good work as well. Sadly, plenty of “volunteer” programs out there are aimed at making the client feel good about themselves, rather than making an effort to make a positive difference on the destination (or at the very least leave it unharmed by the presence of visitors). If your volunteer trip costs money, find out where the money is going. Related: Natural Habitat Adventures launches the world’s first zero-waste vacations Of course, flying is something to keep in mind, as the carbon emissions from airplanes are high. Don’t be afraid to stay close to home or travel by train to somewhere near you. If you do decide to fly, as many of the destinations below might require unless you are a local, do some research into the most sustainable airlines and consider carbon offsets to ever-so-slightly lessen the impact of this form of travel. Here are seven eco-friendly activities to enjoy in destinations around the world. Watch the Northern Lights in Norway Not only is Norway one of the most environmentally conscious countries on Earth, it is also one of the most beautiful. Its capital city of Oslo was named Europe’s greenest capital by the European Union in 2019. When it comes to seeing the Northern Lights, don’t do it as an afterthought. Take the time to plan a trip with local guides that benefits the economy. Consider an immersion program with the indigenous Sámi people, who have recently embraced sustainable tourism as a vital source of local income. Volunteer in the Galapagos, Ecuador An undisputed leader in ecotourism destinations worldwide, the Galapagos are home to some of the most exciting and important lands on the planet. Almost 100 percent of the island chain is protected as a national park , and visitor fees go straight toward conservation efforts. Look for a company that organizes volunteer trips rather than sightseeing; the latter creates unnecessary trash and carbon emissions. Book an eco-friendly safari in Kenya It’s no secret that poaching is one of African wildlife’s greatest threats. Eco-friendly safaris and lodges provide alternative employment to poaching in Kenya, all while supporting the community and putting money toward the upkeep of nature preserves. A good tourism company works hand-in-hand with the local people (such as the Maasai tribe in Kenya) to protect the land and animals. Consider staying on conservancy lands, where the area has been set aside for wildlife conservation and is strictly regulated. Related: 7 eco-friendly and conservation-minded safari lodges across Africa Help save elephants in Thailand The tourism industry is beginning to see elephant riding for what it is — cruel. What was once a misunderstood and popular bucket-list item is now one of the main proponents responsible for the rise of ecotourism. Skip the elephant ride and opt for a trip to an elephant rescue center, where your money will go toward the betterment of these animals rather than the exploitation of them. For a day trip, check out the Elephant Nature Park in Chiang Mai, but if you want to spend a week or more volunteering, the Surin Project is another great choice. Go hiking in New Zealand New Zealand is world-renowned for its luxury ecotourism (such as “ glamping ”) as well as plenty of hiking opportunities that let tourists submerge themselves in the natural environment without doing any damage. Another thing to consider: Air New Zealand recently got rid of all single-use plastics from its entire fleet of planes. That means no plastic bags, cups or straws are being used on any of these flights, resulting in about 24 million less pieces of plastic being used each year. Visit animal sanctuaries in Costa Rica Costa Rica pledged to become the first carbon-neutral country by 2021, and with 25 percent of its territory protected as national parks or biological reserves, it is setting the bar pretty high for the rest of the world. The country is known for its abundance of eco-friendly accommodations and wildlife sanctuaries. Check out the Corcovado National Park on the Osa Peninsula or the Jaguar Rescue Center in the Limón Province. Stay in self-sustaining accommodation in the Maldives With more than 1,000 islands making up this archipelago, environmental awareness and protecting the ocean is a vital part of life in the Maldives. For example, Soneva Fushi Resort has been completely carbon-neutral since 2014. It has an on-site recycling program, and all the water used at the resort is desalinated. Ninety percent of the waste produced is recycled, including 100 percent of the food waste , and all of the facilities run on the energy from solar panels. Images via Derek Thomson , Claudia Regina , Peter Swaine , Marcel Oosterwijk , Bruce Dall , Jeff Pang , Michelle Callahan and Selda Eigler

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7 sustainable travel experiences to have this summer as an ecotourist

Labo Mono turns plastic water bottles into Urban Jackets for cycling and everyday use

June 19, 2019 by  
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The process started with a miserable bike ride in the rain and ended with a new company, Labo Mono, and development of its first product: the Urban Jacket. London-based designer Ali Namdari sought out a fashionable and useful jacket after being caught in a rainstorm while biking home. With no luck finding this combination, he decided to make his own. The idea for bold prints on a jacket that can be worn socially as well as functionally repel rain has hit home with followers on the Kickstarter campaign, which has raised more than twice the original goal. It’s not just the colorful, stand-out look that has appealed to backers, but also the goal to produce the Urban Jacket with ethical manufacturing practices and sustainable materials . Related: Everlane introduces long-lasting outerwear made from recycled water bottles With this in mind, Labo Mono incorporates over 30 recycled plastic bottles into each jacket. The company notes that this not only provides a second life for water bottle waste, but also significantly reduces water, energy and carbon dioxide emissions during production. Labo Mono also set out to find an alternative to the traditional waterproofing material known as PFC (perfluorinated chemicals) that endangers water, humans and wildlife . The goal was to offer a trendy option coupled with functional design, so the Urban Jacket features high waterproof protection, discreet armpit zippers, roomy pockets, a hood created to allow room for a helmet, a long back to protect against road spray, reflective components and breathable fabric. “We definitely don’t aim to blend in. Colors, prints and usability are frontiers that we are always exploring,” Namdari said. “We’re on a mission to create pieces of clothing that aren’t just fun and pleasant to look at, but also cleverly functional and versatile. All that while using the most sustainable materials possible.” In seeking out partners for manufacturing, the company placed an emphasis on finding companies that share its philosophy of ethical practices. Labo Mono found what it was looking for in a production facility in China that specializes in outerwear and a German manufacturer that creates the PFC-free, water-repellent finish that will be applied to the fabric of the Urban Jacket. Looking ahead to future products, Labo Mono selected a company in Portugal for manufacturing tees and pants made from recycled materials . The Kickstarter campaign ends on June 20, 2019. + Labo Mono Images via Labo Mono

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Labo Mono turns plastic water bottles into Urban Jackets for cycling and everyday use

TREDJE NATUR develops sidewalk tiles to capture and reuse water runoff

June 19, 2019 by  
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As the saying goes, when it rains, it pours. And when it pours, streets flood. This causes problems with the infrastructure as well as foot and road traffic. Plus, flash floods wreak havoc on storm drain systems. One company has found a solution in the form of sidewalk tiles that absorb the excess water and funnel it to nearby foliage. This process not only diverts water from the walkways and streets but puts that water to use without the need for it to first travel through the wastewater treatment system and overwhelm sewers. Climate Tile is a product of Danish start-up company TREDJE NATUR , catching the attention of municipal decision-makers internationally. Copenhagen just installed the first 165-foot strip of Climate Tiles in an effort to reclaim water and also save the city money. Other cities have shown an interest in the new technology as well. Related: TREDJE NATUR proposes angled timber housing that meets UN’s sustainability goals The tiles work by creating a permeable surface, similar to the earth’s crust. Small holes in the tiles allow water to flow underground, diverting into man-made aquifers. The water can remain in storage for later use or be directed into nearby grass, plants and other landscaping . While the initial trial is encouraging, developers are watching and waiting to see the long-term performance of the tiles now that they are installed. With a real-life example to study, researchers are monitoring the tiles for how they manage different weather types throughout the seasons, weight loads, salting, wear, staining and more. The pilot project in Copenhagen has set the stage for what is possible with the Climate Tiles, but now the company is focused on finding a way to distribute the product to mass markets around the globe. With millions of miles of sidewalks across the planet, TREDJE NATUR is hoping to encourage other municipalities to incorporate Climate Tiles into urban planning . This is most effectively done during scheduled pipe and plumbing updates to minimize additional roadwork. Although the tiles offer cost savings in both water consumption and flood damage repair , the overarching goal of the company is to produce a long-term, sustainable solution for ongoing climate adaptations, so the tiles are given an estimated 50-year lifespan. + TREDJE NATUR Via Architectural Digest Images via TREDJE NATUR

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TREDJE NATUR develops sidewalk tiles to capture and reuse water runoff

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