These upcycled shipping containers make eco-friendly offices

January 2, 2020 by  
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Sustainable architecture focuses on low impact construction and natural or recycled materials. The new marketing suite for Goldman Westlink is just such a building.  Designed by A Work of Substance , the office space currently resides in Hong Kong’s Tuen Mun district, and was constructed from four shipping containers. The selection of shipping containers as the structure for the office was multi-faceted. They work as the perfect symbol for the client Goldman Westlink, which is a logistics company. In addition to representing the movement of goods, the shipping containers offer a sustainable option. They are recycled (or upcycled) , giving them a second life. Plus, the design is modular, allowing the company to break it apart and move it to another location. The construction and even a subsequent move will leave minimal impact on the land. Related: This prefab weekend retreat made from shipping containers can be ordered online Six interior spaces are born from four containers, all of which provide ample natural light and views of the surrounding scenery with massive windows. Timber accents soften the industrial feel of the metal and diffuse the building into the landscape. Stacking the containers allowed A Work of Substance to provide two stories of meeting and work space, along with an outdoor deck and sitting area. The long wooden board table and technology may resemble other office buildings, but the expansive views and minimalist design certainly do not. And while A Work of Substance prides itself on thinking outside the box, this is one box anyone would enjoy working in. A Work of Substance is an international design company with commissions spanning the globe, including Hong Kong, Niseko, Seoul, H?i An, Singapore, Bali, Flores, Paris, Megève Vancouver and Milan. As architects from A Work of Substance said, “At the very epicenter of hong kong’s design revolution, our 30-person shop uses design as a tool to rejuvenate culture and local neighbourhoods, creating works of substance that make hong kong a place people look to for inspiration. Ever daring and ever curious, we are constantly venturing into new projects and industries including the launch of our exclusive line of amenities, furniture and lighting. Throughout the evolution of substance we have developed strong partnerships with suppliers and deepened our knowledge of hong kong’s cultural landscape and its products.” + A Work of Substance Via Arch Daily Images via Dennis Lo

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These upcycled shipping containers make eco-friendly offices

Sustainability: a(n early career) working definition

May 9, 2019 by  
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A GreenBiz 30 Under 30 alumni reveals the hype versus the substance of being a young sustainable professional.

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Sustainability: a(n early career) working definition

A guide to the different types of plastic

April 18, 2019 by  
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BPA, PET, HDPE. You’re trying to do the right thing by recycling, following health alerts and shopping wisely, but you’re not fluent in molecular chemistry. So how do you decipher exactly what it all means and how to stay green? We’re here to help with a handy guide on different types of plastic and how they impact the planet and your health. Fast facts about our plastic problem According to Earth Day , here are some stats that give you an idea of the scale of our plastic addiction. • Since its invention in the 1950s, over 9 billion tons of plastic have been produced. • Ninety-one percent of all plastics are not recycled, meaning almost all plastic ever produced is piled up in our landfills and oceans . • Americans use 100 billion plastic bags every year. If you tie all these bags together, they reach around the Earth 773 times. • By 2050, there will be more pounds of plastic in the ocean than fish. • There are more microplastics in the ocean than stars in the Milk Way. What are microplastics? Keep reading! Types of plastic: what the terms mean, where you find them and how they impact health Courtesy of National Geographic and  Waste4Change , below are terms commonly used by manufacturers and health advisers. Additives Additives are chemicals added to plastic to enhance certain qualities. For example, they might make the material stronger, more flexible, fire-resistant or UV inhibitive. Depending on what is added to the plastic, these substances can be toxic to your health. Biodegradable This term means that a material can break down into natural substances through decomposition within a reasonable amount of time. Plastic does not biodegrade , so the term is misleading and still means that the substance may leave toxic residue behind. In fact, some states are now banning this term in relation to plastic. Bioplastic Bioplastic is a broad term for all types of plastic, including both petroleum and biological-based products. It does not mean that a plastic is non-toxic, made from safe or natural sources or non-fossil-fuel-based. This term can be misleading, because many consumers assume “bio” means natural and therefore healthy. Related: Shellworks upcycled leftover lobster shells into biodegradable bioplastics Bisphenol-A (BPA) BPA is a toxic industrial chemical that can be found in plastic containers and in the coating of cans, among other uses. It can leach into foods and liquids. BPA-free products have merely replaced the substance with less-toxic bisphenol-S or bisphenol-F, both of which still pose health concerns. Compostable This term means something can break down or degrade into natural materials within a composting system, typically through decomposition by microorganisms. Some new plastics are labeled as compostable; however, this certification mostly requires industrial composting systems, not your garden compost pile. Compostable plastics do not leave behind toxic residue after they decompose, but they must be separated out for industrial composting and not put in recycle or landfill bins. Some major cities like New York, San Francisco, Seattle and Minneapolis have industrial composting programs, but many do not. Ghost nets/fishing gear Approximately 640,000 tons of fishing gear are abandoned, lost or discarded in the ocean every year. Most of this equipment is made from plastic, including nets, buoys, traps and lines, and all of it endangers marine life . Related: Ghost gear is haunting our oceans High-Density Polyethylene (HDPE) HDPE is thick plastic used in bags, containers and bottles. It is safer and more stable that other plastics for food and drinks and can be recycled . Microplastics Microplastics are particles less than 5 millimeters long. There are two types: Primary: resin pellets melted down to make plastic or microbeads used in cosmetics and soaps Secondary : particles that result from larger pieces of plastic (such as fabrics and bottles) breaking down into millions of tiny particles that can enter air and water Ocean garbage patches Specific ocean currents carry litter thousands of miles and cause it to collect in certain areas known as garbage patches . The largest patch in the world spans a million square miles of ocean and is mostly made up of plastics. Polyethylene terephthalate (PET, PETE) Polyethylene terephthalate is a widely used plastic that is clear, strong and lightweight. It does not wrinkle and is typically used in food containers and fabrics. It is the most likely to be recycled, but it is a known carcinogen, meaning it can be absorbed into liquids over time and cause cancer . Polypropylene (PP) PP is stiffer and more heat-resistant than other types of plastic. It is often used for hot food containers, diapers, sanitary pads and car parts. It is safer than PVC and PET but still linked to asthma and hormone issues. Polystyrene (Styrofoam) Typically used in food containers and helmets, this material does not recycle well and can leach styrene that is toxic for the brain and nervous system. Polyvinyl Chloride (PVC) PVC is considered the most hazardous plastic, because it can leach chemicals like BPA, lead, mercury and cadmium that may cause cancer and disrupt hormones. It is often used in toys, cling wrap, detergent bottles, pipes and medical tubes. It usually has to be recycled into separate and more rare recycling programs. Single-use plastic Single-use plastic is designed to be used only once and then disposed of, such as grocery bags and packaging. Environmentalists encourage reducing your single-use plastic consumption, because after their short lifespan, these plastics pile up and pollute the Earth for centuries. Via National Geographic ,  Earth Day , Waste4Change and The Dodo Images via Shutterstock

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A guide to the different types of plastic

Planning a successful TCFD project: Climate disclosure

December 3, 2018 by  
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Key policy choices for climate disclosure include the substance, form and location of disclosures.

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Planning a successful TCFD project: Climate disclosure

A new carbon economy: a dream or a reality?

December 3, 2018 by  
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The best of live interviews from GreenBiz events. This episode: Academics and energy execs discuss what a mandatory carbon market could look like.

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A new carbon economy: a dream or a reality?

5 climate stories to watch for 2019

December 3, 2018 by  
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There’s a major upcoming opportunity for effective bipartisan policies — the question is political will.

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5 climate stories to watch for 2019

How can businesses turn SDG aspirations into tangible strategies?

December 3, 2018 by  
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There’s often a major gap between companies’ intentions and ability to turn their SDG-aligned strategies into concrete actions.

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How can businesses turn SDG aspirations into tangible strategies?

Invasive soft rush weed turned into sustainable packaging materials

November 23, 2018 by  
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Soft rush is a plant, however, it recently has been transformed into furniture and packaging materials. Born from the idea that fibers could be cultivated from the weed, Don Kwaning has designed a line of products using varying parts of the grass-like plant. Throughout the Netherlands, the plant is invasive enough that thousands of pounds are pulled from ditches, wetlands, and marshes every year and turned into biogas. Although it is also used to improve overly-sandy soil, soft rush is widely recognized as an unwanted weed. Related: IKEA eyes mushroom packaging to replace nasty polystyrene With sustainability in mind Kwaning uses both the pith and the fibers of the plant to create paper, corrugated cardboard, a foam-like substance, and a pressed fiber used to make furniture. As a Design Academy Eindhoven graduate, Kwaning had seen the plant in its whole form processed into Japanese tatami mats. He then took the design a step further with the realization that separating the pith from the fibers opened up entirely new applications. In the packaging realm, the soft rush pith is turned into a light foam-like material that offers excellent protection both in block form and as long noodles. The natural components of the pith allow the substance to be pressed into a material similar to the widely-produced MDF, without requiring any sort of binding agent. This offers versatility through a range of density options so Kwaning has used it to make both packing and storage boxes. Related: Reebok develops plant-based sneakers made of cotton and corn The fibers are equally useful as a building material for another type of packing box and Kwaning asserts it can be made into rope and textiles. The boxes made from the fibers can be dual purposed into a side table by stacking them together. Through a focus on eco-friendly materials, Kwaning has not only created useful sustainable products from a pesky weed, but opened the door for an entirely new material option for a range of manufacturing markets. +Don Kwaning Via Dezeen Images via Don Kwaning

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Invasive soft rush weed turned into sustainable packaging materials

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