Even fish can eat Nuatan, the bioplastic that could answer the plastic pollution crisis

October 1, 2018 by  
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A potential solution to the world’s plastic pollution crisis has recently been unveiled at the London Design Festival. Crafting Plastics Studio, established by design duo Vlasta Kubušová and Miroslav Král, created the all-natural alternative, which is made from corn starch, sugar and cooking oil. According to the team, who researches and constructs cutting-edge materials for their avant-garde designs, Nuatan has the possibility to “replace all the packaging we know,” because it is so safe that even fish can eat it. At a glance, Nuatan may seem elementary in its composition, however, Kubušová and Král spent six years conceiving the bioplastic with material scientists at the Slovak University of Technology. This is time well spent, considering that the composition is enduring, rapidly degradable and safe to ingest. More durable than previous bioplastic samples, the material can last up to 15 years and withstands temperatures over 212 degrees Fahrenheit (100 degrees Celsius). Related: This edible, plastic-free packaging is grown from kombucha starter “For the first time, a fully bio-based, biodegradable material can be considered as a competitor in terms of properties and processability,” the designers explained. Nuatan’s applications are limitless, because the poly-blend is not restricted to blow-forming like traditional plastics are. Crafting Plastics Studio designed the material to succeed in any production chain. “We’re using it for 3D printing , injection molding and other plastic manufacturing technologies,” the team said. Approval of a food-safety certificate would mean that Nuatan could realistically replace all packaging , because the material is biodegradable. Industrial composters would have no trouble breaking down the substance. The possible solution to replacing single-use plastics such as plastic bags, plates, straws, water bottles, cutlery and others is found in the patented combination of naturally derived Polyacid Acid (PLA) from corn starch with Polyhydroxybutyrate (PHB), which is corn starch that has been processed by microorganisms. Because Nuatan’s composition is not formulated from carbon-based raw materials, “it degrades inside the human body or animals,” Kubušová explained. This biocompatible feature, along with Nuatan’s durability, means that it can be used in nearly everything except heavy-duty situations, such as vehicle construction. At a lower energy and resource consumption value than traditional petroleum-based plastics, Nuatan ticks all the boxes regarding environmental sustainability and climate change relief. Faced with a high cost of production, there is still some time before the new bioplastic will see widespread use. But increased demand could help drive the cost of materials down to affordable levels. “We are hoping to find collaborators who want to include it in the right products, and not combine it with other materials, so it’s a mono-material,” Kubušová said. Faithful to their ethical and capable inception, the team made a very valid point — “If we can find the right collaborators, it can change things a lot.” For a lot of people, a lot of animals and a lot of places on Earth… + Crafting Plastics Via Dezeen Images via Adam Šakový, Andrej Andrej and Lucia Scerankova / Crafting Plastics

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Even fish can eat Nuatan, the bioplastic that could answer the plastic pollution crisis

This scarf protects against air pollution, allergens and viral infections

October 1, 2018 by  
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Air pollution is a major problem around the world, but one company is helping people stay safe no matter where they live. Bioscarf has created a stylish accessory that doubles as a safety mask for people living in places with high concentrations of pollution. These handy scarves help fight against air pollutants, allergens and viral infections, like the cold and flu. Bioscarf offers its product in a handful of colors, including white, black, green and a camouflage print. Each scarf is made from high-quality polyester and carries the company’s logo. They are roughly 7 feet long and just under a foot wide, making them ideal for burying your face into when cold winds breeze by you. While these scarves are fashionable , they also protect against allergens and viral infections. This includes the cold and influenza, both of which are common infections that become a problem every year in larger urban areas. Related: Scientists find air pollution leads to significant decline in cognition The scarves work by filtering out more than 94 percent of contaminants in the air , keeping you just as healthy as a traditional safety mask. According to the company, testing showed that the Bioscarf filtered nearly 100 percent of airborne particulates with a size 0.1 or larger, including pneumonia, step throat, influenza, tuberculosis, animal dander, pollen and cigarette smoke. Co-founder Hazel Solle was inspired to create the scarf after a vacation to China with her family. Her husband, Carlton, got sick overseas, and a doctor told them it was likely because of the air pollution. The doctor recommended they wear masks, inspiring the couple to think of a better solution. Hazel also recalled growing up in Costa Rica and making tiny scarves out of leftover materials for her dolls. The idea hit her that scarves could double as fashion pieces and air pollution masks. In addition to its scarf lineup, the company also has a special program where it donates a scarf to charity for each one it sells — a great incentive for consumers who want to help those in need. “Experts say that over 2 billion kids around the world are breathing toxic air and nobody is talking about it,” Hazel said.“It’s time to not only raise awareness about this issue, but to more importantly give many of the people at risk who don’t have the means to protect themselves something to help them combat air pollution on a daily basis.” + Bioscarf

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This scarf protects against air pollution, allergens and viral infections

Southern California is losing its clouds, increasing the risk of more intense wildfires

May 31, 2018 by  
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The elevated summer temperatures in California  are causing decreased levels of the low-atmosphere clouds that were once common throughout the southern coastal regions of the state. A new study has found that because these clouds are dissipating from the increased heat, the region is now facing an increased risk of wildfire . “Clouds that used to burn off by noon or 1 o’clock are now gone by 10 or 11, if they form at all,” bioclimatologist and study lead author Park Williams told Phys.org . Due to a warming climate and an expanding urban heat island, cloud cover is trapped in a positive feedback loop where less clouds mean higher temperatures, and higher temperatures mean less clouds. Published in the journal Geophysical Research Letters , the new study concludes that there has been a 25 to 50 percent decrease in low-lying summer clouds since the 1970s. “ Cloud cover is plummeting in southern coastal California,” said Williams, “and as clouds decrease, that increases the chance of bigger and more intense fires.” The low-lying stratus clouds in the area typically form in the early morning in a thin, wet layer of coastal air that exists between land and drier air masses. The increased heat from climate change and the urban heat island effect has caused the clouds to dissolve earlier in the day, leaving little cover during the hottest parts of the afternoon. Related: The growing wine industry is threatening California’s Napa Valley To study the changes in cloud cover, Williams and his team analyzed hour-by-hour cloud data gathered by California airports over the past several decades. The data was then compared with vegetation moisture data from the U.S. Wildland Fire Assessment System. This comparison enabled the team to conclude that the decreased cloud cover has led to an increased wildfire risk. “Even though the danger has increased, people in these areas are very good at putting out fires, so the area burned hasn’t gone up,” Williams explained. “But the dice are now loaded, and in areas where clouds have decreased, the fires should be getting more intense and harder to contain. At some point, we’ll see if people can continue to keep up.” +  Geophysical Research Letters Via Phys.org Images via Depositphotos (1, 2)

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Southern California is losing its clouds, increasing the risk of more intense wildfires

Podcast, May 7, 2018: Sustainability in Your Ear

May 8, 2018 by  
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On this week’s Sustainability in Your Ear podcast, the Earth911.com team … The post Podcast, May 7, 2018: Sustainability in Your Ear appeared first on Earth911.com.

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Podcast, May 7, 2018: Sustainability in Your Ear

To chart the course of sustainability, grab the right map

September 29, 2017 by  
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What are the best assessment tools for your team? Here’s a review of some of the best.

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To chart the course of sustainability, grab the right map

Do the Gilmore Girls Recycle?

November 25, 2016 by  
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As the four-part Gilmore Girls revival debuts on Netflix today, countless fans are tuning in to answer the burning questions they’ve had since the series ended in 2007. How are Lorelai and Luke? Who is Rory dating? (For the record, we’re on Team…

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Do the Gilmore Girls Recycle?

Sources say Apple is no longer building mysterious self-driving car

October 17, 2016 by  
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Apple ‘s mysterious Project Titan appears to have lost steam, according to sources ” familiar with the project .” Bloomberg spoke to people who say the tech giant won’t be building an autonomous car under Project Titan any longer, but will rather hone in on self-driving car software . These people say hundreds of employees working on Project Titan have either been let go or reassigned. Anonymous sources told Bloomberg there have been several issues with Project Titan. According to one person, “It was an incredible failure of leadership.” Project Titan head Steve Zadesky, who used to be an engineer at Ford , left the project earlier this year to work elsewhere at Apple . Bob Mansfield, a manager with experience developing the iPad , eventually came on the team to lead in April. Related: Apple sinks $1B into China’s biggest Uber rival Around a month afterwards, Mansfield announced a ” strategy shift ” at a company meeting, according to Bloomberg which received information from people present at the meeting. Mansfield said Apple wouldn’t create a self-driving car that could compete with those from companies like Tesla ; rather Project Titan would zero in on self-driving car software. But after that meeting, engineers began to leave Project Titan. In August and September employees were let go. Others left on their own. Some people suspected Apple battled supply chain struggles as well. The tech giant typically holds exclusive rights for smartphone parts, but such a strategy didn’t seem to work in the autonomous car game. Suppliers likely didn’t want to grant exclusive rights as Apple may not have sold many cars at the beginning. Center for Automotive Research analyst Eric Paul Dennis told Bloomberg about Apple, “When they started digging into the details of what that would entail it likely became an intractable problem.” According to Bloomberg’s sources, the engineers still with Project Titan are working on “autonomous programs, vision sensors, and simulators for testing the platform in real-world environments.” Regulatory specialists are still part of the team as well. Via Bloomberg Images via Automobile Italia on Flickr and menithings via Freelancer.com

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Sources say Apple is no longer building mysterious self-driving car

3D-printed Playmobil hair helmet makes bike safety more fun for kids

October 10, 2016 by  
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Someone has come up with a brilliant idea to turn a Playmobil hairpiece into a helmet so kids will start wearing them. A duo of Swedish and Danish designers created a compelling prototype through 3D printing and color-matching the hair. With the right amount of consumer demand, you could find one in stores soon. https://www.youtube.com/watch?time_continue=91&v=QapmUU2d44U An estimated 75 percent of bicycle-related fatalities in child populations can be avoided with the use of a helmet , but statistics won’t get kids to wear them. Enter Simon Higby and Clara Prior from the Stockholm and Copenhagen offices of DDB , respectively. To increase the odds of children protecting their noggins while riding bikes , they figured the helmets would have be more attractive to them. Cue the Playmobil hair replica designed to help keep kids safe. Related: Lumos helmet keeps bikers safe with turn signals and brake lights With the help of Danish design company MOEF , the team created the helmet by 3D scanning the tiny plastic piece and 3D printing a sturdy helmet. The final product looks just like the Playmobil piece, perfectly fitted for a tiny human’s head. Sadly, only the prototype exists, but the team told Metro.co.uk they “would love to” produce them for the masses with the right know-how. +MOEF , Simon Higby Via  Metro.co.uk Images via YouTube (screenshot)

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3D-printed Playmobil hair helmet makes bike safety more fun for kids

Apple, Google and bribing employees to hit corporate climate goals

November 5, 2015 by  
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Want to get your team on board with the company’s sustainability plans? Big-name businesses are shelling out to make it happen.

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Apple, Google and bribing employees to hit corporate climate goals

5 ways to double your odds of inspiring culture change

September 19, 2012 by  
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Five steps to get your team organized and motivated around sustainability.

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5 ways to double your odds of inspiring culture change

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