Customizable, natural lichen green walls require no maintenance

April 6, 2021 by  
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Fully customizable and created especially for use in interior design, Benetti Moss from Italy-based company Benetti Home is a unique take on personalized, maintenance-free green walls. These vertical gardens , made from 100% natural and stabilized lichen moss, don’t attract dust or insects and are adaptable to almost every type of interior space. The lichen is Cladonia stellaris , which comes from Northern European forests. The natural cream color of this moss can be adapted to a range of 12 different colors for the green walls. Designers can also choose from a variety of customizable sizes and shapes according to their preferences. Businesses have taken full advantage of this feature in the past, using the moss to display logos, personalized designs and different types of decorations in multiple colors. The moss easily attaches to both walls and ceilings. Related: Plant a unique indoor garden with this modular living wall kit from Horticus According to the company, founded in 2016, the moss panels provide excellent soundproofing and fire-retardant properties. Although Benetti Home is based in Italy, it gets about 80% of its business abroad, mostly from the U.S. Recently, Benetti Home has been making good use of lichen’s sound-absorbing characteristics by developing Benetti Sound. Unveiled in 2021, the new vertical garden model adapts engineering technology through sound panels. Owner Stivens Benetti explained, “It consists of an aluminum panel like that one supporting the moss and capable of producing sound as the result of a research to optimize sound and its diffusion, which benefits from high-level electronic and sound technology .” The panels connect to an external amplifier, which allows users to control the output sound from a phone app. Just like the traditional Benetti Moss, the newly developed Benetti Sound moss is adaptable to multiple kinds of spaces, including stores, offices, event spaces and restaurant dining rooms. The company’s team of acoustic specialists adapt customized acoustic designs depending on the client space’s interior design , size and use. + Benetti Home Images via Benetti Home

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Customizable, natural lichen green walls require no maintenance

HelloFresh would like to clear the air on meal kits

March 22, 2021 by  
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HelloFresh would like to clear the air on meal kits Jeff Yorzyk Mon, 03/22/2021 – 02:00 Since the world was introduced to the first meal kit over a decade ago, the industry has matured in size and familiarity, but it also has endured notable criticism surrounding packaging and its perceived impact on the environment. Leading sustainability for a meal kit company, I am acutely aware of our weak points and an advocate for the benefits. Let me be the first say that as an industry, there is ongoing work to do to make meal kits the most sustainable food option. I have seen significant progress to this end — both in my company and the industry at large — from iterating on packaging needs to rethinking how to sustainably control temperature during transport. As head of sustainability at HelloFresh US, it is my charge to advance this standard. I also have observed firsthand how technology-driven innovation is disrupting the traditional grocery supply chain, opening new doors to reducing food waste and helping the world to think differently about how we source food. To channel that disruption for good — and to positively affect the environment — the meal kit industry must hold itself accountable to do better. To keep disrupting in pursuit of a more sustainable supply chain, we must continue making improvements to be part of the solution for a sustainable food industry. Here are the greatest areas for growth — and opportunity — I see for the meal kit sector: Packaging innovation must continue to challenge the status quo If there is one consistent critique against this industry, it is that meal kits developed a reputation for excess packaging. Providing consumers with the exact amount of ingredients for a recipe contributes to less food waste in the home — but tough critics point to pre-portioned ingredient packaging as wasteful. In truth, as with any e-commerce company, packaging in the early days of the meal kit industry was more deserving of this criticism and far less thoughtful than it is today. New industries often have unintended consequences while they seek to disrupt entrenched challenges of others. As an industry gains momentum and critical mass, it needs to address things that can become problematic at scale. For meal kits, packaging waste was one of those unintended consequences. Research continues to examine the whole life cycle of meal kits to understand the environmental impacts as it relates to packaging and food waste. Meal kits live where technology meets the traditional food system. HelloFresh benchmarks in comparison to supermarkets, where consumers typically get their groceries. Consider the grocery shopper and meal-kit customer who cook the same recipe. Retail shoppers do not see the packaging waste at each step of the supply chain before food arrives on shelves — many steps meal kits skip altogether as a streamlined direct-to-consumer model. Still, we must hold our industry to a high standard for sustainable packaging. Since the industry’s inception, meal kits have made strides towards reducing the overall amount of packaging, tracking what is used to the item level and exploring more sustainable and recyclable packaging. HelloFresh also has engaged to fight key problems related to packaging in the environment. Through a partnership with Plastic Bank , the company’s Green Chef brand collects and recycles ocean-bound plastic commensurate with every ounce of plastic in a customer’s box. At HelloFresh, we established a three-pronged packaging commitment: avoid, reduce and innovate. In the U.S., our teams have continued to minimize overall packaging and plastic. They also have introduced insulating liners that are curbside recyclable and provided consumer education on our website with step-by-step instructions. The responsibility lies with individual companies across the entire food system to invest dollars and resources against research and development to innovate on sustainable packaging methods. Creating a new supply chain is key to reducing food waste Meal kits live where technology meets the traditional food system. The logistical challenges this industry has solved for — particularly with respect to food waste and availability — are very different from how supermarkets stock and sell food. Technology has disrupted so many legacy industries. Why not the grocery model? The ReFED Insights Engine , a data and solutions hub for food loss and waste, reports 35 percent of all food goes unsold or uneaten, with at least 24 percent of the food supply ending up as waste. Reducing that by just 50 percent could create $73 billion in annual net financial benefit for the country, reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 75 million metric tons and rescue food equivalent to 4 billion meals for people in need each year. Changing the way people eat takes more than improving how meals are prepared, just as reducing home food waste goes beyond pre-portioning ingredients to avoid unintended spoilage. It means creating a new supply chain and ensuring the sustainability of that model. Meal kits predict order volume with high accuracy, leveraging advanced analytics, machine learning and predictive tools. This consumer demand-driven pull model brings a new level of sophistication and efficiency to the supply chain, resulting in dramatic food waste reductions. Contrast that with the push model popularized in retail — stocking a variety of items to “push” to customers in standard volumes. This strategy frequently results in excess food waste both for retailers and in our homes. Can we not make the outcome of enjoying a delicious meal a more sustainable process? The direct-to-consumer business model is a sustainable evolution of the food system, targeting the functional output of a delicious, nutritious meal with laser-like precision. Employing a tech-based, high-efficiency approach to procurement is how HelloFresh limits food waste in its facilities to less than 1 percent of purchased ingredients. While it sounds like a simple enough job, the reality is that it’s much more difficult to do this at scale than anyone anticipated. Meal kits must continue to disrupt the established way of doing business. Sustainability in the modern food economy The direct-to-consumer business model is a sustainable evolution of the food system, targeting the functional output of a delicious, nutritious meal with laser-like precision. The pandemic has only accelerated the adoption of e-commerce food shopping. Homebound consumers put a premium on fresh food delivered to their doorstep —  92 percent of consumers plan to continue online grocery shopping . Yet the issue of food waste in the home remains, especially given that minimum volumes sold by retailers are often more than consumers need. Meal kits are recognized among the top two solutions for minimizing food waste in ReFED’s Roadmap to 2030: Reducing U.S. Food Waste by 50 percent . Other players in the post-pandemic food environment can learn from how our industry leverages supply chain technology, predictive analytics and machine learning. Regardless of the channel, technology will be key to optimizing supply chains, managing inventory and building a more sustainable food system. The bottom line For its part, the meal kit industry still has work to do to make this business model the most sustainable it can be. Systems that monitor, measure and reduce transport packaging from suppliers — and to end customers — should be table stakes. HelloFresh must refine its technology to fight food waste in customers’ kitchens and in its own fulfillment centers. And as any good corporate citizen, the company must continue to reduce its carbon footprint from operations beyond the (notable) food waste benefits. All this work is happening every day. For progress and shortcomings alike, HelloFresh must set a standard for sustainability that suits the food system we all want to create — not the one we must leave behind. Pull Quote Meal kits live where technology meets the traditional food system. The direct-to-consumer business model is a sustainable evolution of the food system, targeting the functional output of a delicious, nutritious meal with laser-like precision. Topics Food Systems Circular Economy Packaging Food Waste Featured in featured block (1 article with image touted on the front page or elsewhere) Off Duration 0 Sponsored Article Off

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HelloFresh would like to clear the air on meal kits

From design to recycling, opportunities abound to make solar more circular

November 6, 2020 by  
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From design to recycling, opportunities abound to make solar more circular Myisha Majumder Fri, 11/06/2020 – 02:00 Solar has become a staple of the U.S. power generation mix in the last decade. Now that the industry is maturing, it’s time to have a tough conversation: The solar industry needs to improve its circular practices. Like any industry, the solar industry has unique machinery and equipment; specifically, its photovoltaic (PV) cells have silicon, metal, glass and plastic components that are melded together in order to create a functioning solar panel. But these cells have a limited lifespan of about 25-30 years. Most of the component materials retain their value, however, and can be reused to participate in the circular economy, the economic system that aims to keep resources in use and eliminate waste. At GreenBiz Group’s virtual clean economy conference, VERGE 20 , last week, industry experts discussed the complexities of circularity in solar. The solar industry is still growing — the International Energy Agency predicts that total renewable based power capacity will grow by 50 percent between now and 2024, and 60 percent of that rise will be attributed to solar. Given this rapid increase and dependency on solar, Evelyn Butler of Solar Energy Industry Alliance (SEIA) emphasized that with increased capacity comes increased waste. The International Energy Agency predicts that total renewable based power capacity will grow by 50% between now and 2024, and 60% of that will be solar. “By 2030, with that much PV, there’s a potential of something like 8 million tons of potential PV waste,” Butler said. It’s also a global opportunity of about “$450 million in raw material recovery that could be leveraged for new industries or employment.” The challenge is making PV waste recycling and repurposing more efficient than it currently is in order to move towards a more circular economy. A more circular solar industry at the manufacturing level Some of these opportunities arise at the solar manufacturing level. As Andreas Wade of First Solar explained, the energy-resource nexus is a top priority at First Solar. The company works throughout the production, deployment and maintenance parts of the solar industry. Since 2005, First Solar has been a part of an established global recycling and take-back program for its panels since 2005. To Wade, a major area of development for circular economy practices in the solar industry is repurposing materials used to create solar cells, like crystalline silicon and aluminum. But designing products for end-of-life in a way that the materials can be reused or repurposed can be a challenge. Wade described the apparent conflict: “We want to deliver a solution to our customers, which is out there in the field for 25, 30, 35 or even 40 years or longer. So design for recycling means for us that we try to make sure that we hit the quality, reliability and longevity marks, as well as making sure that we can recover the materials encapsulated and embodied in our PV module at the end of life in a high volume fashion.” By considering circular economy practices from the onset of designing solar panels, materials can be more efficiently reused and recycled, rather than considered in hindsight at the end. A more circular solar industry at the recycling level For First Solar, material recovery goes beyond the traditional model of bulk recycling and recovering glass and aluminum, but also taking back the semiconductor system such that it can be reused in new panels. Wade claimed that First Solar is now able to recover 90 percent of its panel’s semiconductor functions. Butler echoed these challenges but said that manufacturers are beginning the process of overcoming them. In her experience so far at SEIA, Butler has mainly seen repurposing of solar materials that “have been damaged, either the weather events or logistics, or sometimes their installation”. This is in contrast to the traditional end-of-life planning First Solar is employing, but can still be a large number of materials that should be repurposed for sustainability. Other opportunities include companies standing as the middleman for selling excess modules from installers. Other opportunities also include companies standing as the middleman for selling excess modules from installers. Both Wade and Butler argued that such repurposing will only be optimized with outside pressure from the customers of such companies. Wade encouraged users to ask their providers questions like: “What are you doing about circularity? Do you offer a recycling program? What are your recovery rates?” He believes specifying such questions in RFPs can drive the industry to the next level. Tadas Radavicius of SoliTek added that there’s an opportunity for using circular economy principles for secondhand panels: “We see a growing market for secondhand panels just usually comes from utility-scale systems … you can look at the degradation rate, and you can identify for your potential client for how long these panels go, or how much the energy will be generated.” However, he explained that this is only feasible if there is clear communication about the history of the panels from one company to the next. In addition, Radavicius noted that pressure on the policy level from the European Commission to incorporate the solar industry into the circular economy. Because of the competitive market in Europe, solar companies are frequently battling for bids and need to set apart from others. Participating in the circular economy and presenting sustainable practices often gives these companies an edge. Radavicius also explained that increasing circular economy practices could enable Europe to function more independently in the industry. As Radavicus described: “If you could manage circularity in the rate that you can recover these materials, Europe can create its own local supply chain and can increase its supply of these materials, which usually comes from outside. The event highlighted key opportunities for the solar industry’s much-needed entrance into the circular economy. As Butler said, “There is a need to create the right infrastructure in order to realize that value creation, and to provide opportunities for materials to be recovered and re-utilized in some way, shape or form.” Pull Quote The International Energy Agency predicts that total renewable based power capacity will grow by 50% between now and 2024, and 60% of that will be solar. Other opportunities also include companies standing as the middleman for selling excess modules from installers. Topics Energy & Climate Circular Economy VERGE 20 Solar Recycling Featured in featured block (1 article with image touted on the front page or elsewhere) Off Duration 0 Sponsored Article Off Employees work on panels that the Energy Department is using to leverage a Power Purchase Agreement with Sun Edison and Xcel Energy. Photo by Science in HD on Unsplash. Close Authorship

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From design to recycling, opportunities abound to make solar more circular

New hydrogen production tech could reduce CO2 pollution

July 20, 2020 by  
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A recent publication in the journal Angewandte Chemie brings attention to an improved way of generating clean hydrogen . For many years, hydrogen production has proven costly to the environment, as industrial hydrogen production uses partial methane oxidation and fossil gasification. Currently,  95% of the world’s hydrogen  is produced through such methods, leading to pollution and greenhouse gas emissions. For example, producing one ton of hydrogen emits of seven tons of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere. In a recent experiment conducted by the King Abdullah University of Science and Technology (KAUST) in Saudi Arabia, photo-electrochemical cells showed potential for producing pollution -free hydrogen. These cells combine a photo-absorbing gadget such as the solar panels with an electrolysis system to split water atoms and produce hydrogen gas without causing CO2 pollution. Although the concept of electrolysis is not new to hydrogen producers, the cost has always hampered this method. The most advanced system of electrolysis available involves the separation of hydrogen from water molecules through a photovoltaic current. Although the photovoltaic system has proven effective in generating hydrogen, it is expensive to maintain compared to fossil fuel-based hydrogen production. As a result, many  scientists have researched  ways to advance photovoltaic technology and reduce the costs involved. The KAUST researchers’ recent experiment may provide a glimmer of hope for this endeavor. According to Professor Hicham Idriss, the lead researcher, this discovery will significantly lower the cost of producing hydrogen through electrolysis. Contrary to the traditional photovoltaic process, the photo-electrochemical cells can absorb light to produce power that will produce hydrogen without the need for control circuits, connectors and other auxiliary tools that make the process expensive. While the experiment points in the right direction for future hydrogen production, much work is still needed. Idriss admits that the research team faced many challenges in up-scaling the system for industrial hydrogen production. Although the team is in the initial stages of testing the new technology’s viability, the process is still more expensive than fossil fuel -based hydrogen production methods. Should this new technology be adopted, hydrogen producers will have to balance economic and environmental costs. + Angewandte Chemie Via Advanced Science News Image via Pixabay

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Community collects locally sourced materials to construct a school in Vietnam

May 4, 2020 by  
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The Xuan Hoa commune in the Lao Cai province of northwest Vietnam is, like much of the surrounding area, a region that has suffered from economic hardships in the past. A large number of households in Xuan Hoa live in extreme poverty, including many of the school district’s 78 students aged 6 to 11 years old. The new Dao school by 1+1>2 Architects was completed in 2019 to provide provide education to the area’s children in first through fifth grades. All of the students are ethnic minorities from the Tay, Nung, Dao and Mong groups; this multicultural aspect was a strong motivating factor in the development of the project. A combination of shared open spaces and a school yard helps inspire students from different groups to interact. Related: A clean-energy school in southern France draws power from the sun The former school housed five classrooms, two of which were temporary structures for students from grade four and five, and was very vulnerable. The original structures were made of deteriorating wood and were close to collapse, damaged and fitted with years of poorly adapted repair jobs. The new school was developed by the Vietnam Sustainability Social Enterprise and coordinated, designed and constructed by 1+1>2 Architects. Vietnam-based Transsolar advised on the climate aspects of the project, which included an open-style concept to join bricks with a specified wall thickness of 15 centimeters for the main structure. This concept keeps the school interior at a comfortable temperature for the students and teachers by taking advantage of the daylight and wind to help cool down the building during the hot summer months. More than 3,000 bricks were crafted from local soil to build the school; over 4,000 dried leaves were collected by the community for the traditional thatched roof. + 1+1>2 Architects Via ArchDaily Photography by Son Vu via 1+1>2 Architects

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Community collects locally sourced materials to construct a school in Vietnam

Modern prefab retreat in Italy takes in panoramic alpine views

April 29, 2020 by  
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Perched atop a hill in Aosta Valley’s highest municipality in northwest Italy is the newly completed House in Chamois, a modern, prefabricated home by Torino-based design and build firm Leap Factory . As with all “Leap Houses,” the home’s entire design and construction process was managed by the Leap Factory team and was constructed with a modular system built of natural, recyclable materials to allow for maximum flexibility. All of the components provided by Leap Factory for the House in Chamois were also designed and produced in Italy.  The House in Chamois was created for Barbara and Giorgio, a duo with a deep appreciation for the outdoors. Used as a base for exploring the alpine landscape, the two-story home echoes the traditional vernacular with its gabled shape but is undeniably contemporary as defined by its streamlined form, minimalist design and full-height glazing. Its position above a main road turns the house into a new landmark for the village and has become a local attraction for visiting hikers. Related: LeapHome unveils sustainable, super-efficient Frame prefab As a ‘Living Ecological Alpine Pod’ (LEAP), the House in Chamois was designed to be environmentally friendly. The use of prefabrication helps minimize construction waste, and the installation process was done with minimal site impact. The structure is also “hyper secure” and engineered to resist earthquakes, hurricanes and other extreme climate activities. The modular nature of the home also makes it modifiable. As with all Leap Houses, the House in Chamois was also designed with integrated furniture and finishes. “With its minimal shapes and spaces full of light, the house shows incredible attention to details, lines and materials,” the architects explained. “The layout of the rooms, furnishings and technical systems are fully integrated to give life to spaces where one can fully express their personality and live in harmony with their surroundings.” + Leap Factory Photography by Francesco Mattuzzi via Leap Factory

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New shipping rules are on the horizon. Is your supply chain ready?

December 3, 2019 by  
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The negative consequences could be both financial and reputational, and should be of particular concern to the traditional fossil-fuels energy supply chain.

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New shipping rules are on the horizon. Is your supply chain ready?

Rael San Fratello prints amazing 3D mud structures as prototypes for affordable housing of the future

October 24, 2019 by  
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Led by architects Ronald Rael and Virginia San Fratello, design studio Rael San Fratello has become well-known for creating innovative and sustainable designs, but now the studio is truly breaking ground when it comes to 3D printing . As part of its Emerging Objects series, the design team has created four solid mud structures. Built by a low-cost, portable 3D robot, the four buildings were all printed using soil and wood sourced on site in Colorado’s expansive Valle de San Luis. The team chose Colorado’s San Luis Valley as the site for their series due to its rich history of Ancestral Pueblo and the Indo-Hispano cultures. Referring to the traditional building practices of these cultures, which predominately included using earthen materials to create sturdy housing, Rael San Fratello has managed to create four 3D-printed prototypes: Hearth, Beacon, Lookout and Kiln, that explore the various techniques of mud construction . Related: BigDelta machine 3D-prints durable, affordable houses from dirt The project, called Mud Frontiers, began by researching the typical earthen items that have been made from the clay harvested from the area. They then collaborated with 3D ceramic print company 3D Potter to create a small, portable robot called Potterbot XLS-1, which was built to print the mud creations on site. The first design, Hearth was built using a thin wall of mud reinforced with rot-resistant juniper wood. This structure has a tiny fireplace on the interior that burns the wood as well. The second design, Beacon was designed to research just how thin the mud walls could be by stacking various coils of mudwork. In this structure, light illuminates through the indentations along the walls, serving as a “beacon” of light. The third design, Lookout, was comprised of a network of undulating mud coils that are layers to form a staircase, creating a structure that is strong enough to withstand substantial weight. Additionally, this structure was built with cross sections of mud piping that can be used to create a system of natural air circulation through various openings. The final prototype, Kiln, included a culmination of the anterior designs, but adds a kiln that uses locally-sourced clay fired with juniper wood to create earthen ware items. Using the various traditional techniques helped designers determine that mud could indeed be a viable solution for providing more affordable construction options in the future. Especially as urban and rural area designers and architects look for sustainable materials to build resilient structures. “What we learned was really how accessible, robust and powerful it was to print large scale structures so quickly using the soil just beneath our feet,” Rael told Dezeen. “We discovered work flows for printing, material mixture processes, structural applications and theories about new and old ways of living and designing for the future using humankind’s most humble material.” + Rael San Fratello + Emerging Objects Via Dezeen Photography by Rael San Fratello

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Rael San Fratello prints amazing 3D mud structures as prototypes for affordable housing of the future

11 unique edible plants for your garden

June 14, 2019 by  
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Part of the joy of gardening is falling in love with the plants you choose to nurture, especially those with a tasty reward. While the traditional carrots and raspberries certainly have their place, you can create a yard full of unique, yummy and eye-catching produce when you select plants that are a little less traditional. The produce department at your local supermarket might have a few dozen choices, there are actually hundreds of fruits and vegetables that you may have never even heard of, let alone considered growing. While some require special adaptations, such as tropical weather, most are just as easy to grow than the mainstream selections. Here are some examples to get you started. Jujube If you’re in USDA zone 5-9, check out the jujube. This is not the beloved candy by the same name, but the candy was inspired by this small, apple-like gem. Jujubes offer a sweet and sour flavor and can be eaten raw, although the sugars intensify when dried. Jujubes like hot, dry environments and tolerate drought quite well. Related: Incredible edible landscape map shows you where to find free food Pawpaw Another heat lover is the pawpaw, similar to tropical fruits like the related cherimoya and custard apple. Happy in zones 5-9, the pawpaw doesn’t do well on a commercial scale, but is a great addition to a backyard garden . The plants itself is a small, uniform tree that produces pleasant foliage. Quince You may have heard of quince jam or seen it on a menu at a restaurant, but few people actually grow quince themselves. At one time, quince trees were as ubiquitous as pear and apples and rightfully so since it is related to both. Quince must be cooked for eating, but the reward is equivalent to apple pie in a single fruit with flavors of vanilla, cinnamon, and a hint of citrus. Quince grows well in zones 4-9. Cattail Did you know cattail is edible? If you have a pond area be sure to include this plant in your design. Young stems can be eaten raw and young flowers can be roasted. In midsummer, the pollen from the cattail can be used as a type of flour in pancakes and breads. It also works as a thickener for soups and sauces. Young shoots on the plant can be cooked like asparagus by roasting or grilling. They can also be added to stir-fry for a distinct flavor. Chocolate Vine Less tropical than other options, the chocolate vine can even tolerate substantial amounts of shade. Best in zones 4-9, it produces sweet-smelling flowers in the spring and long pods later in the summer . The pods can be cooked like a vegetable but should be avoided raw. Before you toss them in the oven though, pop open the pod and scrape out the pulp, which resembles a banana/passionfruit custard that can be eaten directly or mixed with other fruits. Edible Flowers In addition to those traditional and non-traditional fruits and vegetables , remember than many flowers are edible too. This makes for many exciting options for your yard, even outside the designated garden gate. Include nasturtiums, violas, pansies, borage, and calendula in your landscape and you will have a cornucopia of salad greens at your fingertips. Maypop If you love passion fruit, but don’t live in the tropics , try this American cousin instead. Happy in zones 6-10, this vine not only offers a delectable fruit, but also produces large colorful blooms in the form of purple and white blossoms. Haksap More commonly known by a variety of names in the honeysuckle family, haksap produces a delicious sweet-tart berry that tastes like a cross between a blueberry and a raspberry. Almost as great as the tasty treat it produces is the gift it provides with its delicate downward trumpet-shaped blooms. Make sure to plant at least two of the same type of haksap together for effective pollination . Medlar Medlar is an ancient fruit, even though you may have never heard of it. For thousands of years, dating back to at least the Roman era, this small deciduous tree has produced small edible fruits. Related to roses, the one to two-inch fruit resembles large rosehips. The color is a rosy brown. For a commercial product, the medlar is a bit finicky since they have a very small window of the perfect ripeness for consumption. For the backyard gardener, though, your challenge might be picking them at the right time before the animals pluck them for you. Medlars adapt well in climates with hot summers and wintry winters. Red Meat Watermelon Radish While the flavor is similar to the traditional radish, the look is anything but. It’s a bit of a mind game when picking the small radishes off the plant, which look nearly identical to a spotted watermelon at 1/1000 the size. Red meat radishes are a cool weather crop and will bolt if planted when it is too warm. Serviceberry Placed right up next to your garden, trees, or perennials, serviceberries add a lively texture to your landscape and produce a yummy, yet non-commercial, fruit for your backyard enjoyment. Serviceberry grows well in a variety of zones because there are different varietals of trees and shrubs. It is a versatile and durable plant, growing wild in many areas. Plant it right up next to the house or in soggy areas of the yard where other plants are unhappy. Watch for the berries to ripen, which resemble blueberries in size and shape. Images via Shutterstock

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11 unique edible plants for your garden

Upcycled plastic bottles are used to create this durable emergency shelter

June 14, 2019 by  
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Innovative design start-up Six Miles Across London Limited (small.) has just unveiled an emergency shelter made almost entirely out of upcycled plastic bottles . The Recycled BottleHouse is a pyramid-shaped shelter that was constructed from a bamboo frame covered in discarded plastic bottles. Recently debuted at the Clerkenwell Design Week, the innovative shelter is an example of how a truly circular economy is feasible with just a little design know-how. Related: MIT students find a way to make stronger concrete with plastic bottles Designed to be used for emergencies in remote parts of the world, the Recycled BottleHouse shelter is made out of low-cost, lightweight and sustainably sourced materials and built to be thermally comfortable. The frame of the structure is made out of thin bamboo rods joined together in the form of a tipi. The frame is then entirely covered with discarded plastic bottles filled with hay to provide privacy to the interior. For extra stability, the shelter flooring is made out of bottles filled with sand that are burrowed into the landscape. Next, hollow bottles are placed around the main bamboo frame to create four walls with a front door that swings upward. Inside, the space provides protection from both solar radiation and precipitation. The interior also boasts a lantern made from plastic bottles powered by the shelter’s integrated PV panels . According to small. founder Ricky Sandhu, the emergency shelter was inspired by the need to find feasible and sustainable solutions to the world’s growing plastic problem. Sandhu said, “We believe ‘BottleHouse’ provides a new formula for the world’s growing problem of discarded plastic bottles by transforming them into rapidly deployable, protective and valuable shelters in areas of the world that need them the most and, at the same time, setting a new mission for the rest of the world to think about and contribute to — a new circular economy .” + Six Miles Across London Limited Images via Six Miles Across London Limited

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