7 ways for cities to slash plastic pollution

June 18, 2019 by  
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Let’s send community cleanup days to the trash heap.

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7 ways for cities to slash plastic pollution

15 fresh ideas for leftover fruit that will reduce your food waste

March 26, 2019 by  
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With 40 percent of America’s food going to the trash each year, food waste has become a major factor in climate change , because most of it ends up in landfills and then releases methane , a major greenhouse gas . If you are looking for some creative ways to use the random leftover fruit sitting in your kitchen, try some of these recipes. We all have the best intentions when we make trips to the grocery store, and the plan is never for the food to end up in the trash. But many of us still find ourselves trying to figure out what to do with food that is on the verge of spoiling, because life got in the way and you didn’t have a chance to eat it. This is especially true when it comes to fruit. You can make everything from healthy drinks to delicious pies with your leftover fruit, so there is no reason for it to end up in the trash ever again. Fruit-infused water One of the best and easiest ways to use leftover fruit is to infuse water with it. You can use any kind of fruit you have sitting in the kitchen to create all kinds of flavor combinations. Pure fruit ice pops You can use your spoiling or overripe fruit to make ice pops or fruit cubes with this recipe from Food Meanderings . The great thing about this idea is that you can use any type of fruit, then add some frozen berries and puree it all together before freezing. Related: 8 of the best fruits and vegetables you can eat in their entirety Candied orange peels Make your very own orange candy with this recipe for candied orange peels from Complete Recipes . All you need is sugar, water and a few oranges, and they take just an hour to make. Raspberry and pear smoothie Don’t throw those ripe pears away! Instead, use them to make a smoothie with this recipe from Neil’s Healthy Meals . Mix some yogurt, frozen raspberries, cranberry juice and chopped pears together in a blender for this quick and healthy breakfast or snack. Mango orange banana sunrise smoothie Do you have a mango, clementine and banana taking up space in your kitchen? Then try this smoothie recipe from Gimme Delicious . Just add some yogurt and honey to your fruit , and blend it for a couple of minutes to get a delicious breakfast. Creamy strawberry salad dressing All you need are five ingredients to make this delicious, creamy strawberry salad dressing from Montana Happy . Salad and strawberries are a match made in heaven, and a blender, some strawberries, raspberry vinegar, brown sugar, olive oil and lemon juice will help you make it happen. Berry fruit salad If you have a bunch of leftover berries, then try this recipe from Gimme Some Oven and make a delicious fruit salad. This berry fruit salad is quick and easy to make, and the honey, mint and lemon juice give it a nice, refreshing taste. Related: The Seasonal Food Guide helps you store, cook and enjoy seasonal produce Apple pie for one Turn a lonely apple into a scrumptious dessert with this recipe from One Dish Kitchen . You don’t need to bake an entire pie to use up your leftover fruit, just try an apple pie for one. Boozy peach-blackberry pie Are you trying to figure out what do with your leftover peaches and blackberries? Obviously, pie is the answer with this recipe from My Modern Cookery . Pressure cooker blueberry jam Try making some homemade jam with leftover blueberries by using this recipe from Simply Happy Foodie . Not only does it taste better than store-bought jam, but it’s also cheaper. Plum jam Need to use up some plums before they go bad? Try making some plum jam with this recipe from A Baker’s House . You won’t usually find plum jam in stores, so making your own at home will be a sweet treat that you can add to vanilla ice cream or as a compliment to pork. Of course, it is also fantastic on a piece of bread. Mixed-berry dessert sauce Give your pound cake, cheesecake or ice cream a little kick with this mixed-berry dessert sauce recipe from The Spruce Eats . This is a great way to use up leftover raspberries, blueberries and strawberries. Banana bread One of the best ways to use up ripe bananas is to make banana bread. This recipe from Tastes Better From Scratch takes just a handful of ingredients and about an hour to bake. Related: 12 delicious and crowd-pleasing vegan brunch ideas Apple cinnamon bread All you need is one apple for this recipe from The Happier Homemaker . Just peel and finely chop the apple before adding some cinnamon, sugar and a few other pantry staples. In about an hour, you will have delicious apple cinnamon bread. Leftover fruit bread This is a great recipe for ripe bananas and peaches, plus a few blueberries. It comes from The Food Network , and you can opt to bake an entire loaf or make muffins. Either way, it will be delicious. Next time you are thinking about throwing out some leftover fruit, try one of these simple recipes instead and know that you are helping the environment by reducing your food waste . Images via Shanna Trim , Silviarita ( 1 , 2 ), Jodi Michelle , Ponce Photography , Imoflow , Nile , Sabine van Erp , Marke1996 , Alan Levine , Marco Verch and Shutterstock

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15 fresh ideas for leftover fruit that will reduce your food waste

Baby turtles officially return to the beaches of Mumbai after largest beach clean up in history

March 19, 2019 by  
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Olive Ridley baby turtles have officially returned to the beaches of Mumbai, and it is all because one of the world’s largest beach clean-up efforts. Last summer, conservationists watched as over 80 baby turtles made their way across Mumbai’s Versova Beach, which was previously home to a massive garbage heap. “I had tears in my eyes when I saw them walking towards the ocean ,” Afroz Shah, an activist in Mumbai, shared. Related: Plastic pollution is causing reproductive problems for ocean wildlife It has been a few decades since the baby turtles have had access to the beach, which is an important part of their migratory journey to the Arabian Sea. Watching the turtles waddle towards the sea was confirmation that the clean-up efforts were well worth it and inspired volunteers to keep up the good work. It took a little over two years for volunteers to clean up the beach and remove the massive piles of trash . The mounds of plastic and other human waste was over five feet high, making it impossible for the baby turtles to make their journey to the sea. Following the clean-up effort, you can now play in the sand just like any beach in the world. The pristine condition of the beach is all thanks to the efforts of  hundreds volunteers who gathered over 11 million pounds of garbage over the course of two years. The volunteers, whom Shah helped organize, also cleaned up nearby river systems and initiated programs to prevent local residents from using the beach as a landfill . Shah also cleaned up over 52 public restrooms in the area and installed 50 coconut trees alongside the beach. Shah and his team plan to plant a grove of mangrove trees in the future, which he hopes will help with flooding and increase the quality of the water. Between the beach clean-up and the baby turtles returning to Mumbai , the United Nations gave Shah their Champion of the Earth Award and named the project the “world’s largest beach clean-up effort.” Via Global Citizen Image via skeeze

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Baby turtles officially return to the beaches of Mumbai after largest beach clean up in history

The sustainable wardrobe: its more accessible than you think

January 29, 2019 by  
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When it comes to making sure our homes are eco-friendly, it is easy to neglect the closet. Your clothes, however, might just be the biggest culprit. All those synthetic fabrics will take over 200 years to fully decompose, and the microfibers often end up in the ocean and in the bellies of sea creatures. The fashion industry produces 20 percent of all wastewater, and the amount of pollutants it emits is the second largest in the world (the first is oil). This is all while generating 10 percent of all greenhouse gas emissions, more than the combined total from all international flights and maritime shipping. So what can you do to build a more sustainable wardrobe? First and foremost, educate yourself. Before you do anything, learn why you’re doing it. Start out by doing some research to figure out what your biggest priority is. Vegan and cruelty-free? Non-toxic materials? Organic materials? Do you care more about what the clothes are made out of, or who made the clothes? Arming yourself with information makes it easier to make better decisions for yourself and the environment. Support ethical businesses The rise of fast fashion has brought about high demand for cheap, trendy clothing items. The cost of manufacturing these inexpensive clothes has led many factories to turn toward cheap labor and sweatshops in developing countries — often with dangerous work conditions on unlivable wages. When you do purchase clothes, read the label and see where it was made. If you’re not sure about the country, opt for the U.S. and the U.K. where the labor laws are more strict and regulated. Invest in higher quality, eco-friendly fabrics Growing materials for certain fabrics take a heavier toll on the planet, so buying clothes made from natural materials like organic cotton, linen or hemp can help offset the environmental impacts. Not only do certain fabric materials take huge amounts of water to grow, but the chemicals used to rid these crops of pests also seep down into the soil and natural water supply. The upside is that not all crops are grown this way. Organic cotton is grown without synthetic fertilizers or pesticides. Hemp is versatile, strong and requires much fewer pesticides or fertilizers to grow. Linen, made from flax, demands less water and energy sources, and it is naturally biodegradable. Related: Faux fur or real fur, which one is better for the planet? Don’t throw clothes away This seems simple enough, but it’s surprising just how many pieces of clothing end up in the trash every year. In 2015, there were 10.5 million tons of textiles in landfills, and many of those were synthetic fibers that don’t decompose. When a favorite piece of clothing gets torn, mend it up rather than tossing it in the trash — you’ll save more money, too! Not a master sewer? Take it to a tailor. If you really want to get rid of something, take it to a donation center or thrift store. Or, try a clothing swap with a friend — you’ll both get new pieces for your wardrobes without anything ending up in the trash can. Related: Eco-friendly options for decluttering waste Shop vintage and thrift When it comes to fashion, choose timeless over trendy. Buy clothes that will work year-round rather than just for a season. Think multi-purposefully. Most importantly, don’t think that being on a budget means limiting yourself to cheap clothes or fast fashion trends. Shop mindfully Stop to ask yourself: do I need this, or do I just want it? There’s a big difference there. If you really need something new for a wedding or special event, buy with purpose. Don’t just go into a store to shop for nothing in particular, or you’ll most definitely end up with something you don’t need. Also, if you buy items that are more versatile, it will actually help you in the long run. You’ll have more outfit choices and less clutter to worry about in your closet. Take good care of the clothes you have Using a lower temperature in your washing is not only less damaging to fabrics, but it’s a win for the environment, too. Heating accounts for 90 percent of the energy used from doing a load of laundry. If you can swing it, skip the dryer altogether and hang-dry your clothes (of course, this works better in a dry, warm climate). You can also try washing your clothes in larger batches, because this will waste less water and electricity. Consider switching to an eco-friendly brand of detergent as well. Keep an eye out for ones that are biodegradable , phosphate-free and made from plant-derived ingredients. The better shape your clothes are in, the longer they will last. Related: How to decode confusing labels on common household cleaners DIY Here’s the good news: there are more ways to express your personal style than buying clothes. Learn to make your own accessories or bags; it might turn into a fun new hobby or a skill you never knew you had! Rather than throwing old clothes away, repurpose them into something new. Old T-shirts make great dusting rags, and soft materials like cotton can be made into pillowcases or quilts. Check out these great ideas for recycling old clothes from DIY for Life. Images via Charles Etoroma , MNZ , Prudence Earl , Raw Pixel , Peggy and Marco Lachmann-Anke , Egle and Shutterstock

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The sustainable wardrobe: its more accessible than you think

Crayola Colorcycle initiative offers free recycling for markers used in K-12 classrooms

January 29, 2019 by  
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In the blur of school activity, students read, write, calculate and doodle. With that vision in mind, no company has created a bigger connection with the educational world than Crayola, monarch of colored pencils, crayons and markers. With that title comes a wave of concern regarding toxins and waste . After all, Crayola manufactures 465 million plastic markers alone each year, which begs the question of corporate responsibility. Fortunately, Crayola’s ahead of the curve on this one with the introduction of a voluntary marker recycling initiative for K-12 classrooms. ColorCycle, the cleverly-named program, came into being a few years ago when Crayola decided to take steps to divert billions of markers “marked” for the landfill . Since the ideology of the company focuses squarely on education, they feel it makes sense to take part in educating students about social and environmental responsibility. “The ColorCycle program has repurposed more than 70 tons of expended markers in the United States and Canada since 2013, and uses the most advanced plastic conversion technologies available today to make wax compounds for asphalt and roofing shingles as well as to generate electricity that can be used to heat homes, cook food, and power vehicles.” In conjunction with teachers, the front line in education, Crayola is backing the environmental movement with the ColorCycle plan that also includes educational-support tools. These lesson plans list supplies and activities that facilitate classroom learning about topics such as coral reefs, inventions, and how pollution travels across the planet. Related: 13 eco-friendly back-to-school supplies for a sustainable school year To participate in ColorCycle, school administrators or PTO members are informed about the program and an ambassador is chosen at the school. Collection boxes are then placed in classrooms or central locations around the school. When it’s time to ship the markers back, they are counted and packed into a plain cardboard box. A quick visit to the Crayola website will provide a shipping label and then FedEx ships the box on Crayola’s dime. To encourage involvement, Crayola also provides a letter that ambassadors can send out to parents and the community, informing them about the program along with signs that can be printed and posted around the school. There are no costs to the school or teachers so the time to set up, monitor, count and package the markers seems like a worthy investment both towards teaching children about eco-friendly practices and in promoting behaviors that help the environment. The Crayola ColorCycle program is currently available to K-12 classrooms across the United States and parts of Canada. Although not currently available outside the public schools, the company encourages daycares and other community members to take advantage of the drop boxes. Crayola will accept all brands of plastic markers, including dry erase markers and highlighters. See the Crayola website for more information about the program and how to sign up. + Crayola Image via ParentRap

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Crayola Colorcycle initiative offers free recycling for markers used in K-12 classrooms

In China, a billion cockroaches are leading the fight against food waste

December 13, 2018 by  
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Warning: This story could make your skin crawl. As China’s cities continue to grow at a rapid pace, problems are arising with the country’s food waste. The Chinese population is producing so much food waste that the landfills can’t keep up, and this has led to some out-of-the-box thinking — using a billion cockroaches to take care of the problem. According to a new Reuters report , a plant outside of the city of Jinan — the capital of the eastern Shandong province — is disposing of the 50 tons of kitchen waste it receives every day by feeding the food scraps to the cockroaches. This process is not just a creative solution for food waste, but it is also providing livestock with nutritious food once the cockroaches die. Related: 5 simple ways to reduce your food waste right now “It’s like turning trash into resources,” said Shandong Qiaobin chairwoman Li Hongyi. Shandong Qiaobin Agricultural Technology runs the Jinan plant, and the company hopes to open three more plants next year, with the goal of eliminating one-third of the city’s food waste. Jinan currently has a population of around 7 million. This novel approach to urban waste starts with the waste arriving at the plant before daybreak, and then workers feed it through pipes to cockroaches in their cells. China banned the use of food waste as pig feed because of outbreaks of African swine fever. Now, this new process is encouraging the cockroach industry to grow. Shandong Qiaobin is beginning to serve as an example for others throughout China , with many people opening their own cockroach farms. Humans waste about one-third of the food produced across the globe each year — around 1.3 billion tons — and this is negatively impacting the environment as well as the economy. If the cockroach trend takes off outside of China’s borders, it could mean that these little pests will be soldiers on the frontline of the global war against food waste. Via Reuters Image via Shutterstock

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In China, a billion cockroaches are leading the fight against food waste

Zero-waste kit ensures reusable essentials are always nearby

December 13, 2018 by  
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The zero-waste movement has consistently gained momentum over the past ten years with many millennials focusing on minimalist lifestyles and conservation of natural resources. More than any generation in nearly a century, attitudes towards lower consumption, conscientious purchasing and limited waste are a big part of societal discussion and awareness. One advocate who has practiced a zero-waste lifestyle for several years has taken the next step in helping others do the same. Marina Qutab, a San Diego-based entrepreneur, decided to kick start the waste-free idea in her area and across the country with the creation of the Zero Waste Kit. Speaking of kick starting, the  Kickstarter campaign  reached it’s $10,000 goal in the first 24 hours and has continued to gain support (Kickstarter campaign closes Dec. 15, 2018). Related: 10 ideas for zero-waste gift wrapping The Zero Waste kit makes using and transporting commonly-used daily essentials easy and convenient. Neatly packed into a portable multi-purpose glass jar, the kit includes reusable items such as a bamboo utensil that is half spoon and half fork and two reusable produce bags to have at the ready when you swing by the farmer’s market. There is also a stainless steel straw, which is convenient with so many areas jumping onto the #nostraw wagon. The included napkin is sourced from fabric recovered from the manufacturing scrap floor and includes a pouch that holds all the contents of the kit when you need the jar for something else. Not only is each item aimed at eliminating waste, but the products are manufactured with sustainability in mind. Locally-sourced materials and labor exemplify Marina’s overarching goal “to make healthier, more compassionate lifestyle choices that are in alignment with our mother earth.” Equally important, at the end of the life cycle, each of the primary ingredients in the kit can either be recycled or composted so that no part in the process produces more waste. When asked about her inspiration for her zero-waste lifestyle and subsequent efforts to encourage others, Marina replied, “My life changed at the age of 10 when I traveled to my father’s homeland of Pakistan, and was exposed to pollution like I had never seen before. It was one night when I blew my nose and found black soot in my tissue that I made the simple realization that our actions impact our environment. I traveled home to America with a newfound sense of purpose and motivation for being the change I wished to see in the world.” Related: Cities around the world lay the groundwork for a zero-waste future She went on to explain that converting to the zero-waste lifestyle offered many challenges, the main one being that her best intentions were not always in alignment with her end goal. She often found herself wanting to pull out her reusable shopping bag, only to realize it was at home. At the smoothie shop, she wanted to decline the single-use cup, but didn’t have an alternative. Finding that people in her community also struggled to make the zero-waste lifestyle more convenient was the motivation she internalized to create an essentials kit she and others could always have nearby. + {Zero} Waste Kit Photography by Alex Mortenson via {Zero} Waste Kit

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Zero-waste kit ensures reusable essentials are always nearby

‘House of Trash’ proves how waste can transform into beautiful home design

May 30, 2018 by  
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Taipei-based engineering firm Miniwiz is already known as a pioneer in technology for the  circular economy , but now it is determined to find a new place for old waste — back into our homes. The innovative company has recently teamed up with homeware company  Pentatonic to create the House of Trash, a home design exhibit that showcases everyday decor and furniture made from post-consumer waste. Already known internationally, The House of Trash celebrates Miniwiz’s expansion into the Milan market. Located on Foro Bonaparte in the center of the city, the home is filled with various prototype products designed by Pentatonic . According to its description, the space is a 360-degree real-world demonstration of what can be achieved by converting consumer waste into usable products. Related: Miniwiz’s Stylish Re-Wine Desktop Lamp is Made from 100% Trash Everything from food packaging and coffee cups to furniture and artwork in the house is made with trash. Also on display will be prototypes of Pentatonic’s AirTool Soft, which is a line of modular fabric components woven from trash on Italian looms. Additional displays include recycled pieces by multidisciplinary Italian architect, Cesare Leonardi and an art series, “We’re All In This Together,” by famed graffiti artist, Mode2 . After its unveiling, the home will become a permanent place where the sustainably-minded companies can display their latest  green innovations . The space will allow people and companies of all backgrounds to come together and collaborate on ideas that address sustainability, recycling and eco-consciousness. According to Miniwiz founder Arthur Huang, Milan is the perfect setting to find a real market for the innovative “trash technologies.” He said, “There is no better place than Milan to engage designers and architects with our trash innovation and circular technology.” + Miniwiz + Pentatonic Images via Miniwiz

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‘House of Trash’ proves how waste can transform into beautiful home design

This luxury Miami home brings the tropical landscape indoors

May 30, 2018 by  
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Cape Town-based architecture firm SAOTA has completed a luxury waterfront home in Miami that boasts envious views toward the Atlantic Ocean and Miami Beach. Sandwiched between the Indian Creek Canal and Pine Tree Drive in the city’s historic Collins Waterfront district, the expansive home—called the Pine Tree Residence—prioritizes an indoor-outdoor living environment. The home also derives inspiration from the firm’s South African roots with its emphasis on the outdoors and “easy-living.” Completed as SAOTA’s first project in Miami, the Pine Tree family home is punctuated with palm trees and continuous views of water throughout. To take advantage of the site’s strong linear proportions, the architects installed large windows that allow for views straight through the home. The porosity of the home and the layout allow homeowners to enjoy views of the outdoors from almost any vantage point in the home. The Pine Tree home also overlooks the activity of the canal ; however, punched anodized aluminum screens can be used to ensure privacy when needed. “The design is as much about containment as it is about the views through the many living spaces, towards the Atlantic Ocean and world-renowned Miami Beach,” says SAOTA director, Philip Olmesdahl. “While the overall contemporary architectural design is a key focus of the SAOTA design team, the use and connectivity of the spaces is the primary driver – how the house lives.” The pool dominates the home’s footprint and the amount of water on the site is about half of the six-bedroom house. The large pool courtyard offers a buffet of entertaining options and includes a hot tub, barbecue area, bar, and even a two-story waterslide that serves as a focal point at the pool pavilion. Related: Foster + Partners unveil plans for a pair of hurricane-resistant high rises in Miami The interior is awash in natural light and the spaces were designed in collaboration with Nils Sanderson. The contemporary and harmonious finishes and furnishings establish the home as a calm retreat from stressful city life. Warm tones are achieved through a mixture of timber and other materials such as callacatta and limestone.  Raymond Jungles designed the landscape. + SAOTA Images via SAOTA

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This luxury Miami home brings the tropical landscape indoors

Urban Rivers designs a multiplayer Trashbot Game to clean the Chicago River

March 15, 2018 by  
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The non-profit organization Urban Rivers is currently fundraising to deploy a remote-controlled, trash-cleaning robot on the Chicago River. Urban Rivers already has a prototype out in the water and hopes to expand this into a full-fledged, multiplayer internet game. The organization’s “Trashbot Game” would allow players to control the robot from afar using simple keyboard directions to gather trash throughout the river. “We really hope that one day, this game is just so boring, because there’s no more trash left to clean,” said Urban Rivers co-founder Nick Wesley in the project’s Kickstarter video . Prior to its Trashbot initiative, Urban Rivers established a floating garden in Chicago, which was maintained by staff on kayaks . The workers began to notice that trash continuously drifted into the garden and eventually became too burdensome for manual clean-up. “Trash appeared at random times in large quantities. Sometimes we would remove all the trash and two hours there was more,” writes Urban Rivers . The garbage also affected local wildlife that depend upon the river and its floating garden. To solve this problem, Urban Rivers created Trashbot. Once fully developed, users will be able to log on from anywhere in the world to control the robot as it collects trash, which will later be removed by staff. Related: Baltimore’s floating trash-eaters have intercepted 1 million pounds of debris In the envisioned Trashbot game, users will be able to see through the “eyes” of Trashbot and gain points for collecting more trash . If Urban Rivers reaches its $5,000 goal, a second version of Trashbot will be developed while a high-powered WiFi hotspot and a home base trash station will be installed on-site. GPS tracking and a theft-prevention tether on Trashbot will also be funded. Via The Verge Images via Urban Rivers

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Urban Rivers designs a multiplayer Trashbot Game to clean the Chicago River

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