Precycle, a zero-waste grocery store, opens in Brooklyn

January 10, 2019 by  
Filed under Business, Eco, Green, Recycle

For many of us, a trip to the grocery store results in a ton of waste, thanks to the mountain of plastic bags and food packaging. But some stores are trying to change that by going zero-waste and selling in bulk. Precycle is a zero-waste grocery store in Brooklyn that has opened for business, and it is avoiding all plastic by having its customers buy food from bulk containers. Katerina Bogatireva, the owner of Precycle , is from Latvia, and she said that in her home country,  food waste is not acceptable. Instead, she remembers bringing reusable containers into stores. “Things like that still exist in many countries,” Bogatireva said. Related: The free grocery store fighting food waste and hunger But when she moved to the United States, she quickly assimilated and used the plastic packaging she saw everywhere. Bogatireva said that you forget your values after a while, but as she got older, she started to reflect on her childhood. “I remember looking at my mother-in-law’s trashcan and thinking, ‘this is right,’” explained the store owner. This was when she decided to open her own zero-waste grocery store, but it took years for her dream to become a reality. At Precycle, they offer food from local farmers and distributors, so customers know where their food comes from. The store’s goal is to empower customers with information, so they can reduce their environmental impact. Bogatireva said that she will take it easy on new customers at first by offering paper bags. However, she hopes to encourage people to bring their own bags and would like to see that become the new normal. Bogatireva said that everyone has to make their own choices. Just one person making a change might seem like a “drop in the sea,” but this change has to start somewhere. Actually, it just has to make a comeback. Bogatireva continued by saying that this is an old idea, not something new. + Precycle Via Tree Hugger Image via Shutterstock

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Precycle, a zero-waste grocery store, opens in Brooklyn

Millions of Christmas candles are heading to the landfill this month

January 10, 2019 by  
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The holiday season has come and gone, but part of our Christmas decorations will be here forever — or at least for the next 1,000 years. Millions of candles are heading to the landfill this January, and when it comes to holiday waste, candles are some of the worst offenders, according to a new report from business waste management service Business Waste . The popularity of candles is soaring. Not only were they on-trend for holiday gifting, but the Scandinavian trend of “ hygge ” is also playing a big part in the candle obsession. The Danish term that means “creating a warm atmosphere” has become a lifestyle goal for many and often includes luxurious blankets and glowing candles. Related: Time to put the flame out — scented candles can cause disease and poor air quality But the environmental impact of this big increase in candle sales can’t be underestimated. The plastic holders for popular tea light candles and the plastic wrap that many candles are packaged in wreak havoc on the environment , because most people aren’t recycling. Instead, the plastic casings and packaging (or the glass and metal casings) are ending up in landfills for up to 1,000 years. Household recycling is on the rise, but most people are focusing on food packaging, so things like candles are still ending up in the landfill. “As relaxing as a candle-lit room in the depths of winter can seem, households need to be aware that their choices as consumers have a direct impact on the environment,” said Mark Hall, communications director at Business Waste. “We see novelty candles flood the shelves throughout the run-up to Christmas, and while they make a nice, cheap gift, their long term impact is just not worth the brief enjoyment they bring.” In addition to the poor recycling rates of the packaging, most candles also have paraffin, which is a by-product of petroleum. When you burn these candles, it releases carbon dioxide. If you do choose to burn candles throughout the year, there are beeswax and soy alternatives which are much more eco-friendly. Aim to avoid plastic packaging, and properly recycle or reuse glass or metal components. + Business Waste Image via Pitsch

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Millions of Christmas candles are heading to the landfill this month

UK bans pet stores from selling puppies, kittens

January 3, 2019 by  
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In an attempt to protect animals from exploitation, the United Kingdom has passed a new law banning third-party commercial retailers from selling puppies and kittens. The U.K. government wants to crack down on “puppy farms” and make things more difficult for dealers who seem to have no regard for animal welfare. There was overwhelming public support for the ban of third-party sales, and Animal Welfare Minister David Rutley says the new law “is part of our commitment to make sure the nation’s much-loved pets get the right start to life.” Now, U.K. residents looking to purchase a furry friend must go directly to the breeder or a rehoming center instead of a pet shop. Veterinarian Marc Abraham, the founder of Pup Aid, says that the new law is a victory for grassroots campaigners — as well as the U.K.’s dogs and cats — and it will make breeders more accountable. Abraham also says that the ban will make it more difficult for anyone to sell illegally smuggled puppies and kittens. Related: California bans all puppy mills and requires all pet stores to sell rescue animals Animal welfare groups have also praised the new law, with one of the country’s best-known animal shelters, the Battersea Cat and Dogs home, endorsing the ban. This legislative change comes in the wake of the RSPCA asking the public for information about two people who were caught on closed-circuit TV abandoning a dog, all the while driving off and ignoring the dog’s plea to return to the vehicle. The video clip of the abandonment — which took place in early December in the town of Trentham (about 150 miles northwest of London) — has gone viral on social media. “To see the poor dog in such obvious distress, jumping up at the car as it drives away, is just heartbreaking,” said RSPCA inspector Natalie Perehovsky. “I can’t understand how someone could do this.” Via HuffPost Images via Shutterstock

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UK bans pet stores from selling puppies, kittens

Massive shipping container shopping center to pop up in Warsaw

January 3, 2019 by  
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Nearly 300  shipping containers may soon be given a new lease on life as a massive pop-up shopping center in downtown Warsaw, Poland. Designed by local architecture practice Szcz and commissioned by investor Nowa Epoka Handlu, the cargotecture proposal would transform a 2.6-acre site into one of the world’s largest shipping container retail complexes. Named Implant, the three-story modular building would house approximately 80 tenants and host mixed programming from retail and restaurants to social and cultural space. Proposed for an empty lot adjacent to Warsaw’s ?elazna Street and Chmielna Street, Implant aims to revitalize a once-thriving area that was gutted during World War II and has since struggled to return to its former brilliance. In addition to urban revitalization, the project will inject much-needed greenery into the area with open courtyards and vertical green walls. Modeled after existing shipping container pop-up malls such as London’s BoxPark and Bangkok’s ArtBox, Implant will include a usable floor area of 5,318 square meters and will be split in three main zones: food and beverage, retail, and social and cultural event space. A total of 273 shipping containers will be used: 221 40-foot-long containers and 52 20-foot-long containers. The bars and restaurants will be located on the ground floor of the three-story building while studios, shops and other services will be placed on the upper floors. Related: Boxpark, London’s first pop-up shipping container mall, opens in Shoreditch “Vertical division of functions represents the synergy between culinary consumption taking place on the ground floor, either inside or outside the bars, while more qualified functions attract people who have special interest in visiting furniture designers, craftsmen and artists located on the first floor,” the architecture firm said. “The lot is enclosed from the southern side with a lower building containing a multifunctional space for concerts, exhibitions and other events and a pop-up children’s museum accessible from the courtyard. The mix of bars, studios providing obligatory workshops for different age groups and large functions (children’s museums and multifunctional indoor space) will create a mix of users that will come to the complex due to varied motivations.” + Szcz Images via Szcz

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Massive shipping container shopping center to pop up in Warsaw

10 Things You Can Do Today for the Environment

October 22, 2018 by  
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The recent report from the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on … The post 10 Things You Can Do Today for the Environment appeared first on Earth911.com.

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10 Things You Can Do Today for the Environment

Look out, meat industry – flexitarianism is on the rise

August 29, 2018 by  
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With all of the meatless options on the market, it’s not surprising that flexitarianism is on the rise. Unlike vegetarians , who completely exclude meat from their diet, flexitarians simply cut down on how much meat they eat on a weekly basis. This raises an important question: What are the benefits of eating less meat? Related: Vegetarian diets could help avert one-third of early deaths, new research finds Research has found a correlation between eating less meat and losing weight. Flexitarian diets can also help prevent certain health issues like high blood pressure and diabetes. Given these health benefits , adopting a flexitarian diet can be beneficial, especially if you’re concerned with gaining weight or have a history of diabetes and high blood pressure in your family. Flexitarianism is also easier to get into than vegetarianism. Cutting meat out of a few meals a week is much more doable than eliminating meat altogether. Although some vegetarians have a negative attitude towards flexitarianism – which they view as cheating – it is on the rise around the world. In fact, the amount of vegetarian products available in supermarkets has doubled since 2009, and that trend is not slowing down. Last year, the vegetarian industry sold over $3 billion worth of products, an eight percent increase from the previous year. Not everyone in the United States is convinced, however. While flexitarianism has many health benefits, the majority of people around the country believe meals should include meat in some capacity. People under 50 years of age are also more likely to follow a flexitarian or vegetarian diet, as are individuals who make $30,000 a year or less. People older than 50 and those who earn over $70,000 are not likely to follow a meat-less diet. Lastly, conservatives are less likely to adopt a meat-free diet or cut down on meat consumption than are liberals. Despite these challenges, flexitarianism is on the rise and we can only hope that that trend continues into the future. Via The Washington Post

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Look out, meat industry – flexitarianism is on the rise

Europe officially has more than one million electric cars

August 28, 2018 by  
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More than a million electric cars can now be seen on the streets of Europe, thanks in part to a sales surge in the first half of 2018. Europe has reached this benchmark more quickly than the United States, which is on track to meet it later this year. Europe and the U.S. have trailed behind China, which reached one million electric vehicle sales in 2017; however, Europe’s achievement is no small feat. Related: The number of electric vehicles on the streets could triple in two years Europe saw 195,000 electric cars sold during the first half of this year, a 42 percent increase from last year. This figure includes electric cars sold in the European Union as well as in Iceland, Liechtenstein, Switzerland, and Norway, the latter of which continues to lead the way, with the highest number of electric vehicles sold. Related: World’s fastest electric car charger offers 120-miles of range in 8 minutes Industry analyst EV-Volumes  estimates that European sales of electric vehicles will reach 1.35 million by the end of the year. The figure includes both fully electric vehicles as well as hybrid plug-in models that switch to conventional engines after their short-distance battery runs out of power. Industry leaders are optimistic about the outlook for environmentally friendly cars, despite plug-in hybrids only accounting for 2% of market share. Viktor Irle, market analyst at EV-Volumes, commented, “a stock of one million electric vehicles is an important milestone on the road to electrification and meeting emission targets but it is of course not enough.” One thing, though, is certain – Europe definitely has the drive to achieve fossil-fuel-free roads. Via The Guardian    

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Europe officially has more than one million electric cars

Infographic: Food Waste in the US

August 24, 2018 by  
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In the United States, we waste between 30 to 40 … The post Infographic: Food Waste in the US appeared first on Earth911.com.

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Recycling Mystery: Clothing

August 8, 2018 by  
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We have a clothing problem in the United States and … The post Recycling Mystery: Clothing appeared first on Earth911.com.

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Egypt set to open its first solar farm – and it’s the largest in the world

August 2, 2018 by  
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Egypt has long relied on environmentally taxing fossil fuels. Over 90% of electricity is generated from oil and natural gas, and the country subsidizes fossil fuels , making them a cheap option for its 96 million citizens. However, Egypt’s government plans to change courses and put itself on the clean energy map with the inauguration of the world’s largest solar park. Dubbed the  Benban complex , it is under construction in Egypt’s Western Desert and set to open next year. Located 400 miles south of Cairo, the $2.8-billion project will single-handedly revolutionize energy supply for the nation, and none too soon. The World Health Organization recently named Cairo the second most polluted large city on the planet. The Egyptian government, in response, aims to nearly halve its natural gas consumption and provide at least 42% of the country’s energy from renewable sources by the year 2025. Investment in Egypt’s  clean energy  market has increased by 500% since the announcement. Related: The largest solar farm apiary in the US opens this week The country’s prospects look good, says Benjamin Attia, solar analyst at Wood Mackenzie , an energy research and consultancy firm based in the United States. “I can’t think of another example where so many big players have come together to fill the gap,” he stated, referring to the role of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) in supporting the Benban complex. The IMF has backed a reform program that aims to rescue the country’s economy, and scaling back fossil fuels is one part of it. Egyptian President Abdel Fattah Sisi has unequivocally encouraged the country’s environmental push, inaugurating other big electricity projects, including the creation of wind power farms in the Red Sea’s Gulf of Suez. Several nations have aided with the initiative, including the United States, which is helping to train hundreds of employees in wind and solar energy at local technical schools in Egypt. The Benban complex’s 30 solar plants will be operated by 4,000 workers and generate as much as 1.8 gigawatts of electricity, which will in turn provide energy to hundreds of thousands of residences and business operations. + Benban Complex + WHO Via The LA Times

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Egypt set to open its first solar farm – and it’s the largest in the world

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