This weekend was the annual gathering of ancient grains, coconut water, fair trade chocolates, protein bars, and organic pet food in Orange County, that is at least where where baobab and sea buckthorn joined acai, goji berry and chia seeds, the reigning antioxidant-rich superfoods. There was overwhelming sea of 3,000 exhibitors, displayed across the exhibit floor of enticing organic foods, healthy items and green goods at the annual Natural Products Expo West convention and conference, March 10-13, seemed like all the world eats well and lives sustainably. But then reality struck.
There are mMore than 56,000 gathered for this 31st fest, with an increased visibility on non-GMO foods and eco-packaging. With aisle after aisle of vendors from Nature’s Path to Earth Balance, from omega-rich supplements to “pure” and “smart” items, it’s clear the message was healthy and environmental. Compared to two years ago, it was hard to find a plastic bottled water booth, through other drinks overflowed from teas to brain tonics, digestive beverages to chillout elixirs.
To us, one of the big hits of this event was Seventh Generation’s new cardboard bottle for its Natural 4X Laundry Detergent. We love great designs, but green packaging is just one small part of a sustainable design and product. Designed with Ecologic Brands, it features a recyclable and compostable outer shell of recycled newspapers and cardboard and a recyclable monopolymer film pouch inside with no nylon or laminates. It reduces the plastic by 66 percent and when empty, it’s stackable. so nine times more efficient to ship.
The Murakami chair’s attached lamp is powered by kinetic energy produced from the chair’s rocking back and forth deliciously simple and elegant. Oh, and that lampshade? Not a lampshade. That’s the actual OLED light source, shaped like a lampshade. The OLED lamp even senses when it’s light or dark out, and if it’s light, stores the energy produced by rocking in a battery pack until nightfall. The chair, designed by Rochus Jacob, rightfully shared first prize at the DesignBoom Green Life Competition.
A friend directed us to an interesting article in the guardian.co.uk Posted on February 26, 2009. It turns out that American’s Love for a soft tissue to wipe there buttocks with is worse for the environment than their love for driving gas guzzling Hummers.
According to Suzanne Goldenberg, US environment correspondent guardian.co.uk,”The tenderness of the delicate American buttock is causing more environmental devastation than the country’s love of gas-guzzling cars, fast food or McMansions, according to green campaigners. At fault, they say, is the US public’s insistence on extra-soft, quilted and multi-ply products when they use the bathroom.”
She goes on to quote Allen Hershkowitz, a senior scientist at the Natural Resources Defence Council”This is a product that we use for less than three seconds and the ecological consequences of manufacturing it from trees is enormous,” he goes on to say, “Future generations are going to look at the way we make toilet paper as one of the greatest excesses of our age. Making toilet paper from virgin woodis a lot worse than driving Hummers in terms of global warming pollution.” Making toilet paper has a significant impact because of chemicals used in pulp manufacture and cutting down forests.”
Susan also points out that Paper manufacturers such as Kimberly-Clark have identified luxury brands such as three-ply tissues or tissues infused with hand lotion as the fastest-growing market share in a highly competitive industry. Its latest television advertisements show a woman caressing tissue infused with hand lotion.
The New York Times reported a 40% rise in sales of luxury brands of toilet paper in 2008. Paper companies are anxious to keep those percentages up, even as the recession bites. And Reuters reported that Kimberly-Clark spent $25m in its third quarter on advertising to persuade Americans against trusting their bottoms to cheaper brands.
But Kimberly-Clark, which touts its green credentials on its website, rejects the idea that it is pushing destructive products on an unwitting American public.
Americans already consume vastly more paper than any other country â€” about three times more per person than the average European, and 100 times more than the average person in China.
Barely a third of the paper products sold in America are from recycled sources â€” most of it comes from virgin forests.
“I really do think it is overwhelmingly an American phenomenom,” said Hershkowitz. “People just don’t understand that softness equals ecological destruction.”
Source & images Courtesy of guardian.co.uk
Algae is considered the next big break through in bio fuels. That slimy, slippery stuff might also be a key to paper thin biodegradable batteries according to researchers at Uppsala University in Sweden. These batteries could soon compete with commercial lithium-ion batteries.
According to Inhabitat.:”Conducting polymers have long been thought to be a solution in developing lightweight, flexible, nonmetal batteries. But up until now, these polymers have had been impractical because regular paper canâ€™t hold enough of them work effectively. Now Uppsala researcher Maria Stromme and her team has found that the smelly algae species that clumps on beaches, known as Cladophora, can also be used to make a type of cellulose that has 100 times the surface area of cellulose found in paper. That means it can hold enough conducting polymers to effectively recharge and hold electricity for long amounts of time.”
“The algae-based paper sheet batteries hold up to 200% more charge than regular paper-based cellulose batteries, and they can recharge in as little as 11 seconds. Eventually, they could be used in any application that requires flexible electronics â€” for example, clothing or packaging that lights up. Perhaps most importantly, the algae batteries could one day cut down on e-waste from conventional metal batteries.”
The folks over at INHABITAT are having a contest on SPRING GREEN DESIGNS. This wonderful Mac book box/briefcase design is one of the items up on the contest block. Instead of just trashing the box after removing its contents Alison Cromi, decided to cover it with vintage materials giving it a dual purpose.This is an example of how simple recycling things can be. It doesn’t have to be big invention like the solar poer tie, or wave farm. Sometimes just giving a box a new purpose can help.
SEEDBOMs are the friendly bombs that grow, tools for Eco-Warriors and Guerrilla Gardeners. Handmade from a mixture of eco-friendly, locally sourced, organic and recycled materials such as used egg boxes, shredded office paper, compost and a selection of easy to grow flower varieties and native wildflower seeds.
They contain everything you need to start growing flowers practically anywhere. Use SEEDBOMs to interact with your environment, join forces with nature and brighten up dull and lifeless places in your area by throwing them into derelict land, neglected spaces, fenced off eyesores or even your neighbourâ€™s messy garden and watch them grow!
Unfortunately, SEEDBOMs are currently only available in the UK. Etsy is a US site but people in the UK can still order from the site and their payment will be changed into UK pounds through Paypal. I would love to sell in the US but cannot at the moment due to the fact that there are regulations in place for the exportation of seeds and it would be irresponsible of me to send UK native seeds to the US. I only hope I can move things along fast enough to be able to sell a version of seedboms in the US soon as like you say it is a popular idea and I am getting a very good response from people in the US.
Information and Images courtesy of SEEDBOMs
It is that time of year again. Time to bust out your Ugliest Sweater and get ready to Break it down…Holiday Style. Dust Factory Vintage has Ugly Sweaters Wholesale for only $10 a sweater. There is a minimum, but what a great idea for buying them in bulk for all of your friends.
Contact http://dustfactoryvintage.com for more details
image via B9 on you tube
Recycled plastic soda bottles are now showing up in everything from toothbrushes to park benches to jackets and now they are even being molded into the 2009 Platinum B9 (b9 = pronounced “benign”) wetsuit by Billabong. These suits claim to be as good for your body as they are for the environment. Check out the video from youtube.
So let’s talk about baby clothes for a second. Babies get to wear their little outfits a few times and then they grow out of them within weeks. If you are lucky, you may get a photo of them in their said outfit, so you can remember it for years to come. It is a waste not to think recycled, when it come to babies cloths. Head product designer of vintage upcycled fashion line Particle Clothing, and soon to be a first time mother Lyndsey Coburn decided to launch a side project designing onsies for her soon to be infant son. She uses vintage t-shirts and cuts them down to a baby onsie pattern she designed.
Each piece is one a kind and simply awesome. Mothers nesting is cool phenomena in and of itself, mothers upcycling the babies fathers old shirts for their infant son to wear is epic!
She has a few for sale at her online store, but is more excited about taking custom orders for upcoming mothers. If you have a baby coming or know someone that is, contact LNDZ.
Most people enjoy a cup coffee every morning to get them going. If you are composting your coffee grounds you are already off to a good start. But what else could we do with those coffee grounds you might ask? The folks over at RITI found just the thing with their invention of the RITI Coffee Printer. Yes indeed, they have found an ingenious way to turn your old coffee grounds into a sustainable source of ink for your printer. Too good to sound true you might think, who would think that coffee stains could be considered useful?
According to the description page at Greater Green Goods all you have to do is the following:
1. Insert a paper in the middle of the printer
2. Put the coffee or tea dregs into the ink case on the top of the printer
3. Move the ink case left and right as you draw on a paper
4. When the print finishes, pull out the paper from the printer and wash the ink case
Pretty darn Cool.