Plant Leather from Mushrooms and Pineapples

Move over Pleather, there are some new leather-like fabrics in town which are eco-friendly and not petroleum or animal hide based!

MuSkin is a 100% biodegradable vegetal fabric extracted from mushroom caps; it is “tanned” using chemical free methods.  Resembling a very soft suede, it is breathable, pliable, water repellent, and durable.

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Pinatex is created from the byproduct of pineapple farming, using waste material and upscaling it.  The pineapple leaf fibers are strong and flexible; after separating the long fibers for use in the fabric, the leftover biomass can be used as a fertilizer for the pineapple fields, effectively closing the manufacturing loop.

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Eco-leather is a leather-like fabric created with cotton, flax,  or other natural fibers mixed with plant oils and heated.  The layers press together to create a fabric that looks and feels like leather, with minimal waste.  It is more affordable and durable than animal leather.  So far, Nike, Puma, and Adidas have expressed interest in the product.

Edible 6-pack Rings, an Alternative to Plastic

A Florida brewery has developed an edible six-pack ring, comprised of barley and wheat leftover from the brewing process.  100% biodegradable, compostable, and edible, the rings are proving as sturdy and efficient as the plastic rings they replace.

Every year, as many as 1 million sea birds and 100,000 marine mammals and sea turtles become trapped in the ubiquitous plastic six-pack beverage rings.   Cutting the rings doesn’t guarantee the animals’ safety, as many creatures die from ingesting the plastic as it floats through the water.

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The safer rings are created using beer-making waste; re-purposing the excess barley and wheat further closes the loop for the environmentally friendly packaging.  Saltwater Brewery, the Florida beer makers responsible for creating the idea, hopes that the larger brewers and industry leaders (hello soda companies!) will adopt the idea.  This will bring down the cost to produce the edible rings, providing companies with a financially viable — as well as an environmentally sound — alternative to plastic.

Note:  currently, Saltwater brand beers are only available in Florida.  Hopefully, they will branch out, so we can support their efforts to save the marine animals.

Plastic pollution solution for the world’s oceans

An organization called “The Ocean Cleanup” has developed a feasible method to clean up the world’s 5 gyres, or garbage patches.  The Ocean Cleanup Array is an estimated 7900 times faster, and 33 times cheaper than conventional methods. These garbage patches will not disappear by themselves; once the plastic trash has traveled away from a landmass, there is no natural force available to beach the plastic.

Proposed is a very long array of floating barriers attached to the seabed. This would act as an artificial coastline, allowing the ocean to clean itself.  In mid-2016, the organization plans to deploy a 100-meter barrier segment off the coast of the Netherlands, putting the design to the test in open waters for the first time.

Simply put, the floating barriers  will utilize the tides, currents, and wind movement to push the plastic trash into the barriers for later capture and removal.  The hopes are that this passive technology will be able to clean the trash from the 5 rotating ocean currents, cleaning up half the Great Pacific Garbage Patch within 10 years.  The Great Pacific Garbage Patch, located between Hawaii and California, harbors about 1/3 of all oceanic plastic waste.

To read more about this astonishing new technology, please visit The Ocean Cleanup.

10% Bonus for all Perfect Shipments over $100!

When you ship your order exactly as quoted, it cuts out a lot of work on our end! As a “Thank you”, we’d like to give you something back!

Starting February 1st, 2016, any order over $100 that arrives exactly as originally quoted will receive a 10% price bump!

We will pay you 10% more for your order, just for getting it right the first time! No involvement necessary on your end, just ship your order to us, and if we see that it’s a Perfect shipment, we will automatically apply your bonus!

Residents and Businesses Recycle Left-over Paint

The California Paint Stewardship Program handled more than 2.7 million gallons of post-consumer paint from July 2014 to June 2015, resulting in a total of more than 5.3 million gallons collected since October 2012. Most of the post-consumer paint was used as recycled-content paint or, in the case of oil-base paint, used for fuel, according to PaintCare. The group also recycled approximately 1,680 tons of plastic and metal paint cans.

PaintCare is a Washington-based non-profit organization, established as a California state-wide management program for leftover paint.   With over 700 year-round drop off locations throughout the state, the program allows for residential and businesses to recycle leftover paint. Institutions with over 300 gallons of paint can arrange for a large-volume pick up. The program promotes using up leftover paint, and managing the paint in an environmentally sound manner for collection, transportation, processing, recycling and proper disposal.

There is no charge for dropping off paint at a PaintCare location. In addition to the California locations, there are also programs in Colorado, Connecticut, Maine, Minnesota, Oregon, Rhode Island, and Vermont, with a DC program slated to open this year.

For more information about the program, visit www.paintcare.org

Toilet to Tap; new technology for wastewater purification

Climate change and drought increasingly stress our rivers and lakes. As the world begins to rethink the foundation of its water supply, water filtration technology which purifies raw sewage has proven more cost-effective than desalination. New advances in filtration technology convert human sewage into purified water fit for human consumption.

Very little of our current water supply is naturally pure. There is sewage and industry waste in almost every water source used for human consumption. Previously, water from treated sewage was used solely for irrigating crops, and watering parks and golf courses—the “non-potable water” seen in public venues. Current technology converts that toilet-to tap water so purely that it is quantifiably cleaner than water derived from traditional chemical treatments.

Currently, recycled wastewater is available on an industrial scale for cities; for example, the plant in Orange County California pumps out 100 million gallons of drinking water daily. San Diego, CA announced plans to produce 33% of its water from recycled sewage by 2035, and governments in Australia, China, India, Israel, Spain, and areas throughout the Middle East and sub-Saharan Africa are developing recycled wastewater systems. Bill Gates is currently funding a pilot program in Senegal, aimed at providing at-home water recycling for developing-world markets.

Worms open the door to plastic recycling

Stanford University scientists have discovered that the lowly mealworm may be the key to solving the world’s plastic waste problem.  The mealworm can thrive on a diet consisting solely of styrofoam.  The bacteria in the worm’s gut enables the plastic to be converted to 50% carbon dioxide and 50% non-toxic waste.  The implications for this bacterial break down are opening doors to solving the world’s plastic waste problem.

The worms seem to suffer no ill effects from their unusual diet, as compared to the worm control group which ate a more typical bran diet.  Whether the solution to degrading the plastic will involve worms, or the bacteria that the worms support has yet to be announced.  However, with millions of tons of plastic waste thrown away every year, the world will be watching this new discovery.

Fortune 500 companies commit to renewable energy

RE100 is a global initiative to support influential companies committed to using 100% renewable power.  Currently, more than 40 companies world-wide, including HP, Nike, Ikea, and Nestle,  have committed to reach full reliance on renewable power within the next decade.   Doing so can help manage fluctuating energy costs, as well as prove leadership on climate change, a confidence booster for their consumers.  HP expects to hit its emissions target early, with reliance on wind power to operate its data centers.

The private business sector accounts for more than half of the world’s electricity consumption.  The premise of RE100 is to increase business demand for renewable power, thus accelerating the demand from businesses for clean power.  Looking to the future, sustainable business practices such as incorporating renewable energy,  is also good for the companies’ bottom line.   One organization aligned with RE100, Infosys, has saved $80 million just through electricity cutting measures alone.

To read more about RE100, click here.

The secret behind CAPTCHAs

If you’ve ever tried to create an account or leave a comment on most websites, you’ve likely been stopped by a CAPTCHA image. CAPTCHAs are the annoying little strings of numbers and letters that websites ask you to read in order to verify that you are a human. And, while everybody can agree that trying to read what seems like Greek symbols off of a tiny screen is very frustrating, most people don’t realize that there is actually a deeper purpose to these images.

In his TED talk, Luis von Ahn, one of the creaters of the CAPTCHA and a founder of the sebsequent program ReCAPTCHA, talks about how filling in CAPTCHAs actually helps computers read and record old faded books, and how they’ve taken a seemingly impossible task (digitizing millions of old books and texts) and broken it down word by word among the billions of people on the internet each day.

 

For more information, click here to view a transcript of Luis’ TED talk on the subject, and learn how each day you contribute to a world-scale project that you didn’t even know existed!

Ocean Cleanup Initiative

TheOceanCleanup.com

An amazing innovation that will accelerate the clean up of  plastic debris in the ocean like never before!
Large floating barriers harness the ocean’s natural currents to funnel plastic waste into concentrated areas for easier collection.  Best of all, it was specifically designed so that neutrally-buoyant sea-life will pass underneath  without being caught and destroyed!

This is a huge improvement over the existing method that involves individual boats with nets, manually scooping up plastic debris. It reduces accidental environment damage while increasing collection efficiency exponentially!

Check it out.  The website does a great job of explaining the problem and offering a step-by-step overview of this brilliant solution!

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