Day 338 – Traditional farming takes can take up a great deal of space and require a lot of water. Sadly, our planet is running out of space and fresh water. To help alleviate the problem, companies are creating vertical farms. One such company is Plenty, located in San Francisco, California.
Vertical farms provide numerous advantages over traditional farming.
A perfect environment is offered, avoiding the unpredictability of changing climates.
No bleach or pesticides used on plants. No GMOs.
Crop yields are increased over 350x compared to traditional farming.
Hundreds of acres of farmland are compacted into the size of a big box retail store.
There is no denying that the planet is changing and that climates around the globe will begin to undergo major changes. Many have already started the transformation. Vertical gardens will be key in providing people with fresh produce.
Day 337 – Back on Day 240, I wrote about Looptworks. They take material destined for the landfill and create items for reuse. They have bags of every kind, aprons, clothes and face masks. I thought I would share even more suggestion for upcycled gifts.
Nowhere Collective – This gift guide lists numerous artists using recycled materials to create their upcycled items. Amazing one-of-a-kind gifts to give to friends and family.
Upcycle It Now – A mother-daughter company that has a three-pronged mission: give materials a second life, create useful and beautiful goods, and provide skilled jobs for their community.
Upcycled – Based in Missoula, Montana, this shop features arts and crafts from local Montana artisans.
Upcycle That – Not only do they sell upcycled items, but also give a wide range of ideas and tutorials for upcycling different materials and making unique items.
Etsy – There is a plethora of artists on Etsy selling their upcycled gifts.
Uncommon Goods – They are known for their unique gifts, but they also have numerous upcycled gifts, as well.
Day 333 – Kamikatsu, Japan is a beautiful mountain region that has a total population of 1,500. In 2003, Kamikatsu became the first in Japan to issue a “Zero Waste Declaration.” The idea is to prevent the waste from happening at it’s origin. Making changes to manufacturing, logistics, and consumption systems is key to reducing waste.
The town residents held many discussions and decided to have each household compost kitchen scraps and bring other wastes to the town’s waste station. Waste was initially separated into nine different categories, eventually increasing to 34 categories with the start of the Zero Waste Declaration and then 45 categories today. The recycling rate surpasses 80%.
“Kamikatsu Zero Waste Center embodies the principle of Zero Waste as an earth-friendly complex facility that adds the functions of education, research, and communication to a waste-sorting treatment plant, aiming to recreate community and develop the region.” – nakam.info
The Zero Waste Center not only collects 45 different categories for recycling or reuse, but it also has a hotel, a community hall, a laboratory, and a resell shop. It is truly the blueprint for sustainability. Every town needs a Zero Waste Center. It may not be located in a lush mountain region, but it will make an immense positive impact on the planet.
Tomorrow, a playground that helps flooding issues.
Day 331 – Back on Day 167, I wrote about the waste related to wind energy. I mentioned a study by University of Cambridge (2017) that stated that turbine blades are set to account for 43 million tons of waste by 2050. Most blades end up in landfills, because they are hard to recycle. The article went on to say that there are companies coming out with 100% recyclable blades.
However, what do we do with all the ones currently being used today that are not recyclable?
Well, Denmark has figured out a way to deal with the waste produced by wind energy.
Wind energy makes up 40% of the energy in Denmark and they hope to increase that to 70% by 2030. With the lifespan of a non-biodegradable wind turbine blade around 20 years, the Danish government assigned the recycling task to several companies. They have come up with some very creative ways to deal with these giant structures and keep them out of the landfill.
Two ideas that have been discussed in Denmark are using the blades as bike shelters and footbridges. You can already find bike shelters in parts of the country. Considering there are 675,000 bicycles and just 120,000 cars in just Copenhagen alone (bikes outnumber cars by more than five-to-one), you can imagine there is great need to keep all those bikes protected from the elements.
In Ireland, they are working to reuse old blades in skate parks, stadium bleachers, sound barriers and electric towers.
Every country needs to take a look at the waste they are producing and devise a plan to both reduce and reuse what they have. Dumping it in a whole in the ground, in our waterways or incinerating it, is no longer an option.
Tomorrow, another great option for sustainable straws and cutlery.
Day 328 – Most of us don’t give any thought about how long it takes for common items to decompose. We tend to toss things into the trash and never think about where it goes from there. Many everyday items are here to stay for a very long time.
Here are 20 items and the length of time it takes for them to decompose.
Plastic bags – It can take up to 1,000 years to decompose.
Cigarette butts – 10 years
Plastic straws – 200 years
Wet wipes – 100 years
Plastic 6 pack holders – 450 years
Tin cans – 50 years
Tires – 2,000 years
Nylon fishing net – 40 years
Plastic bottles – 450 years
Synthetic fibers – 100+ years
Aluminum cans – 80-100 years
Hairspray bottles – 200-500 years
Shoes – 25-40 years
Disposable diapers – 500 years
Lumber – 10-15 years
Batteries – 100 years
Ink Cartridges – 450-1,000 years
Glass – over a million years
Aluminum Foil – never
Styrofoam – never
We all need to think twice before we throw things away. We need to ask ourselves a few questions.
Can this be recycled? Items in bold print can be recycled.
Can this be reused?
Can I avoid using this item in the future?
We are running out of places to put our trash. We need to make changes now.
Day 324 – With the cold weather upon us, it got me thinking about blankets. There is nothing better then a warm blanket to cozy up to during the winter months. I started looking for eco-friendly blankets. I found quite a few companies that offer organic cotton and even alpaca wool. When it comes to price these blankets were on the high end. As mentioned, I love a cozy blanket, but not for over $200.
As I continued looking, I came across Rumpl. Their mission is to introduce the world to better blankets. They also want to do that in a responsible and sustainable way.
“Looking to the future responsibly means thinking sustainably. This means that we prioritize scaling our business responsibly with the “long-haul” in mind, never too fast or recklessly. We seek ways to reduce our impact on the planet by incorporating recycled materials in our products and leveraging transportation options that reduce our carbon footprint. And finally, when possible, we leverage our voice and our influence as a platform for social good.” – Rumpl
Here’s how they’re doing it:
Whenever possible they use post-consumer recycled materials in their products. Through that effort they will have up-cycled millions of discarded plastic bottles since Fall 2019.
From bottle to blanket. They use discarded plastic bottles and recycle them into the synthetic insulation and polyester that make up their best-selling products.
Their synthetic insulation is made from recycled plastic bottles, and their natural down feathers are sourced humanely and ethically.
Day 321 – On our road trip this summer, I noticed a sign on the window of the Grand Canyon Lodge’s restaurant. It got me thinking about what is involved in becoming a Green Restaurant.
“Founded in 1990, The Green Restaurant Association, an international nonprofit organization, has pioneered the Green Restaurant® movement as the leading voice within the industry, encouraging restaurants to green their operations using transparent, science-based certiﬁcation standards. With its turnkey certiﬁcation system, the GRA has made it accessible for thousands of restaurants to become more environmentally sustainable in Energy, Water, Waste, Food, Chemicals, Disposables, & Building.” – Green Restaurant Association
Day 314 – Choosing to recycle is a big step in helping the planet. However, it can get confusing. One question that many people have is, “How clean do I need to get my recyclables?” The folks at Earth911 put together a guide to help answer that question and they broke it down by type of material.
Jars, Bottle and Cans
These usually only need a quick rinsing.
If dealing with something like mayonnaise or peanut butter, try to get the majority out, but it does not need to be spotless.
For stickier stuff like honey or jelly, give it a good scrubbing with soap, so you can remove most if not all of the substance.
You do not need to remove labels from jars, bottles and cans.
Allow these containers to dry if you are placing them with mixed recyclables (like paper or cardboard).
Cardboard and Paper
When dealing with cardboard, like a pizza box, recycle what you can. Usually the lid is without grease or food, and can be put with your recyclables.
Don’t be ready to trash a box if you happened to spill a little food on it, while cooking. If it’s not a significant amount, still get that box to the recycle bin.
When it comes to paper, crumbled or wrinkled paper can go into a recycle bin. However, shredded paper can not.
Plastic Bags and Film
If a bag has food on it, make sure you clean it.
Make sure they are dry.
Some crumbs would not hinder the recycling process, but be sure to shake out bags before recycling.
Don’t put your plastic bags and film in your curbside recycling. Find a location (most grocery stores and Target) that will accept them.
By keeping contaminants out of your recycling bin the better chance your items will get recycled.