Indoor Vertical Crops, the Future of Farming

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.

  1. A perfect environment is offered, avoiding the unpredictability of changing climates.
  2. No bleach or pesticides used on plants. No GMOs.
  3. Crop yields are increased over 350x compared to traditional farming.
  4. Hundreds of acres of farmland are compacted into the size of a big box retail store.

Plenty offers a variety of different greens.

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.

Tomorrow, celebrating World Soil Day.

Give an Upcycled Gift this Holiday Season

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.

Rareform – Bags made from billboard signs.

A few other great posts to check out:

23 Practical Upcycled Gift Ideas For Him & Her

21 Upcycled Gift Ideas

Give the gift of something old becoming something new this holiday season.

Tomorrow, indoor vertical farms.

Sustainable Holiday Gift Guide

Day 335 – You may be already done with your holiday shopping. Or you haven’t even started. Whatever the case may be, it’s always a great idea to purchase gifts that will help people and the environment. Not only will you feel good giving special gifts to family and friends, but you can feel good that your gift will have a positive impact on the planet.

Here are 15 ideas from posts that I have written this year.

  1. Day 21Blueland – eco-friendly cleaning products
  2. Day 152 – Eco-friendly Toys
  3. Day 164 – Sustainable Phone Cases
  4. Day 178 – Eco-friendly Sunglasses
  5. Day 193 – Clothing made from recycled plastic
  6. Day 199 – Zero Waste Makeup Brands
  7. Day 205Igloo EcoCoolers
  8. Day 237 – Eco-friendly Yoga Mats
  9. Day 240Looptworks – Upcycled gifts
  10. Day 257Lost Golf Balls – used and recycled golf balls
  11. Day 272 – Sustainable Pet Products
  12. Day 293Green Goo – Skin care derived from plants
  13. Day 300EcoSports – Eco-friendly sporting equipment
  14. Day 324Rumpl – Eco-friendly blankets
  15. Day 327MC Squares – reusable sticky notes

Other great options include:

  1. Earth Hero – variety of Earth-friendly gifts
  2. UNICEF Market
  3. Certified B Corporation gift guide
  4. Creative Chicago Reuse Exchange – gifts for the artists in your life
  5. 4Ocean – gifts that help clean the oceans
  6. Gift card to commercial composting service
  7. Climate Pledge Products on Amazon

One more list to help you out:

20 Awesome Holiday Gifts that Help the Planet

Tomorrow, giving a gift donation.

The Zero Waste Center We All Need

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.

SeaStraws Company: Helping to Keep Plastic Out of Our Oceans

Day 332 – Over the year, I have mentioned a couple companies that make compostable straws and recyclable plasticware (made from recycled plastic). Well, I wanted to add one more company to the list of sustainable options when it comes to straws and cutlery.

The SeaStraw Company offers straws and cutlery that are made from renewable forestry and backyard compostable, or contribute to a circular economy through reusability. They offer paper straws, steel straws, silicone straws and cutlery made from Birch wood. They provide these sustainable options for at home use or for businesses.

The materials used are:

  1. SF Certified Paper & FSC Certified from renewable forestry
  2. Vegan wax and ink
  3. Certified gluten free
  4. BPA free – silicone and stainless steel straws

The folks at SeaStraw started the company because they believe that small actions add up and inspire wide-spread impact. Just starting with a sustainable straw, or spoon, or fork, can lead to bigger and better decisions that will help the planet.

Tomorrow, a zero waste center every needs in their neighborhood.

The Decomposition of Everyday Items

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.

  1. Plastic bags – It can take up to 1,000 years to decompose.
  2. Cigarette butts – 10 years
  3. Plastic straws – 200 years
  4. Wet wipes – 100 years
  5. Plastic 6 pack holders – 450 years
  6. Tin cans – 50 years
  7. Tires – 2,000 years
  8. Nylon fishing net – 40 years
  9. Plastic bottles – 450 years
  10. Synthetic fibers – 100+ years
  11. Aluminum cans – 80-100 years
  12. Hairspray bottles – 200-500 years
  13. Shoes – 25-40 years
  14. Disposable diapers – 500 years
  15. Lumber – 10-15 years
  16. Batteries – 100 years
  17. Ink Cartridges – 450-1,000 years
  18. Glass – over a million years
  19. Aluminum Foil – never
  20. 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.

Tomorrow, dogs to the rescue.

MC Squares: Reusable Sticky Notes

Day 327 – I’m sure we have all used them at some point. Sticky notes have been around since 1977. They are very convenient and that sticky adhesive allows them to be placed pretty much anywhere. I never gave much thought about the amount of paper wasted every day due to the use of sticky notes. Thankfully, MC Squares has come up with a solution.

They have created reusable sticky notes.

  1. They can be reused 2,000 times.
  2. MC Squares will replace any reusable sticky note that doesn’t last for 2 years.
  3. They stick to shiny surfaces like magnets to metal.
  4. Stickies are sustainably made with wind power in the USA.

Besides keeping 2 billion notes from going into the trash, MC Squares has also planted over 50,000 trees.

MC Squares also has a wide variety of other reusable products, like calendars, charts and notepads.

Reusables are a huge piece to the sustainable puzzle.

Tomorrow, the decomposition of everyday items.

How Much Trash Does One Person Make in a Year?

Day 326 – An unlikely source, TitleMax, looked at some gross data to calculate what one person produces in garbage in one year by type of waste.

Here’s what they found.

  1. Mail – 23.06 pounds per person
  2. Toilet Paper & Paper Towels – 22.36 pounds per person
  3. Paper plates and cups – 8.22 pounds per person
  4. Cardboard boxes – 187.77 pounds per person
  5. Cartons – 34.97 pounds per person
  6. Glass beer and soft drink bottles – 12.74 pounds per person
  7. Other bottles and jars – 24.52 pounds per person
  8. Metal durable goods – 92.80 pounds per person
  9. Aluminum goods – 10.89 pounds per person
  10. Steel cans – 11.78 pounds per person
  11. Aluminum cans – 9.04 pounds per person
  12. Durable plastics – 72.99 pounds per person
  13. Plastic plates and cups – 6.75 pounds per person
  14. Plastic trash bags – 6.50 pounds per person
  15. Plastic bottles and jars – 17.77 pounds per person
  16. Plastic bags and wraps – 24.27 pounds per person
  17. Clothing and footwear – 70 pounds per person
  18. Food waste – 220.96 pounds per person
  19. Yard trimmings – 91.53 pounds per person
  20. Wood – 854.20 pounds per person

That’s a grand total of 1,803.12 pounds per person

We can help reduce our waste by refusing, recycling, reusing and composting items off the list.

Tomorrow, reusable sticky notes.

Too Much Seafood Going to Waste

Day 325 – It’s World Fisheries Day! The first World Fisheries Day was celebrated on November 21, 2015. The day is dedicated to highlighting the critical importance of healthy ocean ecosystems and to ensure sustainable stocks of fisheries in the world. 

So, today was the perfect day to write about the large amount of seafood that is wasted every year. It is estimated that every year, almost half the seafood supply in the United States is lost, amounting to nearly 500 million pounds of protein waste. Globally, we lose 110 billion pounds. Getting fish from the sea to the table takes many steps through the supply chain. With each step comes a great deal of waste. It is estimated that 17 to 22 percent of fish caught in the US are discarded before reaching port. On top of that, many fish spoil during transport. Even more goes to waste at the markets and once they reach households.

Thankfully, there are some companies trying to combat the waste. They’re making fish jerky, turning fish skin into wallets and coin purses, making bioplastics for fish packaging, and much more.

There are things you can do to reduce seafood waste:

  1. Choose seafood caught or farmed via environmentally sound methods.
  2. Don’t be afraid to purchase frozen seafood. 
  3. If possible, buy whole fish straight from the source.  
  4. Find uses for your leftover seafood. 

“If current trends in overfishing and ocean pollution continue, scientists estimate that we’ll run out of seafood by 2050. Reducing global seafood loss will not only cut down on waste and reduce the amount of discards dumped back into the ocean, it’ll help combat overfishing and hopefully maintain a protein-rich supply of seafood to nourish a growing global population.” – Sierra Club

Tomorrow, the amount of waste one person creates in a year.

Keeping the Toilet Bowl Clean

Day 323 – Happy World Toilet Day! I thought it was the perfect day to talk about keeping your toilet bowl clean in an environmentally friendly way. On Day 21, I wrote about Blueland and their line of cleaning products. The people friendly ingredients are packaged in compostable bags. When the tablets are added to water in reusable bottles, various cleaning products are produced.

I was very excited when I heard Blueland added toilet bowl tablets to their product line. One tablet and a toilet brush and you have yourself a clean bowl. The Toilet Cleaner Set comes with a tin and 14 tablets. Refill tablets come in a compostable bag, so absolutely no waste.

Another great way to celebrate World Toilet Day is to help build toilets in countries where they are not available. Who Gives a Crap donates 50% of their profits to ensure everyone has access to clean water and a toilet within our lifetime. They offer toilet paper made from 100% recycled paper or bamboo. It is packaged in brightly colored paper, so there is no plastic to discard. We have been using Who Gives a Crap since January and LOVE this company so much!

The next time you are in the bathroom think about the 3.6 billion people living without access to safely managed sanitation. Poor sanitation contaminates drinking-water sources, rivers, beaches and food crops, spreading deadly diseases among the wider population. It’s a convenience we usually take for granted.

Tomorrow, eco-friendly blankets.