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In 2012 alone, EPA estimates that 14.3 million tons of textiles were wasted.
Here are a few things you can do:
"1. Buy secondhand when you can. Purchasing something that already exists is the most sustainable thing you can do. 2. Support organic; by supporting organic products (and therefore production) we protect our soil, our water, and the people in the fields who harvest. 3. Look for recycled material use."
What is sustainable design?
As stated by GSA, sustainable design “seeks to reduce negative impacts on the environment… [by reducing] consumption of non-renewable resources, [minimizing] waste, and [creating] healthy, productive environments.” (“Sustainable Design”)
Sustainable design aims to optimize the environment through changes made in our lifestyles. The principles of design are to optimize potential, reduce energy and water consumption, enhance quality of life through households and products and to optimize maintenance. By applying these principles, we can better the environment and ourselves. (“Sustainable Design”)
"Sustainable Design." Sustainable Design. Web. <http://www.gsa.gov/portal/content/104462?utm_source=OGP>.
Ecological Minimalism: Shigeru Ban’s Paper Architecture
Winner of this year’s Pritzker Prize, the most prestigious award in modernist architecture, Japanese architect Shigeru Ban has forged a career based on his revolutionary yet restrained use of humble materials. Ban is perhaps most famous for his innovative work with paper, particularly recycled cardboard tubes. He has noted that he is attracted to paper because it is cheap, recyclable, low-tech, replaceable, and produces very little waste. Indeed, his DIY refugee shelters (used in Japan after the Kobe earthquake, in Turkey, Rwanda and around the world) composed of recycled cardboard tubes are very popular and effective for low-cost disaster relief-housing. Even the structures Ban has designed for prestigious cultural and institutional clients are built with low-cost, sustainable materials and are often meant to be recycled. Ban’s Japanese pavilion building at Expo 2000 in Hannover, Germany, a 72-metre-long gridshell made with paper tubes, for example, was ultimately recycled and returned to paper pulp. His structures do not announce themselves with the typical hallmarks of sustainability; rather, they seem to quietly embody it. This design approach, which dignifies and normalizes ecological mindfulness, appears especially innovative at a time when environmental issues are still “othered.”
Uncommon Ground: the perfect name for America’s greenest restaurant
With a list of accolades that doesn’t stop, Chicago’s Uncommon Ground is anything but common. Named“Greenest restaurant” in America in 2011 and 2013, winner of the governor’s sustainability award, the country’s first certified organic rooftop farm, restaurant of the year, green business of the year…the list goes on and on. And now the owners are adding: “first organic brewery in the state” to that list.
Read more here.
Remember this invention? 19 year-old student proposed this design to clean up plastics in the oceans. The idea was picked up by TED, and green blogs exploded with glee.
I criticized the project as ineffective buffoonery and likely illegal. And several others also panned the invention as foolish and naive. Well, now the student is back with a revised version of the plastic’s clean up machine. He’s partnered with some serious engineers and PR and he formed a new company, “The Ocean Cleanup.” Video here.
A science journalist in Germany, Sarah Zierul, interviewed me and a few other experts who also criticized the machine. Sarah’s article really got to the heart of the story and you can see researched for several months to get to the facts. She re-tells the story of the young inventor, and describes the original machine and its problems, as well as the new machine and the engineering behind it. She also interviews several critics, noting how their complaints have evolved into support.
Excellent science reporting!
Don’t Pop That Bubble Wrap! Scientists Turn Trash Into Test Tubes
“Hate to burst your bubble, glass lab gear. But plastic bubble wrap also works pretty well at running science experiments.
Scientists at Harvard University have figured out a way to use these petite pouches as an inexpensive alternate to glass test tubes and culture dishes. They even ran glucose tests on artificial urine and anemia tests on blood, all with the samples sitting inside bubble wrap.”
Learn more from NPR.
10 habits you should pick up from your grandmother
Looking to simplify your life, save some money, boost your health and help the planet? Then these grandma-tested customs are for you.
Space Origami: NASA’s Foldable Solar Array
When sending things into space, cargo is limited and costs are high. That’s why Brigham Young University researchers and NASA are using origami to develop ways of making solar arrays more compact. The current design allows the array to expand from 9 ft. to a whopping 80 ft. in diameter once it’s deployed in outer space. The array is expected to generate 150 kW of power, a significant increase over the 84 kW currently produced by the International Space Station. The absence of sliding parts in the solar array also decreases the likelihood of malfunction since scientists would only need to launch, deploy and monitor a single system.
Image: Meredith Rizzo/NPR
America’s tire mountains: 90 percent are gone, thanks to recycling programs
Once we had 2 billion tires scattered around the U.S. landscape, but now 90 percent of the piles are gone. Ground rubber from tires is becoming roadways, playground equipment and auto floor mats.