Category Archives: Going Green
Topshop going green with eco capsule line; Aims to encourage sustainability within the fashion industry
Following hot on the heels of H&M’s sustainable Glamour Conscious Collection, high street retailer Topshop has teamed up with eco fashion brand Reclaim To Wear to create a debut upcycled capsule collection made entirely from discarded materials.
Materials including surplus stock and production off-cuts have gone into the line, which comprises on-trend pieces including ombre bleached denim shorts and color block panel mini and maxi dresses.
On sale from June 8 at the retailer’s London Oxford Circus store and online, the line aims to encourage sustainability within the fashion industry.
Aiming to solve the problem of textile waste, Reclaim To Wear was founded in 1997. The brand’s creative director Orsola de Castro and managing director Filippo Ricci shared their knowledge with Topshop when collaborating on the line.
“This is the first step towards the creation of zero waste design collections. I trust that the Topshop team’s commitment to new sustainable solutions will lead to the reconsidering of consumption versus disposal throughout the whole fashion industry supply chain,” said de Castro.
The new eco friendly Topshop line follows a general shift in the fashion industry towards upcycling and sustainable fashion. On the high street H&M launched its Glamour Conscious Collection back in March, comprising pieces made using sustainable materials including organic cotton, hemp and recycled polyester.
Big name designers have also been getting in on the act, with a host of labels including Valentino and Lanvin signing up to film producer Livia Firth’s Green Carpet Challenge initiative ahead of the awards ceremony season earlier this year.
Highlights on the Oscars red carpet included best actress winner Meryl Streep’s gold draped Lanvin dress made out of eco-certified sourced fabric and Firth’s red Valentino gown made of recycled polyester sourced from plastic bottles.
Article excerpted from www.nydailynews.com
Bars are recycling glass bottles, composting leftovers and serving organic wines to signal to customers that they’re serious about sustainability. The Green Restaurant Association, a nonprofit trade group with 850 members, has seen a 20% uptick in the number of member bars since 2010.
Sustainability appears to make a difference to customers. In a 2010 survey by the consulting firm Technomic, 52% of consumers said they’d visit a sustainable dining establishment more often than other restaurants and bars.
Not sure how to incorporate green practices into your own bar? Here’s a look at how three entrepreneurs did it.
Bar: B.D. Riley’s
Partner: Steve Basile
City: Austin, Texas
Basile found beverage napkins made from post-consumer waste to be costlier than the ordinary variety and recyclable takeout containers to be twice the price of Styrofoam. Despite the economics, he made the switch. He thought about adding a takeout fee but decided to absorb the extra expense and keep looking for alternatives. Two years later, he found recycled fiberboard containers that are both eco-friendly and about the same price as the standard kind.
He has reduced the number of bottled beers from 14 to seven and added more beers on tap, meaning less glass bottle waste. He also is participating in a glass recycling program and turning old menus into scrap pads at the local FedEx Kinko’s.
Basile does a little eco-marketing. Menus feature a logo he calls the Green Pub Initiative (a recycling symbol with a beer bottle in the middle). “By giving it name, it attaches some weight to it and lets people know we are now being careful to reduce our waste,” he says.
Although Basile has received positive reactions from some customers, the 25-employee company can’t attribute any sales increase to the environmental focus. Still, he believes it is helping build a more eco-conscious brand that attracts patrons who care about sustainability. “It’s not the reason we’re doing this, but it’s a nice fringe benefit,” he says.
When she developed her bar concept, Mare’ka Enright, 29, decided she wanted to offer customers a healthier way to drink. Last year, she opened her namesake bar with the tagline “The Organic Watering Hole.” The 30-seat bar offers cocktails and elixirs with ingredients like Kombucha tea, fresh blackberries, basil and even beet juice. In the mornings, the bar-cafe offers non-alcoholic smoothies and juices.
Making sure each drink is fresh takes time: Customers sometimes wait as long as four minutes–an eternity in the bar scene. Increasing the wait time was a risky move, but Enright finds that most patrons are happy to compromise a few minutes for a healthier drink.
Enright also offers fully compostable cups made from corn for takeaway drinks. The cups cost $80 per container, twice the price of the non-recyclable option. “It makes me feel really good even though it costs me a lot,” she says.
Eight months after opening, Enright says she is already breaking even on her monthly expenses and considering franchising opportunities. “It’s about martini parties, but it’s also about feeling better when you leave than when you walked in,” she says. She estimates that 75% of her business is repeat customers.
Five years after opening Standing Stone Brewing, Alex Amarotico, 42, began moving in a greener direction. In 2002, the 68-employee bar and brewery started recycling aluminum and installed a more energy efficient ventilation system. “It was basic stuff, and we were probably one of the only companies doing that,” he recalls.
Last year, Amarotico decided to take his green ethos to the next level. He leased a nearby 265-acre organic farm from the city, and the cows and chickens provide fresh beef and eggs for his bar’s food service. In the last few months, the bar also started using the farm to compost uneaten food.
Additionally, the company launched a recycling program allowing it to cut post-consumer waste by more than half. The new recycling approach required some adjustment. “It’s so easy to throw something in the trash,” Amarotico says, “but [employees] now decide between five different bins.”
The company also gives free bicycles to employees who have worked at least 1,000 hours and promise to ride them to work. The sustainability focus has had an unexpected effect: “It’s helped retain people and has attracted a more energetic type of person,” Amarotico says.
It also has helped the bar attract more local residents, reducing dependence on tourists who visit Ashland for events like the Oregon Shakespeare Festival. “Now we’re pretty much busy year around,” Amarotico says, noting that business this year is up 20% over the same period in 2011.
Article excerpted from www.entrepreneur.com
New city will provide an opportunity to test new technologies that can be used elsewhere
The world’s largest eco-city is not a green, carbon-free paradise where cars are banned from the streets.
Instead, as its first residents moved in this month, they found it is remarkably like most other Chinese cities: shrouded in smog and depressingly grey. But then the Sino-Singapore Tianjin Eco-city, just over an hour from Beijing by train, is not supposed to be a whizzy vision of the future.
It is far more practical – a model for how Chinese cities could develop and solve some of the enormous problems facing them: permanent gridlock, a lack of water and ruinous electricity bills.
If a few of the changes adopted in Tianjin were rolled out nationally, the results could dramatically change China’s devastating impact on the environment.
“Our eco-city is an experiment, but it is also practical,” said Wang Meng, the deputy director of construction. “There are over 100 eco-cities in the world now, and they are all different. If you look at the one in Abu Dhabi, they spent a huge amount of money and bought a lot of technology. It is very grand, but is it useful?”
To date, almost all of the world’s eco-cities have been green follies, crippled by a central parado the more they enforce bothersome environ-mental rules, the less people want to live in them.
In Tianjin, the residents will not be expected to make any particular effort to be green.
“If they take the bus and sort their rubbish for recycling, they will be making their contribution,” said a spokesman for the city.
Their main contribution, in fact, is to be guinea pigs as planners experiment with the city around them. General Motors, for example, is using Tianjin to work out if electric driverless cars can function in a normal traffic system.
“Some eco-cities are too idealistic. In Tianjin they do not want to stop people from driving, but they do want to put into place policies that will help our vehicles to operate success-fully,” said Chris Borroni-Bird, the head of GM’s autonomous driving project in Detroit.
He said Tianjin would allow GM to road-test the next generation of vehicles: small urban cars that drove themselves but were safe in an environment full of unpredictable drivers and pedestrians.
Not only does China desperately need to solve its traffic problems, but it is one of the few countries that can throw significant resources at new ideas and build cities from scratch in order to experiment.
Other projects on trial include a low energy lighting system from Philips and garbage bins that empty themselves, sucking litter into an underground net-work, by a Swedish company called Envac. “We are not sure about that one,” said a spokes-man. “It requires people not to put the wrong sort of rubbish in the bins, or it could jam the system and prove expensive to maintain.”
By the time it is finished, in the next decade or so, 250 billion yuan ($40 billion) will have been spent by the Chinese and Singaporean governments, and a number of private companies, on transforming the site into a comfortable home for 350,000 people. Sixty families have already moved in.
Already, one new technology has been patented. “We had an industrial reservoir that was full of heavy metals,” said Wang. “It used to be so bad that people could not go near it because of the smell. Now we have cleaned it with a special process that we can send to other parts of the country.”
In a country where 70 per cent of the rivers are too polluted to provide drinking water, the technology is likely to be a money-spinner. Having ruined vast swaths of its countryside as it raced to wealth, China is now likely to spend billions on cleaning up the mess.
Elsewhere, government-owned buildings collect their own rain water for reuse, are powered by geothermal energy, have window shutters that move with the light, in order to keep buildings cool, and heating systems that use solar energy.
In a sign of how seriously the project is taken, eight out of the nine members of China’s politburo standing committee, which rules the country, have visited.
“The idea is to create something that can be adapted to other cities in China,” said Wang.
According to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), as much as 90 percent of work-related waste is paper, making it recyclable. Starting a workplace recycling program takes initiative, organization and education. Preparing and launching a program take time, but after the program is in place, your workplace can significantly reduce its waste output, lower its carbon footprint and even generate a small amount of income for your company.
Items you will need:
- Recycle bins
- List of approved recyclables
- Encourage participation in your recycling program by letting employees know how much waste is being recycled monthly. People like to see the impact of their efforts.
- Redistribute the recycling guidelines quarterly to keep them fresh in everyone’s mind. Email the guidelines to reduce paper waste.
- Communicate clearly with your company’s janitorial staff about the recycling program’s efforts. This helps to ensure that items in recycling bins are not being collected with regular office trash as the janitorial staff cleans.
Article excerpted from http://greenliving.nationalgeographic.com/
Break out the green food coloring. It’s time to create a little St. Patrick’s Day fun in the kitchen.
“St. Patrick’s Day is a perfect occasion to get playful with bold colors and bright flavors,” says Mark Garcia, a chef at the McCormick & Company’s McCormick Kitchens.
“Our easy recipes take favorite treats, like cupcakes, shakes and brownies and add a bright green twist to make them a perfect fit for St. Patrick’s Day celebrations.”
To bring bright hues to your entire St. Patrick’s Day spread, add a few drops o’ green to your favorite beverages and store-bought items. The experts in the McCormick Kitchen suggest adding five-six drops of green food coloring to 12 ounces of beer; six drops to an 8-ounce lemon-lime soda; 10-12 drops to a 1‚-2 cup of blue cheese dressing (for chicken wings); and 10-12 drops to a 1‚-2 cup of ranch or Franch onion dip (for chips, veggies and potato wedges).
Prep Time: 45 minutes
Cook Time: 35 minutes
Refrigerate: 2 hours
Makes 4 dozen cake pops
1 package (18’ªø1‚-4 ounces) yellow cake mix
2 teaspoons green food color
3‚-4 cup marshmallow creme
1 bag (14 ounces) white confectionery coating wafers
Green sprinkles (optional)
1. Prepare cake mix as directed on package, adding food color. Bake as directed on package for 13- by 9-inch baking pan. Cool completely on wire rack.
2. Crumble cake into large bowl. Add marshmallow creme; mix until well blended. Shape into 1-inch balls. Refrigerate 2 hours.
3. Melt coating wafers as directed on package. For each Cake Pop, dip 1‚-2 inch of lollipop stick into melted coating. Insert dipped end of lollipop stick halfway into cake ball. Let stand until coating is set. Dip each cake pop into melted coating. Shake gently to remove excess coating. Sprinkle or roll cake pops in green sprinkles, if desired. Place cake pops in Styrofoam blocks. Let stand until coating is set.
Test kitchen tips: Substitute 1‚-2 cup canned vanilla frosting for the marshmallow creme. If Styrofoam blocks are not available, use upside-down foam egg cartons or a cardboard box to hold the cake pops.
Nutrition information per serving: 226 calories, fat 10g, carbohydrates 32g, cholesterol 23mg, sodium 176mg, fiber 0g, protein 2g.
Creamy Irish Coffee Martini
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Makes 1 serving
2 ounces Irish cream liqueur
2 ounces Irish whiskey
2 ounces chilled brewed strong coffee
1‚-4 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
Vanilla Whipped Cream (recipe follows)
Green sprinkles (optional)
1. Fill cocktail shaker half full with ice. Add first 4 ingredients; shake until well mixed and chilled. Strain into martini glass.
2. Top with a dollop of Vanilla Whipped Cream and green sprinkles, if desired.
Vanilla Whipped Cream: Beat 1 cup heavy cream, 1‚-4 cup confectioners’ sugar and 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract in medium bowl with electric mixer on high speed until stiff peaks form. Makes about 2 cups.
Test kitchen tip: Wet outside rim of martini glass with pure peppermint extract. Dip glass in coarse sugar to lightly coat.
Peppermint Paddy Martini
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Makes 4 servings
8 ounces Irish cream liqueur
2 ounces cr√®me de cacao liqueur
2 ounces vanilla vodka
2 ounces heavy cream
1‚-4 teaspoon pure peppermint extract
Peppermint Whipped Cream, recipe follows (optional)
1. Fill cocktail shaker 1‚-3 full with ice. Add first 5 ingredients; shake until well mixed and chilled. Strain into martini glasses.
2. Top each with a dollop of Peppermint Whipped Cream, if desired.
Peppermint Whipped Cream: Beat 1 cup heavy cream, 1‚-4 cup confectioners’ sugar and 1‚-4 teaspoon pure peppermint extract in medium bowl with electric mixer on high speed until stiff peaks form. Makes about 2 cups.
Test kitchen tip: Wet outside rim of martini glass with pure peppermint extract. Dip glass in coarse sugar to lightly coat.
Emerald Mint Milkshake
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Makes 3 servings
1 pint (2 cups) vanilla ice cream
1 cup milk
1‚-2 teaspoon McCormick pure peppermint extract
1‚-4 teaspoon McCormick green food color
Whipped cream and green sprinkles (optional)
1. Place ice cream, milk, peppermint extract and green food color in blender; cover. Blend on high speed until smooth.
2. Pour into glasses. Top with whipped cream and sprinkles, if desired. Serve immediately.
Test kitchen tip: For easier measurement, 1‚-4 teaspoon food color is equal to 20-25 drops.
Nutrition information per serving: 247 calories, fat 15g, carbohydrates 23g, cholesterol 53mg, sodium 85mg, fiber 0g, protein 5g.
Irish Cream Swirl Brownies
Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 35 minutes
Makes 16 servings
1 package (18-20 ounces) fudge brownie mix
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1 package (8 ounces) cream cheese, softened
1‚-4 cup sugar
2 tablespoons flour
1‚-4 cup Irish cream liqueur
1‚-4 teaspoon green food color
1. Prepare brownie mix as directed on package, adding vanilla. Reserve 1 cup batter. Spread remaining batter in greased 9-inch square baking pan.
2. Beat cream cheese, flour and sugar in medium bowl with electric mixer on medium speed until smooth. Add Irish cream liqueur, egg and food color; beat until well blended. Pour over brownie layer in pan. Drop reserved 1 cup batter by spoonfuls over cream cheese layer. Cut through batter with knife several times for marble effect.
3. Bake as directed on package for 9-inch square baking pan. Cool in pan on wire rack. Cut into squares. Serve with a small scoop of vanilla ice cream, if desired.
Test kitchen tips: For easy clean-up, line pan with foil with ends of foil extending over sides of pan. Use foil handles to remove brownie from pan. Place on cutting board and cut into squares.
If desired, 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract may be used in place of the Irish cream liqueur. Omit flour.
Nutrition information per serving: 292 calories, fat 16g, carbohydrates 34g, cholesterol 53mg, sodium 179mg, fiber 1g, protein 3g.
Green with Envy Cheesecake Bars
Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 30 minutes
Refrigerate: 4 hours
Makes 24 servings
1’ªø1‚-2 cups chocolate wafer cookie crumbs (about 30 cookies)
1‚-3 cup butter, melted
3 packages (8 ounces each) cream cheese, softened
1 cup sugar
1‚-2 cup sour cream
1 teaspoon pure peppermint extract
1‚-2 teaspoon green food color
2 ounces semi-sweet baking chocolate, melted
1. Preheat oven to 350∞F. Mix cookie crumbs and butter. Press firmly onto bottom of foil-lined 9-inch square baking pan. Refrigerate until ready to use.
2. Beat cream cheese and sugar in large bowl with electric mixer on medium speed until well blended. Add sour cream and peppermint extract; mix well. Add eggs, 1 at a time, beating on low speed after each addition just until blended. Pour 1‚-2 of the batter over crust. Tint remaining batter green with food color. Pour over batter in pan.
3. Bake 25 to 30 minutes or until center is almost set. Cool completely on wire rack.
4. Refrigerate 4 hours or overnight. Lift out of pan onto cutting board. Cut into bars. Drizzle bars with melted chocolate. Store leftover bars in refrigerator.
Nutrition information per serving: 215 calories, fat 15g, carbohydrates 16g, cholesterol 69mg, sodium 184mg, fiber 0g, protein 4g.
Article excerpted from www.hometownlife.com
Mitsubishi i-MiEV Eco Tourism Pilot Demo Program starts – EV is now available at Four Seasons Resort, Langkawi
Langkawi seduces, not for the first time. Peering out from MH1438′s window, the cluster of 99 islands in the blue sea that make up Langkawi immediately calms the mind, and brings a smile. And when the Four Seasons Resort is your home away from home, you’ll want to stay for awhile. But we got work to do, so time to get down and dirty.
Or not, because the car we’re here to drive is as clean as they come. Mitsubishi Motors Malaysia, which in October last year became the first to register a full electric vehicle in Malaysia, is launching its Eco-Tourism Pilot Demonstration Program, starring the i-MiEV.
If you don’t already know, the i-MiEV is based on MMC’s i minicar, but there’s no internal combustion engine and no need to refuel, because it’s 100% battery powered and rechargeable. Zero tailpipe emissions, too.
And it’s no fancy concept either – the i-MiEV is a production car already on sale elsewhere, and hopefully one day, Malaysia. It was first sold domestically in 2009, before European sales started in 2010. The little car was launched in North America late last year.
Here’s how the program works. MMM is loaning one unit of the i-MiEV to Four Seasons Langkawi, where guests of the five-star resort can use around the island, for free. No money required, just feedback.
This will go on for two months from 23 February. The stated mission is to gain better understanding of customer behaviour and expectations from an EV. There’s some prestige to be had for both parties too, in my opinion, since everyone is flashing their eco credentials these days.
“Fundamentally, eco tourism means making as little environmental impact as possible and encouraging the preservation of environment when visiting a place. 100% electric with zero emissions, yet offering surprising power and a smooth quiet ride, the i-MiEV is the greenest way to drive in Langkawi,” Tetsuya Oda, CEO of MMM proclaimed.
“This fits perfectly into our philosophy of engaging in sustainable practices that conserve natural resources and reduce environmental impact,” Philippe Larrieu, Four Seasons Langkawi Resort Manager chipped in.
We understand that after its stint at Four Seasons, WVY 159 will continue to serve Langkawi at another location. By the way, MMM, as pioneer, went through nearly one year of working with various authorities to help chart a new course in a system where tax is charged according to engine cubic capacity (the i-MiEV has none, remember), among other obstacles.
And of course, there’s the usual process of getting type approval etc. If you’re wondering, road tax for the i-MiEV is RM10 per year, after a 50% EV discount. Not sure how they arrived there, though. Notice the road tax sticker says “49000 W” in place of where the engine cubic capacity normally as – it reflects the i-MiEV’s 49kW motor power.
At the event, we also learnt something new from Takayuki Yatabe of MMC’s EV Business Promotion Department. In a “did you know” moment, the Tokyo based exec shared that the i-MiEV is great as an emergency power source, since its lithium ion battery pack stores the equivalent of one and a half days of the electricity used by a typical Japanese household.
He added that MMC is developing tech that will allow i-MiEVs to supply up to 1,500 watts of electricity to power electric jugs, rice cookers, hair dryers, and other small but vital appliances. Not so useful here perhaps, but Japan is frequently hit by earthquakes, which could knock out electricity supply. In fact, 60 units of the i-MiEV were used for relief purposes in the earthquake/tsunami disaster last year, when gasoline supply dried up.
After all that, I hopped into the car for a spin round the block. Having driven various EVs before, including a pre-production i-MiEV, the stint wasn’t as eye opening as it could be, but it’s still a stark contrast from regular motoring. For one, you twist the key (same design as other Mitsus) but there’s no resulting sound or vibration, only a signal from the instrument cluster that the i-MiEV is ready to roll. Step on it and it glides off with a synthesised whirr.
Yes, the sound on take off and low speeds is manufactured and comes out from a speaker. This is for safety purposes, in case pedestrians can’t hear an EV coming. Apparently, the sound has been agreed upon by all carmakers, sort of like an “official EV noise” if there’s such a thing. Sounds very natural, and I wouldn’t have noticed if they didn’t say, honestly.
Keep your foot on the gas and the ample torque (180 Nm from rest) gets you to highway speeds in a blink. It’s like a powerful regular car, just without the engine/exhaust note we’re accustomed to. The rate of acceleration tapers off once you’re cruising along, but one’s not meant to race around in this anyway. Instead, keeping an eye on the Charge/Eco/Power bar becomes second nature. Lower is better, battery lasts longer.
Everything else feels regular, except that tyre roar becomes so much more apparent when it’s the only noise you hear. The steering felt a little heavy for me, although there’s no big issue with the regenerative brakes (some early hybrids with these brakes had odd pedal feel).
The i-MiEV is a great runabout, and I can see myself driving it everyday without compromise. Measured by the New European Driving Cycle (NEDC) the car is capable of 150 km on a full charge. Even if we take 100 km as a realistic figure, many daily routines will be covered, and charging can be done overnight (eight hours at 230 volts). Can’t be that cumbersome, since some people charge their smartphones more often than that!
The only thing stopping MMM is cost. EVs and their batteries are currently expensive to make, and it will be uncompetitive without government incentives in the form of rebates and subsidies. If you’re wondering how long the batteries in the i-MiEV will last – Mitsubishi estimates about 70% capacity by the end of 10 years.
o give you an idea, the Japanese government gives a subsidy of 50% of the difference in price between EV and regular model. For instance, if a 660cc Mitsubishi i is RM100k and the i-MiEV’s natural price is RM200k, the subsidy will be worth RM50k. Currently, the G model i-MiEV is priced at JPY 3.8 million (RM145,017), but after subsidy, the price becomes JPY 2.84 million, or RM108,381. In the US, the i-MiEV is priced around $29k after rebate.
Norway is a great example of how popular an EV can be with support. Tax and VAT exempt, the i-MiEV also pays zero toll and can use bus lanes, making it the best selling A-segment vehicle in the country. Is the future electric? It’s all about the money, at the end of the day.
Article excerpted from www.paultan.org
JUSTIN Bieber has been given an eco-friendly runaround for his birthday.
The Baby singer, who turned 18 today, was presented with the luxury Fisker Karma vehicle with a solar-panelled roof by his manager Scooter on a US chat show.
And Scooter told the teen star he had broken his own rule to avoid anything ‘flashy’ and revealed the car — which cost between £64,000 and £72,000 — was from himself and Justin’s mentor, Usher.
He said: “You work really, really hard. I always yell at you don’t get anything flashy. You know, we’re not about that. Be humble, be humble and I kind of broke my own rule.
“So we wanted to make sure you were environmentally friendly and we wanted to make sure since you love cars that when you’re on the road you are always environmentally friendly and we decided to get you a car that would make you stand out.
“I think you know where I’m going and you’re kind of freaking out right now.”
And host Ellen DeGeneres presented the teen idol with her own birthday presents – a windscreen shield with her face and his in a heart, and an Ellen bobble-head for his dashboard.
The Canadian crooner, who is dating Selena Gomez, has been collecting luxury motors since he turned 16, the legal driving age in the US.
Last year, he treated himself to a £100,000 customised Range Rover, which had a sound system worth £50,000, leather interior, modified paintwork and a Cosworth engine.
He also owns a Batman-themed customised Cadillac and a Ferrari.
Justin received a birthday tweet from Cheryl Cole on his big day.
She wrote: “Happy Birthday @justinbieber ! I hope you have an Amazing 18th that you never forget.. *kisses*
But girlfriend Selena, who is away filming in Florida, has so far failed to mention his birthday.
Maybe she’s keeping her birthday messages strictly private.
Article excerpted from www.thesun.co.uk