Why Underfloor Heating Is A More Sustainable Option

When it comes to sustainable heating in modern times, there is a good case to be made for opting for underfloor heating. Let’s have a look at why so many people claim that underfloor heating truly is the superior option when considering Eco-friendliness and cost-effectiveness.

Energy Conservation

Provided that your home or office is properly insulated, you will notice that you can make incredible saving on your energy bills. New buildings that are built to code will automatically be insulated to the level where underfloor heating is effective, but it isn’t hard to fit adequate insulation and draft proofing to ensure that underfloor heating is able to completely heat the room.

The Standard Assessment Procedure, used to calculate a new buildings energy performance, records an energy saving of 5% when using an underfloor system with a condensing boiler, as opposed to a radiator system. Pairing the system to a renewable energy source, such as solar heating or a ground source heat pump can see these savings jump to as high as 40% or more, depending on the installation and size of the particular room.

Why such a big gap, you ask? The answer lies in the method of heating. A typical central heating system relies on convection, where heat rises and creates a very warm layer of air at ceiling level, leaving a much cooler temperature at floor level. Therefore, some of the heat is wasted through the roof as the room is heated sufficiently to achieve a comfortable temperature lower down.

On the other hand, underfloor heating radiates heat into the room from the whole surface of the floor, which creates a comfortable temperature from ground up. This radiated heat is absorbed by people and by furniture and objects in the room, which allows underfloor heating to create a comfortable temperature at approximately 2°C lower than what is required by conventional systems.

Cost Effectiveness

Since an underfloor heating system requires less energy to create a comfortable temperature for occupants, it stands to reason that your energy bills will be lower. While we mentioned a 2°C difference previously, underfloor heating actually runs at much lower temperature ranges than conventional central heating. A typical underfloor system runs in the range of around 30-50°C, whereas radiators typically run at 60-80°C. As you can probably tell, that is a lot of saving over the course of a single billing period.

Can Underfloor Heating Run With Renewable Energy Sources?

Without a doubt, underfloor heating can be linked to any type of renewable energy source, which provides even greater potential for conserving energy and saving money. Photovoltaic systems, ground source heat pumps, solar panels and wind turbines could all be used to heat an underfloor heating system, and eventually the systems combined could provide free sustainable energy.

Photovoltaic systems use solar heating to power a buildings electric supply, some buildings with a large roof surface are able to produce enough electricity for their demand and are able to sell electricity back to the grid. While most homes may not have the roof space to power the entire house, an underfloor heating system can be installed with a photovoltaic system to power it, which will result in cheaper running costs.

An underfloor heating system that is powered by water rather than gas is suitable for use with ground source heat pumps and solar water heating systems. Ground source heat pumps involve the laying of pipes in the garden or somewhere suitable on the property, and extracting the heat directly from the ground.

A heat pump could provide the hot water for a wet underfloor system exclusively, helped by the fact that it runs at lower temperatures than radiators, offering completely free heating.

In Summary

Underfloor heating is more energy efficient than most types of heating, given the right circumstances. Well insulated, double glazed and draft proofed houses will conserve energy and save money by using underfloor heating, particularly if it is linked to a renewable energy source such as a ground source heat pump or a photovoltaic system.

In new buildings underfloor heating is becoming the more popular choice as the installation costs are no different to a central heating system, but running costs are much lower in the long term. Add this to the energy saving grants available that offer further savings. Looking for a reliable team to give you more personalized information and provide quick and affordable installation services? Look no further than the folks over at North East Hydronic Radiant!

The Sustainable Beauty of A Green Burial

There are many people to whom their impact on the environment is a great concern, and they wish to pass on the same way they lived, in respecting and minimizing their carbon footprints. That is the reason behind the growing popularity of eco-friendly ‘green’ burials.

If you haven’t considered the environmental impact of a traditional burial before, these facts may cause you to re-evaluate. Traditional burials often involve using toxic embalming fluids that leach into the earth over time and non-degradable grave liners to keep grave sites looking flat — techniques that are good for preserving a body (sometimes indefinitely) but terrible for the environment. Even cremations release harmful emissions like carbon monoxide and mercury into the air and soil.

How A Green Burial Solves All These Issues

The main idea behind a green burial, as you might have guessed, is to lessen your environmental impact and reduce your carbon footprint. There are many people who view this method as a return to the way people were buried before the death care industry evolved into what it is today. For others, natural burials are actually prescribed by religious law, for instance those of Jewish or Muslim faith.

There are three core concepts behind any green burial – conservation of resources, conservation of the environment and sustainability.

Conservation of Resources

This is achieved through using sustainably produced materials from renewable sources for caskets. These range from biodegradable linen to untreated wood. Conventional caskets, on the other hand, are often made from treated wood or metal, which is not sustainable.

Conservation of Nature

Green caskets and shrouds are made from materials that decompose easily, with minimal impact of the surrounding soil, water and air. Any emissions that may be produced are carbon-neutral, so the impact is negligible. In contrast, commercially produced caskets can take ages to break down, even more so if they contain metal parts like hinges or handles. Also, these types of caskets are often treated with chemicals like paint and veneers, which seep into the soil as the casket breaks down. Also, the manufacturing and transport of conventional caskets and outer burial containers requires a huge amount of energy and causes significant carbon emissions.

Another point to consider is the actual burial ground. Conventional cemeteries often use herbicides to maintain the grass, which can be absorbed into the earth; outer burial containers, which impede the decomposition of the body and take an extremely long time to decompose; and allow embalmed bodies to be buried, which results in formaldehyde and other embalming chemicals to enter the earth.

Green cemeteries require that every effort is made to maintain the natural habitat of the environment, including maintaining clean groundwater, preserving the natural landscape, and providing an environment for native plants and animals to thrive. This is why you won’t ever see elaborate grave markers in a green cemetery. At most, you may find a tree or a flat stone with engraving. However, that’s not to say you won’t be able to find the grave of your loved ones again if you choose to visit the grave site. Most green cemeteries provide GPS coordinates that you can use to find your way back.

In Conclusion

By taking advantage of green funeral options, individuals planning ahead—and their families—can find comfort in knowing their passing will not negatively impact our environment. Many people also take refuge in the fact that their green burial will allow them to become one with nature. Those who have lived well take pride knowing they have also died well. Green funeral options may offer solace to those who wish to minimize their environmental footprint in death as they did in life.

What are your views on the matter? Share your comments below.

Dairy Milk and Its Impact on the Environment

Like most of us, you probably grew up drinking hot choco and hot tea with some good amount of milk to make your drink creamier. In fact, you still enjoy a warm cup of milk every morning, but you’ve perhaps recently heard that dairy milk was not good for the environment. And the truth is that you are a bit of an environmental activist, and you’ve been trying to find out why cow milks are not eco-friendly and what the alternatives are. Look no further! In this article, we explain the issue about dairies and look at the best possible alternatives that will ensure you continue to enjoy your creamy hot choco and tea with the minimum effect on the planet.

How Does Dairy Milk Have a Negative Impact on Our Earth?

Dairy lovers, if you are an eco-warrior, you will definitely want to slow down on your milk consumption! At least on cow’s milk. Why? Think of all the natural resources needed to feed a cow throughout its life to produce milk for us! And these resources, which include grains, require a lot of water and pesticides during their growth, which further adds to the negative impact of cow’s milk on the environment. Cows also need a considerable amount of water to stay hydrated, spacious land, and constant electricity to live.

Another significant detrimental effect is that cows emit excessive amounts of greenhouse gases, such as methane, when they burp and do their number two. Yes, you read that right! And these emissions pollute the air and waterways considerably.

Will the Consumption of Non-Dairy Milk Reduce Your Carbon Footprint?

It is difficult to reach a consensus when it comes to deciding which plant-based milk has the least negative impact on our world. Whether milk is made from nuts, seeds, or beans, it has less effect on the planet than regular cow’s milk. In 2018, a study by Joseph Poore of Oxford University showed that stopping the consumption of meat and dairy products is one of the best things to preserve our planet.

What Are the Best Non-Dairy Alternatives?

Soy Milk

Soy milk is one of the most preferred milk when it comes to saving our Earth. Globally, the production of one liter of soy milk emits one kilogram of carbon dioxide (CO2) or equivalent gases, which is 2 kg less than when milk is produced from cows and 200 g less than rice. Soymilk also needs the least amount of water and land for its production.

Oat Milk

Oat milk is also doing well in terms of CO2 emissions and water consumption. Besides, this crop grows at more moderate temperatures. As a result, it is less associated with biodiversity loss and forest fires than other crops. Although oats need more land to grow than soybeans, almonds, and rice, they require much less space than cows.

Rice Milk

Rice milk is another alternative to cow’s milk found on the market. However, although it uses less water than almond milk, rice still requires 54 liters of water to produce milk. But the most critical impact lies in its growth process. Because rice fields must be flooded to promote growth, it also encourages bacteria’s development, which carries methane gas into the atmosphere.

Almond Milk

While almond milk production emits the least greenhouse gases and its raw materials demand the least amount of land to grow, it uses a huge amount of water when it is produced. The manufacture of one liter of almond milk alone is equivalent to the consumption of 371 liters of water.

Although you now have more information about milk and vegetable milk, choosing which one you consume will be a matter of preference. If you have ever come across another non-dairy milk that you find has a limited impact on the environment, don’t forget to comment in the section below.

Ethical and Sustainable Packaging and Organic Products

When you think of organics you might think of a lot of things, but I bet ethics is not one of them. However, ethics plays a huge role in the organic world. In fact, it is a part of ethical consumerism, which is how we choose to spend our money. You see, how each and every one of us chooses to spend our money is extremely important. Every dollar in your wallet, your pocket, the jar on top of your refrigerator, and in your bank, account is one vote you have in the world of consumerism. You might have hundreds of votes or thousands or maybe you only have dozens or even a few, but you still have votes, and you need to cast them wisely.

 

How are dollars votes? Well, every time you buy a product with your dollars you are saying to the company that made that product that it is OK for them to produce that product and conduct business the way they are doing it. If they are sourcing out their ingredients in a Fair-Trade manner or avoiding sweat shop labor in the production of their products, then you are putting in your vote that this is acceptable. If they are wasting materials in packaging, paying people less than they are worth to produce the product and making immoral or unethical business decisions, you are using your vote to say that is OK. Which would you rather vote for?

 

Organic is the same. When you buy non-organic you are using your vote to tell companies and farmers that it is OK to grow food with the use of synthetic chemicals and that it is OK to genetically modify foods. When you buy organic you are using your vote to say that organic is best and that you support that.

 

As the environmentally conscious movement continues to march forward, sustainable packaging is gaining greater traction in today’s marketplace. According to a 2009 report by Pike Research, a leading green industry consulting firm, sustainable packaging will account for approximately one third (32%) of all packaging materials worldwide by 2014. This represents a substantial increase over 2009 levels of 21%. If this growth rate continues at its current pace, the day will soon come when sustainable packaging becomes the norm, rather than the exception.

 

Ethical or sustainable packaging is a natural outcrop of the very popular green movement with its « reduce, reuse, recycle » battle cry. Not surprisingly, typical hallmarks of sustainable packaging include the use of natural (and easily renewed) or recycled materials that are either biodegradable or can be readily recycled into something else of value. Primary goals associated with sustainable packaging include reducing the amount of energy required to produce and transport products to their final destination, as well as to limit the amount of material that ends up in landfills. For these reasons, ethical packaging manufacturers generally subscribe to the « less is more » philosophy in that their end product is typically lightweight and minimalistic in nature.

 

Although several factors contribute to the growing popularity of sustainable packaging, increased consumer demand for more Earth-friendly products certainly plays a key role. Many consumers do judge a book by its cover and assess the quality and value of a product by the packaging that surrounds it. As eco-conscious consumers become more aware of the negative ecological and social ramifications of traditional packaging options, they become less tolerant of their use in everyday situations – and adjust their buying behaviors accordingly. All things being equal, many consumers will choose a product that will have a minimal impact on the environment over one that is heavily encased in disposable and non-biodegradable materials.

 

This trend can be compared to the large-scale adoption of organic foods and more fuel-efficient vehicles in recent years. In other words, today’s consumers are more aware than ever of the impact their actions and buying decisions have on their own well-being and the overall environment. Therefore, when given the option of purchasing a product packaged in natural, lightweight, or recycled materials (vs. traditional non-ecofriendly packaging choices), a large percentage will choose the more Earth-friendly option for a variety of social and psychological reasons. Quite simply, it feels good to do something that will have a positive impact on the environment, even if the decision to do so is on a small scale.

 

Consumers will continue to drive the trend toward increased sustainable packaging utilization as long as they continue to cast their votes with their purchasing decisions. In an open marketplace, when demand for an item increases, supply is sure to follow. Therefore, retailers, manufacturers and food and beverage producers will continue to innovate in order to meet that increased demand. Without question, sustainable packaging is here to stay.

 

 

All About Eco-Friendly Diapers

Degradable products have cornered the market for some years. We find more and more articles with this label, and the products in the children’s section are no exception. Let’s have a look at the different characteristics and main benefits of biodegradable ecological diapers.

 

Alarming Figures on Diapers and Contamination

Disposable diapers are made from materials that take years to decompose in nature. However, when mentioning « years, » you could think of two or three, but the truth is that it can take from 100 to 300 years to disappear completely. If the above figure seems alarming, think for a moment about the number of diapers that your baby uses daily. Now, multiply it by the number of children in your country.

Nine hundred thousand tons per year is the approximate quantity of diapers that reach a single country’s waste treatment plants. Of course, this amount varies according to the child’s age and the country, since there are territories where the birth rate is higher than in others. Due to the previous results, which have brought serious environmental problems to the nations, the companies belonging to the infantile sector have proposed to innovate in the market, achieving it with success and others with resounding failure.

 

Types of Diapers

Over the years, and the worsening of the environmental situation caused by the waste of these infant hygiene products, different types of diapers have been created, among which we find:

 

Disposable Diapers

They are the most popular diapers and, at the same time, the most polluting. The disposables are a great source of contamination, and the case of disposable diapers is no stranger. These infant hygiene items’ mass-production generates significant polluting gases that damage the environment since both natural and chemical agents are used during their production. Due to the above, the market for disposable diapers has expanded to creating ecological disposable diapers, which have in their composition elements extracted from nature, such as bamboo fibres, which reduces the damage to nature during their production.

 

Cloth Diapers

Among the cloth diapers’ opinions, there are a couple of variants. Some consider them an ecological alternative to the disposable diapers discussed above. They are considered the best solution for your baby, the environment and your pocket. However, some experts affirm that cloth diapers are also harmful to Mother Nature, according to the type of cloth they are made. Despite this, it must be borne in mind that they are reusable diapers, so they are considered ecological since they comply with the 5 R’s of ecology: reuse.

 

Biodegradable Ecological Diapers

Reusable ecological diapers, or recyclable diapers, are a type of diaper that could be placed within the category of cloth diapers. However, its differential factor is found in the fabric with which they are manufactured: the PUL. PUL fabric is a variant of polyester located in the diaper’s outer area to facilitate its impermeability and allow the baby’s skin to breathe normally. Also, it is characterized by being elastic, soft and very durable.

Unlike other ecological cloth diapers, biodegradable ones, as their name indicates, can disappear from nature in less time than other children’s products for this use. Biodegradable, eco-friendly diapers are believed to be able to disappear from Earth in at least four years. In short, biodegradable diapers have significant benefits that not only you or your baby can enjoy, but also nature. Let’s get to know them:

 

Advantages of Biodegradable Ecological Diapers

  • The fabric with which they make this type of eco-friendly diaper is easy to wash.
  • Biodegradable ecological diapers save money since they do not imply continuous purchases of the product.
  • They do not generate as much environmental pollution as they are reusable diapers.
  • Today there are countless designs, textures and colours to choose from.
  • The baby’s skin will remain soft, healthy and protected against possible diseases, such as diaper rash.

 

Do They Have Disadvantages?

Yes, according to reusable diapers opinions, these also have some disadvantages that you should know:

  • Continuous washing of these products (by hand or in the washing machine) can be tedious for some parents.
  • Due to the materials with which they are made, eco-friendly cloth diapers are expensive.

 

As you can see, the children’s products that we usually buy for our children can generate significant environmental impacts without us noticing. Therefore, it is best to inform us before making a purchase and select those that are made respecting the environment in the case of reusable ecological diapers. So, as parents, would you dare to buy an ecological diaper for your baby?

 

8 Ways Green Living Can Help You Save Money

Going green is not only good for the planet; it can also be very good for your budget. And while some changes to the home of green living require a significant amount of money, others can help you reduce your costs! Here are some ways that green living may help you save money:

 

1) Opening the Windows and Using Ceiling Fans Instead of Air Conditioning

This tip may not be ideal during the hottest summer months, depending on where you live. But you can use this tip in spring and autumn to reduce your monthly electricity bills and save money. Make sure you turn off the air conditioner so you don’t get overcooled!

Girl, Window, Beauty, Hands, Dreamy, Memory, Thoughts

2) Recycling as Much as Possible

No, this is not about throwing all your garbage in a blue bin, although you should follow a big green attitude as much as possible. Instead, we are talking about an actual recycling process where disposable products are used more than once. Instead of using a new ziplock bag every day to pack your meal, take one and keep reusing it. You can reuse aluminum foil, bottles, and bags. Find a new use for each item and avoid buying more disposable items month after month.

3) Composting

Starting a compost reduces the amount of waste you throw away to keep it out of landfills. It also gives you free fertilizer for your garden.

4) Drying Your Clothes in the Sun

If you’re going to use your dryer, always do it when it’s full to save energy. However, a better solution is to skip the dryer entirely and dry your clothes, sheets, and towels in the sun as much as possible. If you are worried about stiffness, use fabric softener in the washing machine instead of drying the sheets in the dryer. This will help save energy and reduce your electricity bill at the same time!

Clothes Line, Laundry, Colorful, Wash, Color, Clean

5) Buying Products That Are Built To Last

The durability and shelf life of the products you buy are important factors that you should consider to be green and save money at the same time. The longer you can store the products without replacing them, the less you contribute to filling landfills with broken items. If you can keep a small device for ten years instead of just five, you’ll avoid wastage and reduce your costs by half.

6) Planting Drought-Resistant Flowers

If you water your lawn sufficiently in the summer to prevent plants from dying, it may require a considerable amount of water. In many countries, you may need to water every day to keep your garden green. This is a huge waste of our water resources and your income with higher water bills in summer.

Having drought resistant plants means you don’t have to water as often. Look for native grasses and ornamental plants that have evolved to be ideal for the environment you live in. For example, those that only require watering a few days only and won’t welcome you back home with dead flowers!

7) Walking Where Possible

Minus the cost of the shoes you have to wear anyway, walking is free. Therefore, look for ways to walk when possible. You should combine public transportation with walking to get to wherever you need to go if you live in an urban area.

Walking, Fitness, Girl, Dawn, Fall, Outdoors, Pathway

8) Ditching Paper Products and Choosing Washable Alternatives

Everything you can do with a paper towel, you can do with a good fabric towel! Cleaning countertops, cleaning dust, even draining oil from fried food, all these things can be done with a reusable and washable cloth. The same goes for fabric napkins versus paper napkins. Save paper, cut a few dollars every month from your grocery bill, and avoid wasting paper fillings from garbage cans.

What are your thoughts about these? Share it with us in the comments below!

A Sustainability Lesson

Scientists are currently conducting a study on Scots pine. The study uses a ring of carbon dioxide generators that surround patches of these trees. The objective of the study is to determine the effect of increased CO2 in the air on these pines.

So far, they have noticed that the trees seem to grow and reproduce much faster than before. They also develop more needles – on average 17% more needles than typical loom pines. At first glance, this seems to be a good thing. Trees trap carbon dioxide inside them, keeping it out of the atmosphere. It seems that the CO2 problem will solve itself: more CO2 produces more trees that absorb the extra CO2. The system seems to stabilize itself.

There is of course a dark side. On the one hand, other tree species will probably not benefit from the extra growth spurt. This means that Scots pine could spread rapidly, pushing other tree species, such as oak or maple, out of the way. This can change the entire landscape of an ecosystem: for example, squirrels and black bears depend on the acorns of hardwood trees. If acorns grow on these trees, squirrel and black bear populations will have to leave or die.

Another issue that we can learn from is sustainability. The rapid growth of these trees depletes minerals from the soil much faster than they normally would. Scientists predict that the trees will eventually run out of nutrients and fixed nitrogen, and then their growth will stop abruptly, and may even be reversed. So when they use their « fuel » to create « rapid growth », they will eventually run out of « fuel » and their growth will stop or be reversed. Does anyone else see a parallel here with our own civilization?

Nature is self-regulating. This is where my liberal and progressive colleagues often get it wrong. Nature does not need man to protect it. Nature does not care if man abuses it. As our conservative brethren like to point out, the Earth has survived natural disasters far more than anything man has ever done to it, and life has always found a way to survive and prosper. Of course, it may take millions of years, but it survives. … and what does a few million years represent for a 4 billion year old planet?

Conservation is not an end in itself. Conservation is not necessary to protect the Earth. No, conservation is necessary to protect and help humanity, not nature. Destroying rainforests, burning fossil fuels, over-developing the earth. … all of this is the result of the spread of our species and the growth and consumption of resources. Nature will correct this. We’re going to run out of rainforests, we’re going to run out of fossil fuels, and we’re going to run out of land that we can use. Our sources of food and drinking water will be exhausted; our sources of medicine and other essentials will be depleted. The growth of our species will stop abruptly and be reversed. It will return to sustainable levels. However, the « sustainable level » will be much lower than it is now, because we will have exhausted almost everything we need to continue living as a species and as a society.

Malthus was the first to predict this. He showed that unless something else slows the growth of a species, it will eventually « collapse. A catastrophe will inevitably reduce the number of a species well below the level of sustainability. In other words, if humans do not voluntarily regulate themselves, nature will regulate us, and nature is much less selective or indulgent in the way it does so.

When we talk about growth today, we are not just talking about growth in numbers, although that is part of the equation. We’re talking mostly about growth in resource consumption. Even if our population were stable, our consumption will continue to increase as the developing world develops. This growth in consumption, like the growth in numbers, is subject to the same law of Malthus – if we don’t regulate it ourselves, it will be regulated for us, and it will be regulated by disaster rather than planning.

Disposable: What Is Best for the Environment?

The greenest choice you can make is undoubtedly to stop using disposables. It’s better to avoid using disposable plates, glasses, and cutlery and limit them to those occasions when you can’t do otherwise.
For instance, using durable plates, glasses instead of disposable ones and washing them in the eco mode to minimize water and energy consumption is a wiser option.

But when disposable is inevitable, what is the best choice for the environment? Giving a specific answer is not easy because the data concerning the environmental impact such as water consumption, soil, ecotoxicity, climate change, etc., different items have can be conflicting. However, one of the most eco-friendly solutions is to choose compostable tableware that can be found in the following materials:

Bamboo – Bamboo is a fast-growing material, only 3-5 years old, compared to other conifers that might take 10-20 years. Nonetheless, bamboo plates and cutlery are quite fragile, leading to more waste than other types. If you’re opting for this material, select organic bamboo tableware from sustainable crops and reuse it as much as possible.

Premium Photo | Disposable tableware made of bamboo wood and paper.

Wood- It is biodegradable and compostable. Go for those made of recycled wood. Wooden disposable cutlery can be used several times, so avoid throwing them away after the first use.

Finnish Kuksa - Bushcraft Canada

Potato – Yes! Dishes and bowls can be made from potato paste obtained from industrial potato processing waste. They cannot be reused, but they are biodegradable and become compostable within a few weeks. They can then be used for composting at home as well.

Pulp Tek Round White Sugarcane / Bagasse Extra Large Plate - 11 3/4" x 11  3/4" x 1" - 100 count box - Walmart.com - Walmart.com

Palm leaves – These are obtained by processing and drying palm leaves and are easily compostable. Mixed plant fibers are usually a mixture of bamboo and processing waste of other plant fibers. Look for them with organic certification.

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Compared to other options such as paper, plastic, cellulose, and others, it is impossible to rank all materials involved according to their environmental impact. Still, we’ve classified them based on their contribution to climate change.

Polyethylene (PE) laminated carton – This is a carton board suitable for food contact, bonded to a thin layer of polyethylene by lamination.

Polypropylene (PP) – It is centrifuged (a technique used to separate particles based on their size, shape, density, etc.) after cleaning, dried, and stabilized with additives before being extruded into pellets.

Polystyrene (PS) – polymer obtained by polymerization of styrene, an aromatic hydrocarbon.

Polylactic acid (PLA) – polymer obtained from plants such as corn, wheat or beets, sugar cane, and rich in natural sugar (dextrose).

Cellulose pulp – Cellulose pulp is obtained from wood by various methods, starting from the trunk or processing waste. The three main pulp production chains are the sulfate cycle (about 80%), the sulfite cycle, and the semi-chemical cycle.

Pulp contributes the least to climate change but is better than PP, PS, and PLA in water and soil consumption. In contrast, the pulp is better than polylactic acid (PLA) because of its ecotoxicity in the marine environment.

Disposable plastic waste accounts for 49% of pollution problems, but eliminating plastic is not enough to improve it. It is essential to correct bad habits and dispose of plastic waste properly so that it can be recycled and reused to the maximum extent possible without ending up in the sea, where it would become dangerous for the marine ecosystem and the food chain to which we belong.

When disposal is unavoidable in some cases, such as events involving large numbers of people or when it is impossible to wash the dishes, try to at least minimize consumption through these good practices:

Choose food and products that do not require containers or cutlery and can be easily eaten with hands.
Ensure that each guest can easily recognize his glass and perhaps the plate and write a symbol or initials on it. In this way, they won’t be using more than one and lead to more waste.

Reuse plates, glasses, and cutlery whenever possible; even « disposable » items can be washed and reused several times, especially those made of bamboo and wood.

Differentiate between the various types of plates, cutlery, and glasses after use, remove food debris, and dispose of them as directed.

What are your thoughts about disposables? Share it with us in the comments below!

Vegan Fragrances: 5 Brands with Sustainable and Cruelty-Free Aromas

The beauty industry is one of the largest contributors to waste disposal. From the use of facial wipes (one of the worst culprits) to over-packaging, it’s time to reconsider our purchases of beauty products, and that goes for fragrances as well.

In the last few years, firms with natural and vegan fragrances have been made their debut in the fashion world. Vegan cosmetics have been gaining prominence in our consumer needs and philosophies, whether it’s perfumes, makeup, facial or body products without animal origin ingredients and cruelty-free. Vegan, natural and sustainable fragrances take care of our skin, delight our smell and contribute to the environment’s protection. Let’s check 5 of the most vegan brands with ecological and cruelty-free aromas!

 

#1. Laboratory Perfumes: Unique Aromas

Founded in 2011, Laboratory Perfumes creates vegan, unisex and unique fragrances, as they are formulated to react differently in each person and evolve throughout the day. Both its eau de toilette and its candles are made in the UK with sustainable and cruelty-free ingredients. 

 

Five aromas make up Laboratory Perfumes, namely:

  1. Amber is a rich, woody and complex fragrance, with grey amber mixed with spicy notes. 
  2. Gorse smells like summer. It opens with the first touch of citrus and then gives way to coconut and cardamom. 
  3. Samphire evokes the fresh air of the coast through different essences: juniper berries, citrus, lavender, rosemary, basil, verbena, oakmoss.
  4. Tonka reminds us of the aromas of the forest thanks to vanilla, pink peppercorns and zingy tangerine. 
  5. Finally, the warmest and most sumptuous, Atlas. With notes of tobacco, rum, vanilla, cinnamon, ginger and black pepper.

 

#2. Lush: Liquid and Solid Fragrances

Lush is probably the best known of this list by the general public. The brand of natural cosmetics includes a wide range of perfumes, body sprays and solid perfumes. All of them are vegan. Lush actively fights to end the testing on animals. As a result of their research investment, they have managed to test 1000 Lush products in cells in a safe way.

 

#3.A New Signature: Maar Fragrances

Maar Fragrances is born from the hand of Marina Garcia, who, after having worked with giants of the sector as Inditex or Puig, has launched the world startup with an own proposal, more natural, sustainable, vegan and of proximity.

 

Mina, Nayla and Élise are the three fragrances of the firm. Mina is a citric, luminous, fresh and happy perfume. Its main ingredient is bergamot oil from the Italian region of Calabria. Nayla is a tribute to the delicacy of the orange blossom that grows in Tunisia in Nabeul. It is a floral and attractive fragrance. Its floral notes are mixed with a heart of neroli oil and background of iris and vanilla. Elise is the most daring. Inspired by the blackcurrant that grows in Burgundy’s French region, it has an oriental and more opulent aroma.

 

All three have 97% natural ingredients, the alcohol they contain is organic, they are not tested on animals, their packaging is recyclable in parts, do not use cellophane, and their components come from local suppliers. The company also allocates 2% of its sales to the Save the Med Foundation, which fights for the marine regeneration of the Mediterranean.

 

#4. Le Labo: Status Symbol

Le Labo was born in Grasse, the capital of perfumery on the French Riviera. But it was in New York that he grew up and became the firm he is today. Its most outstanding feature is its handcrafted character. Each fragrance is hand blended and customized to order. Its product line includes, in addition to a wide range of perfumes, body, hair and face products; a line for shaving; and home fragrances in the form of candles and air fresheners. Its bet for veganism in its products is clear. In fact, on their website, you can read: « We believe that it is more humane to test cosmetics on New Yorkers than on animals. »

 

Its best-known fragrance is Santal 33, a unisex perfume created in 2011 and inspired by the West’s great American myth. With notes of cardamom, lily, violet, wood and spices. The New York Times said about it that, in New York and Los Angeles circles, if you don’t smell Santal, you’re nobody.

 

#5. Delisea: Biodegradable Packaging

The Delisea collection consists of four vegan fragrances for women and two for men. This Spanish company is committed to initially caring for the environment. Its packaging is 100% recycled paper; the ink is ecological; the fragrances’ cap comes from sustainably managed forests. Most curious of all, the label is made with a biodegradable seed paper that can be planted. Each of its four feminine perfumes belongs to a different olfactory range: Suna is gourmand; Coral, citrus; Sea Bloom, floral and Adarce, oriental-floral. The label of Delisea’s perfumes can be planted since it is made of seed paper.

 

 

 

Sustainable Food – At What Cost?

Mention a local, sustainable food program to most chefs and foodservice operators, and you might see a glazed look in their eyes. Or worse, they will start shaking, stuttering, and breaking into cold sweats, mumbling something like « it costs too much » while looking for a way out of the conversation. By converting conventional food programs into more sustainable models, I have not only experienced these anxiety symptoms myself, but I have also found a tonic to cure them.

Definition

Sustainable food promotes environmental, economic, social, and nutritional well-being. However, in terms of the exact models of a sustainable food program, whether in a school system, hospital, restaurant, or university, no two models are alike, nor should they be. Locality, fiscal and physical limitations, staff size, and skill level are just some of the factors that make this type of program challenging to replicate. However, when it comes to dollars and cents, each institution shares the same common denominators: food, work, and other expenses. These realities will ultimately be affected – up or down – and that can ensure the success of a program.

The Real Cost of Food

The difference between purchasing sustainably produced food and conventional food is likely to be more generous. And it should be! For too long, we have paid a hidden cost for « cheap food, » and this cost is beginning to manifest itself in countless environmental, health, and trade tragedies. Small and medium-sized farmers and producers deserve a fair price for their efforts, and we must give it to them. The good news is that there is a way to reduce the impact on our bottom line and support these artisans simultaneously.

Many wonder how much more it will cost. Let’s be clear: food costs typically account for one-third of our total expenses. Therefore, any shift to buying more sustainable food will only impact a portion of our total budget. This, coupled with the fact that it is unlikely that we will replace each ingredient with a sustainable equivalent, means that changes in food costs will represent no more than a percentage of your total operating costs.

The food service industry has created its monster. For years, we have responded to customer dissatisfaction with quantity rather than quality. We add more options. We increase the size of the menu, the size of the food court, and everything – including portions! Well, guess what? Customers are often still unhappy. What’s needed is more emphasis on fewer choices. And the results you can expect? Less waste, more attention to detail, more resources for a better quality product.

Labor costs

Like food, the labor costs and staff levels required to produce sustainable food will fluctuate with the program’s scale. Fresh, whole foods require more « manual labor » than processed foods. However, many do not stop to realize that with some strategic menu planning, you can save labor. If staff levels were designed to produce a menu loaded with many options, reducing those choices and focusing on the quality rather than the number of ingredients will help balance the workload.

But be aware of staff skill levels. For too long, many « cooks » have become complacent in their art. Those who had culinary skills, to begin with, may have forgotten or misplaced them with the advent of highly processed foods. In recent decades, there has been an influx of less-skilled labor into the foodservice sector – it doesn’t take much talent to open cans and tins and work in a line kitchen. It’s essential to teach staff how to handle all these new and marvelous foods properly. What is the point of investing in better food if the customer is served food that is poorly prepared and poorly presented? The investment in restructuring and staff training cannot be neglected; otherwise, the result will waste time and money.

Other costs

Other costs, such as infrastructure, equipment, marketing, and advisory resources, need to be considered part of a more sustainable food program. But like food and labor costs, they should not be overlooked either. Systematically reviewing the entire food chain, from purchasing to service, will reveal opportunities and limitations and ultimately create a menu that uses ingredients that will fit your business model.

And don’t go it alone! Would a neurosurgeon start his practice without training? Would you hire a chef who has no experience in the kitchen? So why would you try a sustainable food program without using the best resources? Look for well-connected organizations in agriculture. Use the many « Farm-to-Chef » and « Farm-to-School » programs that exist across the state and country. Hire a resource to help you get it right. One thing I hear most often when I travel around the restaurant world is, « Oh, we know how to do this ourselves. » We don’t need any help ». If that’s the case, why are there so few genuinely sustainable food programs?

In the end, a sustainable food program may cost a little more, but it will also provide peripheral savings. I have seen kitchens eliminate disposable dishes, set up composting programs, then save on waste removal and procurement costs.

On the one hand, engaging in the process of prioritizing sustainability is not an easy undertaking. On the other hand, any conventional restoration program that is fortunate enough to be led by people who have the courage and willingness to invest in knowledgeable resources, training, and dedicated effort will reap the abundant benefits of this new food movement. So wipe that sweaty front, stop mumbling about costs and seize this opportunity. Such a modest investment will ultimately pay off for everyone.