Students for a Smarter Planet ..leaders with conscience
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Once again, I get to report that the textile industry is really making the investment into sustainable products. Just announced, CRAiLAR Flax is the first sustainable natural fiber with the potential to revolutionize the textile industry.

From the farms where the flax is grown to the mills where it’s spun into yarn, CRAiLAR Flax Fiber drastically reduces chemical and water usage. In fact, CRAiLAR was designated as a 100% BioPreferred® product by the USDA in April 2012. That clean record from dirt to shirt concludes with fabrics that are indistinguishable from cotton, while helping to prevent a cycle of environmental harm.

From this……

blog flax

to this….

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                                                                                                                                                                     but more sustainably.

I won’t look at a formally set table in the same way again after learning about this new technology, how about you?

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December 1st, 2014
4:18
 

Fertilizer comes in many forms (some of them verbal, as you’ve no doubt experienced).  Read here about a group that is working on a mobile modular bio-digester, designed to transform the waste from pig farms into a saleable asset.

 

Victor Alexander, who comes from an engineering background, Geoff Laban who holds a PhD in environmental toxicology and barber Suzanne Thomas, are the three principals behind Pinnacle Farm, an aquaponics and agricultural systems consultancy.

Aquaponics

As Laban explained, the group’s overarching aim, “is not only to positively impact agriculture and industry, but to have Trinidad and Tobago moving in a more green, sustainable manner; acknowledging that actions on a farm, in industry or in your home have an impact on your environment and climate change.”

 

If you’re involved in the study of sustainability or waste management, the article relating to this trio’s “onward and upward” approach to their strategy may well prove inspirational to you.  They have found interested parties in their modular system beyond the borders of Trinidad/Tobago.  Where in the world will you make a difference?

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Treehugger.com reports that there’s huge potential to reduce our personal energy and water use, and therefore our environmental footprint, by simply greening your laundry habits (and saving some $ in the process).

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I’m not sure how many people would adopt the first item on this top 11 list to go more green:

1. Wear it more than once – that doesn’t go for everything (unmentionables and socks come to mind)

2. Use green laundry detergent – conventional detergents can contain ingredients that aren’t good for you, your clothes, or aquatic ecosystems where the dirty water we wash down the drain can end up.

3. Choose concentrated detergent – concentrated laundry detergents have reduced packaging and a smaller carbon footprint (because more useful product can be shipped using less space and fuel).

4. Make your own laundry detergent – do-it-yourself laundry soap is perhaps the greenest way to go.

5. Wash by hand – there are some great tools that make it easier. A few ideas: Laundry plungers are cheap and efficient, and there is a pedal washer – exercise while you wash your laundry!

6. Maximize your washer for energy efficiency – Front-loading washing machines (also sometimes called “horizontal axis” machines) bearing the Energy Star logo typically use between 18 and 25 gallons per load, compared to 40 gallons for older machines.

7. Hang it up/out to dry – when possible

8. Maximize your dryer – Cleaning the lint filter frequently will increase efficiency and shorten drying time. If your dryer has a moisture sensor, use it.

9. Don’t iron if you don’t have to – you probably would adopt this one quite readily – you don’t have to tell me twice! To avoid looking haggard, simply hang clothes up immediately after the wash cycle is complete.

10. Head to the laundromat – Commercial washers and dryers tend to be more efficient than domestic versions, so taking your bundle to the neighborhood laundromat may use less energy.

11. Don’t bother with dry cleaning -  Conventional dry cleaning is a decidedly un-green process; most businesses use the chemical perchloroethylene (also called “perc”), which research studies have shown may be dangerous to our health.

 

 

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November 19th, 2014
6:23
 

As a college student, I did my laundry more than most of my friends (and didn’t take it home to Mom at the end of the semester, either).   “Clean” water seems to be decreasing in supply – although there’s an abundance of the salty variety covering the planet.  We’ve come up with a bunch of de-salination methods that have been in the news.  This ‘fresh’ water is being used in many applications – farming, animal husbandry, drinking water for humans…

But what if we just decreased CONSUMPTION of the water that IS available? Or in any case, used the supply more efficiently?  Here’s a look at technology that aims to minimize the amount of water being used for the laundering of fabrics.  Although it’s not strictly new tech, having been around for several years, it is being used with greater frequency in industrial applications and may be available for household consumers in the near future.

Scientists develop waterless washing machines

 

Almost waterless washing could come to American homes

 

Read about one company that is on the manufacturing end of things:   Polymer beads  Maybe you’ll be inspired to go them one better?  (Or at least do some of that laundry that you’ve been piling up?)

 

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I fondly remember the Disney ride attraction “Mission to Mars” that my family and I would experience during each trip to Walt Disney World in Kissimmee, Florida.  During the ride, the seats in the attraction would simulate the vibrations and G-forces from “Hyper-space” during take-offs and landings by filling up with compressed air. That ride has since been retooled a few times and morphed into Stitch’s Great Escape!

That memory came to the forefront of my brain when I read about the mission that six people will embark upon when they enter a 36 foot diameter geodesic dome on the slopes of the second biggest volcano in the solar system in Hawaii. And, to be sure, they are not there on vacation.

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This team is beginning an eight-month mission funded by the US space agency NASA to test if humans will be able to withstand the long periods of confinement in a tight space that will be required to send a manned space mission to Mars some time around 2030. For Martha Lenio, the 34-year old renewable energy entrepreneur who is commanding the mission, it is something else besides: a chance to explore the furthest frontiers of sustainability.

These engineers, who were hand-picked by NASA for their contribution to sustaining life within the pod, will have to be more self-sufficient than lunar astronauts who are in constant contact with Earth, Lenio said.

“Maybe all the things we learn about sustainability along the way will turn out to be the most useful thing about going to Mars,” said Lenio.

What a great opportunity for these six engineers – you never know what great adventure may come your way with the skills you possess.

 

 

 

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