Posts Tagged ‘united states’

Bamboo cork boards

If bamboo is an environmentally friendly superhero, then cork must be its perfect sidekick. Case in point: the bamboo and cork hybrid cutting board pictured above. Sustainable cork, which is used in the boards, wallets, cases, and containers here at Bambu Batu, is harvested from the bark of the Cork Oak (Quercus suber) which is endemic to Europe and and Northwest Africa. Most of it is grown in Spain, Portugal and Italy. Light, buoyant and flexible, it is also water resistant and easy to clean. The material is composed of suberin, which allows it to be one of the most versatile natural substances in the world. Once the trees reach 25 years of age, the bark is stripped and let to rest for nine years.

All of our cork products hail from the company, Bambu Home. The business was founded as part of an effort to take advantage of bamboo and resources native to China and bring them to the United States in 2003. Bambu Home’s extensive line of bamboo kitchenwares are fashioned from certified organic bamboo, and hand-crafted in accordance with the highest standards of fair labor practices. Praised as the “new bamboo”, cork’s soft stain-resistant nature has made it an attractive choice to accompany the elegant bamboo products. Bambu Home uses cork that is EU and US CPSC-compliant and machine-washable, and has no dyes, heavy metals, phthalates or PVC. We are proud to carry such an attractive, green selection of bamboo and cork here at Bambu Batu!

Ever feel a bit guilty that you are using what once used to be a stately tree to wipe your behind? The American obsession with soft tissue has been responsible for the clear-cutting of forests across the world, and all just to keep clean in between showers. Simple solution? Bamboo toilet tissue!

According to Simple Ecology, Americans use 50 pounds of tissue paper per person each year. Each household will use two trees a year to fulfill their needs, translating into 200 pounds of paper. This figure is nearly 50% more than in Western Europe and Japan. Furthermore, the processing of the tissue is a major contributor to air and water pollution as well as habitat destruction. The industry is the third largest emitter of greenhouse gasses, and uses many cancer causing chemicals. With a full two-thirds of paper used at home, individuals can do a lot to help reduce their ecological footprint.

Finally, there is a green alternative for your bathroom break. The Tian Zhu Paper Group Co. offers bamboo pulp toilet tissue that is soft, strong, and sustainable. Established in 2006, the company is located in Jinhua Industrial Park, Chishui and operates out of a 70 acre facility. They take advantage of fast growing bamboo to create everything from toilet paper, to facial tissue, napkins, hand towels and kitchen towels. While there is a definite concern over the energy used to transport the paper products, bamboo toilet tissue is a great substitute for the devastation of old growth forests.

Living in an age of rapidly developing technology and planned obsolescence, most of us can admit to still hanging on to a random assortment of old or broken electronics. Finding a place to recycle e-waste can be a bit of a hassle during a busy workweek, and attempting to regain a little of the money spent for our phones, tablets, and music players can lead to obsessively checking your email after posting twenty different Craigslist ads.

Sitting in the Santa Maria Town Center is a novel new machine that can give you cash for your old gadgets in a matter of minutes. The ecoATM allows you to scan your gear, check its global market value, and safely deposit your mobile device. To ensure that the items are not lost or stolen, a valid ID and thumbprint scan is required for each transaction. All deposits are monitored by staff through two cameras, the serial number is extracted and stored, and all devices are held for 30 days before being sold for extra security.

Since its debut in 2011, the company estimates that only 1 out of every 4,000 units have been reported lost or stolen. Most people walk away with at least $25, but some can earn up to $300 for a smartphone in good condition. No personal information is ever taken from the gadgets, and all are either sold to a third party to be repurposed or recycled in facilities that are certified by R2 Solutions or e-stewards.

The inventor of the ecoATM, Mark Bowles was inspired to create his clean kiosk after observing the success of the Coinstar change machines. Seeing as the US trashes over 384 million units of e-waste each year, he knew that selling defunct electronics to refurbishers could mean big business. ABI research sees the market for electronic waste at $15 billion by the end of 2014. About 350 ecoATMs have been placed in 24 states, and Bowles has plans to expand to international markets as well as working on technology to also accept computers.

Now there is no excuse not to grab your gear and do a little e-cycling for some extra cash and an environmentally friendly way to dispose of your unwanted electronics.

You would think with a name like “conservative”, those occupying the right wing of the political spectrum would be all about saving money and cutting energy costs. Yet, according a study led by Dena Gromet from the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania, CFL light bulbs labeled with a “protect the environment” sticker were shunned by conservatives. Their decision comes despite the fact that CFLs last 9,000 hours longer than incandescents and reduce energy costs by 75 percent. In an study published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences last month, she and her colleagues from Wharton and the Duke Fuqua School of Business gathered 210 potential buyers. They asked them to choose between incandescent bulbs and CFLs, some which sported a “protect the environment” sticker. Divisions were apparent until they made both bulbs the same price. Then, every subject except one chose the CFL.

“Our results demonstrated that a choice that wasn’t ideologically polarizing without a (“protect the environment”) label became polarizing when we included that environmental labeling,” Gromet noted. “We saw a significant drop-off in conservative people choosing to buy a more expensive, energy-efficient option.”So it makes that choice unattractive to some people even if they recognize that it may be a money-saving choice. When we asked afterward, those consumers identified the CFL bulbs as providing greater monetary savings over time. But they would forgo that option when that product was made to represent a value that was not something they wanted to be identified with.”

Regardless of whether or not they realized that the CFLs would be more practical in the long run, conservatives still opted to go for the less efficient technology. To combat global warming and carbon emissions, the United States is one of many countries trying to persuade consumers to switch to bulbs that use little power. Last year, they took on 100 watt bulbs, and in January they introduced new efficiency requirements that went into effect for 75 watt bulbs. You would think that a bulb with a longer life and overall benefit to the consumers’ pocketbook would be a win-win, but not for those who look to the government’s regulations as just one more step down the road to communism….or fascism…or whatever dystopian future some out there have imagined.

To add insult to injury, there is little evidence that green PR helps boost sales of products amongst liberals. While the research team needs more data to confirm this suspicion, they did not find any support that leftists were swayed by green labeling. In addition to political prejudice, pro-planet goods have to contend with old stereotypes that they are poorly designed, overpriced, and not as high in quality as long-established brands. One small ray of hope may lie in the overall trend for consumers to look towards LEDs in favor of CFLs for their homes and businesses. While the Wharton study did not test opinions over LEDs, it would be interesting to see whether or not politics play a role in their selection and whether the CFL phenomenon is simply a fluke.

Still, with those who are under the belief that the UN’s Agenda 21 is a plot to take control of the world under the guise of a green manifesto negotiated without the input of the American people, it is not hard to see how some are ruffled by being told to do pretty much anything. Sadly, they will maintain this point of view even if what they are being asked to do is for the benefit of the greater good. Unfortunately, the environment does not care whether or not you are Democrat or Republican when it comes to natural disasters brought on by a shifting climate. CO2 doesn’t vote or go to the store. However, humans do, and we are the ones making the ultimate decisions on how we live ont his planet. We can only pray that we do the right thing regardless of the motivation.

According to a report by the NRDC, the United States wastes a staggering 40% of all food produced. That works out to $165 billion of uneaten food each year! Organic matter is the largest solid component of our landfills, and between unsold produce and tossed meals, we glut our dumps and fritter away precious resources. Luckily, some enterprising chefs and bloggers are working towards changing attitudes and practices towards how we treat what we eat.

Culinary Misfits- Hailing from Germany, catering company Culinary Misfits uses fruits and vegetables that the supermarkets and restaurants reject. Misshapen or discolored, the produce is still perfectly good, and suited for such meals as “crooked parsnip” or “twisted cucumber soup”. Founded by Lea Emma Brumsack and Tanja Krakowski, the duo began their careers studying product design. After becoming interested in the urban consumerism and the waste surrounding food production, they opened their business in 2012. Presenting their creations on rescued thrift store dishes, the Culinary Misfits transform unloved vegetables into delicious fare.

Waste Cooking- Usually, you associate reality TV with gross-out antics and poor social behavior. Yet, in Waste Cooking, enterprising dumpster divers and chefs look to Austria’s organic waste bins for materials to make amazing meals. Creator and director David Gross was appalled at the amount of perfectly good food he found chucked into the trash of his native country, and decided that he needed to do something to publicize the nearly 105,000 tons Austrians discarded each year. The episodes, which can be found online through their website, begin with divers roaming the streets by bicycle at night to “shop” for their ingredients. Later, blogger and cook Tobias Judmaier crafts the produce, meats, and cheeses into meals presented in a public place. Upon learning the food’s origins, some are enticed, others are disgusted, but all are more aware of their consumption habits.

GleanSLO- A little closer to home, GleanSLO takes advantage of the bounty of the Central Coast and harvests unwanted fruits and vegetables around the county for the SLO Food Bank. A group of dedicated volunteers gather at farms for a couple of hours throughout the week and donate their time and labor to help feed to hungry. In addition to the feeling of a job well done, participants also get to meet their fellow community members and often take home excess food for themselves. The farmers get a tax credit and cleanup, empty stomachs get healthy and high-quality groceries, and gleaners get a great workout and some treats to take with them.

It used to be that the biggest danger to your children from their toys was not being able to find their favorite plaything before bedtime or a long road trip.  Now, parents lose sleep over where action figures and stuffed animals are produced, whether the materials are safe, and what will happen to them once they reach the end of their life span.  Toys are supposed to be enjoyable, not objects of worry and anxiety!  Bamboo is an eco-friendly, non-toxic, and sustainable choice for fun.  Luckily, there are innovative and imaginative designers out there with our children’s entertainment and well being in mind.

– Israeli designers and Chinese manufacturers have teamed up to create safe bamboo toys for children.  The Hape Company and students at the Shenkar College of Engineering and Design in Tel Aviv collaborated with traditional craftsmen to build rolling cars, garden sets, games, puzzles, and dolls.

– For the young artists out there, Rocking Frog makes a bamboo version of the classic spiral drawing toy.  Just the right size to fit into a backpack with a couple of crayons and a few sheets of recycled paper, the smooth bamboo tablet and wheel are hand-crafted in the United States.  The North Carolina builder also offers gorgeous rocking animals composed of bamboo plywood, and finished with with safe stains and seals.

– Bambu Batu is proud to carry (and shake) Dandelion Toys® Bamboo Zoo plush rattles, made from bamboo viscose and filled with corn stuffing.  Machine washable, they are free of harmful toxins, extremely soft, and made in the US.  Perfect for teething, coordination, and a snuggle, they are a great addition to your baby’s crib or stroller.

– When your baby is teething, it is of the utmost importance that they are chewing on something that is safe and free from harsh dyes and chemicals.  Opt for an organic knit blankie with teething ring from Baby Green Sprout for your little one to gnaw upon.  The ring is filled with sterilized water and can be cooled in the refrigerator to bring relief to sore gums.

Feel confident about your purchases!  Look for bamboo, reclaimed materials, safe dyes and sealants, and non-toxic materials!

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