By MJ Deschamps
With fast fashion and quick turnover key commercial ingredients of today’s garment and apparel industry, excess textile production is prompting the sector to gravitate towards more recycling and re-use of materials, to conserve energy, increase sustainability and lower raw material costs. (more…)
Spalding Hospital sits on Boston Harbor in Charlestown. (Photo: Robin Lubbock/WBUR)
In an effort to stabalize energy costs hospitals nationwide are investing in energy efficiency and renewable energy. Host Steve Curwood checks out the innovative design of the new Spaulding hospital with John Messervy Director of Capital and Facilities Planning for Partners’ HealthCare. (more…)
The textile industry needs an affordable, sustainable alternative to oil-based polymers, and a recent study shows that hagfish slime protein threads have the potential to be spun and woven into novel biomaterials.
Hagfishes are an ancient group of eel-like, bottom-dwelling animals that have remained relatively unchanged for more than 300 million years. When threatened, hagfishes secrete a gelatinous slime containing mucous and tens of thousands of protein threads. These threads belong to the “intermediate filament” family of proteins, and they have remarkable mechanical properties that rival those of spider silks. (more…)
Here at MantraMeds, our scrubs are made from recycled plastic but we like to emphasize that making our planet a more sustainable place means practicing all 3 R’s: Reducing, Reusing & Recycling. Here is a great article from HuffPost Green on reducing use of plastic on all your fresh summer produce!
I started shopping at my farmers market this summer. I’ve noticed people putting fruits and vegetables directly in their totes, without taking the plastic bags some vendors offer. But how do you keep produce fresh in the fridge without the plastic?
Not long ago, I asked myself that same question. I had recently invested in a large set of organic cotton reusable produce bags, and while I was feeling mighty proud of myself each time I ventured out to the market (look how eco-friendly I am! Who needs those wasteful plastic produce bags?), the scene in my fridge a few days later was less than pretty.
Stored in plastic, fruits and vegetables would have normally stayed fresh for at least a week. But left in my new reusable bags, all my beautiful produce fast turned into a wilted, spoiled mess. (Even the “crisper” bin seemed to do just the opposite, no matter what the setting.)
I’ve written before about the enormous environmental implications of wasted food; needless to say, my cloth produce bags were not coming close to offsetting the yearly 34 million tons of food waste to which I was now contributing.
But obviously, there were reasons to avoid the plastic bags, too (wildlife-destroying pollution, needless oil consumption, endocrine-disrupting chemicals). They also didn’t seem necessary: After all, plastic produce bags only came into being in the 1960s; plastic grocery bags, a decade later. There had to be a way to keep my fruits and veggies fresh without them.
Enter Beth Terry. As author of the blog My Plastic-free Life and the recently released book Plastic-Free: How I Kicked the Plastic Habit and How You Can Too, Terry knows how to keep everything from persimmons to parsnips fresh with nary a plastic bag in sight: She’s lived plastic free (and not just in the produce department) since 2007.
Terry’s storage methods come largely from Ecology Center Farmers’ Markets in Berkeley, CA, which createdthis guide on how to store more than 60 kinds of fruits and vegetables. But being the plastic-free pro that she is, Terry of course had some suggestions to add. With her help, I’ve created a condensed version for you that includes her input, below.
*Note: While the Ecology Center guide occasionally calls for paper products, Terry tries to limit these; she opts for cloth bags or plastic-free reusable containers instead. (“While plastic is truly problematic, all single-use disposable bags and wrappers have an environmental footprint,” she says.) She suggests a variety of different bags and containers on her site.
One of our MantraMeds Insiders took our sustainable medical scrubs to Panama on a medical mission. His team performed routine dentistry for people in need while there. He wrote us:
The scrubs were great thanks so much. I was in Penonome, Panama for 2 weeks doing dental work in poor communities. I appreciate you getting me the scrubs so quickly and exchanging sizes, ya’ll made it really easy. They were the best looking scrubs in Panama.
Find out more about the MantraMeds Insider Program here: https://mantrameds.wordpress.com/insider-program/
Sign up to become an Insider here: http://www.mantrameds.com/insider-signup
The organic farming debate is about more than just yields
Yields from organic farming may not match those produced by farmers who use synthetic fertilizers and pesticides, but there are other good reasons to buy and support organic — its health benefits, the good that it does for farm workers, even its animal-welfare rules.
So, at least, say executives of the Organic Trade Association, a Washington-based group that represents about 6,500 organic farmers, producers, retailers and suppliers.
“Yield is only one window into organic farming,” says Laura Batcha, executive vice president of the trade group. Organic farming is “good for the environment. It’s good for local economies. It’s good for the farmer incomes.” A 2008 USDA survey of organic production found that organic farms had average annual sales of $217,675, compared to the $134,807 average for U.S. farms overall. Overall, the U.S. organic industry, including fiber as well as food, generated about $31 billion in 2011, up from just $1 billion in 1990. Despite the U.S.’s sluggish economy, organic food and farming remain growth businesses.
I went to see Laura and Christine Bushway, who is CEO of the organic trade group, at their offices on Capitol Hill to talk about several issues, including the push to require labels on food containing genetically modified organisms, the Farm Bill and food safety, including a recent incident of mad cow disease in California. But we talked a lot about yields because it’s in the news: A recent survey of 66 research studies published in Nature, which found that organic yields lag those of conventional farming, has stirred up a bit of a brouhaha. [See my blog post Organic food is not as green as you think, and the comments.]
Party for the Planet | April 4, 2012
Party for the Planet was a huge success! Earthspun Apparel & MantraMeds had a booth right between Joy the Elephant, the Tortoises & the Giraffes! Tons of local businesses showed up to share their green initiatives. City of Greenville Recycling had green Silly Bands and face painting. We highly recommend the Greenville Zoo as a destination point this spring & summer! Zoo Camp 2012 is all abount Animal Mythbusters. What a great way for your kids to spend their summer! Go to http://www.greenvillezoo.com/zoocamp.aspx to find out more.