Color-Changing Food Labels Help Reduce Waste

Ever waste a perfectly good packet of bacon because you forgot how long it had been open? An abundance of meaty landfills will prove you’re not the only one. To reduce the amount of food waste in households, Sainsbury has launched ‘smart labels’ to remind consumers when to use certain packets.

The new label changes colour from yellow to purple the longer the pack has been open. Sainsbury’s says it hopes this will reduce the amount of perfectly good ham being thrown away.

To be honest, as a regular in the kitchen, I could always use a gentle reminder. I don’t always see a packet of ham to its end. But the fun doesn’t stop there. The label is also temperature-sensitive and part of Sainsbury’s “waste less, save more” initiative.

The label is among many new technological initiatives – including mobile apps, scales that calculate the financial cost of food waste, and even smart fridges and cameras – which it is hoped will transform the way consumers shop and control their domestic food waste.

It’s no surprise that the labels hail from the U.K. The average British family tosses £700 worth of food annually. Most of us are probably wishing these labels were hitting our shelves–but not to worry. Other worldwide groups are taking initiatives to improve the environment.

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India Sets World Record For Planting Trees

While we may ascribe India to its dense population, we might not say the same for its trees. At least not until now! On July 3, 2017, 1.5 million volunteers planted a record-breaking 66 million trees in only 12 hours.

The campaign was organized by the Madhya Pradesh government, with 24 distracts of the Narmada river basin chosen as planting sites to increase the saplings’ chances of survival. Volunteers planted more than 20 different species of trees.

India committed to increasing its forests by 5 million hectares before 2030 and it appears to be keeping its word. Volunteers included children and the elderly, who planted 66.3 million saplings from 7 am – 7 pm. If my math is as good as I think it is, that’s around 44 trees planted per person!

“By planting trees we are not only serving Madhya Pradesh but the world at large.”

India is the world’s third largest generator of carbon emissions. Prime Minister Narendra Modi… reaffirmed his country’s commitment to the Paris climate accord after the US withdrew from the deal.

Not only did India break record; it broke its own record of having planted 50 million trees in a single day in 2016. That’s what I call commitment to the cause! If tree-planting isn’t at the top of your list, there are many other ways to combat climate change.

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When You Diet You Lose More Than Just Weight

I am not a heavy set woman. Granted, I am nowhere near a size 2 either. I am a solid in-between, healthy, and yet social media tells me I am plus sized. By no means am I obliged to lose any weight. Yet, time and again, I opt for the occasional diet, whether by means of a detox or regulating my meals. The reason? Simple–I care what I look like, and I am allowed to.

Most my relatives are diet skeptics. “It’s dangerous.” “It’ll make you sick.” I’ve heard every possible concern. But just as my weight shouldn’t be anyone’s problem, neither should be my decision to lose it.

I have often been told that dieting will not make me feel better about myself–perhaps it is the case for some. Dieting is not all about weight, or rather the loss of it. Over the years, it has given me a sense of control. As a person who struggles with anxiety, being in control of something is empowering.

Calorie counters are notoriously pegged obsessive-compulsive. But working with the mathematics of food can be liberating. I am inarguably right-brained, so numbers come as a challenge. Being able to grasp something that is naturally foreign to me is nothing short of a success. Plus, I get to see food in an entirely different light–as something that is also calculated. After all, a lot of thought goes into preparing a meal.

When I am not dieting, I fall victim to overeating. There’s nothing like a hand-tossed pizza drowning in pepperoni and mozzarella, and unfortunately, it’s a trendy household meal. With the current accessibility of deliveries, people no longer turn to their kitchens for dinner. They simply don’t have the time. Being in shape demands effort, and with it, I’ve learned commitment. This isn’t to say I don’t reward myself with a cheat day at the end of every week.

Dieting doesn’t so much revolve around restraint, but also allowing yourself to enjoy when you know you’ve earned it. Knowing I’ve lasted six days without giving in to a single cookie brings just as much a sense of accomplishment as I do in my working and personal life.

I also realize much is lost when you diet–not just weight. I lose my toxicity, not only from grease and oil. I feel internally cleansed. I am ridding myself of parts of me I no longer want to hold on to. I am not always satisfied with how I look, and I think that’s okay.

I have heard whispers: “She could shed a few pounds.” “Her thighs are gigantic.” “She used to be so skinny.” I won’t say it doesn’t affect me. But it isn’t from where my motivation to eat healthy stems.

I am inspired by the fact that I am perfectly content with change. It will come around either way. I don’t diet out of shame, nor for anyone else, but out of love for myself and who I want to become.

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In-Ride Shopping Helps Uber Drivers Make Extra Cash

Rush hour is not anyone’s favorite time of the day, but from time to time, we inevitably find ourselves in the middle of it. However, 15-minute-turned-2-hour drives don’t always leave us prepared for hunger pangs and total boredom. Cargo, a startup that allows Uber drivers to sell a quirky mix of items mid-ride, is not only helping them make an extra buck, but also alleviates our traffic-induced hiccups.

Cargo partners with brands to put candy, protein bars, tampons, and condoms in a case that sits within reach of passengers. The case comes with a code unique to each driver, which passengers use to record what they took during the ride.

Drivers get a bit of extra money from Cargo for the things their passengers take, regardless of whether the riders made a purchase or just took something for free. Passengers can even tip their drivers through Cargo, too.

While the extra income earned from Cargo is nothing hair-raising, drivers are not charged for having a case of goodies in their car.

“Our mission is to help drivers earn more by providing the best ride experience possible,”

“For passengers, you never have to worry about your phone dying, riding hungover, or suffering through that snack-less midnight ride from the airport,”

Cargo is clearly going above and beyond simple customer care, and we couldn’t be more grateful!

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Plus-Size Model Shuts Down Fat-Shamer On Plane

In a society so diverse, body-shaming should be a thing of the past. Unfortunately it isn’t, and especially not for plus-size model Natalie Hage, who was fat-shamed by her seatmate on a flight to Los Angeles. The man had sent hateful text messages about her figure to a friend. However Natalie, who was clearly over it, refused to allow herself to be belittled and confronted the man.

In a photo she posted on Instagram, you can see a portion of the exchange, which starts with the friend saying, “Hopefully she didn’t have any Mexican food.” The man responds, “I think she ate a Mexican.”

Ouch. Netizens were quick to respond with support for Natalie, who blessed the Internet with a video of her conversation with the man.

Hage begins by introducing herself and calling him out for the text messages. He immediately denies it. Then he apologies, claiming he did it because he was drinking.

Hage responds with absolute bravado before exiting the plane.

“My body is none of your business, and you have no idea what I can or can’t do with it…don’t ever treat anyone like that again,” she says.

You go girl! If this man couldn’t get the picture, we’re at least hoping he learns that there is no correlation between alcohol and how you treat a person.

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Pet Insurance Is Now A Thing

Nowadays, pets are pampered more than ever before. From posh buggies to personalized raincoats, it wouldn’t be surprising if pet insurance soon became a reality. Well, luckily for pet owners in Silicon Valley, it is.

Lately, employee benefits have extended to pet insurance for dogs and cats as businesses look for more ways to attract and retain workers.

Rich Lang, senior vice president of human resources at VMware in Palo Alto, said offering pet insurance as an employee benefit aligns with the company’s core value of building community.

My Pet Protection offers plans from $40 to $66. But what exactly does it cover?

The price covers accidents, illnesses and preventive care such as vaccinations, flea medicine and wellness exams — but not preexisting conditions.

The cost of insurance almost pays for itself because of the coverage for monthly heartworm and flea medicine, and tests or shots.

As an avid animal enthusiast with an accident prone dog, I have definitely hopped on the bandwagon. Will you be signing your pet up for insurance?

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Smoggy China Gets Air-Purifying Bicycles

It’s time for China to kiss face masks goodbye, because ofo has just come up with an even better solution for the smog-infested country. Partnering up with TEZIGN, ofo has developed a high-tech bicycle that cycles and purifies air, soon to be available to 20 million people.

The bicycles work similarly to Roosegaarde’s Smog Free Tower by providing “a healthy and energy-friendly solution for urbanites, combatting both traffic congestion and pollution issues in the city.” Both the Smog Free Tower and the smog-free bicycles are part of Roosegaarde’s larger vision to fill cities with fresh air.

The project is currently being productized in China and the Netherlands. The eco-bike is not only a huge breakthrough in China’s air pollution problem–it is also reviving a centuries-old bicycle culture.

“Beijing used to be an iconic bicycle city. We want to bring back the bicycle as a cultural icon of China and as the next step towards smog free cities.”

Looks like China can now bid jars of air adieu.

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Walk Smart On These Power-Generating Streets

Society is becoming increasingly more sustainable each year, which means there are always new (and interesting!) methods of saving and producing energy. Most recently, Pavegen has heralded the world’s first energy-harvesting smart street, an innovation that could easily shake up the nation.

Pavegen installed a 107-square-foot array in Bird Street to harness and convert the power of footsteps into electricity, which will supply energy for lights and bird sounds in the area. Bluetooth Low-Energy transmitters are also part of this array, so that users can interact with the array via apps. People can see their steps on the energy-harvesting pavement translate into discounts, vouchers, and clean electricity.

The technology’s interactive feature will surely have shoppers making rounds on Bird Street.

Pavegen CEO Laurence Kemball-Cook said in a statement, “Being able to demonstrate how our technology can bring to life the retail shopping experience is a vital step for us. As retailers compete with online, technologies like ours make being in the busy high street more exciting and rewarding for people and brands alike.”

Bird Street also fashions Airlite air-purifying paint, making it one of the U.K.’s most trendy and sustainable avenues.

Technology never fails to amaze me.

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Meet The Toilet That Charges Your iPhone

Over the years, on-the-toilet entertainment has evolved from browsing tabloid magazines to swiping right on the latest smartphone. If you haven’t felt an impending sense of doom when forgetting to charge your phone means having to finish your business without any source of amusement, you are one of very few people. The LooWatt hopes to alleviate this problem with an eco-friendly toilet that also serves as a charging port.

Technology company LooWatt has developed a brand-new kind of toilet. For one, it doesn’t use any water; instead, it traps human waste in a biodegradable film, which is then sealed and transported to a central facility.  At that facility, the excrement is turned into electricity that can charge cellphones and into fertilizer that can help grow plants.

How exactly does the LooWatt work?

Step 1. Take a number one (or a number two, whatever). Step 2. Waste is collected in biodegradable bags, and transported to a central ‘digester’. Step 3. Decomposition creates biogas, which is siphoned off and stored. Step 4. Biogas is used to power a generator, cleanly creating electricity. Step 5. The electricity charges your smartphone.

That seems like one heck of a toilet! While the LooWatt is not yet commercially available, you might stumble upon it as a port-a-potty.

Anyone for a number two?

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Vancouver Busts Sale Of Cats And Dogs From Puppy Mills

It’s one small step for puppies and kittens and one giant leap for the animal kingdom! Once again, Canada has taken initiative–this time to ban the sale of puppy mill animals in pet stores. And you can bet I’m proud.

Put forward by City Councilmember Heather Deal, the motion to ban the sale of dog, cats, and rabbits in pet shops passed with a unanimous vote. Richmond and New Westminster have similar laws in effect.

Puppy mills engage in overbreeding for the sake of profit, often producing sick animals. Vancouver is now encouraging pet stores to partner with locals shelters to promote adoption.

Members of the Paws for Hope Animal Foundation, an animal welfare organization in Vancouver, had been protesting the sale of animals at this store for five years… The new legislation “sends a clear message to Vancouver residents and the rest of the world that city council believes in a humane community. A city that places animal welfare before profit.”

If you’ve now been inspired to hop on the adoption bandwagon, remember–you are picking out a friend for life!

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