London Opens First Waste-Free Shop

In the past few months alone, the zero-waste community has grown exponentially. Environmental enthusiasts are ever going as far as hosting sustainable wedding receptions. Waste-free shops are manifesting across all seven continents, including this charming boutique in London.

“I created a shop that I wish existed. I wanted to cut packaging, I wanted to cut my footprint, and found it very difficult as supermarkets pack everything.” [said shop owner Ingrid Caldironi]

The shop, dubbed Bulk Market, boasts a wide range of organic products. Home essentials, including fresh produce, chocolates, and hair products, rest comfortably on its shelves. Caldironi’s ultimate goal is to prevent excessive buying and packaging waste.

“Why can’t we shop with smaller exact portions – 1-2 carrots, 1-2 eggs; why big packets with the environmental waste that goes with it?”

As an avid lover of omelettes, I’m not entirely sure 2 eggs would get the job done. However, the initiative is more than commendable, especially for environmental aficionados on a budget.

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3D-Printed House Is Affordable And Easy To Build

Who needs retail therapy when you have 3D printing? From furniture to electronics, the process has surpassed its own limits in just a few years. Now that brain tissue and functioning ears are part of 3D-printing catalogues, why not up the grandeur? Thanks to startup ICON, it’s totally possible to zap a 650 square foot home into existence in just under 24 hours.

“We have been building homes for communities in Haiti, El Salvador, and Bolivia,” [says] Alexandria Lafci, co-founder of New Story.

“It’s much cheaper than the typical American home,” [founder Jason] Ballard says.

ICON spends a modest $10,000 printing a single home, and aims to lower costs down to $4,000. The Austin-based group will initially bring houses into El Salvador and eventually the Americas. The modern huts will slash labor costs and produce minimal waste.

“(ICON) believes, as do I, that 3D printing is going to be a method for all kinds of housing,” [co-founder Alexandria Lafci] says.

If ICON can come up with affordable space habitats, I’d be the first off the planet.

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Yes, You Can Rock A Studio Apartment

When you’re fresh out of university and stripped of your toga, reality hits like a right hook. Budgeting may not be your strong suit, and neither would interior design be — unless it was your major. Still, despite the looming horrors of adulthood, sustainable wardrobe trends and forward-moving technology soften the blow. Living alone isn’t easy. Not everyone claims they can rock a studio apartment, but yes — it’s possible!

Home shopping is often exciting, especially if you’re moving into your first one. Though the funding department can often speak for itself, not everyone is particularly thoughtful when it comes to space. Photographic memory or none, measure your room dimensions. Furniture “looking small” is just about as deceiving as two-dollar fortune tellers. Know your apartment’s limits. Anyway, you do want to make sure you can push a bed frame through the door.

Once you have your basics down pat, pick out adjustable storage. Putting away your things in one place will not only be less confusing — it eats up significantly less space. Scout department stores that sell shelves that shrink and expand. That way, they’ll only cater to what you have at the moment, an amount that will likely fluctuate. Bonus points if you pick up a couch with drawers!

Smaller apartments also mean smaller rooms, if not just a single space. In this case, you’ll want pretty versatile fittings. Purchase items with several functions. Finding altering desks, couches, and even beds are surprisingly not too difficult a find. If you can hide them away after use, even better! After all, Transformers aired ten years ago. And on the plus side, your studio should, by default, feel a lot more futuristic.

Though it mostly goes without saying, buy only what is necessary. Decor is crucial to personalizing a home, but if you’re low on cash, keep it on the back burner. If you can’t afford a particular necessity, make it yourself. Get creative, especially with items that aren’t too intimate. Show off your wardrobe on a makeshift wall rack. Nowhere to keep your books? Make a shelf — out of books!

If you’re fussy about an area looking tight, play with illusion. Decorate with striped rugs to make floors appear lengthier. Paint your walls with light colors to reflect sunlight as opposed to absorbing it. Embellish your walls higher up, to give rooms a sense of height. Make things pop in however way you see fit. What catches your eye will likely catch others’ too, but avoid overcrowding! Larger and fewer ornamental pieces trump smaller and plentiful ones any day.

Most importantly, be resourceful. Your home isn’t a doomsday bunker — keep it comfortable. Figure out several ways to use a single appliance. If hitting the laundromat or local diner is a simpler option, go for it. Home will always be there to welcome you back, mansion or not.

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Renovate Your Home To Suit A Sustainable Lifestyle

There is a preconceived notion that eco-homes must be built from the ground up, much like the HouseZero project. While it may be convenient, adapting a more sustainable lifestyle can be achieved within a standard home. In fact, it is oftentimes cost-efficient, as working by piecemeal allows homeowners to budget. But where do you start?

Knowing how your home functions is a great starting point. Assess how much energy you consume in a month. This can be as easy as consulting an online calculator or even your electricity bill. Who knows? The numbers may be enough to motivate you. But before diving headfirst into solar panel catalogues, figure out the essentials.

Make small changes. Replace your lightbulbs. Old-fashioned incandescent lightbulbs may be cheap and charming, but they are by no means long-lasting. LED lightbulbs are a great alternative, as they are less wasteful and last 35 times longer. Move things around — and not just for Feng Shui’s sake. Placing your refrigerator in a shaded area is actually more energy-efficient, as it works harder to keep cool under the sun. Go for organic sheets and wool blankets, as producing them doesn’t require insecticide.

Establishing new habits will prepare you for real deal remodeling. It’s time to repurpose and replace. Determine the best time for serious refurbishing. If most things are still perfectly functional, give your extreme makeover some time. Going green may seem like the perfect opportunity to splurge on furniture, but choosing to upcycle or trade them in is a lot more economical. Use eco-paint on your walls. These are free of damaging volatile organic compounds. Replace timber flooring with bamboo, as they give off zero emissions and are quickly replenished.

It may not seem so, but bathrooms are easily the most environmentally damaging spaces in a household. Install new utilities. Specifically, go for low-flow toilets and shower heads. Flushing accounts for some 30% of total indoor water use. While purchasing a new bathroom necessities may cost you a buck, low-flow technology can save 160,000 liters of water a year. If you’re a tub junkie like I am, use your bath sparingly.

It’s also important to seek locally sourced materials and tradesmen. Sure, you have entire freedom to be on the lookout for the best of the best. However, going local is not only economically beneficial, but saves on transportation costs. Plus, it’s likely things will be underway a lot quicker.

Like any renovation procedure, it’s best to consult with other builders. Unless you are skilled by any practical means, you’ll probably need all the help you can get. If this is the case, make sure your builders recycle and reduce waste. Guarantee that whatever materials you are discarding don’t end up in a landfill. Many construction groups are open to organizing proper disposal procedures.

Most importantly, monitor your habits as a consumer. You could build a perfectly eco-friendly home, but forget to be prudent with your energy consumption. Solar panels don’t necessarily give you license to remain plugged-in 24/7. Home may be the best place to relax, but it’s also where we should learn to be mindful. After all, how green you are in public should be how green you are behind closed doors.

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