Activists Demand Recyclable Cups From Starbucks

If Starbucks isn’t your go-to for mocha frappuccinos, you’re probably living on another planet. Known for its wide range of flavors and misspelling names, the coffee chain is the largest in the world. With coffee moguls inventing edible coffee capsules, Starbucks still needs to step up its sustainability game. At GeekWire’s annual summit, protesters demanded recyclable cups from the food giant, creating a Cup Monster made with Starbucks products.

“If Starbucks CEO Kevin Johnson is serious about transforming his company into a tech leader, he must first solve his company’s biggest environmental liability: the 8,000 [plus] cups that go into landfills every minute of every day,” said Stand.earth spokesperson Ross Hammond.

What makes Starbucks cups mostly un-recyclable is its inner plastic lining. While the company claims to incorporate post-consumer fibers into its cups, recycling methods vary among different states.

“It’s important to note that what is recyclable varies significantly by municipality and sometimes even by store. We pay local private haulers across the country to collect and recycle hot cups along with our other recyclable products, compost and trash.”

Extremely recyclable? Sort of recyclable? Regardless of how recyclable Starbucks thinks its products are, there is always room to be more eco-conscious.

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Share Table Program Feeds Kids And Counters Waste

To address a growing number of hungry students, New York public schools transitioned into free lunch programs. As the issue of child hunger becomes increasingly dire, schools across the U.S. are finally taking action together. With 13 million children underfed each day, institutions are launching share table initiatives, which also combat food waste.

All students need to do is leave unwanted food or drinks at a designated station where others can help themselves. Any food left at the end of the day can go towards afterschool programs, or a nearby shelter or nonprofit.

The program works around federal school lunch restrictions, in which cafeterias cannot re-serve day-old food. Additionally, states require children to take a certain amount of food — often more than they need.

“The first goal is to make sure there’s no hungry kids at school,” [said] volunteer Jennifer Janus… “The second goal is to bring the food here so we can feed the hungry people our town … This is all food that would get thrown away. Food is not trash.”

The USDA is now on board with the scheme, also encouraging schools to offer new and healthier lunch options. As the saying goes, sharing is caring!

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Smart Solar Greenhouse Grows Healthy Crops

Step aside, fossil fuels — everyone is going solar. With eco-houses and trains now on the market, we might as well redesign as much as we can into solar. This is where electricity-generating greenhouses are stepping in.

Electricity-generating solar greenhouses utilize Wavelength-Selective Photovoltaic Systems (WSPVs), a novel technology that generates electricity more efficiently and at less cost than traditional photovoltaic systems… WSPVs absorb some of the blue and green wavelengths of light but let the rest through, allowing the plants to grow.

In testing a variety of plant species, researchers at UC Santa Cruz found that 80% remained unaffected by changes. The remaining 20%? They actually grew better under the building’s bright magenta windows.

“If greenhouses generate electricity on site, that reduces the need for an outside source, which helps lower greenhouse gas emissions even more,” said [professor Michael] Loik. “We’re moving toward self-sustaining greenhouses.”

The greenhouse uses 5% less water — a success, taking into account that greenhouses occupy 9 million acres of land. And just when you thought things couldn’t get any better, the system costs 40% less than traditional means. Clearly, percentages have demonstrated a win-win situation for these buildings, which will hopefully bring users 100% satisfaction.

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Vegan Milk Delivery Service Is Tasty And Eco-Friendly

If going vegetarian is something up your alley, this nutty milk delivery service may be perfect for you. With Mylk Man, ditching dairy has never been simpler.

Mylk Man offers your classic plant-based flavours, like almond, in addition to funkier bottles, like pistachio and sweet chai and turmeric and cashew.

As well as these fancier varieties giving them an edge on supermarket-stocked brands, there’s also the 12 per cent minimum volume of nuts in every bottle – significantly higher than most mass-produced blends.

As a vegan lifestyle is clearly all the rage, Mylk Man should be nothing short of a hit. 500 ml bottles start at £1.75. Glass material makes them easy to recycle or return for future deliveries. Unfortunately for any neighboring European countries, Mylk Man is London-based (but there are talks of expansion).

“Sustainability is fundamental to what we do,” says [business owner] Jamie. “As well as being plastic-free and using glass bottles, we give 10 per cent of our profits to Greenpeace. And we’re stocked in massive tanks at the Bulk Market zero waste shop, in Dalston.”

For a taste, I’d say an impromptu weekend in London wouldn’t be out of the question.

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Culinary Star Serves BBQ To Wildfire Evacuees

While chef José Andrés was serving 8,000 meals a day to victims of Hurricane Maria, a wildfire was devastating California. Not to disappoint the thousands who lost their homes, culinary star Guy Fieri decided to host a massive barbecue.

“This is the least we can do. We’re so happy to do it,” [said] Fieri… “We’re so sorry for friends who have lost homes. There’s a lot of really good people coming together,” he added.

Fieri set up shop in Santa Rosa Veterans Memorial Building with the help of the Salvation Army. Fieri, too, had to evacuate his home in the early morning but was determined to help.

“So I called the Salvation Army in Santa Rosa and I said, ‘I’m ready, I’ve got an army, I’m ready to help,'” [said] Fieri… “And they said, ‘Bring it.'”

The Food Network VIP cooked up lunch and dinner for evacuees for three straight days. Though package meals from neighboring communities were arriving quickly, nothing seemed to beat a delicious plate of sizzling pork.

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5-Year-Old Provides Classmates With Milk Money

If we are born inherently good, we see the best of it in our kids. Thanks to technology, children of all ages have been raising funds for various causes. In just a little over a month, kids have pooled money for deaf communities and Puerto Ricans in need. In rural Michigan, another kindergartener is stepping into the charitable spotlight, raising $5,000 for her classmates’ milk funds.

Sunshine has 20 classmates, and about half can’t afford milk. Milk costs 45 cents per carton, so Sunshine would need $800 to buy her classmates milk every day for one school year.

Initially, the cheery, pigtailed 5-year-old donated $30 of piggy bank money to a friend. Impressed by her initiative, Sunshine’s grandmother Jackie Oelfke decided to help her crowdfund. Naturally, this prompted the pair to set up a GoFundMe page.

Her GoFundMe campaign has been going for ten days so far, and today it surpassed its $5,000 goal — enough to give her classmates milk money until they’re well into the fourth grade.

It seems Sunshine is filling both her classmates’ pockets and tummies!

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All NYC Public Schools To Serve Vegan Lunch Options

Lately, the New York public school system has been on a roll with its feeding programs. Since its city council decided to offer free cafeteria lunches, there are now also options for vegans.

The upcoming vegan food options range from Mexicali Chili to Lentil Stew, to Zesty BBQ Crunchy Tofu — all which sounds pretty like a big improvement from conventional school lunches which are often highly processed meats or fried food.

Behind the movement is the Coalition for Health School Food, which has also helped three NYC schools go completely vegetarian. The vegan choices will allow food autonomy to children as well as lower their carbon footprint. While many parents have expressed concern over vegan diets, research can put their minds at ease.

The British Dietetic Association (BDA) have recently confirmed that “they believe a well-planned vegan diet ‘supports healthy living in people of all ages’ including ‘during pregnancy and breastfeeding.’”

Of course, students will be given the freedom to choose their own meals. Though a typical second-grader may be more privy to chicken nuggets, encouraging a side of vegetables may not be too difficult.

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Internet Raises Money For Hotdog Vendor

If you place your woes on social media, chances are the Internet community will reach out to you. It helped this high school student reclaim her stolen college money. It even helped this young deaf boy purchase hearing aids for those in need. When the Internet heard about a cop confiscating $60 from an unlicensed hotdog vendor, they raised over $60,000 for the sausage aficionado.

“The funds raised will be utilized to cover legal and personal losses,” [witness Martin] Flores wrote on the GoFundMe page. “In addition, funds in excess are to cover other vendors who have been robbed of their hard earned living through citations and removal of their carts.”

While the UC Berkeley officer remains on the job, more than 35,000 people have signed a petition to have him removed from the force. The vendor’s lack of a sales permit apparently “justified” the seizure of earnings.

Some authority figures will inevitably continue to abuse their power. But it sure is nice to know that we can count on our friends online to keep the peace.

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Algae Structure Produces Crucial Superfood

Algae has been making rounds in the fashion world as part of a running shoe. But beyond a sustainable footwear material, it’s also a crucial superfood — and this algae structure produces it.

The Algae Dome is a four-meter-high… pavilion that houses a photo-bioreactor, a closed system primed to produce microalgae at high quantities.

In just three days, the dome is capable of producing 450 liters of algae. It’s ultimate goal is to call attention to the product’s high nutritional value and unique characteristics.

Not only is algae rich in nutrients, containing twice as much protein as meat, it’s also packed with vitamins and minerals like iron.

Hear that, filet mignon? You’ve got competition. Being the fastest-growing plant species, various industries ought to pay more attention to the green gem. It can even grow in polluted water, which is practical in this day and age. Looks like a brighter future could be in store for us, thanks to this unexpected savior.

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Spread The Charitable Holiday Cheer On A Budget

Rolling into the “ber” months has many of us anticipating the upcoming holidays. While December usually means plastic pine trees from Home Depot and the return of Starbucks’ secret menu, it is also a time of giving. Though it’s the simplest and most practical way to help others in need, we aren’t all equipped to donate money. (That is, of course, unless you’re Bill Gates) However, there are a plethora of different ways to spread the charitable holiday cheer on a budget — and it may be more rewarding than you think.

Making a physical donation is easily the most viable option for holiday busybodies. If money isn’t exactly on your side, choose to donate in kind. Considering that the Christmas season rakes in a lot of presents, there are probably household items you can choose to live without. You can pledge clothing to shelters and toys to children’s groups. Books can go to your local library and appliances or electronics can end up in Goodwill. Of course, it is best to ensure that the items in your “give” box are in good condition.

If you can spare a day being proactive, you can opt to give your time. Charities don’t only seek checks and boxes — they need people. Volunteer at a home, whether for the elderly, ill, or four-legged. Chances are, there will be a lot for you to do. A rise in nonprofit groups may leave you with a copious amount of options. If you’re unsure of where to start, figure out where your interests lie and what skills you have to offer. This is where making a list and checking it twice may come in handy. (Scoot over, Santa)

If you are keen on raising funds, plan something income-generating like a garage sale or auction. If you’re without a charity of choice, research a group that could use the money. Remember that you will make the greatest impact by sticking to one organization. A few hundred dollars will go a long way for a single cause as opposed to dividing costs between various groups.

Some people love experiencing the immediate effects of giving back. If you’re handy in the kitchen, consider running a food drive. Get your neighborhood in on the action. Decide what meals are easiest to throw together, and are most cost-efficient. Not only will you satisfy a handful of hungry tummies — you’ll bring the community together.

Needing a change? Or are you simply not so squeamish? Make a medical donation. Blood drives are common during the holidays and a perfectly suitable option for those who have managed to stay in shape. (Perhaps skip the fruit cake?) If you’re not too hot for needles, donate your hair! You’ll be surprised how many people are affected by hair loss due to medical conditions. Moms can also donate breast milk to milk banks.

Giving back can be rewarding, especially if you have the money to do so. But you can choose to be charitable every single day. The time you take to change someone’s life will likely be more meaningful than just a dollar bill.

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