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Now Trending

Get Ready, All Your Favorite Chocolate Might Soon Be More Eco-Friendly

If you’re wondering what the next big environmental kick in the food world might be, just look down at your candy bar.

We probably don’t think about what happens to our candy wrappers when we gobble up that chocolate and toss the plastic in the trash, but there are companies that have actually been thinking about it.

Over the years, gourmet chocolates have tried their hand at compostable chocolate wrappers, like in 2013, when Hnina produced its “guilt free” chocolate with biodegradable wrapping.

In 2015, Alter Eco chocolate really got the ball rolling, as it became known for producing an environmentally-friendly chocolate wrapper that “you can bury in your back yard.”

Since then, the build has slowed a bit, but Seattle Chocolate just jumped on the trend in a big way, launching compostable wrappers for its truffles, and a plan for a full switch by 2020. Their new truffle wrappers are made with cellulose, a naturally abundant organic material derived from eucalyptus trees that are sustainably harvested.

On a larger scale, big players such as Mars and Nestle have a goal of making all their candies with biodegradable packaging by 2025, according to the Huffington Post UK.

Mars in particular has made some pretty big leaps, teaming with Rodenburg Biopolymers in 2016 to create a Snickers concept wrapper made of potato starch waste, and being given top honors from the Global Bioplastics Awards.

The changes in our candies might not be immediate, but you will probably start seeing gradual changes turn into dramatic changes, as we saw when restaurants jumped on the plastic straw ban trend over the last year.

So don’t be surprised if within the next couple of years your Kit Kat and M&M’s packaging start feeling a little different than what you’re used to. The changes are coming, and like we saw with straws, they can come in a blink of an eye.

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Technology

Edible Water Bubbles Could Be What Kills The Plastic Bottle For Good

From endless reusable water bottle varieties, to design changes in plastic water bottles, the fight to be as eco-friendly as possible is always evolving. But edible water bubbles might be one of the most unique ideas yet.

To be specific, they’re called Ooho bubbles, and are edible water balls you can bite right into and drink with zero waste left behind.

A sustainable packaging startup from the UK called Skipping Rocks Lab developed these bubbles, and they claim they’d cost less to produce than plastic water bottles, and could potentially work for soft drinks, as well.

Each bubble would cost about 2 cents to produce, compared to the 16 cents it takes to produce a plastic water bottle.

Made with a seaweed extract, the bubble is completely biodegradable, and as a bonus, has the consistency of a Jell-O shot.

While the Ooho bubbles are still in a crowdfunding stage, they have tested them in public, and their goal is to soon make their way into music festivals like Glastonbury or athletic events like the London Marathon.

The concept of an edible water bottle isn’t exactly new, as DIY videos can be found across the web. They do take a little time and effort to make, however.

Is this the future of bottled liquids? Maybe, but we’ll have to wait and see if the Oooho bubble ever gets off the ground, and anticipate just how much momentum it can gain going forward.

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Hacks Hit-Or-Miss

13 Genius Ways to Use Up Fruit That’s Going Bad

Look around your kitchen right now. Odds are you’re seeing bananas getting too brown, apples getting too soft, and strawberries slowly shriveling, right? Well, suppress your instinct to throw away food that’s just teetering on rotten.

Even if your fruit is starting to look unappetizing, it can still serve a purpose! Try using near-spoiled fruit in these 13 creative ways and rest assured that you, sir or madam, are an eco-hero. Congratulations.

Face Masks

We live in the day and age of the face masks; as one of the biggest beauty trends of the moment, there’s a face mask for all your skin wishes and woes. But why spend the cash on these masks when you can make your own right in your kitchen? Raw fruit has more tricks up its sleeve than you might think.

For example, papayas have amazing exfoliating properties, avocados prevent signs of aging, tomatoes help skin glow, and oranges reduce acne. Who knew, right?

Those are just a few examples of what DIY fruit masks can do for you complexion, but these masks (especially the tomato/lemon mask) might be our favorites.

Polish Silverware/Shoes

Dingy silverware or scuffed shoes? There’s a simple way to bring their shine back: a banana peel. It sounds weird, but we promise it works.

Peel a banana and take all those stringy bits off the inside of the peel. Then rub the inside of the peel on your dull shoes or silver. Buff with a cloth and you’ll see a shine like no other, plus a pleasant banana smell as a fun bonus.

Make Smoothies

So your shoes look fly and your silverware is gleaming, but what are you going to do with that peeled banana? If it doesn’t look good enough to eat right then and there, try throwing it into a smoothie for all the same flavor and nutrients, minus how gross it feels to eat an overripe banana.

Here’s a great recipe to get you started:

  • 1 overripe banana, chopped
  • ½ beet, chopped
  • 2 cups coconut milk
  • 2 ounces dairy-free protein powder
  • dash of cinnamon and nutmeg
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 ice cube

If you don’t have time to make that delicious smoothie rn, cut the banana in half, put it in a plastic bag, and freeze it. You can use it for tomorrow morning’s smoothie instead!

Granitas

A granita is a frozen treat that’s like a snow cone, only boozier. All you have to do is blend or juice your going-bad fruit, stir in a little alcohol to keep it from freezing completely, and pour the mixture into a shallow, wide container. Place the container into the freezer and use a fork to break up the icy areas every hour or so.

The end result should resemble a shaved iced treat perfect for parties or just cooling off on a hot day.

Fruit Jams

Making homemade jam might make you picture a Stepford Wife, but it’s actually a simple and delicious way to put your rotting fruit to good use. One of our favorites? Apple jelly, which you’ll want to spread on anything you can get your hands on. Better yet, these little jams make rad gifts for your friends and family.

And if you’re not a fan of apples, then you have to check out Serious Eats’ epic guide to fruit spreads.

Conditioning Hair Treatment

The only thing currently trendier than a face mask? A hair mask. Your complexion isn’t the only thing that could use a fruity refreshing every now and again, your strands need TLC, too.

If dry, winter air is getting your hair down, then you need this moisturizing strawberry hair mask — it’s especially perfect for anyone rocking their natural curls.

Garbage Disposal

Nothing gets smellier faster than your garbage disposal. But thankfully, any and all citruses you might be looking to toss are your DIY solution!

Down your stinky sink, pour a half cup of baking soda, some vinegar, and then half of a lime, lemon, or orange. The baking soda and vinegar will react with one another and clean the disposal, while the citrus will leave behind an amazing, clean smell. If you’d rather eat that citrus, feel free to use peels to get the job done.

Breads and Muffins

What better excuse to bake than your ingredients starting to go bad? Adding chopped fruit to a baked good is a brilliant way to use up your produce and upgrade your breads or muffins.

Worried that the poor quality of your fruit will undermine the dish? Try giving the fruit a quick grilling first, which is a great way to give the fruit (and, by association, your baked goods) a deeper flavor.

Crumbles, Crisps, and Cobblers

It doesn’t get better than sugar-coated fruit surrounded by brown sugar crumbles or doughy pie crust. You can use pretty much any fruit imaginable to create an impromptu cobbler, crisp, or crumble, and it’s a guaranteed crowd-pleaser.

Make Potpourri

This might sound like something only your grandma makes, but don’t hate until you’ve tried it. Potpourri (like homemade jam) makes for lovely presents and if you want to keep it for yourself, you’ll be surprised how well this mixture can make your home smell heavenly.

Adding lemon rind to potpourri is the perfect way to perk up any room. Take a handful of spices (such as cinnamon sticks, cloves, or nutmeg) and dried natural materials (such as seasonal flowers or pinecones). Then arrange them in a bowl along with the lemon rind. If you want even more of a boost, sprinkle with scented oils like orange or lemon.

Fruit-Flavored Booze

The perfect way to use fruit before a backyard party or BBQ? Soaking it in alcohol, obvi.

You can steep frozen or fresh fruits in liqueurs like brandy, vodka, or rum and get double the delicious; your alcohol will develop an irresistible fruit flavor and snacking on that fruit at the end of your drink? Let’s just say it will be the most fun you ever have eating a peach slice.

Homemade Ice Cream

Yep, you can make super-creamy ice cream with avocados that aren’t quite at their peak anymore. The fruit is sodium and cholesterol-free, low in calories, and loaded with vitamins and minerals, so it’s as good for you as it is freakin’ delicious. This avocado pistachio ice cream recipe is perfect for after-dinner indulgence.

With all those benefits and amazing flavor, it’s more like nice cream, amiright?

Homemade Pasta Sauce

Don’t have much of a sweet tooth? Rest assured, you can use those browning avocados to make a savory dish that’s just as creamy and delicious.

Try puréeing ripe avocados with garlic and lemon juice, then tossing with hot pasta. Game changer, right? You can also add chopped tomatoes and a little cheese for extra flavor. You’ll never buy canned tomato sauce again.

 

Do you use your rotting fruit in a different clever way? Share your brilliance with us in the comments section below.

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Hit-Or-Miss

Swanky Beer ‘Briefcase’ Carries 4-Pack in Capri Sun Pouches

sixpack1

If you ever have the urge to carry beer around like some kind of blood smuggler, look no further than the Leuven. Created by Korean designer Wonchan Lee, it’s a minimalist, eco-friendly alternative to traditional cardboard or plastic ringed six packs, that allows you to carry four vacuum-sealed PET bags of beer in a way that probably seems way more futuristic than it actually is.

More a frame than a briefcase, the Leuven concept was developed to create a contrasting aesthetic between the clear pouches and black container, and explore new possibilities for beverage package design. In other words, just ’cause it looks cool.

“Differentiation is probably the most important factor in packaging these days as packaging is often the only way to appeal and compete with other products on the shelf,” Lee wrote in his product description, “it has to stand out among others.”

sickpack2

Still, it’s hip, it’s minimalist, it’s green, and if it ever comes to market, it’ll probably also be wildly overpriced. Why wouldn’t we be in?

H/T PSFK

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Fast Food

New Starbucks Ditches Tables & Chairs For Compact Makeover

Starbucks will be opening a slew of stores around the country that are strictly drive-thru and walk-up only, in an eco-friendly experiment.

For these new stores, the traditional sit-down area will be completely out of the picture.

The first store has already opened in Denver, Co. and while Starbucks said that every one of the new stores will have a different look, the Denver one is a compact 500 square feet, made with local materials, certified by Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design and has just enough space to fit three to five people plus work equipment.

Starbucks has been making big moves all year including a food makeover, a juice bar with no spell-check and a caffeine jolt in the Magic Kingdom.

The new Denver store was constructed with wood from old Wyoming snow fencing and is designed to let light through the walk-up window, giving it a “lantern effect” in the morning.

One of the crazier things about this building is that it was constructed in a factory and delivered by a truck!

It’s pretty fancy looking, but the ordering concept is also recycled from several old-school restaurants including, most notably, In-N-Out.

Starbucks has been riding the “going green” train for a while, though. Its Starbucks Shared Planet plan has pushed out LEED certified stores, meaning they’re making an environmentally friendly attempt, and among other things, have stated that it grows its coffee responsibly and ethically.

The idea for these new stores sparked in 2008 and have finally been unleashed.

Starbucks plans to replace several of its current stores with these newly designed ones.

Is this the future, or will people prefer their soft jazz, dim lights and Wi-Fi filled restaurants?

[Thx Yahoo, Starbucks, CS News, and Co Design]

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Hit-Or-Miss

Not-So-Eco-Friendly Supermarket Wraps Its Peeled Bananas in Plastic

There’s probably a condom joke in here somewhere.

As relayed by the Austrian Times, German-owned supermarket Billa has recently come under fire for a photo posted on its Facebook page showcasing packs of peeled bananas covered in plastic wrap.

Purportedly done to streamline the eating process, these pre-peeled ‘nanners quickly sparked plenty of outrage from people decrying the stunt as wasteful and unnecessary — though one user did suggest the clear wrapping could tip off consumers to any unsightly browning or bruising more readily than a banana peel can (not that that’s necessarily a good thing).

So says one Greenpeace spokesman in Austria: “If there is an easy to open ready packed food it’s the banana  – peeling it only to pack it in environmentally unfriendly plastic is just madness.”

Of course, thanks to the efforts of Billa’s hack PR team, the offending photo has since been taken down — as well as written off by Billa HQ as the act of a single franchise location and a “one off” mistake that won’t happen again.

But the way I see it, this unfortunate ecological misstep could have been much, much worse. I mean, at least they didn’t double bag it.

Ba-Dum-Tss.

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News Recipes

Earth Day Recipe

To celebrate Earth Day today I thought posting an organic recipe would be perfect. Try this Stuffed Roasted Organic Chicken and I am sure you won’t be missing the chemically modified one.

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Hit-Or-Miss

Endurance Drink Straws

“In the break room at work you ask the cute environmentalist that just started last week innocently, “Hey do you know where all the straws are?” and she coldly replies “in landfills” and walks away. Don’t let that be you—pick up a set of Endurance Drink Straws that are cool, shiny and eco-friendly.” (Thx Coolmaterial.com)