Archive for the ‘circular economy’ category

BonApp launches its First Food Sharing fridge at le 5ième

October 28th, 2016
BonApp fridge and stand in le 5ième

BonApp fridge and stand in le 5ième

BonApp, the brainchild of Geneviève Rousseau, is all about helping extra food stay out of the (new) compost program in Montreal. The idea is for people to share excess produce before it goes bad. To facilitate this exchange, BonApp is setting up its first 5 fridges (it is hoped the first of many) in community spaces on the island of Montreal. The first fridge was launched at le 5ième, a zero-waste cafe and coworking space, in Little Burgundy. » Read more: BonApp launches its First Food Sharing fridge at le 5ième

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Splosh – Eco-friendly Cleaning, Almost Zero Packaging Waste

September 6th, 2016

splosh logo If you read this blog enough, you know by now, that I hate waste. I hate that we have to throw out perfectly good packaging items such as spray bottles, glass jars, and cardboard shoe boxes. I reuse as many as I can but at some point, there is a limit. So, when I stumbled on Splosh through the Ellen MacArthur website, I saw a company after my own heart. Splosh makes eco-friendly household cleaners and has thought of every facet to minimize waste production along the way. Once you are set up with your first cleaning kit — first order includes the bottles — you order your refills via a website. » Read more: Splosh – Eco-friendly Cleaning, Almost Zero Packaging Waste

Should cities ban materials such as single use plastic bags and water bottles?

April 6th, 2016

plastic water bottle waste

plastic water bottle waste (source: By Effeietsanders (Own work) [GFDL (http://www.gnu.org/copyleft/fdl.html) or CC BY-SA 3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0)], via Wikimedia Commons

To ban or not to ban, that is the question…. In the case of Montreal, it has decided to place a ban on single-use plastic bags starting in 2018 which I disagree with and you can read why in this post. Now, it is considering banning single-use plastic water bottles, and again, I think it is the wrong way to handle this waste problem.

You might be thinking, “What kind of person who calls herself an environmentalist isn’t against a ban on single-use plastic water bottles?” That’s a fair question. First, let me say that I hate single-use plastic water bottles and bags, but I find myself using both on a few occasions per year.

A city that relies heavily on tourism needs to consider the consequences of a ban

» Read more: Should cities ban materials such as single use plastic bags and water bottles?

Does Lego really need to spend $150 million on building a better block?

March 1st, 2016
Lego_dublo_arto_alanenpaa_5

Lego Blocks By Arto Alanenpää (Own work) [CC BY-SA 4.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/4.0)], via Wikimedia Commons

Lego is one of my all-time favourite toys. As a kid, I loved building and creating, and the blocks brought out the inner architect in me. As a parent, I was thrilled that my kids loved Lego, so I could buy as much as my budget would allow for them to play with, of course.

One of the awesome things about Lego is its indestructibility. We’ve all encountered just how indestructible it is when we’ve stepped on one of those little bricks in our sock feet. It can hurt like the dickens. But its durability has good and bad aspects to it. The good: the blocks always fit together perfectly, unlike Lego’s competitors’ blocks. The bad, once it ends up in landfill, it will be there pretty much forever. Eventually, most of us grow out of Lego, and while many of us will keep a few sets, most of it, unfortunately, will find its way to landfill, maybe not now — it might get put away for future grandchildren or get sold at garage sales —  but sooner or later it will end up in the garbage. » Read more: Does Lego really need to spend $150 million on building a better block?

The Pros and Cons of Leasing Appliances

February 20th, 2016

Our house hates cold weather, so last February in the thick of the coldest month ever recorded, we experienced so many things breaking, it was enough to threaten to send me to the looney bin — and/or the poor house. Among the many things that broke down (including the furnace on several occasions) was our washing machine. When the repairman came to fix it he said, “It’s a 15 year old machine. It will cost you more to fix it than to replace it, but it’s your decision. Oh, and if you do decide to replace it, don’t bother with the really upscale models with extra bells and whistles, all appliances these days are built to last 10 years.”

“…all appliances these days are built to last 10 years.

Now, this is only one repairman, and I know if there are any high-end manufacturers reading this, you will be yelling at me that this is not the case. My own personal anecdotal evidence is to say that, on average, I agree with the repairman.

The whole event got me thinking about the future of such a business model: building appliances that only last 10 years. This model is contrary to 50 years ago when a lot of the appliances were built to last 25-30 years and beyond, and were also relatively easy to repair. If you extrapolate a 10 year life cycle, the carbon footprint of any appliance is huge. In a world with over a billion people and with a goal of getting everyone out of poverty and into decent living situations, refrigerators seem like a growth opportunity. But I’m not sure our physical resources, or the planet, can handle that kind of intensity. As appliances are built to be cheaper and cheaper, plastic gets substituted for parts that used to be metal, hoses that were durable rubber are made slightly thinner, gaskets are cheaper, etc. It is, as with many business cases, a race to the bottom. So how do we stop the downward spiral and still help businesses make money while making customers happy?

It is, as with many business cases, a race to the bottom.

» Read more: The Pros and Cons of Leasing Appliances

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