Smog Eating Structures…

smog-eating-structuresScientists and architects are actually creating buildings that are giant air purifiers. This is accomplished by covering the façade of the building with titanium dioxide which can break down pollutants into less harmful chemicals. Researchers claim it can neutralize pollution from 1000 cars daily. Manuel Gea Gonzalez Hospital in Mexico is one example of this type of construction. Plans are being made to construct smog consuming buildings in Milan and London. There is also great interest in the US at the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences. Since smog causes one in eight deaths, if this type of architecture becomes common practice, it can possibly put a dent is world pollution. 

Floating Suncatchers…

sun catchersThese are also known as water-based solar panels. They are usually placed in reservoirs, water treatment ponds or any body of water that is not used for recreation. The benefits of these water based panels are that they can prevent water from evaporating and deter algae from growing.  The water also acts as a cooling agent for the solar panel. They are proving to generate up to 57% more energy than roof top panels. The panels are made of a non-corrosive material and are on a tracking system which allows them to move toward the direction of the most sunlight. Japan has been in the forefront of their use due to the unavailability of large areas of land for traditional solar panels. They are now becoming extremely popular in Australia and in the United States.

Coconut Husks and Sustainability…

Coconut husk clothing “Cocona” is a trademarked name for a lightweight, breathable sports wear fabric derived from coconut-husk waste. It is proven to be warm, water and odor resistant. Of the 50 billion coconuts grown worldwide annually, 85% of the coconut husks end up as trash. “Essentials Materials” a Texas based company has succeeded in transforming this waste product into automotive truck liners, planters and battery covers for electric cars. The process is accomplished by combining the husks with discarded recycled plastics.

 

 

Natural Dye Garden…

In New York City at the Fashion Institute of Technology a “Natural Dye Garden” hasFlowers for dying opened. It is a project run by the students and was given the support and a grant by the Clinton Global Initiative University. The aim of the garden is to bring awareness and alternatives to the harsh chemicals used in the dying process of fabric. All of the colors are derived from flowers, herbs and vegetables.

Digital Printing…

digital dressDigital Printing is a technology that is gaining ground in the fashion industry. It is the process whereby prints are applied to fabric by printers. Digital printing reduces water waste by 95%, energy usage by 75% and saves on fabric waste. This is possible since set up fees are low, smaller lots can be printed and prints can be made to fit an exact measurement. 
 

Recycled Fibers…

A young British company “Worn Again” is testing a way to separate precious fibers from clothing oldcolors and chemicals so as to be able to recycle these fibers. Clothing is collected, processed and made back into yarn. We now use 65 million tons of cotton and polyester a year and that is expected to increase to 90 million by the year 2020. If this process is successful it could mean a great deal towards reducing textile waste. 

Fake Fur, a sustainable fiber…

Fake furStella McCartney, fashion designer and daughter of Paul McCartney, has been a lifelong vegetarian and a pioneer in non leather shoes and bags. She has now gone a step further by answering the fur craze with fake fur that looks so much like the real thing. All the garments being made are so authentic looking that a special band on the wrist or nape of the neck will read “Fur Free Fur” to make it perfectly clear to the customer that no animal was used in the making of the garment.

Linen Flax…

Linen is made from flax, another traditional fiber crop which needs few chemical fertilizersLinen dress and less pesticides than cotton. Less chemicals and pesticides protect our waterways. It is biodegradable and can be grown in cold climates as well as off season. Because it is recyclable it can later be made into paper and used as insulation in the auto industry. Besides being extremely strong the older it gets the more comfortable and cooler in warm climates it becomes.

Bamboo Fabric…

The softness of bamboo has been compared to the feeling of cashmere. It is highly sustainableBamboo Stalks because its vast, fast growing root system does not require replanting after harvesting. Its complicated root system is also beneficial in that it prevents soil erosion. There are two ways to produce this fabric, one is mechanically and the other is chemically. The mechanical way is far superior. Bamboo is broken down into mush using natural enzymes and then spun into fabric. The chemical way is much quicker but involves using toxic chemicals that have been linked to nerve damage. When checking labels make sure the product is environmentally friendly.  Some reputable labels are Oeko-Tek, Soil Association, SKAL, KRAV or any brand that is certified organic and sustainable.