anna brones

writer + artist + activist

Posts Tagged ‘sustainability

This Week’s Stories: Textile and Coffee Waste, Sustainable Beer and Taking Action

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domestic-stencilworks_processpic

Here is some of my work published this week:

Coffee Waste or Product Potential? – This story was featured in the print edition of Fresh Cup but is also up online. “Wast is simply resources in the wrong place,” says Daniel Crockett of Bio-Bean. I love that sentiment, because it challenges us to rethink what we assume is, or isn’t, something with potential.

10 Fashion Brands Innovating with Textile Waste – Speaking of waste, I also wrote a piece on textile waste. Did you know that in just 20 years, our textile waste has doubled? Today the average American discards around 70 pounds of textiles per year, the majority of it ending up in landfills. Fortunately, there are some innovators out there attempting to do something with it.

Patagonia is Making a Sustainable Kernza Beer – Patagonia, long known for its apparel, is moving into the food space. I love their efforts in working to build a better food system, and the new Long Ale beer is just another example.

Food, Agriculture and Environmental Organizations and Independent Media Outlets You Can Give To – If you’re looking for places to support this holiday season (and places whose work is very needed in the current political climate), I put together a roundup of some food and environment related organizations and media outlets over on Foodie Underground. There’s also an essay about caring (which includes a recipe for pumpkin oatmeal pudding) if you’re interested.

And finally, these weren’t written by me, but I was happy to have Hello, Bicycle mentioned in this list of presents for women cycling fans, as well as this mention of Fika: The Art of the Swedish Coffee Break in Condeé Nast Traveller.

Image: Domestic Stencilworks

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Written by Anna Brones

November 18, 2016 at 12:08

What if Objects Were Designed to Last Instead of to Be Replaced?

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fairphone2

Planned obsolescence is something that I find infuriating. The idea that we design things to fall apart is absurd, especially when we consider the world of mass consumption, and mass waste, that we live in. These days it’s so easy to toss something broken and buy something new to replace it. But even worse; often if something is broken, you might not even be able to get it fixed at all.

I take a look at this topic in my latest piece for Brooklyn Fashion and Design Accelerator, featuring a new smartphone – the Fairphone – that is designed in the complete opposite way of most of our technological devices: it’s designed to have a long life.

Our modern culture has become synonymous with throwaway culture; when something doesn’t work, things are cheap enough that it’s often less expensive for us to toss whatever doesn’t work and buy a new one. Of course, the real costs of getting rid of something and buying something new to replace it are externalized. The price it costs us to replace an object is often far under the real environmental and social cost of producing a new one.

Consider this: in 2010, Americans threw away around 310 million computers, monitors, TVs, and mobile phones. That makes for hundreds of thousands of phones thrown away on a daily basis. When it came to smartphones, only about 11% of those that were disposed of were recycled, leading to a significant amount of e-waste. Certainly there is a part of that number comes from a desire to just have something new, but another part of it comes from being forced to throw something away because it’s just not possible to fix.

In its second iteration, the Fairphone is said to be “designed to change the way products are made.” This isn’t just a new phone design; this is a design challenge to other industries, asking them to step it up and think smarter about design. Besides just design, Fairphone is rethinking the entire economic model that most businesses base their practices.

Read the full piece here.

Image: Fairphone

Written by Anna Brones

July 30, 2015 at 12:12

Food Waste: Creative Solutions to a Big Problem

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regrained

Did you know that about 40% of the food produced in the US goes uneaten? Food waste is a serious issue.

I was happy to contribute a piece to one of my favorite food sites Civil Eats on the topic, profiling different businesses and organizations that are putting food waste to use in interesting ways. My favorite? A company using beer grains to make granola bars and another making brownies out of leftover grapes from the winemaking process:

4. If you’ve ever brewed your own beer, you know that it takes a lot of grain. And what happens to that grain once the beer is done? Some brewers compost with it, some (of the very committed) bake with it, but most often it gets thrown out. That’s why Dan Kurzrock and Jordan Schwartz launched Regrained, a business that makes granola bars out of spent malted barley. According to the pair, “only 10 percent of the ingredients used to brew end up in your glass.”

5. In winemaking, all the leftover stuff that comes after the grapes have been crushed is called pomace. More often than not, it’s destined for the compost or the dump. But Whole Vine Products takes a different route, using this byproduct in baked goods. In fact, they work with a local mill to turn the pomace into a gluten-free flour. They also make culinary oils from the grape seeds. Anyone care for a Cabernet brownie?

Read the full article and learn about the other projects, including making jam from food waste, here.

Image: Regrained

Written by Anna Brones

February 20, 2014 at 09:00

Portland Loves to Recycle

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portland recycles

At the Mississippi Avenue Street Fair this weekend, I was amazed at how clean the ground was — free of the usual chaotic debris that is a signature sign of most large events, which is pretty amazing at a street fair that was estimated to pull about 20,000 visitors this year.  On the other hand, the recycling bins were well in use, proving once again the city’s commitment to sustainability.

This early evening shot captures it best.

Written by Anna Brones

July 15, 2009 at 06:00