Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Pepsi goes ecofriendly?

March, 23rd 2011. If you think of the number of beverage bottles which people buy and then throw (or sometimes give for recycling) the quantities are huge. PET is not at all eco-friendly because it is a form of plastic and polyester. Though it can be recycled it is still not biodegradable. For the first time a biodegradable PET bottle is now available thanks to PepsiCo.
This bottle is made from natural and renewable sources like switch grass, pine bark and corn husks. In the future, it may be sourced from potato and orange peels, oat hulls and other agricultural waste products. It not only looks and feels like PET, but its molecular structure is also similar.
“PepsiCo is in a unique position, as one of the world’s largest food and beverage businesses, to ultimately source agricultural byproducts from our foods business to manufacture a more environmentally-preferable bottle for our beverages business,” said PepsiCo Chairman and CEO, Indra Nooyi.
As PET bottles account for 30 percent of the total PET production goes into the manufacture of bottles, this new development could have a significant environmental impact. Earlier PepsiCo was responsible for packaging its Frito-Lay snacks in fully compostable bags. These bottles should be in the market sometime next year. Meanwhile Pepsi’s rival, Coca Cola has also announced that is testing plant based PET bottles.

Monday, March 21, 2011

The GREEN Wall of China.

March, 21st 2011 - Happy Spring!!

BEIJING - The Great Wall is no longer enough. Today, only a forest can save the capital of China. But not just a regular forest: against the desert you need the widest forest in Asia. It is an unprecedented mission, at the limits of possibilities between nature and man. In any other country in the world governments would have moved the capital.
As it happened in Kazakhstan. Billions in savings and less uncertainty (Because of the desert getting too close, the Government transferred its capital from Almaty to Astana in December 1997)
But China is a different world today and constantly needs historical challenges and then Beijing is Beijing. It is an ancient and eternal city, the symbol of the country, driven by 23 million people.Because of this no Chinese was surprised yesterday by reading on the "People's Daily" that the Government has launched an action destined to make history in the world: the mission is to plant 300 million trees in the region of Hebei, north and west of the capital along the border with Inner Mongolia, to stop the advance of sand from the Gobi Desert. 

The titanic action was named "Green Great Wall" and aims to grow a new forest of 250.000 square kilometers. The dunes as high as two hundred meters, are advancing 20 meters per year, a rate three times the average of the previous century. Since 1990, sand, cement and drought have destroyed 135,000 Kmsq of forests. The tree-bomb, therefore, does not aim only to protect the Forbidden City by the storms of the desert: it will be detonated even against climate change and air poisoning. 

It's good news for everyone knowing that Beijing chose nature to rebuild a shattered equilibrium, in the name of economic growth at any cost. It remains to prove that the State Forest will resist though. Scientists are cautious. The 3.000 members of Chinese Parliament appear rather optimistic. To the point of approving with a natural applause the announcement of the premier Wen Jiabao: € 7 billion to re-forest the northern front of the nation. 

Birch and Aspen, along with Beech and Fir, are just the beginning of the last battle of Beijing. 

To ensure the initial watering of plants in the coming years, 24 rivers will also be diverted rivers, from the Yellow River. 

The facts, moreover, left no alternative. 

Even in China, the climate over the past decade, has deviated from the cyclicality of the past. 

The interior and northern counties, including the Tibetan highlands and Manchuria, are afflicted by catastrophic droughts. Annual precipitation since 2001, fell by 37%. In the Beijing area the windy days increased from an average of 136 to 178 a year. The capital, in 2010, was affected by 56 sandstorms. Costs and economic losses are incalculable. A study by the Academy of Sciences has revealed that 5 million people of the municipality are at direct risk within the next five years. Sand, fine particles and coal emissions used for industrial heating mix a deadly cocktail. The agricultural belt surrounding Beijing in the last five years reduced by 12% and 400 million eco-refugees live in the nation. They are the farmers that left the land made dry by sand and poisons, dangerously crowded now in metropolis. 

Zheng Guoguang, head of the meteorological state office said "Half a century of madness has produced irreversible changes. Deforestation and desertification of cultivated areas are the most dangerous immediate effect. Where trees stop growing, the water stops running. Beijing is threatened by the desert, but first it is likely to die of thirst. " The population of the capital is mobilized. The Peking mayor urged every resident to buy and plant a tree along the route of the Great Wall, which runs a few kilometers from the outskirts. 

Everyone can grow their favorite plant, fruit trees included: the first part of this new forest will be called "Forest of the Millennium." The communist authorities hope that the moisture generated from the forest, pushing the sand to the Mongolian and Russian deserts, will induce the formation of clouds and rain. The 90% of the ancient imperial springs is close to extinction, the Ming lakes are reduced to quartz beaches and Peking Citizens fear of quickly moving and concentrate on the coast east of Tianjin. Unless an artificial forest in the cradle of deforestation in Asia, comes back and saves the new capital of the planet.

Read the Article in Italian.

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Happy St.Patrick's Day (Paddy's Day) 2011

March 17th 2011. Here we are, even this year we can start the Irish celebrations for Paddy's Day!!
It's 11am so we are all starting to get ready to go into town for the parade and into pubs straight after!

Here are the events in town (Dublin): St. Patrick 2011.

Let's see how this year we can make Paddy's Day a bit greener!

1-Get into town with the Bus, DART, LUAS or Train. It's the best way, green, eco-friendly, you can drink as much as you want. I personally prefer the train today because the traffic will be crazy to get into town!
If you really want to drive, go Carsharing, but remember, one of you have to be sober!
Taxis are still good, but hey, wanna compare €15 to €1.80 for a ride home?

2- Drink Organic Beer! There are few pubs in town that serve it.

3-Eat Green! This Restaurant in town is famous for its Organic and Free Range Menu. The Farm Restaurant.

Then in the end, remember to keep it as green as possible! Wear green but also act green!! Use as less plastic as possible (thank God pints come in glass) and ENJOY YOUR DAY!

HAPPY PADDY'S DAY 2011!!! woo hoo!!!

Monday, March 14, 2011

Global Service Jam Dublin 2011

March, 14th 2011. We did it!! The 48 hours Worldwide Service Design Challenge has been a fantastic success!!!
Just to sum up for the one that didn't read one of the last posts (terrible!): from Friday March 11th 2011, Dublin was one of the over 40 cities around the world that participated to the Global Service Jam 2011.

People interested in design, service and customer experience met all over the globe in a spirit of experimentation, co-operation and friendly competition to develop brand new services inspired by a shared theme, (SUPER) HEROES in just 48 hours. The event was linked all over the world by real time video streaming, tweets and facebook. 

In Dublin we were divided in two teams and each team developed a project following the theme. My team, Souper-KIT, has created a new service called "communiKIT". 

Focusing on the research of "who is your local superhero" and with a lot of brainstorming, interviews and LOADS of post-it, we have come out with this idea to connect people in apartment blocks and possibly local communities.

In fact nowadays with technology we have thousands of friends all over the world with Facebook etc. but we might not know our neighbors that could come and help us in the moment of need.

The experience has been fantastic and made us learn new research and service design tools. A big Thank you to all the supervisors, Re, Conor, Lynsey and all the others!!!

Here our project: communiKIT

Friday, March 11, 2011

Earthquake in Japan

March, 11th 2011.I decided not to post anything today in respect of all the victims of the Earthquake in Japan.

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Solar Roooads take me hoooome....

March, 10th 2011. Sorry for the little late post guys but as you know I have gone back home for 3/4 days and guess what? I got the flu/some kind of sickness including fever as arrived, so I have not been able to write much. But here it is, the new daily post!

Winter storms recently left USA and Europe paralyzed by an overabundance of snow and ice. But what if road crews weren't as crucial for clearing streets and highways as it happened? What if the roads could clear themselves?

That's the idea behind two different solar-powered road systems currently in development. The systems would store the power of the sun to help clear streets and possibly provide an alternative source of electricity.

"We have more than 3 million miles of highways exposed to sunlight in USA, so if we can harness this energy, it's free," Rajib Mallick, Associate Professor of civil and environmental engineering at Worcester Polytechnic Institute, told CNN.

Mallick's idea is to embed pavement with fluid-filled pipes. The fluid, which would be resistant to freezing, would be heated by the sun and stored in an insulated chamber. When ice and snow hit the roads, the heated fluid could be released to melt the snow. The heat from the fluid could also be used to provide electricity to nearby buildings.

The project's cost is estimated at $12,500 for every 50 meters of pipe, plus annual maintenance costs of $1,000. But Mallick tells CNN the system could pay for itself in six months while also providing enough electricity to heat 55 homes for one month a year.

A similar idea is in development in Idaho by engineer Scott Brusaw, founder of Solar Roadways. His system would replace traditional asphalt with sturdy solar panels. The Federal Highway Administration helped fund development of his prototype.

According to Brusaw's website, "The Solar Roadway is a series of structurally engineered solar panels that are driven upon." The solar panels would power LED lights in the road lines, help melt ice and snow, and provide electricity for charging electric cars and for nearby buildings. "This renewable energy," says the Solar Roadways site, "replaces the need for the current fossil fuels used for the generation of electricity. This, in turn, cuts greenhouse gases literally in half."

Each 12 by12 foot Solar Roadway panel would cost $6,900, according to a 2009 report from But each panel would also generate 7.6 kilowatt-hours of energy per day.

While solar-powered roads would cut state budgets for plowing, sanding and salting, finding the money to pay for them could be a challenge. "There aren't a lot of revenue sources to pay for this," Robert E. Lang, Director of University of Nevada Las Vegas' Brookings Mountain West think tank, told CNN.

But Brusaw said opposition to solar roads is more based on fear than cost. "Change. It scares people, I think."

Read the article
Read the CNN interview

Sunday, March 6, 2011

Paperless Boarding Pass

Sunday, March 6th 2011. Good Sunday everyone! I am sorry it took me a while to edit a new post but I have been travelling back to Florence, my hometown in Italy and then I got food poisoned by some oysters I got in Dublin (Not gonna tell where...).

A big problem came out the day of my departure flight: my printer was broken and I needed to print my boarding pass. Panicking, because I was running late, I had to run into town (€3.70 for the bus and €1.40 for internet and black and white print), plus obviously more than an hour wasted and loads of CO2 emitted.

While I was cursing my printer for abandoning me in the wrongest time, I was thinking of new sustainable ways for boarding on planes, Ryanair included. I wondered if the boarding pass that in general we receive when Checkin-in online could have been read on the iphone by the scanners at the airport. And so it was!!

If you have a multimedia phone then, simply open your boarding pass (on general in pdf) on the phone and it works without any problem!

If you think that everyday over 3 million passengers board on planes around the world, there are at least 3 million boarding passes printed. That's a lot of CO2 and paper that can be saved....

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

After lunch? A nice coffee. Afterwards? The cup.

Wednesday, March 2nd 2011. We have just passed lunchtime and in the Italian way I am having my espresso (to try to avoid an unwanted nap) and I was just reading a very interesting book in Italian "Design Sostenibile, Oggetti, sistemi e comportamenti" by Paolo Tamborrini for Electra and this project came out and it's perfect for this time of the day.

In 2003 Lavazza, a major on coffee machines and coffee in general, developed this project that I think it's sustainable design at its extreme. You use a product and you eat it! The best way of recycling!
The project was carried out by Designer Enrique Luis Sardi together with the team at the Lavazza Training Centre and Cataldo Parisi, head chef of the confectioner's kitchen at Number 10 San Tommaso.

The cup is made of pastry and covered with a special icing sugar, which works as insulator and makes the cup waterproof, allowing you to use the cup and then appreciate its taste! Yummy and Sustainable! Molto Bene!

Here are some website for your own interest: LavazzaEnrique Luis SardiSan Tommaso 10

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Ha, you still use your vintage charger for your electric car?

March 1st, 2011. Today we will talk about Electric Cars and Cities. 

Already a reality in many countries, still a dream for others. 

Many times, urban changes are way too slow compared to the technology available on the market. 
Unfortunately cities do not change as we change our iphone or ipad and also politicians and rules makers never change or are just too old and not updated.

So, we have Electric cars, but why we don't see that many around? 
K.T. Chau, Director of the University of Hong Kong’s International Research Centre for Electric Vehicles said: "even with tax breaks, an electric car costs two to three times as much as a comparable gasoline-powered car. Plus, the batteries need to be replaced after about four years, he says, and some estimates put the costs of a replacement battery pack at around US$15,000". Uh that's harsh.

Hong Kong’s steep hills add to what Mr. Chau calls a “range anxiety problem.” Though many electric cars advertise being able to drive up to 160 kilometers on a full charge, Mr. Chau says Hong Kong’s mountains along with the use of air conditioning makes that range closer to about 100 kilometers, and “people won’t use the last 20 [kilometers],” he says. Until battery technology improves and people can drive further, “I don’t see significant growth in electric vehicles,” Mr. Chau says.
Indeed, electric vehicles are a nascent market across the globe. Plug-in America, a nonprofit advocacy group, estimates there are only about 3,000 highway-capable electric vehicles from major auto makers in the U.S. To encourage the adoption of plug-in cars, the White House proposed on Jan. 26 to change a tax credit to a US$7,500 cash rebate for electric cars and plug-in hybrids purchases. In London, the government has set a goal of having 100,000 electric vehicles on its roads by 2020 — roughly 5% of all vehicles registered in the city.
The Hong Kong government has set its sights even higher. In September, officials said they were aiming for 30% of privately owned cars in the city to be hybrid or electric by 2020. As such, the government is encouraging businesses and car-park owners to install at least 2,000 charging stations by 2013, setting up an electric infrastructure before the vehicles hit the roads in significant numbers. There are currently 265 stations across Hong Kong, says the Environment Bureau. On Jan. 21 it launched a hotline that provides installation information.
“Availability of charging facilities is critical to potential car owners in considering whether to take up an EV [electric vehicle],” says Eva Wong, a spokeswoman at the Environment Bureau.
So, one of the main issue with Electric Cars as we know is the location of the chargers. People still prefer to rely on their Petrol Station and the grid of Petrol Stations all over the world. Unfortunately Electric  Chargers in Parkings for instance are still a dream sometimes. The amount of Electric Chargers in Parkings can be count on one hand. 

Some cities anyway are getting there with the number of charging columns. 

For experience I know that Florence in Italy is well ahead with them. They should just adequate the models of the chargers: they are in fact still connected to the grid only, no solar power generation on top of them, so it is a bit of a waste. 

Dublin aswell is sloooowly starting to place them around town (E-Cars project from ESB), but the times and the habits of politicians and consumers are still too slow and hard to change.

Unfortunately, this technology is already old. Ah ah the politicians and electric columns business people will die after this.
Not many people know in fact that "chargers" as we were used to know them, are already over. 

2011 is already the year of "MAGNETIC INDUCTION CHARGERS". Basically it's wifi electric charging applied to your electronic device. No more cables, no more plugs (I just think at the decision taken recently by manufacturers to create one type only of charger - the mini usb. Already beaten by technology!)

This technology we saw in the video is not a dream anymore. 

At CES this year  Fulton Innovation has shown what the future of retail shopping, and even parking lots will be.  Now that the Wireless Qi Standard has been finalized it seems like things are coming together and Magnetic Induction Chargers are really possible. MIC  can charge EVERYTHING, from cereal boxes with blink lights to Tesla Roadsters that charge almost as quickly as with a wire but, quite obviously, without the wire. Basically you do not need anymore the charging column but just a MIC underneath your car (can be placed in ANY parking spot and there you go, your car charges while parked. Same thing can be done if you place them on the road: while you drive, you charge your car! Sort of Energy Zero Driving!

This form of charging is 80% efficient, but the company estimates that with a more integrated system (mainly deleting the converter) they could get to 89% efficiency. The wired charger? It clocks in at 96% efficiency, meaning for any given voltage the charging time would only be about 7% slower going wireless -- a potentially small price to pay for the ability to turn an entire parking lot into a charging station without having to worry about wires or vandalism or semi-inadvertent electrocution of curious people who decide to see what happens when terminals get licked.

Amazing applications are also possible with the MIC as electric cooking areas that not heat up of smart shelving in stores. Have a look.

Articles Related: