Our Thursday green news brings you the latest on green architecture, climate change, energy and communities:
- Mushrooms could be key to zero waste packaging: In an effort to replace single-use packaging with more environmentally-friendly alternatives, some innovative companies are coming up with new and greener packaging products. For example, Mushroom Packaging, created by Ecovative Design in New York, is making compostable bioplastics using mushroom mycelium and agricultural “waste” to create an alternative to traditional foam packaging such as fast food containers and packing peanuts. Mushroom materials are climate friendly, and unlike plastics, they involve no petroleum-based chemicals sourced from fossil fuels whose extraction fuels climate change. As Ecovative’s Sam Harrington explains: “In nature, there is no waste. Everything is food for something else. Tree ‘waste’ (aka leaves) feed bugs and mushrooms, which feed animals, and animal ‘waste’ fertilizes the trees (and also feeds bugs and mushrooms). But today, we humans are increasingly reliant on materials like plastic that don’t fit into natural systems. The beauty of Mushroom Packaging is that it will break down naturally at low temperatures at home. It’s made of materials that grow on farms and in forests, and there’s nothing artificial about it. From the Earth, to the Earth … and that makes us feel good.”
- Paris plans to ban cars from its city center: The mayor of the city of Paris Anne Hidalgo has recently announced an ambitious plan to transform the historic city center into a “semi-pedestrianized” zone, where walking and biking will be strongly encouraged, and automobile access will be limited only to emergency vehicles, residents’ cars, and delivery trucks. If her proposal gets approved, the new ban will first start on weekends, and eventually apply to the entire week. At a time when about 84 percent of Paris residents see fighting pollution as a priority and 54 percent supported a diesel ban in the city by 2020, Hidalgo’s plan to double the number of bike lanes in the city by 2020 as part of a $147 million cycling development program seams like a great solution. She also hopes to implement an electric-powered bike-sharing system, and to eliminate diesel cars by 2020 to curb carbon emissions.