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60 bag moss architect biodegradable packaging

“Packaging” is a sort of ho-hum word to describe the shell for treasured goods being shipped across the country, or halfway around the world. It’s also a poor descriptor for the seductive sheath that researchers pour gallons of time into and designers stay up nights agonizing over. We’ve definitely made consumer choices based on packaging alone, simply because said item looks better on our dresser.

But nearly always, the shelf life of the packaging is a lot shorter than the time it took to dream up. That’s a lot of Styrofoam/plastic/etc. in a lot of garbage cans.

This week’s edition is about genius alternatives to vessels that far outlast their cargo.

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moss little black dress minimalism

Less can be more. Or it can be less. There are extremes: hoarders; or the guy who owns 15 things. But there is also balance. Regardless, while a walk-in closet is some people’s idea of delightful, for me it dredges up memories of my forever unkempt floor, (although to be honest, I would still love a walk-in closet.) That’s where these bloggers inspire, people who’ve lavished the filters of utility, essentialism and true love onto their lives and emerged with less. Or at least deeper reasons for keeping what they own.

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moss green architect man carrying chair on bike

There are lots of great bags you can hang on your bike, but some things are really awkward in bags. Coffee cups and smoothies, for example, or wine bottles that clang around. Six Packs and U-Locks also make the list. This week’s edition include biking accessories that help a two-wheeled commute run a little smoother with less than optimal cargo.

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moss green architect beer in the snow

The refrigerator present in most Western kitchens today wasn’t invented all that long ago. Carl Van Linde developed the technology in the 1870’s, but his ammonia-based fridges still required separate motors, and inhaling the toxic gases within led to a few deaths—not ideal. The first freestanding, commercially available fridge hit shelves (well, floors) in 1913, and wasn’t really perfected until the 1930’s. Iceboxes and burying perishables in the ground preceed both models by thousands of years.

But the current model isn’t done evolving yet. Refrigerators still consume about a 6th of the energy used in the average American home. This week’s edition includes inspiring fridges that use little to no electricity, instead keeping food cold/preserved using methods from sand to biopolymers.

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moss green architect garfield park

On an overcast day like today, at the start of Chicago spring (a relative oxymoron) we are dearly missing one of our favorite things any day of the week: sunshine. That plus our propensity for getting cold all the time make us crave a lizard-like existence, basking under the rays for hours on end. With that in mind, this week’s edition is all about greenhouses, where we can receive a magnified dose of every last scrap of sunlight on the dreariest of afternoons.

Garfield Park Conservatory

Despite a major wallop to its glass panes during an intense hailstorm this summer, the Garfield Park Conservatory has reopened all of its display houses to the public (though the restoration process is still underway.) The massive campus includes six greenhouses and two grand exhibition halls, home to plants from tropical, like the rare Double Coconut Palm, to those which weather the dry desert climate.

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The web may not be climate change-combat’s poster child, but it may be its knight in shining armor. On the one hand we know that outlet usage has increased a lot since the internet and its buddies (smartphones, bluetooth keyboards, ipods) burst onto the scene; on the other, it has saved trees, and more to the point, whipped global communication into a frenzy the likes of which the pre-internet world never dreamed of. Even more to the point, sourcing and spreading data has become a whole lot easier. But the connotations of data, once a word reserved for Dexter’s Laboratory, have changed, too. The Internet has infused it with a new sense of community, accessibility, and at the very least, made it prettier. The idea that the web community and data interact with each other as that data is being accrued is revolutionary for anyone wishing to tread lighter on our planet.

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Eco Media Player SPIN moss green architect

Starting today, we’ll be posting things we like every friday. They’ll range from amazing dishes to jars of pickles to cleaning products to eye-catching graphics.  One thing you can be sure of is that they’ll all relate to our principal passions: food, beer/wine, and all things green, sustainable and design-y.

This week’s edition includes items that save energy, delay waste and provide us with yet another alternative use for corn.

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