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“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.
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.
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.
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.
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.