By macleans.ca - Monday, January 21, 2013 - 0 Comments
The ‘upcycling’ effort has diverted 225,000 kg of old sail cloth from the landfill
It’s a chilly midwinter day in Lunenburg, N.S., and the furnace at the Windbag Company has stopped working. Bundled in a down jacket, surrounded by piles of crinkled sailcloth, Pauline Dickison is wandering through her store, telling stories. This notebook cover? Made from an old sail retrieved from the tall ship SV Concordia before it sank off the coast of Brazil in 2010. That messenger bag? Covered in sailcloth from Tekema, a 22-foot, Ontario-built boat that still sails, happily, from a local yacht club.
This entrepreneur’s story starts in late 2006, when a huge storm slammed into the picturesque Maritime town and the large plastic tent that sheltered Dickison’s boat was swept away. “Suddenly, the boat was bare and the tent was in the trees,” she says.
From the ruined material, she and a friend sewed bags to give as Christmas presents. By spring, she was selling them at a local garden centre, and Dickison knew she was going to run out of tent. “I thought, ‘What’s another tough material that could use another life?’ And then it dawned on me. Sails.” Continue…
By Emily Senger - Wednesday, November 21, 2012 at 6:30 AM - 0 Comments
Saskatchewan has adopted a new, greener burial method. Will the ‘ick factor’ keep it from catching on?
When a loved one dies there are usually two options: burial or cremation. Saskatchewan has added a third to the list that’s been billed as a greener way to dispose of the dead. For those wanting to keep track of their environmental impact into the afterlife, the carbon footprint of the process is 90 per cent less than that of flame cremation. And no chemicals are released into the air.
The procedure, called alkaline hydrolysis, uses a machine to immerse the body in a solution of water and an alkaline chemical—otherwise known as lye. The water is heated and machines add pressure. Over two to 12 hours the body disintegrates, leaving behind two by-products: bone fragments, similar to the ashes from flame cremation, and a sterile liquid solution, which, if the local municipality permits, can be flushed down the drain.
While the Funeral and Cremation Services Council of Saskatchewan has approved alkaline hydrolysis, no one has installed a machine yet, says chairman Todd Lumbard. “People don’t know much about it, so they’re not demanding it,” he says. There’s also the question of the “ick factor,” as one Saskatchewan funeral director told CTV News. Continue…
By Nancy Macdonald - Thursday, April 23, 2009 at 4:00 PM - 2 Comments
A MACLEAN’S EXCLUSIVE: Employers are finding new purpose, and plenty of profit, in environmentalism
The best view of Whistler-Blackcomb’s soon-to-be-complete micro hydro project belongs to the tourist 45 metres above it on a zip-line—a kind of horizontal bungee jump. But at 80 km/h—and screaming her lungs out—she seems to have missed it. In fairness, the pale blue pipe hugging Fitzsimmons Creek for about a quarter of its 15-km length doesn’t look like much, dwarfed as it is by stands of centuries-old Douglas firs, western hemlocks and red cedars. But when complete in November, three months ahead of the Olympics, the $32-million project will make Whistler better than carbon neutral, producing an annual 33.5 gigawatt hours of clean, renewable energy—more than enough to power its 38 lifts, 17 restaurants and 270 snowmakers.
The so-called “green hydro” project will divert part of the stream into a pipe, just over a metre in diameter. Speed and kinetic energy will be generated in its final 500-m descent, when the water comes crashing down a steep, 75-degree slope. At the base, a turbine will capture that energy before returning the water to the watercourse below.
By Jason Kirby - Thursday, November 27, 2008 at 10:30 AM - 862 Comments
Big retail is suddenly hugging trees. Partly to look good, but also to save piles of cash.
On a brisk Friday afternoon last month, workers at a newly built Mountain Equipment Co-op store in Burlington, Ont., gently lowered a 14-ton solar array onto the building’s roof. Once fully up and running, the photovoltaic and thermal panels will generate 30 per cent of the store’s energy needs, while heating the building and its water. The crew had already installed skylights along the full length of the building to allow in natural light, and the store was outfitted with motion detectors so that lights can automatically be dimmed when no one is in a room. What’s more, the building will capture rainwater to be used in its gardens and toilets, cutting water consumption in half. In short, this isn’t your typical big box retail store. “There’s nothing like it in Canada,” says Gary Faryon, the Vancouver-based company’s senior manager of operations. Continue…