November 7, 2019

Tom Scott visits Waterloopbos, a former open air laboratory to study the way water flows

Filed under: Nature,Science,Sustainability,Technology by Branko Collin @ 7:56 pm

YouTuber Tom Scott visited the Waterloopbos in Marknesse in the Noordoostpolder and had a little chat with Leo van Rijn, a specialist in modelling the flow of watercourses.

As wiki says: “The Waterloopbos [literally ‘Watercourse Forest’] was the property of Delft Hydraulics […]. In 35 large scale models of sea arms and harbours, such as the Deltaworks and the harbour of Lagos, tests were performed in order to learn how to predict the way large hydraulic systems influence the course of water.”

The laboratory closed in 1995 and the forest is now owned by Natuurmonumenten and is open to visitors from sunrise to sunset (Dutch). It is part of the Voorsterbos, the oldest forest in Flevoland, a province that was entirely reclaimed from the water.

Read more about Waterloopbos at Holland.com.

(Photo: screen capture of a video by Tom Scott / Youtube)

Tags: , , , , , , ,

August 1, 2019

Visit Amsterdam and help clean the canals

Filed under: Sustainability by Orangemaster @ 10:46 am

By now you’ve probably heard of overtourism, and that Amsterdam is one of the European capitals affected by it. People are going to continue to come to Amsterdam, but there are ways of not being a nuisance and contribute to a positive atmosphere: helping the city clean up the plastic in the canals.

Set up eight years ago, Dutch group Plastic Whale aims at creating economic value from the plastic waste the boat tours dredge from the canals. Plastic bottles are separated from the rest of the rubbish and recycled to be used in office furniture or even in building more Plastic Whale boats. They also have tours of Rotterdam, which is not yet overrun by tourists, where they attracted some 12,000 visitors in 2018 just to fish some plastic.

Plastic Whale’s founder Marius Smit says that despite the growing strain on Amsterdam from huge numbers of tourists, local residents are also “careless with their own waste”. I can attest to this even outside the city centre as I’m an ‘adoptant’ of the bins on my street. “The city’s bins fill up more quickly because of the numbers of tourists […]. Before you know it, there is a lot of waste on the streets, then it begins to rain or the wind begins to blow and it rains or blows into the canals,” Smit adds.

Britain’s Prince Harry was supposed to be one of the visitors earlier this year but had to cancel due to the birth of his son Archie.

(Link: phys.org)

Tags: , , , ,

February 21, 2019

Ban on releasing balloons in Rotterdam

Filed under: General,Sustainability by Orangemaster @ 9:09 pm

giro_trash

Rotterdam’s city council has decided that it wants to ban releasing helium-filled balloons in the air by the end of 2019. Balloons bits cause rubbish that ends up on the streets, parks, beaches and in the water, and this practice is straight up bad for the environment. Littering is punishable by a fine, and releasing balloons for whatever reason cannot be an exception.

Amsterdam was the first big Dutch city to stop the practice in 2015, while smaller cities such as Zeist, Utrecht and Den Bosch, Noord-Brabant also have a ban. Now that Rotterdam is joining in, The Hague is planning to follow suit, as well as Utrecht at some point.

Helium-filled balloons are fine, but letting them go at parties or weddings will no longer be allowed and are already frowned upon in better circles. Changes need to be made to local law, but it will be nice to have a proper ban in the Randstad, the four big cities of Amsterdam, Rotterdam, The Hague and Utrecht.

(Links: rijnmond.nl, nltimes.nl)

January 21, 2019

Whale in Utrecht made from ocean plastic

Filed under: Animals,Sustainability by Orangemaster @ 1:43 pm

The whale shown above was made from old plastic and is called ‘Skyscraper (The Bruges Whale)’, named after the summer art and architecture festival at which it was exhibited last summer in Bruges, Belgium. A professor from Utrecht University liked the whale so much, she was committed to getting it installed in Utrecht, and it was recently unveiled. It can be found in the Catharijnesingel.

The whale was created by StudioKCA of New York City, run by Jason Klimoski and Lesley Chang. The creators explain that is it a baby whale 12 metres high made from five tonnes of plastic, including a 1970s drum kit for some reason. Klimoski said that if anybody thinks this is a lot of plastic, imagine what’s floating around in the ocean. A lot of the whale’s plastic is from Hawaii where there’s a lot of plastic soup to be found. The rest of the plastic was fished out of rivers in New York state.

Why didn’t they use plastic from the North Sea to build an artwork in Bruges? Simply because they work in the US and that made more sense. Had they built the whale in Belgium, then they would have used plastic from the North Sea for sure. Although the plastic was found in the US, much of it comes from the European continent (namely Russia) and China, which gives people an idea how far plastic travels in the ocean.

(Link and photo: vice.com)

Tags: , , , ,

January 14, 2019

Dutchman makes bicycle from recycled plastic

Filed under: Bicycles,Sustainability by Orangemaster @ 12:50 pm

Inspired by a two-year stay in Mexico City where designer Thomas Hoogewerf saw plastic strewn about town and lots of car traffic, he decided to design a bicycle, addressing both problems at once and called it the ‘Better to transport’ project.

Most of the prototype is make from plastic, although the chain is made from steel. Hoogewerf explains that the bicycle is still not perfect, and has had help from Precious Plastic, a worldwide network of people who build recycling machines. He has also received help from people in India and the United States to help improve the frame and the front fork.

The idea is to point out, at the very least, the problem of mobility and used plastic in a city of millions.

It’s easy to have a discussion about cities being more bike friendly when you come from the Netherlands or Denmark, but the added value of making a bicycle out of rubbish as it were makes a statement and can be applied elsewhere in the world where there are similar problems.

One good thing about having a bicycle made from plastic is that if something breaks, you can replace it easily enough. And plastic doesn’t rust – great for big cities with a lot of rain. As well, the plastic is free and ripe for the picking.

(Link and photo: vice.com)

Tags: , ,

December 12, 2018

Dutchman makes it to Australia in electric car, still driving

Filed under: Automobiles,Sustainability by Orangemaster @ 3:08 pm

Dutchman Wiebe Wakker took a big long drive in his electric car all the way to Australia. Called ‘Plug me in, an electric trip to Australia’, his journey will bring him from Amsterdam to Sydney. Wakker left on 15 March 2016 (yes, 2016) in a car called ‘the Blue Bandit’ without any money and relying on the kindness of people.

Throughout the journey Wakker engages with organisations, people and initiatives active in the field of sustainability to learn about the environmental challenges in the countries he visits and sees what solutions are available to tackle the climate problem.

It took Wakker 827 days to reach the city of Darwin, which he reached in June 2018, and four days ago, he reached Brisbane after driving for 991 days. “I crossed 33 countries on my way, reached the other side of the world, driving 84,000 km without visiting a single petrol station on the way.”

Wakker claims he has become the first person to cross Turkey, Iran, India, Myanmar, Malaysia and Indonesia in a fully electric, battery-powered vehicle, surpassing the current Guinness World Record of the ‘longest distance covered in an electric vehicle (non-solar)’ of 22,000 km. This, of course, will be reviewed and announced at some point and we’ll be glad to write about it.

And his trip hasn’t ended yet, as he is still 921 km away from Sydney.

The only thing that might irk, is the fact that he has been ‘relying on the kindness of strangers’ for years, which is probably an easy thing to do in his case as a Western man, but might be seen with some contempt, considering he comes from a rich country and can apparently afford his trip.

(Link and photo: financialexpress.com)

Tags: ,

November 18, 2018

Dutch designer makes vegan furnishing with palm leather

Filed under: Automobiles,Sustainability by Orangemaster @ 10:57 am

Dutch designer Tjeerd Veenhoven makes rugs made from sustainable palm leather, a vegan alternative to traditional leather. Interested in nature fibres, Veenhoven started experimenting with palm leather about eight years ago, and asked someone he knew in India to send him some palm leather to research it.

“In my material research I found out that the material was super brittle and not very useful, but if you soften it with a special material of glycerin and water, and some other materials you can make it nice and soft,” explains Veenhoven.

Besides producing and selling rugs, Veenhoven’s studio in Groningen hopes to sell palm leather to demanding automotive companies that have recently become increasingly interested in vegan alternatives to leather car interiors.

(Link and photo: dezeen.com)

Tags: , ,

September 10, 2018

World’s first floating farm to open in Rotterdam

Filed under: Animals,Dutch first,Sustainability by Orangemaster @ 10:30 am

The world’s first ‘floating dairy farm’ will open its doors in Rotterdam’s Merwehaven port this year, built by Dutch property company Beladon. It will feature 40 Meuse-Rhine-Issel cows (brown spotted, so not the Frisian cows in the picture), milked by robots.

The sustainability idea behind the project is that there is less and less good ground to produce food, while the world population continues to grow and demand more from their food. Built-up urban areas don’t exactly seem like the most sensible places to run farms, but reducing the distance food travels before it reaches consumers’ plates makes environmental sense as it reduces transport pollution.

The Floating Farm intends to produce fresh milk and healthy products, as well as provide tours, education and research.

(Links: bbc.com, floatingfarm.nl)

Tags: , , ,

July 31, 2018

Dutch students sell scented phone cases

Filed under: Design,Sustainability by Orangemaster @ 8:00 pm

Two Dutch students from Breda have launched an online shop called hype-online that sells scented phone cases. There’s even one that smells like coffee, a scent that stays on the case for four to six months. The cases are sustainable, made from polyurethane.

Much of hype-online’s cases are quite unique and specially made from a start-up in Slovenia, called MMore. Of course, you could order your cases from MMore, but if you’re in the Netherlands, hype-online also delivers and promises to have some new scents soon enough.

(Link: deondernemer.nl, Photo: MMore)

Tags: , ,

June 5, 2018

Dutch invent world’s first cement separating machine

Filed under: Dutch first,Sustainability by Orangemaster @ 8:00 am

inovahuis

Amsterdam company Rutte Groep has succeeded in building a machine capable of recycling cement – a world first. The machine is called ‘Freement’, which is being presented today at the Provada fair in Amsterdam together with the New Horizon Urban Mining company.

Fremeent, invented by Koos Schenk, can separate blocks of cement into its three original materials of gravel, sand and cement. It is a big deal, considering that producing cement is responsible for nine percent of the world’s carbon dioxide emissions. Not unlike a cow, the machine ‘ruminates’ cement until the gravel is clean. Freement can process 130.000 tonnes of cement a year.

(Link: trouw.nl, Photo of an unrelated energy-neutral house: bright.nl)

Tags: , , , ,