Quebec Business Turns Waste into Juice

beans
Juice Loop is a new company in Quebec that is taking food waste and turning it into juice and other products. This was isn’t what’s left on a plate from a restaurant, instead it comes from the supply chain inefficiencies present in how grocery stores run their operations. It’s a classic story of entrepreneurs seeing an opportunity to solve a problem, except these entrepreneurs want to make the world better while making money. They opened in the province of Quebec last year and have already cracked into the Ontario market.

In the food supply industry, the business model is partly based on speculation about the level of demand from groceries and anticipated sales, said Poitras-Saulnier. For example, a supplier could request 25 containers of fruit, but then fail to sell all of them, she explained.

“Sometimes they sell less — they could sell 20 containers. So there would be five left over the next week that are starting to get more ripe and almost ready to be eaten, which means that they wouldn’t last long enough in the distribution cycle and wind up being trashed.”

Juice Loop anticipates reusing 300 tons of fruits and vegetables by the end of this year and 525 tons in 2018. Its operations are designed to take care of all of the waste — even the leftover fruit pulp is reused to make organic pet food.

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Thanks to Delaney!

These Plants Clean Your Household Air According to NASA

forest and river
A few years ago we looked at a TED talk on how to grow fresh air inside. The information was based largely on NASA’s research done in the 1980s called Interior Landscape Plants for Indoor Air Pollution Abatement, which looked into which plants are best for cleaning interior working spaces. They first looked at what is in the air in an average office then set out to find plants that remove chemicals that harm humans.

Here’s the list from NASA and the TED talk:

  • Areca Palm (Chrysalidocarpus lutescens)
  • Weeping Fig
  • Money Plant (Epipremnum aureum)
  • Kimberley Queen Fern
  • Moter-in-law’s Tongue (sansveria trifascata)
  • Lady Palm (Rhapis excelsa)
  • Lillyturf
  • Barberton Daisy
  • Bamboo palm (Chamaedorea seifrizii)
  • Rubber Plant (Ficus robusta)
  • Flamingo Lilly
  • Dwarf Date Palm (Phoenix roebelenii)
  • Spider Plant
  • Chinese Evergreen
  • Ficus Alii (Ficus macleilandii “Alii”)
  • Boston Fern (Nephrolepis exaltata “Bostoniensis”)

More information can be found here.

Use Happiness Research to Maximize Vacations

Montreal

Regular readers already know that going on vacation is good for one’s happiness and there are ways to travel while keeping a small carbon footprint. It can be hard to find time to travel and expensive too, so how should one go about thinking about vacations?

Vacations aren’t things that should be “efficient” or viewed as a quantifiable experience. Instead, we can use existing research to prepare for a vacation and enjoy it while out and about. Basically, relax by changing your mindset around vacations from an epic journey to a chance to be with people in new places.

2. OPT FOR QUANTITY OVER “ONCE IN A LIFETIME”

A once-in-a-lifetime trip, like a month in New Zealand, would be amazing. But the “once-in-a-lifetime” aspect of such vacations limits their overall contribution to happiness. Research increasingly finds that we return to previous happiness levels fairly quickly (we spend life on the “hedonic treadmill”), and so smaller pleasures experienced frequently contribute more to overall well-being than major but less infrequent ones. Another studyfound that the health and wellness benefits of a vacation peaked at about eight days in. So look for already-shortened workweeks for getaways so you can plan several eight-day vacations (weekend plus workweek plus weekend) in a year for the price of three to four vacation days a pop.

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An Online Forum is Saving Addicts from Bad Drugs

love

The opioid crisis in North America continues unabated. Local organizations are pushing for reform of policies and in Canada the call for safe injection sites is growing. The number of deaths from opiate addiction is too high and users have started to share information to curb the rising death count. The subreddit community r/opiates has become a place for opioid users to let each other know about tainted drugs and how to deal with addiction issues. Ultimately the community wants people to stop using, but if they are using they should at least be safe about it.

Aaron credits r/opiates with helping him learn about kratom and giving his life purpose. As a way to pay it forward, he’s provided fentanyl warnings in West Virginia.

“People’s pressing a fake 215, and crushing up ginseng pills mixing them with fentanyl and some other stuff and selling as heroin,” Aaron, who goes by the handle of Optimistic-angel1 on Reddit, wrote in a 2 February post on the website – making note of activity in neighboring Mercer County, which sits just east of McDowell.

While the overdose warnings on Reddit may be a new trend, addicts have been no strangers to information sharing, said Dr Michael Brumage, executive director of the Kanawha-Charleston health department in West Virginia. Brumage has heard of addicts setting up networks to share information on bad heroin batches in the past while working with the department’s needle exchange program.

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Removing Stigma Around Mental Illness Through Data

happiness

Mental illness is perceived by too many people to be the fault of those who suffer from it. This stigma has led people to not disclose that they are need in help, let alone seek it when needed. New research has revealed that mental illness is incredibly common and, more importantly, that it can be temporary for some people. Of course, it’s not good news that mental illness impacts us but it is good that we can move the conversation around the issue to be more meaningful and helpful to those that suffer from it.

If you ever develop a psychological disorder, many assume you will have it for life. The newest research suggests, for the most common psychological complaints, this is simply not true. “A substantial component of what we describe as disorder is often short-lived, of lesser severity or self-limiting,” says John Horwood, a psychiatric epidemiologist and director of the longitudinal Christchurch Health and Development Study in New Zealand. (Horwood has found that close to 85 percent of the Christchurch study members develop a diagnosable mental illness by midlife).

This may be a useful message to spread. According to Jason Siegel, a professor of social psychology at Claremont Graduate University, people tend to be more sympathetic and helpful when they believe that a friend or co-worker’s health problems are temporary.

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Thanks to Delaney!