eco

Starbucks turns its milk packs into notebooks with popular Japanese stationery brand

Global coffeehouse chain sets out on a sustainable journey in Japan. 

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We take the Toyota i-Road electric vehicle out for a spin, find out it’s awesome 【Video】

Not quite a car, not quite a motorcycle, the Toyota i-Road is a three-wheeled electric vehicle designed just for urbanites. Small, sleek and ultra slim, on paper the i-Road seems like the perfect solution to Tokyo’s traffic jams and woefully limited – not to mention expensive – parking.

But what’s it like to actually drive one of these things? Our Japanese team headed out to try an i-Road for themselves. Check out their video after the jump!

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Japanese start-up invents faucet gadget to reduce water usage by up to 95 percent

Although over 70 percent of the Earth is covered in water, over 96 percent of that is salty. As anyone who’s gotten a mouthful of ocean water knows, we can’t drink that, and bathing in it is a big no-no. So, we are dependent on the limited fresh water supply, 70 percent of which is used for agriculture. That doesn’t leave much for us, so water conservation has been a hot topic for years, especially in places like Southern California that are suffering from droughts.

Companies all over the world have been coming out with water-efficient faucets and toilets to help, but they have barely made a dent in mitigating the problem, that is, until one Japanese entrepreneur set their mind to the problem. In 2009, a Japanese start-up created a water-saving nozzle that is purported to reduce water usage by up to 95 percent. This could be a life-changing and world-changing invention.

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Tea for trash – “Methane Cafe” offering free drinks in exchange for patrons’ kitchen waste

It’s often said that, rather than splashing out on expensive new appliances and fitting solar panels to our roofs, it’s the smaller changes we can make in our daily lives that will have an enormous positive effect on the environment. The act boiling a kettle, for example, may seem like a relatively harmless one, but – often because we boil more water than we actually use – we waste thousands of tons of carbon every single day simply by making cups of tea or coffee.

With that in mind, a new members-only cafe has recently opened its doors in the town of Osaki, Miyagi Prefecture, which uses energy from patrons’ kitchen waste to boil the water needed for a relaxing brew, making the green tea they serve some of the greenest in the world by far.

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Tokyo station turns commuters’ discarded umbrellas into sparkling Christmas trees

Remember all of those umbrellas that were abandoned in train stations in October and November this year during the typhoon season? Well at least one station in Tokyo definitely does, but thankfully they’re putting a few of them to good use: by turning them into surprisingly pretty Christmas trees!

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