5 Environmentally-Friendly Ways to Improve Your Kitchen Décor

zero-waste-kitchenEnvironmentally-friendly design has become an even hotter trend in 2019. Architects and designers are shrugging off old impressions that recycled materials or eco-conscious designs are boring. More homeowners want homes that take sustainability seriously. They want their houses to incorporate green materials and contribute to global conservation. Kitchens are a key area of focus for environmentally-friendly remodels. They’re the highest energy consumers in a house, so focusing on energy efficiency there has the greatest payoff. Separating plastics isn’t the only option for homeowners who want an eco-friendly kitchen. Read on for 5 great ways to give your kitchen an environmentally-friendly upgrade.

Energy Efficient Windows

Increasing natural light access into kitchens is a great place to start. Energy efficient windows are larger, and they brighten a room by simply letting in more light. The increase in natural light makes it so owners don’t have to turn on the lights as much. Lower energy bills mean more money stays in your pocket and your home has a smaller carbon footprint.

You also get to enjoy the great view outside as you make dinner. In 2019, houses look great with countertop to ceiling windows instead of more of the same tilework. Energy efficient windows also reduce the amount of heat lost through windows, which helps regulate temperate and save on heating bills. They’re a great noise insulator, which is great for homes in close proximity or next to highways.

Eco Friendly Countertops

Marble tops will never go out of style, but eco-friendly countertops have so many new, fresh options that everyone should consider them. More homeowners are opting for recycled marble, aluminum or even paper to build their countertops with because it can be a money saver that still looks great.

Recycled glass countertops are unique way to give a kitchen remodel a distinct look. Colorful glass pieces are mixed with cement and a resin base that make smooth mosaic countertops. The glass is environmentally-friendly because it typically comes from demolition projects that would otherwise discard it.

Another great eco-friendly option for countertops are recycled bamboo or some other type of wood installed as a chopping block. Chopping blocks are a portion of a countertop that’s used as a built-in durable cutting board. Bamboo’s a great choice because it grows so fast it’s a renewable resource.

Appliances

All the cooking, cooling, freezing, cleaning, and mixing in a kitchen make it the highest energy-consuming room in the house. Appliances use a lot of energy, so upgrading to energy-efficient fridges, stoves, and dishwashers is a smart choice. Refrigerators alone account for up to 15 percent of a home’s total energy use. Luckily, the increasing popularity of low-energy appliances means that there are some great styles to select from too.

Energy-efficient refrigerators can beat government efficiency standards so owners know they’re making a difference. One thing that can really make an impact is not going with the biggest fridge possible. Using a refrigerator appropriate for a home’s need is the best way to reduce environmental impact. Side by side fridges use about 20 percent more electricity than up-down models.

Size also matters for ovens. Bigger ovens use more energy to heat up and cook food, so even though it may look nice, a large oven isn’t the eco-friendliest. The main consideration for choosing a range and oven is deciding between electric and gas. Generally, gas is less expensive and is the cleanest fossil fuel, but some people are nervous about cooking with gas. Just make sure you have a good exhaust installed as well. Electricity used to power electric stoves usually comes from burning coal, not the most environmentally-friendly item. Of course, if homeowners opt to power the stove with rooftop solar panels that’s a great workaround.

Find a Place for Cork

Cork flooring has become more popular in recent years, but it’s a good bet many homeowners still don’t know it’s an option. In 2019, more homes will be using cork floors in their kitchens as an environmentally-friendly alternative to tile and vinyl. Cork is great because it’s all-natural and renewable. It can be harvested around every eight years from the same tree.

Cork is extremely durable, even if something is dropped on the floor that makes a dent, it will self-repair over time. No liquid can get through its surface and the floors usually last around 40 years. It’s also extremely safe. Cork only melts at extremely high temperatures and, in the event of a fire, puts off much less toxins than other kinds of kitchen flooring. Finally, cork has a little bounce to it, so cork kitchen floors are comfortable and naturally reduce noise.

Recycled Fixtures

Somewhere along the line, reclaimed and recycled became synonymous with luxury. Decorating kitchen décor with recycled lighting fixtures, drawer handles, and cabinetry really elevate kitchen décor, but it can also cost an arm and a leg. So many companies market items as reclaimed that it’s hard to discern whether it’s actually recycled.

Companies that really sell recycled fixtures should include, or be able to include, information about where the fixtures were purchased or repurposed. It’s important for many home owners to know that reclaimed lamp they bought was made in an eco-friendly manner. Of course, if you have the time, you can always DIY it. Thrift stores always have a variety of old furniture that can be dismantled and used for parts. Antique stores are another great place to look for reusable items. Putting in recycled fixtures helps a kitchen look unique, and not like something transferred straight from a furniture showroom.

Bottom Line

Environmentally-friendly kitchen design is in. Homeowners love bringing their kitchens in line with their personal beliefs about conservation efforts. An eco-friendly kitchen reduces energy bills and helps homeowners feel good about helping the environment. Eco-friendly design choices are far from bland. As the eco-friendly décor trend progresses, more and more options are out there for architects, builders, and DIYers to choose from. Start with these five options to plan your kitchen’s environmentally-friendly upgrade today.

Top Green Building Trends Worldwide

transparent-solar-windowsWith green building movement sweeping across the world, innovative technologies are being developed to keep pace with increasing shift towards sustainability. Integration of biodegradable, recycled, recyclable and renewable materials in the construction of buildings is attracting great attention worldwide. Natural paints, recycled steel, cellular concrete, clay bricks, wood, bamboo etc. are getting huge popularity in construction of green buildings.

Another interesting innovation is zero-energy building which utilizes solar cells/panels, wind micro-turbines, fuel cells and biofuels, among others, to meet electricity and HVAC requirements of the building. Likewise, net-zero-water-use buildings make use of water conservation systems to efficiently manage water consumption, rainwater harvesting, waterless toilets, greywater reuse, smart landscaping and on-site sewage treatment.

Low-emitting windows, coated with metallic oxide, to block sun’s harsh rays during summer and keep the heat inside in the winter are also gaining popularity. Such windows have the potential to significantly reduce heating and cooling costs of buildings.

According to Dubai-based green buildings expert Sunanda Swain, “Transparent solar window panels can also be incorporated into awnings, curtain walls, glass facade or as overhead glazing units.” She explains, “These increase access to direct sunlight while providing additional architectural benefits such as passive shading.”

Net Zero Energy Buildings rely on exceptional energy conservation and on-site renewable generation to meet energy requirements..

Net Zero Energy Buildings rely on exceptional energy conservation and on-site renewable generation to meet energy requirements..

Another promising innovation is in the form of cool roofs which is made of special tiles and reflective paints to reflect sunlight. Cool roofs have high levels of solar reflectance and thermal emittance, and help in reducing the heat island effect in urban habitats, especially in arid areas like the Middle East.

To sum up, green buildings can not only contribute towards environment protection but also bring loads of advantages to building occupants and users. Lower development costs, reduced operating costs, healthier indoor environment quality and less maintenance costs are major benefits associated with green buildings. To sum up, green building technologies can serve as catalysts for smart urbanization and sustainable development of urban centers, besides ensuring energy security, climate change mitigation, and opening new economic and job opportunities. 

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Waste Management Implications of 3D Printing

The rapid deployment of 3D printing is one of the most exciting developments since the appearance of the smart phone. This is technology with some serious potential to change how and where goods are manufactured, transforming supply chains. The New Scientist has gone so far as to herald 3D printing, also known as additive manufacturing, as ushering in a second industrial revolution. But is anyone thinking about how what this new development means for the waste sector?

Whilst the technology is already being put to some dubious uses, the ability to manufacture pretty much anything wherever and whenever it’s needed is certainly appealing. Interest isn’t confined to those frustrated inventors whose imaginations have been constrained by the tools they can fit in the garden shed; there’s likely to be take-up from businesses, householders – and even space agencies, apparently.

Insights into 3D Printing

By building up layer upon layer of material, a 3D printer can produce objects to any pattern, up to the maximum size it can handle. However, the applications to which these objects can be put to may be limited by the physical properties of the materials that will inputted in to 3D printers – the equivalent of the ink in the printers we’re all familiar with. Clearly, you can’t print a toaster if your 3D printer only uses plastic – but an oven knob, or even a wind-powered robot with dozens of moving parts, is no problem.

A quick scan of 3dprinter.net helpfully outlines the different methods 3D printers are able to deploy, which I’ve summarised here. Each appears to require its own TLA (Three Letter Acronym). Perhaps in the future terms such as Stereolithography (SLA), Fused Deposition Modelling (FDM), Selective Laser Sintering (SLS) and PolyJet photopolymer will become as ubiquitous as DVD and VHS have been in the past. Each of these techniques is compatible with a selection of materials, primarily plastics – but some are able to use metals, ceramics or even play-dough.

Environmental Implications

Moving significant amounts of manufacturing away from factories (predominately in Asia) to our own door steps will no doubt have profound impacts on the balance of goods and services across the globe. The economic and social implications of the technology have the potential to be significant– as do the environmental implications.

There is potential for greenhouse gas emissions savings from reduced shipping – not just cutting the number of products that make the long journey across the seas from China, but also reducing road freight. Fewer trucks on the motorways could be one of the unexpected effects 3D printing. But what are the waste management issues associated with mass deployment such technologies. And if we are future gazing, is their deployment consistent with the ‘zero waste economy’ envisaged by governments across the Middle East?

For those who haven’t yet thought too hard about what the technology is; think of it like the ‘replicator’ devices as featured in Star Trek. The replicator was a machine capable of creating objects by voice command, from what appeared to be thin air. 3D printing is only a shade less magical.

Waste Management Perspectives

3D printing is something of a double-edged sword when it comes to waste. It creates new recycling problems, but has considerable potential to help prevent waste. It could even be an outlet for recycled plastics. The opportunity for DIY repairs, especially to everyday items that we might otherwise decide were uneconomic to fix, appears enormous.

But with the higher profile that waste management has these days, I feel that we ought to be making 3D printing the first technology to be designed with recycling in mind. The waste management industry is a service industry; and typically it has had to adapt retrospectively to technology changes that it has not been able to influence. After more than a decade, we’re still catching up with the introduction of plastic milk bottles in lieu of glass. But this reactive approach clearly isn’t the best way to achieve a zero waste economy.

3D printing offers numerous challenges and opportunities to the waste management industry. As we, as a society, become more aware of material security, I’d suggest that the best approach would be for the waste management industry to engage positively with the designers and manufacturers of the 3D printing devices, trying to identify opportunities to ensure that the circular economy doesn’t become an afterthought.

The most appealing possibility would be if the machines could recycle waste polymers themselves, and re-use them as feedstock. Could we see a scenario where the machines become the recycling facility, thus greatly reducing the need for even the print medium to be transported? Bringing the nascent 3D printing industry together with experts in waste management could help to make this new technology contribute to rather than challenge our ambitions for a zero waste economy.

Note: The article is being republished with the kind permission of our collaborative partner Isonomia. The original article can be viewed at http://www.isonomia.co.uk/?p=2512

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Eco-Friendly Ways of Fixing Damaged Roof

If you run a small business, saving on your energy costs is among the best methods to keep the bottom line of your company as low as possible. Your roof is typically responsible for around 30% of the energy loss of your home or company. With time, this leads to an increase in your heating costs, energy bills, and the general comfort of your premises. New eco-friendly roofing elements can assist you to significantly improve the energy efficiency of your home or business premises while protecting the building from the roofing elements. That will mean less downtime due to water damage and leak repairs and more savings for the business. If you are thinking of changing or fixing your damaged roof, here are some eco-friendly roofing options you can consider.

Use recyclable and recycled materials

The easiest method to reduce the footprint of your building and help prevent waste from accumulating in the landfills is to use some recycled roofing materials. Therefore, when you are looking for a replacement of your commercial roof, you can consider looking for roofing materials made from some old roofing scrap. Metal panels, clay tiles, and asphalt shingles are all excellent options and can be made from old roof materials.

Once you settle for this roofing option, you will get similar quality protection just like installing a new roof while keeping the usable materials from the landfill as well. If you can’t get recycled or reclaimed roofing materials that suit the needs of your business, look for some roofing elements that can be recycled when you are done with them. Wood shakes, rubber, shingles, and clay tiles can all be changed into new items when they are no longer fit for your roof.

Examine your insulation

Commercial roofing, such as residential roofs requires a good insulation layer to keep the outside temperatures from affecting the temperatures inside. If there isn’t enough insulation at the top level of your premise, the outdoor weather can leave the building feeling unbearably cold or unseasonably warm. Again, inadequate insulation can also put your structure at risk for water damage and leaks.

If you are considering replacing your roof, ensure that your insulation levels are examined. If the insulation is not enough in the attic space, then more can be inserted before your new roof gets installed. You will notice an instant improvement in the energy efficiency of your building, making your structure more eco-friendly in the long run.

Switch to metal roofing materials

One of the best eco-friendly roofing available is metal. Metal roofing is pretty durable, has low maintenance needs, and you can recycle them when you want to replace the entire system. According to statistics, the average metal roofing can last for approximately 60 years with routine maintenance and care, and you will spend less cash on roofing replacements and also contribute less waste to your landfill with time.

Moreover, you can paint the material in almost any color, which makes it easy to adjust to the property appearance regulations or building code of any area, and most of all, you will save a lot of money on roof repairs for the lifespan of your roof.

Prepare the roofing for solar panels

If you are thinking of making your business premises more eco-friendly, then you should consider solar panels. However, they can be challenging to install on your premises. When you are replacing a damaged roof or installing a new one, make the most of your new roofing materials and allow the roofing contractors to prepare the surface for the installation of the solar energy system.

qatar-solar-program

With the right preparation, solar panels can be installed on almost all types of materials. Even if the old roofing materials of your building cannot support the panels’ weight, new plastic shingles or other eco-roofing materials will do the task. However, before you start working with your roofing company, ensure that you get an energy audit that will help you determine the number of panels your business will need. It’s possible that installing even a couple of solar panels will assist you in offsetting your energy costs every month.

Paint your roof white

Conventionally, commercial roofs are usually dark flat or black roofing systems. Whereas this is a great option for melting ice and snow in the winter, it can make your structure less energy efficient. The black roofing materials typically absorbs heat from the sun, and the heat radiates across the upper floors and the attic of your premises. The more heat that is absorbed, the more your air conditioning system will have to work to ensure your building is comfortable during summer and spring or throughout the year, depending on the location of your business.

Moreover, the accumulation of heat can typically cause the materials supporting your roof to warp. Rather than dealing with the nuisance of these issues, you should consider changing your roof into a pretty cool roof. For a commercial property, your roofing company will be able to utilize a protective white coating designed to effectively reflect the heat while serving as a protective wall against hail, water, snow, and many other natural hazards as well.

Select a company with relevant experience

The best eco-friendly roofing materials are the ones that typically last for a long time. When fixing a damaged roof or replacing it, the whole roof should be removed and also thrown away. That’s because trying to install some new roofing materials on the old one often leads to more damage and extensive repairs in the long run. If your roof is fixed poorly, it’s more likely that your building will require extensive roofing repairs or even a complete replacement earlier than it should. Every replacement or repair means more materials which will eventually increase the carbon footprint of your business.

Moreover, since most traditional roofing materials utilize chemicals during the manufacturing process, you might unintentionally contribute to damage to the local ecosystems and pollution. By working with an experienced roof waterproofing and leakage repair services, you will reduce any risks of installation errors and also premature repairs. That will save you lots of money and also keep more materials from going to the dump.

Most homeowners and businesses have to replace or repair their roof at some point. If you would like roofing materials that will outlast the conventional roofs and made from eco-friendly materials, you can consider the options outlined above. Most of them are typically immune to hail, snow, and ice. Green roofing materials are varied and many, ranging from recycled-metal roofs to recycled-plastic shingles to reclaimed wood or sustainable harvested roofs. The best roofing selection for your home or business depends on the structure of your local building codes, your home, and price considerations.

Green Ways to Prevent Pests from Entering Our Homes

Pests are universally considered as undesirable and unwanted housemates. This is rightfully so because not only do pests partake in your food uninvited, they also leave destruction in their wake and they are dangerous vectors of diseases. Termites leave the most significant amount of destruction among household pests. Termites can wreck entire rooms if left uncontrolled. Some pests like mosquitoes, ants, bed bugs and ticks just hang around in your house to cause pain and discomfort. Rats, mice, flies and cockroaches not only steal or freeload on your food items, they spoil food or leave undesirable traces of their bad habits like droppings, bad smell or bite marks on foods or food items.

If that isn’t enough, rats, mice and cockroaches find their way into your dressers and wardrobes, nibbling holes into kitchen utensils and clothes. Most importantly, pests such as mosquitoes, flies, cockroaches, mice and rats are vectors of deadly diseases. This is why, every homeowner should know the importance of getting rid of these pests and preventing them from entering houses and doing so in a natural and green way.

Why Go Green?

There are a lot of pesticides, poisons and chemical repellents in the markets and stores, but due to the synthetic and poisonous nature of these anti-pest treatments, they can also pose health risks for household occupants like humans, pets and other insects or animals not considered as pests. These treatments can also be potentially harmful and polluting to the environment.

Not only that, anti-pest treatments can lose effectiveness over time and can risk re-infestation of pests into the house. This can be a problem for homeowners who are considering selling their houses and for buyers interested in getting a house. It may cost the homeowner or the buyer more for paying for building pest inspections and paying extra for hiring exterminators. Thus, there is a need for green and environment-friendly ways to prevent pest invasions and infestations.

Spices

The spices in our kitchens can have other uses other than enhancing food flavor. Garlic is a natural repellent for ants, mosquitoes and cockroaches. Rosemary and sage are also natural mosquito repellents. Bay leaves, cloves and basil leaves provide effective repellent solutions for pesky house flies.

Plants and Plant Extracts

Cucumber and citrus oil are natural repellents for ants. Catnip is a natural repellent to cockroaches, but is an attractant to cats, so make sure your home doesn’t have cats before using this plant. Neem tree extracts such as neem oil and products from neem tree such as mosquito coils are effective mosquito repellents. Mint and eucalyptus plants and their extracts are effective deterrents for houseflies. Lemongrass, especially its extract citronella, is also a very effective mosquito repellent.

Diatomaceous Earth

Diatomaceous earth (DE) is made from fossilized remains of tiny, aquatic organisms called diatoms. DE is mined from riverbeds and lakes. This rock is soft and crumbly and forms a soft powder. Fine powdered form of DE is used as a natural pesticide. It is effective against garden and home pests such as silverfish, darkling beetles, wasps, ants, bedbugs, crickets, fleas, ticks, cockroaches and many other pests. Little is known about this natural pesticide, but users that have utilized this natural pesticide can attest to its effectivity.

There is a growing need for green and safe ways of preventing pest infestation and invasion. As synthetic and chemical based pesticides and repellents can be toxic and could cause adverse health effects such as cancer and brain defects, the long-term effectiveness of chemical treatments are not always reliable. Aside from saving money from buying expensive insect repellents homeowners can also help the environment by going natural and using biodegradable products. Prevention is better than cure, and so make the necessary preparations to prevent a full-blown pest invasion in your homes.

Recycling and Artwork

recycled-art-cyclesArt and recycling goes hand-in-hand. Eco-artists are, nowadays, transforming old, recycled and resued object into amazing pieces of contemporary art. The trend started gaining prominence in 1980s when museums and galleries in the Western world opened their doors for such innovation and creativity.

In recent years, many artists in the Middle East has started expressing their support for recycling and sustainability through artworks where they merge traditional tone with contemporary themes creating attractive installation art that express local cultural heritage in the larger public interests. Artists are expressing their emotions and ideas through a wide range of recyclables glass, cans, plastics, CDs, PET bottles etc.

Installation Art and Recycling

This type of art is termed as Installation Art which is 3-dimensional work using common raw and natural materials to create an object with different messages directed to the viewers and the public audiences. Installation art can be expressed at any type of form like objects, videos, sound or even through the Internet. Interestingly, installation art is also considered a part of Renaissance where people can discover classical cultural movements like Surrealism and Futurism.

Many artists search for inspirations that surround them while others express their feelings in the artwork. Artists use recycled or reused objects to make attractive pieces of contemporary art and literally turn everyday trash into creative treasures. Some create compositions from recycled plastic bags or themed works for art galleries, while others create entire theme parks with trash, and even furniture from recycled materials. For example, if an artist has a penchant for collecting beverage cans, he/she might be interested in creating a replica of a famous building or monument.

Bristol’s whales sculpture is made of willow and 70000 plastic bottles

Artists can collect recyclable materials through public donations, collaboration with businesses or direct collection from solid waste stream. This innovative approach not only creates environmental awareness but also help in finding a good use for unwanted materials. For example, giant bottles made of recycled plastic bottles are tipped over on the grass at an art installation in North Evanston, Illinois. Approximately 6,000 small, clear plastic bottles were used to construct the five 16-foot bottles on display.

Mrs. Salwa Nabhan, a graphic design faculty at Sharjah Higher Colleges of Technology, stresses the importance of using art and recycling in our daily life. She says, “Installation Art is good for the environment because it takes everyday objects and transforms it into a valuable artwork. This is because using raw or new materials can be expensive and people are limited with what they can buy”. The Sharjah Higher Colleges of Technology Media students have already worked on such background creating 2-D artworks by using recycled items like fabric leftovers, wood and paper to create collage of things.

Conclusion

Around the world, eco-artists are turning recyclables into creative pieces of art and thereby contributing to the Green Movement taking place in different spheres of life. Artists are finding innovative ways to show their concern for the environment and thus encouraging the masses to reuse, reduce and recycle for a better future. With waste disposal posing a serious environmental challenge in the Middle East, it is expected such initiatives will also spur governments to take concrete actions to ease the situation.

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مقال عن نبات الزعتر

عرف القدماء قائمة واسعة من النباتات الطبية والعطرية ومنها الزعتر والتي استخدموها في علاج كثير من الامراض وتعتبر من المحاصيل غير التقليدية  التي يحتاجها الانسان أو تدخل في الممارسات الغذائية له بشكل أو بآخر ، وتستخدم هذه النباتات إما طازجة  أو مجففة  أو في إستخلاص الزيوت. فمنها موجود بشكل طبيعي ومنها ما يزرع في المزارع والحدائق المنزلية ، وقد ظهر  إهتمام عالمي واسع بزراعة الزعتر لاستخدامه أو أجزاء منه للحصول على زيوته العطرية التي تدخل في تركيب العديد من المركبات الصناعية كبديل لعدد من المستحضرات الكيماوية المنتشرة .

وفي الحضارات القديمة انتشر التداوي بالاعشاب  في الصين والهند وفيتنام والاغريق أما في العصور العربية فقد عرفت بلاد ما بين النهرين كثير من النباتات الطبية والعطرية ومنها الزعتر ونشطت حركة العلم والترجمة  لكثير من الكتب العلمية المتخصصة في هذا المجال بعد استقرار  الدولة الاسلامية ومن اهم العلماء الذي تم الترجمة لهم  جابر بن حيان وابو بكر الرازي وابن سينا وابن البيطار وغيرهم . يذكر في بعض المراجع أن المصريون القدماء استخدموا الزعتر في التحنيط. واستخدمه اليونانيون القدماء في الحمامات وأحرقوه كـبخور في معابدهم، اعتقادًا أنه مصدر الشجاعة.

وتعتبر  المملكة الاردنية الهاشمية من الدول الغنية بهذه النباتات وتحتوي اكثرمن 500 صنف من النباتات الطبية البرية تتبع 33 جنسا 99و عائلة تتوزع في جميع انحاء المملكة منها اليانسون والكراوية والقرفة والشمار والزعتر والنعناع والميرمية والخزامى الحلوة والبابونج وحصى البان والكمون ولكن بعض هذه الاصناف بدأت تنقرض بسب الزحف العمراني  والرعي الجائر والتغير المناخي.

الزعتر نبات شجيري معمّر ،يُذكر أن موطنه الأصلي حوض البحر الأبيض المتوسط وهو دائم الخضرة وأوراقه صغيرة لونها رمادي مخضر أو فضي , ويعيش من 5-6 سنوات. كثير الفروع يكسو الأرض ويصل علوه إلى حوالي 12 سم قائم والسيقان خشبية الأضلاع رمادية مغطاة بالأوبار لونها بني والأوراق صغيرة بسيطة معكوسة رمحية الشكل توجد الأزهار في نورات عنقودية أما زرقاء أو وردية ويبلغ ارتفاع النبات حوالي 50سم وتحمل ثمار كبسولية صغيرة الحجم بها بذور صغيرة عديدة, يوجد الزيت الطيار في الغدد الزيتية المنتشرة علي السطح السفلي للأوراق ، له  رائحة عطرية قوية وطعمه حار مر قليلاً. منه أهم  نوعان هما البري والفارسي

وتم استخدام الزيوت العطرية في الحضارات القديمة للعلاج من الأمراض، وكان لعلماء المسلمين الفضل في اختراع جهاز التقطير، والتوسّع في استخراج الزيوت الطبيعيّة، ومعرفة خصائصها وصفات التداوي بها، وتم نقلها في القوافل العربية مع الحرير والتوابل والسكّر. وجاءت مراكز البحث العلمي اليوم لتؤكّد أهميّة الزيوت المستخلصه منه في صناعة الدواء، ومواد التجميل، ومعاجين الأسنان، والصابون، والمواد المطهّرة، ومضادات الجراثيم ، اكتشف باحثون أميركيون ان زيت الزعتر هو من بين 6 زيوت أساسية أثبتت قدرتها على التخلص من الالتهابات،كما يعتبر الزعتر من اكثر المواد الطبية والعطرية اذا ما كان الوحيد الذي له عدة استخدامات طازجة او جافة او مصنعة او تدخل في الغذاء للانسان فهو يحتوي على مركبات الزيت الهامة ( الثيمول , الكاربكرول) .
ومن اهم ميزات نبات الزعتر احتياجاتة المائية القليلة مقارنة بمردوده العالي ، ويمكن تسويق المنتج مباشره  او تجفبفه وتصنيعه ،ولا يحتاج إلى معدات معقدة أو استثمارات مكلفة .والظروف المناخية ملائمة جدا لزراعة نبات الزعتر في كثير من الدول خاصة دول المشرق العربي (الاردن،سوريا،لبنان،العراق وفلسطين) .

وفوائده الغذائية كثيرة فهو يحتوي على كربوهيدرات والياف وانواع متخلفة من الفيتامينات (A,C,D) والمعادن مثل الحديد والكالسيوم والفسفور ،اما فوائده الطبية فيستخدم في علاج الجهاز التنفسي مثل السعال الديكي والالتهابات الشعبية والربو ومسكن للألم ومطهر ومنشطة للدورة الدموية. وينشط الوظائف المضادة للتسمم, ويسهل إفراز العرق, ويدر البول. ويحتوى على مواد مقوية للعضلات ، تمنع تصلب الشرايين، يعالج التهابات المسالك البولية والمثانة والمغص الكلوي ويخفض الكوليسترول.

أما كفاتح للشهية فيعمل على تنبيه المعدة وطرد الغازات ويساعد على الهضم وامتصاص المواد الغذائية وطرد الفطريات من المعدة والأمعاء فهو يحتوى على مادة الثيمول التي تعمل على قتل الميكروبات وتطرد الطفيليات من المعدة ،ومادة الكارفكرول المسكنة والمطهرة وطاردة للبلغم ومضادة للنزيف والاسهال. بالاضافة الى أنه مضاد للأكسدة ومنبه للذاكرة حيث يؤكد السلف السابق على أهمية تناول الزعتر كسندويش مع زيت الزيتون صباحا وقبل الذهاب إلى المدرسة للاعتقاد بأن الزعتر منبه للذاكرة ويساعد الطالب على سرعة استرجاع المعلومات المختزنة وسهولة الاستيعاب.

وللزعتر فوائد اجتماعية واقتصادية كثيرة  مصدر للدخل وتشيغل الايدي العاملة من الجنسين عدا عن فوائدة البيئة كمنظر جمالي وطارد لبعض الحشرات مثل الناموس والبعوض خاصة في المنازل فيخفف عددها ويحد من استخدام المبيدات الكيماوية الضارة بصحة الانسان وتاثيرها السلبي

Waste Management in Gaza Strip

Solid waste management in Gaza Strip is a matter of grave concern. With population of approximately 1.75 million, waste management is one of the most serious challenges confronting the local authorities because of high volumes of solid waste generation and economic blockade by Israel. The daily solid waste generation across Gaza is more than 1300 tons which is characterized by per capita waste generation of 0.35 to 1.0 kg.

Scarcity of waste disposal sites coupled with huge increase in waste generation is leading to serious environmental and human health impacts on the population. The severity of the crisis is a direct consequence of continuing blockade by Israeli Occupation Forces and lack of financial assistance from international donor.

Israeli Occupation Forces deliberately destroyed most of the sewage infrastructure in the Gaza Strip, during 2008-2009 Gaza War inflicting heavy damage to sewage pipes, water tanks, wastewater treatment plants etc. Infact, Israeli forces, time and again, target Gaza's infrastructure and inflict heavy damage during repeated incursions in the Gaza Strip. 

Landfills in Gaza

There are three landfills in Gaza Strip – one each in southern and central part of Gaza and one in Gaza governorate. In addition, there are numerous unregulated dumpsites scattered across rural and urban areas which are not fenced, lined or monitored. Domestic, industrial and medical wastes are often dumped near cities and villages or burned and disposed of in unregulated disposal sites which cause soil, air and water pollution, leading to health hazards and ecological damage. The physical damage caused to Gaza’s infrastructure by repeated Israeli aggression has been a major deterred in putting forward a workable solid waste management strategy in the Strip.

Sewage Disposal Problems

The sewage disposal problem is assuming alarming proportions. The Gaza Strip’s sewage service networks cover most areas, except for Khan Yunis and its eastern villages where only 40% of the governorate is covered. There are only three sewage water treatment stations in Gaza Strip – in Beit Lahia, Gaza city and Rafah – which are unable to cope with the increasing population growth rate.

The total quantity of produced sewage water is estimated at 45 million m3 per annum, in addition to 3000 cubic meters of raw sewage water discharged from Gaza Strip directly into the sea every day. Sewage water discharge points are concentrated on the beaches of Gaza city, Al Shate' refugee camp and Deir El Balah.

Raw Sewage on a Gaza beach

The continuous discharge of highly contaminated sewage water from Gaza Strip in the Mediterranean shores is causing considerable damage to marine life in the area. The beaches of Gaza city are highly polluted by raw sewage. In addition, groundwater composition in Gaza Strip is marked by high salinity and nitrate content which may be attributed to unregulated disposal of solid and liquid wastes from domestic, industrial and agricultural sources.

Recently, the ongoing electricity and fuel shortage caused sewage from Gaza City wastewater treatment plant to overflow into residential areas causing a grave humanitarian and environmental crisis. Several more sewage stations across the Gaza Strip are on the verge of overflowing which could be disastrous from the entire region. The prevalent waste management scenario demands immediate intervention of international donors, environmental agencies and regional governments in order to prevent the situation from assuming catastrophic proportions.

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Introduction to MRF

A Material Recovery Facility (MRF) is a building to receive, sort, process and store recyclable materials to be shipped and marketed to end-users. A materials recovery facility accepts materials, whether source separated or mixed, and separates, processes and stores them for later use as raw materials for remanufacturing and reprocessing.

The main function of the MRF is to maximize the quantity of recyclables processed, while producing materials that will generate the highest possible revenues in the market. MRFs can also function to process wastes into a feedstock for biological conversion or into a fuel source for the production of energy.

MRFs serve as an intermediate processing step between the collection of recyclable materials from waste generators and the sale of recyclable materials to markets for use in making new products. There are basically four components of a MRF facility: sorting, processing, storage, and load-out.

Any facility design plan should accommodate all these activities which promote efficient and effective operation of a recycling program. MRFs may be publicly owned and operated, publicly owned and privately operated, or privately owned and operated.

There are basically two types of MRFs: dirty and clean. A “dirty” MRF receives mixed waste material that requires labor intense sorting activities to separate recyclables from the mixed waste. A “clean” MRF is a facility that accepts source separated or commingled recyclable materials. A “clean” MRF reduces the potential for material contamination.

Small MRFs (less than 10 tons per day)

Each MRF in operation vary in size and configuration. Most counties, cities and non-profit organizations that operate MRFs are small; less than 10 tons recyclables handled daily and less than 15,000 square feet of building space. Total capital costs to construct the facility could be anywhere between $500,000 and $1,000,000.

The difference in cost is attributed to building materials used, site purchase and preparation, entrance doors and size. Many of these facilities are not highly automated. Manual labor is used instead of sorting equipment. The type of processing equipment is basic, such as a vertical or horizontal baler, forklift, glass crusher, can blower, etc.

Large MRFs (larger than 500 tons per day)

Large facilities operate more than 100 tons per day, are fully operated, often located in very large cities, and often owned and operated by the private sector. Such MRFs are equipped with highly automated equipment in state of the art facilities and may need several millions of dollar to build.

 

Major Equipment

A major cost to consider in planning for a MRF, in addition to land, construction and permitting costs, is the purchasing of equipment to process the recyclables. The equipment needed will depend somewhat on how the material is brought to the facility. If any material is commingled, sorting lines may be needed. However, if all material is source separated, less sophisticated methods for removing contaminants could be used. The following is a list of some of the equipment that would be needed to operate a MRF.

Pre-processed Material Handling Equipment

  • Conveyors
  • Containers

Separating Equipment

  • Magnetic Separators and Screens

Size Reduction Equipment

  • Can Densifier
  • Can Flattener
  • Glass Crusher
  • Plastics Granulator
  • Plastics Perforator
  • Baler

Processed Material Handling Equipment

  • Forklift
  • Skid Steer Loader

Environmental Equipment

  • Dust Collection System
  • Noise Suppression Devices
  • Odor Control System
  • Heating, Ventilating, & Air Conditioning (HVAC)

Other Equipment

  • Fixed Storage Bin
  • Floor Scale for Pallet or Bin Loads
  • Truck Scale
  • Belt Scale

Bee'ah's Material Recovery Facility in Sharjah

Bee’ah’s Material Recovery Facility is the largest in the Middle East and ranks the third largest in the world. This specialized facility sorts and separates recyclable materials from municipal solid waste, through mechanical and manual processes. With an annual capacity of 500,000 tonnes, the MRF is currently processing 900 tonnes of general waste, of which an estimated 60% can be recycled and thus diverted from the landfill. One of the highest contributors has been plastic – including PET and mixed plastic, with a 700% increase from March 2010 to 2011, paper and cardboard second at 366%, followed by a 135% increase in aluminum recycling for the same period.

 

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The Dangers of Asbestos

The use of asbestos has been a widespread issue that continues to impact countries on a global scale. As a favored material used in buildings and construction projects throughout the 20th century, asbestos held an incredible appeal as a mineral known for its heat and fire resistant properties.

For decades, this substance was synonymous with manufacturing and development. However, it was soon discovered that once asbestos was disturbed or damaged, the fibrous material could have a fatal effect on those that came into contact with it.

Asbestos in the United States

Despite its known dangers, asbestos continues to pose a threat, especially in the construction industry. Every year, around 125 million people around the world experience occupational exposure to asbestos. Much has been done to raise awareness about the substance, yet asbestos is still allowed in construction materials and supplies throughout the United States as 1 percent of the product. Along with this, its more prominent presence in older buildings presents a high risk to construction workers during the renovation and demolition of these structures.

As a result, asbestos exposure remains the primary cause of occupational cancer in the U.S. Construction workers are one of the leading groups that suffer from asbestos exposure, with demolition crews at the forefront in their frequent contact with damaged and contaminated rubble. However, the same can be said for a variety of professionals that repair and refurbish structures built before 1970.

The construction industry can be broken down into a number of specialized vocations, from home renovators to tile setters, carpenters, and plumbers. Asbestos fibers can spread throughout a jobsite through contact, which can further expose family members and loved ones if the material is brought into the home.

There are an estimated 4,000 construction materials that once regularly contained some form of asbestos, including shingles, pipe insulation, paints, and cement. Across such a broad spectrum of supplies and substances, this means that a wide array of construction workers risk exposure to asbestos on a daily basis. Today, these materials may still contain asbestos, given that they meet governmental guidelines.

Asbestos Globally

The risks of asbestos also continue to plague many nations around the world. The Middle East was once used as a hub for asbestos well into the late 20th century, along with the boom in oil drilling. As more and more urbanization and infrastructure projects were taking place, asbestos was being continually brought into the environment.

In the 1960s around 20 percent of asbestos could be found in the Middle East. Although almost 60 individual countries around the world have taken measures to ban asbestos, the material is often still found on construction sites due to global regulation disparity and misinformation or ignorance.

Additionally, in places like South Africa and Canada that once thrived on the mining of asbestos, the dangers of exposure remain prevalent. Because the effects of asbestos inhalation can take decades to present themselves, those who worked with the mineral years ago may still be at a high risk.

Towns neighboring these mines and other construction sites often see the negative impact of asbestos as it is carried out and spread into the environment. Since mining asbestos can send the particles into the air, secondhand exposure was also very common. Despite South Africa’s prohibition of asbestos in 2008, much of the region’s environment is polluted and in some cases, unlivable.

Mesothelioma, a rare form of cancer, has direct correlation with asbestos exposure

Impact on Public Health

Why is this naturally sourced mineral so harmful? Over time, asbestos has been linked to serious cases of asbestosis, mesothelioma, and various cancers. Once the fibrous material has been inhaled, they attach to the lining of the lungs and other respiratory organs. As time passes, these fibers cause irritation and can have a serious impact on health.

Mesothelioma, specifically, is known for its direct correlation to asbestos exposure. This rare form of cancer is especially fatal, as symptoms can take anywhere from 20-50 years to develop. As mesothelioma has a low survival rate, few patients survive more than five years once the symptoms are present and just about 55 percent live longer than six months. There are three strains of Mesothelioma: pleural (in the lung lining,) peritoneal (in the abdomen lining,) and pericardial (in the heart lining).

Asbestos has made a significant impact on the world at large. Despite its beneficial fire resistant properties, the material has too negative of an impact on the health of those exposed to it to be fit for use.

Despite the stricter regulations many nations have put into place, asbestos is still found in numerous older buildings and homes, putting those who renovate and inhabit them at risk. To this day, asbestos is continuously used and mined in several countries. However, if legislation continues towards a global ban on asbestos, and the construction industry moves to educate and take extra precautions when handling materials containing the substance, these harmful effects may become less detrimental.

Information Resources

http://www.asbestosnation.org/facts/

http://www.who.int/mediacentre/factsheets/fs343/en/

https://www.mesothelioma.com/mesothelioma/

https://www.ecomena.org/asbestos-waste-management-in-mena/

http://www.afro.who.int/news/asbestos-use-continues-africa-despite-severe-health-warnings

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Solar Energy in Saudi Arabia: Perspectives

Saudi Arabia, the epicenter of global oil industry, has been showing keen interest in solar energy in recent years. Saudi Arabia has one of the world’s highest solar irradiation in the world, estimated at approximately 2,200 thermal kWh of solar radiation per m2. The country is strategically located near the Sun Belt, in addition to plentiful availability of empty stretches of desert that may accommodate infrastructure for solar power projects.

Vast deposits of sand can be used in the manufacture of silicon PV cells which makes Saudi Arabia an attractive location for solar industry. “The resource is stunning; land is abundantly available; the transmission grid system is relatively new, highly resilient and capable of accommodating intermittent loads; and the creditworthiness of KSA is unbeatable as demonstrated by response to the nation's first ever international bond offering”, explains Paddy Padmanathan, CEO of ACWA Power, one of the world’s leading solar developers.

Another important driver for solar energy deployment in Saudi Arabia is astonishingly high per capita primary energy consumption, four times higher than the global average. The total energy consumption in the Kingdom is rapidly rising at a rapid rate of 6 percent per annum which also presents a strong case for diversification of energy sources.

Slow Progress Yet Ambitious Goals

Despite its tremendous potential, solar energy sector in Saudi Arabia is still in early stages. “Saudi Arabia is yet to turn its huge solar potential into reality”, says Makio Yamada, Research Fellow at King Faisal Center for Research and Islamic Studies (Riyadh). In 2012, the government unveiled plans to invest more than $100 billion in clean energy projects till 2030 in order to generate 41GW, a third of its power requirements, from renewable resources, primarily solar energy.

However, the government drastically scaled back the program in January 2015 and set a more realistic renewables target 14% of current generating capacity (9.5GW) by 2030.  “The installed solar capacity is less than a fifth of that in the UAE which can be attributed to institutional fragmentation and lack of effective collaboration between relevant state and semi-state organizations”, adds Yamada.

The newly launched Vision 2030 document puts forward a strong regulatory and investment framework to develop Saudi solar energy sector, financed in part by $2 trillion sovereign fund. “Vision 2030 highlights renewable energy as a strategic priority for Saudi Arabian economy which would help in economic diversification away from oil revenues, increasing energy security, diversify energy mix, free up oil for export, enhance regulatory framework, and support development of renewable energy industry, thus paving the way for a low-carbon economy in the Kingdom”, say Eaman Abdullah Aman, a Saudi energy expert and writer.

Infact, Saudi Arabia’s long-term goal is to become the leading exporter of solar energy in Middle East and Vision 2030 is expected to play a key role in realizing this objective. “What makes Vision 2030 and King Salman Renewable Energy Initiative different from previous programs is that they represent the highest level commitment to renewable energy ever seen from the Kingdom”, emphasizes Nada.

Under the King Salman Renewable Energy Initiative, the government will review the legal and regulatory framework for private-sector investment in order to encourage public-private partnerships and promote local manufacture. “The new targets and strategy outlined in Vision 2030 and National Transformation Plan is very much in sync with fuel mix trends around the world”, observes Padmanathan.

Winds of Change

The first renewable energy initiative from the Saudi government was the establishment of King Abdullah City for Atomic and Renewable Energy (KA-CARE) in 2010, which is the official agency in-charge of promoting clean energy in the Kingdom. One of its major achievements has been the establishment of 3.5MW PV project at the King Abdullah Petroleum Studies and Research Center. 

Saudi Arabia’s long-term goal is to become a leading exporter of solar energy

Saudi Arabia’s first competitive global tender for utility-scale solar power projects was recently launched – two 50 MW solar power plants at Al-Jouf and Rafha. Though current installed solar capacity in the country is a measly 25MW, world’s leading solar energy companies are already active in the local market, mainly due to the promise and potential of Saudi solar sector. “We already have two pilot projects in place: the first is solar-powered irrigation project at Al-Jouf while the other one is a carport solar power plant for the Saudia Dairy and Foodstuff Company (SADAFCO) in Riyadh”, informs Ahmed Nada, Vice President and Region Executive – Middle East at First Solar.

In addition to solar PV, concentrated solar power (CSP) is an interesting option for Saudi Arabia due to its strong dependence on desalination plants to meet its water requirement. Waste heat of a CSP plant can be used to power seawater desalination projects. In 2015, Saudi Electric Company selected CSP to produce electricity with 550MW Duba 1 project, an integrated Solar Combined Cycle Power Plant located near Tuba. The plant, still in tendering phase, is designed to integrate a parabolic trough unit of around 20 to 30MW. 

Outlook for the Future

Due to its regional dominance, Saudi Arabia can play a vital role in the proliferation of solar energy in the entire Middle East. “The Kingdom needs to urgently move forward with its renewable energy plans and start the production of solar energy on a large-scale”, says Padmanathan. “The current focus is on increasing levels of efficiency, reducing subsidy and slashing government expenditure and on doing things that truly add value”, he adds.

“Vision 2030 target suggests that the country will grow its renewable energy capacity in increments, taking advantage of future cost declines and efficiency improvements, while also leaving the door open for emerging technologies”, says Nada. Under the new leadership of King Salman, the country is making a concerted effort to develop its renewable energy sector. “The reorganization of stakeholders and decision makers on energy policy and renewables, under one umbrella, should accelerate KSA’s renewable energy program”, observes Nada. The government restructuring in May 2016 placed necessary administrative functions under the newly-created super-ministry, the Ministry of Energy, Industry, and Mineral Resources which will eventually pave the way for implementation of solar projects.

However, there are several critical areas which Saudi Arabia should tackle for a smooth transition to renewables-focused energy mix. “Saudi Arabia should take a consultative approach on its renewable energy policy framework by leaning on capable, credible industry partners to share their expertise which will help the country avoid the steep learning curve that other markets have faced”, explains Nada. Lenders and financiers are an integral part of any industry, and they should be properly informed about green financing. “It will be particularly important for banks and lenders based in the Kingdom to better understand the solar energy industry, ensuring that they’re comfortable with providing competitive financing for the program”, stresses Nada.

It is also essential to adapt solar energy systems to meet specific energy-intensive applications. “Saudi Arabia could provide long-term solar energy targets for certain, energy-intensive industrial sectors such as cement, steel and petrochemicals”, says Nada.

Lastly, a well-trained and performing workforce is crucial for the development of solar market. “Saudi Arabia needs to invest wisely in technical education to overcome the skills mismatch between schools and the labour market and ensure the supply of rightly-trained human resources to the solar industry”, stresses Yamada.

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Green Marketing: How To Improve Your Sales Performance

The sales performance of your company should be improved for your business to grow. You could be having a great product and a great team but without making sales, your business will ultimately fail. For this reason, you need to come up with green marketing strategies that will help your business improve your sales performance. Some strategies have been formulated to help you accomplish that, and they include the following:

  1. Make sure you generate enough leads

Generating leads is probably one of the most difficult processes of the sales process. Also, it is the first step in the process. As a business, you must decide how many prospects you need in the funnel at a time in order to achieve your sales goals. Not every prospect will buy and you need to know how many calls you need to make one sale. For instance, you may realize that when you make ten calls, you can make one or two sales. If you want ten sales then you must make a hundred calls.

green-business

  1. Show the benefits of your products to your prospects

After getting a prospect from the leads, you want them to buy. Prospects don’t care about the contents or the technology used in making the product. They buy the benefits of the products; hence show them the benefits of your products and you will make sales.

  1. Know your target customers

You have to define your customers clearly. Know their age, gender, religion, place of residence, level of education and income among other factors. This information will help you get the right leads and prospects hence saving yourself time and money.

  1. Define the problem that your product solves

Sometimes identifying the problem that your product solves may be difficult. It is necessary, therefore, that your sales people attend a sales coaching class to be taught to identify the problem being solved. If your product does not solve any problem, making sales becomes an uphill task. Prospects may not know if a problem exists and, therefore, it is your duty to educate them and persuade them to buy the product.

  1. Learn to handle objections and rejection

Many people fear objections in the sales process. The good thing is that anyone can be trained to handle any objection so you don’t have to fear. Common objections include: not having money, time and having a similar product among others. If you own a business then it is good you train your sales people on how to handle these common objections.

Also, not everyone you talk to will yes to your product. In fact, a bigger percentage of your prospects will say no to you. You, therefore, need to be prepared to hear the no and move on to the next prospect.

  1. Learn to negotiate

You should know how to negotiate with your buyers so that you can persuade them. Good negotiators are well prepared; know how to ask the right questions and exercise patience. This skill will help you to identify or create a win-win situation so that both you and your buyer are happy.

  1. Follow up

Money is in the follow-up. Very few prospects will buy your product the first time they learn about it. However, when you follow up, you show them that you are there to serve them; you are dependable, you believe in your product and that you do not just want their money. This strategy may help you sell more products. If you have many prospects but your sales are low, develop this skill of following up and your sales will dramatically increase.

  1. Ask for referrals

This is one effective way of generating leads, yet it is usually ignored by many people. Here you simply ask your satisfied customers to refer someone they know to you. They may refer some people and they buy, hence you gain; or they may refuse to refer people to you, you still lose nothing.

These green marketing strategies have been tested over and over again and they have shown results. You just need to apply them effectively and your sales performance will soar.

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