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Sweet Solution
February 2014

Turning Agri-Waste to Good Use

sugarcaneCement that incorporates waste ash from sugar production is not only stronger than ordinary cement, it also qualifies as a greener building material. Researchers at the Niels Bohr Institute at the University of Copenhagen, in Denmark, have found that cement made with sugar cane ash mixed in is stronger, can withstand higher pressure and crumbles less than ordinary cement.

In countries where sugar cane is grown, such as Cuba and Brazil, this agricultural waste product has been added to cement for years. Extracting sugar from the cane typically leaves a lot of fiber waste that is burned into ash, discarded and then requires disposal.

Using sugar cane ash also can lower the energy use and carbon footprint of cement production. Heloisa Bordallo, a researcher at the Institute, comments, “You are saving both CO2 emissions and raw materials.”


Source: EcoSeed.org

 
Ever-More-Green in 2014
January 2014

Easy Ways to Go Eco Right Now

2014New Year resolutions can be a distant memory by mid-January, due to unrealistic expectations, slow results and distractions that sideline good intentions. Yet we may still reap the rewards of a greener, healthier lifestyle by progressively adopting small, doable changes.

Nifty Switches

January white sales present a prime opportunity to change to organic cotton sheets and dry-fast towels to reduce energy usage. Local animal shelters welcome old towels and blankets. Homeless shelters also accept gently used clean linens and outgrown cold-weather gear.

 
Brief Bouts of Yoga Bolster the Brain
January 2014

Benefits of Mind-Body Movements

yogaJust 20 minutes of yoga postures, breathing and meditation are valuable tools for bolstering mental functioning. A study from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign reports that a single, 20-minute hatha yoga session significantly improved participants’ speed and accuracy on tests of working memory, focus, retention and ability to absorb and use new information.

Study participants didn’t get the same positive brain buzz from 20 minutes of aerobics. The study appeared in the Journal of Physical Activity & Health.

 
Vitamin C Halves Colds in Athletes
January 2014

Shorten Duration of Sickness

woman-drinks-orange-juiceTaking vitamin C before engaging in physically demanding activities helps keep colds away for people that are heavy exercisers, say Finnish researchers at the University of Helsinki. While their meta-study showed that non-exercisers that took vitamin C daily gained little or no protection from colds, the story for marathoners, competitive skiers and soldiers on subarctic assignments was much different. The study, published in the Cochrane Review, found that the 598 heavy exercisers cut their risk of colds in half.

 
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