As 2018 draws to a close, we take a look at some of the coolest green tech inventions and exciting sustainability innovations that are helping to save our planet.
1. Bottle crushing sand machine
DB Export, a New Zealand brewing company, created a glass crushing machine that turns an empty beer bottle into 200 grams of usable sand. DB Exports says the sand can then be used in construction projects rather than beach sand which is being removed from beaches at rapid rates, leading to land erosion. Great last resort solution for glass that can’t be recycled!
2. Reusable cups made from coffee grounds
Disposable coffee cups are a huge problem. So too are food scraps and food waste being sent to landfills. So we’re loving that Berlin-based startup Kaffeeform is collecting leftover coffee grounds from local coffee shops and recycling them to produce durable, long-lasting reusable cups – helping to solve not one but two environmental problems. *Standing ovation*
3. Apparel made from algae
You’ll be wearing algae soon thanks to Algalife, an innovative textiles startup that explores sustainable development of new bio-based eco-friendly pigments and fibres developed from the microorganism algae. The materials produced are eco-friendly given that algae is renewable, biodegradable, zero waste and natural. This fashion bio-tech company was Israel’s National Winner of the Creative Business Cup competition and also won H&M’s 2018 Global Change Award which helped them to secure their first Patent Cooperation Treaty (PCT), obtain a fully-equipped laboratory and recruit staff.
4. Edible six-pack rings
You might remember the viral video of this edible six pack ring featuring the turtle chewing on one without a problem? Well, after almost two years of testing and refining their sustainable packaging product, Florida-based craft beer brand Salt Water Brewery along with We Believers, a New York City-based advertising agency and Mexico-based engineering firm Entelequia, have finally released its award-winning edible six-pack rings beer packaging called “E6PR” into the market this year. The rings are 100% biodegradable, compostable and plastic-free – and aims to feed wildlife rather than kill them.
5. An appliance that turns food waste into clean energy
The HomeBiogas backyard appliance is an efficient, affordable and sustainable way to transform food scraps, green waste and animal manure into energy. It can digest up to six litres of food waste per day and can be ‘fed’ greens such as fruits, veggies, meats, and dairy. Bacteria digest the waste and turns it into usable biogas that flows directly to the kitchen stove, creating up to three hours of energy per day, enough for an average sized family. It can also create nutrient-rich fertiliser for your gardens too!
According to Time magazine, humans cut down 15 billion trees each year. Aiming to protect existing old growth forests and sustainably manage other ones is priority, but planting new trees to replace the ones cut down is also important. Seedballs are a great – and very simple – answer to deforestation, particularly in Kenya where more than five million trees are cut down each year. A seed is placed in a ball made of charcoal dust mixed with nutrients which help to protect it from wildlife and the climate and when rain hits, it grows. These can be thrown from the air aka “aerial seeding”.
7. A waste shark aqua-drone
With an estimated eight million tonnes of plastic entering our oceans each year, this trash collecting water device is absolutely needed. Inspired by the whale shark, RanMarine Technology‘s WasteShark helps to reduce ocean and river pollution. The aqua drone swims through water to collect floating garbage and debris out of lakes, rivers, ports and marinas. The WasteShark also has other capabilities such as water quality data collection.
8. Zero waste denim
Could the future of fashion be in automation and robotics? If Unspun is anything to go by, then absolutely. This fashion technology company takes a customer’s measurements in 3D and custom produces jeans to fit their unique proportions, on demand. That’s zero inventory stock which means zero waste. Unspun produce the jeans using sustainable materials such as regenerated 100% sustainable denim containing 50% Refibra™, 50% recycled fibre, and NATULON® recycled zippers. To further add to its zero waste credentials, any garment made with the machine can be reused and spun into a new pair of jeans.
9. World’s first land-based coral farm
Coral reefs are dying as a result of higher ocean temperatures due to climate change which is bad news for the 25% of marine life and one billion people that depend on them. Coral Vita is an environmental startup helping to restore coral reefs by growing coral and then transplanting it back into the ocean. Through a process called micro-fragmenting, Coral Vita is able to grow and plant coral back into the oceans at almost 50 times faster than would naturally occur on the ocean floor. With the Great Barrier Reef and other reef systems under great distress, we wish this startup great success!
10. Box of worms
The LIVIN Farms Hive Explorer is the world’s first edible insect desktop hive AKA a simple box of worms. This worm box helps to reduce food waste and thus greenhouse gas emissions, creates natural fertiliser and if you aren’t vegan or vegetarian and can stomach the idea, you can even eat the mealworms as they are a good source of proteins and vitamins. Yay for sustainability, nay for eating!
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Title image credit: LIVIN Farms