Climate Change and the environment is one of the most pressing current issues. The news is constantly publishing articles about the consequences of environmental inaction and what will happen in the future. Although it can feel very overwhelming, this article will focus on how companies and people are helping to protect the planet through innovative ideas and inventions, showing that there is positive action being taken across the world and how you can become more environmentally conscious.
Founded in 2013, Bio-Bean is the world’s largest recycler of coffee. The idea started when a student noticed the film of oil collecting on his coffee and wondered if the waste generated could be used differently. He found research supporting his theory that the used grounds contain oil and had potential to be used as a fuel source and then went on to create bio-beans products.
Their ethos is that there is no such thing as waste and resources can be used differently to prevent waste going to landfill. They recycle used coffee grounds into a fuel source. This includes logs and pellets made out of coffee. Each carbon neutral log is made from the grounds of 25 cups of coffee and burns 20% hotter and longer than regular wood. A statistic shows that repurposing coffee waste generated 80% less emissions compared to if the grounds go to landfill.
Out of the Box
Karthic Rathinam, a 23-year-old from India, has created IKEA like furniture without the need for screws or any materials apart from cardboard. The furniture is water and oil proof, it withstands 150kgs of weight and can last for 5 years. It is the most sustainable alternative than any other material used for making furniture. They sell stools, desks, shelfs and much more.
Their furniture is truly innovative, both combating waste and being environmentally friendly, as the cardboard used is recycled and does not require the felling of trees. As the mass consumption of cheap, low quality furniture is extremely damaging, this is a positive initiative.
An Electric Car made from plastic bottles
In 2020, Dutch students built a fully functioning electric car made almost entirely from recycled waste materials, including plastics from ocean waste, recycled plastic bottles and household waste. Hard plastics were used for the car’s body, whilst the seat and interior furnishings were made of coconut and horsehair. The car can travel at speeds up to 55miles per hour.
The car was designed and built by a group of students and it took them almost two years. They said that they really hope that car companies will start using waste materials, and to show that it is possible for many applications and products.
Although not all materials on the car could be sourced from previous waste, (including tires and batteries), this is an extremely original idea to show the potential of waste.
Being environmentally friendly is at the forefront of Lush’s mission and values. They have taken multiple steps to become extremely environmentally conscious, including their packaging. About half of their products have no packaging, saving nearly 6 million plastic bottles globally from selling shampoo bars instead of the original plastic bottles.
90% of their packaging is made from recycled materials and they aim for all of the packaging to be recyclable or compostable. This makes the total recycled content in all Lush packaging around 89%, meaning they are putting thought into the ways in which they can become even more environmentally beneficial.
A Good Company
This company aims to create sustainable alternatives to everyday products. Their range includes phone cases, stationary, kitchen roll, water bottles and many more. They are completely transparent with their production and the materials that are used in the making of their products.
The company has recently partnered with Alfie Deyes, a UK Based Influencer to release a mobile phone case, made out of 100% plant based materials. This brought the company increased publicity, as Alfie Deyes, as of 27th March 2022, nearly has 4 million followers on Instagram. This brand partnership brought increased attention to the brand, raising awareness of their sustainable alternatives and the company’s mission.
What can individual people do?
This article highlights the actions that we can take to become more environmentally friendly and the steps that we can take. It does not have to be setting up a company that will solve climate change, but it could be buying more sustainable alternatives of your everyday products. For example, next time you need some shampoo, replace a plastic bottle with a shampoo bar, cutting out the need for packaging. Or if you get a new phone, buy a sustainable phone case from A Good Company, as all of their products can be recycled and is even compostable!
All of these steps can greatly lessen your environmental footprint, making a difference overall.