100% biodegradable, edible packaging is so much better than plastic

November 29, 2017 by  
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The world is awash in pollution from plastic packaging – but fortunately, some people are working hard to develop viable eco-friendly alternatives. Indonesia -based Evoware makes food packaging out of an unexpected material: seaweed . Instead of clogging our oceans, the non-toxic seaweed-based packaging biodegrades – and it’s even edible. Evoware’s 100 percent biodegradable packaging lasts for two years on the shelf, and is printable and heat sealable. It’s also a natural plant fertilizer. You can eat the packaging, taking advantage of the high fiber, mineral, and vitamin content. It could serve as a hamburger wrapping, for example, and there’d be no need to remove the packaging before eating the burger. Or it could hold instant noodle seasoning, and when a consumer poured in warm water to make the noodles, the packaging would dissolve. Evoware on their website describes their product as “almost tasteless and odorless.” The seaweed packaging can also form sachets to hold non-food items such as soap or sanitary pads. Related: Egyptian scientists turn dried shrimp shells into eco-friendly plastic Environmental challenges motivate the company, as Indonesia is the second largest contributor of ocean plastic . But co-founder David Christian said in a video they also aim to help poor seaweed farmers in the country. Indonesia is the biggest seaweed-producing country, according to Christian – but many of the farmers, due to a long marketing chain, don’t make enough money or are in debt to loan sharks. Their children are malnourished and can’t attend school. And unfortunately, a lot of the seaweed is wasted right now, he added. Evoware aims to use it, and increase these farmers’ incomes by turning seaweed into zero waste packaging. The company said on their website, “Through Evoware’s products, people evolve to be closer to nature and live a more responsible and sustainable life.” You can find out more here . + Evoware Images via Evoware

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100% biodegradable, edible packaging is so much better than plastic

Twin brothers convert organic waste into truly biodegradable plastic

October 27, 2017 by  
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You know plastic waste is a problem. But Jeff and Dane Anderson, twin brothers in California , are trying to do something about it. They started a company, Full Cycle Bioplastics , to make a fully biodegradable plastic . They aren’t the first to do so, but they utilize cheap, readily available organic waste to make their bioplastic . Food waste, dirty paper or cardboard, or agricultural byproducts become compostable plastic in Full Cycle Bioplastics’ process. Jeff Anderson told UPROXX they’re able to utilize any organic waste to create a plastic known as polyhydroxyalkanoate (PHA). “If it ever falls into the ocean , it actually acts as fish food, or bacteria food, and has no toxic effects,” Anderson said in an UPROXX video . Related: Egyptian scientists turn dried shrimp shells into eco-friendly plastic Full Cycle Bioplastics breaks organic waste down into feedstock, given to naturally occurring bacteria that consume the waste and convert it into PHA. The company then dries and processes the PHA into a resin product. Anderson said their bioplastic could be used for bags, to-go containers, utensils, water bottles, or shampoo bottles, to name a few. Dane Anderson said it’s great for the bioplastic to return to them after use, because they can turn it back into plastic again. But it will harmlessly break down in nature if it’s discarded. One reason bioplastics haven’t taken over the world yet is their expense, but the brothers bring down costs through their process. They don’t need land to cultivate crops, nor do they use genetically modified bacteria. We may not be able to totally get rid of plastic – just a glance around where you’re sitting right now will likely reveal several items manufactured with the stuff polluting our planet. But Jeff told UPROXX their bioplastic can serve as a direct replacement – one that’s far better for the earth. + Full Cycle Bioplastics Via UPROXX Images via Full Cycle Bioplastics and screenshot

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Twin brothers convert organic waste into truly biodegradable plastic

Aerospace-inspired wonder could be the UK’s first double-decker high-speed train

October 27, 2017 by  
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Lucky Brits could soon ride on high-speed trains with luxury jet-like interiors. Taking inspiration from aerospace design, Andreas Vogler Studio and the German Aerospace Center dLR designed and developed the AeroLiner 3000 train, the first double-deck high-speed train for the UK. Conceived with plans of implementation, this innovative and ultra-lightweight design would allow for an increase in capacity of 30% on the British railways’ existing infrastructure—no new railways needed. Winner of the Red Dot: Design Concept 2017 , the AeroLiner 3000 train adopts aerospace engineering and design to create an ultra-lightweight design that boasts a greater number of seats, increased efficiency, improved comfort, and even a projected reduction in CO2 emissions . “In aviation, lightweight is top priority,” said the Munich-based Swiss architect Andreas Vogler. “With the AeroLiner3000 we show that lightweight construction can trigger a change in the world of rail vehicles.” Related: France aims to roll out world’s first autonomous high-speed trains within 7 years The RedDot jury commended the AeroLiner 3000 for its elegant and luxurious design that makes use of durable train-graded materials and surfaces. Electronically dimmable windows and glare-free OLED illumination make use of new technologies aimed at passenger comfort. Last year, Andreas Vogler Studio created a nine-meter-long, full-scale demonstrator as a proof of concept and for ergonomic verification at Innotras 2016 in Berlin. + Andreas Vogler Studio Renderings: ©Andreas Vogler Studio

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Aerospace-inspired wonder could be the UK’s first double-decker high-speed train

Scientists create eco-friendly, biodegradable microbeads

June 9, 2017 by  
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Microbeads ‘ detriment to the environment is well-documented , yet many companies continue to put the tiny plastic spheres in their products. Scientists at the University of Bath came up with a solution. They created microbeads from cellulose instead, and their alternative is both biodegradable and renewable. One shower can pollute the ocean with 100,000 plastic particles, according to an estimate cited by the University of Bath. These plastic microbeads less than five millimeters in size are way too small to be filtered out by sewage filtration systems, and from sunscreens, toothpastes, or cosmetics end up in the ocean. Fish, birds, and other marine creatures then consume them. Researchers think from there, the microbeads may be entering our food supply . Related: Greenpeace identifies brands that are still polluting oceans with microbeads So a research team at the university developed a way to continuously make biodegradable microbeads. They dissolve cellulose and reform it into beads, by making droplets that are set. They say their process is scalable, and they can draw cellulose from waste products such as those from the paper-making industry. These waste products offer a renewable source of cellulose. Their biodegradable microbeads will stay stable in a body wash, but at sewage treatment facilities can be broken down by organisms. Or the beads will break down in a short period of time if they do make it into the wider environment. Scientist Janet Scott said they’ll biodegrade into harmless sugars. She said in a statement, “Microbeads used in the cosmetics industry are often made of polyethylene or polypropylene, which are cheap and easy to make. However these polymers are derived from oil and they take hundreds of years to break down in the environment…We hope in the future these [microbeads] could be used as a direct replacement for plastic microbeads.” The journal ACS Sustainable Chemistry and Engineering published a study on the research online the end of May. A team led by Scott just received more than £1 million, around $1.2 million, in funding to develop porous beads, microsponges, and capsules from the Engineering & Physical Sciences Research Council . Via the University of Bath Images via University of Bath

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Scientists create eco-friendly, biodegradable microbeads

Egyptian scientists turn dried shrimp shells into eco-friendly plastic

March 3, 2017 by  
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Plastic is a plague on this planet, but it doesn’t have to be. A group of Egyptian researchers is developing a kind of plastic won’t languish in landfills for hundreds of years – made with dried shrimp shells. Just six months into a two-year project, the team is already seeing some success. Scientists at Nile University clean and chemically treat shrimp shells, then ground them up and dissolve them in a solution that dries to form plastic. The researchers have utilized chitosan , a polymer made from the compound chitin commonly found in crustacean shells, to make their clear, thin plastic prototype. They’re able to obtain the shells inexpensively, sourcing them from local supermarkets, restaurants, and fishermen at low prices. Project researcher Hani Chbib told Reuters Egypt imports some 3,500 metric tons of shrimp, and is left with 1,000 metric tons of shrimp shell waste. So the project could help alleviate waste and reduce plastic pollution . Related: Harvard Scientists Create Super Strong Degradable Bioplastic from Shrimp Shells The Egyptian researchers are collaborating with a team from Britain’s University of Nottingham , where the professor overseeing the project, Irene Samy, conducted post-doctoral research and began exploring the idea of converting shells into plastic. Samy told Reuters, “If commercialized, this could really help us decrease our waste…and it could help us improve our food exports because the plastic has antimicrobial and antibacterial properties.” The team envisions the biodegradable plastic might be used for packaging and plastic bags . They said their technique could potentially work for large-scale industrial production, and while so far they’ve only made small samples, are working to enhance properties like durability and thermal stability so the product could be widely used. The United Kingdom side of the team plans to approach packaging manufacturers in their country. Via Reuters Images via screenshot

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Egyptian scientists turn dried shrimp shells into eco-friendly plastic

DoD wants to axe pollution with biodegradable seed-planting bullets

January 9, 2017 by  
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President-elect Donald Trump seems determined to fill his cabinet with climate change skeptics and deniers. But there’s one department Trump probably won’t attempt to sabotage: the Department of Defense (DoD). Now it appears that department’s fighting against the environmental wasteland Trump’s laboring to leave in his wake, with a call for scientists to develop biodegradable , seed-planting bullets. The DoD said the U.S. Army goes through hundreds of thousands of ammunition rounds at training ranges around the world. But bullet components don’t biodegrade for hundreds of years, and in the meantime can “corrode and pollute the soil and nearby water.” DoD also worries many civilians won’t be able to tell the training rounds apart from tactical rounds. So they came up with a vision for a rather peaceful solution: bullets that biodegrade and plant seeds as they go. Related: Climate change could cause “humanitarian crisis of epic proportions,” say military leaders The DoD is soliciting applications for contractors to develop “biodegradable training ammunition loaded with specialized seeds to grow environmentally beneficial plants that eliminate ammunition debris and contaminants” under the Small Business Innovation Research program. According to Gizmodo, the Army found materials like bamboo fiber could be utilized in biodegradable bullets. Also, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers’ Cold Regions Research and Engineering Laboratory has already developed bioengineered seeds that could be embedded into the biodegradable bullets. The seeds won’t germinate until many months after they’ve been in the ground. The defense department didn’t say what type of plants should be grown, but did say animals should be able to eat them without harm. They aim to eliminate environmental hazards with the biodegradable bullets, offering six references of different scientific articles that may help potential contractors in the development process. Those scientists interested in responding to DoD’s request have until February 8 to turn in applications. Via Gizmodo Images via Wikimedia Commons ( 1 , 2 )

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Artist makes Dust Jewelry out of soil from abandoned Icelandic farms

June 28, 2016 by  
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Icelandic artist Ágústa Sveinsdóttir reminds us all of the transience of nature by crafting jewelry out of a simple material: dust. Collected from the soil of deserted farms in the Icelandic countryside, with time the Dust jewelry withers away, revealing a manmade structure — a sort of skeleton within — giving the bearer a chance to savour every moment of its life span. Using a biodegradable adhesive, dust is transformed into a jewel coating. It is a celebration of the fragile beauty that time and use impart to materials. + Dust Jewelry The article above was submitted to us by an Inhabitat reader. Want to see your story on Inhabitat ? Send us a tip by following this link . Remember to follow our instructions carefully to boost your chances of being chosen for publishing!

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Artist makes Dust Jewelry out of soil from abandoned Icelandic farms

Award-winning biodegradable agar packaging could replace plastic

April 12, 2016 by  
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A group of designers from Japan have created a prototype design that could completely change the way we deal with product packaging. The design group, AMAM, calls their project Agar Plasticity, which explores the use of a seaweed -derived substance called agar as a biodegradable substitute for conventional plastic packaging. The group found that by boiling certain types of algae and dehydrating the resulting soup, it’s possible to create a variety of shapes and textures that could replace plastic film or foam packaging. For example, the frozen solution takes on a soft, cushioning structure, and when it’s compressed, it forms a plastic-like film. Read the rest of Award-winning biodegradable agar packaging could replace plastic

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Stunning wood sculpture is cast from a living 150-year-old giant hemlock tree

December 11, 2015 by  
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Stunning wood sculpture is cast from a living 150-year-old giant hemlock tree

We may be able to throw our E-waste in the compost bin within 3 years

September 8, 2015 by  
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Can we win the war on E-waste? Mountains of electronic waste are dumped every year, leaching all kinds of toxins into the environment. And mining for the elements used in electronics manufacture causes huge swathes of land to be destroyed. Researchers at Karlsruhe Institute for Technology are hoping to combat this scourge with Biodegradable Electronic Components. And if they are successful, we may be tossing our future hard drives into the compost bin when we upgrade. Read the rest of We may be able to throw our E-waste in the compost bin within 3 years

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We may be able to throw our E-waste in the compost bin within 3 years

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