Welcome to the future, where your phone can fix its own smashed screen

Read the full story in The Guardian.

From self-healing phone screens to concrete that repairs itself, businesses are investing in futuristic materials. But can it curb our throwaway habits?

Product Design for the Circular Economy: Q and A with Sterilis

Read the full story in Environmental Leader.

Healthcare facilities in the US generate millions of pounds of medical waste every year. Most of that infectious material gets picked up by trucks, hauled away, and incinerated in a process that environmental groups say produces toxic emissions and ash residues. Enter Sterilis, a company based in Boxborough, Massachusetts, that makes a device for handling the waste safely onsite.

Their self-contained portable machine sterilizes waste for 30 minutes using steam and then grinds it into a confetti material. That step reduces the waste volume by 80%, according to the company. From there, the ground material can be safely transported and even recycled.

“We can take highly infectious waste that is handled with kid gloves and transform it into benign sterilized waste,” says Sterilis CEO Bob Winskowicz. He adds that the company wants to identify more secondary uses for that waste. “The circular economy is evolving for us and we’re very excited about it.”

This summer the Sterilis device won an Environmental Leader Award. One of the judges highlighted how the product addresses the enormous medical waste problem. “The ability to reduce the volume and danger earlier in the medical waste life-cycle impacts downstream handling issues and costs,” the judge commented.

We recently caught up with Winskowicz and Sterilis president and CFO Jeff Bell to learn about their process for designing and developing a sustainable device.

Biomimicry @ 20: A conversation with Janine Benyus

Read the full story at GreenBiz.

Nature holds the answers to successful corporate sustainability, says Janine Benyus, author of Biomimicry: Innovation Inspired by Nature. When biologists are at the design table, she said, they “basically ask the question: What in the natural world has already solved the problem that we’re trying to solve, and what can it teach us?”

Algae makes another splash for the bio-based industry with amphibious shoe.

Read the full story in Bio-based World News.

The bio-based world never fails to impress or surprise us. After several generations of experience in the footwear industry, Galahad Clark whose family owns the infamous shoe brand, Clark’s, decided it was time to take a risk. With a passion for footwear, Clark created his very own shoe designs made from algae. In 2014 Vivobarefoot was launched to provide an alternative ‘for people who don’t want to wear shoes.’ The thin soles are designed for running and hitting trials so that every nerve in your foot is connected to the ground that you are running on.

Ahead of the Curve: Designing in Sustainability from the Start

Read the full post at Sustainable Brands.

For companies and brands today, more sustainable production methods are topping lists of things to do. The uncertainty of material and vendor prices, the need to comply with a growing number of regulations and mounting evidence of environmental impacts increasingly drive change. More and more manufacturers are investing time, energy and money to fix infrastructures and further optimize supply and production chains. They have to, after increasingly finding themselves at risk for not putting forth the resources necessary to make their processes more sustainable. This is not to mention the vulnerability they incur by ignoring the growing demands of consumers who now expect transparency and CSR as a baseline.

However, sustainability initiatives by many manufacturers and consumer product companies today are reactive in nature. Brands launch ad hoc initiatives that take a sort of “cause and effect” approach to resource strategy by responding to situations as they occur, perpetuating the system by working within it. What this does is treat symptoms rather than move towards a cure, which does not necessarily help to design out structural inefficiencies that result in waste. Though any authentic steps towards sustainability are steps in the right direction, there is more that companies can do to prepare for the future.

Recycling never looked so good: Luxury-quality materials made from waste

Read the full story from CNN Style.

Recycling is a concept as old as trash itself. By now, we’re used to seeing useful materials, such as glass and paper, reprocessed into lower-grade versions of themselves, and discarded products upcycled into entirely new designs. (Emeco’s 111 Navy chair, made from 111 used Coca-Cola bottles, is a good example.)

But today we’re witnessing the emergence of a new recycling trend, driven by the luxury design industry. These versatile materials, substitutes for conventional woods, plastics and stone, come in sheet or tile form, ready to be cut, shaped and manipulated by architects and fellow designers.