Could a trash-eating compost bin solve our organic waste problem?

Read the full story from Fast Company.

Bob Hendrikx, an architect and biodesigner based in the Netherlands, has developed a concept for a “living bin” inspired by sea anemones. Though they look like colorful flowers, some species of anemones are omnivorous marine animals that feed on plants and other small animals like fish, crab, and plankton. According to Hendrikx, our trash cans could work in a similar way.

First-of-its-kind 3D-printed home blends concrete, wood

Read the full story from Cornell University.

Pouring layers of concrete like rows of toothpaste, an industrial-sized 3D printer this week continued adding a second floor to a Houston home that will be the first multistory printed structure in the United States.

In addition to that achievement, designers Leslie Lok and Sasa Zivkovic, assistant professors of architecture in the College of Architecture, Art and Planning (AAP) and co-principals of the HANNAH Design Office, say the two-story, single-family home is demonstrating innovative construction processes that can be scaled up to multifamily and mixed-use developments, helping to address housing shortages.

Print, recycle, repeat: Scientists demonstrate a biodegradable printed circuit

Read the full story from Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory.

According to the United Nations, less than a quarter of all U.S. electronic waste gets recycled. In 2021 alone, global e-waste surged at 57.5 million tons, and only 17.4% of that was recycled. 

Some experts predict that our e-waste problem will only get worse over time, because most electronics on the market today are designed for portability, not recyclability. Tablets and readers, for example, are assembled by gluing circuits, chips, and hard drives to thin layers of plastic, which must be melted to extract precious metals like copper and gold. Burning plastic releases toxic gases into the atmosphere, and electronics wasting away in landfill often contain harmful materials like mercury, lead, and beryllium.

But now, a team of researchers from the Department of Energy’s Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (Berkeley Lab) and UC Berkeley have developed a potential solution: a fully recyclable and biodegradable printed circuit. The researchers, who reported the new device in the journal Advanced Materials, say that the advance could divert wearable devices and other flexible electronics from landfill, and mitigate the health and environmental hazards posed by heavy metal waste.  

Behind Nestle’s approach to sustainable packaging: ‘We want less and better packaging, and better systems’

Read the full story at Food Navigator.

By 2025, Nestlé expects to be a few percentage points off its goal of achieving 100% packaging designed for recycling. Jodie Roussell, Public Affairs Lead, Packaging & Sustainability, explains what’s gone right, and where its focus now lies.

US expansion on tap for company making plant-based coatings for packages

Read the full story in Food Business News.

Melodea Ltd., based in Israel and a producer of sustainable barrier coatings for packaging, plans to expand to the United States and South America. The plastic-free, plant-based coatings are biodegradable, fully recyclable and non-toxic to consumers and the environment, according to Melodea.

Nigerian company turns e-waste into solar powered lanterns

Read the full story at Reuters.

Quadloop, a Nigerian based company, has found a way to turn electronic waste into solar lanterns and other products which will have a lower impact on the environment.

Dozie Igweilo, founder of Quadloop, told Reuters he came up with the idea after discovering a market for affordable, locally produced electrical goods, for which components were not available in the country.

Webinar: Circular Fashion Starts at the Beginning: An Eyewear Case Study

Oct 18, 2022, 11 am CT
Register here.

From our clothes and eyeglasses to the water bottles and handbags we carry, the choices we make about how we present ourselves to the world says a lot about who we are and what we value. And according to recent research from Shelton Group, a third of Americans want to be seen as someone who buys green products. What makes fashion green has everything to do with what it’s made from. While a lot of the focus on making fashion more sustainable is on the end-of-life impacts (148 metric tons of waste per year by 2030), we must also “green up” the inputs, using sustainable materials to minimize the disastrous impacts of unsustainable farming, logging and extraction, and pollution of waterways. These inputs must also be durable to ensure longevity of the final products. Eyewear crosses the boundaries between fashion and functionality, making materials highly critical. Join circular materials innovator Eastman and two leading eyewear companies as they discuss their journey to convert entire portfolios to sustainable materials.

In this hour-long webcast you’ll learn:

  • Key highlights from recent consumer research about expectations towards sustainable fashion accessories
  • How entire value chains from raw material producers up to final product makers can join forces to lead the way towards a full switch to sustainable portfolio in an effective manner
  • Key learnings and best practices from two leading eyewear companies on how they quickly and successfully adopted sustainable materials
  • How to build an effective message about sustainable materials and molecular recycling to get buy in from internal stakeholders and consumers

Moderator

  • Deonna Anderson, Senior Editor, GreenBiz Group

Speakers

  • Rachel Oakley, Global Segment Manager, Eyewear, Eastman
  • Alessandro Bellati, Director, Product Innovation & N.A. Product Design & Creation, SAFILO
  • Xenia Glutz Von Blotzheim, Director, Corporate Social Responsibility & CSR Communications, MYKITA

If you can’t tune in live, please register and GreenBiz will email you a link to access the webcast recording and resources, available to you on-demand after the live webcast.

Could plastic beer can carriers be a gateway to the reuse economy?

Read the full story at Waste Dive.

Efforts to reuse plastic beer can carriers are taking off. A Vermont system known as the Reusiverse has collected an estimated 75,000 four-pack carriers since launching last year. Co-founder Ben Kogan, CEO of Reusable Solutions, estimates that number will hit 100,000 by the end of the year.

In California, another 16,000 carriers have been collected this year by Matthew Senesky, founder and CEO of reuse marketplace Iterant. Senesky’s platform seeks to sell the carriers, among other products, back to distributors or manufacturers.

A related Reusiverse initiative in Massachusetts and Rhode Island, led by EcoFriendlyBeer.com founder Rob Vandenabeele, has collected even larger volumes. Another program, Craft for Climate, is doing similar work in the Chicago area.

From 480 innovative submissions to 12 sustainable solutions: Where are the NextGen Cup Challenge winners now?

Read the full story from Closed Loop Partners.

In 2018, the NextGen Consortium launched its first initiative, the NextGen Cup Challenge––a global design competition seeking to identify and commercialize existing and future solutions for the single-use, hot and cold fiber cup system. Students, manufacturers, entrepreneurs, designers and businesses were invited to submit their ideas for the cup of the future. After a rigorous four-month review process, the Challenge narrowed nearly 500 submissions from over 50 countries down to 12 winners. 

These 12 winning solutions––broadly categorized into innovative cup liners, new materials and reusable cup service models––were chosen for their potential to help turn the 250 billion fiber to-go cups used annually from waste into valuable materials that can be reused and recovered. 

Today, many of these innovations continue to disrupt the status quo of the single-use cup, a seemingly convenient product that has come with a steep price over the years: cups ending up in landfills, creating greenhouse gas emissions that contribute to climate change. As companies look for ways to shift their business practices away from a wasteful take-make-waste system, there are tremendous opportunities for new solutions. The next wave of cup design is more innovative than ever, with new materials that can reduce environmental impact, and new systems that can keep valuable materials in play for longer.  

Over the last three years, we’ve seen the pandemic alter consumer preferences, more corporations commit to sustainability goals, and policy transform the landscape for circular packaging solutions, including reuse models. Amidst all these changes, NextGen Cup Challenge winners are paving a path forward in line with four key trends.

Mars unveils plastic jars with 15% recycled plastics

Read the full story at Food Dive.

Mars has debuted candy jars made with 15% recycled plastic — for M&M’s, Starburst and Skittles bulk products — in collaboration with packaging manufacturer Berry, which will launch in October.

The containers are available in 60-, 81- and 87-ounce varieties and will eliminate roughly 300 tons of virgin plastic each year, the companies said.

Mars is investing hundreds of millions of dollars to redesign its packaging to be more sustainable as it aims to get closer to its pledge of reaching 100% recyclable packaging by 2025.