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.

Illinois researchers explore ‘self-healing’ for energy storage batteries

Read the full story from Midwest Energy News.

Batteries — whether they’re powering a smartphone or storing energy on the grid — take a beating.

Repeated charging and discharging causes all kinds of wear and tear on the devices we increasingly rely on to keep our gadgets, cars and renewable energy sources running. But what if batteries could repair themselves automatically and fix on-the-fly the cracks that lead to dead laptop batteries, the limited range of electric carsand other modern woes?

That’s the idea behind the work of a team led by two professors at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign (UIUC). They’re taking self-healing materials research and applying it to a novel subject area: energy storage. The hope is that a better understanding of how nanoparticles bind and come undone will lead to more reliable, longer-lasting and higher-capacity batteries.

These T-Shirts Change Color In The Wash Based On Water Pollution

Read the full story in Fast Company.

London-based material design studio The Unseen has a way of infusing products with a bit of magic–from its witchy color-changing hair dye to hypercolor fashion pieces. The studio’s latest release is more down to earth, though no less enchanting: cabbage-dyed T-shirts that change color in the wash, based on your city’s water pollution.

Now: Play Jenga With Ocean Plastic

Read the full story at Triple Pundit.

The Plastic Bank, on the other hand, is tackling the human angle. It provides a living wage to individuals in developing countries who are willing to clean up the plastic on their beaches. The refuse is then funneled to companies that recycle it into products sold across the globe.

One of the companies that has been working to develop a supply chain is Pokonobe Associates, the maker of the Jenga game. The company has discovered that commercial plastic fishing nets provide ideal material for making Jenga’s light-weight stackable blocks. But there’s another motivator to its interest: It hopes that by creating a means to recycle fishing nets into toys, it can educate consumers about the importance of stopping ocean pollution.

Startup upcycles discarded chopsticks into new decor & furniture (Video)

Read the full story from Treehugger.

Chopsticks have a long and storied history, dating back to 2100 BC when Da Yu, the founder of the Xia dynasty, was trying to reach a flood zone. In his haste, he didn’t want to wait for his food to cool down, and adapted two twigs to help him eat his food quickly. With the popularization of Asian food all over the world, chopsticks — especially the disposable kind — are now being used all over the world.

But throwaway chopsticks are an unmitigated environmental disaster. In China alone, 80 billion chopsticks are thrown away each year, requiring hundreds of acres of forest to be cut down every day just to keep up with the demand. In response, the Bring Your Own Chopsticks (BYOC) movement is gaining ground in places like Japan, China and Taiwan (most notably, in Korea metal chopsticks are used — a good idea).

But what to do still with all those discarded chopsticks? Vancouver, Canada’s Chopvalue has a great idea: cleaning them up and turning them into home accessories and furniture.