Sidewalk Labs Launches Pebble Parking App

Jamie Schwartz – UNI: js5849

Sidewalk Labs Pebble dashboard
  1. Sustainability Problem: Energy
    • Cars burn fuel while searching for parking spaces, an inefficient use of fuel and time

2. Article Summary: https://techcrunch.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/05/Screen-Shot-2021-05-18-at-4.38.27-pm.png?w=1390&crop=1

  • Sidewalk Labs has created a vehicle sensor that will provide real time parking and curb availability
  • The data is generic and does not impinge on privacy issues, something that Sidewalk Labs has recently struggled with in relation to their $1bn deal in Toronto that folded
  • The project is in pilot stage, as a roll out in a city the size of New York could raise many complications as it scales
  • Through data collection, the app may be able to reduce traffic congestion by up to 30%, which would help reduce car usage and the resulting pollution

3. Stakeholders: Sidewalk Labs/Alphabet, municipalities, businesses that require parking lots, people who drive cars, people who want clean air in their envivonment

4. Implementation:

  • Continue with Pilot program, compile initial data, and show progress
  • Based on data collection, identify pain points for increased scale
  • Make necessary adjustments for larger scale implementation

Meal Kits Are Less Carbon Intensive Than Grocery Store Shopping

Jamie Schwartz – UNI: js5849

  1. Sustainability Problem: Waste/Energy
    • Food production accounts for roughly 20-30% of GHG emissions
    • USDA study from 2010 finds that 31% of food production is wasted, 21% at consumer level
  2. Article Summary:https://www.npr.org/sections/thesalt/2019/04/22/716010599/meal-kits-have-smaller-carbon-footprint-than-grocery-shopping-study-says
    • Initial critique of Meal Kit delivery services is that their use of plastic is bad for the environment
    • A comparative study showed that preparing a meal from Blue Apron was less carbon intensive than cooking the equivalent meal with supplies procured at grocery store
    • The study acknowledges that the plastic used in the meal kits is more wasteful than what you acquire from the grocery store
    • However, portion control provided from the meal kit allowed for all of the food to be used/consumed, where as larger portions must be purchased at the store which leads to food waste, which is more harmful to the environment
    • Additionally, the supply chain is more streamlined for meal kits which reduces GHG emissions in process of getting the meal from farm/distributors to your home
    • As a result, despite a higher plastic output with meal kits, they are overall less carbon intensive than store purchased meals, due to the streamlined nature of supply chain practices and portion control
  3. Organizational Stakeholders:
    • Meal kit providers
    • Distributors/shippers
    • Product packaging suppliers
    • Grocery stores
    • Consumer
  4. Implementation of Tech*:
    • *Tech already exists, but could be room for a pivot in business model to highlight reduced GHG emissions/improve in that realm*
    • Source an alternative to plastic packaging to further reduce GHG emissions associated with product
    • Add circularity to business model by providing a consumer waste pickup service in conjunction with future meal deliveries, which could lead to composting, etc.
    • Add marketing scheme that not only highlights convenience but acknowledges the reduced GHG emissions of meal kit compared to shopping at store

Google Embracing Geothermal in Effort to Hit Carbon Free Goal by 2030

Jamie Schwartz – UNI: js5849

Geothermal Energy | A Student's Guide to Global Climate Change | US EPA
  1. Sustainability Problem: Energy
    • Current energy infrastructure is carbon intensive, emitting GHG that warm the planet
    • Renewable energy sources built on wind or solar are inconsistent due to temperature, time of day, etc.
  2. Article Summary: https://www.datacenterknowledge.com/energy/google-applying-ai-crack-next-gen-geothermal-energy-data-centers
    • The appeal for Geothermal, in comparison to other forms of renewable energy, is that the source is always available
    • The challenge with Geothermal is that location of plants needs to be along fault lines to maximize energy extraction; price point for building the plants is also a barrier to entry
    • Google is partnering with energy startup Frevo to use AI and other various technologies to improve geothermal energy extraction practices, starting with a project in Nevada
    • The “next generation” plant that Frevo is planning to build will directly power the Nevada electric grid, which in turn will power multiple Google data centers based in the state
    • This transition to geothermal power in Nevada will help Google become one step closer to having their data centers and operations become Carbon free
  3. Organizational Stakeholders:
    • Google
    • Frevo
    • Breakthrough Energy (has previously provided capital for Frevo to build its company)
    • Nevada electric grid/utility company
    • Nevada utility users (potentially get a break on their electricity bills?)
    • Companies currently involved in current geothermal operations that could benefit from seeing the additional tech implemented on this project
    • Other states that could also build out these projects
  4. Implementation/Deployment of Tech:
    • Use AI and additional tech to find optimal location for plant
    • Build plant
    • Begin operations, continue using AI and other tech to improve operations

Supplemental reading: https://www.cnet.com/news/google-turns-to-geothermal-energy-to-power-its-carbon-free-moonshot/

Regenerative Cutlery at Shake Shack

Jamie Schwartz – UNI: js5849

  1. Sustainability Problem: Waste
    • Plastic cutlery is not biodegradable and as a result is polluting the planet
    • Regenerative agriculture is a philosophy growing in popularity with its focus on circularity while taking careful consideration to consider the end of life cycle of a product
    • A biodegradable version of single use cutlery has been created to hopefully alleviate this issue
  2. Article Summary: https://www.greenqueen.com.hk/carbon-negative-us-burger-restaurant-shake-shack-tests-regenerative-cutlery-made-from-aircarbon/?utm_source=newsletter&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=circularity&utm_content=2021-03-12&mkt_tok=MjExLU5KWS0xNjUAAAF7xbbrPMCEv6f1rejX2uvtJQKDuJdO-yxh2Pa1XelBCxeoDZ5dqG_WcafVb2wvlDhQb2xwSXJHV016oZHEAjk8BLQnUB9uSunpM8s9HVMk2qa5nFQ
    • California based company, Restore Foodware, has created “AirCarbon” technology that allows them to produce PHB (polyhydroxybutyrate)
    • PHB is a naturally occurring compound created by underwater microorganisms that can be replicated in a lab to form pellets that are then able to be melted and molded into the regenerative cutlery and straws by Restore Foodware (Supplemental reading: https://www.restorefoodware.com/pages/aircarbon and https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Polyhydroxybutyrate)
    • Shake Shack is lounging the pilot of the Restore Foodware cutlery at 5 of their locations, including the flagship location in Madison Square Park
    • Shake Shack has previously integrated sustainable practices into their business model, including a fully vegan option at their London based operations
    • Shake Shack is committed to continue finding ways to make their business practices more sustainable
  3. Organizational Stakeholders:
    • Restore Foodware – proprietor of AirCarbon technology and potential leader in biodegradable cutlery
    • “Traditional” plastic ware producers
    • Shake Shack and any other restaurant that could switch away from single use plastic cutlery
    • Retailers that would sell this cutlery along side (or instead of) single use plastic cutlery
    • Consumers
  4. Deployment/Implementation of Technology
    • Increase production to reduce costs
    • With increased production, secure placement in all Shake Shack locations (over 400 worldwide)
    • Currently, straws are sold online at Target, as production increases additional retail outlets should be secured (Whole Foods, etc.)
    • Bonus: as production and sales continue to scale, product line should be increased to also include food containers

MYCELIUM PACKAGING

Jamie Schwartz – UNI: js5849

Ecovative-B1.png
  1. Sustainability Problem: Waste
    • Plastics are polluting the planet because they are not biodegradable
    • Mycelium based packaging functions as a biodegradable alternative to oil based plastics
  2. Article Summary: https://www.globalcitizen.org/en/content/mushroom-fungi-packaging-ikea-decompose-ecovative/
    • New York based company, Evocative, has created technology for “Mushroom Packaging” based on adding mycelium to agricultural waste products, and from the bond created, a moldable structure is formed to create a packaging alternative to plastic
    • Unlike current plastic packaging, which is single use and not biodegradable, Mushroom Packaging can be added to compost to decompose while adding nutritional value to the soil
    • Ikea and Dell have adopted this technology as they realize the challenges with recycling their current packaging and prefer the planet friendly alternative
  3. Organizational Stakeholders:
    • Evocative – producer of the mycelium based technology
    • “Traditional” plastic based packaging producers
    • Ikea, Dell, and any other businesses that choose to opt for Mushroom Packaging over the prevalent plastic based options
    • Consumers voting with their Dollars by seeking out companies that use environmentally friendly packaging
  4. Deployment/Implementation of Technology**:
    • Increase scale to reduce costs
    • Seek out companies with shared values for environmental conservation
    • Sell them Mushroom Packaging to replace plastic based option

**The technology has already been on the market, but full scale adoption is still lagging, likely due to high price point. From checking the Evocative website, it looks like a single wine bottle insert costs $10. That is cost is far too high to see wide spread adoption within the wine world. However, members of wine community would certainly like to embrace environmentally friendly packaging, if it became more affordable. This is anecdotal, and would be happy to expand further in conversation, if anyone is curious.**