Single use plastic bags are among the greatest contributors to land and water pollution. They are normally used for just minutes, but take can take up to 1,000 years to decompose, polluting land, air and water, and killing wildlife in the process.
Avani Eco, an Indonesia based company, has created a 100% plant based, non-toxic and biodegradable material that can replace plastic bags.
The material is made primarily from the cassava root, a very common and inexpensive vegetable in Indonesia.
The material is harmless to animals and humans if ingested, and breaks down in months.
The bio-based plastic bags still cost about twice as much as conventional plastic bags.
Stakeholders for this technology include municipal governments/sanitation departments, large retail stores and supermarkets (who are increasingly facing plastic bag bans), as well as environmental advocacy groups and non-profit organizations dedicated to waste and pollution reduction.
The first steps for deploying this technology on a large scale:
Invest in R&D to help reduce the cost of the bio-based plastic bags, making them more competitive with traditional plastic bags.
Ban the use of single use plastic bags in local municipalities
Partner with a large national retailer (such as Walmart, Target, or Wholefoods to gain widespread recognition and prove market viability.
Comment on post “Smart Transportation & Smart Waste Management” by sn2754:
While I think technology is a great idea for optimizing waste management, there would be a huge hurdle to implement this in NYC, as commercial waste (from stores, offices, restaurants, etc.) is not managed by the city. Each business has a contract with a private waste hauling company, which causes garbage routes to be extremely inefficient and redundant. In order to implement a “smarter” waste management system as described in the post, legislation would first have to change the status quo in commercial waste contracts.
Comments to Off grid solar powered water device – Zero Mass Water by JV2610
A unit with one solar panel, the company says, can produce two to five liters of liquid a day, which is stored in a 30-liter reservoir that adds calcium and magnesium for health and taste. This seems very energy efficient and seems to be able to store a pretty good amount. The addition of electrolytes is even more interesting and beneficial for health.
The cold chain refers to the temperature-controlled part of a supply chain that involves a series of interrupted refrigeration, storage and distribution processes. Often, a departure from the prescribed temperature range can result in spoilage and can cost businesses and society immensely. Two prime examples of the sustainability challenges associated with cold chains are as follows-
The losses associated with cold chains in the pharmaceutical industry are estimated at $ 35 Billion in 2014. This involves spoilage of medicines that could have been delivered on time to mitigate healthcare costs to society
Spoilage of consumables and food, including shrinkage due to expired products. It is estimated that if the current levels of food loss and wastage are maintained, food production will need to increase by 70% in developing countries alone, which requires significant investments (~$83 Billion a year). There is also the risk of increasing pressure on limited resources and increasing GHG emissions associated with expanding agricultural activities
Mitigating losses in cold chains can save society billions of dollars in healthcare and nutrition investments.
Sustainability technology- IoT to manage cold chains (IMS Evolve, Tagbox)
The Internet of Things refers to the interconnected nature of physical and electronic devices in order to create a network that can collect and exchange data in real time. We have already seen examples of smart refrigerators that can pair up with your favourite voice-enabled assistant to inform you about your shopping list. Using this technology at an industrial scale can help prevent severe cold chain losses
Sensors connected throughout the cold chain can monitor temperature and relay information back in real time to supply chain managers. Mobile and web-based applications and dashboards can crunch the real-time data and provide visualizations on the health of products and need for any interventions
Integrating these devices with a mobile based application will facilitate easy monitoring- managers can simply monitor the data and signals on a mobile app and receive warnings in time to take corrective action.
Two examples of IoT solutions that address cold chain efficiency are IMS-Evolve and Tagbox.
From the perspective of retail stores, the following stakeholders need to be engaged to scale this solution.
Store operations and management teams
Merchandising team- buyers, range and space managers etc.
Supply chain logistics
Given the potential to improve pharmaceutical cold chains as well, the following stakeholders need to be engaged-
Supply chain logistics
Pharmacy retail store operations and management
Stakeholder workshops and discussions to educate store managers, supply chain operators etc. on the use of SaaS platforms, sensors and data visualization interpretation
Identify test locations and build out required infrastructure (sensors). Define success criteria and set up experimental framework, conduct a pre-post analysis and scale up deployment to more stores based on learning from the pilot phase
Enter into long term partnerships with technology service providers in order to create an incentive for service providers to channel capital and continue to innovate
Set up grant projects for using this technology in developing nations- it provides an incentive to continue to innovate and scale these technologies at low cost
Sustainability Problem: Waste is a recurring problem that has persisted through decades of innovation towards unnatural manufacturing and processes. Delving deeper, plastic waste is a big issue because they do not degrade easily. It can take hundreds of years for plastic to break down. With an estimated worldwide consumption of 1 trillion plastic bags every year, a better solution is needed.
AVANI Bio-Cassava Bag could be the solution:
100% biodegradable, compostable and disposable – degrades within 90 days
Made from cassava starch and all-natural resins, 100% renewable – contains no conventional plastic
Safe for consumption – dissolves in lukewarm water
While the EPA estimates that the textile recycling industry recycles approximately 3.8 billion pounds of post-consumer textile waste (PCTW) each year, this only accounts for approximately 15% of all PCTW, leaving 85% in our landfills.
Decomposing clothing releases methane, a harmful greenhouse gas and a significant contributor to global warming. There are dyes and chemicals in fabric and other components of clothing and shoes that can leach into the soil, contaminating both surface and groundwater.
2. Technology solution: Worn Again
Worn Again has been developing chemical recycling for over three years and through trials and lab experiments they are perfecting a process where solvents are used to selectively dissolve different types of textiles, recapturing them as a raw material, which can be used to make new clothes, thus being reintroduced into the supply chain as new. Within the Textile Sorting Project Worn Again is dedicated to achieving the shared goal of creating circular supply chains for textiles through collaboration and new technologies.
The tests for this new technology, which will be monitored by H&M and Puma, are built around separating and extracting polyester and cotton from blended fiber clothing. Another task will be to separate dyes and other particles from polyester and cellulose, which has always been a challenge when recycling. The raw materials that are recaptured can then be used to spin new fabric for clothes. This circular process will have an extremely positive effect on bringing down the need for virgin resources and as such reduces carbon emissions, as well as the use of toxic pesticides, chemical fertilizers or exhaustion of land for growing crops.
Worn Again isn’t the first to develop a textile-to-textile technology. In 2014, Swedish scientists developed a process to recycle cotton by shredding clothes to pulp and turning the substance into threads of viscose. The company responsible for making the pulp is now preparing its first fabric-recycling factory and teaming up with several entrepreneurs in the textile industry.
The product developer (Worn Again)
The subsidizing companies (H&M, Puma)
Local governments / NGOs to foster usage of this product
The team is currently engaged in full time development of a circular recycling technology for the textile and clothing industry, working closely with its’ development partners, H&M and Kering Group’s Sports & Lifestyle brand Puma.
H&M and Puma have enough infrastructure to deploy the product worldwide with a strong marketing campaign. However, costs should be mitigated in order to make the products accessible and the process economically viable.
Consequently, support from NGOs and local governments is key to allow tax reduction on recycled clothing and recycling plant set-up in order to lower costs as present them as feasible alternatives.
1 in 5 tents used at music festivals are used once and abandoned, creating landfill waste
Materials in these tents are often toxic
Comp-A-Tent tents are made of bio-based materials that can be composted with food waste
Fully biodegradable after 120 days with no net CO2 increase
Closed loop process as waste product can be re-used
BusinessGreen Tech Award Winner 2015 for Bio-Technology of the Year
City officials / community leaders of festival locations
Residents of communities where festivals are held
Prototypes are currently in use at 7 UK music festivals
Plans are to crowdsource funding in 2017 with a full launch in 2018 with select festival partners
Tents would be available for sale along with festival ticket and available for pick up on site and disposal
Challenges are that the disposable but un-sustainable tents currently on the marketplace are cheap and readily available making it easy for festival goers to just leave behind. The Comp-A-Tent will cost around £50 which is more than double the average cost of a normal tent. KarTent, another eco-tent that is made of cardboard uses advertisers to help subsidize the cost for festival goers. Partnering with cities and the festivals (who have to clean up and deal with the environmental impact of the tents left behind) and with sponsors who could perhaps help subsidize the cost or offer some other incentive to encourage the use of the Comp-A-Tent rather than traditional tents.
In order to make a simple cup of tea, you end up overfilling the kettle. This wastes energy and water and also means you have to wait longer for it to heat up. Energy consumption because of the kettle water overfilling when boiling is far higher than what we would normally assume. According to Leyla Acaroglu during her 2014 TED Talk “One day of extra energy use [from overfilling electric kettles] is enough to light all the streetlights in England for a night.”
2) The technology
MIITO uses simple induction technology to essentially wirelessly transfer heat. Its base creates an electromagnetic field which will then heat any ferrous material on its surface, in this case the disc attached to the bottom of the rod. Once the rod is placed inside a vessel filled with liquid, the rod’s disc will heat up and directly transfer heat to just the liquid in the vessel, contrary to microwave ovens.
By heating only the liquid you need directly in the vessel you’ll drink from, it avoids wasting extra liquid and use less energy to heat it. Induction technology is 80-90% energy efficient in heating liquids. Electric kettles are only 50-80% efficient, microwave ovens are around 43% efficient and water heated on a stove is only 16-27% energy efficient, when boiling the same amount of liquid. Amongst many others, it has won the James Dyson Award for its lean, simple, and sustainable design.
MITTO, the developers of the product
The company has successfully run a Kickstarter campaign in 2015 where they gathered €818,098 pledged of €150,000 goal.
Since September 2015, the product is in its development phase.
Once the product is launched, targeted media campaigns should raise awareness on the product and make it available worldwide.
It would be desirable for local governments to encourage the use of this kind of devices by using some for of ‘sustainable’ labelling, as well as promotions.