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Materials Your Home

145: Recycling false teeth

Problem:

Dental crowns, bridges, and PFMs are alloyed with gold, platinum, palladium, and silver, nylon and acrylic. When their wearer changes them or dies, they must be recycled in order not to end up in the landfill.

Solution:

In 2006, Isao Miyoshi was running a dental laboratory in Sakado, Saitama Prefecture, Japan. Every day, he visited the dentistry department at the local Meikai University Hospital, where he collected dozens of plaster impressions of people’s gums and their remaining teeth. Back at Miyoshi’s lab, his 12 dental technicians then crafted new dentures as replacements for the patients’ lost teeth.


But then 63-year-old Miyoshi came up with a solution. In his lab, they were making about 30 new dentures a day. People on average get new dentures every three years, because the condition of their teeth changes. Once the new ones are made, dentists usually give the old ones back to the patients. But most people don’t know what to do with them and they end up keeping them in a drawer.

That’s really a waste of something useful.

What if he were to collect crowns, bridgework, dentures, inlays, clasps, gold teeth and other metal extractions, then remove the metals and re-sell them for recycling while discarding the rest.

With 5 grams of these alloys worth around 2,000 yen, once they are separated from the dentures recycle used dentures, if all of the 3.6 million dentures with precious metals discarded each year in Japan were recycled, they would be valued at up to 7 billion yen (roughly $83.3 million).

Miyoshi founded a non-profit Japan Denture Recycling Association and it was not long before the program was able to donate all its earnings to UNICEF and has since given over $400,000 to charity

Founded in 1892, Garfield Refining in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania is one of the oldest and most respected precious metal refineries in the world. Recognized in North America as DentalTown’s “Best Dental Scrap Refiner” for 9 years in a row, for Garfield refining is recycling.

In England, Simple Refining, a family run company based in Cheshire, also specialises in gold refining and recycling of dental scrap. While in France a D3E (ou DEEE) dentaires are recycled Récyclum (formerly Recydent)

What you can do: Ensure that yours and your family’s false teeth etc are sustainably recycled.

Discover Solution 146: Faux fur

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Materials Human Effort Planet Care Your Home

143: Face masks – recycling

Problem:

Face masks, part of personal protection equipment (PPE) in the fight against the Covid-19 pandemic, are also proving a major new source of pollution, with used masks seen littering streets, countryside and waterways across the world. Once used, they can be destroyed at CO2 producing hazardous incineration plants or landfilled, publicly and privately.

Solution:

When Plaxtil in Chatelleraut, Vienne France was started up in 2017, it had specialised in the circular economy of recycling clothes by turning them into a plastic-like material. Since June 2020, it has transitioned to recycling masks.


First, they are collected and placed in “quarantine” for four days. They are then ground down into small pieces and subjected to ultraviolet light to ensure they are completely decontaminated before the recycling process begins. The masks could be turned into a vast array of different objects, but for the moment Plaxtil is turning them into products that can be used in the fight against Covid, such as plastic visors.

At first the French company collected 70,000 masks from the 50 collection points that we ourselves set up in the city, producing between 2,000 and 3,000 recycled products. Since July, overwhelmed with requests, Plaxtil has been in contact with the public authorities to set up a national mask recycling channel.(plaxtil.com)

Not far from Plaxtil, is Elise in Lille who have transitioned their conventional waste collection business (from paper to furniture, batteries or even computers) to make COVID-19 waste bins placed at around fifty collection points in Lille alone.

When the bags are full, they are carefully closed and picked up by Elise’s collectors then sent to their premises to be treated in energy recovery. Elise has been able to treat around 200,000 masks for a total weight of 739 kg.

A third company Cosmolys, also near Lille, recovers the polypropylene contained in the masks to produce granules for making garden furniture.

What you can do: Dispose of your masks in an eco-friendly manner.

Discover Solution 144: The Fairphone

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Planet Care Your Home

138: Endangered Species Adoption

Problem:

Tens of species are vanishing from the face of the Earth every day. Almost one third to one-half of all species could become extinct by 2050. Well over 900 plants and animals are endangered, and hundreds more are threatened. Many of the reasons certain animals are disappearing forever are because of human activities.

Solution:

The Worldwide Fund for Nature (WWF), founded in 1961, has a program “Adopt an animal now”, whereby those interested visit and by one click can choose from their range of adoption animals, donating from £3 per month to protect precious habitats around the world and all the species which rely on them.


The Australian branch of the WWF also presents their own range of threatened species.

Not to be confused, The World Animal Foundation was created in Cleveland, Ohio in 2002 to raise public education regarding the preservation of the planet and the animals that inhabit it. WAF works through public education, research, investigations, animal rescue, legislation, special events and direct action. Three years later it moved its headquarters to Vermilion.

WorldAnimalFoundation.com, acts as a one-stop information portal for people wishing to learn more about animals and the earth.

Visitors can print dozens of free flyers and fact sheets and surf hundreds of pages regarding wildlife, endangered species, companion animals, aquatic animals and farm animals.

One of their solutions is “Adopt an Endangered Species”. WAF Adopt An Endangered Species Animal Kit comes in a deluxe WAF folder and includes:

  • Glossy Photo of Your Adopted Endangered Species Animal
  • Adopt An Endangered Species Animal Adoption Certificate
  • Fact Sheet About Your Adopted Endangered Species Animal
  • Help Animals Info Cards Packed With Information On Animal Issues
  • How You Can Help Animals And The Environment.

Over in France, in 2008, Kevin Desmond, author/compiler of “Planet Savers: 301 Extraordinary Environmentalists”, attempted to set up an ngo EvE-Urgent.org, short for Espèce-ville espèce (species-town-species) whereby towns and cities worldwide were each encouraged to adopt a threatened species as its totem and to take measures to protect it and its ecosystem from extinction.

To select their species a town had decided to sponsor, the EvE-Urgent website recommended looking for it in the local biodiversity or consulting the Natura 2000 network. But nothing prevented them from choosing one abroad. In order to avoid duplication, an “EvE counter” for the participating cities was set up.

Once the species had been chosen and the information about it has been collected, the project can be presented to the municipality. But “the engagement of the town hall is not obligatory”, the site specified.

In case of refusal, citizens could themselves create an association with the help of EvE-Urgent.org in order to contribute to the protection of the species, either by collaborating with specialized NGOs, or by acting directly on the ground. Fund-raising events, cultural and sporting could raise funds for the species chosen.

Among the first to adopt was the city of Bordeaux choosing the Angélique des estuaries which grows alongside the River Garonne and subsequently creating a Park named after the species. Although never developed, the EvE-Urgent solution could still be used….

What you can do: Adopt at least one threatened species.

Discover solution 139: Using landfill gas for ceramic kilns

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Energy Your Home

132: Energy communities

Problem:

Sustainable energy limited to individual domestic use may not be the most beneficially efficient solution.

Solution:

Energy sharing is a model where citizens can exchange locally produced power with one another (peer-to-peer) — or external markets.


The EU Directive 2018/2001 on the promotion of the use of energy from renewable sources defines peer-to-peer trading of renewable energy as: “The sale of renewable energy between market participants by means of a contract with pre-determined conditions governing the automated execution and settlement of the transaction, either directly between market participants or indirectly through a certified third-party market participant, such as an aggregator.”

The Energy Community, also referred to in the past as the Energy Community of South East Europe is an international organisation established between the European Union and a number of third countries to extend the EU internal energy market to Southeast Europe and beyond.

One example, Decidim is a collaborative project which encourages citizens of Barcelona to use a digital, open-source participatory platform to suggest, debate, comment and back new proposals for the city. The platform is a concrete output of the 2015-2019 municipal plan called “73 neighbourhoods, one Barcelona, Towards the city of rights and opportunities” and which gathered the input of some 40,000 people.

Catalonia’s first renewable energy cooperative, Som Energia, has used the Decidim platform to host its 2018 General Assembly and various debates with cooperative

What you can do: Check out whether you can become part of an energy community.

Discover Solution 133: Electricity from sidewalks

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Your Home Materials

130: Elevating house

Problem:

IPCC scientists expect a warming world to lead to more extreme rainfall, exposing an additional 250,000 to 400,000 people in Europe to river flooding, and potentially up to 5.5 million per year to coastal flooding.

Solution:

Since 2016, Tom Kelly and Graham Hicks of the UK-based Larkfleet Group, have been working on an experimental house that could rise on jacks above floodwaters. The 72 tons (65 tonne) house could be raised 4.5 ft. (1.5 m.) in less than five minutes.


In October 2017, South Holland District Council Planners gave permission for Larkfleet Homes in Lincolnshire, to build a test house in a paddock in Weston Hills near Spalding. Oddly, the developers, who believe it is the world’s first such home, have not been allowed to place it on a flood plain. If tests are successful the house could provide a model that would enable housebuilding on thousands of sites across the UK which at present cannot be developed because of the risk of flooding.

Once built, experiments with raising and lowering the house, including testing long-term maintenance and operation of the jacking system, will take place. Because the house will be of modular steel-frame design it can then be disassembled and re-erected on another site on conventional foundations as a family residence.

It is anticipated that houses of this design would be jacked up well ahead of the arrival of flood waters, based on advance warnings from organisations such as the Environment Agency. Rooftop solar panels and a battery would provide the house with some continuing electricity supply when raised above the ground and the water and sewage would remain connected through flexible hoses.

However, it is not envisaged that residents would remain in occupation during floods. Instead, the householders would pack up, lock up and jack up the home before taking refuge in temporary accommodation on higher ground elsewhere.

What you can do: Search out protective solutions if you choose to live or work beside seas or rivers.

Discover Solution 131: carbon footprint calculator for builders

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Planet Care Your Home

129: Elevated villages

Problem:

AGW causing the rise in global sea levels has been flooding the Pacific atoll nations such as Kiribati, Tuvalu, the Maldives, and the Marshall Islands. This also includes Vanua Levu, the second largest of Fiji’s 106 habitable islands in the South Pacific and villages such as Vunidogoloa in Korolao District.

Solution:

Elevated villages.


In 2006, the Fijian Government decided to abandon the flooded village and build a new Vunidogoloa for its 130 inhabitants, a couple of miles (2 km) inland. Eight years and half a million dollars later, on the January 16, 2014, Commodore Josaia Voreqe Bainimarama, Prime Minister of Fiji inaugurated the new village of thirty timbered homes on stilts on a hillside.

Further Fijian villages have been completely relocated and two are in the initial stages of moving: Denimanu (Yadua Island) and Vunisavisavi, both of which have been provided with cyclone-proof houses donated by USAID. This leaves about 40 villages earmarked for relocation in the short to medium term as sea levels continue to rise. In 2015, a Fijian official said the government was looking at possibly relocating as many as 676 villages.

Other alternative solutions for flooding villages will include dredging and reclaiming land.

 

Discover Solution 130: Keeping your house out of the water

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Your Home

128: Nickel-iron based electrolysis

Problem:

Currently the most popular system used for water splitting, or water electrolysis, relies on precious – hence very expensive – metals such as platinum and iridium as catalysts.

Solution:

An electrolyzer based on nickel and iron, elements that are less expensive and more abundant in the environment.


Yu Seung Kim, a research scientist at Los Alamos National Laboratory and Yuehe Lin of Washington State University’s School of Mechanical and Materials Engineering, have developed a system that uses less expensive and more abundant materials. They worked to solve this problem by splitting water under alkaline, or basic, conditions with an anion exchange membrane electrolyzer based on nickel and iron, elements that are less expensive and more abundant in the environment.

By 2023, the global hydrogen generation market is anticipated to reach $199.1 billion. Promising markets for hydrogen energy comprise everything from power grid management and mass-energy conversion to fuel cells for cars. According to the duo, around 600 wind farms in the United States are prepared for direct connections to water electrolysis systems.

Discover Solution 129: Safety from flooding on higher ground

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Human Effort Your Home

124: Effective altruism

Problem:

Our hyper-consumer world soils, hurts and exhausts the Planet.

Solution:

Giving of time and money more effectively.


In 2009, Toby Ord and William MacAskill, philosophy professors at Oxford University launched a community around Ord’s “Giving What We Can”, and MacAskill’s “80,000 Hours” (You have 80,000 hours in your career. How can you best use them to help solve the world’s most pressing problems?).

Ord’s earlier work had explored the ethics of global health and global poverty, demonstrating that aid has been highly successful on average and has the potential to be even more successful if we were to improve our priority setting

This led him to create an international society called Giving What We Can, whose members have pledged over $600 million to the most effective charities helping to improve the world.

Giving What We Can (GWWC) members have pledged to donate at least 10% of their income for the remainder of their working lives to the causes that they believe are the most effective.

Ord and MacAskill founded the wider effective altruism movement, encouraging thousands of people to use reason and evidence to help others as much as possible.

The Centre for Effective Altruism inspires critical thinking by applying evidence and reasoning to determine the most effective ways to improve the world.

Effective altruism can add meaning to our lives and can help us in finding fulfilment in what we do. Many effective altruists say that in doing good, they feel good.

Ord has advised the World Health Organization, the World Bank, the World Economic Forum, the US National Intelligence Council, the UK Prime Minister’s Office, Cabinet Office, and Government Office for Science. His work has been featured more than a hundred times in the national and international media.

Factoring in these aspects, EA activists usually come to the conclusion that the three most-pressing issues for humanity are: extreme poverty, animal suffering, and what they call “long-term future.” This is basically the minimization of global catastrophic risks, also known as existential risks.

What you can do: Be altruistic and help others less fortunate than yourself.

Tomorrow’s solution: Electric boats supplying the grid

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Human Effort Materials Your Home

121: Edible water bubbles

Problem:

About 50 billion single-use plastic water bottles made of polyethylene terephthalate (PET) are produced in the United States each year, and most are discarded. The properties that make PET useful as a packaging material (stability and durability) also make it resistant to breaking down after its useful life is over.

Solution:

Edible water bubbles.


The idea of an edible biodegradable capsule for artificial edible cherries, soft sheets, and the like, called spherification, was first patented in London by Unilever engineer William Peschardt in 1942. More recently the method was introduced into modernist cooking by Spanish chef Ferran Adrià.

The most recent adaptation has been made by Pierre-Yves Paslier of Skipping Rocks Lab. Paslier started his career as a packaging engineer for L’Oréal in the daytime and hacking 3D-printers in his living room at night.

He then decided to study design at the RCA and in 2013, he co-designed one of the first consumer delta 3D-printers. Paslier left L’Oréal in 2012 to start a Masters degree in innovation, design and engineering at Imperial College London and the Royal College of Art, where he set about brainstorming non-plastic container designs.

He and classmate Rodrigo García González studied the properties of watermelons, tomatoes, coconuts and tapioca to understand how natural foods hold liquids. They finally settled on seaweed as their material of choice.

They called their edible water ball, made by dropping ice into separate solutions of calcium salt and “Notpla” a brown sodium alginate, the Ooho.

You can drink them by tearing a hole into the skin and pouring the water into your mouth, or they can be consumed whole. Containing 100 ml of liquid, the balls can be produced by a compact machine at their point of sale, eliminating the need for cups.

In 2014 Paslier and Gonzales founded Gravity Sketch, a VR 3D design platform and Skipping Rocks Lab, a sustainable packaging company, in London’s East End.

A crowd sourcing campaign as well as its accompanying YouTube went viral enabling Skipping Rocks to raise more than US$ 1 M from 1,000 investors in a mere three days. The manufacturing processes are covered under a Creative Commons license, making the recipe freely distributed and readily available for anyone to use.

In July 2018, they launched sauce sachets made from the seaweed material, which were on a six-week trial at 10 London takeaways with the delivery service Just Eat. Following the success of the trial, 10 London restaurants further trialled this product for 8 weeks, which is expected to prevent approximately 40,000 plastic sauce packets from entering homes.

Ginger and fruit juice shots were delivered to Selfridges department store, and the product was sold at UK music festivals as edible alcohol shots, including espresso martini and tequila sunrise.

In April 2019, when more than 41,000 people running in the London Marathon reached reach mile 23, thanks to Lucozade Ribena Suntory, they were handed Oohos instead of bottles. However, a video surfaced that showed streets strewn with plastic waste after the race was over.

That September, the Harrow half marathon in London replaced single use bottles and cups with Oohos. Paslier and Gonzalez are now experimenting with on green alternatives to cling film and the plastic liners used in throwaway coffee cups and ways to replace plastic toiletries bottles in hotel rooms.

What you can do: Discover Oohos or plan for the extended use of bottles and flasks.

Discover solution 122: The Climate Clock

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Human Effort Materials Your Home

119: Edible cutlery and crockery

Problem:

Plastic cutlery is a major contributor to the growing plastic waste crisis. An estimated 40 billion plastic utensils are used and thrown away each year in the United States alone. 122 millions tons (111 million tonnes) of plastic waste will have nowhere to go by 2030 due to Chinese import ban.

Solution:

Edible cutlery made of flour, and rice and wheat.


In 2005, Narayaana Peespaty, an agricultural scientist specialising in groundwater research, was on a field visit to Mahabubnagar, a drought-prone district in Telangana, India. Peesapaty had ordered a jowar roti millet bread for lunch. He arrived late. The roti had become cold and hard. Forced to break the roti and scoop the dal and curry with its pieces, crunching into them, Peeseapaty realised if a two-dimensional spatula can work, then why not a three-dimensional spoon?

Plastics should not be used for handling food, since they contain chemicals with toxic properties that leach into what we eat. Peesapaty founded a company called Bakeys to produce edible cutlery, made primarily from jowar, a millet flour, and rice and wheat flour in three flavours – savoury, sweet and plain. Tasting like crackers, even if they are not eaten, they are safe to dispose into the environment, as they are biodegradable.

The company has expanded to smaller spoons for soups and desserts as well as small bowls and pots. By 2011, Bakeys had manufactured over 1.5 million edible spoons made from rice, wheat, and millet in eight different flavours: sugar, ginger-cinnamon, ginger-garlic, celery, black pepper, cumin, mint-ginger, and carrot-beetroot.

Several materials such as wheat bran, rice bran, sorghum, corn, etc. are being used for manufacturing of edible cutlery and edible tableware. It is baked at high temperature and is non-polluting from production to disposal. Over 10,000 edible knives, spoons and forks are made per day by a growing number of companies.

For example, Mede Cutlery Company in Zhejiang, China manufactures edible cutlery in attractive colors with new flavours of purple potato, sesame, and corn. Biotrem’s wheat bran tableware production process was invented by Jerzy Wysocki in Poland After only two years commercialising it, Biotrem already produces 15 million pieces a year and they are currently under expansion.

Since 2017, Eclery Foods in Hyderabad, Telangana, India has a fully automated process enabling a capacity of 200,000 spoons per day, which expected to double by November 2018.

In France, former student at the AgroParisTech, Nicolas Richardot, has started up Tassiopée in Normandy, France to manufacture an edible coffee cup, made of biscuit with an inside chocolate coating. As an alternative to plastic cups, once the coffee has been drunk, the cup can be eaten.

In Auckland, New Zealand, the burger chain Better Burger teamed up with Innocent Packaging to create plant-based and compostable packaging for their burgers. The wafer paper packaging made from potato starch and water encouraged their customers to eat everything on their plate, rubbish included. The wrappers are made of potato starch with a taste reported to be similar to a “potato version of a prawn cracker”.

On International Earth Day (April 22, 2018), 500 burgers sold at the chain’s Mount Eden restaurant were wrapped in the material. They even went the distance and used edible ink to brand the packaging, adding their logo and a fun design. Although pitched as a one off activity to raise awareness for the challenges of the environment, since October 2017, Better Burger have saved more than 366,000 plastic items from going to the landfill from its outlets.

What you can do: Stop throwing away single-use cutlery and crockery, try out an edible version.

Tomorrow’s solution: Edible packaging

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Human Effort Materials Planet Care Your Home

117: ecovelopes

Problem:

Traditional manufacture of envelopes were not concerned about the source of their paper nor of the chemical after-effects of their glues.

Solution:

Recyclable and biodegradable automatic insertion envelopes.


In 1997 Emmanuel Druon and a small team set up a factory they called Pocheco in Forest-sur-Marque close to Lille, northern France. Their goal was to manufacture ecovelopes, recyclable and biodegradable automatic insertion envelopes, while creating zero waste during the operation.

Druon based his organisation on “Ecolonomie”, where instead of a hierarchy, there is a four-strong steering committee. Paper is sourced from sustainable managed forests, unbleached and lighter weight, with solvent free ink and glue. The amount of paper waste from envelope cutting is sold and then recycled.

The vegetal roof of the plant hosts several beehives and also recuperates rainwater, which is then used both to dilute ink, clean chines and to supply water for the toilets. This water, polluted by the ink is then sent to a station where it is cleaned by 80 bamboos, then sent back to the building, ready to be used again. Energy from the machines is used to heat the factory, while solar power contributes to electricity.

Before long Pocheco were manufacturing some 2 billion ecovelopes per year. Also part of his Ecolonomie aproach, Druon collaborated with a Finnish paper manufacturers (UPM) so that every time one tree is cut down to make wood pulp , another four are planted in return, working out at 300,000 trees per year.

Pocheco’s Canopée Reforestation: Association for reforestation of the Northern Region of France has seen some 7,000 trees planted since 2009.

In 2019, Adare Post, producers of more than 115 million envelopes with transparent windows, partnered with Pocheco to produce windows made of pulp instead of plastic film. This made these business ecovelopes 100% recyclable and biodegradable, saving some 30 tonnes of plastic landfill waste every year. In the face of internet emails and text messages, Pocheco has also diversified to producing bags for use by pharmacies.

What you can do: Use recyclable and biodegradable envelopes and packages.

Tomorrow’s solution: Sunfire, fuel made from carbon dioxide

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Human Effort Materials Your Home

114: Eco-City

Problem:

The history of the Planet is one of unending conflict between creeds, politicians and nations where the world’s resources are plundered indiscriminately.

Solution:

Auroville,: City of Dawn


In the 1960s, Mirra Alfassa, a 90-year-old a spiritual guru, known as “the Mother”, dreamed of a place where humanity can live united, in peace and in harmony with nature, beyond of all beliefs, political opinions and nationalities.

She asked French architect Roger Anger to design an experimental eco-city in Viluppuram district mostly in the state of Tamil Nadu, India with some parts in the Union Territory of Puducherry.

She called it Auroville (“City of Dawn”). The inauguration ceremony of Auroville in 1968 was attended by delegates of 124 nations, who brought soils from all parts of the world. In the mixing of these soils, known as a Yagna began the journey of one-ness.

Endorsed by UNESCO and the Government of India, Auroville is now famous for being known as the most environment friendly and pollution free city of India.

Construction materials used are mainly organic and natural including wood, mud, grass, stabilised earth bricks and fired bricks. In the early 1960s and 70s, a small group of pioneering residents took up extensive tree planting to rejuvenate the barren land and harvest rainwater. There is now a forest of over two million trees and some of them exotic.

Since then, Aurovilians (residents of Auroville) have been constantly experimenting with new ideas and solutions in areas of forestation, organic farming, renewable energy, water management, waste treatment, building technologies and environmental awareness programs among others.

Auroville’s EcoService collects waste from 2/3rd’s of the Aurovilians while the remaining 1/3rd prefer to dispose waste in their own way. 60% of the waste collected is recycled while the rest 40% is land filled. Auroville is working towards a zero waste policy.

In the middle of the town is the Matrimandir, which was conceived by Alfassa as “a symbol of the Divine’s answer to man’s aspiration for perfection”.

Silence is maintained inside the Matrimandir to ensure the tranquility of the space and the entire area surrounding the Matrimandir is called the Peace area. Inside the Matrimandir, a spiraling ramp leads upwards to an air-conditioned chamber of polished white marble referred to as “a place to find one’s consciousness”.

Matrimandir is equipped with a solar power plant and is surrounded by manicured gardens. When there is no sun or after the sunset, the sunray on the globe is replaced by a beam from a solar-powered light.

There is a solar kitchen equipped to cook for over 1,000 people everyday primarily uses the energy generated from the largest solar collector in Asia developed and build indigenously at Auroville.

Windmills, mainly used to pump water, are a common sight in Auroville along with many solar power panels that provide energy to almost everything in Auroville, ranging from the street lights to the big town hall. Bicycles or motorised 2-wheelers (and some electric 2-wheelers) can be rented.

As of January 2018 Auroville had 2,814 residents (2,127 adults and 687 children) from 54 countries with two-thirds from India, France and Germany

What you can do: Visit and stay at Auroville and/or apply its solution to your local community.

Tomorrow’s solution: Eco-friendly boat moorings

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Your Home Human Effort

112: Eat-Lancet commission

Problem:

There is a need to feed a growing global population a healthy diet while also defining sustainable food systems that will minimise damage to our Planet.

Solution:

The EAT-Lancet Commission consists of 37 world-leading scientists from 16 countries from various scientific disciplines, among them Dr Walter Willett of the Harvard Medical School.


The goal of the Commission was to reach a scientific consensus by defining targets for healthy diets and sustainable food production. It proposes an approach to eating that balances the appetites of a growing global population with the increasing fragility of the earth itself.

The EAT-Lancet Commission diet consists of a large amount of vegetables, fruits, whole grain, legumes, nuts and unsaturated oils, some seafood and poultry, and little to no red meat, processed meat, added sugar, refined grains, and starchy vegetables

What you can do: Create a balanced diet for yourself and for those around you.

Tomorrow’s solution: the Ecocapsule  home – producing more energy than it consumes

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Human Effort Planet Care Your Home

109: Earth Overshoot Day

Problem:

Since 1961, the first year consistent United Nations statistics were available, humanity’s demand on resources has gone from being within the means of what nature could support to significantly over budget. Our planet went into global overshoot in the early 1970s. A symbolic indicator had to be created which would show the world the urgency to find and apply solutions.

Solution:

In themed 1980s, Andrew Simms of the UK think tank New Economics Foundation came up with a smart solution which he called Earth Overshoot Day (EOD) or Ecological Debt Day which marks the date when humanity has exhausted nature’s budget for the year.


For the rest of the year, by maintaining our ecological deficit by drawing down local resource stocks and accumulating carbon dioxide in the atmosphere, we are operating in overshoot.

In 1990, EOD was October 11, by 2000, it was September 23, by 2019 it was July 29. By 2020, EOD had moved back by more than three weeks to August 22. but only due to the global coronavirus lockdown. Solutions for making it move further back can be found on overshootday.org but also here on 366Solutions.com

What you can do: Keep Earth Overshoot day in the back of your mind for being frugal.

Discover solution 110: early warning system for earthquakes

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Your Home

107: Dishwashing balls

Problem:

In 1889, when after ten years of prototypes Mrs W.A. Cockran of Shelbyville, Indiana, USA, produced an electrically operated dish-washing machine, neither its energy and water consumption, nor the harmful effects of chemical detergents on the ecosystem, were taken into account.

Solution:

Dishwashing balls


The eco-efficient bio dish washing machine has become of primary importance and one key solution is the natural ceramic Eco Hi-Ball.

The Eco Hi-Ball for dishwashers uses oxygenation of the water to effectively clean and shine, without the harmful effects of a chemical detergent.

Its case body is formed by thermally bonding a top plate and a bottom plate and has through holes formed in an outer side portion to completely drain the washing water at the time of washing dishes. In this way the washing balls can be maintained in a dried state and their efficiency.

What you can do: Use Eco Hi-Balls.

Discover solution 108: relief from the most common source of ocean plastic pollution

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Human Effort Materials Your Home

102: Dopper bottle

Problem:

Single-use plastic bottles end up in landfills.

Solution:

The Dopper bottle


Merijn Everaarts lived near BloomendahlSee beach in Haarlem, North Holland Province, the Netherlands, where he daily saw plastic bags and bottles either left by holidaymakers or washed in by the tide.

In October 2009, after watching a documentary about ‘plastic soup’ Merijn joined in the search for a solution for plastic waste and a better plastic use lifestyle.

Merijn, an entrepreneur in the event and marketing business, joined the local Haarlem Legacy, a group of 25 creative people who were pitching ideas every few weeks to make the perfect disposable plastic bottle for tap water.

In 2010, Merijn launched a design competition. Rinke van Remorte, working at VDL Hapro having graduated at TU Delft, won that competition. Remorte beat nearly a 100 other contestants because he provided a sleek and clean design while also making it durable (lasting up to five years).

The name chosen was Dopper. From the 16th Century, a dop as a kind of hat inspired by the Middle Dutch dop or dopper meaning shell, or goblet or pot. The first real Dopper bottles (certified B-Corp), were released on October 10, 2010, also known as Durability Day which created a lot of media attention. A Dopper bottle prevents 40 single-use water bottles from entering our oceans.

In 2017, 1,687,598 Doppers were sold. The  Dopper Foundation conducts an annual Change maker Challenge where students doing Masters in any Dutch university can apply and participate. The participants should select a topic for thesis either on water management or plastic waste. With 5% of the net proceeds, since the very first water bottle was sold, Dopper has been donating to the Simavi water projects in Nepal.

They are part of the WASH programme. By installing water points and toilets, tens of thousands of Nepalese people now have better access to drinking water and sanitary facilities. Dopper Foundation started in the southern district of Ruphendi, and in the Gorkha and Baglung districts for 20.000 people. When they teamed up with local partner Sebac, they extended their projects to the Sindhupalchowk and Dolakha districts.

In 2018, Dopper introduced an insulated water bottle. Designed to keep drinks hot or cold, this is the first insulated bottle the company has added to its line. According to the company, the bottle will keep drinks hot for 9 hours and cold for up to 24 hours and holds 17 oz. (0.5 liter) of liquid.

That June Dopper Foundation and National Geographic Encounter unveiled a replica of the Brooklyn Bridge in Times Square made with 5,000 single-use plastic water bottles to turn the tide on plastic pollution through Art and education. The plastic bridge replica represents the scale of bottles sold in a split second – 5,000. (dopper.com)

What you can do: Use Dopper and other re-usable bottles such as thermos flasks.

Discover solution 103:

Catching the city’s waste, with giant socks.

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Human Effort Planet Care Your Home

101: Documentary films

Problem:

Poor communication can lead to ignorance of the dangerous situations which the Planet has deteriorated.

Solution:

Well-made and promoted documentary films urging solutions to protect the Planet.


From 1903, with British cinematographer F. Martin Duncan’s Unseen World series about microscopic creatures, the big screen has served that purpose.

Between 1968 and 1975, the television series The Undersea World of Jacques Cousteau focussed on marine biodiversity and warned that life in the oceans had diminished 40 % in just 20 years.

Following former United States Vice President Al Gore’s bestseller book Earth in the Balance, and his slide show An Inconvenient Truth given to over one thousand audiences worldwide, from 2006 a namesake film version became the eleventh highest grossing documentary film to date in the United States.

In 2007, billionaire actor Leonardo DiCaprio co-wrote and narrated 11th Hour. Through interviews with experts in many scientific fields, as well as prominent activists and politicians, the film seeks to convince viewers, beyond any reasonable doubt, that the planet is in danger and that action needed to be taken immediately if we are to have any chance of reversing the negative consequences.

In the UK, the BBC Natural History Unit (NHU) is best known for its highly regarded nature documentaries presented by David Attenborough. Life on Earth: A Natural History sold to 100 territories and was watched by an estimated audience of 500 million people worldwide. In Blue Planet II (2017) and Climate Change – The Facts, Sir David, aged 93, discusses the science of climate change and possible solutions to counteract it, including plastic recuperation.

In 2019 Australian actor-turned-filmmaker Damon Gameau took a different approach in his film 2040, Join the Regeneration. In this he structures the film as a one-way conversation with his four-year-old daughter, who will be 25 when the titular year arrives and, he hopes, part of a brighter and better world.

Gameau’s documentary bills itself as a “journey to explore what the future could look such as by the year 2040 if we simply embraced the best solutions already available to us.”

Working with the Royal Canadian Geographical Society (RCGS), The Anthropocene Project, created by renowned photographer Edward Burtynsky and award-winning filmmakers Nicholas de Pencier and Jennifer Baichwal is a multidisciplinary body of work combining fine art photography, film, virtual reality, augmented reality, and scientific research to investigate human influence on the state, dynamic, and future of the Earth.

Through evocative photography, a documentary, 360° cinematography, and captivating augmented-reality installations, this multimedia project explains the emergence of the Anthropocene epoch, distinguished by human-caused changes to our planet. As part of this the RCGS offered #OnlineClassroom, its free, bilingual learning tools to all Canadians to support teachers, parents and students isolating at home during the COVID-19 pandemic.

I Am Greta is a 2020 internationally co-produced documentary film directed by Nathan Grossman, following climate change activist Greta Thunberg.

What you can do: Download and watch these movies.

Discover Solution 102: Dopper bottle from Holland

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Carbon Capture Energy Human Effort Materials Mobility Planet Care Your Home

Solution 100

Solution:

100 days ago, on September, 1, 2020,  we began publishing one solution per day about cleaning up, repairing and protecting our Planet, with the bottom line of “What you can do!” If you look at our growing Encouragements page, you will see several approving comments for our simple approach. We welcome comments for all who visit our pages, not only on this website, but also your “likes” on our dedicated Facebook page, and you can also find us on Instagram and Twitter.

Onwards to 200 solutions!
Kevin, Jeff, Helen and Josh

What you can do: Follow and share 366solutions and tell your friends about ways we all can clean up, repair and protect our planet!

Discover solution 101: Documentary films to make us aware

 

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Human Effort Your Home

98: Biodegradable diapers

Problem:

Parents who use disposable diapers will throw away 4,000 to 6,000 of the items by the time their baby is potty trained. The vast majority of diapers are not recyclable and must be thrown away with general waste, meaning they will probably end up in landfill or being burnt.

Solution:

Eco-friendly diapers.


In 1991, Moltex in Germany launched the world’s first unbleached panty diaper. Its components were wood (cellulose, absorbent material) harvested from sustainable forestry operations bearing the seal of the FSC® (Forest Stewardship Council), a 100% chlorine-free absorbent core (TCF) and a tea-leaf extract to bind odours. They were designed to biodegrade within 50 years.

ECO diapers developed by Marlene Sandberg of Stockholm, Sweden use wood pulp responsibly harvested from Scandinavian forests as the main absorbent and are fully biodegradable. The conventional plastic outer sheet has been replaced with a biodegradable material made from maize starch and cellulose fiber, both natural materials. ECO is the first eco nappy to receive OK Biobased Certification by Vincotte, one of the world’s most demanding independent certifications.

Another solution is diapers made from breathable bamboo fibres and chlorine-free wood pulp, making them more than 60% decomposed in less than 3 months and can achieve ~80% decomposition over time. Bambo Nature eco diapers are manufactured in a production facility where 95% of the production waste is recycled, making Bambo Nature one of the most eco-friendly diapers on the market.

Since September 2019, a French composting company called Les Alchimistes has been experimenting with the composting of 11 million diapers coming from ten nurseries around Paris.
The truckloads of compost produced will be sold to horticulturists. Co-founder Alexandre Guilluy realising that the only element for which they have not reached a bio-sourced solution is the attachment scratches. However they are working to launch the manufacture of 100% compostable diapers.

What you can do: Use bio-diapers for your baby.

Tomorrow’s solution: Forest fire alert system.

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Mobility Your Home

96: Delivery vehicle, door-to-door

Problem:

Continuing to use cars to individually travel to and from supermarkets to buy weekly provisions is not eco-efficient.

Solution:

The door-to-door delivery vehicle


As long ago as August 1967, the UK Electric Vehicle Association put out a press release stating that Britain had more battery-electric vehicles on its roads than the rest of the world put together. All manufacturers of battery electric vehicles were, at one time, members of the Electric Vehicle Association of Great Britain, and they received returns from the manufacturers on a regular basis, so they were able to give accurate numbers of BERVs in use in the UK for a certain year.

The EVA also had industrial truck manufacturers, battery manufacturers and component suppliers as members of the Association. Closer inspection disclosed that almost all of the 30,000 battery driven vehicles licensed for UK road use were milk floats or door-to-door delivery vehicles, the final link from electric milking machines at the dairy farm.

This link continues today with the addition that instead of the milkman taking orders and being paid at each doorstep, the client can command pay for their groceries on-line.

In 2012, a startup calling itself Picnic was formed by a team of IT specialists, led by Joris Beckers, Frederik Nieuwenhuys, Bas Verheijen and Michiel Muller in Amersfoort, the Netherlands. Backed by these four investors, it planned to come up with a new business that would be able to gain a position in a market dominated by giant companies in the grocery market.

The idea was simple. Clients ordered their dairy products and groceries using an on-line App-only which would then be delivered for free within a one-hour timeslot of their choice, using an electric truck with a 68 mi (l10 km) range called the E-Worker, built by the French company Goupil. Starting off with 150 customers in Amersfoort, by 2016 Picnic was serving over 30,000 households in several cities in the middle of the Netherlands.

In March 2017, having received US$110 million (€100 million) in funding, Picnic announced an aggressive expansion in the years ahead, including 5 new warehouses,70 distribution hubs, and the procurement of a staggering 2,000 electric delivery vehicles.

In 2018 Picnic entered the German market, selecting Kaars, Neuss, Meerbusch and Oberkassel (part of Düsseldorf’s district 4) with further expansion, starting in North Rhine-Westphalia which has a population of about 18 million people.

Picnic is also expanding its delivery service in the Netherlands, to Noord Brabant, starting with Breda and Tilburg. Launching in May, 185,000 families will be able to use the grocery delivery service. The next move is Belgium. There is no reason why Picnic should not eventually serve the 27 counties in the European Union. By mid-2019, around 700 of these electric carts were making deliveries around in the Netherlands and around 80 in Germany, particularly in North Rhine-Westphalia. (picnic.app)

Tomorrow’s electric trucks will most surely be working hand-in-hand with electric cargo drones in the business of doorstep delivery.

It has already begun. In 2017, Workhorse of Loveland, Ohio, already makers of an electric W-15 pick-up truck, unveiled their 100 mi. (160 km) range N-Gen delivery van as part of their concept towards delivery with their integrated HorseFly drone. The latter takes off from the parked N-Gen lifting packages weighing up to 10 lbs (4.5 kg) and delivering them to a destination within the driver’s line of sight. Production of the N-Gen-1000 began in 2019. Thus the definition of a milk float enters the future…

In September 2019, Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos placed an order for 100,000 electric delivery vans from Michigan-based startup Rivian. The announcement came during an event in Washington, DC where Bezos unveiled Amazon’s sweeping plan to tackle climate change.

What you can do: Order your good on-line and have them delivered to your door by electric vehicles, four wheels or two.

Tomorrow’s solution: Aquaporins for purifying water

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Materials Carbon Capture Your Home

91: Cross-laminated timber

Problem:

The dependency on concrete and steel to build everything from homes to sports stadiums comes at a severe environmental cost. Concrete is responsible for 4 – 8% of the world’s CO₂ emissions.

Solution:

Cross-laminated timber.


Some architects are therefore arguing for – and pressing ahead with – a return to wood as our primary building material. Wood from managed forestry actually stores carbon as opposed to emitting it: as trees grow, they absorb CO2 from the atmosphere. As a rule of thumb, 35 cubic ft. (1 cubic meter) of wood contain around a tonne of CO² more or less, depending on the species of tree.

Cross-laminated timber, or CLT, has become the primary material on the construction site. It is an “engineered wood”, the planks of which are made stronger by gluing them in layers of three, with each layer perpendicular to the other. This means that the CLT does not bow or bend, it has integral strength in two directions allowing the manufacture of plates or surfaces – or walls.

It is a plywood made of boards that can reach enormous dimensions: between 7.8 ft. (2.40 m) and 13 ft. (4.00 m) high, and up to 40 ft. (12 m) long. CLT is a renewable, green and sustainable material, since it is made out of wood and does not require the burning of fossil fuels during production. CLT, however, is below 1% adhesive, and typically uses a bio-based polyurethane. The planks are bonded together under heat and pressure to fuse that small amount of adhesive using the moisture of the wood.

CLT was first developed and used in Germany and Austria in 1994 after Austrian-born researcher Gerhard Schickhofer at Graz University of Technology presented his PhD thesis research on CLT, “Starrer und nachgiebiger Verbund bei geschichteten, flächenhaften Holzstrukturen” (“Rigid and resilient composite in layered, flat wood structures”).

This was partly in response to the death of the furniture and paper industries. 60 % of Austria is forest and they needed to find a new sales outlet.

Indeed it was Austria which published “Holzmassivbauweise”, the first national CLT guidelines in 2002, based on Schickhofer’s extensive research. These national guidelines are credited with paving a path for the acceptance of engineered elements in multi-story buildings.

Many CLT factories in Austria are even powered by renewable biomass using the offcuts, branches and twigs. Some factories produce enough electricity to power the surrounding communities. (tugraz.at)

Nail-Laminated Timber (NLT) and Dowel-Laminated Timber (DLT) have been revived, while stick-framing started looking good again because it is so efficient in its use of wood.

An increasing number of architects now build tall with CLT, allowing the construction of buildings with up to 30 floors for the 180 ft. (53m) Brock Commons Tallwood House, in Vancouver, in Canada, up to 18 floors in Finland and in Sshickhofer’s native country, the 276 ft (84m), 24-storey ‘HoHo Tower’ nearing completion in the Seestadt Aspern area of Vienna, Austria.

76 % of the latter structure will be constructed from CLT, which will save a 2,800 tonnes of CO₂ emissions over similar structures built out of steel and concrete. Moreover, 1 m³ of concrete weighs approximately 2.7 tons (2.5 tonnes), while 35 cubic ft. (1 m³) of CLT weighs 882 lbs (400 kg) and has the same resistance. The same goes for steel.

Completed in March 2019 after two years of construction, the 280 ft (85.4 m) “Mjøstårnet” 18-storey skyscraper, located in Brumunddal, some 60 mi (100 km) north of Oslo is built in CLT. It takes its name from Lake Mjøsa, on the edge of which it was built.

Designed by Voll Arkitekter its timber was located and prepared within a radius of 10 mi (15 km) around the tower. Containing apartments, hotel, a 10,760 ft² (4,700 m²) swimming hall. office space and a restaurant, it has been declared “The Tallest Timber Building in the World.” by the Council on Tall Buildings and Urban Habitat.

In 2019, Gerhard Schickhofer, Head of the Institute of Timber Engineering and Wood Technology at Graz University of Technology, was awarded the Marcus Wallenberg of SEK 2 million (US$ 209,000).

What you can do: Live and work in buildings constructed using CLT

Discover Solution 92: Crowdfunding for Planet care

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Carbon Capture Your Home

89 :Credit card as personal CO2 calculator

Problem:

There were a total of 1.06 billion credit cards in 2017 and the projection for 2022 is close to 1.2 billion. Cards are made of several layers of plastic laminated together. The core is commonly made from a plastic resin known as polyvinyl chloride acetate (PVCA). This resin is mixed with opacifying materials, dyes, and plasticizers to give it the proper appearance and consistency. This bodes badly for landfills.

Solution:

A personal CO2 calculator.


In 2008, Discover launched a “green” credit card made of biodegradable PVC, 99 % of which can be absorbed back into the environment given the right conditions. Discover contended that, with exposure to soil, water, compost, and other microorganisms, the card will degrade completely within nine months to 5 years.

But can a biodegradable card do more than facilitate purchases? Having worked for nearly ten years in Sweden’s banking and insurance section, when Nathalie Green was faced with the inertia of large institutions to respond to the climate change emergency, she decided to leave her post and dedicate all her energy to the creation of products to accelerate the ecological transition.

Founding a company called Doconomy, Nathalie conceived “Do”, a mobile application that measures CO2 emissions from our purchases. From there on, Doconomy has progressed to the Do-Card, incorporating technology from the Ålands Bank Index, a Finnish financial tool that uses big data to match every purchase with the most accurate estimation of CO2 emissions related to its production and consumption.

Specifically, each time the card is used, its owner receives an alert that indicates the carbon footprint of the purchase. For example, at a checkout, he will know that the purchase of jeans is 70 lb (32 kg) of CO2. Those who sign up to DO will receive access to a free savings account that helps them understand their carbon footprint, learn about UN-certified climate compensation projects, and discover investment funds that have a positive impact on people and the planet.

The card itself is made of bio-sourced material and is printed with Air-Ink, which was our Solution #6  and with no magnetic strip is the first of its kind in the world. For this solution, Doconomy is working with Mastercard via their global network, reaching and levering the power of consumers all over the world and direct capital towards sustainable initiatives. In October 2020 when Mastercard launched the expansion of the Priceless Planet Coalition to support planting 100 million trees, Doconomy was one of the 33 banking partners.

What you can do: Buy and use a Do-Card and tell your friends about it.

Discover  Solution 90: crop fertilizer from recycled batteries

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Human Effort Planet Care Your Home

83: Biodegradable contraceptives

Problem:

Today’s world population is 7.6 billion, and the United Nations projects that by 2100, the world population will be 11.2 billion. Can the Earth’s resources feed this many people?

Solution:

Contraceptives.


Alongside ethical family planning, sterilisation and vasectomy, the contraceptive should be regarded as a planet-protecting measure. One solution is the condom, a sheath-shaped barrier device, used during sexual intercourse to reduce the probability of pregnancy or a sexually transmitted infection.

Early contraceptives were biodegradable. The Egyptian Ebers Papyrus (1500 BC) describes a vaginal plug of lint, ground acacia branches and honey. Condoms, made of silk, were not always effective.

The ancient condom was found in Lund, Sweden, and is believed to have been made and used around 1640 A.D. It is made from pig intestine, although before latex, condoms made of sheepskin or intestine were not uncommon. Condoms made of dried sheep intestines were used by Roman soldiers to protect themselves during long campaigns away from home.

Neither rubber condoms which became available in 1855, nor latex condoms since the 1920s are biodegradable. About six to nine billion are sold a year. New innovations continued to occur in the condom market, with the first polyurethane condom, branded Avanti and produced by the manufacturer of Durex, introduced in the 1990s.

With the advent of AIDS (Acquired Immune Defiency Syndrome), the protective condom as mass-produced by Durex became even more popular. Worldwide condom use is expected to continue to grow: one study predicted that developing nations would need 18.6 billion condoms by 2015.

Biodegradable, latex condoms damage the environment when disposed of improperly and they also contain preservatives and hardening agents to make sure the rubber can withstand a fair amount of friction, making it harder for the condoms to break down in the landfill.

According to the Ocean Conservancy, condoms, along with certain other types of trash, cover the coral reefs and smother sea grass and other bottom dwellers. The United States Environmental Protection Agency also has expressed concerns that many animals might mistake the litter for food.

The only biodegradable condom is made of a biological material, lambskin, made from the intestinal membrane of a lamb as used by the Romans, hence non-Vegan.

One such is the “Trojan”, a brand name of condoms and sexual lubricants manufactured by the Church & Dwight Company of Ewing Township, New Jersey. Although biodegradable it does not protect against sexually transmitted infections (STIs) and HIV. (churchdwight.com)

There are other methods. In 1951, the oral contraceptive pill was invented by Gregory G. Pincus and Min Chuch Chang, biologists at the Worcester Foundation for Experimental Research, Shrewsbury, Massachusetts, in collaboration with Dr John Rock, obstetrician-gynaecologist of the Brookline Reproductive Clinic, Boston and again in collaboration with Dr Carl Djerassi of the Syntax Corporation, Mexico, who discovered the progestogenic agent, 19-Norsteroids. The US Food and Drug Administration approved “the pill” for public use in 1961, after extensive trials in Puerto Rico and Haiti.

The downside are the hormones in the pill, either progestin or a combination of progestin and synthetic estrogen, known as endocrine disruptors: women who take the pill end up passing some of them through their urine.

If they make it through the wastewater systems, the hormones can flush into rivers and streams altering fish reproductive systems and damaging ecosystem dynamics. The minipill is only made with progestin, a man-made form of the hormone progesterone made by the body.

Then there is the intrauterine device (IUD). During the late 1950s these were made of plastic with a nylon string. U.S. physician Howard Tatum’s innovation of the copper IUD in the 1960s brought with it the capital ‘T’ shaped design used by most modern IUDs. Together, Tatum and Chilean physician Jaime Zipper discovered that copper could be an effective spermicide and developed the first copper IUD, TCu200.

Not only does this contraceptive have incredible 99-plus % effectiveness, but it also requires just one small plastic T—either wrapped in copper or holding synthetic progesterone hormone—to prevent pregnancies for 3 to 12 years.

Physical waste is nearly nonexistent. Copper IUDs use up less than one tenth of an ounce (0.3 gm) of copper. Hormonal IUDs release small quantities of synthetic progesterone directly into the uterus, meaning that most of the hormone stays exactly where it is needed. In short, for the Planet, IUDs are the lesser of the three evils.

What you can do: When family planning, think carefully of your SOLUTION for our crowding Planet.

Tomorrow’s Solution: cooling down the coral reefs

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Human Effort Materials Your Home

78: Human-based compost

Problem:

When people die, usually one of two things happens to their bodies: either they are buried below ground in caskets, or they are cremated, reduced to bone fragments by intense heat.

Cemeteries take up space and crematoria emit carbon dioxide. Both cremation and conventional burial leave just over a metric ton of carbon per body.

Solution:

Naturally composting human cadavers


Zoroastrians had a different approach: to preclude the pollution of earth or fire, the bodies of the dead were placed atop a tower and so exposed to the sun and to birds of prey.

The roof was divided into three concentric rings: The bodies of men are arranged around the outer ring, women in the second circle, and children in the innermost ring.

Once the bones had been bleached by the sun and wind, which can take as long as a year, they were collected in an ossuary pit at the center of the tower, where they gradually disintegrate and the remaining material, with run-off rainwater, ran through multiple coal and sand filters before being eventually washed out to sea.

White Eagle Memorial Preserve (WEMP) in Klickitat County, Washington was founded in 2008 so people could be buried in natural surroundings without embalming, caskets or headstones. It is certified as a Conservation Burial Ground by the Green Burial Council, a national non-profit certifying body.

WEMP spans 20 acres (8 ha) set within 1138 acres (461 ha) of permanently protected oak and ponderosa forest, meadow and steppe on the edge of spectacular Rock Creek Canyon near the Columbia River Gorge National Scenic Area. Deer, coyote, cougar, eagles, wild turkeys, steelhead in the canyon creek, western grey squirrels, rattlesnakes, the occasional bear or lynx live and die freely.

Paris has opened its first green cemetery at Ivry-sur-Seine. Part of the already-existing cemetery has been dedicated to eco-friendly burials, meaning that Parisians concerned about the lasting ecological impact of their funerals can now rest in peace.

The cemetery will do away with gravestones, replacing them with wooden markers that the city of Paris has said it will replace every ten years. Coffins and urns must be made out of biodegradable materials, either cardboard or unvarnished local wood, and bodies must be clothed in natural biodegradable fibres. They cannot, of course, be embalmed with formaldehyde.

Katrina Spade was studying architecture when she learned about livestock composting and wondered if the some practice could be applied for humans.

She earned a BA in anthropology from Haverford College in Pennsylvania, then turned her focus to sustainable design while attending Yestermorrow Design/Build School in Vermont. At Yestermorrow, Spade helped to build a Pain Mound – a compost-based bioenergy system invented by Jean Pain that can produce heat for up to 18 months.

She first drafted her plans for a ‘human composting’ facility in 2012 while earning her Master’s degree in architecture and design, which she completed in 2013. In 2014, she was awarded a climate fellowship from the Echoing Green Foundation.

This enabled her to start a 501c3 nonprofit called the Urban Death Project involving an urban crematorium (bodies go in, remains come out), but using the slower, less carbon-intensive means of “organic reduction,” or composting. Spade alternately describes this process as “cremation by carbon.”

To research the process of cadaver decomposition into soil, Spade collaborated with Lynne Carpenter-Boggs, a Professor of Sustainable and Organic Agriculture at Washington State University. They developed a carbon-and nitrogen-heavy mixture of wood chips, alfalfa and straw.

They found that natural organic reduction turns bodies into two wheelbarrows full of soil within 30 days. In 2017, Spade closed the nonprofit and started Recompose in Seattle, Washington, as a public-benefit corporation. In 2018 she was awarded the Ashoka Fellowship

In November 2018, Washington State Senator Jamie Pedersen pre-filed a bill to legalize this human composting, also known as “recomposition.” This law, passed on Tuesday May 21, 2019, made Washington the first state in the United States to allow the practice. The Act also legalized alkaline hydrolysis, the dissolving of bodies in a pressurized vessel with water and potassium hydroxide, or lye, a process which is already legal in 16 states.

Recompose estimates that one metric ton of CO2 is saved for every person who opts to compost a body instead of burning it. This is equivalent to taking a gas-powered car off the road for about three months.

Spade should start composting by 2021 hosting 750 bodies annually, 20 to 25 at a time. Spiritually and emotionally, there are those who are against this system. They are happy to have their ashes scattered, but do not wish to use the compost of a loved one to improve plant growth. (recompose.life)

The Netherlands

In the Netherlands, Bob Hendrikx and a team at the Delft University of Technology have developed a living coffin made from mycelium, the vegetative part of fungi that takes the form of a mass network of white filaments referred to as hyphae.

The Living Cocoon helps the body to ‘compost’ more efficiently, removes toxic substances, and produces richer conditions in which to grow (new) trees and plants. The first funeral with a mycelium-based coffin took place in September 2020.

What you can do: When you die, consider leaving the lowest carbon mortal footprint possible

Discover Solution 79: eco-friendly concrete.

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Materials Your Home

74: Clothing from recycled plastic bottles

Problem:

The world is awash in discarded plastic bottles.

Solution:

Recycle plastic bottles into fabric thread for clothing.


Thread International produces both yarn and fabric, depending on the need. The company was formed after the 2010 Haiti earhquakes, when founder Ian Rosenberger travelled to Haiti looking for ways to help the devastated people of the island nation.

Its manufacturing process is simple. It heats up plastic waste collected by the Haitians, which is then extruded through a fine shower head-type machine, which then cuts up the result. The method reduces energy consumption by 80% compared to making virgin polyester, but the cost to clients is roughly 10% higher.

The impact in Haiti has been dramatic. Thread International supports about 300 recycling jobs on the island and, in 2015, sent 440,000 lb (200,000 kg) of plastic fiber to the U.S., where it is blended with cotton to produce canvas, jersey and denim products.

Working with a US$1.5 million grant from the Richard King Mellon Foundation, Thread International was able to move from their East Liberty office in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania into a larger workspace in Homewood.

While the company has found success partnering with brands such as Nike and Timberland since its initial founding. In February 2019, Timberland launched a Thread-infused collection (boots, duffel bag, backpack) and Thread signed up Kenneth Cole, another major brand.

Thread’s move to Homewood, provides the company with space to train and employ staff from the local community to stitch and assemble the bags, creating jobs to help battle unemployment in Homewood while also growing their eco-friendly business. Thread has several full-time employees on the ground in Haiti and Honduras to coordinate with local partners.

The company is also looking to expand its operations to Guatemala and Southeast Asia. According to Thread’s website, they have shipped more than 200,000 lb (100,000 kg) of recycled plastic out of Haiti since 2010.

France

In France, Thomas Huriez of Romans-sur-Isère (Drôme) is making denim jeans using sea litter collected by the French fishermen of the Mediterranean, during fishing trips on the coast.

They are encouraged to continue to clean up the beaches and their surroundings, which are full of polyethylene-type plastics, which then serve to create the fabric for the pants in a mono-material. Huriez had already launched Modetic, a shop specializing in the sale of ecological, equitable, ethical, and local products, when in 2013 with his brother Huriez switched to trousers and shoes.

They called their brand Jeans Infini 1083, 1083 km. being the longest distance that can be traveled in France by road number between Menton and Porspoder, north of Brest.

Not only are the trousers made from 100% recycled plastic, they are 100% recyclable and returnable. The life cycle of Jeans Infini begins at the company Antex, which manufactures Seaqual ™ yarn in Spain (80 km from the French border). Infini then dye this 100% recycled yarn, in Pont-de-Labeaume, they weave it in Coublanc, then they make the jeans in Marseille.

Once bought, when the client’s jeans reach the end of their life, they will return it to Infini for free and get back their 20 € deposit. Their old jeans will then be crushed to be re-transformed into yarn and 1083 jeans again and so on ad infinitum. (1083.fr)

USA

Another much bigger manufacturer, Wrangler, owned by Kontoor, has introduced denims dyed with foam, a revolutionary technique that uses 100 % less water than conventionally-dyed denim and also reduces energy use and waste by more than 60 % compared to the conventional denim dyeing process.

Wrangler’s Indigood technology reflects in the brand’s global sustainability goals, which include: conserving 1.5 billion gallons (5.5 billion liters) of water at owned and operated facilities by 2020; using 100% preferred chemistry throughout their supply chain by 2020; powering all owned and operated facilities with 100% renewable electricity by 2025; and sourcing 100% sustainable cotton by 2025. (kontoorbrands.com)

What you can do: Buy this clothing and show it off to your friends.

Discover Solution 75: rain-making across China

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Your Home Energy

73: Detergent-free clothes-washing machine

Problem:

Water is an increasingly precious commodity and many washing machines still require large amounts for washing/rinsing as well as  the use of chemicals harmful to the environment.

Solution:

Detergent-free clothes-washing machine.


In 1924, when firms such as the Savage Arms Corporation of New York presented the electrically-powered wash/spin-dry clothes washing machine to the world, neither its energy and water consumption, nor the harmful effects of chemical detergents on the ecosystem, were taken into account. Today, the eco-efficient bio washing machine has become of primary importance.

There have been many developments. Japan Ace, based on research at Nihon University produced a detergentless, ultrasonic bubble-cleansing domestic washing machine in 1985, but the main breakthrough was made by Stephen Burkinshaw at the University of Leeds focusing on the structure of nylon polymer beads.

He discovered that nylon was the best material for absorbing tiny particles, and together with his team of researchers came up with the concept of using nylon polymer beads to remove stains from clothes.

When the wash cycle is completed, the beads automatically return to a holding area inside the machine and are ready to be used again for the next wash. These beads can be used for up to a thousand washes and are then collected to be recycled and exchanged for new one.

From 2009, Burkinshaw and his team collaborated with Stephen Jenkins and William Westwater at Xeros Technologies in Catcliffe, South Yorkshire, England to commercially produce the beads which they called XOrb and a 55 lb (25 kg) capacity waterless washing machine by the end of 2011.

According to Xeros, its technology uses 90% less water than the conventional washing machine. While a conventional front-loading washer uses about 20-25 gallons (75-95 liters) of water, the Xeros Washing Machine is estimated to use as little as one gallon of water.

The machine is also projected to save consumers up to 30% for operating costs in electricity and water. Xeros then presented their XDrum technology to other washing machine manufacturers. Hotel groups such Hilton, Hyatt, or Hampton Inn acquired Xeros to wash their laundry.

In March 2018, Xeros acquired Gloves Inc., providing personal protection equipment cleaning, inspection and repair services in the Miami metro areas.

At CES 2018, Xeros unveiled XFiltra to go with XOrb and XDrum technologies XFiltra is designed to help capture the synthetic fibers from fleece and other clothing that are making their way from the wash into oceans. Appliance makers would still have to design around the pump and filter.

The biggest commercial washing manufacturers in China and India both signed up, while Dongguan Crystal Knitting and Garment, a subsidiary of Crystal International Group, the world’s largest apparel maker by volume, are trialling the technology.

In 2019 Xeros signed up with Indian home appliance manufacturer IFB Industries Ltd. in Kolkata to make and sell X technology in India by from 2020-2021. Xeros, a platform technology company that works on reinventing water intensive industrial and commercial processes, believes the reason the Indian market is important for its water-saving technology is that the country is under extreme water stress.

According to the NITI Aayog, more than 600 million Indians face acute water shortages. The Xeros tech can also save water in the tanning industry and, having entered the market itself, Xeros signed a deal which will see at least one Mexican producer convert its re-tanning operations.

What you can do: When you replace your washing machine, check out the Xeros range.

Discover Solution 74: clothing from recycled plastic bottles

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Planet Care Human Effort Your Home

71: Citizen Convention for Climate (CCC)

Problem:

How to get politicians to take action on climate change?

Solution:

Citizen Conventions


In November, 150 French citizens, male and female, were drawn by lot and given eight months to discuss and form their solutions for the Planet.

On Sunday June 21, 2020, La Convention Citoyenne pour le Climat (CCC) presented French President Emmanuel Macron with nearly one hundred proposals around five axes relating to the fight against global warming: produce and work, shelter, feed, move, consume.

Objective: a reduction of “at least 40% of greenhouse gas emissions by 2030”. These include making energy renovation of 20 million buildings compulsory by 2040, quadrupling the amount of the bicycle fund to 200 million Euros per year, which would finance bicycle paths, increasing the bonus for hybrid and electric cars by 25%, the deployment of short food circuits, and the curbing of overconsumption.

In response, the President pledged an additional €15 billion ($16.9 billion) to help address the issue, although not all the solutions have been adopted

On a European Union level, the month before, Pascal Canfin, chairman of the Environment Committee in the European Parliament, proposed an alliance for a green recovery.

This movement, which brings together together 80 ministers, MEPs, CEOs, NGOs & Trade Unions joined by around thirty CEOs (Ikea, Unilever, Danone, Saint-Gobain, H & M, etc.) In her Green Deal, the President of the European Commission Ursula von der Leyen promised a “green, digital and resilient future”.

What you can do: Join or create a citizen’s convention in your country

Discover Solution 72: eco-friendly sandblasting

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Energy Your Home

70: Better baseboard heating

Problem:

Traditional domestic heating systems, burning fossil fuels, using heat pumps and/or solar energy are using the most inefficient heat distribution systems in the real consumption place, the room.

By creating an unbalanced distribution of hot and cold air, this in turn is detrimental to human health and is giving the highest energy consumption in the room and hereby the highest loss in the transportation of the heat to the room.

Solution:

Baseboard or skirting board central heating system.


In 1974, Erik Christian Vilhelm Keldmann, a mechanical engineer from Odense, Denmark improved the efficiency and energy consumption of central heating and air conditioning systems.

His ‘’heat embracement’’ skirting board systems he called Elpan for an electrical system and Wanpan for a hot water-heated system.

Both systems involve interconnecting module elements in such a way that the apparatus can extend along all the walls of the room.

The key in his invention is the balance in each module between heat delivered by radiation and convection. The created even comfort temperature, all over the living zone of the room, is created by the all embracing system by about 65 – 75 % radiation and approximately 25 – 35 % convection (circulating air ).

This created the experienced comfort temperature constant from floor to ceiling, which is the condition for having the highest thermal comfort for the lowest energy consumption.

Keldmann’s Elpan/Wanpan system which he patented in 1978, could be easily mounted by persons without special education.

It is today, after 45 years, still an elegant timeless designed product, the world’s smallest heating system giving freedom in furnishing even small rooms.

Keldmann also innovated an eco-friendly silent cooling system he called Norpan, where panels hung from the ceiling, over the office desks, with chilled water circulating in and out of the panel.

The human body radiates heat up to the panel and the panel sends back chilled air to cool the body. This is cooling for human beings at the lowest energy consumption.

Keldmann’s innovations threatened to disrupt the steel-based traditional radiator industry.

The Elpan – Wanpan systems proved the basis for disruption in a two year comparable test in four homes made by the biggest Danish newspaper “Berlingske Tidende – Boligen”, proving energy savings of 20 – 37 %., the system was then accepted.

But despite the world’s need for heat-saving systems, Elpan-Wanpan has not yet disrupted old fashioned traditional heating systems.

Erik Keldmann is still the president and owner of Keldmann Innovation A/S. With his son and partner Troels, they are now workings on new inventions to add value to Elpan/Wanpan all embracing heating systems.

Discover Solution 71: the French connection

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Materials Your Home

69: Cell phone components, nanocellulose

Problem:

Approximately 150 million mobile phones are discarded each year in the USA. Although cell phones have the highest recycling market of any electronic material only 10% of these are recycled while the rest may end up in a landfill, but more likely to end up in desk drawers or garages.

Solution:

In recent years, researchers have demonstrated that nanocellulose, which is made by breaking wood fibers down to the nanoscale, can be a viable support material for a variety of electronic devices, including solar cells.


John Rogers, a professor of materials science at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, developed the method for transferring small amounts of semiconducting material from a large wafer to the nanocellulose surface.

In 2015, researchers at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, led by Zhenqiang (Jack) Ma, a professor of electrical and computer engineering, collaborated with researchers in the Madison-based U.S. Department of Agriculture Forest Products Laboratory (FPL), to innovate wood-based semi-conductor chips, by making the gallium arsenide electronic components in a similar way but then using a rubber stamp to lift them from the wafer and transfer them to a new surface made of nanocellulose.

The challenge was to produce a smooth-enough surface that also had the capacity for thermal expansion. The final product evolved from the concept of breaking wood down further from individual fibre, at the micron stage, to the nanoscale.

The result is a material which is very strong, transparent, flexible, and, most-importantly, biodegradable, cellulose nanofibril (CNF).

An epoxy coating is added to the surface to ensure a smooth layer and eliminate the hydroscopic nature, both of which were previously barriers for using wood-derived materials. This reduced the amount of semiconducting material used by a factor of up to 5,000, without sacrificing performance.

Their results also show that a transparent, wood-derived material called nanocellulose paper is an attractive alternative to plastic as a surface for flexible electronics.

In conventional chip manufacturing, electronic components such as transistors are made on the surface of a rigid wafer made of a semiconducting material such as silicon.

In two recent demonstrations, Ma and his colleagues showed they can use nanocellulose as the support layer for radio frequency circuits that perform comparably to those commonly used in smartphones and tablets. They also showed that these chips can be broken down by a common fungus.

In 2019, researchers at the Institute of Materials Science of Barcelona (ICMAB-CSIC) created a new concept of thermoelectric material, published in the journal Energy & Environmental Science (“Farming thermoelectric paper”).

It is a device composed of cellulose, produced in situ in the laboratory by bacteria, dispersed in an aqueous culture medium containing sugar and carbon nanotubes, producing the nanocellulose fibres that end up forming the device, in which the carbon nanotubes are embedded.

The intention is to approach the concept of circular economy, using sustainable materials that are not toxic for the environment, which are used in small amounts, and which can be recycled and reused.

Tomorrow’s solution: a healthier overall central heating system

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Materials Your Home

68: Biodegradable cell phone components

Problem:

Approximately 150 million mobile phones are discarded each year in the USA.

Solution:

Biodegradable cell phone components.


Although cell phones have the highest recycling market of any electronic material only 10 % of these are recycled while the rest may end up in a landfill, but more likely to end up in desk drawers or garages.

Jeremy Lang of Pela Case of Saskatoon, Saskatchewan Canada, using Flaxstic, a bioplastic made from flax straw has developed a cell phone case comprised of 35 – 45% biobased content (plant-based plastic and flax straw) and 55% non-renewable, biodegradable materials.

As a boy, Lang discovered that flax farmers were in the practice of burning their fields after a harvest, in order to prevent the strong flax straw from getting caught up in and ruining their farming equipment. He realized that if that flax straw was so strong, it could certainly be used for something.

Elsewhere Sprint and Samsung have each launched the Reclaim, a biodegradable handset that is 80% recyclable and comes with a 40% corn-based plastic cover. The Reclaim ditches a paper manual for a virtual one and comes with a charger that is more energy-efficient than standard chargers.

Sprint’s phone is nearly free of commonly used toxic materials such as polyvinyl chloride (PVC) and brominated flame retardant. And the company is donating US$2 from each sale to the Nature Conservancy’s Adopt an Acre Program.

Ideally the phone would be completely free of all toxic materials and have a solar charging option. But these are improvements that Sprint and Samsung will probably make in the future. Samsung has already developed a separate solar-powered phone.

Alongside the case, there is the screen. The Australian National University’s (ANU) Research School of Engineering created a semiconductor with both organic and inorganic materials that can convert electricity into light with a very high efficiency.

Engineers have developed an ultra-thin semiconductor featuring one-atom-thick organic material with two-atom-thick inorganic materials to make a new type of electronic screen.

The compound is incredibly thin and is just one atom thick. The carbon and hydrogen base makes up part of the semiconductor developed by the Australian team.

The inorganic compound is just two atoms. The super-thin biodegradable semiconductor would be ideal for screens and other displays on cell phones. The thin, flexible surface could also be used in an entirely new series of high-performance electronics. (eng.anu.edu.au)

But then there are the thousands of transistors inside a cell phone. The tiniest transistors are now less than 30 nanometers long. You could fit 16,000 of them, side-by-side, in the period at the end of this sentence.

For the internal components, Simon Vecchioni, who recently defended his Ph.D. in biomedical engineering at Columbia University, is using synthetic biology to produce DNA nanowires and networks as an alternative to silicon device technology.

Vecchioni ordered synthesized DNA from a company, used it to create his own custom BioBrick, a circular piece of DNA, and inserted it into the bacterium E.coli, which created copies of the DNA.

He then cut out a part of the DNA and inserted a silver ion into it, turning the DNA into a conductor of electricity. His next challenge is to turn the DNA nanowires into a network.

The DNA nanowires may one day replace wires made of valuable metals such as gold, silver (which Vecchioni only uses at the atomic scale), platinum and iridium, and their ability to “self-assemble” could eliminate the use of the toxic processing chemicals used to etch silicon.

As silicon transistors (the devices that carry the 1s and 0s of computers) start to bump up against the limits of physics in terms of size and density, the evidence so far points to carbon nanotubes being a faster and more energy efficient option.

Processors (lots of transistors packed together) made from carbon nanotubes could help computing take the next leap forward. This would be by far the most advanced chip made from any emerging nanotechnology that is promising for high-performance and energy-efficient computing.

After the first carbon nanotube (CNT) transistor was created in 1998, researchers made progress by building other circuit elements such as logic gates.

In 2010, Desirée L. Plata, a civil and environmental engineering professor at Duke University, designed a research experiment to determine how chemical bonds are built during nanotube synthesis, with the goal of improving the manufacturability of CNTs and minimizing the environmental impacts of this technology.

Her study was published in 2010 in the American Chemical Society’s online journal ACSNano. But a computer with an all-nanotube central processor remained elusive.

Researchers from Stanford University said that they had successfully built a carbon nanotube computer and their research paper published on September 25, 2013 in the journal Nature. They named their prototype Cedric.

Six years later at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, computer scientist Max Shulaker and a team have built a 16-bit processor (the more bits, the more complexity), functional enough to run a basic program, producing the words “Hello, World! I am RV16XNano, made from CNTs”.

In this new study, researchers used rolled up sheets of carbon, each a single atom thick, to form 14,000 carbon nanotube field-effect transistors (CNFETs) – up from a previous attempt in 2013 that managed 178 transistors. The researchers reckon these chips could be viable within five years. (eecs.mit.ud)

Discover Solution 69: cell phone components made from wood

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