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Planet Care Carbon Capture Energy Human Effort Materials Mobility Your Home

366: The Resolutionary Anthem

Problem:

How to make people aware that there are solutions to Earth’s ailing condition and that YOU can help clean up, repair and protect our planet.

Solution:

Today marks one year since we started 366solutions and we have posted one solution per day – now a whole year’s worth –  on this site. You can find out more about the solutions by clicking on various links throughout 366solutions.com, or download all solutions through these links:

Download Microsoft Word file

Download .pdf file

In fact, these documents include even more ways to help clean up, repair and protect our shared planet Earth –  732 in all!

The Resolutionary Anthem

We also offer you this musical inspiration: The Resolutionary Anthem, by Sophia Dady:

Sophia Dady’s Website: www.sophiadady.com

This is, like our website, a work song rather than a Work of Art. If you would like to come on board and join with others in singing this Resolutionary Anthem, we encourage you to download the sheet music at no cost…all we ask is that you if you do perform the anthem, please send us a recording so that, with the required permission, we may upload it to 366solutions.com and www.sophiadady.com and promote you on our social media as a way of saying ‘Thank You’!

Sheet Music

»» download .pdf

Lyrics

14,000 miles away they judge because they can
In their plush offices very tall and grand

“No reason to believe that there is a threat to man”
For years we’ve been presented with the scientific papers
Books and documentaries are warning of the dangers
For those in the field, we sing a different song!

Can’t you see? The Earth can’t breathe
The birds can’t feed their young anymore
It’s Nature’s law…

We’re playing for a team, a team that is the same
Not working on our own behalf for personal gain
The right time isn’t in the future, it is NOW!

Don’t you see? It’s not about me!
We all must pull together more
It’s Nature’s law…

CHORUS
Find solutions, that’s the key
Join your voice and sing with me
The World deserves our respect.

Solutions come so easily, when you focus on these three:
Clean,  Repair,  Protect

Our World

Find solutions, that’s the key
Join your voice and sing with me
The World deserves our respect

Solutions come so easily, when you focus on these three:
Clean, Repair, Protect

Our World

For how to do this, check out the solutions on this website and act NOW!

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Materials Your Home

362: Straw drinking-straw

Problem:

Americans use 500 million disposable straws per day – or 1.6 straws per person. 500 million straws could fill over 127 school buses each day, or more than 46,400 school buses every year! Some scientists estimate there are 7.5 million plastic straws polluting U.S. shorelines, and anywhere from 437 million to 8.3 billion plastic straws on shorelines around the world.

France alone consumes more than 9 million plastic straws per year. For a few seconds of pleasure, people have been ready to use a plastic product which will take hundreds of years to decompose. From January 1, 2020, it became illegal to sell plastic drinking straws and drinks stirrers, in France and the UK.

But an alternative had to be found. In June 2018, McDonald’s fast food chain announced it would replace its plastic straws with paper ones, fine for CocaCola but inadequate for milk shakes. The same month, Starbucks announced plans to ditch plastic straws in all its coffee shops around the world by 2020.

Solution:

Jeff Lubrano, a 50-year-old designer at Studio Fertile in Paris, teamed up with 26-year-old Mike Sallard on his farm in Courgeoût, in France’s Orne region, where with his father they have been cultivating organic cereals for twenty-five years. Having shared and been shocked by a video on the Internet of a tortoise suffering from a plastic straw in its nasal cavity, they decided something must be done.

Having made many experiments to create straw drinking straws in the “Fab Lab” the Elabo de Bellême, Messsrs. Lubrano and Sallard launched the brand La Perche. The plan is to produce 3 million straw-straws in the first year, 15 million the second and 70 million the third. They are now planning to produce straw-based ear-buds and another project: « La sucette normande ». (“The Normandy lollipop”): a candy apple, attached to the end of a rye stick. The packaging would be biodegradable made of flower seeds.

Another alternative is bamboo. True Green Enterprises of Boca Raton, Florida was founded in 2007 by Terry Lehmann, determined to make bio-degradable hot cups and straws. These are made using sugar cane husks and bamboo, the two fastest-growing renewable sources of fiber for paper products in the world. It is better than a normal paper straw because of the qualities of bamboo. Terry developed the Green2 for Retail brand and the TreeFree for Commercial brand. In 2018 Terry received the WBE Star Award for women’s excellence in business leadership. (green2tec.com)

Another is the Lolistraw, made of a seaweed-based material and designed by Chelsea F. Briganti of Loliware in New York. This straw can be consumed after you finish your drink (if you don’t eat it, it can go in the compost or just dissolve in nature.) Briganti coined the term “Hyper-compostable” to convey that all of their products, including Lolistraw, will break down at the same rate as food waste in compost or in the natural environment, such as a waterway.

The company is VC backed and has partnered with IDEO, The Ellen MacArthur Foundation, The Last Plastic Straw, Plastic Pollution Coalition & The Lonely Whale Foundation. The team recently announced their plan to replace one billion plastic disposables by 2020.

Discover Solution 363: Iron fertilisation

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Energy Materials

360: Room-temperature superconductors

Problem:

Scientists are working to increase the temperature at which materials turn into superconductors, since these materials could transfer electricity more cheaply and have important uses in the medical and quantum computing fields.

Solution:

In 2015, a team led by physicist Mikhail Eremets at the Max Planck Institute for Chemistry discovered superconductivity at -70 Celsius (-94 Fahrenheit) in the form of  a high-temperature superconducting hydride, by placing a piece of lanthanum into an insulating ring, then placing it into a box full of pressurized hydrogen gas.

They clamped the gasket between a pair of diamonds, and continued squeezing the diamonds until they hit the desired pressures, 200 gigapascals, nearly 2 million times the pressure on the surface of Earth. Then, they hit the sample with a laser to form the lanthanum hydride.

Finally, they took measurements to confirm they really created the material and that it’s really a superconductor. But if confirmed, the feat would be the first example of superconductivity above 0 °C, and some physicists consider that the work could be a mi.tone in the study of superconductivity, which researchers hope will one day make the generation, transmission and use of electricity vastly more efficient.

In February 2019, Salvatore Cezar Pais, an aerospace engineer for NAWCAD at US. Naval Air Station Patuxent River in Maryland, obtained a patent on a room-temperature superconductor, representing a potential paradigm shift in energy transmission and computer systems.

The application claims that a room-temperature superconductor can be built using a wire with an insulator core and an aluminum PZT (lead zirconate titanate) coating deposited by vacuum evaporation with a thickness of the London penetration depth and polarized after deposition. An electromagnetic coil is circumferentially positioned around the coating such that when the coil is activated with a pulsed current, a non-linear vibration is induced, enabling room temperature superconductivity.

Pais’s two other patents are a gravity wave generator and inertial mass reduction. If these could be realized as technologies, then we are talking Star Trek level spaceships. The gravitational wave generator could be used for propellentless propulsion to near the speed of light. Being able to reduce inertia would also mean capabilities which currently seem beyond known physics.

The more likely situation is that these will not lead anywhere and are incorrect.

Discover Solution 361: Johad dams

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Materials Planet Care

352: STRAP, or Solvent-Targeted Recovery and Precipitation processing

Problem:

While a bag of chips might not look very complex on the outside, it is in fact a multi-layered plastic bag. Polyethylene is made up of several extremely thin films stacked on top of each other to provide strength, flexibility, and integrity. The layers are chemically incompatible when it comes to breaking them down. They simply cannot be recycled en masse like soda bottles can.

Solution:

STRAP, or Solvent-Targeted Recovery and Precipitation processing.


University of Madison-Wisconsin professors of chemical and biological engineering George Huber and Reid Van Lehn and their students have created a technique called that could be the solution.
The key to the new process is to selectively dissolve a single polymer layer in a solvent system in which the targeted polymer layer is soluble, but the other polymer layers are not. In other words, you need to break down each polymer layer individually, and use a solvent to dissolve them one at a time.

STRAP relies on a computational approach used by Van Lehn called the Conductor-like Screening Model for Realistic Solvents (COSMO-RS) to guide the process.

COSMO-RS is able to calculate the solubility of target polymers in solvent mixtures at varying temperatures, narrowing down the number of potential solvents that could dissolve a polymer. The team can then experimentally explore the candidate solvents.

The researchers have. In a study published November 20th 2020 in the journal Science Advances, the researchers lay out their case for why the technique could start a recycling revolution.

The Madison-Wisconsin team tested their process using a real-world multilayer film built by Amcor Flexibles, which designs pouches and bags for food, drinks, healthcare, and other essentials.

The process achieved separation of these three components with nearly 100 % material efficiency

The goal is to eventually develop a computational system that will allow researchers to find solvent combinations to recycle all sorts of multilayer plastics.

The team is continuing its research on STRAP processing through the newly established Multi-University Center on Chemical Upcycling of Waste Plastics, directed by Huber. Researchers in the $12.5 million U.S. Department of Energy-funded centre are investigating several chemical pathways for recovering and recycling polymers.

The STRAP process could eventually level up to take on current levels of plastic waste.

Discover Solution 353: Submerged Sculptures for protecting marine life

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Materials Energy

350: Steel production using solar power

Problem:

The iron and steel sector is the “world’s largest industrial source of climate pollution,” according to the Cold Steel Hot Climate report, which notes that steel represented approximately 5% of final energy use and 7% of emissions worldwide in 2013.

Recent studies have found that 14% of steel firms’ market value is in jeopardy if they are unable to decrease their environmental impact.

Solution:

The first steel mill to be powered by sustainable energy is EVRAZ North America’s 240-MW Bighorn Solar Project at its Rocky Mountain operation in Pueblo, Colorado. USA. Xcel Energy, as the power provider for the steel mill, will purchase the power generated by the solar farm under a long-term contract with Lightsource bp. The solar facility will be located on on 1,600 acres of land at the steel mill.

McCarthy Building Companies was selected by Lightsource bp as EPC — installing nearly 750,000 Canadian Solar bifacial solar panels, mounted on trackers from Nextracker. Commercial operation is expected by late 2021

While the mill operates 24 hours a day, solar panels do not. Over the course of a year the solar farm is expected to produce electricity roughly equal to 95% of the mill’s annual demand. On sunny days, excess power will be sold to the Colorado grid, but at night the mill will draw power from the grid, which still includes a good bit of fossil energy.

Luckily, about the time solar panels are going dark, strong winds whip up across the plains of eastern Colorado, where wind turbines will turn it into power. At certain hours during the night, wind farms can supply as much as 70% of the power on the state grid, and that is likely to be true more and more often as the company signs contracts with new wind farms.

Discover Solution 351: PVF (Photovoltaic Fishery)

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Materials Mobility

349: Photovoltaic road surfacing

Problem:

Perhaps the most common and useful characteristic for roadways around the world is the enormity of their surface area. Roadways which could generate electricity for even a fraction of the day, could contribute to local power demands.

Solution:

In 2014, Colas, a world leader in transport infrastructure teamed up with the INES (French National Institute for Solar Energy) to install 710 ft² (66m²) of solar road which they called Wattway on a carpool area in Narbonne (Highway A9, exit 38). The goal of the installation is to provide a clean energy, stored and then used to power roadside equipment locally (here, the light for the pedestrian path).

Wattway’s panels are thin polycrystalline solar cells, and each module is composed of 28 cells. Even after being embedded in resin, the cells are thin enough that they won’t peel off the road during normal expansion and contraction.

The next pilot test was undertaken in a small town with a 1-km stretch of solar pavement. This one section produced enough power to light the village’s street lamps and cater to its 3,400 residents. In fact, 215 ft² (20 m²) of these panels can supply the electricity requirements of a single home. In 2019 Wattway presented their product at the “francophone village” at CES Las Vegas 2019 and among 80 startups and companies, Wattway won the silver Smart City award as well as the second “Grand Jury Prize”. (wattwaybycolas.com)

In December 2017, China opened its 0.6 mi (1km) solar highway in the Shandong province’s capital Jinan, south of Beijing. It spans 63,234 ft² (5,875 m²) and is capable of generating up to 1GWh every year – enough to power 800 homes. However, the Chinese government plans to use the electricity created by its solar highway to power street lights, billboards and CCTV cameras, as well as to heat the roads surface to melt any snow that gathers on it.

In its first 14 weeks in operation, the road generated 96 megawatt-hours of energy. Once completed, the road will be able to use the sun to generate electricity, which will be transmitted into the grid. Its peak power generating capacity is 817.2 kilowatts, over a designed service life of 20 years.

Funded by Qilu Transportation Development Group and built by Pavenergy, the Chinese solar road was developed by chief engineer Zhang Hongchao at Tongji University’s College of Transportation Engineering.

Solar roads can also provide energy to electric vehicles. ElectReon Wireless in Israel has developed a dynamic wireless power transfer (DWPT), which enables energy exchange between all vehicles moving along the road. This technology combined with a renewable source (such as solar panels) could provide a nearly endless power supply to various EVs.

It is capable of both powering vehicles without a battery and charging a battery connected to the vehicle. A major advantage of this technology is the high efficiency and safety: DWPT operates with more than 88% efficiency and has no safety concerns for surrounding wildlife or human users. The system began trial testing in March 2016 in Tel Aviv.

Additional tests are up-coming, with a public transportation use-case and a commercial development installation. A trial section laid down on a coastal route of Bett Yanai, Israel succeeded in transferring 8.5 kW of energy with a 91% efficiency recharging a Renault Zoë in transit. ElectReon has signed an collaboration agreement with Renault-Nissan-Mitsubishi alliance.

ElectReon will also supply their DWPT system for a 1 mi (1.6 km) electrified road as part of a 2.5 mile (4.1 km.) highway between their airport and Visby on the island of Gotland. In February 2020 ElectReon successfully wirelessly charged a fully electric 40-ton truck and trailer at a test facility in Sweden. The next step will be to charge the truck through dynamic wireless power transfer on the public road in Gotland, Sweden. (electreon.com)

Discover Solution 350: Steel production using solar power

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Materials Mobility

346: Prefabricated Plastic Road

Problem:

Bottles take close to 500 years to decompose in landfills, and some plastic items last almost twice as long unless they can be recycled

Solution:

Recycle plastic into repaved roads


In 2001, Rajagopalan Vasudevan, an Indian chemistry professor, recognised plastic’s binding qualities and pioneered a plastic-bitumen road-laying technique across India. He thought up the idea of shredding plastic waste, mixing it with bitumen and using the polymerized mix in road construction.

Since 2010, Sean Somers Weaver and a team at TechniSoil in Redding, California have been developing this solution to repair Los Angeles roads. With their G5 binder, they can recycle 100% of the existing road in place, and approximately 150,000 plastic bottles per lane mile. The end result is a completely new category of plastic pavement that lasts at least 2 – 3 times longer than traditional asphalt pavement. The company collaborated with the University of Nevada, Reno.

Using a modification of a Cold In-Place Recycling process, the equipment train mills the existing roadway, crushes and sizes the RAP (Reclaimed Asphalt Pavement), and mixes the RAP with the G5 Binder. The recycled mixture is immediately paved back onto the road and compacted with a vibratory roller. Traffic can return within hours.

While in Los Angeles, the Bureau of Street Services, or StreetsLA, has tested samples TechniSoil in parking lots and smaller streets in Oroville, other cities and states such as Texas, Oregon and Colorado have expressed interest in TechniSoil’s pavement technology,

TechniSoil uses approximately 2,300kg of recycled PET plastic per 1.5km two-way road, which equates to around 395,000 plastic bottles, but CEO Sean Weaver hopes to double this content by 2022.

Besides TechniSoil, there is Dow Chemical, which has worked with local governments across Indonesia, India, and Thailand since 2017; and Scottish company MacRebur, which makes road products that replace part of the bitumen with waste plastic crumbs.

In The Netherlands, Wavin, a Dutch maker of plastic pipes, has announced that after 18 months of testing, including the construction of two 30m-long PlasticRoad roads in Zwolle and Giethoorn to the east of Amsterdam, it will begin production of its modular plastic road technology early 2021.
The test roads were fitted with sensors to monitor how well they dealt with heavy vehicles such as garbage trucks and other heavy traffic.

Discover Solution 347: PV-SÜD

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Materials

344: “Precious Plastic” recycling machine

Problem:

The recovery and recycling of plastic does not always need to be carried out in commercial factories.

Solution:

Dave Hakkens takes a different approach to Planet-Protecting by placing his solutions on-line open-source.

From 2009, studying at the Design Academy of Eindhoven, Hakkens, aged 20, published his first video “Rubble Floor” showing viewers how to re-use rubble to from a building site to make new paths.

“Wind Oil” followed, showing how to make a wind-powered oil press, Playful Paper and Breaksoap. In 2013 Hakkens, having graduated cum laude, launched Phonebloks, a modular smartphone designed to limit the amount of electronic waste being produced.

In its successful wake, Google and Motorola announced the launch of a similar project, known as Ara, which eventually came to nothing.

After exceeding his goal of 900,000 supporters on Thunder clap by October 2013, Hakkens launched Precious Plastic, a small-scale factory that allows people to recycle plastic for themselves: a shredder turns plastic waste into small flakes, which are melted and then reconditioned using presses and molds.

“Precious Plastic” has been picked up by hundreds of people around the world that built the machines and started recycling plastic waste.

Hakkens and Precious Plastic have entered the third stage of the project – the community, estimated to be around 40,000 people. Among those 40,000, some volunteered to go from Iceland or Mexico to the Netherlands to help Dave Hakkens develop his concept.

An interactive world map has been developed to identify members of the community and the workspaces that have been established all over the world.

The Precious Plastic website also has a “Forum” section where “builders” can chat, and a marketplace, the “Bazaar” where people can buy and sell the products they have made, buy parts to make machines.

From Chile to Japan and from Kenya to the Ukraine more than 200 people work in some 80 Precious Plastic workspaces. The offices are made from basic materials, affordable, easy to find and to build. Some people have made jewelry, plates, smartphone covers, even beams for use in building, one Spaniard has made a chlorine water filter.

In October 2019 Hakkens launched Precious Plastic Version 4 to build an army to fight plastic waste.

Discover Solution 345: Solar kits for internet access (SDHS) OniriQ

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Energy Materials

342: Solar Cloth and film

Problem:

Since their commercialisation in the 1970s PV panels have been sold in rigid, rectangular formats.

Solution:

Integrating them into cloth enables a much more versatile application. In 1966, Charles A. Escoffery of the International Rectifier Corporation in El Segundo obtained patent US3255047A for a “Flexible fabric support structure for PV cells” Six years later, Escoffery had toured both the United States and Europe with a 1910 Baker Electric automobile which he had outfitted with a panel of solar cells as an advertisement for International Rectifier Corporation.

In 2014, Alain Janet, a sailmaker of Mandelieu-la-Napoule in the Alpes-Maritimes department in southeastern France, innovated SolarSailCloth, with the thickness of a banknote and flexible enough to be rolled in a tube.

He then developed a machine in a “clean room” enabling the integration of layers of very thin (25 to 65 microns) films within laminated or woven textiles. Its applications are widespread: on the sea for zero emission racing and cruising boats; on the land for tents for refugees or agricultural projects; and in the air for stratospheric scientific probe balloons.

In 2018, SolarSailcloth teamed up with UK Sailmakers make a 1kW Power Sail) as part of the 380Z production zero emission sailboat built by Arcona of Sweden, with its motor from Finnish electric engine manufacturer Oceanvolt, SuperB lithium batteries and Victron regulators from the Netherlands.

In 2015, in partnership with the American leader MiaSolé, manufacturer of these multi-junction cells, Solar Cloth System has greatly improved the performance of its solar panels. The new cells, using 4 different sensor metals to harvest solar radiation from a wide range of brightness, offer 17% efficiency, almost similar to rigid panels.

With the textile integration of SolarCloth System, the result is the best weight / load capacity ratio on the market. With a peak power of 170W / m² and an average weight of 500 g / m², the energy density is 340 W / kg. The semi-flexible solar panels on the market are around 70 W / kg and the rigid 13W / kg. That year the French Government awarded SolarClothSail 1st Prize at the ADEME Innovation-Growth Competition. (solarclothsystem.com)

Also in France, Hubert de Boisredon and a team at the ink and print cartridge manufacturer Armor, in Nantes, (Loire-Atlantique) France, collaborating with the National Institute of Solar Energy (INES), have developed an ultra-thin, durable and very light solar film (450 g / m²) called Asca.

Its flexibility allows it to marry rounded or complex shapes and to cover domes. Its translucence allows it to be placed on glass surfaces such as agricultural greenhouses such as conventional panels, Asca contains elements of organic origin and not rare metals making it perfectly recyclable.

A production tool has been designed, capable of producing 10.7 million ft² (1 million m²) of Asca film per year. In Togo, West Africa, Armor has partnered with UNESCO to provide more than 200 schoolchildren with solar kits. A pocket fitted with Asca film allows children to charge a mobile lamp during the school day so that in the evening they have the essential light to study, in a region where access to energy is sorely lacking.

Discover Solution 343: Wind-powered ships

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Materials

341: Ruthenium

Problem:

Transforming plastic waste into high-value chemicals requires substantial energy.

Solution:

A ruthenium carbon catalyst


Julie Rorrer and a team of researchers at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology have combined a ruthenium-carbon catalyst and mild, lower-energy reaction conditions to convert plastics used in bottles and other packaging into fuels and chemical feedstock.

Previous studies have shown that noble metals, such as zirconium, platinum and ruthenium, can catalyze the process of splitting apart short, simple hydrocarbon chains and complicated, plant-based lignin molecules at moderate reaction temperatures requiring less energy than other techniques.

So, Yuriy Román-Leshkov and colleagues wanted to see if metal-based catalysts would have a similar effect on solid polyolefins with long hydrocarbon chains, disintegrating them into usable chemicals and natural gas. They do.

Discover Solution 342: Solar Cloth and film

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Materials Planet Care Your Home

340: Pods for coffee

Problem:

When Éric Favre, an aerodynamics engineer from the French-speaking Swiss canton of Vaud first created a system for putting coffee into single-serve aluminium capsules or pods, he little dreamed of the environmental risk they posed.

Machines that depend on hard-to-recycle pods, such as Nespresso and Keurig systems, are awful for the environment can create unnecessary landfill waste. Of the 39,000 capsules produced worldwide every minute, 29,000 of them end up in landfills. Nespresso alone made almost enough coffee pods to circle the world 26 times.

Solution:

1991 saw Nespresso launch the world’s first capsule recycling system in Switzerland. By 2015 they had reached 86% global recycling capacity, achieved with the help of some 14,000 dedicated capsule collection points operational around the world (additional to over 80’000 UPS points in the US and over 6’000 Green Dot collection points in 3 countries).

Nespresso are expanding their capacity to collect used aluminium capsules to 100% wherever the company does business, thereby increasing recycling rates. Further to this, each time it makes environmental sense, they will recycle used Nespresso capsules collected by the company, reusing them as new capsules.

Another key part of this vision is for 100% of our virgin aluminium capsules to be produced with material compliant with the new Aluminium Stewardship Initiative standard, currently being developed within a multi-stakeholder program led by the IUCN.

Nespresso is not the only firm with a conscience. In 2017, regarding his creation of the Keurig machine and its plastic pod, inventor John Sylvan stated, “I feel bad sometimes that I ever did it.” Glorybrew is a Miami (Florida) based coffee brand and the innovator of the 100% compostable, single-serve, BPI and Rainforest Alliance Certified coffee pods for Keurig machines.

The ring is made using coffee chaff and the filter with renewable bio-based materials. These K-Cup pods have been proven to completely break down in about 8 weeks, becoming clean soil that can be added back into the ecosystem.

Even though Keurig has a goal to make all pods recyclable by 2021, (still 57 billion, or so, more sold pods away) Glorybrew pods will remain the greener choice both now and then. This breakdown occurs in Industrial Composting Facilities, as there is not currently a certification for backyard composting.

CBD produces 95% organic, Hemp You Can Feel Coffee, based on some of the highest quality ingredients available in the marketplace: hemp extracts, organic non-GMO starches from vegetables, honey from organic farms, and trace amounts of organic vegetable and coconut oils.

No chemicals, surfactants, or artificial processes are added to make their infusions. Their hemp extract infusions are based on BeeFuse Technology patented biomimicry composition, which is part of PhytoPharma International Ltd, was invented by Ilan B. Simon in Israel. CBD’s packaging of the coffee pod and the lid are 100% compostable within 120 days of being discarded.

What you can do: Use environmentally benign coffee pods

Discover Solution 341: Ruthenium

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Materials Your Home

335: Soapbottle

Problem:

On average, we use eleven bottles of shower gel and ten bottles of shampoo every year, resulting in about 75 kilotons of plastic waste — about a thousand full olympic swimming pools. but why is a product that is used for about a month made of a material that takes an average of 500 years to disintegrate?

Solution:

A packaging made from soap.


Developed by Berlin-based designer Jonna Breitenhuber, SOAPBOTTLE aims to solve this problem by creating a packaging for liquid washing substances from soap. As the content within is being used, the soap packaging very gradually dissolves. As in the case of the ice cream wafer for example, the „wrapper“ can even be used completely.

When finished, remnants can be used again, as hand soap or processed into detergents. Soap is made of natural ingredients and is biodegradable: waste can be completely avoided

Soapbottle is being promoted and sold by Patrick Munsters and Carel Neuberg founders of Marie-Stella-Maris, an Amsterdam-based lifestyle brand that is committed to increasing access to clean drinking water worldwide.

What you can do: Buy and use SoapBottle products

Discover Solution 336: Flexible and portable water turbine

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Materials

334: Recycled asphalt (RA or RAP)

Problem:

Under normal circumstances, a road building or renovation project consisting of two or three asphalt layers which are installed successively, would require 25,000 truck journeys of 70km, to bring the material to the site.

Solution:

Recycled asphalt (RA or RAP)


Ammann Group Holding AG is a Swiss mechanical engineering company specialised on machines for the building industry and road construction.

In Ariolo, a municipality in the Swiss Alps, Ammann is working on a €240 million project to completely renovate a 10km stretch of the N2 motorway. The work is due to be completed in 2022, but challenges include the fact that the current road base consists of material created during the excavation of the nearby Gotthard Base tunnel – the aggregate has a fine-grain content of more than 8%, meaning it is not frost-resistant.

The project is proceeding under the auspices of the Federal Roads Office (Astra), which has stipulated that the materials that form the current road base be processed on site and reused in the new asphalt mix.

In addition to this, however, the project planners calculated that transport of 55,000 tonnes of gravel would be required, as well as almost 400,000 tonnes of asphalt, of which 140,000 tonnes would be reclaimed.

For this reason, an area beside the motorway was provided for asphalt preparation and production. On the site – a former military airfield – an asphalt crushing plant, an ABP 240 HRT asphalt mixing plant and a gravel washing plant were all installed adjacent to the N2 motorway in the Swiss Alps

In the RAH100 system, the recycled asphalt is heated by a counter-current process. Rocks and bitumen are indirectly and evenly heated and protected from overheating. The plant can produce between 240 and 310 tonnes per hour of asphalt depending on moisture levels.

Ammann’s solution has crossed the Atlantic where Ryan Smith has set up RAP Management on a site near John Glenn Columbus International Airport Columbus, Ohio. From here a fleet of almost 200 trucks drop off loads of old road material, while others haul away new hot mix for parking lots and streets.

Discover Solution 335: Packaging made from soap.

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Carbon Capture Materials

333: Plastic from waste CO₂

Problem:

Once captured, CO₂ must be recycled.

Solution:

Phil De Luna and a team at the University of Toronto, Canada have found a way to recycle waste CO₂ back into ethylene, the raw material used to make the most commonly used plastic, polyethylene.

The team used a technique involving X-ray spectroscopy and computer modelling techniques at the Canadian Light Source (CLS) facility at the University of Saskatchewan – analysing matter with electromagnetic radiation to identify their key catalyst.

And it was thanks to a new piece of equipment developed by CLS senior scientist Tom Regier that the researchers were able to study both the shape and the chemical environment of the catalyst in real time. The researchers worked out how to control the reaction so that ethylene production was maximised, while waste products such as methane were kept to a minimum.

Armed with this new knowledge and a suitable carbon capture technology, we could potentially remove CO₂ from the atmosphere while producing plastics in an environmentally friendly way at the same time. Further research is required to refine the technique, but we now have one of the basic building blocks

For his breakthrough in 2019, De Luna was named in the 2019 Forbes Top 30 under 30 Energy List.

Discover Solution 334: Recycled asphalt (RA or RAP)

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Your Home Materials

332: Biodegradable toy bricks

Problem:

In 1919, the rubber shoe heel manufacturer Premo in Petersfield, England produced Minibrix, made of hard rubber which had the ability to deform under pressure to allow firm interlocking of studs and holes.

Then in 1949 Ole Kirk Christiansen of the LEGO factory in Billund, Denmark began producing plastic toys which included interlocking bricks of different colors.

Available in 53 different colours, more than 400 billion LEGO bricks have been produced in seventy years, with 19 billion LEGO elements produced every year. 2.16 million LEGO elements molded every hour, or 36,000 per minute.

This makes LEGO the world’s biggest toymaker. Since 1963, LEGO bricks have been made with a strong, oil-based plastic known as acrylonitrile butadiene styrene. While boxes of LEGO are usually handed down in families are passed on, a proportion end up in landfills.

Solution:

Biodegradable bricks
For centuries, off cuts left on the woodworker’s bench had been used by their children to balance on top of each other. In 1837, Friedrich Fröbel built specific wooden building blocks to teach the alphabet and numbers for use in his preschool kindergartens.

In 2012 LEGO pledged to find and start using sustainable alternatives to its raw materials by 2030. Realizing the scale of the challenge, it later invested US$150 million to hire almost one hundred scientists and fund research and development.

During seven years, LEGO kept hitting brick walls. They tried making pieces from corn, but they were too soft. Its wheat-based bricks did not absorb color evenly or have the requisite shine. Bricks made from other materials proved too hard to pull apart, broke or had what executives call “creep,” when bricks lose their grip and collapse. Over 200 combinations were tested.

In August 2018, LEGO launched 25 various brick shapes, derived from sugar cane grown in Brazil, colored green and shaped such as leaves, bushes and trees. Confident, LEGO next launched a 200-piece tree house kit again in ethanol-based bioplastic. The search goes on for an improved version to replace their traditional acrylonitrile butadiene styrene polymer.

In 2019 Lego launched a 12-ounce build-on brick mug, made of BPA-free plastic, coming in eight colors.

Discover Solution 333: Plastic from waste CO₂

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Materials Your Home

329: Sneakers

Problem:

Sneakers are manufactured with harmful chemicals that are released into the environment. They are also disposed of in harmful ways, such as incineration or dumping them in landfills, which exposes our environment to these toxic chemicals.

Solutions:

In 2015, Cyrill Gutsch of New York, founder of Parley for the Oceans teamed up with Adidas, with its 9.7% athletic footwear global market share, to produce sustainable running shoes called UltraBoost X, made entirely of yarns and filaments reclaimed and recycled from marine plastic waste and illegal deep-sea gill-nets.

A chip in the heel of the shoe enables the runner to use their phone to scan their shoe and follow its story from plastic waste to stylish sneaker. As part of their commitment to tackle plastic waste, Adidas’s trainers use only one material and no glue, making them easier to recycle.

In addition, in between 2017, Adidas and Parley for the Oceans organised “Run For The Oceans”, a global running movement that uses the power of sport to raise awareness for the threat of marine plastic pollution.

They hosted a series of physical runs in several key cities worldwide including LA, New York, Paris, Berlin, London, Barcelona, Milan and Shanghai, and mobilized the global Adidas Runners network to organize weekly running initiatives in 50 Adidas Runners communities worldwide.

For the 2018 event Adidas matched every kilometre run with US$1 dollar, for the first one million kilometers – to support the Parley Ocean Plastic Program, focusing specifically on the Parley Ocean School initiative, which educates and empowers the next generation of Ocean Guardians through immersive experiences in the environment we are fighting to protect.

With in-school and water sports activities, the program introduces youth to the underwater world, teaching them about the impacts of marine plastic pollution and giving them the tools and inspiration to protect their future with Parley AIR.

In 2019, Adidas produced 11 million pairs of shoes with Ocean Plastic® by Parley by intercepting plastic waste on beaches, remote islands and in coastal communities. Adidas has launched a sneaker made from virgin plastic that can be ground up and remade again, as part of the company’s bid to mitigate the plastic crisis.

The Futurecraft Loop shoe was launched April 17 by Adidas as a first step for the brand to help “get off plastic waste”. The aim was to create a product that could be recycled as part of a closed-loop system. To do this, Adidas developed a high-performance running shoe made completely from a single material, virgin thermoplastic polyurethane (TPU). This single material is the key to its recyclability.

One of the biggest challenges in recycling sneakers is that they are made of many different materials, which are difficult to separate, sort and re-purpose. To test the Futurecraft Loop, 200 users trialled the sneakers then sent them back to Adidis for washing and grinding up into pellets, which wefre then heated for future sneaker components. Thus, the plastic pellets can be re-used to make a second edition, which will then be tested.

Adidas is not alone. Reebok manufactures a sneaker made from organic cotton upper and corn-based sole, which is then shipped with 100% recycled packaging.

For its 100% vegan sneakers, Veja uses organic cotton grown by farmer associations in Brazil and Peru that harvest it with respect for people and the environment and wild rubber that helps preserve 300,000 ac (120,000 ha.) of the Amazon rainforest. The fabric used for its Veja’s B-Mesh sneaker is crafted from recycled plastic bottles and its CWL trainer is made out of corn waste from the food industry.

In 2019, Kanye West, the American rapper, singer, songwriter presented a new sneaker prototype called the Yeezy Foam Runner, made in Atlanta from a combination of petroleum-based ethylene-vinyl acetate and foam produced from algae. West told the audience that his new Yeezy headquarters in Cody, Wyoming, would include a hydroponic farm where the company can grow its own algae.

By making foam from algae, the company can help clean waterways to protect wildlife and drinking water, and it can avoid using the fossil fuels typically used to make foam. The prototype pair West showed off were a bland khaki color, Yeezy is looking into environmentally friendly dyes. Manufacture will begin in 2020.

What you can do: Purchase planet conscious sneakers and footware.

Discover Solution 330: Water monitoring satellites

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Materials

327: Bricks from cigarette butts

Problem:

Over 6 trillion cigarettes are produced each year globally, resulting in 1.2 million tonnes of toxic waste dumped into the environment.

Solution:

Bricks made from recycled cigarette butts

Abbas Mohajerani and Aeslina A. Kadir at RMIT have come up with a solution whereby fired-clay bricks with 1% recycled cigarette butt content are as strong as normal bricks and use less energy to produce. Their analysis showed if just 2.5% of global annual brick production incorporated 1% cigarette butts, this would offset total cigarette production each year.

The research team has also developed a detailed plan for bringing the brickmaking and waste management industries together, to implement cigarette butt recycling into bricks at mass scale. The plan, published in a special issue of the journal Construction Materials, details how cigarette butts can be collected and recycled on an industrial scale.

Different incorporation methods are outlined – using whole butts, pre-shredded butts, or a pre-mix where the butts have already been incorporated into other brickmaking materials.

Discover Solution 328: Rotting Veg

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Materials Planet Care Your Home

326: Plastic-free aisles in supermarkets

Problem:

According to the Checking Out on Plastics report by the Environmental Investigation Agency and Greenpeace UK, .Britain’s top 10 supermarkets are flooding the planet with 810,000 tonnes of single-use plastic every year, according to a major new report.

This is in addition to over 1.1 billion single-use bags, 958 million “bags for life” and 1.2 billion plastic bags for fruit and vegetables, which supermarkets produce annually. Seven of those supermarkets are putting into circulation around 59 billion pieces of plastic packaging a year – roughly 2,000 pieces for every household in the country.

Solution:

In 2016, Siân Sutherland and Frederikke Magnussen launched A Plastic Planet, coming up with one solution of a plastic free aisle in supermarkets. In February 2018, the world’s first plastic-free supermarket aisle opened in Amsterdam. Ekoplaza, a Dutch chain, where around 700 products at its pilot launch and everything was packaged, just in glass, metal, cardboard or a compostable, plant-based biofilm.

Sutherland and her team at A Plastic Planet have been working collaboratively with industry, retailers, Governments, legislators and the UN to accelerate the pace of change at all levels creating the Plastic Free Trust Mark for brands, with over 1,000 already certified, and the Industry Commitment Mark ‘Working Towards Plastic Free’.

A Plastic Planet also became a key founding partner in the Plastic Health Coalition, bringing together the world’s scientists, doctors to irrefutably prove the impact of plastic toxicity on human health.

In January 2019, Thornton’s Budgens supermarket in Belsize Park, North London introduced dedicated plastic-free zones featuring more than 1,700 plastic-free products. Customers can pick up everything from fresh fruit and vegetables, bread and cheese, to wild game meat, including squirrel and wild boar, all free from plastic packaging. Plastic-free materials are being used instead, including beech wood nets, pulp, paper, metal, glass, cellulose and carton board.

In June 2020, A Plastic Planet and packaging companies Reelbrands and Transcend Packaging came together to develop the world’s first compostable, plastic-free PPE (personal protective equipment) in clear plastic-free REELshield visors in a bid to assist the fight against coronavirus polluting the environment.

From June 2020, collaborating with Loop, a “zero waste shopping platform”, Tesco, the British supermarket chain is trialling a scheme in the UK where online shoppers will get products in reusable packaging. The trial covers 150 items, which will be delivered in reusable containers for which consumers pay a deposit.

After using the products, which include Heinz Tomato Ketchup, Persil washing liquid, Coca-Cola, and Danone yoghurt, customers ask for DPD (Dynamic Parcel Distribution) to come and pick up the empties in the bag.

Based at the European Marine Science Park in Oban Scotland, a team led by Karen Scofield Seal, at Oceanium Ltd is investigating the potential of seaweed to provide a long-term response to the demand for marine-safe packaging as well as sustainably-sourced plant-based food sources. Their solution is a circular life-cycle bio packaging material, Oceanware designed to be disposed of with food waste and ultimately used for compost for soil health or anaerobic digestion for energy.

What you can do: Be conscious of your ‘plastic footprint’ and shop at Ekoplaza if possible 

Discover Solution 327: Bricks from cigarette butts

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Materials Energy

322: Smart textile, Radiative heat transfer

Problem:

Many textiles are made for social etiquette and aesthetic purposes, but the pressing threat of global warming has created demand for innovative textiles that help to better cool the person who wears them.

Solution:

Stanford engineers have developed a low-cost, plastic-based textile that, if woven into clothing, could cool the body far more efficiently than is possible with the natural or synthetic fabrics in clothes worn today – and without air conditioning. If you can cool the person rather than the building where they work or live, that will save energy.

Photon-to-cooling phenomenon relies on the atmospheric transparency window to dissipate heat from the earth into outer space, which is an energy-saving cooling technique.

The emissivity of aluminized Polymethylpentene (PMP) thin films as selected by the Stanford team matches well to the atmospheric transparency window so as to minimize parasitic heat losses.
This new material works by allowing the body to discharge heat in two ways that would make the wearer feel nearly 4° F cooler than if they wore cotton clothing.

The material cools by letting perspiration evaporate through the material, something ordinary fabrics already do. But the Stanford material provides a second, revolutionary cooling mechanism: allowing heat that the body emits as infrared radiation to pass through the plastic textile.

First, they found a variant of polyethylene commonly used in battery making that has a specific nanostructure that is opaque to visible light yet is transparent to infrared radiation, which could let body heat escape. This provided a base material that was opaque to visible light for the sake of modesty but thermally transparent for purposes of energy efficiency.

They then modified the industrial polyethylene by treating it with benign chemicals to enable water vapor molecules to evaporate through nanopores in the plastic, said postdoctoral scholar and team member Po-Chun Hsu, allowing the plastic to breathe like a natural fiber.

To test the cooling potential of their three-ply construct versus a cotton fabric of comparable thickness, they placed a small swatch of each material on a surface that was as warm as bare skin and measured how much heat each material trapped.

The comparison showed that the cotton fabric made the skin surface 3.6 F warmer than their cooling textile. The researchers said this difference means that a person dressed in their new material might feel less inclined to turn on a fan or air conditioner.

The researchers are continuing their work on several fronts, including adding more colours, textures and cloth-like characteristics to their material. Adapting a material already mass produced for the battery industry could make it easier to create products.

Discover Solution 323: Hydrogen-powered train

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Materials Mobility

321: RIKR backpacki

Problem:

There is so much plastic waste recuperated from landfills, waterways and oceans that as many ways as possible must be found to recycle it profitably.

Solution:

Backpacks from recycled plastic.


Sisters Georgia, Nina and Sophia Scott share a lifetime of travel experience, and have lived and worked all over the world. Georgia and Sophia have more than a decade of experience with their documentary film company GroundTruth Productions, working across Africa, Asia, Europe and the Middle East put them in direct contact with a range of extreme environments – from drought in East Africa to conflict in the Middle East. These experiences sparked their drive to create a company that could effect positive, meaningful change.

In 2017, working with a specialist textile mill in Taiwan, the Scott sisters developed a high-performance GT-RK-001 textile from 100% recycled PET, using plastic waste collected from landfill sites, waterways and oceans worldwide.

With a 600 denier ballistic yarn structure for premium strength combining three layers of recycled synthetic fibres, a unique triangular ripstop weave, and a water-repellant TPU coating, it offers unparalleled durability and resistance to the elements.

Groundtruth created the RIKR backpack (equivalent to 120 recycled plastic bottles), following with other items from laptop bags to key chains, all of which respond to the demands of a new era of global travel.

Working with bluesign®-approved manufacturers, Groundtruth has also partnered with REDD+ Conservation Company Wildlife Works to guarantee emission-free production and offset the carbon footprint of the company’s travel emissions.

Polar explorer Rob Swan, the first person to walk to both Poles, has been putting the RIKR backpack to the test in the South Pole Energy Challenge where it must survive in conditions of -40C. Swan takes great care and caution when choosing his expedition equipment as at times it can mean life or death.

What you can do: Purchase items from Groundtruth

Discover Solution 322: Smart textile, Radiative heat transfer

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Materials Your Home

320: Plastic bottle cutter in

Problem:

What to do with plastic bottles in the home.

Solution:

Plastic Bottle Cutter


In 2016, two Russians, Pavel et Ian Polianskii living in Versailles, France developed the Plastic Bottle Cutter, a cutting tool, which after removing the bottom of an empty bottle, can shred the rest of the plastic into long skinny strands of plastic rope. The device consists of a wooden handle, razor blade, and a cutting guide and can be used in any home or office.

The product first appeared on Kickstarter on February 23, 2016. With no moving parts and a simple design, this handy handheld device seemed to explode in popularity nearly overnight. By the end of March the product had gained nearly 7,000 backers and a pledge total now passing $350,000; far more than the original goal of $9,945. PBC became 8th most funded project from France, top150 most funded design projects of KickStarter, 4.195% funded!

The Plastic Bottle Cutter can be ordered online but users should consider how to ultimately recycle the twine they produce from it.

Discover Solution 321: RIKR backpack

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Materials

319: Mushroom mycelium recycling technology

Problem:

Palm oil processing also gives rise to highly polluting waste-water, known as Palm Oil Mill Effluent, which is often discarded in disposal ponds, resulting in the leaching of contaminants that pollute the groundwater and soil, and in the release of methane gas into the atmosphere. The amount of palm oil waste produced by the palm oil plantation in South Sumatera is a staggering nine tons per hour.

Solution:

Mushroom mycelium technology


Co-founded by architects including Adi Reza Nugroho and Robbi Zidna Ilman, Mycotech, an Indonesian social entrepreneurship start-up based in Bandung, West Java, Indonesia is creating affordable, durable, recyclable and eco-friendly building materials out of agricultural waste such as Palm Oil Mill Effluent by applying mushroom mycelium technology.

Mycelium is the vegetative part of a fungus or fungus-like bacterial colony, consisting of a mass of branching, thread-like hyphae, or long, branching filamentous structures. A common example of mycelium’s binding power is the way soybeans are ‘glued’ together in a block of tempeh, a traditional Indonesian savory dish.

Mycotech had previously used woodchips or sawdust and sugarcane waste product to produce particle boards, producing upwards to 4,000 kilograms of particle board per month with the help of two mushroom farmer groups in Bandung, which consisted of 270 farmers, 64% of them women. Grown by local West Java farmers, most of whom are women, the fungi needs only one week to grow and become harvest-ready.

But from September 2019, Mycotech made its first shipment of entry doors for residential homes made from recycled Palm Oil Mill Effluent to Australia.

The research on the use of palm oil production waste material and the subsequent fire testing of the end product were made possible by funds from the Government of Australia through the Australia Awards Alumni Grant Scheme, as well as from the DBS Foundation Social Enterprise Grant Award 2017 and 2018.

As a building material, not only is Mycotech durable and flexible, it is reportedly fireproof and buoyant as well. Sturdy, lightweight products made from strong, organic fibers can be formed into custom shapes, including panels and tiles, cabinetry, and interiors.

Led by researcher Erlambang Ajidarma, Myotech has now diversified to make mycelium leather for wrist straps of their Pala X Mylea watch. Mychotech uses only 45 liters of water and creates only 0.7 kilograms of CO2 emissions, compared to 80,000 liters of water and 355,500 kilograms CO2 for cow leather.

What you can do: Purchase items from Mycotech

Discover Solution 320: Plastic bottle cutter

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Materials

315: Skateboards recycled into other items

Problem:

The exact number of skateboards manufactured every year is unknown, but it is estimated to be in the millions. Most skateboard decks are made from a high grade of maple (Acer spp.) veneer plywood and typically last only a few months before they break or deteriorate beyond use. Millions of used skateboard decks are discarded annually, ending up in landfills

Solution:

Recycling them into rainbow-coloured bowls, swings, furniture tables and chairs, wall tiles toys and new skateboards etc.


In the USA, various start-ups are recycling boards from coast to coast. From Jason and Adam Podlaski of www.deckstool.com in Clifton Heights Pennsylvania to George Rocha of Iris Skateboards in San Francisco California (rainbow in Portuguese =“arco iris”) www.irisskateboards.com. In Canada, Adrian Pool, Martinus Pool, and Anne Tranholm of AdrianMartinus Custom Woodworking in Calgary, Alberta are crafting similar products. www.adrianmartus.com

In France Guillaume Corcaud at Atelierplanchon in La Tremblade, Nouvelle Aquitaine sells his recycled skateboards online and 60 % are sold to the USA and across Europe. He is one of many sellers of recycled skateboard items on Etsy

Skateboards can be made from recycled materials such as bottle caps, purchased by Jonathan Morrisson Aernout Zappey and Rogier Heijning at WasteBoards of Diemen in the Netherlands from the KNGF Geleidehonden (Royal Dutch Guide dogs foundation). They collect the caps to raise money to train their dogs.

Discover Solution 316: Typhoon-harnessing wind turbines

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Carbon Capture Materials

312: Murals, pollution-eating

Problem:

Murals or wall paintings proliferate in big cities but are only decorative.

Solution:

Pollution-eating paint.

Since 2007, Massimo Bernardoni and Antonio Cianci of Airlite in Milan and London, have developed Sunlight Exterior one of a range of paint colours which contain special compounds that absorb and eliminate pollutants in the air by 88%, similar to photosynthesis in plants. A study in Rome’s Umberto tunnel found that after it was painted with a similar photocatalytic paint, nitrogen oxide levels were reduced by over 50%.

Sponsored by Veronica De Angelis, real estate entrepreneur and founder of Yourban2030, Milanese street artist Federico Massa (aka Iena Cruz) using the Airlite palette unveiled her work ‘Hunting Pollution,’ which spanned 1,000-square-metres, on the side of seven-story building in the capital.

In Rome, the Dutch street artist JDL (Judith de Leeuw) has painted another giant mural on a gable end of a building. Paying homage to the LGBTQ community by depicting a woman standing in front of a mirror seeing her reflection as a man, the mural is absorbing the pollution generated by 52 cars every day.

Airlite is planning to focus on large contracts and infrastructure projects like hospitals, schools, air quality in tunnels and the like.

Discover Solution 313: Photocatalyst sheet

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Materials

311: Ultra-strong coloured bricks from plastic waste

Solution:

Nzambi Matee majored in material science and worked as an engineer in Kenya’s oil industry. In 2017 she quit her job to start creating and testing pavers, which are a combination of plastic and sand.


Obtaining the waste material for free from packaging factories or buying it from other recyclers, through experimentation, Matee understood which plastics bind better together and then created the machinery that would allow her to mass produce them. She obtained a brick that was five to seven times stronger than concrete and could be produced in an array of colours including but not limited to red, blue, brown, and green.

In 2017, Matee opened a factory in Nairobi called Gjenge Makers Ltd. capable of producing 1,500 plastic pavers per day. The factory accepts waste that other facilities cannot process anymore and has also generated 112 job opportunities for garbage collectors, women and youth groups. To date, gjenge makers ltd. has managed to recycle more than 20 tonnes of plastic waste into paving bricks.

Discover Solution 312: Murals, pollution-eating

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Materials Planet Care

307: Pesticide eco-friendly

Problem:

Chemical pesticides, such as neonicotinoids, produced from chemical alteration can contaminate soil, water, turf, and other vegetation. In addition to killing insects or weeds, pesticides can be toxic to a host of other organisms including, humans, birds, fish, beneficial insects such as bees, and non-target plants. Examples of acute health effects include stinging eyes, rashes, blisters, blindness, nausea, dizziness, diarrhea and death.

Solution:

Nanopesticides offer hope of a more environmentally-friendly approach.

Nanopesticides are plant protection products where nanotechnology is employed to enhance the efficacy or reduce the environmental footprint of a pesticide active ingredient. It is such a young solution that, in the European Union, silicon dioxide (SiO2) is the only active substance with an approval for use as a nanomaterial in biocidal products.

Bacterial leaf blight of rice caused by Xanthomonas oryzae pv. oryzae (Xoo) is a major disease of rice, leading to reduction in production by 10–50%. In order to control this disease, various chemical bactericides have been used. Wide and prolonged application of chemical bactericides resulted in the resistant strain of Xoo that was isolated from rice.

To address this problem, Chinese researchers at both the College of Materials and Energy, South China Agricultural University, Guangzhou and the College of Agriculture, Shihezi University, Xinjiang were searching for an environmentally friendly alternative to the commonly used chemical bactericides.

They found that silicon dioxide nanospheres loaded with silver nanoparticles (SiO2-Ag) can be prepared by using rice husk as base material precursor. The results of the antibacterial tests showed that SiO2-Ag composites displayed antibacterial activity against Xoo.

Nano technology can also be used to create e-friendly fertilisers. In 2019, Researchers at Egypt’s National Research Centre in Cairo produced a nano-fertiliser from banana peels. They used potassium hydroxide as the extracting agent at optimum operating conditions (solid to liquid ratio 1:2, temperature 100 °C, and cooking time 30 min).

The product was applied in agriculture of two crops, tomato and fenugreek (Trigonella foenum-graecum). Their findings revealed that germination percentage increased with increasing dose of banana peel extract for both crops. For tomato crop, the germination percentage was increased from 14% (control without nano) to 97% after 7 days of plantation. Also, the same trend was noticed for fenugreek crop, the germination percentage was enhanced from 25% (control without nano) to 93.14%.

Discover Solution 308: Retrofitting vehicles to electric propulsion

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Materials

304: Toftlund

Problem:

Polyester is one of the most popular synthetic fibres in the world. For decades, it’s been used in everything from packaging to garments but its biodegradability leaves much to be desired

Solution:

Nishant Verma, Project Leader at IKEA Services India, https://zaubacorp.com in Bengaluru, Karnataka, India has developed Toftlund, a soft touch artificial washable sheepskin based on recycled polyester bottles
Bottles are shredded into flakes. The flakes then get compounded into plastic pellets and transformed into recycled polyester fibres.
Super soft, warm and cozy whether you have it as a floor piece, drape it over your armchair or want to add comfort to your bench. It looks and feels like a sheepskin but …..

What you can do: If you are thinking of buying a sheepskin rug, buy a Toftlund rug instead

Discover Solution 305: Molten salt storage system

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Materials Planet Care

303: Selective fishing net

Problem:

In 2008, the Norwegian coast guard filmed a Scottish fishing vessel riding gray swells, dumping 5 tonnes of dead fish back into the North Sea. Over the European Union catch quota and unable to keep all the fish they had caught, the fishermen had to ditch some. To the Norwegians, who aren’t part of the EU and hold a strict discards ban, the waste was shocking.

Solution:

In 2011, Dan Watson, a Royal College of Art student in Glasgow designed an ocean trawling system that would allow certain fish to escape via lighted rings, offering more catch selectivity.


For his SafetyNet, Watson received an MA in Innovation Design Engineering. The escape rings can be retrofitted into any net to keep the holes of the net stretched open, permitting small fish to escape and ensuring that only marketable ones are caught (ordinarily, the mesh becomes compressed as it is dragged through the water by the boat). The rings are illuminated to make the exits more visible.

An internal separator panel running horizontally within the net delineates the border between a finer upper mesh and wider-spaced lower mesh, taking advantage of the fact that endangered cod tend to swim downwards when under stress but the desired haddock and whiting will tend to swim upward.

Two models of escape ring are both capable of snapping onto existing mesh nets; one is battery-powered, and the other is self-charging, capturing the energy from the flow of water over a small built-in turbine in order to generate power to the LEDs. Using the ‘safetynet’ system, the fishing industry can become more sustainable. In 2012 SafetyNet won the James Dyson Design Award.

To further commercialise, Watson founded SafetyNet Technologies, enlisting the help of Aran Dasan and Steven Ogborne. This included integrating their PISCES light-emitting devices into fishing gear to lower non-target by-catch in fishing activities. PISCES was trialled by Carrefour’s suppliers, FROM Nord, in the Eastern Channel fishery in order to avoid the capture of juvenile whiting.

SafetyNet Technologies has great ambition to make fishing more sustainable, and part of that is to sustain the fishermen’s livelihoods, by making devices that not only work to fish selectively but are easy to use and maintain.

What you can do:

Discoverr Solution 304: Toftlund

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Your Home Materials

299: Sustainable or recycled musical instruments

Problem:

The metals used in brass and wind musical instruments are not biodegradable. Small pieces of metal, such as tin cans, will rust and flake into the atmosphere after about 100 years, but something as large as an instrument takes much longer.

While woodwind instruments almost brought their African blackWood or Mpingo forest source to extinction, spruce, maple, rainforest mahogany, ebony and rosewood trees used for guitars were being cut down faster than they could be replaced.

Solutions:

In 1996, Tanzanian botanist Sebastien Chuwa and US woodturner James Harris founded the African BlackWood Conservation Project, working with students to plant hundreds of mpingo saplings to save the forest.

Their campaign received little international attention until a BBC documentary, “The Tree of Music” focussed world attention on the extinction risk.  By 2004, Chuwa’s goal was achieved and more than 20,000 trees were planted in that year alone.

Also in 1996, Gibson, one of the world’s premier guitar brands, became the first in the industry to make some of its instruments using wood certified as “sustainably harvested” by the non-profit Forest Stewardship Council (FSC).

In 2008 Gibson was joined by other guitar manufacturers Taylor, Fender, Martin, Guild, Walden and Yamaha to sign on as partners with Music Wood Coalition, a project of the leading environmental non-profit Greenpeace to promote changes in logging practices that would secure the longterm sustainability of tonewoods.

There are alternative solutions. In 2006, Favio Chávez, music teacher, and Nicolás “Cola” Gómez, a rubbish picker, began to wonder if they could create instruments from garbage they found on the large landfill in Cateura, a small town in Paraguay where residents suffer extreme poverty.

With the help of lutier Nicolás Gómez, Chàvez began to manufacture all kinds of instruments with which children could play.Their workshop became a place of musical refinement and experimentation. An oil drum was a good body for a cello; a bent kitchen fork for a violin tailpiece. The first few scratchy instruments were given to local kids for whom a new violin might cost a month of their parents’ wages.

Chávez began to train his ensemble which he called La Orquesta de Instrumentos Reciclados de Cateura, or The Cateura Recycled Orchestra, formed by young people from 11 to 25 years at risk of social exclusion. Since 2012 the orchestra has given concerts, not only in South America, but all over the world.

In 2015 “Landfill Harmonic”, a film that follows their journey, won a special mention in the environment award at the prestigious Sheffield Doc/Fest. The orchestra has now spawned copycats and is connected with similar groups who have formed independently from Ecuador, Panama, Brazil and Burundi. In Mexico, the Orquestra Basura (Trash Orchestra) have recorded albums and achieved minor celebrity status.

Another solution was found by Simon Lee of Burgos, Spain, originally trained as a sculptor who used these skills to work as a prop and model maker in the theatre, film and television industries.

After many years of working he decided to retrain as a guitar maker at Merton College London, but instead of using traditional tropical hardwoods materials, in 2008, he recycled. Lee’s Cyclotron guitars are made from recycled CDs, yoghurt pots and offcuts of industrial pipes. Though the neck is still made in wood, Simon makes it a point to source materials locally where possible.

Art Mayer of Copper Guitars in Moscow, Russia has built the the iCaster, a Tele-style guitar built from 107 Apple iPhone cases, gluing them together in a block roughly four phones thick and then carving out the body, which also includes a recycled mahogany sustain block.

Discover Solution 300: Organic-inorganic hybrid material for separating CO²

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Categories
Materials

298: Modular houses from 100% recycled plastic

Problem:

There is a housing deficit of 160 million homes in Africa today, and it is forecasted to increase to 360 million by 2050. Traditional technology is costly and would take too much time to build.

Solution:

Temperature-controlled Mobile Storage Units


In partnership with UN Habitat program, Danish Architect Julien de Smedt, working with Frank Cato Lahti’s start-up Othalo in Troms country, Norway have developed a solution for building low-cost houses in sub-Saharan countries such as Ghana, Cameroon, and Uganda.

Lahti has been developing and testing the Othalo technologies in partnership with Sintef and UiT since 2014, and in 2019 the company was formally established and patents filed. These patents, including a load-bearing structure and a supportive and insulating structure: each house will be made from 100% recycled plastic, with a 60 m2 Othalo house incorporating around eight tonnes of plastic waste.

It involves industrialized processes that, from pickers to fitters, creates up to 1600 jobs per one thousand 60sqm houses produced per year. 8100 metric tonnes of recycled plastic per production line per year, means it is a significant contributor to the plastic waste problem.

Othalo and De Smedt, envision the homes being constructed from plastic that is collected from near the building sites. Just as cities are formed by buildings of wood, of concrete, clay, steel, they could very well contain a building constructed from plastic waste, as long as it’s done in a safe and sustainable way.

Othalo expects to start mass-producing the houses in early 2022 and believes that the system will allow the millions of tonnes of plastic waste to become useful building material. With today’s plastic waste, more than one billion houses could be built.

Discover Solution 299: Sustainable or recycled musical instruments

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