We live in a very consumerist society where millions of different kinds of products are being manufactured and consumed daily. This means many raw materials are being used and high volumes of trash are being created. Nonetheless, more and more companies are aware of this reality and are making efforts to reduce harm to the environment by changing the way they manufacture products, the materials they use, and how products can be discarded.
EquipNet is a company fully committed in helping the environment, our environmental recycling of technology assets services is a statement to that. We put together a list of products (and the companies that make them) that not only decrease harm on the environment but can actually help reverse the damage!
#1 – Biodegradable and edible utensils:
Traditionally, common dispensable eating utensils include paper plates and plastic cutlery that are only used once, meaning that an enormous amount is being both produced and thrown away at a fast rate. The U.S. alone uses about 40 billion plastic utensils every year; in India, that number jumps to 120 billion. With that in mind, several companies have started working on disposable eating utensils that are either edible or biodegradable.
Loliware is one of those companies. This American company produces 100% biodegradable, flavored edible cups. They come in plain and four other interesting flavors (tart cherry, yuzu citrus, matcha green tea and vanilla bean).
Bakeys is another innovator on the field. This Indian company produces plain and flavored spoons. These spoons can be eaten and are 100% biodegradable. The ingredients are simply flours of jowar (sorghum) blended with rice and wheat, which means these spoon are both vegan and gluten-free, allowing for a very broad audience to consume them. If uneaten, they will biodegrade in about 10 days.
#2 – Shirts made from recycled PET (rPET) bottles
The consumption of water and other beverages in plastic bottles is still the norm around the world. The result is that about 26 million tons of PET are being created each year. This is a major concern as only about 27% of all used plastic bottles are recycled and it can take up to 700 years for one to decompose in a landfill. Different companies are trying to tackle this problem in creative ways. One creative innovation includes the production of clothing using recycled PET bottles.
Rethink Fabrics manufactures shirts using rPET fibers and also encourage consumers to return the shirts at the end of their life cycles to be recycled into a new clothing. The old shirt is shredded and transformed into PET crystal, which is then processed and used to make new clothing. It is also interesting how Rethink not only identifies how many bottles were recycled to make specific garments, but the company also provides consumers with metrics that let them track their investment.
#3 – Collapsible Cups
Disposable cups are heavily consumed by Americans. An office American worker consumes an average of 500 disposable cups each year. On airline flights in the U.S., 1 million plastic cups are consumed every 6 hours. About 25 billion styrofoam coffee cups are thrown away every year. Even though many companies produce reusable travel cups and coffee mugs, the number of people using them is not large enough to impact the amount of waste being produced. A cause of this could be that many find it inconvenient to carry around a large cup throughout the day, especially if one is not using the cup at all hours of the day.
This is where Stojo may be able to make a huge difference. Stojo manufactures a reusable silicone cup that is lightweight (only 4.4 oz) and “foldable”, measuring less than 2 inches when folded, making it easy to carry around even in small bags. Other features include dishwasher and microwave safe design and it comes with a lid to keep your beverage hot. This cup offers even more of a reason to kick disposable cups to the curb and go green.
#4 – Repurposed Water Bottle Caps
Along with all the PVC water bottles that are thrown away each year there are also bottle caps. They may be smaller but have just as much impact on the environment. Being so small in size leads many to overlook the danger which results in bottle caps being one of the top ten items found among marine debris, and it is the second most littered item, losing only to cigarette butts.
Brazilian company, Clever Caps, is trying to tackle this problem in a very innovative way. They have created bottle caps that are toys. The caps can be mixed with each other and can even attach to LEGO pieces. So instead of throwing the cap away, you play with it! They have already partnered with Petropólis Paulista bottled water company and will hopefully begin a revolution in beverage packaging.
#5 – Sustainable shoes
The carbon footprint for shoe production can be extremely high. Studies have shown that manufacturing a pair of running shoes can generate about 30 lbs of emissions. Notwithstanding, the environmental damage shoes can have is not limited to the manufacturing process. The decomposition time is long, ranging from 50 years for leather shoes and up to 80 years for rubber sole shoes. Two companies are working to minimize the damage by tackling both aspects: production and disposal.
Oat Shoes decided to tackle the problem on the other end of a shoes life cycle: decomposition. Oat’s shoes are made of materials that take from 2 to 6 months to decompose when buried, depending on the conditions of the soils. These shoes are not only made of biodegradable materials, such as hemp and cotton, but they also contain seeds, such as Corn Poppies, Sweet Alyssums, and more. Once you are done with a shoe, you can bury it and in a few days you should have flower sprouts!
Goóc decreases the footprint by manufacturing shoes using recycled tires. One tire makes approximately 4 pairs of sandals. They sell over 2 million products in 15 different countries, making more than 10 million dollars in profit yearly.