Chemical engineer David Edwards is famed for his ‘breathable food‘ invention, and now plans to develop and commercialise a new idea: edible packaging.
The invention, called WikiCells, is derived from nature’s very own packaging system: its digestible skin. Potatoes, tomatoes, apples… they all have an edible exterior protecting the fruit within. Even lemon peel ends up eaten in the form of zest.
According to the WikiCells website, small particles of chocolate, dried fruit, nuts, seeds and other natural – edible – substances are used to create a packaging to protect soft foods such as cheese, yoghurt and even ice cream, which the company plans to market to a French audience later this year.
So far the team has experimented with a gazpacho-stuffed tomato membrane, a wine-filled grape-like shell and an orange juice-protecting shell. According to Edwards, an edible milk bottle is not out of the realms of possibility, either.
“No wrappers. No plastic. No artificial anything. Just all natural everything,” reads the WikiCells website. Are you eco-conscious enough to eat your own packaging?
Apple is no shrinking violet when it comes to publicising its green credentials. From binning chemicals in component parts to powering data centres with renewable energy, the company frequently waxes lyrical about its love of – and respect for – Planet Earth.
A bit of a U-turn today then, with news that Apple has recently asked EPEAT (Electronic Product Environmental Assessment Tool), a US national registry of environmentally sound electronic items, to remove 39 of its products from the its list.
To qualify for EPEAT-certification, products must fulfil a certain criteria, which includes the caveat that recyclers must be able to disassemble products fairly easily, to separate dangerous components (batteries, for instance). Tech heads are already speculating that the move has been spurred by the new super slim MacBook Pro, which features a high-resolution ‘retina display’. The product is “nearly impossible” to disassemble, according to iFixit.com, which notes that the battery is glued to the case and the glass display glued to its back.
Many schools, businesses and government agencies stipulate that their IT equipment is EPEAT-certified, so Apple’s move may well cost them a not-insignificant market share.
Sure, human hair can be re-purposed in any number of weird ways (check out these 25, from Holy Taco), but a few new developments show that it can be at least partly useful, too.
Swedish designer Ola Giertz has created some fetching pouffes with recycled PET bottles and, yep, human hair, to create an altogether silkier seating experience. Meanwhile, students from the Royal College of Art have taken plant-based bioresin and hair trimmings to create ‘Hair Glasses’ – hipster-worthy eyewear without using a single drop of petroleum.
Or what about this, erm, charming dress, created by hairdresser Jodie Breeds? It seems beauty pageants are becoming more sustainability-conscious, with this outfit destined for the ‘Environmentally Friendly Dress’ round of this year’s Miss England contest.
With the average person’s hair growing around 6 inches every year, there certainly no shortage of this resilient and versatile material. How long until it someone creates an even more useful purpose for it?
Loud neighbours, barking dogs, air traffic… noise pollution is a tediously inevitable part of urban living. According to the World Health Organisation it can also lead to serious health problems, too – namely stress and sleep issues.
Unfortunately there’s not much to be done to quieten the neighbour’s screaming kids, but now street traffic could be given a big shush thanks to new developments by engineers aiming to reduce road racket.
By adding recycled rubber crumbs from old tyres to the bitumen used to make asphalt, roads are ‘softer’, cutting traffic noise by 25 percent while offering greater durability than regular road asphalt.
According to The Economist:
Pores between the stones in standard asphalt must be small, because if the gaps are too big the bitumen binding cannot do its job properly. Adding rubber thickens the bitumen. That allows bigger pores, which help to trap and disperse sound waves. The rubberised bitumen itself is flexible and slightly springy, which enables it to absorb more unwanted sonic energy.
Not only are the roads quieter, more durable and cheaper than traditional roads, but they’re also kinder to the environment. The rubber comes from recycled tyres (and there’s enough of those kicking about), and can partially replace bitumen, which is derived from oil.
But did you know that recycling a 400g steel pet food can could save enough energy to power a fridge for over two and a half hours? This is just one of the messages pet care company PURINA is touting in its new campaign ‘Together We Can’.
The Nestle-owned brand surveyed more than 1,000 dog and cat owners and found that the recycling rate for pet food tins falls below the rate for other waste materials, with just 66 percent of respondents saying they always recycled their tins. Curiously, though, a third of those that claim to recycle their cans say they do so to protect the environment for their pets.
PURINA’s Regional Marketing Director Antal Van Hout said: “We know the special bonds between pet owners and their pets mean that many will go out of their way to make their pets’ lives happy and healthy.
“We also know that the environment we all live in is as important to our pets as it is to our own health and wellbeing and we want to encourage British pet owners to help make a difference to all our pets’ futures by recycling their steel pet food cans.”
The brand’s new campaign encourages pet owners to pledge to recycle their pet food cans, and offers them the chance to win a whopping £2,000 off their energy bills. Check it out here.
The new uniform – distinctly Man Men inspired – comprises mustard yellow and gherkin green polo shirts, skinny ties, neck scarves and pencil skirts, with the managers’ uniforms harking “back to a day of really classy air travel”, Hemmingway told the Daily Telegraph.
So there’s the style, where’s the substance? Well, McDonald’s claims that theirs is the first closed-loop recycled uniform in the UK. Environmental consultancy Worn Again helped the design team create sustainable uniforms using only recyclable materials in order to reduce the amount of waste to landfill when they reach the end of their wearable lives. Plus, the old uniforms belonging to McDonald’s 87,500 employees will be collected and recycled into wipers for the auto industry, or used for stuffing for furniture.
The move comes ahead of the McDonald’s-sponsored London 2012 Olympic Games, which has high ambitions of being ‘the greenest games ever’.