Climate change, plastic waste, air and water pollution: these environmental problems and more are reaching critical levels, threatening the health of the planet. Technology and human development is to blame for many of these issues, but at the same time, developments in technology are helping to provide solutions.
Thanks to increasing numbers of environmentally-conscious innovators, we are seeing more and more inventions being released that have the potential to address these environmental issues. Here are 7 amazing inventions that are helping the environment today.
Sand depletion at beaches around the world is a big problem. This is because of sand being used for industrial processes from glass production to construction, as well as environmental erosion. One innovative invention allows bottles (or beer bottles to be precise) to be crushed into sand.
New Zealand beer company DB Breweries built a machine in 2017 that crushes beer bottles into sand that can be used to preserve natural beaches. The machine uses a wheel of small steel hammers to pulverize the bottle into small sand particles, at the same time removing silica dust and plastic labels. The brewery also launched a campaign to promote the recycling of beer bottles into sand, and encourage people to drink more beer to save the world’s beaches.
Edible Water Bottles
No more single-use plastic bottles: have edible water bottles instead! Edible water bottles are clear pods made out of seaweed, that are completely edible and are strong enough to hold water inside. The bottles were first launched by London startup Skipping Rocks Lab, and have one serving portion of water inside a clear membrane or skin.
This membrane is made from seaweed extract, and is completely tasteless, although the company is talking about introducing flavours to the capsule down the line. The skin can be eaten with the water if you wish, but it is 100% bio-degradable so you can also throw it away, guilt-free.
One lesser-known but no less important environmental concern is pollination. Bees and other pollinators are critical to the production of food as well as the health of other plants, and our ecosystems in general. However, the decline in populations of bees in many parts of the world is having detrimental effects on pollination.
Japanese scientists have come up with a solution: tiny drones that take on the role of bees, carrying pollen from one plant to another. These drones can be controlled manually and mimic the work of normal honey bees to ensure that pollination continues even in places were bees are no longer present.
Waste is one of the biggest issues facing the planet. Plastic, metal, Styrofoam and other waste is overflowing from our landfills, gathering in our rivers, and choking our oceans. Consumers are now becoming more conscious of the waste we create – from plastic bags to balloons – and how to avoid it.
Stickers are a popular marketing tool for companies, not to mention popular with people who use them, but unfortunately one that can create unnecessary waste. Bio-degradable stickers are a great solution to this, using materials such as sugar cane, hemp and linen to have the same impact without damaging the planet.This mix of eco-friendliness and creative design is especially perfect for marketing sustainable products or for eco-designs.
Toothbrushes are another big source of waste in the world, being plastic items that we use and discard regularly. This amounts to millions of plastic toothbrushes being thrown away every month. However, they are also an essential item, being critical for proper dental hygiene.
The solution? Bamboo tooth brushes. These eco-friendly items are fully bio-degradable, meaning you won’t contribute to the world’s waste problem through your oral hygiene. Bamboo is also a very sustainable material, being easy to grow with few resources and quickly replenishes after being harvested.
Ink from Pollution
What can we do with the toxic pollution coming from car exhausts? According to innovative company AIR-INK, we can turn those polluting gases into art supplies. The company’s takes a cartridge and collects the carbon soot for car exhausts.
They then remove toxins and heavy metals, leaving only raw carbon that they process into black ink. This ink is then used to make pens that write just like a normal pen. The big difference? Each pen contains 40-50 minutes of car pollution.
Edible Six-Pack Rings
One of the most dangerous forms of waste is the plastic rings used to hold six packs of beer together. Not only are these single-use plastics contributing to the world’s mounting waste issues, marine animals and birds can also become tangled in them, with deadly results.
Florida-based Saltwater Brewery has developed a six-pack ring that is fully edible (and 100% bio-degradable), meaning it could feed rather than kill wildlife. The rings are made of barley and wheat, by-products of the brewing process, meaning this is also helping to reduce waste produced from brewing beer!