How to eat “garbage,” take a shower quickly, wash less often: the latest eco-trends on the consumer market

    14 Dec 2021

    Human society produces rubbish. Rivers carry between 1.15 and 2.41 million tons of plastic each year, and the average European produces 31 kg of plastic waste per year. You can start sorting waste, but you can’t make a new one out of a plastic bottle all the time: the plastic recycling cycle is finite.

    Let’s get to know what Knife has collected: the funniest environmental solutions to the waste problem: edible packaging, vegetable “plastic”, air-purifying clothing, and more.


    California is about to become the first state in the United States to introduce a revolutionary rule in restaurants: to get a plastic drinking straw, a customer has to ask for it. That is, even a torn straw, an object not only of the first, but of the fifth necessity – and that cannot be suddenly taken and forbidden: people are used to it, people have the right to choose (and analogs are at least twice as expensive).

    But even the US Army decided to think about it and last year began looking for a developer of biodegradable bullets and shells, preferably with grass seeds, for training shooting ranges.

    That is, the process is underway. Engage in farming and biodegradable materials development, not war.


    Edible Burger Wrappers

    Price: included in the price of the burger



    Do you like to eat burgers – eat with a wrapper, don’t dodge. First, in 2013, the Brazilian burger chain Bob’s introduced edible rice paper packaging and, as they say, collected excellent press.

    After all, it is very rare to see how a person eats a burger without unfolding it, in addition, the eater must be drunk in smoke.

    This year, the Better Burger chain repeated the focus in New Zealand: On Earth Day, one of the chain’s restaurants served up burgers in a nutritious plant-based wrapper. It tastes, they say, like a potato cracker with shrimp – something sweet. There are also manufacturers of edible seaweed packaging.

    But the widespread adoption of edible wrappers is hampered by one simple question: so, for example, the packaging protects my food from dirty hands and other microbes – but what protects the packaging itself?


    “Plastic” from cassava

    Cost: from $ 12 for 100 food packs



    Indonesian entrepreneur Kevin Kumala created Avani Eco in 2014. His company makes raincoats, bags, food wrappers and disposable dishes made from biodegradable material based on cassava, or cassava, a pretty plant that is very common in the tropics.

    Such a bag decomposes completely in 60–90 days in the compost heap, and the raincoat and the rest of the product in less than 180 days.

    On average, products made from biodegradable plastic are twice as expensive as conventional counterparts. For example, Spinoff notes that a bag of cassava is three cents more expensive than a plastic one.


    Glasses of bits and pieces

    Cost: $ 69 to $ 350


    In 2018, the Ukrainian company Ochis collected funds on Kickstarter for the world’s first organic sunglasses: they are made from a biopolymer based on coffee and flax. The pre-order has already been launched on the company’s website. It is planned to release several models at once.

    However, these are not the only glasses on the market made of experimental materials: the American company Shwood claims that it was the first in the industry to launch about fifteen new materials.

    You can buy frames from slate stone, pine cones, shells and cactus skeletons from them, this is not counting all the trivialities – wood, titanium and others.

    There’s no general objection to experimentation, but … organic sunglasses? What for? As if it is the four-eyed people who are the main destroyers of the environment, who are thrown out on a plastic frame every day.


    Coffee grounds mugs and reusable mugs

    Cost: from 13 dollars



    In 2018, the prestigious design competition The Red Dot Award was won by the German designer Julian Lechner’s Kaffeeform project.

    He combined coffee grounds from Berlin cafes with natural glue and wood particles, and from the resulting liquid he poured cups under pressure – in the form of disposable glasses.

    A very relevant project, because disposable coffee glasses have already been taken out of everyone. Britain is calling for a “latte tax” of 25 pence from each glass, France is called the first country in the world to ban them altogether (actually not quite: according to the new law, disposable tableware should be at least 50% biodegradable by 2020 materials, and this is not quite the same as a ban).

    And all because the dastardly cups are not able to quickly decompose without residue: the paper is covered with a film from the inside so that the glass does not leak. To replace them, we are encouraged to take our own reusable glasses with us. Or edible. Yes, edible cups are also vegan.


    Edible cutlery

    Price starts from $3.5 per 100 pcs.


    There are a variety of nutritious spoons and forks; the knife, unfortunately, has not yet been blinded. But in Japan there is such a product as edible chopsticks. True, this is a completely different story: if forks and spoons are made from ordinary dough – wheat flour, sorghum, rice – then igus cane, from which tatami mats are woven, became the material for the sticks.

    The product is positioned as “tatami-flavored edible sticks”, therefore, most likely, it will not become popular.

    In San Francisco, you can buy spoons in four flavors: dough like dough, Italian herbs, garlic and herbs, Asian. 50 spoons cost $35. Sounds like not an environmental initiative, but some kind of squandering! Watch the TEDx talk by “edible spoon activist” Narayana Pisapati at Vellor University of Technology in India. He has his own company of nutritional appliances, called Bakey’s, and they are much cheaper than the American ones. By the way, in theory you can bake spoons yourself. Shortcrust pastry should work well.


    Air Purifying T-shirt

    Cost: £ 45



    The RepAir T-shirt is designed by Kloters and produced in Italy. The project raised more than 11 thousand pounds on Kickstarter with the announced 10, and the T-shirt is already on sale – however, now there is only a white one.

    There is a zippered pocket in the heart area with an inlay made from the patented The Breath® material. Its three layers absorb, absorb and retain volatile organic compounds, nitrogen oxides, sulfur oxides, benzene and other harmful emissions (tested in accordance with three environmental standards). At the same time, the T-shirt is washed and ironed as usual – you just need to unfasten the pocket.

    Each T-shirt, according to the creators, is capable of absorbing the poisonous exhaust of two cars.

    However, after six months of wearing outdoors or eighteen inside, The Breath® begins to lose its effectiveness slowly.


    Freshening gadget

    Cost: from $300



    A washing machine spends from 53 to 150 (!) Liters per wash. Conclusion: we should wash less.

    The “express system of garment care” promises to “make your life easier” and, in addition, save on washing and dry cleaning: it smoothes clothes, neutralizes odors and can slightly reduce the thing stretched when worn. The garment is hung in a gadget that looks most like a locker, secured with small clips, the consumable is charged – SWASH POD – and closed.

    The work of the “shaitan machine” is similar to a steamer: in ten minutes it manages to spray and dry your jacket.

    It does not take up much space – it is less than one and a half meters high. To connect it, you just need to plug it into an outlet. There are only two remarks: firstly, you will have to buy consumables. Second, 300 bucks to avoid washing? Maybe I can take care of the environment in some other way?


    Showerhead and timer

    Cost: from $8



    The EPA says a standard showerhead has a capacity of 2.5 gallons of water, or almost 10 liters, per minute.

    After washing in a standard ten minutes, we turn about 100 liters of clean water into dirty water. Enough tolerating this! The showerhead and timer will save humanity.

    So, the manufacturer of the Niagara showerhead promises savings of up to 75% and at the same time excellent pressure regardless of the pressure in the system.

    Shower timers are very different: some models simply hang in front of your face, reminding you that you have been washing too long, others also count how much water you have spent. The most insidious model gradually cuts off your water.

    The combination of a shower head with a timer will break off the buzz from washing anyone, but in return will leave the moral satisfaction of saving water. Moreover, everyone who installed the meter remembers: water is not only an ecological resource, but also money. Especially hot. And so we turn off the water while brushing our teeth and lather our head, shivering from the cold under the turned off shower.


    Water in edible bubbles

    Cost: unknown



    Edible serving is beautiful. I ate lunch, drank water, ate cutlery, a plate, a glass. Then he ate the table. In addition, I saved on food: instead of the first, second and third – salad and the whole environment.

    And the Skipping Rocks Lab team suggests filling liquids into edible Ooho bubbles from seaweed extract.

    They are designed to save the environment by replacing plastic bottles: each bottle takes 700 years to decompose, and Ooho only takes six weeks, not to mention the fact that it can be simply gobbled up with water. Here you can see how people eat bubbles.

    Skipping Rocks Lab crowdfunded more than £ 800,000 for their project in 2017 – more than double what they asked for. At the moment, Ooho is already being delivered to events and establishments: water bubbles are replacing bottles at marathons, and in 2018, at Clerkenwell Design Week in London, you could drink a martini, gin or “Margarita” right along with the container. How long have we been waiting for this!

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