This Earth Week, we’re featuring some of our favorite material and product lifecycle stories to inspire and equip you with best practices for your sustainability journey. We are all aware that there is no one-size-fits-all solution to the climate crisis; instead, we must engage stakeholders along the entire value chain, from farmers and material suppliers to consumer brands to waste management companies, to prioritize systems thinking in establishing the triple bottom line framework: People – Planet – Profit
Here, we take a multifaceted approach, presenting the multiple R’s of the circular economy Rethink, Refuse, Reduce, Reuse, Repurpose, Recycle, Regenerate to provide thematic material-minded design solutions for various industry-specific pain points.
In the end, designing products and packaging with thoughtful ecosystem resource management is something we can all get behind as consumers, businesses, and communities to promote climate-positive lifestyles.
Wherever you are in your sustainability journey, Material ConneXion can help. Contact us to get the conversation started.
Happy Trees and Tidy Yards
Releaf is a tree-free paper, repurposing local waste streams such as fallen leaves while reducing reliance on wood-derived fibers without compromising natural biodegradability to meet your everyday paper needs.
Net Zero Circular Print
Reep, on the other hand, offers the print industry’s first re-printing capability using innovative laser technology to remove all the ink from the page altogether. This magic copier paper has ten lifelines as the system allows users to print and re-print on the same sheet without recycling. The Reep services eliminate the need to procure, store, collect, shred, and recycle single-use printer paper.
Developing Nationally Local Wood Economies
Over 45 million tons of urban tree waste are generated annually in the U.S. Carbon Smart Wood™ is a new category of sustainable wood that goes beyond traditional timber harvest and certification. It is reclaimed from local waste streams as opposed to being harvested, while creating local jobs through a transparent supply chain and promoting the equitable restoration of community forests.
The Burning Solution to Soil Regeneration – Biochar
NET Materials® by The carbonauten minus CO2 factories are intended for industrial-scale pyrolytic carbonization of diverse woody residues and problem materials. It can process a variety of materials, including damaged wood, sawmill residues, wood chips, paper sludge, food press residues, mdfs, and plastics containing impurities. This carbon-rich material (biochar) can also be used as a soil amendment to improve soil fertility, water retention, and carbon sequestration, which makes it a promising tool for sustainable agriculture.
Utilizing GHG on a Large Scale to Combat Plastics Pollution and Climate Change
AirCarbon uses natural ocean microorganisms to convert air and greenhouse gases into the biopolymer PHB. Similar to a leaf, it can recycle naturally by being anaerobically digested into greenhouse gas and then using that gas to create new AirCarbon. It can use methane from industrial sources and anaerobic digestion of food and agricultural waste, as well as carbon dioxide from energy facilities and direct air capture, to create carbon-negative biomaterial that can be used to replace plastics in footwear to fashion industries.
We Make Packaging Disappear
Notpla Ooho is an edible bubble made from seaweed that replaces the need for single-use plastic to revolutionize the packaging of liquids. It can be consumed or discarded in a home compost, where it will decompose within a few weeks, leaving no harmful environmental trace. A fun and engaging way to demonstrate your commitment to sustainability while enjoying unique flavors.
Designed For Reuse
Loop is a global reuse platform enabled by a multi stakeholder coalition of manufacturers, retailers, and consumers that aims to eliminating the idea of waste. It operates a global reverse supply chain – collecting used packaging from consumers and retailers, enabling deposit return, sorting and storing, and finally returning hygienically cleaned packaging to manufacturers for refill. Activate a circular reuse ecosystem offering thousands of products – from your cup of coffee to your shampoo bottle – with an aim to make reuse as convenient and accessible as single use.
Invisible Wearable Air Purifiers
Taking physical well-being to the next level are the exclusive garment designs coated with a living layer of photosynthetic microorganisms that can neutralize harmful pollutants from air through daily wear. These textiles’ live quality helps build an intimate emotional connection with your garments while making you rethink their care and wear routine. Can such living designs act as a new psychological catalyst for switching consumer behavior towards conscience consumption by extending their lifecycle?
Green Chemistry Enabling Circularity
The world’s first 100% plant-based, high-performance topcoat for apparel, furniture, and paint, making plastic-free materials possible. This innovative invention replaces petroleum topcoats with plant-based alternatives (corn sugar, castor oil, and flaxseed oil), resulting in more environmentally friendly everyday products.
The World’s First Net Zero Carbon Shoe
The shoe is made with eco-friendly materials, such as sugarcane, eucalyptus, and natural rubber, which reduces the carbon footprint of its production. To offset the remaining carbon emissions, Allbirds is investing globally in renewable energy and forest preservation projects. It has normalized the carbon footprint conversation by establishing a new standard for sustainability in the fashion industry and is encouraging other brands to adopt similar practices.
The Future is Bio-Based
🍄 While you may already be aware of mycelium’s potential for fashion and accessories with some amazing vegan leather options, we’re equally as excited for its’ structural capabilities for interiors. MOGU develops and commercializes innovative & responsible products for interior design applications such as wall panels and floor tiles based on years of research and innovation on mycelium technology. Their PLUMA panels pictured below are a collection of 100% circular wall-covering panels with customizable textures and sound-absorbing properties, offering an elegant, natural look to interior spaces. The panels are made from soft, foam-like mycelium materials and up-cycled textile fiber residues (hemp and cotton industrial waste). This unique mycelium technology offers the most sustainable, durable, and tactile interior with optimal acoustic comfort with applications in commercial interior wall surfaces of restaurants, offices, and shops.
H&M Group Outfits Its Stores’ Floors With Bio-Cement Tiles
The Built Environment goes Bio – bioLITH™ Tile by bioMASON is a bio-based cement alternative with a lower carbon footprint than traditional cement materials. Biomason’s commercially available precast products exceed the physical properties of standard materials for compressive strength, absorption, freeze-thaw, adhesion, and dimensional tolerance. Our Biolith tile is perfect for exterior and interior, vertical and horizontal use in commercial, institutional, and residential building projects.
Go Beyond Energy Efficiency to Energy Generation
Andersen Corporation, manufacturer of the #1 innovative window and door brand, has partnered with Ubiquitous Energy to jointly develop a first-of-its-kind energy generating window and door products for residential and light commercial buildings. The products will leverage Ubiquitous Energy’s UE Power™ technology, the patented visibly transparent photovoltaic glass coating that harnesses solar power to generate electricity. By utilizing non-hazardous, earth-abundant materials to reduce energy needs while providing a natural experience, a healthier environment is created.
Low Energy Electronics + Automotive
Harvesting light inspired by the natural principle of photosynthesis. Powerfoyle is a non-toxic, thin, printed, flexible plastic solar cell with a zero toxic emissions production and durable for a long time use. The patented DSC technology comes with a new architecture that improves real life performance, providing greater flexibility. It has the unique ability to transform any outdoor and indoor light into clean, endless energy and can be printed in any shape and form. Applications include Headphones, e-readers, window sensors, electronic shelf labels, humidity sensors, helmets, etc.
Glowing Plants – Renewable Lighting
A unique concept blending art and science, Aglae has developed a nutritive serum without genetic modification, which allows plants to glow in the dark. This fluorescent serum is absorbed by capillary action by the plant and reveals natural veins of petals and leaves in colored shades, from purple to blue/green, so you can imagine and realize unique events and scenography to create enchanting and extraordinary experiences for your guests. The company also offers a range of turnkey products designed to reproduce the effect of glowing plants at home easily, and it can be applied to cut flowers or natural plants in roots or stabilized. This technology makes luminescent plants the new revolution of tomorrow’s renewable lighting.
Urban Minding – Battery Recycling
Over 88 million Americans use an electric or battery shaver or trimmer, contributing to the almost 7 million tons of e-waste produced yearly in the United States alone! Panasonic recently launched MultiShape, a modular personal care system that is entirely customizable so you can choose only what you need. The company has launched a Take Back for Tomorrow program that will begin recycling personal care devices with plans to expand to other consumer products in the future. All lithium-ion batteries in these devices are sent to Redwood Materials, which will then recycle and remanufacture metals into critical anode and cathode components for Panasonic’s EV batteries. Redwood Materials is establishing a closed-loop, domestic supply chain for lithium-ion batteries by collecting, recycling, refining, and remanufacturing sustainable battery materials.
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