P&G Launches Recycled And Ocean Plastic Bottles

When it comes to recycled packaging, cosmetics brand LUSH is practically a veteran. It has repurposed 27 tons of ocean plastics and made donations to conservation groups. Now, manufacturing company Procter and Gamble is following suit, launching Fairy Ocean Plastic bottles made entirely from recycled materials.

As many as 320,000 of the 90% recycled and 10% ocean-plastic bottles are set to be released in the UK in 2018, with the overriding aim of raising awareness of the issues of growing ocean plastic levels.

As a leading brand, Fairy will likely have a significant impact on consumers and competitors alike. To ensure the success of Fairy products, P&G has also partnered with recycling group TerraCycle.

“The issue of ocean pollution is a pertinent one, we hope other brands will be inspired to think creatively about waste and make the circular economy a reality.” [said Tom Szaky, CEO of TerraCycle.]

With plastic waste projected to outnumber fish by the year 2050, P&G hopes that Fairy will stunt the process. If anything, it will prevent some 8,000 tons of plastic from reaching landfills. It’s a start!

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Plastic Bottle Air Conditioner Is Electricity-Free

It seems we’ve been underestimating the power of plastic. After the material was repurposed into makeshift lamps in the Philippines, it’s proving there is little it can’t do. Grey Dhaka in Bangladesh is taking plastic to new limits with a plastic bottle air conditioner that is completely electricity-free.

Repurposed plastic bottles are cut in half and mounted on a board or a grid in accordance with the window size with the bottlenecks facing the inside of the house. The board is then installed on the window… Hot air enters the open end of the bottle and is compressed at the neck of the bottle, turning the air cooler before it is released inside the house.

The device, called the Eco-Cooler, can reduce indoor temperatures by up to 5 degrees Celsius. Correct me if I’m wrong, but I think regular-running electric air conditioners may now be facing a promising contender.

Today, more than 25,000 households have an Eco-Cooler in their homes. It has been installed in places such as Nilphamari, Daulatdia, Paturia, Modonhati and Khaleya.

Inventor Ashis Paul claims his daughter’s physics tutor inspired the Eco-Cooler. If simple DIY projects can combat climate change at no cost, maybe kids should reconsider paying attention in class.

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42 Food Giants Pledge to Ax Plastic

2018 gave us a lot of eco-friendly changes in the food industry: Pepsi debuted reusable bottles for flavored beverages, Dunkin Donuts ditched foam cups from their packaging, even McDonald’s followed suit with foam cups and plastic straws. I hate to say that this environmentalist trend among food giants has reached its peak with the good news I bring now, but it does feel like a culmination of sorts.

A total of 42 food companies in the UK — composed of retailers, supermarkets, manufacturers, and brands — have pledged to ax single-use plastics by 2025.

Together, the signatories represent roughly 80% of the plastics sold in UK supermarkets. The initiative . . . has set a series of goals to cut wasteful packaging over the course of the next seven years. For starters, the initiative will ensure that 100% of plastic packaging must either be recyclable, compostable, or reusable in order to make it onto supermarket shelves. Some supermarkets have gone even further and declared that plastic packaging will no longer be used on fruits and vegetables.

The signatories include UK brands like Asda, Nestle, Lidl, Coca-Cola, Aldi, PepsiCo, Unilever, Tesco, Waitrose, Morrisons, Sainsbury, and many others. Besides ensuring the elimination of single-use plastics, the pledge also covers recycling. The current recycling rate is 30%, and the participating food giants seek to bump it up to 70%.

Environment Secretary Michael Gove, who is backing the pact, said in a statement: “Our ambition to eliminate avoidable plastic waste will only be realized if government, businesses, and the public work together.”

In addition to bringing super chic eco-bags to the supermarket, well, I guess I just have to remember this pledge to feel less guilty when buying those apples.

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Lego To Debut First Plant-Based Toys

They say starting em’ young is the best way to get a point across — and you often can’t go wrong with a toy. Since first promoting sustainability through bioplastics, Lego is already onto something greater. By the end of the year, the trinket tycoon will launch a collection of plant-based bricks.

Production has started on the sustainable pieces, which include “botanical elements” like leaves, bushes, and trees. The new pieces are made from polyethylene, a soft and durable plastic, and Lego notes that they are “technically identical to those produced using conventional plastic.”

Lego’s $165 million investment in plastic alternatives will hopefully see a drop in the 4% annual consumption of petroleum. The masterminds behind the popular Millennium Falcon build-it is also teaming up with WWF to reduce carbon emissions.

“It is essential that companies in each industry find ways to responsibly source their product materials and help ensure a future where people, nature, and the economy thrive,” said Alix Grabowski, a senior program officer at WWF in a statement.

For nearly 90 years, Lego has inspired us to build more than just fantasies, but sustainable realities.

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Pepsi Debuts Ingenious Reusable Bottle

There’s a lot you can do with a plastic bottle. Turn it into an electricity-free lamp or, if you have enough of it, a piece of furniture. Now that sea levels are rising at unstoppable rates, Pepsi is taking sustainability to heart. The beverage manufacturer is debuting the Drinkfinity pod system, a 20-ounce reusable water bottle.

The pods themselves, which feature two compartments—one for liquid flavoring and one for dry ingredients like chia seeds—are made with 65 percent less plastic than a standard 20-ounce bottle.

Four varieties of flavorful pods aim to replace caffeine and sweet tea, and boast vitamin and electrolyte benefits. Talk about an all-in-one sports drink. At $20 a bottle and $5 for a pack of pods, Pepsi isn’t hogging all the cash delights.

To round out a drink tailor made for the present day and age, PepsiCo will donate $1 from each purchase made in 2018 to Water.org (mitigating the product’s potential success, the company has capped their contribution at $100,000).

Gatorade for a cause? I’m all in!

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Donut Franchise To Ditch Styrofoam Cups

When determined joggers aren’t plucking trash off running paths, coffee-goers are investing in reusable to-go cups. Yet plastic pollution persists around the globe, inspiring other groups to make initiatives. Playing its part in a more eco-friendly society is dessert colossus Dunkin’ Donuts. The popular brand is hacking its disposable foam cups by 2020 for a sustainable substitute — but the process hasn’t been easy.

“Transitioning 9,000 restaurants from our iconic foam coffee cup is a big decision that has implications for our franchisees’ bottom line and the guest experience, and we did not want to take it lightly,” the company said.

Deciding against a polypropylene cup, Dunkin’ Donuts is trying out double-walled paper. It’s far superior in terms of recyclability and how easily it’ll biodegrade, and a total hit with sustainable forestry standards.

“With more than 9,000 Dunkin’ Donuts restaurants in the U.S. alone, our decision to eliminate foam cups is significant for both our brand and our industry,” [said] Karen Raskopf, Chief Communications and Sustainability Officer.

Lucky for us kids, the material will still, apparently, keep drinks piping hot. No one wants to sip on a cold Americano.

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Artificial Muscles Can Lift Massive Amounts Of Weight

Current technology such as implantable batteries are opening doors for enhancing the human body. On the other end of the spectrum, engineers are working on artificial intelligences capable of honing skills humans aren’t. To practice building more human-like robots, scientists at Harvard and MIT created a soft muscle that can lift 1,000 times its own weight.

The simple objects are constructed out of metal or plastic “skeletons” that are covered in either a liquid or air, and then sealed in plastic or fabric “skins.” The muscle pulls taught when a vacuum is created inside the skin, and goes slack when the vacuum is released.

The invention, inspired by traditional Japanese origami, are highly durable and easy to make. In fact, developers claim it takes only 10 minutes and less than a dollar to produce a single muscle. The secret to their resilience lies in a simple concept: folding and pressure.

“Vacuum-based muscles have a lower risk of rupture, failure, and damage, and they don’t expand when they’re operating, so you can integrate them into closer-fitting robots on the human body,” [said] Daniel Vogt, a research engineer at the Wyss Institute.

Looks like muscular robots may be a lot less squishy that we pictured.

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Plastic Bags Are Now Illegal In Kenya

2017 has proven to be the year of anti-plastic ambassadors. Many groups are engineering alternatives for the material, whether to replace coffee capsules and even Legos. On the other hand, the Kenyan government wants to speed up the process by banning plastic bags entirely.

Beginning [August 28], if you’re carrying your groceries in a plastic bag or put out your trash in a disposable one, you could be fined up to $38,000 or be sent to jail for up to four years.

While the motion holds good intentions, it is economically stressing. Thousands of Kenyans work within the plastic industry. There are no cheap and readily available plastic alternatives.

“It’s not the plastic’s fault. It’s a lack of a system to collect the plastic and reuse it and make a value chain out of it beyond that first usage.”

The material may be affecting water, livestock, and public health, but the fact of the matter remains the same. Communities need to recycle. Let’s not forget that a single household’s segregated trash could make a world of a difference.

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Plastic-Eating Worms Could Solve Pollution

While Lego’s mission to incorporate bioplastics into its products is commendable, it’s not going to eliminate the billions of pieces that already exist. Plastic disposal is an issue that has long puzzled the sanitation industry. Now, there may be a solution. Plastic-eating worms could potentially inspire waste-degrading tools.

Researchers in Spain and England recently found that the larvae of the greater wax moth can efficiently degrade polyethylene, which accounts for 40 percent of plastics.

To test their efficiency, researchers left 100 wax worms to munch on a plastic bag for 12 hours. The worms consumed 92 milligrams-worth (or 3%) of the bag. Off to a slow but promising start. When applied as a paste, enzymes from the worms’ stomachs act identically.

“Wax is a complex mixture of molecules, but the basic bond in polyethylene, the carbon-carbon bond, is there as well. The wax worm evolved a mechanism to break this bond.”

This could be the breakthrough every industrial process needs. Of course, biologists have yet to come up with a proper formula. After all, tossing a truckful of worms into a landfill may not be the most realistic option.

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Bali Beach Club Display Highlights Plastic Pollution

If an entire landfill can be transformed into a revenue-generating energy hub, a resort can promote sustainability. Potato Head Beach Club in Seminyak did just that. It commissioned street artist Eko Nugroho to create a display made entirely of reclaimed plastic waste to highlight plastic pollution.

An impressive 660 pounds of local plastic debris was transformed into the work with which Nugroho hopes will stress the critical need for waste management and conservation.

The piece, titled “Bouquet of Love”, is not Nugroho’s first socio-political artwork. He claims that his projects mostly comment on current events.

“I was deeply drawn to this project because environmental damage and pollution will have an effect on every aspect of life, not just art,”

“My love for Indonesia inspired me to create Bouquet of Love. Indonesia is a rich, magnificent tropical country, which is also experiencing dynamic growth and development.”

Annually, we produce around 300 million tons of plastic worldwide. 8.8 million tons end up in oceans and up to 91% of waste forgoes recycling. It doesn’t take a grand gesture to make an impact on the environment. Make it personal — start at home. You never know the difference you might make.

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