sustainable innovation

Sustainable Innovations That’ll Make You Think Twice

sustainable innovation

Image by kennykunle via Flickr Creative Commons license.

Sustainability is a topic many people are vaguely familiar with, but it’s one in which few seem to have an in-depth understanding. We believe these sustainable innovations may make you think twice about using non-sustainable products and materials, particularly when sustainable options are becoming more readily available. Let’s take a look and see where sustainable innovations are taking us.

Sustainable Fabrics and Building Materials

First we’ve got fabric made from water. Don’t think it’s possible? Think again. Treehugger highlighted a story not too long ago about a group of architects and chemists who came up with a sustainable fabric made from “hydrogel”, which is 98% water. Biomimicry at its finest as this fabric was designed to mimic spider silk. Using this material in other products could make those more sustainable too.

Next we’ve got living building materials. Yes, you read that right…living building materials. According to ProudGreenBuilding, a company in New York was recently awarded a $9.1 million dollar federal contract to actually grow various living building materials. For example, could you imagine a roof made from materials which can actually mend themselves? No more leaky roofs. Ecovative hopes that in the future we might even be able to see buildings or furniture grown on site. Now that’s pretty innovative, don’t you think? Here’s a little more about the company and how it got started:

Innovations Designed to Help Eliminate Waste

The next innovation seemed to be geared towards eliminating one-use utensils, cups and other tableware. Ditching the plastic and paper, one-use products and instead grabbing for some edible tableware: plates, cups, knives, folks and spoons. Reuters reported on some Afghan women refugees who are working hard to fight India’s massive waste problem by manufacturing edible products as an alternative to single-use cups, plates and other cutlery.

This video shows edible cutlery made in three flavors: sweet, savory and plain. No toxins, just full of nutrition. Bonus is you won’t have any trash to throw away afterwards.

Another product is Loliware. Loliware cups are biodegr (edible). This product is made from seaweed and organic sweeteners. Like the edible spoons, it’s not full of chemicals . Its flavors come from natural fruits and veggies. Just think of how much less trash we’d see in landfills if people attending picnics and parties, or going camping, used these products instead of one-use items. If you aren’t going to opt for reusable, I’d say edible is the next best way to go.

Renewable Energy Inventions

This next one shows you sustainable ideas and innovations can come from anywhere. This young lady has come up with “TraffEnerate”, a device designed to generate vehicular electricity. She has not only submitted her idea to the 2017 3M Young Scientist Competition, she is one of the 2017 Young Scientist Challenge Finalists. In addition, as you can see in the video, she intends to work with her local government to implement her idea in her own, home town. Makes sense to me. Why not take advantage of all the traffic and vehicles being driving around this planet? I’d also love to see our world littered with sidewalks and bike paths capable of generating people power. So many possibilities.

We all know the benefits of opting for solar, wind and other renewable energy sources. This revolutionary energy product can generate energy as well as store it at your home for use in heating, cooling and giving you hot water. As NewAtlas states, it’s like a generator and a battery all in one.

Another innovation is this small, collapsible solar lamp featured on DigitalTrends. This idea goes to show sustainable inventions don’t need to be large or costly. It is often the simplest of innovations which can have the most positive impact on humankind. These lamps are actually helping save refugees’ lives. When something so simple can have such an impact, it kind of makes you think twice about some of the first world “problems” many of us face.

Sustainability and the Future

While these are just a few of the amazing innovations out in the world today, I feel they give us a little insight into the future of sustainability.  Maybe these will get your creative juices flowing. At the very least, I hope these sustainable innovations will make you think twice. Think twice about using one-use products. Think twice about how you could incorporate more sustainable solutions and habits into your life. Then think twice about what you could do to protect and preserve the environment around you.

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