Bakeys Edible Cutlery

Narayana Peesapaty created edible spoons in Hyderabad, India, because he is fed up with plastic waste.

India is in the region of South Asia where it is culturally common to eat traditional meals with your hands, even among the wealthy who can trace the practice back to Ayurvedic teaching—and yet every year Indians use 120 billion pieces of plastic cutlery.

Waste production is particularly problematic in large cities whose economic development precedes waste management infrastructure. China is an example of one of the world’s most densely populated regions that has come to create the world’s largest economy, though their record-breaking growth amounts to unprecedented pollution.

The individual efforts that CapitaLand encourages is something that the earth demands from all of us now. Statistics from the World Economic Forum cite that global plastic production has grown from 15 million tons in 1964 to 311 million tons in 2014- a number that is expected to triple by 2050, unless some sort of radical change takes place.

Peesapaty’s utensils should hasten that change. He began his businessBakeys, in 2011, though it is gaining larger attention today because the business is crowd-funding with The Better India video  to make money for investment in chopsticks and forks.

The edible cutlery is a bio-degradable option that has a shelf life of three years and decomposes within four-five days if not used. They even come in three different flavors to suit the food that they are served with: plain, sweet, or spicy.

Full original article written by Mica Kelmachter “India’s Edible Cutlery Points The Way For A Zero-Waste Future” as seen on Forbes.

Mutant Enzyme that Eats Plastic Bottles

Scientists have created a mutant enzyme that breaks down plastic drinks bottles – by accident as posted in the Guardian recently on April 16th! The breakthrough could help solve the global plastic pollution crisis by enabling for the first time the full recycling of bottles.

The new research was spurred by the discovery in 2016 of the first bacterium that had naturally evolved to eat plastic, at a waste dump in Japan. Scientists have now revealed the detailed structure of the crucial enzyme produced by the bug.

The international team then tweaked the enzyme to see how it had evolved, but tests showed they had inadvertently made the molecule even better at breaking down the PET (polyethylene terephthalate) plastic used for soft drink bottles. “What actually turned out was we improved the enzyme, which was a bit of a shock,” said Prof John McGeehan, at the University of Portsmouth, UK, who led the research. “It’s great and a real finding.”

The mutant enzyme takes a few days to start breaking down the plastic – far faster than the centuries it takes in the oceans. But the researchers are optimistic this can be speeded up even further and become a viable large-scale process.

“What we are hoping to do is use this enzyme to turn this plastic back into its original components, so we can literally recycle it back to plastic,” said McGeehan. “It means we won’t need to dig up any more oil and, fundamentally, it should reduce the amount of plastic in the environment.”

About 1m plastic bottles are sold each minute around the globe and, with just 14% recycled, many end up in the oceans where they have polluted even the remotest parts, harming marine life and potentially people who eat seafood. “It is incredibly resistant to degradation. Some of those images are horrific,” said McGeehan. “It is one of these wonder materials that has been made a little bit too well.”

Original link here: https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2018/apr/16/scientists-accidentally-create-mutant-enzyme-that-eats-plastic-bottles

Drawdown EcoChallenge

The Drawdown EcoChallenge is a fun and social way to learn about and take action on the 100 climate solutions featured in the seminal work of Paul Hawken “Drawdown.”

From April 4-25, individuals and teams from around the world will take part in simple daily activities to reduce their carbon footprints and delve into the world’s most substantive solutions to global warming. At the end of the Challenge, the teams with the most points will win great prizes, including copies of Drawdown and a one-hour video session with Paul Hawken!

The EcoChallenges are broken down into these sections (with an added note of current participants):

LAND USE (1260)

ELECTRICITY GENERATION (1751)

FOOD (3156)

WOMEN AND GIRLS (1392)

BUILDINGS AND CITIES (1598)

TRANSPORT (1814)

MATERIALS (2094)

Executive Director of Drawdown, Hawken states “All of life is comprised of self-organizing systems and the Drawdown EcoChallenge is exactly that—people coming together to share, learn, support, imagine, and innovate for a better world. We are honored to be a part of this significant and brilliant initiative.”

Visit http://www.drawdown.org/ecochallenge for more information!

The Ocean Cleanup Project: What It Is and What You Can Do

Although we may already be familiar with Boyan Slat’s Ocean Cleanup Project, and perhaps even the recent advancements in phase two, we can now ask how to get involved in a variety of ways. In his recently posted article on Business Connect World, John Hawthorne brings together the vision behind the international Ocean Cleanup Project. Here is an excerpt:

So, what’s the next step you can take to help the Ocean Cleanup Project, or just to help clean up our waterways, bodies of water, and expanses of fresh and saltwater? While it may seem unlikely, small efforts by individuals can make go a long way toward decreasing the garbage in our oceans.

When speaking specifically about the Ocean Cleanup Project, there are a few specific ways to help this foundation inch their way toward success.

  • First, you can simply help fund the cleanup. The foundation needs help bridging the gap between their first-system and the full-scale development of the plans they have to clean up the Pacific Garbage Patch. The foundation states that any amount helps to further their mission, so donating is certainly a great way to get involved.
  • Second, you can volunteer your time, skills, and efforts to the cause. According to their site, there are plenty of career, as well as volunteer, opportunities to work with the foundation.

Speaking generally, though, you can help reduce the amount of garbage in the ocean and contribute to solving the trash problem by making small dedicated efforts.

  • Recycle
  • Support bans
  • Reduce your use of single-use plastics
  • Avoid microbeads in cosmetic products
  • Back organizations that work to fight pollution and encourage ocean cleanup

Visit John Hawthorne’s FULL original article with a new video here: https://businessconnectworld.com/2018/02/21/the-ocean-cleanup-project/

CEF FFT:  The environmental impact we have affects not only the living creatures inhabiting of bodies of water and land, but even the health of us human beings unto ourselves.

Thanks for the share John!

Robot Farmers

Recently shared on EngadgetBlue River Technology in Sunnyvale, California is testing “See and Spray”– machine learning and AI software inside a robotic tractor attachment that aims to change the chemical game. The program can recognize the difference between crops and weeds, then sprays herbicide only on the unwanted plant.

Traditionally, farmers applying herbicide and other chemicals spray the entire field. CEO and co-founder Jorge Heraud says using his AI and machine learning sprayer would cut chemical costs a tenth of the cost. If a mid-sized operation is about 700 acres, only spraying the weeds on a farmer’s fields could knock herbicide costs down from about $100,000 to $10,000.

“You can save on the impact that we have to the environment, right now we are frankly overusing chemistry… about 80 percent of the chemicals we use don’t end up in the right place,” Heraud said.

Visit the original article here: https://www.engadget.com/2017/08/15/dnp-the-future-irl-robot-farmers-do-the-dirty-work/

Etee Food Wrap

How often do we find ourselves using plastic wrap to preserve and/or cover our fresh food?

Etee is helping us say goodbye to plastic wrap, sandwich bags & bulky storage containers. Preserve your food and protect your family (and the planet!) – naturally – with these reusable food wraps.

Etee wraps are:

Non-toxic | Plastic Free, Sustainable | Reusable, Biodegradable | Compostable

There is currently free shipping for U.S. and Canadian orders: https://www.shopetee.com

Who Gives a Crap?

Who Gives a Crap is an organization determined to prove that toilet paper is about more than just wiping bums. All of their products are made with environmentally friendly materials, and they donate 50% of their profits to help build toilets for those in need. To date Who Gives a Crap has donated over $1,100,000 Australian dollars to charity and saved a heck of a lot of trees, water and energy. Not bad for a toilet paper company, eh?

Who Gives A Crap was started when the creators learned that 2.3 billion people (roughly 40% of the world’s population) don’t have access to a toilet.  Around 289,000 children under five die every year from diarrheal diseases caused by poor water and sanitation. That’s almost 800 children per day, or one child every two minutes. Luckily, toilets are proven to be a great solution—they provide dignity, health and an improved quality of life. And in case that wasn’t enough, it’s been shown that a dollar invested in sanitation yields $5.50 in increased economic prosperity. You could say toilets are magical!

More people in the world have mobile phones than toilets. Think about that next time you’re texting on the loo!

For more info and to start wiping visit https://us.whogivesacrap.org/ 

Parachutes for the Planet

To raise awareness of people living sustainable lives and affected by climate change, Mother Earth Project is encouraging individuals, schools, and communities around the world to create PARACHUTES FOR THE PLANET!

So why go with parachutes? Saving the environment is vital to our health, safety and future, and parachutes are a metaphor for this process. Parachutes are safety nets and when held by groups during demonstrations or collectively displayed in large numbers, they transform into powerful messages of strength, hope and communal determination.

In the 1990s, thousands of HIV/AIDS Quilts (blankets) were exhibited in Washington, DC, to bring attention to a disease that was previously not understood. The result of this exhibition was dramatic – people became more aware and governments began to fund research to find a cure. Using artwork and text displayed on parachutes, the Mother Earth Project hopes to accomplish similar goals for saving the environment.

Display your parachute in your local community to raise awareness about sustainability (for example your school, company, city government, neighborhood, or on your car). Also, please encourage two other schools/clubs to create a parachute, as spreading awareness is the central theme of this project!

Litterati

Litterati, created by Jeff Kirschner, is a global community that’s crowdsource-cleaning the planet, from students in South Africa to activists in Italy, and neighbors across the US. They’re designing a mobile app that identifies, maps, and collects the litter that we pick up as a community, collecting a ton of data in the process, helping businesses and communities identify the root of the problem and drive change.
Upon the request of early users of the app, Kirschner has launched a kickstart campaign for Litterati!
Among these changes include:
1. Groups: Understand Combined Impact (“Our most requested feature. Schools, environmental groups, scout troops, and companies, they all want to understand their combined impact to drive change for their communities.”)
2. Maps: Measure Actions Locally (“In-app maps will provide the ability to search, browse, and filter by location or brand, so that anyone can map and measure their impact while understanding more about the litter in their neighborhood.”
3. Data Analysis Tools: Drive Bigger Change (“The community has already picked up nearly 1,000,000 pieces and we want to put that data to work. These additional layers of information, like retail locations, trash can placement, even weather and topography, will help us make more informed decisions and take effective action.”)
Change is happening! Check out their app and kickstarter to get involved:
https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/litterati/litterati-join-the-community-thats-cleaning-the-pl
CEF FFT: Creating a greater awareness around how we treat our community environment is a great place to start in spreading awareness of the impact we have on the planet!

Why is Plastic Non-biodegradable?

Most plastic is manufactured from petroleum the end product of a few million years of natural decay of once-living organisms. Petroleum’s main components come from lipids that were first assembled long ago in those organisms’ cells. So the question is, if petroleum-derived plastic comes from biomaterial, why doesn’t it biodegrade?

A crucial manufacturing step turns petroleum into a material unrecognized by the organisms that normally break organic matter down.

Most plastics are derived from propylene, a simple chemical component of petroleum. When heated up in the presence of a catalyst, individual chemical units monomers of propylene link together by forming extremely strong carbon-carbon bonds with each other. This results in polymers long chains of monomers called polypropylene.

“Nature doesn’t make things like that,” said Kenneth Peters, an organic geochemist at Stanford University, “so organisms have never seen that before.”

The organisms that decompose organic matter the ones that start turning your apple brown the instant you cut it open “have evolved over billions of years to attack certain types of bonds that are common in nature,” Peters told Life’s Little Mysteries.

“For example, they can very quickly break down polysaccharides to get sugar. They can chew up wood. But they see a polypropylene with all its carbon-carbon bonds, and they don’t normally break something like that down so there aren’t metabolic pathways to do it,” he said.

But if all you have to do to make propylene subunits turn into polypropylene is heat them up, why doesn’t nature ever build polypropylene molecules?

According to Peters, it’s because the carbon-carbon bonds in polypropylene require too much energy to make, so nature chooses other alternatives for holding together large molecules. “It’s easier for organisms to synthesize peptide bonds than carbon-carbon bonds,” he said. Peptide bonds, which link carbon to nitrogen, are found in proteins and many other organic molecules.

Environmentalists might wonder why plastic manufacturers don’t use peptide bonds to build polymers rather than carbon-carbon bonds, so that they’ll biodegrade rather than lasting forever in a landfill . Unfortunately, while peptide bonds would produce plastics that biodegrade, they would also have a very short shelf life. “It’s an issue of ‘you can’t have your cake and eat it too,'” said Jim Coleman, chief scientist at the US Geological Survey Energy Resources Program. “When you buy a plastic jar of mayonnaise, you want [the jar] to last a few months.” You don’t want it to start decomposing before you’ve finished the mayo inside.

For the original article visit livescience.com!

[Photo Credit: Antonio Oquias | Dreamstime]