There has been a rising eco-consciousness and increased awareness of our individual consumerism within the past few years. This year, companies are placing their resources to support sustainable innovations for ecological conservation. As a result, we’re seeing environmental engineers and scientists focus on utilizing sustainable tech to minimize energy-related greenhouse gas emissions.
Electric Public Transportation
Asia as a whole may account for high quantities of global greenhouse gas emissions, but many of its metropolitan cities are taking strides toward sustainability. As you are reading this, Asia Pacific regions are paving the path to emission-free public transportation systems by using electric buses to support transit needs. Researchers predict 704,000 vehicles will make up the electric bus market by 2027, and Asia Pacific is the largest consumer of these units. Environmentalists hope the transition to electric transportation will minimize this region’s dependency on non-renewable resources, like oil and gas, reducing the greenhouse effect.
Biodegradable (and Edible) Food Packaging
In today’s world, we produce approximately 300 million tons of plastic waste every year. Unshockingly, nearly 50% of the plastic produced is used only once before it’s thrown away.
Single-use plastic is a recipe for disaster and the food packaging industry is a major perpetrator. According to a report by Greenpeace Korea, 78.1% of domestic plastic waste comes solely from food packaging used in daily life.
This may seem like a problem we will never get out of; however, a new start-up is changing the whole food packaging game. Boston-based start-up Mori created a plastic-like food wrap made from natural silk protein. This biodegradable and edible wrap takes the place of a thin plastic film or packaging. It can keep food fresh as it’s shipped to stores. Best of all, the packaging is all-natural, so unlike plastic, it will biodegrade. You can even eat it if you want to! Mori uses nature-inspired protection for all kinds of foods, from produce to protein, their all-natural, protective layer can even double a product’s shelf life.
Kiwibot is changing the way food is delivered and their solution could considerably cut down on emissions. It’s projected that carbon emissions from food delivery will rise 32% by 2022. That equates to around 6 million tons! Much like DoorDash or UberEats, Kiwibot enables customers to order food from participating restaurants in their local area. After place an order, your food is delivered by a Kiwibot or an autonomous robot on wheels. Kiwibot’s 400 robots have made over 150,000 deliveries, making them the number one robot delivery platform globally since their induction in 2017. Since then, the company has been making big strides, striking partnerships with industry giants and expanding across the globe from Medellín, Colombia, to California, to Taipei. Recently, Kiwibot signed a collaboration with Careem, a subsidiary application of Uber operating in the Middle East, to launch 1,200 delivery robots in Dubai, UAE.
It’s no secret that styrofoam is bad for the environment, as it isn’t biodegradable. In fact, styrofoam products alone fill up 30% of our landfill space. And those landfills, well they’re filling up fast. Despite the fact that styrofoam cannot be recycled, it still remains in wide circulation.
Proservation is a German company that has developed a natural alternative using grain husks. The company says it has all of the same shock-absorbing, insulating, and lightweight credentials as styrofoam while being 100% biodegradable. The packaging has individual shaping, high functionality, and an appealing design. By making the switch, landfills can lose 1/3 of their weight.
You’ve heard of electric cars, but what about electric planes? At the moment, there are around 170 different projects worldwide, all working on developing viable electric aircraft. This electric race to produce electric planes has taken off from the fact that aviation is responsible for 12% of CO2 emissions from all transport sources. Although this percentage wanes in comparison to the 74% from road transport, the more that globalization grows, the more this percentage is bound to grow as well.
Rolls Royce recently pulled off a 15-minute maiden flight in their first 100%-electric aircraft in the UK. This maiden voyage was spearheaded by Vertical Aerospace, a British company owned by OVO founder Stephen Fitzpatrick. Fitzpatrick’s vision is to decarbonize air travel using the best technology from the aviation, energy, and automotive industries. With several partnerships already underway and pre-orders for up to 1,350 aircraft from major airlines, it seems as though electric airlines will be a thing of the present soon enough.