Happy New Year to all of you Digest readers! Some of you may have already embarked on your New Year’s Resolutions, or some of you may have vowed to not make any resolutions for 2018. Either way, the Digest has you covered with 18 ways you can support a biobased economy in 2018. We’ve already looked back at 2017, so today we are looking forward to 2018.
We are going beyond biofuels today, as we dig into how we can make a difference in the New Year by supporting a biobased economy – from biobased shoes, homes, and vehicles to biobased food, medicine and sports, check out these 18 ways you can support a bioeconomy in 2018.
There are so many biobased packaging options out there today, with new innovations coming out all the time that it may be hard to keep up with, but one of our favorite ones is Braskem’s sugarcane-based bioplastic which reduces the carbon footprint of things like LeafGro packaging. In Maryland, Braskem’s bioplastic will be used to package over 500,000 bags of Leafgro, a soil conditioner for sale in lawn and garden retail locations along the U.S. East Coast. Braskem’s I’m green polyethylene is a bio-based resin made from ethanol produced from Brazilian sugarcane that is a drop-in substitute for conventional oil-based polyethylene.
Ok, you may not want to completely rebuild your home in 2018 to live in a hemp-based house or a 100% biobased tomato stems and seaweed house, or even switch to mushroom walls, but there are certainly things you can do in your home to support a biobased economy. You could start with mushroom based wall art instead, new nature-engineered pinecone blinds, or look into bioheat to stay warm in your home, or start collecting used cooking oil if it’s available in your area to be converted into biodiesel, or install new wallpaper that generates electricity and monitors the air quality in the home. You could also start a home garden or an urban rooftop greenhouse if you live in a city.
Eat more greens
Eating healthier in 2018 is probably on many people’s to-do list, and one way to do that could be eating more eco-friendly produce. In New Jersey, AeroFarms built a 36-foot-tall indoor vertical farm on a former steel supply company site and now grow baby salad greens like kale, arugula, watercress. Unlike regular farming which uses soil and water or hydroponic farming which uses water, aeroponic farming uses fabric and only a light mist of water and nutrients to grow vegetables. Even better for the environment, aeroponic vertical farming produces no runoff and only uses a fraction of the water that conventional or hydroponic farming uses.
Green your sports
If ARLANXEO can score major eco-friendly points with a biobased soccer ball for the 2018 World Cup, then we surely can green up our sporting goods as well. In the Netherlands, ARLANXEO is scoring big goals with its new Keltan Eco soccer ball. The rubber layer in the adidas soccer ball is made from bio-based EPDM rubber. The rubber is made with bio-based ethylene extracted from sugarcane – the world’s first EPDM rubber to do so – and reduces the carbon footprint of the soccer ball compared to conventional rubber.
Biobased boots are made for walking
Need new shoes in 2018? There are plenty of biobased options now, but one of our favorites are the apple peel shoes. In Italy, designer shoe brand VEERAH launched a line of footwear made from…yes…apple peels. The vegan leather, which took six years to develop, is made from organic apples handpicked in the Italian Alps. Natural pores in the peels mean the shoes are breathable and UV-resistant. Another favorite is Vivobarefoot and Bloom’s amphibious Ultra III sneaker which is now available for sale and is made from invasive algae and algae blooms.
Biobased beachwear for your vacation
Following on the greening up of shoes, let’s expand that to vacation time. Algae-based flip-flops developed by a trio of professors at the University of California are made from algae-derived polymeric polyols. Algenesis Materials are working on 100% biodegradable versions which would tremendously help green up the 3 billion flip-flops that are manufactured annually and contribute to ocean pollution.
Dig down deep with Kona Deep and meat-free food
Instead of drilling for oil, support a biobased economy this year by digging down deep in a different way like Kona Deep. Kona Deep sources and bottles deep ocean water from 3,000 feet below the ocean surface in Kona, Hawaii that is rich in naturally occurring minerals and electrolytes. So knock out two New Year’s resolutions at once with this one!
We’ve also heard that cutting meat consumption helps lower GHG emissions by reducing methane, but we don’t have to give up meat entirely thanks to ever-increasing biobased alternatives. Alternatives abound like Memphis Meats who raised $17 million to make animal-free meat or Impossible Foods in California could help support a bioeconomy in 2018 as well. Heck, pretty soon you can even 3D print your own biobased food at home!
While some countries like Taiwan and Kenya are outright banning plastic bags, another way to support a bioeconomy in 2018 is to use biobased bags. Usually, cotton or natural fabric bags come to mind, but biobased bags can now be made from almost anything, including the fermentation of discarded bakery items like sliced bread and biscuits, fully compostable food packaging material made from Brazilian eucalyptus, cassava-based bags, or jute liners for food packaging in meal delivery.
Biobased clothing goes beyond cotton and wool these days and we listed some of the latest cruelty-free leather substitutes back in September. Nine animal-free ways to make leather included fruit waste, vegetables and mushrooms, biobased polyols from field corn, wood and cork, and even kombucha tea.
Biobased bath time
Bath time just got more sustainable with Braskem’s biobased polyethylene to be used as packaging for Buhbli Organics’ Himalayan Bath Salts for sale at Walmart stores in the United States. Braskem says that, for every 1 ton of its biobased polyethylene used, Buhbli Organics is sequestering 3.09 tons of carbon dioxide “from a cradle to Braskem gate perspective.” So go ahead and enjoy that biobased bubble bath in the New Year.
Green your grass
If you don’t already have forest or trees in your yard, you probably have a lawn with grass on it which requires watering, fertilizer, weed killer or a number of other toxic additives. But in Georgia, SYNLawn is greening your grass by introducing a new biobased and environmentally renewable polyethylene (PE) product made from Brazilian sugar cane. SYNRenew synthetic turf combines soy-based polyurethane BioCel and EnviroLoc backing technology with polyethylene fibers made from sugarcane technology to produce a new and completely biobased synthetic turf product. Possibly the best part is not having to mow it, ever.
As reported in the Digest in September, bioplastics are growing like crazy and we identified the top 10 trends to check out. From Coca-Cola’s PlantBottle to sugar and CO2 based bioplastics, there are plenty of options for 2018. Rennovia, Avantium, CARBIOLICE, Anellotech, and big names like DuPont Industrial Biosciences and Archer Daniels Midland are also making huge strides with new biobased plastics.
Biobased beauty products
Another big jump occurred in 2017 with biobased cosmetic and personal care products. Too many innovations and new products to name here but a few favorites include France-based cosmetics firm Lessonia which uses algae-based ingredients for its skin care products and soaked sheet masks that focus on natural exfoliating ingredients.
Green Biologics produces 100% bio-based n-butanol and acetone that serve as ingredients for personal, homecare and food products. For cosmetics, while acetone is most often used as a nail polish remover, their BioPure n-butanol can be combined with acids derived from natural plant based oils to produce a wide array of 100 percent renewable butyl esters. These esters can be utilized in natural lipsticks, moisturizers, and nail polishes.
For all the birthdays you might be invited to in 2018, you can support a bioeconomy by buying biobased gifts. One way is through biobased toys. As reported in NUU in December, a recent study found that parents preferred and would be willing to pay a limited price premium for bioplastic toys over conventional plastic toys and expect that bioplastic toys should be 100% biobased from locally sources, and preferably organic, non-genetically modified, and made from a non-food crop.
Driving a motorcycle that runs on biofuel is not such a crazy idea anymore thanks to ethanol, biodiesel and overall expansion of biofuels into mainstream vehicles, but motorcycles actually made from biobased materials is still pretty new. One example is a wood-framed motorcycle that runs on algae fuel.
Fly high on hemp airplane
Ok, so a 2018 resolution probably shouldn’t include smoking more pot, but it sure can include flying on a hemp airplane. Yes, flying on an airplane powered by biofuel supports a bioeconomy, but it sure would be fun to tell people you flew on a hemp-based airplane. In North Carolina, Hempearth Group is working on a four-seater aircraft composed of 75% industrial hemp. The plane will be designed and built by small-plane maker Velocity Inc., which did some of its own testing on the material’s strength and durability before agreeing to the build. Hempearth hopes to hold the plane’s inaugural flight in Kitty Hawk, Virginia in 2018.
Hopefully you won’t get hurt in 2018, but if you do, you can even support a biobased economy in your recovery. Biomedicine advances abound and we are seeing more and more healthcare systems around the world using biobased materials for repair and implants and recovery, using chitosan from crustaceans for bone regeneration, and even creating cocktail concoctions of insect wings, shrimp shells and copper to fight superbugs that traditional antibiotics can’t kill.
Eco-friendly burials – Green until the very end
We end our list with the end in mind…biobased burials. From reducing the minimum depth for burial to improve decomposition to removing restrictions on biodegradable caskets, “green” funerals are growing in popularity thanks to increased awareness and accommodation by local cemeteries. Green burials can also involve biodegradable urns made from cornstarch. So even in the end, you can support a bioeconomy.