Google’s new phone case is beautiful—and it’s made out of water bottles

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Sustainable products can also be easy on the eye. While we’re busy toting our reusable bags to the grocery and desperately recycling takeout containers, plastic is hiding in plain sight in everything from our computer cords to remote controls. Every year, 10 million tonnes of plastic goes into electronic products, very little of which is recycled. Read Full Story

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These hungry superworms happily munch through plastic

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A superworm can eat about eight times more than other plastic-ingesting insects. Recycling seems like a simple cure for our plastic addiction: Just take the plastic we have and make it into new items. But problems abound. Current technology mostly creates plastic of a lower quality than it was before, many types of plastic aren’t recyclable at all, and much of the plastic is floating in the ocean, not even in the recycling stream. So it’s vital that we find new ways to break down plastic, and scientists have just discovered one: a superworm that can eat about eight times more than other plastic-ingesting insects like mealworms. Read Full Story

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Shifting to plant-based plastic is a start—but it can’t be the only solution to plastic waste

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It would take a major reshaping of global agriculture to generate enough material to replace petroleum-based plastic with plant-based ones. Circularity has to be the end goal. To solve our climate crisis, there’s no doubt that we need to change the way we create—and dispose—of everyday things. Nonrenewable fossil fuels are used to make a nearly endless list of items, from plastic forks to styrofoam packaging to synthetic fabrics to steel and concrete. Not only do these products require limited resources and significant amounts of energy to produce, they can be nearly impossible to get rid of. Our recycling system is inadequate, these materials take thousands of years to break down, and so our planet continues to fill up with trash . Read Full Story

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Seventh Generation’s new line gets rid of all its plastic packaging

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Get ready to clean differently: For its new zero-plastic line, the natural cleaning supply company has also reinvented its products as powders instead of liquids. Seventh Generation, the cleaning product company known for its natural products, has spent years tweaking its packaging to improve sustainability, including a massive push to use more post-consumer recycled plastic. But the company is now using a different tactic, and beginning to move away from plastic completely, starting with a new line called Zero Plastic Homecare. Read Full Story

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Garbage has never looked as cool as these Pacific Garbage Patch sunglasses

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The first product to come from the Ocean Cleanup’s efforts to remove plastic from the ocean are these Yves Behar-designed shades. Late in 2019, the Ocean Cleanup crew returned from the Great Pacific Garbage Patch with its first load of plastic waste harvested from the ocean during a pilot test of its trash-fighting technology , proving that it could skim plastic off the surface of the water. But then came the next hurdle in the company’s yearslong quest to prove its effectiveness: how to recycle that plastic so it didn’t become waste again. Read Full Story

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Evian’s new 100% recycled plastic bottle comes without a label

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The bottle, which has the brand name engraved onto the recycled plastic, is part of Evian’s effort to become fully circular by 2025. When a plastic bottle ends up in a recycling plant, the label attached to it usually isn’t recycled. That’s why a new bottle from Evian was designed to eliminate the label entirely, with the brand name and other details carved into the bottle itself. Read Full Story

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The world’s largest jewelry maker commits to using 100% recycled silver and gold

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Most of that gold and silver is in our old electronics, so for the goal to be possible, it’s going to require a massive increase in e-waste recycling. When you recycle an old mobile phone, there’s a growing chance that the precious metals inside could be turned into jewelry. Pandora, the world’s largest jewelry brand by volume, is moving completely away from newly mined silver and gold in its products—and to reach a goal of 100% recycled silver and gold by 2025, one of the sources it turns to will be old electronics. Read Full Story

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This Ugandan startup turns plastic waste into construction materials and COVID face shields

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Takataka Plastics is trying to build a local market for recycling—and has quickly pivoted to pandemic response. The city of Gulu, Uganda, is six hours from the nearest recycling plant—so most plastic bottles collected in that city end up trashed or burned. But in a small pilot facility that’s now operating behind a restaurant in the city’s downtown, a startup called Takataka Plastics is testing a new process to turn plastic waste into something valuable. Read Full Story

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Disposable plastic is bad for the environment, but is it illegal? Coca-Cola and Pepsi are about to find out

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A landmark suit filed in California is putting some of the biggest producers of plastic on trial. Coca-Cola. Nestlé. Pepsi. Mars. P&G. These are some of the world’s most iconic brands. They are also some of the biggest plastic polluters on the planet. They sell goods in single-use plastic containers, which end up in our oceans and never biodegrade. Whether we buy their products or not, we’re all affected by their footprint. And in turn, a landmark lawsuit by the Plastic Pollution Coalition and Earth Island Institute has been filed in California against all of the aforementioned corporations and several other major food, beverage, and consumer product companies. The groups are suing for damages to repair the problem of plastic waste. Read Full Story

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This crazy sculpture is made by an MIT-engineered machine that 3D prints biopolymers to replace plastic

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Aguahoja—a winner of Fast Company’s 2020 World Changing Ideas Awards—rethinks the paradigm of recycling. Recycling plastic hasn’t been successful so far: Of the billions of tons of the material that have been produced since 1950 from fossil fuels, less than 10% has been recycled. A project from MIT called Aguahoja rethinks the paradigm of recycling: By using material 3D-printed from sustainable raw ingredients, it’s designed to degrade back into nature instead of ever going to a recycling center. Read Full Story

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