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Eco Innovators: a simple ecological guide for living

Eco innovators: a simple ecological guide for living. All over the world inventors, businesses and ordinary people are coming up with ingenious new ways for greener, more sustainable lifestyles. Nativ looks at the creative innovators, big and small, making a positive change.
Ben Raworth
19/10/2022

Eco innovators: a simple ecological guide for living. All over the world inventors, businesses and ordinary people are coming up with ingenious new ways for greener, more sustainable lifestyles. Nativ looks at the creative innovators, big and small, making a positive change.

1. Tiny homes with big ideas

The future means using less resources more wisely and sustainably. That extends to where we live. New Frontier Tiny Homes are on a mission to design very small living spaces that are also beautiful and functional. Their creative designs really make you think about how much room you really need to live comfortably.

2. Clothes made from fruit

Cotton is a thirsty crop, and we need to save water. Polyester is manufactured from oil. We badly need alternatives, and companies like Spanish brand Piñatex are leading the way: they are making pineapple leather from pineapple waste: half the cost of real leather and a fraction of the environmental cost of livestock.

3. Sunglasses that give back

Look cool while helping out those in real need. Pala manage to pull off that neat trick. Their sunglasses and cases are made from recycled material and bio-acetates, but more impressively the company donates a pair of spectacles to those in need through vision centres all over Africa.

4. Food wrap that isn’t plastic

You don’t have to wrap your sandwiches in cling-film ever again. Bee’s Wrap is made from organic cotton, sustainably sourced beeswax, tree resin and jojaba oil. It’s lovely to look at and you just warm it a little with your hands and it molds itself to whatever shape you like. And, amazingly, you can wash it and re-use it!

5. Drinking water from fresh air

The Warka Water Tower is a water-catchment system that produces drinking water by harvesting rain, fog, and dew. The design is influenced by termite hives and cactus spines, and combined with low-cost, locally found materials – a bamboo frame, recyclable mesh, rope, canopy, and a water tank – and can be assembled easily and inexpensively by six people in about four days. Already successfully tested in Ethiopia, it goes into production this year.

6. A green truck for big jobs

Until we find another solution we are still going to have to get from A to B, and sometimes we will need a big vehicle. The Rivian R1T All Electric Truck is a beefy 2.6 tonne beast that can tackle the biggest workloads and you’ll also be able to go from 0-100mph in under seven seconds, with a top speed of 125mph. IN AN ELECTRIC PICK-UP TRUCK.

7. The wind-powered plane

Fossil-fuelled flight is one of the biggest  – and growing -contributors to climate change. Imagine if, one day in the future, you could board a silent plane that emitted no CO2 and left simply a trail of fresh water in its wake. That day may be closer than you think if the developers of the HY4 make more progress. They have already made an un-manned flight with the plane, which uses a hydrogen-fuel cell system, and see a clean-air regional air taxi system in the near-future.

8. Food as fuel

Nutritious food is a valuable resource, and fertile land and soil erosion are a global problem. The good people at Huel set out on a mission to produce a nutritionally complete, convenient, affordable food that had a minimum impact on animals and the environment. It’s vegan, has a year-long shelf life and Huel donate a percentage to Vitamin Angels, who help mothers and children with malnutrition.

9. The highway that cleans air

Cars produce CO2, and that is bad. Until now, the pollution emitted from your exhaust pipe went right into the atmosphere. Design duo Hsuan Ting Huang and Tsung Ying Hsieh have come up with a conceptual ‘living barrier’, manufactured from a mesh of live moss, that absorbs emissions and captures particles – a brilliant idea as we transition from gas to electric cars. 

10. The Smog Free Tower

The Smog Free Tower is a 7-meter tall structure that acts like a huge vacuum cleaner and sucks the air clean in public spaces. It is equipped with environmentally-friendly technology, cleans 30,000 m3 per hour and uses a tiny amount of green electricity. Inventor Daan Roosegaarde sees the towers providing a local solution for clean air such as in parks. He says: “True beauty is not a Louis Vuitton bag or a Ferrari, but clean air and clean energy.”

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