When it comes to the subject of saving the planet, there’s one thing people should always remember. Saving the planet is actually all about saving our environment and our lives.
While it sometimes feels like it’s too late to save Earth, the fortunate fact is that there are lots of great solutions out there that could soon replace the harmful materials that are ruining our planet.
Here are 12 materials that can save our environment from an ecological disaster.
1. Synthetic squid protein
Researchers from Pennsylvania have figured out that protein from squid tentacles can be produced artificially. This durable material is also able to heal itself, is biodegradable, and can be recycled.
In the future, this protein material could replace nylon and polyester. What if we had the opportunity to create self-mending clothing one day? We think it’d be great.
2. Improved cotton
When it comes to cotton production, the only issue people face is that toxic substances and huge amounts of water are used. However, some manufacturers have started producing improved cotton.
This new cotton doesn’t need as much water and requires only a few harmful chemicals during production so the negative impact on ecology is much smaller.
Artificial fabrics often irritate the skin and clothes made of these fabrics take forever to decompose. Moreover, they emit toxic substances while being washed which eventually gets into groundwater. Lyocell (or tencel) is one of the substances that can replace these artificial fibers. The material easily decomposes and can be used as secondary raw material.
Lyocell looks like silk, and its quality resembles that of cotton. It’s only drawback is its price — it’s really expensive now. But even fabrics that contain 50% tencel are considered to be ecologically friendly.
4. Stone wool
Stone wool is made from basalt that forms after lava cools and it’s spun into fibers that resemble wool. It’s a great material to replace fiberglass or polyethylene foam which are usually used during construction.
The advantage offered by stone wool is that it is:
- repels water
- durable in extreme climates
Stone wool should definitely be used in areas where natural disasters like wildfires or floods are likely to occur.
5. Mushrooms as packaging and building material
Mushrooms can replace plastic insulation materials and protective packaging. For example, MycoWorks produces a durable fabric from mycelium (basically mushrooms). The manufacturer compares the quality of this material to rubber. It’s said that one day, mushrooms will even be able to replace leather.
Another company — Ecovative Design — uses mycelium to produce fireproof packaging.
6. Urea-based cement
Cement is one of the most harmful materials. Around 5% of all carbon dioxide emissions are caused by cement production. Biostone is a material that can replace it. It was invented by a student from Edinburgh who used three components: sand, bacteria, and urine.
7. Tree-free paper
Besides trees, there are lots of natural materials that can be used in paper production. For example, we have bananas, wheat straw, or cannabis. The main issue with these options is their higher price but their quality and other properties are just great as regular paper.
8. Bamboo toothbrushes
Our ordinary plastic toothbrushes are a true disaster for our planet. Each country throws away thousands of toothbrushes each day. Biodegradable bamboo toothbrushes are a good solution that can replace plastic ones.
9. Eco-friendly swimwear
Eco-friendly swimsuits are printed via 3D printers, using a sponge-like material. These swimsuits absorb harmful substances while you swim. Sounds weird, but it’s not dangerous for your health at all.
10. Disposable tableware made from apple puree
Russia’s eco-friendly disposable tableware are a wonderful thing. The material — apple puree — is 100% natural and even low in calories. You can pour boiling water in these cups, and it won’t crumble. You don’t even have to eat if after using, you can just throw it away. It takes this dishware a few days to decompose or 12 hours to dissolve in water.
Today, one cup costs around 40-50¢, but the manufacturer is trying to figure out how to make this tableware even cheaper.
11. Recycled plastic bottles used to produce railroad tracks
In 2018, Russia started using railroad tracks made from plastic bottles. These tracks function for around 50 years; then they can be recycled and replaced with new tracks.
12. Metal, bamboo, and other materials used to produce reusable drinking straws
Plastic straws can’t be recycled. Each single straw ever made still exists on this planet (probably in the ocean).
There’s a better alternative: reusable drinking straws made from bamboo, glass, or metal. They can be easily washed with a special brush.
Bonus: Giving up sanitary pads
Unfortunately, the most famous alternative to sanitary pads are menstrual cups, and they’re not suitable for all women. However, you don’t need these cups if you want to feel comfortable during your period and contribute to the improvement of the environment. And here’s another alternative — period underwear.
They look like ordinary underwear, work like sanitary pads, and can hold up to two regular tampons. In the evening, you just wash your panties by hand or in the washing machine.
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