Innovations That Matter

The Grand Palais in Paris was filled with hundreds of promising sustainable innovations | Photo source Justin Sablich/Springwise

7 Sustainable Innovations That Stood Out at ChangeNOW 2020

Innovation Snapshot

Highlighting a few of the many promising sustainable business ideas and innovations that were exhibited at ChangeNOW 2020 in Paris.

We’re still buzzing from an extraordinary three days at the ChangeNOW Summit in Paris. 

In addition to the many engaging keynote speeches and panel discussions, including our own James Bidwell’s talk on changing food culture with Beyond Meat’s Seth Goldman and others, the exhibit hall at the Grand Palais was filled with hundreds of promising sustainable business ideas and innovations. 

We came away feeling hopeful, knowing that there are so many people working hard to help save our planet, and excited to share with you some of the many innovations that stood out from the crowd. 

Here are seven innovations that we particularly liked from ChangeNOW 2020, and expect to see more of the ones we discovered on Springwise in the coming weeks.

1. FASHION APP FOR COLLECTING AND RESELLING UNWANTED APPAREL

Photo source Justin Sablich/Springwise

Among the many sustainable fashion innovations at ChangeNOW was Stuffstr, which collects unwanted apparel and accessories from consumers and sends them on to the second-hand clothing market, or for recycling, via its app. 

One big difference between Stuffstr and other second-hand clothing companies is data. Stuffstr works with clothing brands to collect data on five years’ worth of products, which customers can then search, to find out what the company will pay to buy that item back.  

The company collects the item from the consumer, takes it to their sorting facility and sends it on to be recycled, or sold second-hand. Stuffstr then feeds this information back to the brands, based on the condition of the returned clothes. Brands can use this information to inform future product development and fine-tune the prices they offer consumers for the used goods. 

2. SUSTAINABLE TEXTILE DYES VIA MICROBIAL FERMENTATION

Photo source Nina Luong on Unsplash

Another sustainable fashion solution presented at ChangeNOW was the use of microbial fermentation to produce sustainable textile dyes. 

PILI’s approach avoids the use of fossil fuels and corrosive chemicals that have a harmful environmental impact. It uses microorganisms that are needed in the fermentation process of, which allows microorganisms to break down renewable plant-based matter that can be reshaped into dyes.

3. A WASHING MACHINE FILTER THAT CAPTURES MICROPLASTICS

Photo source PlanetCare

Slovenian startup PlanetCare developed a filter that can be attached to washing machines and catch around 90 per cent of the microfibres shed from clothes. The cartridges need to be changed monthly, and the used ones can be sent back to PlanetCare, which cleans and returns them to customers. 

“We don’t want you to open the cartridge yourself, because the fibres might get re-released into the environment, Mojca Zupan, CEO of PlanetCare, told Springwise.

PlanetCare offers a subscription service for around $11 (€9.90) a month, and customers receive a filter with seven months’ worth of cartridges. The company is working to create a range of filters that will fit existing washing machines and is also negotiating with appliance manufacturers to install built-in filters. They are also developing an industrial filter for larger laundry facilities.

4. A VESSEL FUELED BY PLASTIC WASTE

Photo source Justin Sablich/Springwise

Plastic Odyssey plans to sail to three continents later this year on a vessel fuelled by plastic waste. The expedition is part of a campaign to reduce plastic waste and promote recycling and is said to be the first in the world to be fuelled by plastic waste, a process called pyrolysis. 

Plastic waste that is not recyclable is burned at over 400°C, without oxygen, and the molecules of the plastic break apart and turn into liquid fuel and other byproducts. The unit on the boat will be able to produce 30 and 40 litres of fuel per hour.

Plastic Odyssey has also developed inexpensive and mobile technology to promote plastic recycling and reuse. The startup up plans to help communities reduce waste by turning plastic into products like bricks, fabrics and roof tiles.

5. ALL-NATURAL FARMING PRODUCT REMOVES AMMONIA FROM MANURE

Photo source Evi T. on Unsplash

Swiss NatureTech company Bioma has a solution that it says can decrease ammonia emissions in farms by 95 per cent. Kopros is an all-natural product that optimises the positive microbial transformations in manure, turning it into a high-value fertilizer.

Kopros can improve animal welfare as well, allows animals “to live in a better environment, where they can become more productive” without the use of antibiotics, Bioma’s Paolo Bassanini told Springwise.

Global ammonia emissions have doubled over the past 70 years, with a growing demand for chemical fertilizers the main culprit. 

6. A SMART AND SUSTAINABLE PACKAGING BOX

Photo source THE BOX

LivingPackets was on hand showing off THE BOX —  a connected delivery box made of proprietary material. When required, the pieces of THE BOX can be refurbished for an additional 1,000 uses.

Created in partnership with the ePaper technology business E Ink, THE BOX is not only made of recyclable and reusable material but includes sensors to monitor temperature, weight and humidity, a camera and an alarm system. One design incorporates two sizes of packaging, and no additional materials, such as bubble wrap or paper, are required to keep products safe.

7. SHOWER DRAIN WARMS WATER TO CONSERVE ENERGY

Photo source Joulia

Switzerland-based Joulia has created a shower drain that preheats cold water using heat recovered from previous showers. The shower drain offers an efficient and accessible way to reduce energy consumption. 

With traditional systems, heated water drains into the sewer system after a shower. But Joulia is connected directly to the cold water pipes and uses heat recovery technology to capture the warmth from used water to preheat fresh cold water. That means less hot water is needed to reach a comfortable temperature for future showers, reducing energy consumption.