Innovation That Matters

Spotted: UK-based plastic technology specialist, Symphony Environmental, has teamed up with the French biotech company, Eranova, to create a new “smart plastic” bag using upcycled green algae. The technology aims to not only reduce the environmental impact of fossil fuel-intensive plastic but also present new uses for green algae.

Green algae proliferation is a common environmental nuisance. It accumulates in large quantities on beaches, which can create toxic conditions for humans and wildlife. Symphony Environmental has partnered with Eranova to pioneer a technology that transforms green algae into bio-plastic

Eranova’s process extracts starch from the algae to produce a biodegradable and compostable resin, which is then used to manufacture packaging and other products. The biomass can also be used to produce biofuel, proteins for food and animal feed, as well as by-products for the pharmaceutical and cosmetic industries. By using algae, Eranova is able to produce a fossil-fuel-free bioplastic that does not rely on food crops, making it a win-win for sustainability.

Describing the project, CEO of Symphony Environmental, Michael Laurier said, “We are delighted with our collaboration and distribution agreement with Eranova, announced in September last year. This innovative technology looks very promising, and we are excited to see how it develops.”

Bioplastics are seemingly everywhere at the moment, from scented room dividers to construction materials. Many of these, however, are made from food waste or food crops, which means there is often an additional carbon cost in producing them. The Eranova product, which is made from a renewable source that would otherwise be disposed of, could be a more sustainable option. 

Written By: Lisa Magloff

Explore more: Sustainability

Spotted: London-based design startup Make.Work.Space creates tech-driven solutions fit for the new age of hybrid working. Amongst their first product offering is a fleet of bookable, next-generation work pods that are
designed to enhance human health and productivity in today’s post-pandemic landscape.

The pods will be bookable through the custom-built app and located in major train stations, public buildings, shopping, and entertainment centres. If the user has a mobile phone, they will also be able to use the app to lock and unlock the pod when they are nearby and control the environment settings, including temperature and lighting once they are inside.

The pods are designed to create an optimal environment for work or rest, no matter where they are located. A desk levers down from the wall with a one-angled edge to maximise space, and users can store their bags in a compartment underneath the main seat. A second seat can also be folded down and tucked away, giving users the option to invite visitors to their pod for co-working or meetings.

Opposite the main seat, a camera and microphone are integrated into the wall at the perfect distance and angle for video calls. Users can also project their screen onto the pod’s walls and tinted glass door for a truly immersive experience. Each pod is equipped with high-speed wifi and multiple charging options for a range of smartphones and other devices.

To ensure the space is kept clean between uses, UV lights disinfect the pods throughout the day and a ventilation system filters air multiple times an hour.

Running through every aspect of the pod’s design is a strong focus on wellbeing and sustainability; from the low carbon mild steel tubing that is locally welded by experts in London, to the wall panels that are manufactured with FSC certified wood. What’s more, each pod arrives flat packed, the most eco-friendly method of distribution, while the fully customisable finishes use a range of water-based options for the exterior and sustainably manufactured fabrics for the interiors.

According to the startup, the pods will soon be made available to order for corporate and private offices, as well as homes and gardens. The goal is to make each pod solar-powered. In anticipation of this, the pods have been designed with enough space to fit eco-friendly battery packs to support solar charging in the future.

Written by: Eva Sealey

Explore More: Work and Lifestyle