With Republic Day in mind, we have curated some of best examples of green innovation coming out of Italy.
As one of the initial countries hardest hit by COVID-19, this Republic Day is bound to be more subdued than normal in Italy.
We’d like to take this day to recognise Italy for being at the forefront of innovative ideas in many key areas — particularly dealing with environmental protection and sustainability.
1. ROBOT CRAB CLEANS WASTE FROM OCEAN FLOOR
A team at Italy’s Scuola Superiore Sant’Anna School recently tested a robot to pick up plastic rubbish on the ocean floor. The robot, known as the Crab Robot SILVER 2, is designed to detect plastic in the water.
The robot crab can move, walk and run on the ocean floor, according to the development team. Its six crab-like legs can adapt to the changing seabed, and it can bounce without damage and avoid dangers. The robot will eventually be fitted with an arm to collect plastic waste. The full name of the robot is Seabed-Interaction Legged Vehicle for Exploration and the project was supported by the National Geographic Society and Arbi Dario Spa.
2. ECO-FRIENDLY SHOES WITH REUSABLE SOLES AND ZIP-ON STYLES
Italian shoe manufacturer, ACBC, is offering a new take on sustainable shoes with their eco-friendly soles, which attach to a range of zip-on uppers. The company says the shoes will cut down on waste by reducing the number of rubber soles heading to the landfill.
The shoes, branded Made2Share, allow people to turn the same pair of soles into different styles of footwear. The swap-out system reduces waste, and the soles and removable uppers are made out of eco-friendly material — a mixture of rubber made from bamboo, algae-based foam and BioVeg, a bio-based plastic. The skins are also made from Tencel, which is beechwood, or piñatex, a material made largely of pineapple waste.
3. AN ONLINE FASHION PLATFORM FOR TRULY SUSTAINABLE BRANDS
Four young Italian entrepreneurs are on a mission to minimise the environmental footprint of fashion production by means of their online fashion platform STAIY. It offers sustainable clothing alternatives by connecting people to eco-friendly brands. The site tries to appeal to every kind of consumer, as the team have curated diverse collections with everything from a €400 woollen coat to a €12 organic cotton t-shirt.
STAIY takes a very thorough approach to advocate sustainability and has a rigorous process that brands must go through in order to be featured on the site. They must answer 61 questions based around the global Sustainable Development Goals set by the UN, which relate to STAIY’s five founding pillars: “Water, Air, Materials, Work Conditions and Giving Back to the Community.” Certificates such as Global Organic Textile Standard and Fair Wear Foundation, which help identify a brand’s commitment to sustainability, are also analysed in-depth by the team’s sustainability officer.
4. ITALIAN BEACH CAPS DAILY ENTRY TO PRESERVE ENVIRONMENT
Prior to COVID-19, due largely to the exponential growth of international air travel, tourist sites around the world were experiencing staggering increases in visiting numbers. Some turned to timed or ticketed entry or caps on the number of visitors allowed each day. Sardinia’s La Pelosa beach decided to limit daily visits to 1,500 and tourists had to purchase a ticket in advance of their visit.
5. ITALIAN FASHION MAGAZINE SUSPENDS PHOTOSHOOTS FOR A SUSTAINABLE EDITION
Vogue Italia has marked its commitment to making the fashion and publishing industries more sustainable by covering its first edition of 2020 with illustrations instead of expensive and environmentally-damaging photoshoots. Before the era of photoshoots, Vogue was known for its beautifully illustrated covers, and Emanuele Farneti, the editor of Vogue Italia, sees a lot to be commercialised in the old tradition.
As the January 2020 edition marked the start of not only a new year but a new fashion season, Vogue Italia’s move marked a bold commitment to a more sustainable future.
6. ROME PROVIDES PUBLIC TRANSPORT TOKENS IN EXCHANGE FOR PLASTIC BOTTLES
According to the United Nations Environment Assembly, 4.8 to 12.7 million tonnes of plastic are dumped in the ocean every year. However, awareness of these figures has, so far, not proven sufficient to mobilise adequate disposal of plastic. What incentive is needed? This is the question that Rome hoped to answer by providing metro rides in exchange for plastic waste.
The plastic-for-credits scheme is a one year trial that exchanges plastic waste for credit towards metro and bus rides in Rome. The service will be available at all three major stations: Cipro on the A line, Piramide on the B line, and S. Giovanni on the C line.
7. AUTOMATED JUICE BAR TURNS FRUIT RIND INTO CUPS
Italian design studio Carlo Ratti Associati has created a juice bar that turns the rind of the fruit into recyclable cups. Called Feel the Peel, the automated juice bar includes a 3D printer. It was on tour across Italy throughout October 2019 following its debut at the Singularity University Summit in Milan.
After customers order, oranges roll down from the domed top and are then sliced and squeezed. The unused portion of the fruit collects in a see-through drum, heated and mixed with polylactic acid. The ensuing bioplastic feeds the 3D printer, which creates the cups used by customers for their juice.
2nd June 2020