Beautiful Bio-Plastics for a cleaner world!

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In recent years, we’ve all become aware of the problems caused by plastic pollution. Petroleum-based plastics, which can take literally hundreds of years to disintegrate, fill up our landfills and cause huge problems in the ocean.

Thankfully, some ingenious inventors are busy developing alternatives to traditional plastics, called “bioplastics”. These alternatives aim to have the same uses as traditional plastics, but be much more environment-friendly than fossil fuel based substances. To do this, they’re using unexpected things like seaweed, sugar, and…bugs? Yep!

An inventor from Chile named Margarita Talep has created a bioplastic made from seaweed. Red algae, which grows naturally in marine environments, contains an important jelly-like substance called agar. Talep uses agar to make a plastic alternative made entirely of natural materials that breaks down in a few months. She has even experimented with coloring the bioplastic with natural vegetable colors for more packaging versatility.

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The makers of Lego toys have begun to use an interesting plastic alternative, made from sustainably sourced sugar cane. They have even partnered with the World Wildlife Fund and other organizations to promote bioplastics and ensure that they are sustainably sourced. The bioplastic is currently being used for the tree and plant pieces, and they plan to have all Lego blocks made from it by 2030. Very cool! šŸ™‚

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One of the strangest materials used in bioplastics comes from Aagje Hoekstra, who created a new plastic made from, of all things, insects! The bugs, called darkling beetles, are the adult stage of the mealworm, a grub that is commonly farmed as animal feed. Normally the beetles die after laying eggs and are simply discarded, but Hoekstra discovered that their shells can be collected and pressed into a waterproof sheet. Personally I don’t see this being very popular as *food* packaging, but it could have some less gross applications! šŸ˜‰

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Another interesting alternative comes from Jeongwon Ji, who has designed a plastic alternative from the shells of invasive crabs. Chinese mitten crabs are an invasive species that have been taking over waterways in the UK. Ji found a way to use these pests as a resource, by combining the chitin in the shells with glycerin to make a bioplastic called Crustic. Unlike the others, this bioplastic warps as it dries, creating interesting artistic shapes.

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One pair of designers,Ā  Eric Klarenbeek and Maartje Dros, have created an algae-based bioplastic that can be used in 3D printers! They plan to establish a network of printing stations called the “3D Bakery”, where anyone can print objects they need from bioplastic.

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It’s inspiring to see these plastic alternatives being developed! Plastic packaging is very useful for keeping our food and water fresh, but it’s sad to see the damage it does after it is thrown away. With these alternatives, we can have the same uses as plastic, but with the added benefits of being sustainable and biodegradable!

I’m excited for the future, how about you? šŸ˜€

Check out these articles from Dezeen.com for more detail on these cool inventions!

Lego blocksCrusticBeetlesAlgae3D Bakery10 Bioplastics

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Good Things that Happened in 2018!

According to the news, the world is going to hell in a handbasket, getting worse and worse every day. But that’s rarely the truth — the news wants us to be stressed and worried, because they think we’ll tune in more and buy more from their advertisers.

In reality, good things happen every day! In a lot of ways, 2018 was a rough year, but it was also a year when we made a lot of progress in multiple areas.

Check out this great article from Future Crunch:99 Good News Stories You Probably Didn’t Hear About, with a list of almost 100 great things that happened in the past year.

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This article from Good News Network lists advancements made on the environmental and conservation front: “The Best Environmental News of 2018”

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And this cute article from BoredPanda shows artist Mauro Gatti’s cute illustrations of some positive news stories: “Iā€™m Honestly Fed Up With All The Bad News So I Illustrated The Best News Of 2018”

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Despite some of the tumultuous stories we hear, the world is getting better and better in a lot of ways. Don’t let the bad news get you down; focus on all of the good news instead! šŸ™‚

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Biodegradable Water Bottles!

In recent years we’ve been learning about the negative effects that waste plastic has on our oceans and on marine life. A regular plastic water bottle takes an average of 450 years to decompose, and in the meantime it chokes wildlife and clogs up delicate ecosystems.

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One startup has a special water bottle in development – one that completely biodegrades in 3 weeks. This bottle, developed by 27-year-old James Longcroft and his company “Choose Water”, is made completely of paper, with a steel cap. All of the materials used in the bottles break down into non-toxic substances that don’t harm the environment or hurt wildlife.

Even better, the company has pledged to donate profits to Water for Africa, a charity that helps rural communities get clean water.

Choose Water had an Indiegogo campaign earlier this year that met 144% of the funding goals, so hopefully we should be seeing these cool new bottles on store shelves soon!

It’s so inspiring to see people working to clean up our oceans and protect our beautiful planet!

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Solar Panels…powered by bacteria!

Researchers at the University of British Columbia have developed a cool new innovation in the field of solar power – bacteria!

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Solar cells are great for harvesting energy from the sun, but the drawback is that they have a drastic drop in efficiency on cloudy days or situations with dim light. There are certain types of bacteria that produce a natural dye that helps them convert light energy into food, and scientists had experimented with extracting this dye for use in solar technology. Extracting the dye proved difficult and costly, so they decided on a more elegant solution–putting the bacteria themselves into the solar cells!

These new solar panels are called “biogenic” because they are a hybrid of technology and nature. How cool is that?

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This could be a great solution for parts of the world that would benefit from solar power, but have too many overcast days to currently make it practical. I’m looking forward to seeing how this new bio-tech continues to develop!

Check out the original article here –> University of British Columbia

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Bee Saving Paper!

We’ve all heard of the problems honey bees have been facing lately, and it’s imperative to our world that we protect this super important pollinator. One company has developed a unique and unexpected bee saving solution: paper!

This bee saving paper is made with a special type of sugar that is easily digestible by bees, so they can get a snack while they’re out on pollen patrol. It’s covered with UV-sensitive red spots that are highly visible to bees, and it even has seeds embedded into the fibers to grow new wildflowers after the paper decomposes!

 

I love seeing the positive and unique solutions people have come up with to solve some of our modern problems! Be sure to check out the maker’s website here: Bee Saving Paper

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A Wrinkle in Time and Consciousness

I saw the new movie A Wrinkle in Time over the weekend. I read the book as a child (fourth or fifth grade, I think?), but I don’t remember much about it, so the movie was basically new to me. I was surprised to see that the story revolves around several ideas of consciousness that I’ve been learning a lot about lately.

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The main plot happens because of quantum physics, when the lead character’s father finds a way to use vibration to travel across space. Vibration is the cornerstone of theories of consciousness and law of attraction, since every thought and emotion we have creates a vibration that is transmitted out into the universe, which the universe then responds to with a matching vibration. Scientists in the film also touch on quantum entanglement, which is the ability of two related particles to interact even across vast distances.

The main villain is a dark creature that infects societies with negativity, which spreads and multiplies and slowly tears people apart. This also relates to theories of consciousness, because negativity and positivity can be spread through our group consciousness and affect the overall energy level of the human race.

I thought it was interesting to see these ideas in a kid’s movie! They aren’t explored very deeply, as this is mostly a fantasy adventure film, but it’s still cool that these concepts are being introduced to a young audience. Hopefully they will look into it and learn about the power of thought early on, and not wait until middle age like me! šŸ˜›

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Air Purifier!

I got a new healthy toy recently: an air purifier!

My house is very dusty, partially because of pets and partially because of my aging carpet. Sometimes I get congested because of it, especially in the morning after breathing dust all night. So I decided to get a room air purifier to see if that made a difference.

I chose a Holmes 3 speed model from Amazon, because it’s about the right size and the price was good.

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It has 3 speeds; the highest is a little loud, but the lowest is very quiet, which makes it perfect for running at night.

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It has a fancy HEPA-type filter, which catches dust and allergens, as well as a foam outer filter to catch the big stuff (like cat hair). šŸ™‚

So far I really like it! I’ve been running the medium or high speed during the day, and low at night. I’ve got it sitting on the mini-desk over the cat’s litter box, since that’s one of the major sources of dust in my bedroom.

Once I’ve had it for a few weeks, I’ll write a full review and let everyone know how well it works! šŸ™‚ The exact model is Holmes HAP412BNS , and it’s currently on sale!

(Note: This post contains affiliate links. Purchases made from these links help to support the blog! šŸ™‚

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