Here at Live Creative we’re inspired by possibility; it gets us up in the morning with coffee in one hand and a lap top in the other. Eager are we to see who’s doing what in the sustainable innovation landscape and how we can share this with our followers, conscious consumers, purpose and sustainable brands, and other creatives to inspire ever more creative solutions to the world’s wicked problems. Here’s what’s hot and becoming possible:
To be or not to be sustainable? It really isn’t a destination or a state of existence; sustainable business is a process and an evolution that reflects our current thinking. What makes sustainability even more challenging is that it requires a new way of thinking. As Einstein said (I paraphrase):
“You can’t change the world with the same thinking that created the world as we know it.”
That is why we believe that designers and ecopreneurs are the ones to pay attention to in order to get a pulse on what’s to come. They understand that the creative process is a way of thinking without boundaries and borders.
Most of us look for The thing. The solution. The Singular, one and only way to go about things the “right way.” One size doesn’t fit all after all. Sustainable solutions are myriad and systemic and complicated. This is not a linear field, but what is —really?
Veles: Going Beyond Closed Loop
When we look at the world differently, we see clearly. We see a path to sustainability. Take the company Veles, they see food waste as a solvable chemistry problem. They decided to do things differently and own their production and manufacturing so they could control this step in their product’s development. In so doing they are keeping “it local” (less CO2 impact), simplifying the supply chain (taking out the middle men: suppliers, contractors, formulators, etc.), and converting harmful food waste chemicals into a “resource negative” all purpose, no petrochemical cleaning product.
“The company was started to develop solutions for food waste; we didn’t set out to make a cleaner,” says founder and CEO Amanda Weeks. “Our thesis is valorization; we’re seeking valuable outputs for the components of waste….There are 1.3 billion tons of food waste in the world. Three tons of food waste yields us about 1,500 bottles of cleaner,” says Amanda. The company plans to develop large-scale multi-waste recycling facilities and to partner with big companies, serving as a supplier of waste-derived ingredients. That’s a cool plot twist. Way to think outside the box and big. We need to think about scale all the time. These are wicked global problems that need big solutions like this.
Ecovative Design: Growing Materials
Ecovative Design is a company that literally grows their materials. They design alternative meat products, biodegradable packaging, and animal-free leather from mycelium (AKA mushrooms!). According to their website: “We believe there is a better way to feed the planet and reduce the amount of plastic used in consumer products. Our mission is to grow better materials that are compatible with Earth.”
Brands such as Dell, Ikea, Biomason, Gunlocke, Bolt Threads and Sealed Air have taken notice and are in one stage or another of adding Ecovative’s mycelium innovation to their product’s supply chain.
When you think about it growing your materials, your product’s ingredients or packaging feels a bit like “Charlie in the Chocolate Factory”—it’s an exciting brain twister. And, it’s a radical new way of thinking about resources—from the old/current method of either extraction or toxic chemical soup that never breaks down to non-toxic, biodegradable, biological growth. Actually growing sustainable materials that replace plastics is a profound paradigm shift—and we love it!
Algiknit: Creating Biomaterials from the most renewable organisms on Earth.
Algiknit caught our eye when we learned that they can create yarn for clothing out of kelp—the fastest growing, most rapidly replenishing organism on earth. Oh, and it also sequesters carbon while it filters water. Wait. What? That’s so cool.
This startup signals that biology has a role to play in the world of fashion, perhaps it’s the “future of fashion”. From seaweed to fiber, Algiknit is a strong contender in the creation of a circular economy (where waste is designed out of the system and all product ingredients are upcycled and used again).
Innovation is a powerful force driving our transition towards an inclusive, circular economy. These three brands give us a glimpse at what is possible—from growing our packaging and fashion to cleaning our homes with food waste. What’s next?
Live Creative is a leading resource and community hub for sustainable design, innovation, business, and marketing. Our Lifestyle Team brings you inspiring sustainability and zero waste tips, ideas, and more. Our Creative Studio Team offers authentic marketing, branding, and business expertise to ecopreneurs, socialpreneurs, and purpose-driven brands.