1. Biodegradable Coffee Capsules
If you love coffee but hate the waste created by single-use coffee capsules, it might be time to consider a sustainable alternative. Coffee pods are difficult to recycle because of their specific combination of aluminium, coffee grounds and mixed plastics, which can take up to five hundred years to break down. The issue is made more complex as it is difficult to find data on the number of coffee pods which are actually recycled.
The Eden Project has responded to this problem by creating fully biodegradable coffee capsules, compatible with Nespresso machines, which can be disposed of alongside food waste in your home composting bin. The coffee is ethically sourced and the pods are produced using sustainable energy, meaning that you can enjoy your coffee guilt-free.
2. Search Engine that Plants Trees
By Susanna Jackson, Ambassador
One of the easiest and cheapest eco-friendly products available is Ecosia. This hassle-free and cost-free browser can be easily and quickly downloaded as an extension to Google Chrome, replacing the standard Chrome browser but working just the same. The difference is that with every search made using Ecosia, all the profits from ads are used for funding the planting of trees around the world.
Over fifty-one million trees have been planted as a result of people using Ecosia, and it’s increasing by the second. Trees are planted where they are needed the most; from reforesting in Indonesia to provide orangutan habitats, to helping restore the Amazon following destruction from deforestation. And if you’re worried about the legitimacy of it all, they regularly provide tree planting receipts along with financial reports to show where the money is going. There’s no cost, effort or hassle involved with this product; simply download, search and help plant trees, one click at a time!
3. Microfibre Catching Laundry Ball
By Sophie Harbert, Ambassador
The simple action of washing our clothes has now been found to release tiny plastic microfibres into our waterways, endangering the lives of marine species and even ending up in our food and drinking water!
The Cora laundry ball imitates the natural function of coral, trapping microfibres in your wash until they visibly collect and can be disposed of. If each household owned one of these, the ocean plastic problem could be tackled a lot sooner, with each small action contributing to one big change.
4. Reusable Coffee Cups
By Susanna Jackson, Ambassador
As by now I am sure we are all aware, disposable coffee cups form one of the worst forms of plastic pollution, as their inner lining means they cannot be recycled. If we consider the amount of coffee needed to fuel the UK in a day, it is clear that a sustainable alternative is needed.
Whilst many similar products are available on the market, Corkcicle cups with their triple layered insulation keep your drink hot for three hours, meaning you can sip at your tea or coffee throughout the day knowing you are doing your bit for the environment. As a truly multi-functional product they also keep your summer drinks cold for nine hours, making this a year-round sustainable daily essential.
5. Modular Smartphone
We all know that smartphones do not have a very long life: the average consumer changes their smartphone every eighteen months. But did you know that by 2020, there will be about six billion smartphones circulating around the globe? This number, combined with the above-mentioned turnaround, seems catastrophic.
The company Fairphone has actually found a way to tackle this issue. In fact, Fairphone 2 is the most ethical smartphone ever produced. It aims is to change the consumers’ mindset that phones are disposable items by providing them a modular solution which allows them to replace components of the phone instead of buying a new one. In addition to this, the company produces Fairphone 2 by adhering to a fair supply chain; Fairphone commits to source fairer gold mines and it supports a number of charities around the world.
Fairphone 2 comes in different colours and with all the features that a conventional smartphone would have. Because, as the company’s slogan says, you shouldn’t have to choose between a great phone and a fair supply chain.
6. Reusable Baby Nappies
By Sama Shaik, Ambassador
Landfills are the result of unprecedented rates of product consumption, posing a threat to both the environment and health. One such recent threat is due to disposable baby nappies, cited as the Disposable Nappy Problem, which has been in the firing line at the Conservative Party Conference recently.
According to a recent BBC report and Recycling Charity report, it is estimated that three billion nappies are thrown away every year in the UK. Most nappies are not recyclable and must be thrown away with general waste. Mostly nappies are made of plastics, elastics, adhesives, paper pulp and chemicals which are not biodegradable and lead to toxins in the ground. It is also estimated that it could take more than five hundred years for nappies to break down. As they rot with the general waste, methane, a greenhouse gas which is more harmful than the CO2, is released which contributes to global warming.
With such consequences, the best alternatives to disposable nappies and to get rid of the landfill problem is to return to reusable nappies — cloth nappies that can be washed and reused. There are many products out there in the market but Bambungles nappies are a sustainable product which not only solves the landfill problem but are also eco-friendly. The jungle themed Bambungles are made from bamboo which can be reused and washed — the product can be washed and reused thirty to forty times and bamboo degrades in one to two years, compared with its plastic counterpart. The environmental impact due to disposable nappies can be reduced by using materials like bamboo and by disposing them of them differently than with the general waste, but all this is only in the hands of the parents, manufacturers and the waste management system.
7. Eco-Friendly Makeup
Following the ban on microbeads in face washes and the uproar about plastic pollution over the past year, the beauty industry (and consumers) are starting to take eco-friendly products more seriously. An increasing number of brands are swapping wasteful packaging and toxic chemicals for environmentally-friendly containers and sustainably-sourced ingredients.
One of the companies tackling waste in beauty is Kjaer Weis, a luxury makeup brand which produces organic, cruelty-free cosmetics in sleek, stainless-steel packaging. This packaging is recyclable, and when you finish a product you can get it refilled rather than throwing it away to buy a new item — Kjaer Weiss even offers discounts of over £20 for doing so.