Innovation is the only way to win- Steve Jobs.

Innovations for curbing climate change are necessary to help mitigate future problems.


1. Organic burial pods: 

In India, they burn the dead on a pyre. This leads to a ton of emissions causing pollution in the air. Even the burnt ashes are not suitable for fertilization of the land. Americans cut about 4 million acres of forest to make cemeteries, to bury the dead. Even the chemical on wooden and metal caskets is harmful to the land. Two Italian designers Anna Citelli and Raoul Bretzel came up with a revolutionary idea that changed the way of burying the dead. The Capsula Mundi is an egg-shaped pod into which the body is placed in the fetal position then planted with a seed. The deceased ideally choose the seed before they die. The pod is then buried in the ground which eventually grows into a tree. 

A Burial Pod

A Burial Pod

2. Biodegradable face shield:

 Covid-19 has been instrumental in generating medical waste on a large scale. Single-use face masks and shields were being discarded like anything. To combat this, 21-year-old Pabolu Mohan Aditya came up with a unique idea. A face shield that is both cheap and biodegradable. The 3-part shield has a cardboard headband. In addition, the transparent part is made of a thin layer of 175-micron reusable plastic. The binding elastic thread is also adjustable, so as to fit all sizes easily. All three parts are also replaceable which can help increase the lifespan of the product. The shield also doesn’t cost more than Rs.15. Moreover, the time taken for its production is about two minutes only. It takes about three months for decomposing the entire shield.

Biodegradable face shield

Biodegradable face shield

3. Edible alternatives for plastic:

To replace plastic, a big innovation was needed. Many companies are talking about edible wrappers, tableware, etc. Ideally, an edible packing would be made of carbohydrates and proteins. Here, companies such as ‘Notpla’ are using seaweed as a replacement for plastic to hold water. Another New-York based company is turning alginate from seaweed and agar from red algae into flavored, edible straws. One more studio, PriestmanGoode is making trays that are biodegradable, plastic-free and commercially compostable.

Notpla packaging

Notpla Biodegradable packaging

4. Shoes from ocean waste & plastic:

Adidas can really be on the path to making a thorough change in the footwear industry. The Adidas Futurecraft loop- a product designed for a circular life. After one is done wearing the shoes, they can return them back to the company. The company recycles it to make a new pair. The process is not 1:1 yet, i.e. not an entire 100% of the shoe can be replaced. The recycled material constitutes about 10% of the new pair. Adidas hopes to improve the ratio over the years. By 2019 the company made 11 million pairs of these shoes. With the correct technology and research, the utility of this innovation can go a long way. 

Adidas Futurecraft Loop

Adidas Futurecraft Loop

5. Vertical forests:

Space is a huge problem in cities around the world. The concept of vertical forests deals with the very problem. In terms of urban densification, a vertical forest is a sustainable residential building with a green cover. By adding vegetation to the building exterior, air quality and energy efficiency can improve in the city. There are a number of vertical forests around the world. Nanjing in China, the ‘Smart Forest City’ of Cancun, Milan in Italy and Utrecht in the Netherlands are some examples of existing vertical forests. The trees, plants on the building absorb CO2 while making oxygen as well as a home for birds and insects. 

vertical forests

Vertical forest buildings

6. Plastic roads:

Plastic roads are made up of waste or composites of plastic. In addition, standard materials like asphalt concrete are mixed in. Generally, consumer waste plastic is used in these roads. In India, the first plastic road was developed in 2001 by Rajagopalan Vasudevan. India has a total of 703 km in length of National Highways. Australia, the USA, the UK, Indonesia and many other countries have used varied technologies which can incorporate plastic waste into the roads. The use of plastic waste to build roads is an important innovation for helping climate change.

plastic roads

Plastic roads in India

7. Using Hemp:

Hemp is a natural substance that can be used for making a variety of items including paper, textiles, clothing, biodegradable plastics, etc. Hemp is said to be a light-weighted, mold-resistant and insulated product making it a versatile option for production. It is also classified under the green category, making it sustainable to the environment. Even, the manufacturing process is minimally harmful to the environment. Hemp can also be mixed with other products to make plaster, wood, jewelry and biofuels. 

Read about: Hemp innovative startups

Hemp products

Varied range of hemp products

8. Electric vehicles:

Electric cars are operated by electric motors. They use energy stored in batteries. As compared to normal engines, electric cars have lower emissions and are quieter. In addition, the cost of maintenance and recharging is also cheaper. Many countries, including India, have established government incentives for such electric vehicles. Also, a number of models from different companies are available in the market. However, some critics argue that electric cars are not a complete solution. The energy they would use to recharge is still obtained from fossil fuels. Unless there is progress in the source of clean energy there won’t be a greater impact.

Electric vehicles

Electric vehicles

9. Solar products:

Using renewable sources for generating energy is the biggest innovation for combating climate change. Energy can be harnessed from the sun by using solar products to generate direct current electricity. The cost of solar energy is cheaper than coal in India. Of course, there are some additional costs at the beginning for installations and other wirings. However, the overall cost can be cut within a couple of years of using solar power. There are also other solar products available like solar geysers, chargers, lamps, cookers and many others.

Read about the Indian industries that are making solar energy accessible:

Tata power solar: #enabling solar everywhere

SUZLON: powering a greener tomorrow

solar products

Wide range of solar products

10. Cultured meat:

Consuming meat or beef can lead to a tremendous increase in greenhouse gases. Cultured or lab-grown meat is the alternative to this. Scientists have developed a way to grow meat in a lab by using tissue engineering techniques. Cultured meat is more eco-friendly in comparison. It eliminates the need for livestock, resulting in fewer greenhouse gases, way less water usage and most importantly, it is cruelty-free. There have been mixed opinions by the public regarding the taste factor. However, there is steady research being done to improve the same. 

cultured meat

Cultured meat

11. Eco-bricks:

An eco-brick is made with a plastic bottle tightly packed with different consumer-used, dry plastic. They serve as reusable building blocks. By this method, a number of bricks can be made. Then these bricks can be connected using tire bands, cob or cement to build furniture, gardens, structures and more. It is a fair way of reusing plastic to create something new. 

Read about Tarun Jami’s efforts by using Eco-bricks for sustainable buildings. 

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