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Biodegradable

Eden's Paper wrapping paper contains seeds which grow into vegetables once planted (Photo:...

As the holiday season gets into full swing, one inevitable byproduct of the widespread cheer will be masses of waste wrapping paper. One interesting idea to reduce this comes via Eden's Paper, which is billed as a "100 percent plantable wrapping paper," and can be used to grow vegetables by simply placing the paper into some soil, adding water, and waiting for nature to do its thing.  Read More

Metabolix is genetically engineering switchgrass to produce bioplastic and chemicals.

Petroleum-based plastic may be fantastic, but due to the durability that makes the material so popular it may take hundreds of years to break down. Plastic made from renewable biomass, known as bioplastic, is a biodegradable alternative to fossil fuel versions. A company called Metabolix, based in Cambridge (MA), has been working on a technology to genetically engineer plants such as switchgrass to create a biodegradable polymer that can be extracted directly from the plant.  Read More

The Polyplane and the Samara are disposable UAVs designed to help monitor forest fires (Ph...

The term "UAV" generally leads us to think about expensive, high-tech military drones like General Atomics' Predator, but a Robotics team led by Dr. Paul Pounds at Australia's University of Queensland has created a pair of UAVs that are so cheap and easy to manufacture that they'll literally be disposable, single use items. One's basically a high-tech paper plane, while the other follows the form factor of a maple seed with both designed to help save lives in the event of a forest fire.  Read More

An illustration of the edible micro-battery, that could power ingestible medical devices

Over the past several years, scientists have developed so-called “camera pills,” that can be swallowed by patients and then transmit video from within their bodies. While such non-digestible gadgets could serve as an invaluable means of imaging, researchers at Carnegie Mellon University are now looking into tiny electronic medical devices that could be swallowed and partially digested, providing non-invasive treatment in the process.  Read More

PUMA says all of the items in its new InCycle collection are either biodegradable or recyc...

Sportswear giant PUMA is pushing its sustainability credentials with a new range of products that are either recyclable or biodegradable. Called InCycle, the "closed-loop" collection includes footwear, apparel and accessories that, rather than being tossed in the garbage at the end of their life-cycle, can be returned under the company's "Bring Me Back Program."  Read More

Scientists are developing eco-friendly composite materials containing peat fiber and beet ...

What do hemp, mushrooms, milk and straw have in common? They’re just a few of the things that have been used to create “green” composite materials, in which most or all of the usual petroleum by-products are replaced by more environmentally-friendly substances. Now, thanks to two separate studies, it looks like peat and beets can be added to that list.  Read More

The colorful frame of Victor Vetterlein's 'BITE ME' desk lamp is made from edible bio-plas...

When it comes to a light meal, Victor Vetterlein's "BITE ME" desk lamp has got you covered. The body of the brightly colored creation is made from bio-plastic that can be safely consumed at the end of its useful life. If eating lamps doesn't start your digestive juices flowing, the frame can also be thrown in the compost. Either way, the rather attractive electronics strip can be peeled away from the body and re-used elsewhere.  Read More

Bogobrush is a eco-toothbrush made from bamboo

North Dakota siblings Heather and John McDougall have created an eco-toothbrush which according to them “will be the first toothbrush you will actually care about.” Having grown up with a dentist as a father, the pair have merged their backgrounds in design and policy to create the Bogobrush, which they claim to be “100 percent biodegradable.”  Read More

A biodegradable integrated circuit during dissolution in water (Photo: Beckman Institute, ...

We’ve certainly been hearing a lot lately about tiny electronic devices that can do things such as delivering medication after being implanted in the body, measuring structural stress upon being attached to a bridge, or monitoring pollution after being placed in the environment. In all of these cases, the device has to be retrieved once it’s served its purpose, or just left in place indefinitely. Now, however, an interdisciplinary team of researchers have demonstrated “transient electronics,” which dissolve into nothing after a pre-determined amount of time.  Read More

Sprout is the name of a new brand of pencil which comes with a seed in the end – when the ...

We live in a throwaway society, where even large and expensive products are merely trashed when they reach the end of their life and/or usefulness. It's a rather sad state of affairs, with waste that could be recycled or reused extensively placed in the ground to rot ... or, in the case of non-biodegradable materials, not rot. It's against this rather depressing backdrop that one group of product designers have created Sprout, an ordinary, everyday pencil which hides a rather special trick up its sleeve.  Read More

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