Sustainability has become a buzzword that’s caught people's attention from all industries. As we move into the 21st century, it is becoming increasingly important for individuals and businesses alike to make an effort to reduce their carbon footprint and live in harmony with the environment. As such, green innovation is the need of the hour.
Green innovation is the application of ideas, products, and services to reduce environmental impacts across all business operations, including design, production, distribution, and disposal.
Carbon Capture and Utilization (CCU)
CCU is one of the most promising green innovations out there. This technology captures carbon dioxide from sources such as power plants, industrial processes, and cars and uses it for various purposes. Direct air capture technology enables the extraction of CO2 from ambient air and can be used to create valuable products such as fuels, building materials, plastics, fertilizers, and more. By using CCU technologies, individuals and businesses can reduce carbon footprints while creating valuable products from the captured carbon dioxide (Olfe-Kräutlein, 2020). For example, in the field of automotive, carbon capture and utilization technologies can be used to generate zero-emission fuels that are compatible with current engine designs.
Bioplastics are plastics made from renewable sources such as corn, sugar cane, and potatoes instead of traditional petroleum-based products. For instance, PHB (polyhydroxybutyrate) is a bioplastic made from corn starch. It has been touted as an eco-friendly alternative to petroleum-based plastic in the packaging industry (Atiwesh et al., 2021).
Bioplastics can help:
- reduce greenhouse gas emissions,
- decrease dependence on fossil fuels,
- lower costs,
- and create economic opportunities in rural areas.
Also, bioplastics have a much shorter decomposition time than other plastics and are much less environmentally harmful, so they have become increasingly popular as eco-friendly packaging options.
By replacing traditional plastics with bioplastics, businesses can make a huge impact on their carbon footprints while also reducing the amount of plastic waste in landfills and our oceans.
Renewable Energy Storage
Renewable energy sources such as solar and wind are intermittent, meaning they can only generate electricity when the sun is shining or the wind is blowing. This makes it difficult to store their energy for later use. Renewable energy storage technologies such as lithium-ion and flow batteries solve this problem by providing efficient, high-capacity energy storage. (Achkari & Fadar, 2018).
Renewable energy storage gives the following benefits:
- It increases grid stability and reliability of renewable energy sources.
- It also reduces reliance on fossil fuel-based energy sources and improves the efficiency of electricity distribution systems.
- Plus, they can be used to store excess electricity generated during peak hours and then released during times of low demand.
Sustainable agriculture is the practice of farming that uses methods that protect the environment, promote food security, and preserve natural resources, such as agroforestry and regenerative agriculture.
Vertical gardens and greenhouses are two sustainable agriculture practices that are becoming increasingly popular as a way to reduce the need for chemical fertilizers and pesticides. By using hydroponics and aeroponics, vertical gardens and greenhouses can grow crops more efficiently and sustainably. Planters used for vertical gardens and greenhouses can also be made from recycled plastics and other sustainable materials. Bamboo, coconut shells, and coffee bean planters are some of the interesting options that are now available on the market. Using recycled planters further reduces the environmental impact of agriculture.
Additionally, composting allows farmers to use their waste as fertilizer, reducing their need for synthetic fertilizers and improving soil health. The benefits of sustainable agriculture include:
- improved soil health,
- reduced water use,
- increased biodiversity,
- improved carbon sequestration, and
- reduced use of synthetic fertilizers and pesticides.
Smart cities leverage technology to reduce their energy use and promote sustainability. These technologies include intelligent transportation systems, energy-efficient buildings, renewable energy storage solutions, and smart water and electricity consumption metering.
- reduced carbon emissions
- improved quality of life for residents
- increased economic opportunities through the creation of green jobs,
- and improved public safety and security
Smart cities also make accessing data about a city’s energy consumption easier, allowing officials to track their progress toward sustainability goals (Wang, 2022).
The world is changing, and so must we. By implementing sustainable technologies in our homes, workplaces, and cities, we can reduce our environmental impact, create a healthier planet for future generations, and help ensure a more secure and prosperous future.
Achkari, B.O. & Fadar, A. (2018). Renewable energy storage technologies-A Review. Conférence Internationale en Automatique & Traitement de Signal (ATS-2018). https://www.researchgate.net/publication/326352395_Renewable_Energy_Storage_Technologies-A_Review/citation/download
Atiwesh, G., Mikhael, A., Parrish, C. C., Banoub, J., & Le, A. T. (2021). Environmental impact of bioplastic use: A review. Heliyon, 7(9). https://doi.org/10.1016/j.heliyon.2021.e07918
Olfe-Kräutlein B. (2020). Advancing CCU technologies pursuant to the SDGs: A challenge for policy making. Front. Energy Res. 8:198. doi: 10.3389/fenrg.2020.00198
Wang, Z. (2022). Research on smart city environment design and planning based on internet of things. Hindawi Journals. https://doi.org/10.1155/2022/2348573
From Waste to Resource
Our efforts and commitment to waste reduction and sustainability begin with our production process.
Plastic and agriculture wastes are repurposed and utilized through innovative transformation into a biodegradable composite material.