Coca-Cola, the world’s largest plastic polluter, is testing out the viability of paper bottles

It seems like the title of the world’s largest plastic polluter (for 4 years in a row) is finally beginning to get on the nerves of the executives at Coca-Cola. After making a statement only last year that they don’t intend on breaking free from plastic, the company’s slowly begun re-evaluating its supply chain and choice of materials.

Thanks to a partnership with Danish company Paboco (Paper Bottle Company), Coca-Cola has now unveiled its first ‘paper bottle’. Available for a limited online trial in Hungary, Coca-Cola is planning a run of 2,000 bottles of the plant-based beverage AdeZ. It’s barely anything to begin with, but it is a start… and it gives Paboco, the company behind the bottle’s design, a much-needed boost.

Paboco’s paper bottle comes with an inner bio-polymer lining to provide a waterproof barrier (so that the paper doesn’t get soggy). The outer layer is made from a Nordic wood-pulp-based paper, and provides the perfect substrate for printing on, eliminating the need for a label. The bottle itself can be molded quite like plastic bottles are, paving the way for the use of forms, textures, and patterns to help the product stand-out… and the necks of the bottle can be threaded too, allowing for the use of a paper cap (with the option of the crimped metal caps too). While the bottle is biodegradable, Coca-Cola hopes to develop a design and supply chain that allows bottles to be recycled just like paper. “Our vision is to create a paper bottle that can be recycled like any other type of paper, and this prototype is the first step on the way to achieving this,” said Stijn Franssen, EMEA R&D Packaging Innovation Manager at Coca-Cola.

Coca-Cola’s limited run should be met with a bit of skepticism (after all, 2000 bottles isn’t enough, is it?) but the challenges faced by the company are understandable. Bottles can easily get crushed or damaged when transported in large volumes, a complication that exponentially increases with CO2-filled pressurized beverage containers. AdeZ, however, seems to be the perfect candidate for this trial run, given that it’s a thick, dairy-free smoothie that contains seeds, fruit juices, and vitamins. If successful, Coca-Cola may look to gradually expand on this approach, helping it achieve the company’s “World Without Waste” sustainable packaging goal of substantially reducing its waste footprint and developing solutions for easily recycling its bottles and cans, and shifting to using only 100% recyclable packaging materials by the year 2030.

Designers: Paboco & Coca-Cola

Images via Coca Cola and Paboco

IKEA lengthens furniture life by providing ‘How To Disassemble’ instructions to attain their sustainability goals!

Everyone is moving these days. Some are moving abroad to live out their dreams of backpacking across Spain, chucking all of their apartment furniture out in the meantime. Or, some are holding yard sales and moving just down the street into the house they’ve had their eyes on for years. Whatever the case may be, people are moving and furniture is hitting the curb. In order to build on their commitment to sustainability, iconic furniture brand IKEA announced that by 2030, they plan to include Disassembly Instructions with each one of their products as means of encouraging buyers to repurpose their IKEA purchases instead of tossing them to the street.

As part of its latest push for sustainability, a reversed instruction manual will be included with each product purchased from IKEA. This push works to help spread the practice of “circular consumption,” which reinforces IKEA’s building practice’s value of quality over quantity, using fewer materials, components, and energy in the manufacturing of products, big or small. Right now, you can find Disassembly Instructions for some of IKEA’s more popular products: BILLY, MALM, POÄNG, BRIMNES, PAX, and LYCKSELE online in PDF format. Speaking to the imminent inclusion of Disassembly Instruction manuals for each of their products, IKEA points out,

“Extending the life of your furniture with our Disassembly Instructions is one of the ways we’re building on our commitment to sustainability. No matter whether you’re moving home, giving your furniture away, or selling it. Taking it apart correctly reduces the risk of damage, and reduces its impact on the environment. Fortune favors the frugal.”

While the plan to equip each piece of furniture with Disassembly Instructions has been recently announced, IKEA has been committed to sustainability for a long time. Through frugal design practices, IKEA manufactures furniture that can stand the test of time. One such practice is IKEA’s line of modular furniture that grows with its users. For example, IKEA’s line of extendable beds uses steel telescopic tubing to allow each bed frame to lengthen and adapt to a child’s growing height. IKEA also developed the fabric coverings for their collection of sofas so that they can handle over 25,000 wash cycles, and with additional coverings made available online, customers can get a new slipcover at any time for a refreshed look. In addition to modular furniture and durable fabrics, IKEA urges customers to give their furniture a second life through their buy-back and resell service. With so many options, it’s fun to be frugal.

Designer: IKEA

Now that you’ve built your desk, IKEA provides disassembly instructions in preparation for your next move or yard sale.

The disassembly instructions are as easy to follow as their assembly counterpart, offering a step-by-step approach to disassembly.

Some of IKEA’s more popular designs such as LYCKSELE already have disassembly instructions available online.

Following a numbered and visual guide, users will easily be able to deconstruct their IKEA furniture.

In order to promote sustainability through every building stage, IKEA uses minimal hardware and materials when designing their furniture, making it simple for buyers to assemble and ultimately disassemble.

In addition to deconstruction instruction manuals, IKEA leads a Buy-Back & Resell program for customers who choose to sell back their used furniture for store credit.

This indoor micro-algae farm mounts to any wall to grow the superfood right at home!

Coral and algae have a symbiotic relationship, one that biomimicry design can depend on as a model. Coral reefs provide algae with a safe environment to grow along with the compounds needed for photosynthesis, while the algae produce oxygen and supply coral reefs with the nutrients needed to keep their ecosystems colorful and healthy. The algae convert carbon dioxide into nutrient-rich biomass, allowing coral reefs to still thrive even in nutrient-poor waters. Following this cycle and applying it to human life, the health benefits of consuming algae cannot be overstated. In order to incorporate algae, a nutrient-rich superfood, into our homes and daily health rituals, Hyunseok An’s design team Ulrim designed The Coral, an indoor micro-algae farm that looks as good as it is for you.

Using algae to convert carbon dioxide into energy, The Coral implements the use of a bioreactor to support its micro-biological farm. The bioreactor provides a controlled environment for the algae to enact photosynthesis and produce the nutrients that are then contained within the wall-mounted cell blocks for future consumption. Each cell block is like a microcosm of stagnant ponds covered with a healthy coating of algae, the only difference being that The Coral is a controlled environment. This controlled environment allows each cell block to successfully perform the symbiotic relationship that occurs in nature as we witness take place in coral reefs. Each of The Coral’s 16 cell blocks contains two-grams of algae that darken as the algae grow. Once a cell block reaches its darkest blue-green, typically over the span of two weeks, it can be consumed and taken in as a daily health supplement, as the cycle is then replenished and continued.

The Coral’s gradient look is biomimicry at its best as it’s the result of a living micro-algae farm moving through the natural process of photosynthesis. Algae is quickly gaining traction for the nutrient-packed superfood that it is and in designing The Coral, Ulrim hoped to bridge the health benefits gained from algae with our daily habits and lived-in spaces. By creating a means for harvesting algae in any home, The Coral provides a sustainable means for attaining enduring overall health.

Designer: Ulrim

This ultra modern tiny home comes with a full-sized kitchen and high ceilings to make it feel anything but tiny!

The recent surge in popularity over tiny homes is arguably the best thing to come out of 2020. Just the other day I noticed a tiny home in mint condition parked right in front of a house for sale and I couldn’t help but consider making the switch myself. Tiny homes on wheels are ideal for smaller families, single households, or couples hoping to ditch lifestyles filled with excess for a type of tiny living that makes thriftiness and sustainability their top priorities. Living Big in a Tiny House, a YouTube channel that documents those who have successfully made the jump from large-scale city living to eco-conscious tiny living, recently showcased a couple’s tiny home in Australia that doesn’t feel so tiny.

Just like the rest of us, Matt and Lisa of Tailored Tiny Co. have been dreaming about tiny homes for quite some time and Living Big in a Tiny House caught up with them soon after they constructed one of their own. Nestled high above an Australian forest, Matt and Lisa’s jet-black, two-floor tiny home was constructed by the couple with help from a few friends. The tiny home’s black metal siding surely stands out, but amidst high eucalyptus treetops, it offers a more inconspicuous appeal, tying it up artfully with recycled hardwood trimming for the home’s protruding gables. Matt and Lisa’s home-on-wheels measures almost 30 feet in length and just about eight feet in width – the ceiling reaches sweeping heights of 14 feet, slightly above average for the conventional tiny home. But then tiny homes are anything but conventional. Coming from a builder’s background, the couple brought modern amenities to their tiny home such as cable, electricity, and running water, as well as a few playful outdoor features like an attached cat’s run.

Walking through the home’s front door, it’s obvious that Matt and Lisa took full advantage of the interior space to include a spacious den, bathroom, dual storage area, and full kitchen. The den features a roomy loveseat and flat screen, along with a biophilic lighting fixture that laces plantlife between grids on a recycled steel barricade. At the opposite end of the home’s single hallway, the bathroom is impressive for a tiny home as it appears larger than most – broad mirrors reflect the bathroom’s double-door shower – and comes equipped with an underground septic system to provide flush for the toilet. Matt and Lisa also enjoy a full kitchen with a deep sink, compact dishwasher, four-burner gas stove, and microwave on one side, and then an oven and refrigerator merge snugly into the open space beneath the staircase. Occupying the full 14-feet available, Matt and Lisa integrated a cozy loft, where the master’s king-sized bed for Matt and Lisa and the guest loft are kept. Plenty of skylights also offer warm, natural lighting to permeate the home and an expansive outdoor deck provides this tiny home with enough space to accommodate visitors. And yes, we’d like to visit, please.

Designer: Tailored Tiny Co.

Microsoft’s sustainability report is a lot more interesting as a ‘Minecraft’ map

Let’s face it: sustainability reports are important, but they’re usually quite dry reads. Microsoft might have a way to reel you in, however. According to The Verge, Microsoft has released a free Minecraft map that brings the goals of its latest sust...

Samsung’s Galaxy Upcycling turns old phones into IoT devices

A few years ago, Samsung announced a sustainability initiative called “Galaxy Upcycling,” an effort to repurpose and reuse older smartphones. We haven’t heard much about it since then, but today at CES 2021 Samsung announced an evolution of that prog...