Bicycle seat made from cork brings a more sustainable and comfortable bike ride

I still do not know how to ride a bike and I probably will not learn to ride one anytime soon. But I do know that it’s one of the more sustainable modes of transportation available out there and so I salute those who choose to be mobile this way. It’s also a bonus when bike manufacturers try to come up with more sustainable products or at least part of the actual bike. Not only are they saving the planet from traffic and pollution but they’re also bringing us more sustainable solutions for parts and accessories.

Designer: Frame Cycle

This Scottish brand is one such company that wants to bring more sustainable solutions for the bikes and bike parts that they manufacture. Their first product is called FR-1 Bike Saddle and it is made from cork. At first you would think this is not a sturdy and comfortable material for something that you will be sitting on probably for a long period. But cork is actually pretty durable and lightweight so it should be something that can last a long time and not hurt your tushy that much. It is also water-resistant and can offer better cushioning compared to other materials.

For the substructure of the seat, they used stamped titanium shell and grade five titanium rails. This material is actually stronger but also more lightweight compared to the more common steel that a lot of bike seats use. The cork pieces are actually molded in Portugal and so they’re supporting both sustainable and historic local cork farming. The lacquer applied to it is water-based and so you get even better weather resistance.

Price-wise, it’s probably a bit more expensive at $120 than bicycle seats that are usually made from plastic with a steel frame. One of the problems about sustainable products is that they are still not on the same price level as the ones using more non-sustainable materials. Hopefully, someday, we’ll see the sustainable products almost at par with other materials. If you think about it though, that’s still a small price to pay for helping our planet be more sustainable.

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These sleek, sustainable designs function as the ultimate household products

Our unhealthy practices and way of living are truly harmful to the environment and have been slowly leading to its deterioration. And the world has been changing (for the worse) because of this. Hence, it is extremely important to live sustainably and consciously and to take care of the environment. Integrating sustainability into our day-to-day lives has become crucial. And we can do this in various ways. Designers and creators are coming up with sustainable alternatives for almost everything. Every product that is necessary and utilized by us in our everyday routine has an eco-friendly alternative to it. Replacing our usual mass-produced designs with these greener options will make a huge difference to the environment and Mother Earth. From soap packaging made using artichoke waste to a sustainable shelf that requires no screws to assemble – we’ve curated a whole collection of sustainable product designs to help you go green!

1. The Kreis Cup

Meet the Kreis Cup, a coffee cup that’s sustainable, durable, and designed to enhance your coffee-drinking experience! Available in a cup and travel-mug styles, the Kreis Cup is a reusable cup made from used coffee grounds and plant-based materials, free of petroleum-based plastics.

Why is it noteworthy?

It is heat resistant and designed to keep your coffee hot longer. That being said, the Kreis Cup is still ultimately biodegradable, unlike the plastic-based to-go mugs you get at your local cafe or the breakable ceramic mugs you use at home. Once it reaches the end of its lifespan, the Kreis Cup disintegrates easily into the soil, leaving absolutely nothing behind.

What we like

  • Made from spent coffee grounds that have been dried, treated, and then suspended in a natural, plant-based polymer
  • Has the faint, unmistakable scent of coffee

What we dislike

  • No complaints!

2. The Plastic Translation Stool

The Plastic Translation Stool design tries to reinterpret the lines of the plastic stool instead, resulting in a form that is somewhat similar yet also unique, giving the wooden stool its own character.

Why is it noteworthy?

Those legs alone, however, won’t be enough to offer the same stability as the plastic counterpart, so an additional element had to be added. Birch plywood buttresses distribute some of the force evenly across the beechwood legs, which, in turn, hold the buttresses together. These interlocking parts provide not only architectural stability but also visual accents to what would otherwise be a plain-looking stool.

What we like

  • Doesn’t require screws or nails to be assembled
  • A more sustainable option to the plastic stool

What we dislike

  • No complaints!

3. Svolta

This wooden shelf is so simple through and through to the point that you might even wonder how it is able to hold its parts together. Fortunately, it does work as advertised, creating a flat-packed piece of furniture that is sustainable at every point, from its creation to its transportation and even to its assembly.

Why is it noteworthy?

Inspired by the simplicity of alpine joinery and architecture, this wooden shelf throws out all those conventions to arrive at a connection system that is genius in its simplicity. There are no extra parts or materials that join the shelves and the legs together other than the shelves and legs themselves

What we like

  • Uses pieces of wood that have special cutouts that fit into each other tightly
  • Can supposedly be assembled by a single person in just two minutes

What we dislike

  • There isn’t any kind of adhesive to give you confidence that the shelf won’t just fall apart once you put something heavy

4. Airy

The award-winning prototype Airy is a lightweight, comfortable, fashionable, and even sustainable kind of brace to correct the lateral curvature of the spine.

Why is it noteworthy?

The designer actually created this after talking with a group of adolescent girls, which is the demographic most affected by scoliosis. She tried to solve the pain points of the current back braces available in the market and came up with something that is not just comfortable but adjusts to the still-growing bodies of its users.

What we like

  • The prototype is made from translucent polylactic acid (PLA) and its padding has a Voronoi pattern not just for aesthetics but to let the brace breathe

What we dislike

  • No complaints!

5. Packioli

A Turkish designer was able to come up with soap packaging called ‘Packioli‘ that is both hygienic and non-plastic and therefore more eco-friendly. One thing missing from most similar products is convenience and she was able to add it to this as well.

Why is it noteworthy?

She used artichoke leaves and combined them with peapod bioplastics in order to create packaging that commercial soap brands can actually use if they really wanted to be more eco-conscious in creating their products.

What we like

  • The packaging itself can last for a week if it gets wet and afterward, it starts disintegrating in the water

What we dislike

  • People may find the look of the packaging a bit eccentric and odd

6. Kudarat

Meet Kudarat, a leather alternative synthesized using algae, food & fiber waste. Created by Divya Verma of the National Institute of Design in India, Kudarat bases itself on the concepts of circularity & sustainability, targeting SDGs (sustainable development goals).

Why is it noteworthy?

Kudarat leather resembles animal leather but is cruelty-free, waterproof, compostable, antimicrobial, and possesses good tensile strength, making it perfect for practical applications. It secured the National Runner-Up position at this year’s James Dyson Awards, narrowly being beaten by a design for a reusable EpiPen.

What we like

  • They’re dyed using natural colors derived from food and flower waste
  • The leather looks, feels and lasts as long as traditional animal-hide

What we dislike

  • No complaints!

7. The GoLo Electric Cargo Bike

The GoLo electric cargo bike has been retrofitted by Flevobike Technology with a fold-out camping module. It renders a single-seat mobility solution with a place to hop into at the end of the journey for a relaxed time. Dubbed “the best camper in the world,” the GoCamp is a bike camper with a removable top for overnight halts that offers (quite literally) the comfort of home for one person.

Why is it noteworthy?

The cargo bike GoLo is essentially a viable ride, combining comfort with functionality and convenience, therefore a convenient canvas set up on the cargo bed offers independence to the traveling cyclist when they want to relax and unwind. The pop-up module extends to make enough space for a couple to sit. It is slightly cramped for two to sleep in there.

What we like

  • The GoCamp is pre-installed with a 400-W solar panel system
  • The bike camper runs on a 250W electric motor promising 50 km mileage

What we dislike

  • No complaints!

8. The Third Size

The Third Size is a product concept that utilizes rice straw to create not just the tissue but the boxes they come in as well. As anyone who has lived without a bidet or who suffers from various allergies and sicknesses, tissue paper is among the most used materials. In reality, just a small part of it is used and the rest is discarded. Re-using it comes with so many hygiene and medical issues. Some of them come in disposable boxes so the container is also part of the waste.

Why is it noteworthy?

Using biodegradable and recyclable materials like rice straw can help in limiting wastage. Third Size is a multi-size carton that can hold replaceable tissue packs. The different-sized holes let you choose which size tissue you’ll be needing, whether to blow your nose, wipe off a table, or do your business in the bathroom. The box is sturdy enough to be re-used several times over and can even be used as a container for other stuff if you have no need for tissue paper.

What we like

  • Helps in limit wastage
  • The box is sturdy enough to be re-used several times over

What we dislike

  • No complaints!

9. The Adidas RPT-02 SOL

Dubbed the Adidas RPT-02 SOL, these pair of over-the-ear cans juice up with natural light or even artificial light. So, they’ll not need to recharge any time soon. These headphones are a follow-up to the RPT-01(not solar-powered) and promise almost double the playback time at around 80 hours. Not to forget that the RPT-02 SOL are solar powered, and the battery keeps topping up as long as you are exposed to good lighting conditions.

Why is it noteworthy?

Another merit of these IPX4-rated headphones is their build – crafted out of recycled plastic and nylon. Now coming to the solar charging capabilities Adidas has left nothing to chance. They’ve used a highly flexible light-cell material by Powerfoyle (a Swedish solar tech company) that brings to the fore superior energy capture and charging capabilities even in artificial light.

What we like

  • Just in case you have been in the dark trenches and the battery depletes, it can be charged via a USB-C port

What we dislike

  • No complaints!

10. Remix Maison

Remix Maison is a collaboration between designer Irina Flore and Native Shoes using the latter’s material called Native Shoes Remix. This proprietary material is made from repurposed footwear, specifically using EVA (Ethylene Vinyl Acetate) and rubber.

Why is it noteworthy?

The shoes that are no longer in use are cleaned and then ground into a new kind of material and then used for other purposes. The sculptural structures also use metal for their frame. For this particular collection, they have created a piece of furniture that also looks like a piece of art.

What we like

  • Created from repurposed materials
  • Sturdy and ergonomic

What we dislike

  • No complaints!

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State-of-the-art steering wheel concept comes with touch-sensitive inputs and a recyclable design

Here’s a fact I definitely didn’t know up until right now. Steering wheels don’t get recycled. They inevitably always end up in landfills, and while almost every part of a car can be stripped for parts, repurposed, refurbished, or recycled, a steering wheel usually isn’t. The ‘Cercle’ changes that. With a design that is both advanced as well as recyclable, the Cercle adopts a circular economy approach to design. It comes with touch-sensitive inputs that bring a cutting-edge experience to your ride… but more importantly, the Cercle can be pulled apart, repaired, and recycled. Internal tech can be swapped out, external housing can be replaced (if broken), all without compromising on the Cercle’s user experience.

Designers: Dominik Bini & Stu Cole

The Cercle upgrades the steering wheel by opting for a sleeker design that gives you haptic touch-based controls right under your fingertips. You’ve got a wheel with a backlit logo in the center, horns on each side, and arrow keys that trigger the indicators.

“More than 20 million vehicles reach the end of life each year in the EU and the US”, say the designers. “With their complex, multi-material construction and integrated controls, Steering wheels defy recycling.”

Designers Dominik and Stu decided that in order to make the wheel more advanced, it had to be more repairable. The Cercle, to that end, has a design that’s easy to disassemble, repair, and refurbish. It’s hard to imagine a single steering wheel being a standard (just the way seatbelts are an unwavering standard), but Cercle was designed for a speculative world where car brands could just opt for a standard steering wheel design that also happened to be repairable, helping reduce landfill waste.

The Cercle is a winner of the iF Design Award for the year 2022.

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Go green with Razer x Panerai Luminor Quaranta, special edition watch committed to sustainability

Environment conservation is the top agenda for all watchmakers. Italian luxury timekeeper Panerai is no different. It has been working on inculcating watchmaking ways to preserve the oceans. Gaming giant Razer is a prominent force handholding Panerai in this journey, which continues into the second year with the launch of the new Panerai Luminor Quaranta Razer Special Edition watch.

Developing on the existing line of Luminor Quaranta watches, the Luminor Quaranta Razer is a timepiece that merges Panerai’s horology genius with Razer’s signature aesthetics. The critical point of this collaborative watch, as mentioned earlier, is the commitment to sustainability. Therefore, the watch is made using recycled materials as part of #GoGreenWithRazer initiative. It primarily supports marine species research focusing essentially on the manta ray.

Designer: Panerai

Click Here to Buy Now!

The Luminor Quaranta Razer is sustainably crafted using brushed eSteel (recycled steel) with black DLC coating. Featuring the iconic Razer triple-headed snake (THS) logo on the dial at 6 o’clock and also emblazoned on the caseback; the watch has black Arabic numerals and hour markers filled with Super-LumiNova to light the dial in electric green. The dial makes space for a date window at 3 o’clock while a small green seconds hand circles around a subdial at 9 o’clock.

The interesting timepiece is powered by P.900 caliber movement offering 72 hours of power reserve. It beats at 28,800 bph and is packed within an anti-shock casing for durability. Water resistant up to 100 meters, the Panerai Luminor Quaranta Razer is a limited-edition timepiece with only 500 examples for purchase through the Panerai webstore. This $8,400 special edition luxury watch is paired with a set of two interchangeable straps: a recycled PET strap with green stitching and a swappable rubber strap. To satisfy the ones keeping a record, the Panerai Luminor Quaranta Razer will come in packing made from 72% recycled material.

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Eco-friendly coffee capsule machine uses coffee balls that can be turned into compost

As a certified coffee addict (I’m on my 3rd cup today!), I have all kinds of coffee stuff in my kitchen, aside from often going out for my coffee fix. One of my favorite devices is my coffee capsule machine since it’s quick and easy to use. What’s bad about it is that it’s not the most environmentally friendly as the single use coffee capsules are pretty wasteful and cannot be recycled or upcycled. I often feel guilty when using it so I rarely do and stick to my relatively more eco-friendly french press and pour over. But what if there’s something similar to a coffee capsule but is more sustainable?

Designer: CoffeeB

Swedish coffee brand CoffeeB has come up with a coffee machine that uses eco-friendly single-serve Coffee Balls. So basically it’s similar to the coffee pod machines except this one doesn’t have any plastic pods or capsules so you don’t contribute to the world’s plastic waste. You won’t feel guilty using these single-serve energy balls if you need a quick caffeine jolt and you have no patience for the slower coffee machines that you normally use.

Don’t worry, you’re still getting actual ground coffee beans and not the instant ones that true-blue coffee lovers detest. These coffee beans are made round by an almost invisible outer casing that is made from seaweed. Hopefully the packaging doesn’t actually affect the taste since I’m not sure I would actually like seaweed-flavored coffee. They did say the casing is flavorless as well as transparent and food-safe. The roast type is etched on the casing.

The Coffee Balls can last up to three months at room temperature or if you store it in your ref. And after you use them, they can be turned into compost or natural fertilizer for your home plants and gardens. In case you don’t know how to use them post-coffee, the machine comes with instructions and guides on how to properly recycle them. The machine itself is made from partially-recycled materials and the coffee grounds used are certified organic and Fair Trade.

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Sustainable Bio-leather made from food waste and algae gets National Runner-Up at the James Dyson Awards 2022

Meet Kudarat, a leather alternative synthesized using algae, food & fiber waste. Created by Divya Verma of the National Institute of Design in India, Kudarat bases itself on the concepts of circularity & sustainability, target SDGs (sustainable development goals). Kudarat leather resembles animal leather but is cruelty-free, waterproof, compostable, antimicrobial, and possesses good tensile strength, making it perfect for practical applications. It secured the National Runner-Up position at this year’s James Dyson Awards, narrowly being beaten by a design for a reusable epipen.

Designer: Divya Verma

A textile designer by profession, Divya’s journey toward reinventing leather began with watching her mom diligently compost all organic and food waste at home, using the proceeds to then cultivate a veritable garden of plants, fruits, and flowers. “While researching its nutrient values, I learned how food waste ends up in landfills, rots & releases harmful greenhouse gases such as methane contributing to global warming”, she said. “Similarly, fiber waste from the textile industries pollutes water bodies, enters our food chain, and harms life on land & underwater to a large extent. This motivated me to come up with a new material that utilizes renewable natural resources & helps in waste management.”

Kudarat uses natural fiber waste, bound together using natural binders, biopolymers from algae, and natural waterproofing agents. Once the sheets of bioleather are made, they’re dyed using natural colors derived from food and flower waste, like vegetable peels, walnut shells, wood chips, roses, and marigolds. “The development of material does not require large land or water resources and does not lead to carbon emissions”, Divya mentions. “It is free from chemicals and the production requires temperature below a 100 degrees [Celsius] & is energy efficient.” The leather looks, feels, and lasts as long as traditional animal-hide and even lends itself to embellishment and embroidery… but if and when discarded, will biodegrade naturally in 8-12 weeks while leaving zero harmful chemicals behind.

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This all-black dwelling in Melbourne is a regenerative design that produces more energy than it uses

Melbourne Design Studios redesigned an almost forgotten piece of residence in the middle of Melbourne and named it The Hütt 01 Passive House. The home was created to be a regenerative design and is a certified Passivhouse ‘Premium’, which is the highest category of Passivhaus, and basically produces more energy than it uses. It also rates A++ (the highest category) in its Life Cycle Assessment.

Designer: Melbourne Design Studios

Also called “TMRW by Hütt: A Beacon of Hope for the Future” by the architects, the home is meant to be a peaceful oasis in the otherwise hectic urban jungle that is called Melbourne. It is situated on a 250 square meter site, which is quite interestingly shaped like a wedge. It possesses an extremely industrial feel and can be entered through a bluestone back lane. The home itself occupies a compact space of 78 square meters but is spread over two and a half levels. It features four bedrooms, two living spaces, three bathrooms, and a roof garden. The presence of a garden adds a natural touch to the home, providing it with a deeper sense of peace and zen.

Recycled bricks, charred timber, and black metal cladding were used to construct the home. In fact, all the bricks were sourced and saved from demolition sites throughout Melbourne. By employing cross-laminated timber (CLT) prefab methodology and material for the construction, the architects were able to reduce the carbon footprint, and the time required for the construction process. It also enabled them to use lesser finishing materials and plastering.

The home was created to demonstrate how better homes can be built in Australia, and how a sustainable design approach and Passivhaus can create a stunning residence. Its biophilic design, brilliant utilization of scarce inner-city land, and small footprint make it a modern and sustainable oasis in a major urban city. It is a prime specimen of how you can do more with less, while still utilizing high-performance technologies.

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These prefab tiny homes are 3D printed using recycled plastic

Sustainability has been running on everybody’s mind. And, with everyone aspiring toward’s eco-friendly and mindful ways of living, tiny homes have completely taken over the world of architecture and cemented their place as sustainable, minimal, and economical micro-living setups. What started off as a cute little trend is now turning into a serious option for home spaces. They are a space-saving and eco-friendly living solution that reduces the load on Mother Earth! And one of the newbies in the tiny home market is Azure. The Los Angeles-based startup is using recycled plastic to 3D print prefab tiny homes!

Designer: Azure

Azure, essentially specializes in ADUs or Accessory Dwelling Units, which are usually placed next to a main residence, or in the backyard of a home! Azure creates several models of these ADUs – from backyard office studios to a two-bedroom tiny home. The structures are modern and futuristic, amped with glass walls, recessed lighting, and pocket doors, providing them with the feel of a complete home. Within 20 hours, Azure 3D prints the homes – including their structural skeleton, exterior sheathing, water control barrier, exterior finish, utility passageways, and the grounding for interior finishes.

Now, what makes Azure’s homes so special? I mean 3D printing has been around the block for a while, it’s nothing relatively groundbreaking. But, the fact is that most 3D printing home builders use a form of mixed or pure concrete to create homes, however, Azure is taking a more sustainable approach by utilizing recycled plastic in the construction. Over 60% of Azure’s printing material will comprise of waterproof plastic polymer, which is usually found in plastic bottles or food packaging.

“The construction sector is the largest global consumer of raw materials, responsible for approximately 11 percent of the world’s total carbon emissions. Our responsibility to our customers and future generations is to use the most sustainable practices imaginable,” said Ross Maguire, the CEO of Azure.

Azure promises that it will build homes 70% faster, and 30% cheaper as compared to traditional construction methods. They hope to do so by 3D printing the roof, floor, and walls of their homes within the factory itself. Before any unit leaves Azure’s factory, it will already be 99% complete! This is as efficient as prefabrication can get.

“Our supply chain should never be short in our lifetime,” said Ross Maguire. “We have created production efficiencies not only by capitalizing on the advances in 3D printing but by creating a design and process that is completed in only 20 hours”, he continued.

Azure seems to have found an even more sustainable approach to tiny homes! Tiny homes were already a major hit amongst advocates of sustainable architecture, but homes that are now 3D printed using recycled plastic? That’s a whole new ballgame…and we’re super excited to see where it leads to!

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This off-grid sustainable toilet aimed at rural areas ‘flushes’ with the help of sand + a conveyor belt

In a world, where sanitation is considered a luxury and not a basic necessity, and 500 million people are still defecating in the open, this off-grid toiled called Sandi, designed by Brunel University graduate Archie Read, is a complete blessing. This sustainable toilet solution is aimed at rural areas where basic amenities like water and electricity may be unavailable. The idea for Sandi hit Read when he was working for a toilet company called LooWatt. LooWatt’s unique toilet system collects waste in a biodegradable polymer film, which although an innovative product, is still meant for urban cities. Although Sandi is still a concept, if transformed into a feasible reality, it could provide inhabitants of such locations with a solution that is not only sustainable but also safe and dignified. “If you have a nice complex electrical component, and you’re in a village that’s 50 miles away from any technician who can fix it, you can’t expect them to travel 50 miles there and 50 miles back to fix one toilet,” says Read. “It has to be in a situation that’s fixable by 90% of people themselves.”

Designer: Archie Read

There are definitely a lot of other off-grid toilets available on the market these days, but what sets Sandi apart from them is that it flushes. Although these other toilets do not require water to function, they do not flush ‘at all’,  making the entire affair an unsafe and uncomfortable experience.

Sandi, on the other hand, features three main components – a mechanical flush (for scenarios with no electricity), a basic conveyor belt to move the excreta away (in case of no water supply), and a divider placed inside the toilet bowl which separates the waste streams so that they can be repurposed as fertilizers. It also has two distinct compartments – one guides the urine into a container placed below, while the other features a basic conveyor belt, covered with a fine layer of sand, which renews every time someone flushes. Read selected sand as his material of choice, because it ensures that the feces do not stick to the belt, however, he proposes that sawdust or dirt could work great as well. Once you’ve finished your morning business, you simply press the flush handle, which instantly rotates and moves the conveyor belt away from your eyes, and discards the feces into the container below.

If a home consists of seven family members, the liquid container would need to be emptied every two days, whereas the container for solids after every four days. The urine can be instantly used as an independent fertilizer, whereas the feces can be buried to be utilized as compost a month later.

Reed envisions Sandi becoming a reality and being priced at $74 per unit. He doesn’t believe in charging exorbitant amounts for a product aimed at people’s safety and sanitation, since it is not a luxurious item, but a basic amenity.

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Ecovado is a more environmentally-friendly alternative to avocado

Avocado is one of my favorite fruits, even before it became the in-thing for hipster cafes and restaurants. Whether as part of your toast or as a dessert staple with condensed milk or as a guacamole dip, it’s one of those all-around fruits that I enjoy eating. But not all countries are avocado-rich and for those that have to import them, it’s actually one of the most unsustainable, energy-intensive, and resource-intensive crops. What if you could have the flavor and texture of it without having to spend as many resources and energy on it?

Designer: Arina Shokouhi

A graduate from the London school Central Saint Martins has come up with an avocado alternative called Ecovado. Basically it’s foodstuff made from broad beans, hazelnut, apple, and rapeseed oil and it’s trying to evoke the creamy texture and taste of the fruit. It is also packaged in avocado skin that’s actually made from wax and not the real thing, to give you the feeling that you’re really eating an actual avocado. It was created specifically for the British market as avocados are apparently hard to come by.

It was pretty challenging to find local, natural, and low-impact ingredients to create something that would taste and feel like actual avocados. The creamy flavor and texture is what some people find really compelling about this fruit so to create a substitute that will not come close to it would be a failure. Shokouhi worked with a food scientist from the University of Nottingham’s Food Innovation Centre to come up with this recipe for Ecovado.

Even though broad beans can be a bit bitter and have a bean-y flavor, they were able to reduce it so it will not show up that much in the flavor. They also added creamed hazelnut to bring the nuttiness and the creaminess to the foodstuff. Cold-pressed rapeseed oil was chosen as well instead of the more ideal olive oil since the former is more readily available in the U.K and is closer to the fatty acid profile of the real avocado. The “stone” part is actually a whole actual nut like walnut, chestnut, or hazelnut, depending on what’s available.

Even the packaging of the Ecovado is biodegradable and compostable as it’s made of wax with food coloring. You can even upcycle it to a candle in case that’s your favorite color or there’s an actual scent coming off of it. As to whether people would buy this avocado alternative, I’m still glad I don’t have to settle for anything else as the actual fruit is plentiful here over on my side of the world. But if you live in places where it has to be imported, then maybe it is the next best thing if you’re concerned about carbon footprint.

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