It’s hard to believe 2020 is less than two months away. Where did the time go?!
While time has been flying by, these last few years have brought about a significant amount of innovation surrounding sustainable and social impact projects. The trend is part of the eco-friendly, cruelty-free, organic and zero-waste movement that’s taking the world by storm. Essentially, this means people are becoming more and more aware of the importance of preserving the planet. Reducing food waste, waste transformation, clothes sharing and social assistance are some key themes of new startups around the world.
So, we’ve shared twelve interesting, innovative and young companies that are working to create a better future for us and this beloved planet.
Nowadays, one third of all the food we produce is wasted. Restaurants, supermarkets and grocery stores end their day with an astonishing amount of food that they will not use the day after. However, most of these products are still edible. It was with the aim of avoiding this food waste that, in 2016, four young people founded Karma in Stockholm.
Karma is an app that gives restaurants and grocery stores the opportunity to sell their surplus of food and make it available to consumers at a lower price. Karma is working to reach a more sustainable society and believes that together we can have an impact. Thanks to Karma, already 295 tonnes of food has been saved.
Already well established in Sweden, Karma arrived in London last year and is now also available in Paris. If you are interested in the concept you can check out their website www.new.karma.life or download the app available on the Apple store or Google Play.
Les Frigos Solidaires
Founded by a young French restaurant owner and based on a German concept, the association les frigos solidaires, is on a mission to reduce food waste by allowing people to leave their surplus of food in a fridge for everyone. Every fridge is located outside a restaurant or a grocery store to ensure they are used.
The way it works is simple, when you have products that you will not eat, you can leave them in a Frigo solidaire as long as you write your name and the date when you leave the product. Of course, you can also take some products that you find in the fridge if you know that you will eat them.
The association not only has an eco-friendly mission but also a social one. The fridges gives homeless people, large families, seniors, students and others the opportunity to have food products for free.
The concept of les frigos solidaires already exists in various parts of France, Germany and Belgium. In each country, it is run by different associations.
Les frigos solidaires are currently asking for donations so they can open more fridges across France. Check out their website identites-mutuelle.com/lesfrigossolidaires
This innovative London based startup was founded in 2016 by an engineer and a biologist.
Their aim is to find solutions to transform wastes into different useful materials to be able to “ensure a future that is built upon more sustainable foundations”.
They centered their research on birds’ feathers. The poultry industry is huge and the amount of feathers that is burned in the process is significant. Aeropowder uses the feathers to create sustainable products. Their first invention, named Pluumo, is thermal packaging material composed of only feathers.
Aeropowder has already won a number of awards. If you’re interested in the idea, check them out aeropowder.com.
Waste is not only made by consumers but also by producers at the earliest stage. All this waste is not as useless as we think as, almost everything can be recycled from food crop waste, to our own jeans.
The American start-up, Circular Systems, develops innovative circular and regenerative technologies in order to transform waste into fibre, textile and yarn. Until now, they have developed three different machines that transform different kinds of waste into textile materials. One of them won the Global Change Award 2018. Visit Circular Systems website to learn more about their innovations www.circular-systems.com.
If you need a dress for just one night or want something new but your eco-friendly conscience means you don’t want to buy more, then Fjong is for you. Fjong, the solution to your problem is a young Norwegian start-up that offers clothes for rent at a low price. It also gives you the opportunity to lend out your own clothes.
The founder, Sigrun Syverud, describes Fjong as a tech-company that creates easy online solutions for access to clothing in an economic and sustainable way. As the fashion industry is extremely polluting, Fjong is a great alternative to include in your shopping routine to make it more eco-friendly. Take a look at their wide choice of clothing on www.fjong.co.
For days is an innovative circular t-shirt company that promotes zero-waste, organic and recycling values. The American start-up works with recycling companies to take your old clothes in and transform them into new ones or into pillow fillers. That’s not all though, for each piece of clothing you send you receive four dollars to use on their website. Also, when your t-shirt becomes too old you can give it them back and they recycle it into a new one. What’s more, you are able to swap one t-shirt with another. It’s a circular process during which nothing is lost and everything is transformed.
According to its founder, Kristy Caylor, For Days takes the responsibility of the garment’s entire life which is not the case for other fashion retailers. It makes the startup the first company with a fully “closed-loop system”. Check out their online store here www.fordays.com.
Two young Swedish women created Grace Health to provide an easy healthcare service for women from emerging countries. It’s a chatbot that allows women to know more about their fertility and sexual health in general.
Grace gives information about periods and fertility, health tips and they respond to every question about these topics. The chat is done through Facebook Messenger to allow free access to the largest amount of women while ensuring total privacy. If you want to know more about what’s going in your body or you’d like some tips, head to grace.health to start chatting with Grace.
Meat production is one of the largest polluting businesses in the world. Meat provides proteins that are essential for the human body but its process significantly threatens our planet. Thus, it’s necessary to find other sources of eco-friendly protein. That’s exactly what Entis does. The start-up offers meat substitutes for protein-rich snacks. These substitutes are insects, more exactly, crickets.
Insect production is much less polluting than meat production. Less water and space are needed and less greenhouse gas is produced.
Founded by five people in 2017, this Finland-based company has continued to grow and plans to open in international markets. If you’re a protein snack addict but want to reduce your carbon footprint, learn more about the different products Entis offers on their website, entis.fi.
Healthy, sustainable and delicious are three words to describe this young Estonian company. Formed by six motivated founders, Epic Foods provides chef-made meal packages for your entire day and delivers them to your home.
Their food is packaged in eco-friendly bags and they minimize their carbon footprint by delivering everything with electric cars and reducing food waste when cooking. Their goal is to offer a better lifestyle for those who lack time or money.
Epic Foods was elected best food-tech startup at the Nordic Startup Awards in 2018. As the online food market is growing, Epic foods’ goal is to reach the rest of the European market. Here is the link to their website epicfoods.ee if you’re interested in checking it out.
This Netherlands based company builds sustainable houses made of wood. In the construction, they integrate renewable energy and as few materials as possible while still paying attention to creating comforts for your home. At the beginning, the project focused on building houses out of shipping containers and making them as eco-friendly and auto-sufficient as possible.
Then, they extended their know-how to modular building systems. Sustainability is found in each step of the building process, from the choice of material, to the construction methods, to the design. Every Sustainer Homes’ production is unique and created according to the customer’s choices.
These houses of the future are currently only available in the Netherlands but will be expanded to other European markets. If this new way of building houses intrigues you, you can read more about it on their website, sustainerhomes.nl.
This new e-commerce platform was created by the company TerraCycle. It offers an eco-friendly delivery service for a multitude of brands products. The real innovation is that all the products are in returnable and reusable containers – going back to the ‘milkman’ model. After having used the products, the consumer then give the dirty containers back for them to be cleaned and reused.
Loop launched in cities in the US and France this year and is quickly growing. They are collaborating with large brands like Nestlé, Unilever, The Body Shop and many more.
According to Loop’s founder, Tom Szaky, the reuse model of containers is the future because, over time, it will become more sustainable than the normal ‘single-use’ model. If you too, want to shop for your daily products in a more sustainable way then find more information at loopstore.com.
After a first invention in 2009, called Inkodye (an art supply product), its creators turned themselves into manufacturer and developed Lumi. Lumi is a packaging engineering company with sustainable values. They provide a platform that allows e-commerce brands to create and order their own sustainable packagings, tapes and papers. It also helps the companies keep an eye on their deliveries and keep all their different packaging styles at the same place.
In regards to sustainability, Lumi’s products are plastic-free, renewable, mainly composed of recycled materials and the paper is made of certified wood. They ensure efficient distribution to reduce their carbon footprint and have a global network of factories.
As you can see, all these companies are involved in researching and developing innovative solutions for the purpose of reaching one or more of the 17 sustainable development goals outlined by the United Nations (www.un.org/sustainabledevelopment).
However, they are not the only ones that can make a positive environmental and social impact. As consumers, we too need to do our part to make a larger impact. If we all act together we can create a more positive impact on the world and each other!