🌱 Turning Face Masks Into Trees and Cleaning up the Ocean


Good morning 👋 Saturday was World Environment Day! For the occasion, we learnt that we throw away 2.12 billion tons of waste every year and discovered fantastic initiatives trying to change that.

🌱 The Face Masks That Turn Into Trees

Putting seeds in face masks: that’s the original idea the Indian NGO Paper Seed Co. implemented to fight the pollution generated by the tons of single-use face masks dumped during the pandemic. Indeed, some studies showed that we are currently using 3 million face masks per minute and discarding several billion every day.

The Paper Seed masks are mostly made of cotton and are entirely biodegradable. When thrown into the soil, they will germinate in a few days. Also, according to their creator, they are “as thick as N95 and protect from the infection”.

Source: @paperseedco | Facebook

As good news never come alone, the NGO produces the masks in a small village, generating a revenue stream for locals, mostly women and youth. Pretty neat, isn’t it?

(Source: abcnews.go.com)

🧹 The Company That Wants to Clean up the Ocean

The Ocean Cleanup is a Dutch non-profit organization aiming to clean up 90% of the floating plastic pollution in our oceans -- easy peasy lemon squeezy 🍋. To achieve this feat, they want to intervene in the ocean itself to remove the existing plastic and in the rivers to prevent the plastic from entering the ocean in the first place.

In the ocean, they associated a cork floater that passively filters plastic - without harming the aquatic wildlife - with a “parachute” that slows down the system so that the current can trap the plastic into the floater. Once it is full, a boat comes and collects the “garbage”.

System to gather floating plastic pollution in the ocean
Otherwise, they aim to deploy “interceptors” in the 1,000 most polluted rivers worldwide within the next 5 years. Basically, the system consists of a couple of fixed floaters that redirect the waste into conveyor belts collecting the plastic.

System to gather floating plastic pollution in the rivers

This project proves that we don’t need ultra-sophisticated technology to make a real difference. The founder was 18 when he started the organization. The kids are alright ✨

(Source: theoceancleanup.com)

🌍 Meanwhile, worldwide...

🏀 Jrue Holiday, an NBA player from the Milwaukee Bucks, won the NBA sportsmanship trophy. He and his wife Lauren, 2-time Olympic gold medalist and World Cup champion in football, have donated and raised millions of dollars to fund Black-owned businesses and Black-led organizations.

🧀 June 4th was national cheese day. Did you know that France has more than 1,000 different types of cheese? This Indian social enterprise probably doesn't make all of them, but it can deliver ethically-made cheese in Chennai and across all India.

🛫 Boeing is committed to making its commercial planes fly on 100% sustainable fuel by 2030. Hopefully, we will be able to travel again before that.

🌪 A Swiss company created a CO2 “vacuum cleaner” that literally captures the dioxide carbon from the air, mixes it with water and pumps it into the ground, where it will naturally turn to rock in less than 2 years. The working prototype is not ready for mass production yet, but we are definitely living exciting times.

🥐 Social enterprises have a dedicated status in France since May 2019. The so-called entreprises à mission (literally “purpose-driven enterprises”) are more and more popular in the country as their number increased by 42% in the last 5 months! Since even local bakers started to adopt this status, we expect this number to continue its meteoric rise 🚀

This article was updated on October 17, 2021

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Nadia Humbert-Labeaumaz

Entrepreneur, consultant, biosciences and software engineer, working on projects enabling positive impact.