Sustainability is a key talking point in modern society.
Solar take up in Australia is higher than it has ever been, renewable energy solutions are replacing coal-fired electricity stations, and electric car innovation is making the technology more affordable and accessible than ever before.
Australians are a creative bunch, which is why it’s of little surprise to learn that some of the world’s greatest sustainability inventions have come from our shores.
Here are five of our favourites:
1. Bamboo wound care
Wound care products contribute and immense amount to landfill, with huge volumes of band aids and bandages being disposed of every year. It was a market identified by Australian company Nutricare, who create, design and manufacture natural and organic alternatives.
Their products are made out of bamboo and include natural products like charcoal, aloe vera and coconut oil to encourage healing. Nutricare’s range are the only latex, paraben free, sulphate, thimerosal/ merthiolate-free wound care products on the market at present.
2. Reusable smart cups with Visa PayWave
Aussies love coffee, but despite significant efforts to encourage the use of reusable cups, around 1 billion disposable coffee cups end up in landfill each year. The latest bid to get people to stop using throw-away cups is an Australian innovation, in the form of a reusable cup with a built-in chip, so you can fill your cup and pay at the same time.
Frank Green is the Melbourne-based company behind the Next generation SmartCup with Visa payWave which allows you to pay for anything up to $50 in value. Their products are now available in 36 countries globally including the major markets of China, the United States and the United Kingdom.
3. Big brand shoes made from Australian wool
Cotton has long been used for clothing, but never considered for shoes despite being a natural, renewable and biodegradable fibre. That’s all changing thanks to Australian company The Woolmark Company (TWC). Merino wool is marketed by TWC globally, which is a win for Aussie wool farmers and producers.
Adidas was the first big brand to launch wool shoes and now rivals are following in their footsteps, with California-based Athletic Propulsion Labs (APL) following suit.
The shoes aren’t just environmentally better, but also deliver real benefits for active people. They naturally hug the foot for maximum support, the material breathes for comfort and wool has a natural moisture wicking characteristic – helping prevent odour.
4. Protection of endangered species
There are now 41,415 endangered species on the International Union for Conservation of Nature red list, with 16,306 threatened with extinction. While many programs help endangered species tread water for a few more years, the list just gets longer every year.
Lord Howe Island, located in the Tasman Sea between Australia and New Zealand, off Port Macquarie in New South Wales, has taken its commitment to helping these animals to a new level.
The Lord Howe Island board initiated the Protecting Paradise program which includes:
- A cap on tourist visitors
- World-class waste management facilities that divert 86 percent of the island waste from landfill
- Pest eradication programs and;
- Recovery programs for endangered animals.
The latter has meant that several species have been brought back from the brink of extinction, including the Lord Howe Island Woodhen and the world’s rarest insect, the Lord Howe Island stick insect.
5. Bins for the ocean
With 13,000-15,000 pieces of plastic dumped in the world’s ocean every day, it is little wonder that experts are predicting that there will be more plastic than fish in the world’s seas by 2050. Perth surfers Andrew Turton and Pete Ceglinski experienced the floods of plastic in the ocean first hand every day, so they decided to do something about it.
They invented the Seabin, which can collect, and hold up to 20kg of rubbish each day before being emptied and released into the water once more.
If you’re fascinated by innovative design that protects our environment, a course in environment and sustainability could help you make a contribution. Study online, in your own time and location, and start working towards an exciting career – one that gets you out of bed in the morning.