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Ink from Emissions, Edible Cutlery, and Plastics from Carbon Dioxide

As the Director of Sustainability at the Smeal College of Business, it is my responsibility to keep my mind constantly steeping in a solution of: 1 part business, 1 part technology, and 1 part each of environmental and social impact, including emerging science, news and events. (Stir together and steep for years until it reaches desired level of understanding).

In "That's News to Me" I share what I am reading with the growing Triple Bottom Lion community. Three articles below that caught my eye and I just finished The Upcycle: Beyond Sustainability--Designing for Abundance by William McDonough and Michael Braungart. Recommend it although Cradle to Cradle is better and puts forth the killer ideas of technical and biological nutrients.


Dell is using ink made from smog to print some of its packaging (Fast Company)

Image credit: Fast Company

"The Indian startup Chakr Innovations designed a device that cools diesel exhaust, making it easier to catch particles of soot, and then stores it in a solvent. Clean air comes out the other side, and the soot can later be used to make black ink. Dell, which is printing its packaging in India using the ink, is the first company to use it at a large scale."


Cutlery you can eat: One company's approach to the plastic pollution problem (CBC News)

Image credit: Bakey's

"Plastic cutlery is a major contributor to the growing plastic waste crisis. An estimated 40 billion plastic utensils are used and thrown away each year in the United States alone. Narayana Peesapaty the founder and directing manager of Bakey's, an Indian cutlery company, has a possible solution—spoons and forks you can eat.

His edible cutlery is made from millet, rice and wheat flours. Peesapaty is one of several players in the edible cutlery game, a burgeoning niche that's created buzz among consumers but received lukewarm reception from environmentalists.

Peesapaty said he was inspired to create the product while watching his country's plastic problem mount and the use of plastic utensils become more routine. It's estimated that India discards about 120 billion pieces of disposable plastic utensils each year."


From greenhouse gases to plastics (Canada Light Source)

Image description: "The surface of a nanostructured copper catalyst that converts CO2 into ethylene." (Credit: Canada Light Source)

"Imagine if we could take CO2, that most notorious of greenhouse gases, and convert it into something useful. Something like plastic, for example. The positive effects could be dramatic, both diverting CO2 from the atmosphere and reducing the need for fossil fuels to make products." This is part of a whole new series of products that could be made from formerly wasted carbon.


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