Bright Green Enterprise

Archive: Dec 2016

Ten of the Best Sustainable Innovations from 2016!

Let’s face it, 2016 has been a rollercoaster of a ride. For a year that started off with Ziggy Stardust and Snape dying, it ended with a Climate Change denier being elected President of the most powerful country in the world.

To complement this, scientists announced their findings that by 2050 the oceans will have more plastic in them than fish (plastic bag with chips anyone?); but a glimmer of hope came along when China said they would halt new coal mine approvals, close 1,000 mines, increase solar and wind production by 21% and eat less meat in 2016, all in an effort to help reduce carbon emissions and tackle Climate Change, so things were starting to look a little bright. But let’s not be hasty…Donald Trump then promptly posted a Climate Change sceptic, Scott Pruit, to head up the Environmental Protection Agency (Scott, a guy who said his first job if he ever became President would be to scrap this department) AND appointed the head of Exxon Mobil to the role of Secretary of State. Cripes. And amongst all of this real fur came back into fashion and Marmite disappeared from our shelves at the prospect of a divided EU (you’ll have to be British to probably get the seriousness of this).

But lest we cry into our mulled wine and wonder why we should even bother turning up for 2017, we’ve put together a list of our Top Ten favourite sustainable innovation stories from 2016! Stories that are guaranteed to brighten up your outlook on humanity. So sit back and take some inspiration because 2017 is going to be the year we bring bright green back on the agenda.

1. Boyan Slat’s Masterplan to Clean-up the Ocean Hits the North Sea

This exciting prototype is being tested in the windy and wet waters of the north sea this year. Designed to rid the ocean of plastic, the Ocean Cleanup harnesses the heavy-weights of technology and science. Oh, and did we mention that its inventor, Boyan Slat, CEO and Founder, started this when he was a mere 17-years-old and is the youngest ever recipient of the UN’s highest environment award? Read more…

2. The EcoHelmet wins the James Dyson International Award


The EcoHelmet is a recyclable folding bike helmet made of paper instead of plastics. Using human-centred design engineering, the EcoHelmet has won this year’s James Dyson Award. Read more…

3. The ‘Green Rock Drill’ Shakes up Mining in East Africa


Lawrence Ojok, a Tanzanian Arushan engineer and innovator, launched his environmentally-friendly Green Rock Drill for artisanal miners across Africa. Aimed to offer small artisan miners an affordable and clean way to drill rock faces using hand-held power, whilst protecting them against harmful rock powder residue. Read more…

4. Soda Stream’s Hilarious Video Combating Plastic Pollution Goes Viral

Soda Stream, the global technology company which produces gadgets to fizz your water, launched a funny video mimicking the ‘shame’ scene in Game of Thrones. Aimed to raise awareness of plastic bottle wastage (and sell their product), Soda Stream hit the mark when it became one of the most shared videos on Social Media and drew the wrath of Nestle – one of the world’s biggest water and plastic polluters. Read more...

5. Playing Fair: the Story of Fairtrade Footballs

We don’t necessarily put football and fair trade together but this insight into the Fairtrade label and how it’s shaping workers rights and lives in Pakistan offered an interesting glimpse into how mass production, done well, can bring prosperity and enjoyment to thousands across the world. Read more…

6. Leather that’s Made from Pineapples instead of Cows

Let’s face it, cows have it bad. Not only are they farmed in factories for anything from Big Mac’s to leather handbags, they’re also collectively blamed as one of the biggest polluters on our planet due to their propensity to fart out a whopping 114 kilos of methane gas each year (around 19x more potent than CO2!) To tackle this growing issue, and give cows some slack, Ananas Anam, manufactures and sells Pinatex (TM), a leather-like good derived from pineapples, from its head office based in London and is certified as a Vegan product material. Read more…

7. Sweden Incentivises Repair Networks with Tax Breaks

Just when you thought Sweden couldn’t get any cooler, its government has introduced tax incentives to repair networks in order to stimulate reuse, reduce unnecessary waste and protect the environment. #iwishiwasswedish

8. England Introduces a 5p Charge for Plastic Bag Use


The UK government introduced a 5p tax on plastic bag use across England, helping to reduce plastic bag consumption by a whopping 85%. Plastic bags are becoming like gold dust and the British public have now forgotten what it was like to live in a world where plastic was free at the till. Great stuff. Read more…

9. A Mobile Fridge that Could Save Millions of Lives


22-year-old British student, Will Broadway, has invented a mobile fridge, the ‘Isobar’, designed to keep vaccines at the ideal temperature whilst in transit in developing countries. To top off young Will’s ethical credentials, he’s not seeking to patent it, in order to get it accessed by as many people as possible across the world. Read more…

10. Drinkable, Edible, Biodegradable…

Aimed at protecting marine life, this innovative plastic replacement material has been designed to naturally biodegrade away, meaning that should such packaging find its way into our seas, marine life forms stand a better chance of surviving it.



And the Winners Are…!

On the 23 November, six teams set foot inside the impressive walls of Somerset House, London, to take part in the final of our Creative Disruptors challenge 2016. Hosted by Makerversity in their educational ‘Fusion Lab’ and who are our programme partner makerspace for this challenge, each team brought with them their project prototype and a 5-minute presentation to pitch their idea of an appropriate technology for the theme ‘HOME’.


The final six made it through a packed six-month challenge-curriculum which began back in April and saw school teams in the UK learn alongside their peers in Tanzania. What is unique about Creative Disruptors is that the same curriculum is given to schools in both countries enabling them to learn, make and share together: the three task foundations of the Creative Disruptors curriculum.

The challenge has been developed to help students explore creative learning and engage them in pathways linked to STEAM (science, technology, engineering, arts and mathematics) as well as build their capabilities for empathy in user-centred design and international sustainability. Through the Creative Disruptors online learning platform the challenge also enables participants to explore the work of their peers in other parts of the world, undertaking the same problem-solving briefs, thereby, developing a greater sense of empathy and cross-cultural understanding.

Bright Green Enterprise runs the challenge in conjunction with its UK partner schools, whilst Twende Social Innovation Centre runs the challenge with its partner schools in Tanzania. Twende also functions as a makerspace workshop, offering participants the opportunity to develop their hard skills capabilities alongside teamwork and communication.

The UK final saw six teams present:

1st PRIZE!

EVIVO: developed a safety lock which works using a unique user pattern of magnetic strips worn on a wrist strap. Once held against the Evivo lock, the unique magnetic pattern code will unlock a device once both components are placed against each other. The idea for this unique lock transpired from research into people losing their keys or struggling to find them in the dark. The strap is designed to be subtle and worn under a watch or as a general accessory meaning that its low-key appearance does not appear to be an expensive item.


PRECISION: despite only joining the challenge as new school students in September, Precision developed a unique foldable desk, targeted at the university student market. The desk uses user-centred design to accommodate different functions (storage, workspace, display), yet folds up to maximise space within small university accommodation blocks. The idea came about through research conducted with current university students in halls of residence. The overall business model of this product (dreams of Ikea!) was also highly commended by the Makerversity judges.


SEIZE: developed a backpack for homeless people inspired by the shape of a snail’s shell. The backpack functions as a storage pack but draws design inspiration from the shape of a spiral shell to pack different essential belongings. The team also presented a great short film advertisement of their research, modelling the user and their product and how its outside reflective design improves visibility for roadside safety. The team were highly commended by the judges for their research and production of an appropriate product.


APEX: developed a ‘banish box’ targeted at families to encourage ‘down time’ from electronics use, including smart phones, iPads, laptops, etc. The box allows gadgets to charge but has a unique key code that can only be accessed by parental control. It also blocks noise from ring tones and alerts. The idea came about following the team’s research into excessive phone and Internet usage and how this affects sleep patterns as well as the more serious psychological effects of Internet over-use.

DIVERSITY: developed a wearable backpack for homeless people or outdoors explorers; the pack’s unique selling point is its user-centred design which works as a backpack opening up into a waterproof sleeping bag. The pack maintains the storage function of ordinary backpacks but utilises appropriate materials and design build to offer multi-functionality to its users.

DYNAMICS: developed a simple yet highly effective block photo frame which can hold several pictures at a variety of angles. Its magnetic backing also allows it to stick to different household surfaces at different angles. The idea for this came about through research into breakable materials within the home and the team wanted to develop an ordinary household product that was simple yet ‘homely’ in its usage.

All teams performed excellently and the decision to award prizes was extremely tough. A full report of Creative Disruptors 2016 will be available in the new year, along with information about the 2017 challenge.

If your school is interested in participating for 2017, please get in touch with Lucy to find out more.

Explore the gallery for more pictures of the day or visit our Creative Disruptors page to find out more about the challenge.


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