Bright Green Enterprise

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.



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