7 awesome innovations that turn crap into stuff we love


Do you remember that TV advert that promoted recycling steel cans, and saying that popping your empty baked beans can on the kerb could turn it into a bike, train tracks or even another can – forever and ever and ever? That’s pretty neat for ex-baked bean house. But there is something even better when you hear about things you hate (air pollution, food waste and ocean plastic) into stuff you love, like I dunno – tasty grub, alcohol and fashion!

It feels like there’s examples of these popping up all the time from super smart and committed folk that really want to make a difference. I think you’ll get a kick out of the below. Maybe in the future, all of our favourite things will have a really cool past life too? 😎

Edible beer holders that’ll disappear faster than your semester

That tricky problem of those six-pack rings on beer has been plaguing us for ages. Firms have already come up with solutions that are better for the environment, such as using recyclable plastic, but it still doesn’t help animals ingesting or getting stuck in them. Luckily, Florida-based Saltwater Brewing Co. may have come up with a solution – thanks to its new biodegradable and edible rings. Made from wheat and barley waste, they allegedly disintegrate in the ocean within about 3 months. That’s a mere one semester for ya.

San Franscisco’s fog into vodka

What if I told you that there was a vodka made from San Franscisco’s fog? Well, Hangar 1 distillery has done just that (and it’ll cost ya $125 a pop)

So how do you do that, you may ask? Well, vodka is 60% water, and fog is a big part of San Fran’s identity (with a water shortage to boot). Go figure. Apparently, collecting fog is similar process to distilling, in that you vaporise the liquid and collecting the vapour back to a liquid. The fog even has a flavour! Finally, it’s distilled with grape wine from a biodynamic vineyard in California’s Central Coast.

Ocean plastic into Ray Ban-esque sunglasses

Wittly titled ‘Sea Plastic Differently’, the good folk at Norton Point have whipped up some very cool shades made from recovered high-density-polyethylene (HDPE) ocean plastics.

With every pair of sunglasses they sell, they’re cleaning up a pound of plastic from the ocean, and helping to create jobs and income for local collectors in Haiti. Norton Point’s Kickstarter campaign is now finished, raking in a cool $55,367.

Plastic bottles into red carpet fashion

Who doesn’t love Emma Watson? Well, you’ll love her even more now that’s she’s committed to only sporting sustainable fashion on the red carpet.

It might not look like it on first glance (or oggle) but the dress she wore to the 2016 Met Gala is actually made from five pieces all woven from yarns made from recycled plastic bottles. Good old Watson is making wearing waste pretty cool for the rest of us muggles, and best of all the pieces are designed to be worn again, for example, there’s trousers under there that could be worn by themselves, and the train could be dragged out again fro the next red carpet gig.

Beer waste into granola bars

What if you could eat beer? The guys at Re-Grained – a startup in the Bay area of San Fransisco – have done just that, turning beer’s spent grain byproduct into tasty granola bars.

A six-pack of beer produces a pound of spent grain, and this messy grain can constitute as much as 85 percent of a brewery’s total by-product. Having tried the leftover, oatmeal like substance back in their underage brewing days, dude-duo Jordan Schwartz and Dan Kurzrock thought it tasted pretty good. Best of all, the grain loses most the sugar in the brewing process, but hangs onto the same amount of protein and fibre. Other waste products like coffee grounds also have some handy uses (a natural slug repellent or being turned into coffee flour) but the nutritional content of the spent grain really sets it apart for the boys.

Tequila (waste) into car parts

What if your car was made from tequila? Whaa….?  Ford is teaming up with tequila producer Jose Cuervo to do just that – developing sustainable bioplastics with the agave plant byproduct for parts like HVAC units and storage bins. This’ll cut nasty petrochemicals, aswell as making the vehicle lighter and more economical to run.

The growth cycle of the agave plant takes at least seven years, with only the heart of the plant being harvested for distillation. Some of the remaining agave fibers are used as compost for Jose Cuervo farms, so this new use for its remnant fibers is pretty sweet for both Ford and Curvo’s sustainability strategies. I think we can raise a glass to that.

Smog into diamonds

I’m sure many of you gals love a bit of sparkly bling: but what if that beautiful jewellery was made from something much uglier, say… China’s air pollution?

Apparently it made Dutch artist Daan Roosegaarde a little sad as he gazed out his Beijing hotel window. So he decided to do something about it. It does beg the question, just how do you turn dirty air into beautiful jewels?

Apparently you get a 7m tall tower to suck up polluted air, clean it at a nano-level, then release it back into parks and playgrounds. Then the carbon from the smog particles is made into diamonds. The money from the diamond bling will be reinvested into more smog-eating towers. Yum.

What’s your fave? Do you have any more innovations to share? I can’t get enough of them!

Did you like this article? Enjoy more innovation like this in the weekly newsletter, or buy Susty Girl a coffee. 💗

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