In honor of April being Earth Month, we’re checking in with what product designers, manufacturers and industry pioneers are doing to keep Mother Earth happy. From home furnishings and wearable products to their manufacturing processes and transportation, here’s a rundown of some innovative sustainability initiatives and new Earth-friendly materials being used.
Ikea X Olafur Eliasson’s new solar-powered collection in collaboration with Little Sun
Ikea and Little Sun, founded by artist Olafur Eliasson and engineer Frederik Ottesen, have collaborated to create the Sammanlnkad collection which includes a portable light and a table lamp, both of which use solar power but also have USB-A and USB-C plugs for use with conventional electricity on overcast days.
Amazon is seaweed farming
Amazon will fund the first commercial-scale seaweed farm, located between its offshore wind farms, to aid in the fight against climate change. The project aims to reduce millions of tons of CO2 annually. North Sea Farmers may start the project by year’s end. According to Zak Watts, director of EU sustainability at Amazon, seaweed could extract CO2 from the atmosphere, but it is currently limited in Europe.
Vegan leather made from Mediterranean apples and persimmons
Persiskin, an eco-focused textile company based in Valencia, Spain, has launched a vegan leather made from excess persimmons, offering an eco-friendly substitute for traditional leather and reducing food waste. The Valencian community produces over 300 million kilos of persimmons annually, but more than 50% of the harvest is unsold.
Persiskin’s innovative solution addresses this issue while serving as a practical alternative to animal-derived leather. Similarly, Italian sneaker company P448 has dropped a collection of apple-skin “leather” sneakers made as part of its new P448 x Project Sustainability, using apples grown in South Tyrol, Italy.
Waste-based furniture capsules
Swedish designer Louise Hederström partnered with furniture brand Swedese on their planet-friendly collaboration. They utilized plywood and wooden joists left over from construction sites to create eco-friendly furniture for the public spaces in the Hyllie Terrass building in Sweden.
Renewable PVC flooring
Certified by the International Sustainability and Carbon Certification, Amtico Bio is leading the way in sustainable flooring options. Its new luxury vinyl tile offers a renewable and eco-friendly alternative to traditional PVC flooring. It is made with renewable PVC sourced from paper production byproducts, emitting over 90% less CO2 than conventional options.
The flooring is available in various collections, including the Amtico Signature, Form and Space, featuring easy installation with standard-sized planks. Amtico Bio is considered a sustainable and forward-looking flooring choice.
Sustainable aircraft cabins
Diab Group, a Swedish material science company, introduced a recyclable composite material for aircraft cabin interiors. The material features thermoplastic skin layers and a foam core, coated with AkzoNobel Aerospace Coating, allowing for easy welding and molding. It is manufactured 35 times faster than traditional panels and contains 40% recycled materials. The foam composite is also 100% recyclable, making it an eco-friendly and efficient solution for cabin paneling and furniture.
Absolut Vodka’s recycled flint glass
The food and beverage industries are leading the way in sustainable packaging. Absolut Vodka is taking a step toward becoming carbon-neutral by 2030 with the introduction of a new hydrogen-fired glass furnace supplied by Ardagh’s Limmared glassworks.
The furnace will replace 20% of natural gas usage with green hydrogen energy in bottle production. Absolut Vodka’s CO2 neutrality initiative includes recycled flint glass and other commitments. CEO Stéphanie Durroux emphasizes the need for a bold approach to sustainability challenges in the glass industry.
Mushroom Packaging offers customizable and compostable e-commerce packaging made from natural ingredients, hemp hurd and mycelium. Their “grown-to-order” model provides practical solutions that are good for the planet. Their packaging styles range from protective casings to cool product storage and are ocean safe, chemical and plastic-free, flame resistant, water-resistant and compostable.
The Shoebox Cooler is a small, fully compostable insulated cooler that returns to soil in just 45 days, suitable for cool product storage. This sustainable packaging has applications across various industries such as food, cosmetics and other consumer packaged goods.