Innovation

World’s First Crowdfunded Climate Neutral Sneakers Are…Made With Coffee?

World’s First Crowdfunded Climate Neutral Sneakers Are…Made With Coffee?

Caffeine lovers may have met their match in a performance shoe that taps coffee grounds, among other more sustainable materials.
Finnish sneaker brand Rens is crowdfunding its latest vegan, climate-neutral sneaker the “Nomad” on Kickstarter as of Tuesday. Pledges to preorder the shoe start at $89 for early-bird backers with the ultimate retail price noted as $179. The sneaker comes in nine colorways. Its upper is made with a 50 percent blend of yarns spun from coffee grounds and 50 percent recycled polyester, averaging six recycled bottles per pair. The outsole is 100 percent sustainably sourced rubber and 100 percent EVA cushioning, with the insole and waterproof membrane comprising fully recycled materials.

Major convenience store chains in Taiwan and Mainland China fuel the coffee grounds supply, and the ensuing process transforms the grounds into a filament by way of polymerization (mixed with recycled plastic pellets).
Due to the coffee material’s natural antimicrobial properties, Rens boasts three times the odor control — an edge typically given by silver ion technology in performance apparel. The brand also cites quick-dry features and advanced ultraviolet protection.
The company was cofounded by 27-year-old Jesse Tran and 23-year-old Son Chu, who after their first shoe launch last year that sold in more than 100 countries were placed on Forbes Europe 30 Under 30 list. This year, the company earned a Red Dot Design Award, which is an international competition for product design.

“Nomad is targeted at the performance junkie, looking for comfort and most importantly to make a positive impact on the environment through their purchasing decisions,” Tran said.
Between throwaway cups and coffee grounds (which are backyard compostable), coffee is chalking up a sizable footprint. It’s estimated by the National Coffee Association that the world consumes more than 2 billion cups of coffee every day, with millions of tons of organic waste attributed to the coffee industry annually. Based on research from the German Environmental Agency, reusable cup innovations — not unlike the paradigm shift occurring in retail bags — can have untold benefits, like a drastic cut in emissions, water use and deforestation.
“If food waste was a country, it would be the third-largest greenhouse gas emitter in the world,” said Tran. “Like all organic waste, when coffee is disposed of in landfills, it creates a perfect breeding ground for methane, a 28-times more potent greenhouse gas than CO2. For most coffee waste, the landfill is its only destination.”
To date, the nimble start-up has recycled more than 250,000 plastic bottles and 750,000 cups of used coffee. Working with carbon offsetting firm ClimatePartner, Rens also measures, curbs and offsets carbon emissions at each stage including raw materials, packaging, production, transport and waste.
However, there are blind spots, Tran acknowledged. “Does utilizing coffee solve all of the problems associated with food waste? Of course not, but by looking at the materials we use in a new way, we can not only reduce our impact, but also unlock the full potential of these amazing materials beyond their initial purpose.”

The Kickstarter campaign, too, has its perks, he said. “Crowdfunding gives you better access, more feedback, a cleaner, greener and more affordable product and process, and a better overall sneaker.”

Will CVS, Target and Walmart Pave the Way for More Sustainable Retail Bags?

Will CVS, Target and Walmart Pave the Way for More Sustainable Retail Bags?

A new reusable bag pilot may be coming to a CVS, Target or Walmart near you.
The pilot is the crux of the “Beyond the Bag” initiative, launched by the Consortium to Reinvent the Retail Bag (with founding members such as CVS Health, Target, Walmart and Closed Loop Partners) to redesign the single-use plastic bag. In July 2020, the Consortium announced an innovation challenge gathering hundreds of applications from international innovators to create a new option for retail bags.
In all, $15 million has been committed to the initiative with Dick’s Sporting Goods, The TJX Companies, Inc., The Kroger Co. and more signing on.
Since the announcement of challenge winners in February, progress made is now materializing at stores.

Starting Aug. 2 through Sept. 10, select Beyond the Bag challenge winners will have their innovations tested across nine high-traffic CVS, Target and Walmart stores in Northern California, with progress updates and customer reach to be shared once the project is fully underway.
Four solutions, including Goatote (reusable bag kiosk), Fill it Forward (an app that tracks the use of bags customers already own), ChicoBag (reminds customers to use reusable bags on-site and get rewards for each use) and 99Bridges (Internet of Things-powered app called Mosaic that tracks end-to-end bag use) — will be tested in-store. Customers at participating stores can opt in to test these new solutions.

Calling the pilot an “essential step to test, incorporate customer and retailer feedback, and improve new solutions, exploring pathways to scale,” Kate Daly, managing director of the Center for the Circular Economy at Closed Loop Partners, a partner to the Consortium, said quick iteration is the aim.
The project mirrors a past initiative by The Center called the “NextGen Consortium” which included the commercialization of a more sustainable cup for pilot at McDonald’s and Starbucks.
“At Walmart, we believe climate change requires bold collective action. Minimizing plastic waste, in particular, depends on collaboration and cooperation across the retail industry,” said Jane Ewing, senior vice president of sustainability at Walmart. “These pilots represent a unique and exciting industry-wide commitment towards a more sustainable future, and we are excited to work with the Consortium to Reinvent the Retail Bag and to be a catalyst for meaningful change.”
Expressing excitement for the pilot, Amanda Nusz, senior vice president of corporate responsibility at Target and president of the Target Foundation added “co-creation,” “collaboration” and “continuous iteration” are key.
In addition to the in-store pilots, other winning solutions from the Beyond the Bag Challenge will be piloted and tested in different contexts, including reusable and refillable returns solution Returnity and digital identity solution Eon. Walmart delivery will test the solutions in select markets.
Initial learnings from the current pilot could inform scaled-up options in the future, as The Consortium to Reinvent the Retail Bag looks to evaluate the solutions and initiate future tests, programs and investments.

What Comes After Single-Use Retail Bags?

What Comes After Single-Use Retail Bags?

Innovators are finding new ways to effectively eliminate the single-use plastic bag.
The Center for Circular Economy at Closed Loop Partners (led by CVS Health, Target and Walmart) announced winners of the “Beyond the Bag” Innovation Challenge on Tuesday. Announced last July, The Consortium to Reinvent the Retail Bag is a pre-competitive collaboration committed to “reimagining the retail bag” to create a circular delivery system. Founding partners aside, partners include Dick’s Sporting goods, Dollar General, Kroger and Walgreens among others.
“The single-use plastic bag is an urgent challenge that impacts all of us,” said Katy Daly, managing director of the Center for Circular Economy at Closed Loop Partners. “There is a demand from consumers and the market alike. We have seen a rise in legislation directed at this challenge, from the New York City ban on single-use plastic bags to the European Union’s 2019 Single-Use Plastics Directive. The demand and urgency is something all our partners recognized and we are thrilled that they are using their platforms to pioneer innovation and systemic change.”

Winners spanned three broad categories and included innovations from Domtar, PlasticFri and Sway (innovative materials), Eon, SmartC and Fill it Forward (enabling tech) and ChicoBag, Goatote and Returnity (reusable and refillable).

Related Gallery

This is just one of many steps in bringing innovative bag solutions to market. Reigning as the dominant form of retail bag, some 100 billion single-use plastic bags are used each year in the U.S. according to the U.S. International Trade Commission.
Jane Ewing, senior vice president sustainability at Walmart (one of the Consortium’s founding partners) similarly expressed excitement for the challenge. “The Beyond the Bag Challenge winners inspire us to reimagine a more sustainable future, showcasing the breadth and tangibility of innovative solutions and we look forward to supporting them in their development.”
With the majority of single-use plastic bags made from low-cost, fossil fuel-derived virgin plastic, raw material usage and material recovery after-use are the main considerations when rethinking solutions. Already, cities like San Francisco, New York and Montreal have plastic bag bans in place. Citing adverse consumer and regulatory reactions against single-use plastic bags, the Center for Circular Economy at Closed Loop Partners hopes to find a solution.
“As an organization, and for The Beyond the Bag Initiative, we look at everything through the lens of impact: how will each design affect people, businesses and the planet,” Daly said.
The three broad categories of reusable and refillable designs (including bags-as-a-service and shared-bag models), innovative materials (nature-derived materials like algae, seaweed and the like) and enabling technology (like RFID and QR tech already seen in use by retailers) are meant to align with the changing — and more sustainability-centric — retail environment.
With the guidance of global design firm IDEO, the judges, considered subject matter experts, narrowed down the winners from over international 450 submissions, shortlisting 58 submissions. In the evaluation criteria, entrants were required to submit a life cycle assessment, detailing the innovation’s environmental impact across the value chain and product life cycle, as well as detailed business plan and prototype information.

Calling the judging process “data-driven and deliberate,” Daly said “in the next phase of the initiative, the winners will begin working closely with the Consortium to prototype, refine and test the viability of their designs to scale as long-term solutions.”
Winners will receive a portion of $1 million in prize money and are eligible for additional financial support to support testing, piloting and scaling efforts. Depending on the solution, innovations can move on to the Circular Accelerator mentorship program to further hone their solutions or begin product testing. Daly said the Consortium will work closely with the winning solutions throughout 2021, supporting design research, testing, prototyping, mentoring and iterative developments. From there, select solutions will be piloted in market.
For More, See:
Completing the Circle in Fashion’s New Economy

PHP Code Snippets Powered By : XYZScripts.com