Ford, which already uses HP 3D printing products, has partnered with the computer hardware company to close the loop on waste. Using leftover powders, plastics and parts from across HP’s 3D printing facilities, Ford has been able to manufacture injection-molded fuel-line clips for its Super Duty F-250 trucks. In addition to its trucks’ fuel-line clips, the Ford research team has identified 10 other fuel-line clips on existing vehicles that can benefit from similar types of reused 3D-printed materials.
Unilever and Alibaba group have partnered to install 20 plastic recycling machines around Shanghai and Hangzhou. The program is a proactive response to a Shanghai government initiative to create a plastic packaging management system aimed at creating a more circular economy. The machines are AI-enabled and are able to automatically identify and sort different types of plastic. Customers scan a QR code presented by the machine with their Alipay enabled phone (Alibaba’s e-wallet service) and then deposit their plastic items. For their efforts, customers are rewarded with Unilever coupons and green energy points on the Alipay ‘Ant Forest,’ a reforestation, carbon offset scheme from Alibaba.
KIDCYCLE is a nationwide children’s clothing recycling program. Powered by Carter’s, the children’s fashion brand, and TerraCycle, the international recycler, the program encourages parents to send in their children's’ used and outgrown clothing. Participating customers are able to print a free shipping label from the TerraCycle site and simply send in the used clothing. Items eligible for recycling include any brand’s baby and children’s clothing including shoes and accessories. The collected items are shredded and recycled for uses such as home insulation, stuffing in workout equipment and furniture.
PlayBack is a new recycling program being launched by toy manufacturer, Mattel that gives a second life to toys that have reached the end of their useful life (or last the attention of the child owners). Customers are encouraged to fill out a form on the Mattel site and generate a free, pre-paid shipping label enabling the return of eligible items that include Barbie, Matchbox and MEGA toys. Mattel will recover and recycle materials to be used in the formulation of new toys where possible and those that cannot be recycled are downcycled into other plastic products.
For Days is a circular fashion brand that manufactures organic cotton basics, such as T-shirts and sweatshirts. When customers purchase items from the company, they are encouraged to return the items once they are at the end of their wear life. These items are sorted by color and recyclers turn the used products into new fiber, yarn and new materials. Customers are also provided with a credit for each return item. Those credits go into their ‘bank’ and can be used towards the purchase of new items on the site.
Fashion brand, Tommy Hilfiger has launched a circular business model with ‘Tommy for Life’ that renews and reuses old Tommy Hilfiger clothing. The brand has two collections. The Refreshed collection is made up of renewed, pre-owned or damaged pieces coming from stores or online operations. The Remixed collection is a new line of unique designs that are created with materials from items that couldn’t be renewed. And, Tommy Hilfiger customers can trade in their old items and in return get credit to spend on new purchases.
Short for “alternative textiles,” Alt Tex is creating circular, biodegradable and carbon-neutral textiles engineered from one of the world’s largest landfill contributors–food waste. The company’s novel bio-polymer technology re-engineers sugars extracted from the food waste into high performance, polyester-like fibers and fabrics for sustainable fashion brands.
Spiber, a Japanese-based company that does research and development around alternative, renewable textiles has recently collaborated with Japanese activewear and lifestyle brand, Goldwin to create a sweater made of ‘brewed protein.’ ‘Brewed Protein’ is a protein material produced from plant-derived biomass that is fermented using Spiber’s proprietary processes. The protein can be engineered into a final product that mimics many traditional textile attributes ranging from silky to yarn-like. And, the material can offer technical applications like moisture-wicking and thermal performance.
A group of scientists from MIT’s Microsystems Technology Laboratories have documented how they’ve grown wood-like plant tissue from cells extracted from the leaves of a Zinnia plant without soil or sunlight. Similar to stem cells, the plant tissue can ultimately take many forms. One potential upside of this technology is that the plant tissue can take many shapes. Wood from trees requires whittling to create a shape for a given application. This is wasteful and limiting. By growing wood in certain shapes, it can be directly applied to an application without having to scrap part of a tree.