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Meet Our Fearless Peers: Six Out-There, Eco-Friendly Creations We're Loving This Year

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Mother Dirt was lucky to be born in a “green” age of innovation. Expos like Biofabricate and Boston’s Fermentation Festival inspire us to keep pushing the boundaries of biology-inspired design, always with an eye toward conscious production and consumption.

We found six of the most unique eco companies gaining traction in 2017. These ideas aren’t just cool, they’re excellent reminders of how ingenious our peers can be when challenged to find solutions to climate change—even tiny, household ones.

1. Algae shoes: To combat the water-poisoning algal blooms in China’s Lake Taihu, BLOOM and Vivobarefoot harvest the excess green stuff and, with help from the nation’s government, turn it into a lightweight, stretchy material. This “rubber” is then used in place of petroleum to make Vivobarefoot’s Ultra III Shoes, launching in July.  A full fifty seven gallons of water must be cleaned to produce each pair.

2. Edible water bottles: Made from seaweed, Skipping Rocks Lab’s “disappearing” bottle (cutely named “Ooho”) can actually be digested right after you quench. They look like dewy, gelatinous bubbles. Finally, no more need to hunt around for a recycling bin—or contribute to the Great Pacific Garbage Patch. We sure hope these catch on.

3. Low-flow “rainforest” showerheads: Usually, Mother Dirt opposes the long, luxe shower. But this new showerhead might earn you a pass. Still in Kickstarter and Indiegogo infancy, the Cirrus Shower cuts down on 75% of water waste by enshrouding bathers in an ultra-fine, purified mist. It also claims 13x the thermal efficiency of the average shower, saving you money in the long run.

4. Lab-grown scents and flavors: Dubbed “the organism company,” our neighbors over at Ginkgo BioWorks use microbugs to engineer entirely new fragrances. Think beyond perfume: their cutting-edge experiments in synthetic biology are posed to yield sustainable, petri-dish ingredients for food, personal care products, medicinal probiotics, and more. 

5. Light-up plants: What a time to be alive for those who lack green thumbs. Germany’s Nui Studio designed the Lamp Mygdal (a name that translates to “fertile soil”) to be totally autonomous, a hand-finished ecosystem that lights up from within. The result is a gorgeous meeting of nature and modernity.

6. Indoor gardens: Boston’s Grove brings new meaning to “eating local.” Like, right from your living room. Grove’s in-home, aquaponic vegetable beds comprise their own miniature farm, so you can grow tomatoes, radishes, basil, and other produce yourself—regardless of season or environment.


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