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Despite offering a more cost-effective and sustainable way of cleaning up the ocean, ClearBots’ boats are of little use when it comes to microplastics.
Microplastics damage the ecosystem from the bottom of the food chain: Due to their tiny size, they can be ingested even by the smallest organisms, such as zooplankton, and eventually work their way up the food chain to our table.
For this reason, replacing single-use plastic with sustainable materials could be a more long-term solution.
Also based in Hong Kong, EcoInno is a tech company that has developed a green fiber-based material. They seek to replace single-use plastic, especially within the food delivery industry, which represents over 45% of the global plastic waste problem.
EcoInno’s CEO, George Chen, is very pragmatic regarding our addiction to plastic containers, pointing out that we could never scrap convenience altogether for the sake of the environment.
“I don’t hate plastic. Plastic created a lifestyle that we really enjoy,” Chen tells RADII. “Its cost and convenience affected human behavior. But we need to ask ourselves what’s the balancing point, and I think single-use plastic needs to be stopped.”
EcoInno’s green composite material (GCM) shares many advantages with plastic: it’s lightweight, water-resistant, and can tolerate heat. What’s different is that GCM, made with a recipe of natural fibers, is entirely biodegradable and does not rely on fossil fuels for its production.
“GCM only takes 75 days to fully decompose,” Chen explains. “It is made with renewable natural resources, so it’s intrinsically more sustainable.”
And while it will likely take more than one man or one company to ultimately solve the issue of plastic waste, tech innovators like ClearBot and EcoInno are demonstrating that innovative approaches can be impactful at different stages of the plastic waste issue, from production to disposal.
This article was made as part of our Sustainable Future series in association with East West Bank to highlight the innovative tech that’s making the world more green and regenerative. East West Bank offers unparalleled services for individuals and companies who wish to build connections and foster collaborations between the US and Asia. Together, we will reach further. For more information, visit eastwestbank.com.
Cover image designed by Haedi Yue. Unless otherwise stated, all images are screengrabs from ‘The Hidden Price Behind Your Food Delivery Choices’
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