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8 Innovative Ways Different Countries Are Saving Our Planet From Waste

Every 2 hours, we throw away enough trash to fill up the largest container ship in the world. And though more and more people are starting to think “green” today, we still need to find new solutions to the pollution problem. Luckily, our imaginations have no limits and modern technology can also help us bring new ideas to life.

Bright Side picked up 8 creative environmental ideas from various countries that are leading the way in saving our planet.

8. A newspaper that can be planted

Although we tend to use digital sources of information more often than traditional ones these days, there’s still tons of paper that go to waste every single day. To solve this problem, a Japanese designer named Yoshinaka Ono invented a special 100% biodegradable “green” paper that contains plant seeds. The concept was adopted by The Mainichi Newspaper.

In order to stay “green,” you’ll need to bury the paper and pour some water on it. It will eventually turn into a beautiful shrubbery with time.

7. Rewards for plastic bottles

Today, reverse vending machines are not a rarity in environmentally-friendly countries — you can find them in supermarkets in Germany, in IKEA stores in the UK, and in many other places. However, some countries didn’t stop at this and invented some creative ways to encourage their citizens to protect our planet.

A special type of machine that can add credits to your subway card was placed in Istanbul, Turkey and Beijing, China. You just insert a plastic bottle or an aluminum can into the machine and it will immediately crush the item, and you’ll get extra cents — a bonus for both you and the environment!

6. Old mascara wands for baby animals

If you’ve run out of mascara, don’t rush to throw away the whole bottle. Instead, clean the wand in warm soapy water, put it in a Ziploc bag, and send it to The New Arc rescue center in Scotland. In this center, workers use mascara wands to clean off little orphans and remove mites and fleas from them.

You can also donate mascara wands to other rescue centers like Wildlife Aid in the UK and Appalachian Wildlife Refuge in the USA.

5. Package-free stores

The zero waste movement is becoming more and more popular, which is why bulk shops are really gaining ground in many countries. To reduce the amount of disposable packaging, these shops offer products in large containers and buckets with scoops that customers can use to help themselves to.

If you want to buy something there, you should bring your own empty jar or container to fill. At checkout, everything you want to buy is weighed in order to calculate how much you owe for your purchase.

Besides food, such shops usually offer non-edible products like shampoo, soap, detergents, and other cleaning products.

4. Flushable wet wipes

The vast majority of wet wipes on supermarket shelves are made from polypropylene which is a type of plastic. Certainly, you shouldn’t flush them in the toilet, but unfortunately, most people neglect this rule and their sewers get blocked from time to time.

Moist tissues made by the British company Natracare are the first exception to this rule. The company guarantees that their wipes are purely organic and kind to the environment. For now, it is the only product in the UK that was granted with the “Fine to Flush” certification.

3. Cutlery made out of avocado pits

When it comes to utensils or straws, the most eco-friendly option is usually to eat your food with a reusable one. However, there could be some situations when a single-use version of cutlery is needed. That’s where avocado pits can help you.

The Mexican company Biofase produces knives, forks, spoons, and straws out of bioplastics made from discarded avocado pits. This new bioplastic can be absorbed by nature and decomposes in a matter of years. This way, it doesn’t pollute the environment and on the contrary, becomes useful to the earth again.

2. Collecting plastic bottle caps

In Spain, people collect plastic bottle caps in many supermarkets, government institutions, other public places, and even in their homes.

It all began with a story about a 7-year-old girl who needed heart surgery but her parents couldn’t afford it. A company involved in the processing of plastic agreed to help them if they collected 200 tons of plastic. So people got creative and put containers for plastic caps literally everywhere. This helped them collect the necessary amount of plastic within a few weeks.

The idea of collecting plastic caps for charitable purposes has taken hold in Spain. People loved it because it’s really simple and helps not only those in need but our planet as well.

1. Cup sharing

Most of us are fond of coffee, especially drinking it on our way to work in the morning. But do you know that disposable cups and containers make up about 50% of all the material collected in street trash cans?

The Canadian cup-share program CUPPY is trying to reduce the amount of single-use trash by offering you unlimited access to reusable cups for just $5 a year. The process is very simple — you pay the money to join the program, then make an order in a coffee shop and take a cup with you. All you need to do after you’ve finished your drink is to find a participating store or a cafe to return the cup to.

What do you think of these ideas? Would you like them to be introduced in your country? Feel free to share your points of view in the comments below!

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