Five fantastic earth-saving innovations

Every year on 22 April, we join more than 192 countries in celebrating Earth Day. It’s an opportunity for us to reflect on how we can look after the health of our planet, protect it for the future and reverse some of the damage that’s already been done. Here are five fantastic earth-saving innovations to inspire you:





Elijah Djan invented Nubrix when he was just 11 years old.
Image: The Observers

Only about 5% of South African households recycle their waste paper, meaning the other 95% are sending theirs to the already overflowing landfills.

When Elijah Djan saw his lecturer dad burning a pile of old textbooks, he knew he had to come up with a better way of dealing with waste paper. He was only 11 at the time, but he was also fully aware of South Africa’s housing crisis, and so the idea for Nubrix was born: A brick made from waste paper.

Today, Elijah is a third-year industrial engineering student at the University of Pretoria and he’s turning Nubrix into a business. While more durability tests need to be done, he has subjected his waste-paper bricks to rain and compression tests, and built a Nubrix wall that’s still standing a year later. The hope is that in the near future there will be a very real drive towards sustainable innovation from government and the building sector. This will hopefully peak their interest in products such as Nubrix, and help patch our social fabric and the planet brick by brick.

Read more here.


The Ocean Cleanup



The Ocean Cleanup’s mission is to free our oceans from plastic waste.

From one boy inventor to the next. The Ocean Cleanup Array, a system that could potentially relieve the ocean of 7 250 000 tons of plastic waste, is the brainchild of a Dutch teen, Boyan Slat. It comprises solar-powered spinning booms that act as a floating barrier and uses the ocean’s currents to catch and concentrate debris. The first prototype was launched for a year-long study in June 2016 in the Netherlands’ Northern Sea.

Considering we’re dumping over 8 million tons of plastic waste into the ocean every year, we’re holding thumbs that the Ocean Cleanup brings salvation to our precious marine ecosystems.

Read more here.


The WAIR “smart scarf”



WAIR is a chic new take on pollution masks.
Image: WAIR

It’s estimated that air pollution leads to the deaths of over 5.5 million people around the world every year. In South Africa, government is aiming to introduce a carbon tax for businesses that produce excessive amounts of CO2. But a French startup has a more fashion-forward take on the issue. They’re making pollution masks look chic through WAIR – a scarf that doubles up as an accessory and an air-filtration mask.

Wearers simply cover their mouths and noses with WAIR while a hidden, lightweight battery-operated air filtration box purifies the air they breathe. The scarf can filter out 99% of air pollutants and even bacteria, and the wearer uses WAIR’s app to keep track of the air quality in the area.

Read more here.





GlasPro UV glass makes man-made structures safer for birds. Left: what humans see. Right: what birds see.

About two-thirds of South Africa is urbanised, which means that, more than ever before, we’re encroaching on our wildlife’s homes.

A wide variety of bird species, for example, are attempting to survive in these unnatural and dangerous new habits. Reflective, transparent materials such as windows cause hazardous collisions that kill millions of birds every year. GlasPro has come up with a simple, yet effective innovation to keep our feathered fellow citizens safe: Bird-friendly glass coated with UV liquid that makes it visible to birds. Human eyes can’t detect the UV liquid, so from our perspective, it doesn’t change the appearance of the glass.

Read more here.


Tenkiv Nexus solar water purifier



The Tenkiv Nexus uses solar power to purify water.

It’s estimated that 1 in 8 people worldwide doesn’t have access to clean water and now, during the current dry spell here in the Western Cape, we’re once again reminded of the importance of this vital resource. Local government is realising the need to find alternative sources of water, instead of just relying on rainwater, while there’s a global drive to keep our dams and rivers pollution-free.

A project called Tenkiv Nexus could solve some of the world’s water woes. It uses solar energy to purify over 1 800 litres of water at a time. The team behind the project says that Nexus works at one-thirteenth of the cost of traditional solar and is 20% cheaper than traditional fossil-fuel-powered water purifiers.

Read more here.

Whether you think big like the Ocean Cleanup or small and simple like WAIR, doing your bit for the planet starts with you, at home. Look at ways you can save water and use electricity wisely every day. So take that first step for our planet: contact Energy Partners Home Solutions for ideas on how you can make your home greener and more energy-efficient. 


Author EPHS

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