Our Bioeconomy Christmas List

Posted in: biobased

Here's what we're hoping for under the tree this year.

The year has gone by far too fast, and it’s been a busy one for the bioeconomy, but here we are: Christmas is rolling around again, and here’s another edition of NNFCC’s bioeconomy Christmas wishlist, where we highlight some of our favourite biobased products from this year (and if anyone fancies buying us some, we wouldn’t say no!!)

This particular author is a boardgames enthusiast (much to his colleagues’ amusement, though they shouldn’t knock it ‘til they try it!), and so of course we begin with The Bioeconomy Game, produced in collaboration by Focus Games and BioVale. The game puts players in teams, working to minimise waste and create value from by-products in the different communities of a city. The game is a fun way of learning about the bioeconomy, and is recommended for workplace training as well as in education.

Here at NNFCC we’re big fans of travelling (who isn’t?) which means we’ve always got out travel kit handy, including all the essentials. There have been biobased options for toothbrushes for a while now, with the increasing trend of bamboo toothbrushes, but RADIUS have gone one better: introducing toothbrushes made from 100% biobased plastic, but with replaceable heads, thus reducing the amount of waste generated from these disposable items – which can also be recycled. These are also a good option to get in advance of Christmas: for those of us who spend the festive period away from home, visiting family and friends.

Out of leftfield comes this item: while not strictly a biobased product (or even yet available on the market), this most unique list entry nonetheless a product for the bioeconomy. HomeBiogas are currently crowdfunding for a household-scale biogas generator. The units generate cooking gas from household food waste, while also producing digestate fertiliser which can be used in the garden – making this an excellent purchase for people who keep allotments, or who grow their own food in their gardens. Products like these allow members of the public to see the direct benefits of the bioeconomy for themselves, raising awareness of what bioenergy can achieve at a larger scale.

In case you missed it, earlier this year, a team from NNFCC tackled the Yorkshire Marathon Relay, with some of us developing a keen interest in running. For those who are similarly barmy keen, we can recommend Vivobarefoot’s shoes, which utilise biobased materials, and where their plastics aren’t biobased, they are recycled, meaning the only footprints these shoes leave are on the ground!

Those of us who are lucky enough to receive lots of presents this year (even if they are all socks – more on those later!) are going to need somewhere to put them, and Kartell have just the ticket. Kartell’s Compoibili storage unit is the first piece of furniture to be 100% made from Bio-On’s biobased and biodegradable plastic. The stylish modular system fits in any room in the house, and even outdoors.

Now even the most classic of Christmas gifts can be biobased! Allbirds have a vast range of socks in different styles and colours made from “Trino”, a yarn derived from eucalyptus fibres and Merino wool. This combination allows the socks to meet a high standard of both comfort and sustainability -both components are sourced sustainably. As the sustainability of cotton is called into further question (owing to the high water-usage in its cultivation), alternative textile fibres are becoming increasingly relevant in the bioeconomy. All we need now are some Trino stockings to put our presents in!

The cold winter months are the perfect time to spend snuggled under a blanket with a good book or a glass of wine, and thanks to Buffy, even this can be biobased. All of Buffy’s bedding is made from either 100% recycled polyester or from eucalyptus fibres. This comforter falls into the latter category, meaning not only does this blanket have a lower water footprint than a cotton equivalent, but it is also (according to Buffy) produced in a system where 99% of their solvents are reused, minimising chemical waste.

It may not be needed right now (unless, of course, you’re reading this from the Southern Hemisphere, in which case, sƃuıʇǝǝɹƃ s,uosɐǝs), but as the summer comes round, we’ll need something to keep our picnics cool. Dometic’s cooler is made from hemp bast fibres, producing a biocomposites that is just as sturdy as its fossil-based competition. Hemp plants are legendary in the bioeconomy for just how much carbon they absorb from the atmosphere when they grow, meaning hemp products can have among the best carbon footprints on the market.

One of the cornerstones of Christmases for generations has been LEGO, and who doesn’t love building something new (or just completely ignoring the instructions and building racing cars again…). If the company stays on-track, all LEGO will be biobased by 2030, but the first biobased pieces have already been released. So, provided you pick up a set that includes (fittingly) any tree or plant pieces, it will be partially biobased. Having big companies and well-known brands commit to biobased products is crucial for raising the profile of the bioeconomy, as it dramatically increases public awareness.

Lastly, we’re of course going to need to pay for all of this. Unfortunately, here in the UK, our polymer banknotes are made from petroleum-based plastics, but if any of our readers in Spain happen to bank with CaixaBank, it is likely that their credit or debit cards are made from biomass. Changes like this do not necessarily have the greatest of environmental impacts, but slowly work to change attitudes, which is far more important to sustainability, and for wider acceptance of biobased circular economy.

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This article was written by Bob Horton, Research Analyst at NNFCC.

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