Known as adaptive reuse, the practice of giving a new lease on life to underutilised buildings is an example of a circular economy. Yet, while most people applaud such waste-reducing approaches, privately many are not prepared to give up cherished habits like take-away coffee, long-haul travel or new gadgets to preserve the environment and the planet’s limited resources.
Luckily, recent advances in science make flipping the green switch easier by introducing gradual change to already familiar products. In fact, Evonik, who is at the forefront of the circular economy movement, has been developing smarter eco materials for years. They range from bioplastics to replace single-use plastic cups to hydrogen energy that will power vehicles of the future.
Moreover, most of us already use Evonik products without realising it. Few people go to bed wondering why their mattress feels like sleeping on cloud nine or marvel at the absence of scratches on their car after a rather unsuccessful attempt at parallel parking. They simply enjoy lifestyle benefits and take advantage of renewable solutions offered by Evonik’s smart materials and technologies.
Brushing up on good design
Unlike those artfully dilapidated buildings one admires when travelling around Europe or Southeast Asia, biochemical products don’t photograph well. But for every rule there are exceptions. Meet TIO, an eco-toothbrush that looks good on your bathroom shelf, doesn’t cost the earth and earns you brownie points for sustainability thanks to its detachable head featuring VESTAMID® Terra bristles made of the oil of the castor bean plant. Customers get high-performance bristles that are recyclable, flexible and do not get out of shape or break. The planet gets less plastic in its landfills and oceans. Everybody wins.
What’s better than natural?
On the surface, the cosmetics industry is driven by the pursuit of novelty. But behind beauty fads like snail masks, icing and food-as-skincare lies a more enduring pattern — a preference for raw ingredients. That being said, even the most natural-minded customer won’t commit to an eco-shampoo bar that leaves her with rough, dull or waxy hair. To help brands harness the power of nature to the fullest while ticking the sustainability box and keeping customers happy, Evonik has been looking for greener alternatives for ‘chassis formulation’ ingredients that give lotions and potions their basic qualities.
The early results are encouraging. RHEANCE® One, a potent glycolipids-based skin and hair cleansing substance, contains no controversial tropical oils as it’s manufactured from sugar through a fermentation process. In another example, Evonik has harnessed the power of olive to create Hairflux®, the first bio-inspired hair and scalp care ceramide to be used in certified natural cosmetics. It works wonders on hair damaged by UV rays, environmental pollution, dyeing or over-styling, while gently soothing the scalp.
What’s more, the future where toothbrushes are lifelong companions and natural means lab-made is closer than it may seem. Once something becomes a familiar presence, whether on our streets or supermarket shelves, its acceptance by the mainstream consumer is only a matter of time.