Pollution and its cousin climate change are currently among the most talked-about topics. You can’t turn on the news, pull up your social media feed or check your email without seeing someone talking about what we’ve done to the planet or asking you to make a change to reduce your carbon footprint.
Startup companies are taking the lead, making the changes that big corporations can’t or won’t. Let’s take a look at some of the top startups that are doing their part to fight pollution and save the planet we call home.
Fighting Water Waste: Altered Company
Only 3% of the planet’s water supplies are fresh — and two-thirds of that is frozen in Earth’s polar ice caps, leaving us with just 1% to drink, bathe or wash our clothes in. Water conservation has been a hot-button topic in recent months, with large populations racing against water scarcity.
Stockholm-based startup The Altered Company is fighting water waste with a nozzle that you can install in 60 seconds. It reduces your use by 98% by turning the water coming from your tap into a fine mist. You’re using less water but it’s just as effective.
Fighting Air Pollution: Oizom
Air pollution is a growing problem in many parts of the world. In Dehli, India, air pollution is so bad that it’s responsible for between 10,000 and 30,000 deaths a year, a number that will continue to climb if changes aren’t made. That’s where Oizom comes in. Founded by four friends, Oizom is using the Internet of Things to monitor air quality in and around Dehli. It creates a smart infrastructure that city planners and other groups can use to reduce air pollution and make the air safe to breathe again.
Fighting Water Pollution: The Ocean Cleanup
Water pollution comes in many forms, but one of the most visible is plastic. Millions of tons of single-use plastics — many of which could be recycled — end up in the ocean. The Great Pacific Garbage Patch is currently three times the size of France, and it’s growing every year.
The Ocean Cleanup is planning to remove 90% of ocean plastic by 2040 by using a passive collection system. The ocean already moves the plastic waste around, and The Ocean Cleanup is hoping to intercept it. It won’t prevent the millions of tons of plastic waste from entering the oceans every year — only we can do that, by lowering our use of single-use plastics and recycling household goods. However, it can make a dent in the damage we’ve already done.
Fighting Plastic Waste: Bakeys
If you’re eating a takeaway meal, regardless of where you’re enjoying it, it likely came with a set of plastic cutlery for you to use if you’re eating on the go. While convenient, it’s terrible for the environment. It won’t be recycled, and upwards of 40 billion of them end up in U.S. landfills every year.
In India, that number is more than 120 billion. One Indian company called Bakeys is creating edible cutlery that you can use for everything from eating soup to stirring coffee or tea. Once you’re done, you can eat your cutlery — because it’s 100% edible and even vegan — or toss it into the compost bin because it’s biodegradable.
Looking Toward the Future
It’s up to us as individuals to make the changes that are necessary to change the world — but we don’t have to do it alone. These startups — and many others like them — are giving us the tools we need to do just that. That makes the future all the more brighter for generations to come.