Silicon Valley, global hub of tech entrepreneurs, hasn’t always been synonymous with positive environmental policy. Whether it’s Uber’s questionable carbon-emission claims, or Apple’s reliance on mining precious metals for iPhone parts, the bulging app and gadget industry often has a problematic relationship with Mother Earth.
But with growing consumer pressure to adopt sustainable business practices, the next wave of disruptive technologies promises to have a distinctly green flavour. From tree-planting search engines to bioluminescent roads, we’ve found the four eco-friendly start-ups putting sustainability at the centre of their mission statement.
Think surfing the web can’t do any good? This search-engine alternative funnels 80% of its ad revenue into tree-planting programs across the developing world, helping to combat polluted air and soil erosion. With one tree being planted roughly every two seconds – or 43,000 per day – it won’t be long before Ecosia hits its 1 billion target.
Air-purifying bicycles, motion-powered dancefloors and bioluminescent roads are just a few of Dan Roosegarde’s forward-looking designs, brought to life by Dutch construction company and long-time collaborator Heijmans. Their Smog Free Tower installation in Beijing made headlines for its smart anti-pollution technology and inspiring message for global policy-makers.
Overheating gadgets aren’t just an annoyance; they’re a sign that energy isn’t being converted efficiently between various sections of hardware. Founded in 2011, MIT-based startup Arctic Sand specialise in efficient, streamlined superconductors, keeping down energy usage and allowing for thinner laptops and smartphones.
Taking a stand against the UK’s monopoly of ‘Big Six’ energy companies, eco-friendly supplier Bulb gets 100% of its electricity (and 10% of its gas) from renewable sources. With competitive prices and a minimal carbon footprint, these green-thumbed underdogs may well make a lasting impact.