Plastic Bite, YOLO Unbeatable & Robocrab 🦀

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A New Plastic You Can Eat and Use

Fun Fact: You use a coffee cup for about an hour and then it stays in the environment for probably the next 700 years. That’s a big mismatch in terms of use and shelf life. 

To resolve this use of everlasting plastic dumps, startups have come up with some neat alternatives - one of which is called “edible plastic”.

That’s literally plastic that you can eat. 

Seaweed — also known as macroalgae — could be the solution to the world’s plastic food packaging problem. These are being used to develop everyday items, from edible water bottles to coffee cups to biofuels.

Currently, seaweed is used in products like food additives, fertilizers, and supplements. 

Some Thorny Stats: 🌵

  • Globally, we produce more than 400 million tonnes of plastic every year, according to UN Environment’s report on single-use plastics.
  • Packaging thrown away after one use accounts for 36% of all plastic produced globally, making it the largest industry in plastic production.
  • A 2016 World Economic Forum report stated that, By 2050 there’s going to be more plastic in our ocean than fish.
Seaweed plastic used to package electronics

Seaweed Lining:

Paper cups are often lined or coated with plastic such as polyethylene (PE) or oil-based waxes to prevent the liquid from leaking out or soaking through the paper. This makes them difficult to recycle.

Even cups that claim to be 100% biodegradable are usually made from polylactic acid (PLA), a polyester derived from renewable resources such as starches, which still takes a long time to break down.

Instead, seaweed packaging can decompose in soil in about four to six weeks. Seaweed is cheap, easy to harvest and extract, and is available on every coastline. 

Farms grow seaweed in the ocean around Chile, Mexico, Colombia, Brazil, Alaska and the East Coast of the United States. And harvesting the seaweed is like giving the plants a haircut, not pulling them out by the roots, so there’s no debate of exhausting the natural resource. 

In 2013, UK based startup Skipping Rocks Lab introduced its first product, Ooho, an edible water bottle made from brown seaweed.

Seaweed Lining Sheets

Since then, there have been a bunch of startups in the seaweed packaging space. 

  • Kelpi, which makes compostable and low-carbon bioplastic packaging
  • Notpla, which creates natural-membrane packaging that was used in water pouches for London Marathon runners in 2019
  • Zerocircle, turns local seaweed into dissolvable, ocean-safe packaging. 
  • Sway, works with seaweed for a home-compostable thin-film plastic alternative. 
  • Marea, uses local algae to design yet another biofilm alternative that fully degrades in the environment. 
Notpla's fully edible water bite for athletes and marathon events.
Sway seaweed-based home-compostable poly bags. 
Notpla seaweed packaging

Some Investment Stats: 💰

The global seaweed cultivation market was worth $16.7B in 2020 and is projected to grow to $30.2B by 2025

British Startup SoluBlu raised $545K for its seaweed packaging products, while Oceanum raised $2.7M. Last year, Sway raised $2.5 million and Notpla Seaweed Packaging raised $13M. 

Cleaning Crap With Robocrab!

This tiny crab is actually a robot! 

The smallest remote-controlled walking robot ever made. Developed by engineers at Northwestern University, the bot is just half-a-millimeter wide. To give you some perspective, that's about the size of a pen’s nib or the mouth of a sewing needle.

It can bend, twist, crawl walk, bend, turn and even jump. Researchers hope to one day use the micro-sized robot to perform practical tasks inside tightly confined spaces such as cleaning out narrow gutters or digging up tiny films within the soil.

The Unbeatable YOLO

Despite inflation, GenZ and Millennials, are planning to take big trips aka YOLO trips this summer as compared to older generations like GenX and Baby Boomers who don’t have as big travel plans. 

Part of this is because of all the pent up demand among young folks who couldn’t make any trips in the last 2 years. Despite flight and gas prices being exorbitantly high, they’re still going to Europe and Mexico and living out their dream vacations. 

According to a Bloomberg poll, 60% Americans said that they wouldn’t alter their vacation plans despite rising costs around the world. 

The Fight For Dark Web

In 2015, Dark Web creator Ross Ulbricht was ordered to pay over $183 million in restitution. But the insurmountable support for the Dark Web among youngsters has led to something no one imagined happening. 
Last year, prosecutors signed an agreement with Ulbrich ==>> Some of the newfound trove of bitcoins, stolen by an unnamed hacker, will be used for paying the damages.

Why is this a big deal? 

The people and the government have literally forgone millions of dollars of cryptocurrencies in lieu of Ulbrich's freedom. We've had many revolutionaries like Ulbrich in the past. Remember Edward Snowden who blew the whistle on Facebook's data tracking and spy technology and was fated to a life in exile as a result? Well, even Snowden's bravado - that can be considered as the starting point for the numerous anti-trust laws and data protection laws such as the GDPR - did not prompt people to unanimously donate such large swamps of money for his freedom. 

Some pointers about the agreement:

  • The move to use the unearthed stash of bitcoins was a deal between the Justice Department and Ulbricht to avoid a potential claim of money ownership.
  • The Southern District of New York Justice Department prosecutors who handled Ulbricht's case were not involved or aware of the restitution payment agreement.
  • Webbies have started out a fund in support of Ulbricht. Recent sales of NFTs inspired by Ulbricht's work garnered over $6 million, with the earnings going to a trust for Ulbricht's defense.

Shorts ⏳
Cakey Lisa - Man dressed in old lady clothes tainted the Mona Lisa with 'cake' shouting climate change slurs.  

Gaming For NFTs - A Hong Kong ceramics artist has created an 8-bit video game where players can excavate NFTs of his works.

City Ranks - Here's a list of the 5 best cities for work-life balance, and the 5 most overworked cities. 

Bye Bye iPods - After more than two decades, Apple is phasing out its cornerstone product - the iPod.

More Annoying Ads - Spotify is testing a feature that would allow select artists to promote NFTs.

Scambusters - A YouTuber by the name CoffeeZilla is exposing crypto scams.

Stash Recommends: Tools to Explore
👩‍💻Percona ServerA full-featured database management system providing end-to-end solutions to SMEs and large corporation.

💨 AirbrakeAn effective tool that provides frictionless error monitoring and performance management for an entire application stack.

🐛 BugsnagA WordPress plugin that automatically detects errors and crashes on your WordPress site and notifies you by email, chat, or ticket system.

☑️QuickReviewer: A cloud-based design collaboration program that allows you to create numerous reviews, comments, and feedback in one place.

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