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Sustainable Packaging as the New Norm

Why aren’t there more sustainable packaging solutions on the market today? What are the inherent blocks to innovation? What does a zero-waste world mean to you?

In Episode 101 of Waste360’s NothingWasted! Podcast, Liz Bothwell interviews Reyna Bryan, president of RCD Packaging Innovation. Reyna is on a mission to transform supply chains and make sustainable packaging the norm. A 10-year veteran of sustainable packaging innovation, she believes we have the capability to produce goods and services without being destructive to our natural systems by designing packaging with the “end of its useful life” in mind.

RCD’s collaborative Redefining Flexible Films Workshop in 2020 was supported and attended by many brands like Mars, Whole Foods and PepsiCo, in both the consumer packaged-goods and waste management industries. The design-thinking style innovation workshop drew experts from across the flexible film packaging supply chain. The ten-month process resulted in a white paper outlining the barriers and opportunities in addressing the current problems with petroleum based flexible film as well as establishing a foundation of knowledge based on the diverse perspectives and expertise of the group.

NatuR&D was there and led an incubation project called Flexture. The project is looking for strategies in Nature’s packaging that manage moisture vapour so that the performance of compostable flexible film can be improved.

Nature has many strategies we can apply to flexible film. RCD and NatuR&D are collaborating this year to offer Bite-Size Biomimicry Webinars series to inspire packaging innovation. Each webinar explores a theme relevant to current packaging challenges. Workshops are designed for interdisciplinary collaboration and are tailored to the consumer packaged-goods industry.

Photo source: Ocean plastics on the beach at Caño Island Biological Reserve, Costa Rica ©Seth Galewyrick | 📷

VOC Transformation Elements

Nature’s Design For Atmospheric Restoration

Formaldehyde (HCHO) is a common Volatile Organic Compound (VOC) generated from human activity and industry. Ubiquitous in the indoor and outdoor environments of the Mexico City Metropolitan Area, VOCs react with nitrogen oxides (NOx) creating frequent ozone (O3) events that are hazardous to human and ecosystem health.

How can Nature re-create a healthy atmosphere?

Research supports the correlation between native plant-microbiome relationships and microbiome health, so NatuR&D designs a living machine to restore the ecosystem by boosting the soils in Mexico City’s metro area to process VOCs and NOx.

Presented at the March 2021 SPIE Conference on Smart Structures + Nondestructive Evaluation
Claudia Rivera Cárdenas, Anne-Marie Daniel, “How does Nature regulate atmospheric composition?: Formaldehyde removal from air,” Proc. SPIE 11586, Bioinspiration, Biomimetics, and Bioreplication XI, 1158609 (22 March 2021); https://doi.org/10.1117/12.2579919

Paper (PDF)
Video (Spanish)
Video (English)
Slides (PDF)

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How I Wonder What You Are

Writer, Biomimicry professional and entrepreneur Anjan Prakash shares a video post – 29 Individuals – on building your practice through meditations on how Nature finds balance.

NatuR&D collaborates to bring Nature to the design table

Redesigning Flexible Film Packaging For Sustainability

At the recent Redefining Flexible Films Innovation Workshop, a virtual gathering of 80 experts across the packaging industry including brand owners like Mars, PepsiCo, Whole Foods and other stakeholders took aim at zero-waste food packaging. NatuR&D was there.

NatuR&D, Kool Earth Solutions, Inc. and RCD are collaborating to create Flexture: Biomimicry for Bio-Based Flexible Film R&D Project, looking to Nature for inspiration to design new bio-based functional packaging and researching the specific function of moisture vapour management in plants, insects and animals. This is a breakthrough approach to packaging design led by NatuR&D.

The team is also embarking on a concurrent industry engagement strategy to offer research on tap in the form of a “Bite-Size Biomimicry” offering, drawing inspiration from Nature on sponsor-directed questions.

Biomimicry Youth Design Challenge – webinar

Digging Into the Biomimicry Design Cycle: Helping Students Explore Biological Models and Develop a Biomimicry Design
November 10 @ 5 pm – 6 pm Mountain time (GMT-7)

The Biomimicry Youth Design Challenge (YDC) offers a unique approach to engineering design projects by introducing nature’s organisms and processes to create novel solutions.

Join us for a virtual conversation to explore resources from the Instructional Storyline sections MATCH and INNOVATE. These lessons help students identify inspiring biological models and apply them in innovative ways in constructing a design solution. We will also consider ways your student teams can work safely in-person or virtually to create, test, and refine models of their design.

Sign up

On Conflict podcast – Nature’s lessons

Look to Nature as your silent partner at the negotiation table. Biomimic and Mediator, Anne-Marie Daniel, reveals the expert in the room on episode 38 of On Conflict with Julia Menard & Gordon White.

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Ask your mother

Divine what you already know deep down with Life Principles Leadership Cards. As leaders, we can learn from Nature, applying regenerative practices that have evolved over 3.8 billion years.

Biomimicry – The handbook

Real biomimicry is not just nature-inspired. The true practice of biomimicry comes with a payback to Nature for all her good ideas and a commitment to work with her. Go deep with your practice and incorporate her design principles into all your creative challenges. Use The Biomimicry Resource Handbook as your touchstone.  Written by meme alchemist, Dr. Dayna Baumeister.

Get into Nature’s details for the secrets to manufacturing

Learn to design at the micro-scale with Lichen Labs’ U Nature course. Use biomimicry thinking to re-design our world through small details with awesome results! From self cleaning to colour with crystals, Nature’s got it going on.

Wonder Invitations

Behold, wonder, and listen to LIFE, with these posts that prompt all aspects of your nature inspired practice. Biomimicry Professional, writer and custodian of circles, Anjan Prakash, helps us connect to our true nature through her invitations.