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Thanks to the emergence of urban beekeepers and inner city farms, gardening is sexy again, but today we want to talk about its less attractive cousin: composting. Not only does putting food waste in your regular garbage or landfill bin create methane gases that seriously harm the environment, but it’s also a waste of a really good resource. That’s right, waste. Food scraps contain so many juicy nutrients plants need to thrive, like nitrogen, phosphorus and potassium to name a few, so putting them back in the soil keeps your plants looking mean and green. This can be hard to do without access to a backyard, which is why we’d like you to meet the latest creation from Bionicraft.

Biovessel is an effective and oh-so aesthetically pleasing composting system designed to convert small amounts of domestic waste into food for your beloved plants. For those concerned about scrap smells and the politics of inviting an entire worm farm into your home, Biovessel is the ideal gateway to composting – it’s contained, odourless and provides instant gratification. Unlike larger systems where there are often more steps involved, Biovessel cuts out the middleman and lets you see your (not) waste being turned into plant food right before your eyes. Just add soil, scraps and a few wormy friends.

Buy a biovessel from the .W shop 

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Norwegian startup No Isolation has decided that being unwell or housebound doesn’t mean kids should miss out on school. To keep everyone included (and up-to-date on their A-Zs), they dreamed up AV1 – a robot sidekick that acts as your eyes, ears, voice and hands when you can’t be there. A pretty accurate representation of a student, AV1 doesn’t sit still. It can signal to the class when you’d like to raise your hand, rotate 360° to view the entire group, and even communicate in whisper mode so hushed messages are out of the teacher’s earshot.

It might be designed for school kids but AV1 can connect anyone who is feeling isolated – a colleague working remotely, a relative who’s temporarily relocated, or your grandma whenever, because who sees their grandparents enough? Senior citizens are the next phase in No Isolation’s quest to end social estrangement – and we can’t wait to see their digital nanna hangouts take the world by storm.

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What does a solution to the global issue of healthcare logistics look like? Zipline – a drone delivery system that sends medical supplies to where they’re needed most. Yep: a waste-free, quick delivery of meds, blood, vaccines and other vital resources at low cost and without using gas. Zipline are helping to address postpartum bleeding, better healthcare in third-world countries, and the ability for rural areas to approach healthcare equality instead of slipping down the list because of inaccessible terrain and the poor infrastructure that comes with it.

From a couple of shipping containers in a cow-filled paddock on the Pacific Coast, Zipline’s HQ has evolved into the set of Mythbusters: lightning conductors and white tents all over the place; experiments perpetually in motion. They’re on a mission to provide instant delivery to everyone and despite drones destined to transform commerce worldwide, Zipline aren’t focused on capitalising. They want to transform healthcare and partner with governments to make a much-needed difference where it matters most. It’s the kind of transport thinking we’d like to see more of. Uber Treats anyone?

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To us, a pile of decaying water bottles doesn’t scream ‘appealing place to sit’ – but De Vorm, a furniture house based in the Netherlands, see lush felt waiting to be reclined in. These contemporary interior product designers have made a name for themselves upcycling discarded PET plastics into modern, sleek sitting (and pollution) solutions. Their process starts with breaking down bottles – you know, the kinds that generally fall out of vending machines before being swallowed by our precious marine life – and fusing together countless plastic flakes until they blend into the soft fibres that can be woven together as felt. 

It’s no secret that we’re producing more PET plastics than we can deal with, and Mother Nature is copping the fallout – even China has closed its doors to the UK’s ‘recycling’ program. While companies like Coca-Cola are only increasing their use of PET, De Vorm’s solution is more genius than comfortable and more necessary than decorative. Cafes, libraries, and public domains are fitting out with De Vorm goods all over the world, so you’ll be able to get your bum into one pronto.

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If you thought the birds and the bees talk with your kids or parents was awkward, imagine the nervous laughter father-daughter team Jeffery and Meika Hollender shared founding their condom company Sustain. The first fair trade condom company to say yes to ethically-sourced rubber and no to any nasties (like petroleum, silicone, parabens, and glycerin) gets a resounding YES from their clientele – in more ways than one.

While 40% of condoms are purchased by women, almost 100% are marketed to men (although we never tire of this ad), so resisting the temptation to pink-wash their products is a breath of fresh air. Sustain is asking lady-types to be kinder to their vagina, and think about what’s actually being inhaled by the most absorbent part of their body (true story), which is why they offer all-natural sexual health products, period kits and hygiene extras. Sustain doesn’t just put your girl (Mother Nature) first, their condoms are made with thinner latex for a heightened sexual experience. Every. Body. Wins. Now it’s never been easier to be ethically and environmentally minded when it comes to sheaths and everything that happens under the sheets.

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We thought the most incredible jacket we’d ever seen was Marty McFly’s self-drying threads. That is until we were introduced to the Reflective Reversible Jacket from ADIFF. Sure, these jackets are hella fashionable and they do everything the name suggests, but that’s not why they were created. NYC-based designer Angela Luna responded to the Syrian refugee crisis exactly how we all wanted to – by actually doing something about it. Her efforts led to an all-weathering jacket, designed to aid refugees by enabling them to be visible or invisible while travelling at night.  

ADIFF didn’t stop there. The brand now carries a range of transformable garments that easily become tents, sleeping bags and floatation devices. These origami-like designs are so well thought out, we’re now extra embarrassed we struggle to fold a fitted sheet. The best part? For each jacket purchased, ADIFF donates one to a person in need. Luna has successfully created a humanitarian fashion brand for change – for both outfit and outcome.

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Tech is becoming more involved than ever in helping us be better parents to our children. What’s more, it helps us balance parenthood with self-care to keep us at our best. The Owlet Smart Sock is a nifty little bubba-friendly wearable that uses pulse oximetry to track an infant’s vitals while they sleep. Stats are fed through in real time to a parent’s smartphone app via a base station, which has Bluetooth range of up to 100 feet and uses coloured lights to notify the parent if there’s something that isn’t quite as it should be. These cute, smart socks are geared to take the stigma all the way out of monitor-parenting, without compromising on legit hospital-grade technology.

Designed by Karson Shadley and Rachael Stefanussen at Astro Studios, the Owlet smart sock won Core77’s Notable Design for Social Impact award in 2016, and we oh-so-agree. What a breath of fresh air in the field of baby monitors – a product which has somehow remained relatively unchanged since they hit the market decades ago. Flash-forward to the current iteration of the winning design, Smart Sock 2: it’s light as a feather, made from soft, non-toxic and hypoallergenic cotton, and its charging station sorts the wearable device out for 18 straight hours while also doubling as a night light. It’s incredible, and 83% of Owlet-using parents agree, reporting much better snoozy times after using the smart sock. Tangry parents: it’s time for some shut-eye.

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It was Mother Teresa who once said, “I alone cannot change the world, but I can cast a Fairphone across the waters to create many ripples.” Okay, maybe we doctored this quote a smidge – but like Mama T, we dig the idea that change starts with the individual. Fairphone looks like the first step in a long overdue wake up call to the smartphone industry, and boy is it making waves. Often unethical and wasteful, many of the existing industry’s facets rely on consumerism and built-in obsolescence to thrive. Fairphone know that a fair economy outside of the current framework needs to be built: one where there’s a demand for materials that benefit both the consumer and the planet.

Their solid, simple and sustainable dual-sim Android uses conflict-free minerals and transparently-sourced gold, tungsten, tin and tantalum – to create a modular design that ensures longevity. Fairphone make a point of understanding the materials in smartphones to optimise design and meet their goals: long-lasting parts, fair materials, good working conditions, reuse and recycling. Any user can disassemble and repair it, so if (like most people) you don’t know the ins and outs of how a smartphone works, you can learn how to whip the case off and mess around with its guts. At the moment, Fairphones are only available in Europe, but plans have been made to expand, and if the passion of the Fairphone community is any indication of growth, we’re expecting the rest of the world will be getting their own stones to skip very soon.

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Designed by Emilia Lucht and Arne Sebrantke of Nui Studio in Germany, the Mygdal Plantlight houses plants, allowing them to grow healthily and photosynthesise in totally windowless spaces, devoid of natural light. It comes as a lamp or a pendant, and the LED light and hand-finished glass lamp replaces sunlight. Electricity also travels through the lamp’s electrically conductive glass coating.

Translated into English, Mygdal means ‘fertile soil’: the exact kind you need to spawn herbage in such unlikely environments. And why wouldn’t you? Joan D. Chittister said, “darkness deserves gratitude. It is the alleluia point at which we learn to understand that all growth does not take place in the sunlight.” These little suspended ecosystems deliver us this beautiful and necessary metaphor. Here’s to botanical life flourishing in the unlikely urban environments where they are needed most.

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The only thing stiffer than our necks is the proverbial boner we have for this vibrating rock pillow. When suffering tension in your entire body, lying face up on a rock and waiting for it to pass seems like something only Björk would do, but Stockholm-based studio Claesson Koivisto Rune invites you to do exactly that. With their perfect little massage buddy design, Soft Stone fits equally well into your home, as it does your hunch.

Modelled from the smooth pebbles found along the shores of Swedish beaches, the addition of a Soft Stone is like taking home part of the Chi Chu Museum. Just looking at them has smoothed out a few of our knots. As physically pleasing as they are aesthetically, Soft Stones sit unassumingly amongst your furniture, always on hand – like a good, vibrating anything should.

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