World Cities Day: Discover 3 startups that are reshaping cities for Climate Resilience
How's your city looking today? Probably busy, with flowing populations and that typical frenetic pace to reach faster the weekend. Every year, October ends with the worldwide celebrations of World Cities Day on the 31st of October. The International Day promotes cooperation among countries to address the new challenges of urbanization, and this year's celebration is particularly focused on Sustainability and Environment. Cities worldwide are suffering the effects of climate change, with heatwaves and storms affecting the home of more than half of the world population. But, even if cities face important challenges, they also represent the fertile ground for opportunity and innovation in developing sustainable solutions to reshape the future. Startups around the globe are playing a vital role in the construction of new ideas and technologies that can improve the cities of tomorrow. We interviewed 3 EIC innovators and asked them how their companies are helping cities to become greener.
Plastic Repair System: A second life to plastic waste
In Europe, there are 1.9 billion items of plastic Returnable Transport Packaging (RTP), which are plastic pallets and crates that are used across various sectors. The average lifetime of these articles ranges from five to ten years, and when they break, these items are discarded and replaced with new ones. Discarded items have three destinations: recycling, incineration or as a landfill, but the owners of these plastic elements barely consider the possibility of their repair. The overwhelming extent of disposable plastics pollution can easily make us forget about their reusable counterparts. After all, reusable plastics have a longer lifespan, and they can easily be recycled, right?
The Spanish company Plastic Repair System has developed a technology that repairs plastic crates, saving 70% cost in the process. The innovation proves how industries concerned about the environment and their CO2 emissions can also save substantial money in the process. Instead of being left with no other solution than throwing away their broken materials, the company suggests an alternative: providing them with a second life, which could reduce 98% of waste handling-related emissions by as much as 98%.
According to Julie Lecourtois, responsible for Marketing & Business development at Plastic Repair System, their patented industrial technology repairs reusable plastic articles and allows their use with total confidence and guarantees: "Our project reduces the carbon footprint and saves high replacement costs through plastic repairs. Several sectors are already using this system, including the urban solid waste sector, the food sector, supermarkets and the automotive industry." Julie highlighted that the Spanish startup is ensuring a transition towards the Circular Economy and left a message about its importance: "We must make the switch from the linear economy to the circular economy. The repair has to be systematic before buying new."
Glowee: Naturally clean urban light
Having our streets illuminated when we walk outside at night is something natural. But we never think about how much our cities spend on energy to make this happen. Why not create an alternative solution with a lower environmental impact, enhancing well-being, and offering new creative possibilities? Glowee uses bioluminescence to change the way light is produced and consumed.
Starting from naturally bioluminescent marine bacteria, Glowee is developing a raw material (in the form of liquid light) that can later be integrated into suitable products, ultimately aiming to illuminate our living spaces in a pleasant and cleaner way. Sandra Rey, Founder & CEO of Glowee, talked to us about their mission: "Fireflies, glow-worms, and more than 80% of marine organisms can produce this natural light without needing the Sun. Glowee has decided to imitate what nature does best and use these super-powers to develop biological lighting and thus jump-start the bio-economy. Light is not just a question of security or performance. It is at the core of what is a city: enhancing social life, creating comfort and safety for the citizens, respecting biodiversity and the planet, being aesthetically beautiful and unique".
Leaving a message for the future, Sandra continued to add that: "Our responsibility, both for entrepreneurs and municipalities, is to take inspiration from nature's ingenuity to design biomimetic cities that will be both more resilient and attractive for citizens and the planet alike".
Karos: Carpooling to a greener city
In Europe, 70% of daily commutes are made by car. This action comes with tremendous environmental, social and economic costs: raising pollution levels, leading to traffic congestions, occupying a huge share of urban land with roads and parking lots, and our overall well-being gets affected by all these factors. Karos has developed an innovative transportation service that combines carpooling and public transportation to make our cities' mobility more resilient and environmentally friendly.
According to Karos' views, the ecosystem can be improved seeing as car occupancy remains below 1.5 people per car in most cities. This is why the company created their innovative carpool platform that matches idle seats with passengers on their daily commutes. Olivier Binet, Founder & CEO of Karos, believes that we should make a change now: "The vast majority of urban mobility is still suburban car trips, for people that have no choice but to take their personal cars and drive to work. Cities need to invest more in practical systems for suburban areas and carpooling in this regard."