The Goods

From 'plogging' to pineapple shoes: The latest and greatest in eco-friendly innovations

A primer on the creative ways our earth is getting a little greener.

A primer on the creative ways our earth is getting a little greener.

(Credit: iStock/Getty Images)

Earth Day may have come and gone, but that doesn't mean you should stop caring about making greener decisions all year round. In fact, the hosts of The Goods believe that you can never learn enough about how to make our world more eco-friendly. It can be hard to keep up with all of the creative new movements and technology being released onto the market, though. So, we called on environmental journalist Adria Vasil to break down the buzziest, most exciting green innovations causing a stir these days.

Solar shingles are getting their day in the sun

Hype has been building around solar shingles since late 2016 and after ironing out a bunch of kinks Tesla started manufacturing them and installing them in California this winter and Vasil says they will start rolling them out to Canada soon enough. As shown in the image above, the shingles don't look anything like regular solar panels that you add on top of shingles. Instead, the solar panels are built into the shingles so they look exactly like a conventional shingle. They're super stylish and come in various finishes like Spanish tile, slate, and asphalt. The company says, "The typical homeowner can expect to pay $21.85 per square foot for Solar Roof." And that price tag comes with some free electricity! Just like anything brand new, hopefully some competitors will get into the market soon, which could help drive down the cost.

Functional fungi

Designers are now making furniture that's made out of forest finds. UK designer Sebastian Cox is making beautiful chandeliers and stools out of mushrooms, as featured in the image above. They look like leather, but they're completely biodegradable. Plus Vancouver-based AFJD Studio started experimenting with making mushroom benches called Mycobenches. Some other brands are making glassware out of algae, clocks out of cow dung, and chairs made out made of flax and wool. These items will last for the length of your lifetime, but once you thrown them away they'll biodegrade easily, unlike all of our other furniture and decor.

Sustainable textile innovations

The fashion industry is finally starting to take note of how fast fashion is affecting the planet. Thankfully, they've been busy coming up with all sorts of innovative eco fabrics from leftover banana peels, as well as fabrics made out of algae and mushrooms. Plus, you can buy all kinds of handbags, boots (as seen above from Bourgeois Boheme) and even watches made out of pineapple leather, called Pinatex. They feel great, and will stand the test of time until you're ready to move on.

Plogging is the new jogging

(Credit: Darryl Dyck/Canadian Press)

The latest Swedish fitness craze is picking up litter while jogging, called plogging. It merges the words jogging and the Swedish term "plocka upp, meaning "pick up." The President of Iceland has been spotted plogging, and the craze is making its way to this country, too. There's even a Plogging Canada group on Facebook that encourages communities to partake in this eco-friendly exercise together. You'll get exercise, time to socialize and you'll be doing a good deed — what's not to love?

Diving in plastic infested waters

People throw out tons of disposable plastic items every day and too much of it ends up in our water. Recently, more and more divers have been recording their dives to share visuals of the staggering about of plastic in our oceans. Their videos are going viral, and this one above has over 1 million views. It was recently announced that the Pacific garbage patch is three times larger than France! That's 1.6 million square kilometres in size — up to 16 times bigger than previously believed.

Scientists estimate that there will be more plastic than fish in the ocean by 2050. There are tiny plastic particles in our salt, in seafood, and even in bottled water. To help combat this issue, say no to plastic straws and plastic bags. Half a billion plastic straws are thrown out every day in America alone, and those tiny straws together make a huge impact. Try bringing your own containers and bags to the bulk store and switch to just sipping from your glasses. Some grocery stores around the world have gone plastic free, hopefully more will follow suit soon before it's too late.