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Need to Know
29 : 04 : 19

Moment Pebble encourages us to slow down, Lego unveils braille bricks for a more inclusive playtime and pollution is on the rise in US cities.

Blueland creates cleaning products in tablet form

Blueland, US Blueland, US
Blueland, US Blueland, US
Blueland, US Blueland, US

New York – A new direct-to-consumer brand has launched with a range of cleaning products that eliminate the need for single-use plastic packaging.

Sold as a refillable system, Blueland’s Clean Up Kit includes three reusable bottles and three different cleaning tablets for multi-surface, glass and mirror, and bathroom usage. The tablets can be dissolved in water to create non-toxic household cleaners and will retail for £1.50 ($2, €1.80) per refill. In future, the company also plans to release other sustainable cleaning and personal care products.

‘When people hear eco-friendly, they assume the products will be less effective, more expensive and more work,’ says Sarah Paiji Yoo, CEO and co-founder of Blueland. ‘We're flipping this on its head with cutting-edge formulas, readily biodegradable packaging, and money-saving $2 refill tablets.’ In a similar vein, our Home Cleaning Market explores design-led, eco-friendly start-ups who are transforming the image of household cleaning.

Magic Spoon is reinventing cereal for adults

Magic Spoon Magic Spoon
Magic Spoon Magic Spoon

US – The start-up is disrupting the breakfast category with a range of grain-free, high-protein cereals in child-like flavours.

With its playful branding and nostalgic feel, Magic Spoon is targeting health-conscious consumers for whom cereal was a favourite childhood treat. The product finds a new middle ground between high-sugar cereals and their bland but healthy counterparts. ‘We looked at the current market and noticed that most 'healthy' breakfast options were really sleepy and dull,’ say the brand’s founders, Gabi Lewis and Greg Sewitz.

Launching with four flavours (fruity, cinnamon, frosted and cocoa), the brand uses a combination of monk fruit, stevia and allulose instead of sugar, and a blend of whey and milk proteins to boost protein content. Its cereals will initially only be available to purchase online, with a monthly subscription costing £27 ($35, €31).

Magic Spoon is not the only brand creating healthy but indulgent product types. Chobani recently launched a line of healthy yoghurts for children in a variety of candy-inspired flavours.

Moment Pebble is a tool for on-the-go mindfulness

UK – The pebble is designed to inspire short, mindful moments in the lives of busy people.

In a society obsessed with being busy, the Moment Pebble aims to reintroduce moments of mindfulness into our day-to-day lives. The pebble sits in the owner’s palm, pocket or bag, and is activated by movement. It then glows for thirty seconds to draw the owner’s focus, encouraging them to use this time to reflect.

As opposed to most modern mindfulness, which tend to be app-based, the pebble is a tactile object and completely un-synced from consumers’ phones, meaning there is no digital intervention. ‘Not only can it serve as a physical reminder to find calm in our days, but having something tangible and tactile can help to anchor our focus to the here and now,’ says Dr Gini Harrison, senior lecturer at the Open University.

As we become overly reliant on technology, there is an opportunity for brands to create devices that invite us to disengage entirely with the digital world. For more, read our macrotrend Resilience Culture.

Moment Pebble Moment Pebble

Lego creates Braille Bricks for more inclusive play

Lego Braille bricks Lego Braille bricks
Lego Braille bricks Lego Braille bricks

Paris – The project will help blind and visually impaired children learn Braille in a playful environment.

Lego Braille Bricks will be moulded with studs reflecting the Braille alphabet and are fully compatible for all types of play, meaning visually impaired children are no longer excluded from games. The bricks can also be played with by sighted teachers, students and family members.

While the product is currently being tested in European markets, the full kit is expected to launch in 2020 and will be distributed free of charge to a number of institutions. The kit will contain 250 braille bricks covering the alphabet, numbers, math symbols and inspiration for interactive games.

Brands are finally turning their attention to the needs of disabled children, who have been underserved by product manufacturers. Earlier this month, Target launched a range of autism-friendly furniture as part of its children’s homeware range.

Stat: America’s air quality is declining

Key findings from a report on the state of America’s air quality show that between 2015-2017, many US cities measured increased levels of year-round particle pollution. The American Lung Association’s annual report, The State of Air, shows that more than 141m Americans – or 43% of the population – are breathing unhealthy levels of ozone or particulate matter pollution.

Los Angeles ranks as the country’s worst city for ozone pollution, while other Californian cities such as Sacramento, San Diego and the San Jose-San Francisco region were also among the 10 worst.

‘There is no clearer sign that we are facing new challenges than air pollution levels that have broken records tracked for the past twenty years,’ Harold Wimmer, president of the American Lung Association, said in a statement. For more on how the air we breathe is becoming a key consumer concern, explore our Smog Life vertical.

Thought-starter: Can traceable cotton change lives?

Volcom's CMO Ryan Immegart and sustainability adviser Derek Sabori on the brand's traceable organic cotton initiative Farm to Yarn.

Outdoor sports brand Volcom has been offering organic cotton for several years, but through Farm to Yarn is turning cotton farming into a socially-driven enterprise. ‘We came up with the idea of tracing it back to the farmer and telling the story of the farm where the cotton is grown and why it's so much better,’ says Sabori.

The initiative also supports farmers and women in India’s Madhya Pradesh region. ‘What we found on our trips to India was that many of the multi-generational farmers have long operated as farmers, but not necessarily as business people,’ Satori continues.

‘So, there are two forms of training. There is organic farming training – how to be a better organic farmer with natural methods, natural pesticides, natural fertilisers, drip irrigation, crop rotation and patience. Then there is the business school approach, which teaches farmers about dealing with revenue, costs, what their profits are and managing their money.’

Read the full Q&A here.

Farm to Yarn by Volcom Farm to Yarn by Volcom
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