With more than 178 participating countries and over 2000 project submissions annually the Energy Globe Award is today's most prestigious environmental prize worldwide. It distinguishes projects regionally, nationally and globally that conserve resources such as energy or utilize renewable or emission-free sources. Award ceremonies are held all over the world. Prominent personalities as well as Energy Globe Ambassadors in 90 countries support the mission of Energy Globe. The activities of Energy Globe attract worldwide media attention - international TV stations report each year with approximately 1,000 hours of broadcasting time. The aim of the Energy Globe is to raise global attention on sustainable, everywhere applicable environmental solutions and to motivate people to also become active in this area.
National ENERGY GLOBE Award Japan 2017
Agar plasticity is an ongoing material research project, in which the potential usefulness of agar which is extracted from seaweed is explored as an alternative to synthetic plastics.
Goods are usually shipped wrapped in plastic materials. Once unwrapped, the packaging soon becomes waste or is collected to be recycled. Considering the raw materials and energy for processing, this situation is undesirable. In 2012, 288 million tons of plastics were produced worldwide, with more than 36% packing material being plastic.
Agar plasticity is an ongoing material research project, in which the potential usefulness of agar is explored as an alternative to synthetic plastics. In Japan, agar is traditionally consumed as food. It is also used for scientific and medical purposes worldwide. Agar is sold in dried state in the shape of block, flake and powder. Block agar shows porous, feathery structure and is very light despite its volume. These features led to the exploration of its possibility as packaging material. Its raw material is seaweed, precisely two kinds of red algae which grow worldwide. Agar can be extracted by boiling the red algae. After cooling, the soup sets like jelly. It is then frozen and air-dried. Through this process, water melts away and structured agar remains.
Amam has so far managed to produce a thin transparent film, loose-fill cushioning and a package integrated with cushioning, using only powdered agar. Besides, they have also been working on two different material experiments. One is a mixture of agar powder and red algae fiber waste which is a by-product of agar production. It could be used as a wrapping sheet for flowers, cushioned sheet for plant pots and a wine bottle, or be molded to make boxes. The other is a mixture of agar powder and shell ash powder. Everyday, tons of shell produced by the food industry are being dumped as waste, resulting in huge disposal cost for farmers.
Goods are usually shipped wrapped in plastic materials. Once unwrapped, the packaging soon becomes waste or is collected to be recycled. This year's National Winner of the Energy Globe Award in Japan researches how agar which is gained from seaweed can be used as an alternative to synthetic plastics. Congratulations on your initiative!