We need to preserve our planet. To save future generations of human, animal, and plant life, we need to make dire changes in our habits to protect our natural resources, be it the land, air, soil, water, minerals, and wildlife. We need to ensure the continued flourishment of species diversity, nutrient cycles, and ecosystems, for even the smallest change to our natural habitat can create long-lasting, negative effects. Take trees for example. Trees provide oxygen– a key competent to life on earth. During photosynthesis, trees take in carbon dioxide from the air and through that conversion process oxygen is created, which allows us to breathe as we should. Without trees and this process, there would be a significantly higher amount of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere which, as we know, has adverse effects not only on our health but on the climate as well. Another example is when animals become extinct; it has a lasting effect on the food chain. For instance, without bees, key pollinators in our ecosystem, much of the vegetation we rely on for food would cease to exist. Unfortunately, many of the ways we use natural resources, like fuels and minerals, are negatively impacting the environment as they are non-renewable. When used, oil, coal, and gas– known as fossil fuels– release harmful emissions into our atmosphere, which are the leading causes of climate change. As we have seen, this summer has seen unprecedented heat across Europe and other parts of the world. Perhaps this will be an awakening to start taking climate action seriously and start making a change. However, until governments get on board with their policies, there are many private enterprises, large and small, that are doing their part to combat environmental degradation. In honour of World Nature Conservation Day, let’s explore some of the Israeli startups that are doing their part to save our planet.
It is estimated that over two billion purchases are made online each year. More often than not, these packages come in flexible plastic packaging which causes much harm to the environment such as toxic residue, microplastics, and other pollutants in the air. For example, around 180 billion poly bags are used every year for apparel and accessories. It can even contaminate our food as over 60% of flexible packaging is consumed via the food industry. Plastic packaging lacks a circular solution because it is often made by blending several materials. Since it is too lightweight for the separation and recycling process, there is no way to reuse it. It, therefore, floats around the planet, be it in landfills or the ocean. When a poly bag ends up in a landfill, it doesn't break down; in fact, it can absorb toxins and continue to pollute the environment. Moreover, when they end up in the wild, be it on land or in the ocean, this plastic poses a threat to animal life, as many animals mistake it for food. This leads them to either eat it (and consequently die from such consumption) or choke. The plastic can also surround their living environment, making their natural habitat an inhabitable dump. TIPA Corp looks to solve these issues by creating packaging for various products without adverse effects on the environment. Their products maintain the same qualities as conventional plastics; however, their biodegradable packaging ensures a longer shelf-life, durability, and saleability, but what’s more is that when the product reaches its end life, it is safe for the biosphere; their compostable packaging degrades into nourishing compost, all while having the same look and feel of conventional plastic.
TIPA Corp was founded in 2010 by Daphna Nissenbaum (CEO) and Tal Neuman (SVP Products). They are located in Hod Hasharon and are backed by Blue Horizon Ventures, Triodos Investment Management, Horizons Ventures, Greensoil Investments and Millennium Foodtech having raised over $130 million to date.
Wonders of Nature
Deforestation poses huge threats to the environment with agriculture being the leading source of deforestation worldwide, responsible for around 15% of global greenhouse gas emissions. The problem doesn’t necessarily lie within the consumption of meat, rather it is the mass industrialization of it. The Amazon Forest has taken a big hit, being deforested to make room for growing feed for livestock as the global demand for meat has risen immensely. According to a report, around 70% of deforestation in the Amazon can be linked to cattle ranching. This also leads to chemicals, such as pesticides, being emitted into the environment which ruins animal habitats, and therefore contributes to extinction. With that said, meat alternatives could come a long way in alleviating some of these damages. Wonders of Nature has developed plant-based alternatives to meat products that help combat deforestation and minimize CO2 emissions and water use. They offer four kinds of artificial meat: ground beef, burgers, sausages, and kebabs. Their plant-based products are climate-friendly, requiring up to 90% lower greenhouse gas emissions than conventional meat, yet still, have the flavour and texture of real meat.
Wonders of Nature was founded in 2020 by Ronit Davidovich (CEO). The company is privately funded. They have over 50 employees and are located in Shlomi, Hazafon, Israel.
Trees are vital to us as; they provide us with oxygen, store carbon, and provide us with various materials for tools and shelter. When trees are not growing properly, none of these essential qualities come to fruition which can actually be more harmful than you think. If they are not monitored, they can quickly die which is unfortunate because, with the right action, remediation is possible. SeeTree offers an Intelligence Platform which farmers can use to track their trees’ health and productivity. The Intelligence Platform uses drones, satellites, IoT sensors, and weather information to track productivity, and can scan and analyze hundreds of millions of trees to cut farming operation costs, manpower hours, and reduce spraying.
SeeTree was founded by Israel Talpaz (CEO), Guy Morgenstern (CTO), and Barak Hachamov in 2017. The company is located in Tel Aviv, Israel, but has other branches globally in Brazil, California, Mexico, Florida, and South Africa. To date, they have raised $31.5 million.
We all need water, plants included. Unfortunately, we are overconsuming, which is leading to shortages in high-quality drinking water, droughts, an increased number of forest fires, and sometimes even loss of human life. This overconsumption is not just prevalent in private homes, rather is very much a problem within agriculture, so much so that 70% of the world’s water is consumed for agriculture. The Israeli startup Treetoscope developed a revolutionary IoT technology solution for measuring crop water consumption and irrigation needs in real-time. Treetoscope can save 10-30% of water costs, improve efficiency, and boost resilience. Some of the benefits include helping growers save water, managing plant stress, improving fruit quality, and better planning of harvesting windows to ensure the crops come out perfectly. Treetoscope’s technology is the first-of-its-kind and the only commercial device that can sense the internal water flow of a plant and directly measure its water consumption. It can also sense real-time irrigation needs without extrapolations.
Treetoscope was founded in 2020 by Dotan Eshet (CEO) and Ori Ahiman (CTO) and is located in Tel Aviv, Israel.
Wood is very versatile and can be used in many ways. The problem with wood is oftentimes, it is easily wasted for agricultural, municipal, and industrial reasons. Since wood is such an important factor in our lives, be it to help build our home, furnish it, and make it warm, demand for it is high. So, a lot of trees are cut down which reduces the amount of oxygen in the atmosphere. Moreover, the production phases that use wood (i.e., furniture) emit large amounts of carbon dioxide which is a major contributor to climate change. Unfortunately, synthetic alternatives to wood are not that much better, with plastic or petroleum-based materials embedded in them. Daika Wood has come out with new raw materials for mass manufacturing of sustainable process products which is done through much lower temperatures and pressure. Through their latest, 100% biodegradable product, their technology allows the final products to retain the unique properties of wood such as warmth, sense, and acoustics.
Daika Wood was founded in 2020 by Dr. Michael Layani (CEO), and Prof. Shlomo Magdassi. They are located in Rosh Haayin, Israel.
The current methods of waste disposal are posing damaging threats to our plant. These include human waste, livestock waste, and pet waste. Today, there are an estimated 19 billion chickens bred, 1.4 billion cows, and 1 billion pigs and sheep combined but many of these aren’t used and therefore go to waste. Such animal waste contains very high levels of pathogens including salmonella, e-coli, and fecal coliform. By disposing of them in the current methods available, such pathogens get into our water, which becomes highly contaminated be it in rivers or lakes. It is also important to note that as animals decompose, they emit harmful gases such as NH4, H2S, and CH4—all very potent GHG. When looking at human waste, almost 200 million tons of human waste go untreated each year which contributes to not only the environmental crisis but the global health crisis as well. Moreover, one of the main sources of contaminated water is pet feces, specifically dog feces. This can cause the spread of bacteria, viruses, and worms. Not to mention that each year, over 2 million tons of cat litter ends up in solid waste landfill which contributes to e-coli and toxoplasmosis. So, to combat this dire issue, the Israeli startup Paulee CleanTec has developed a patent-protected exothermic oxidation process to convert human and animal waste into pathogen-free, odourless, and highly nutritious fertilizer in just a few minutes. They like to call it their “Chemical Composting Process” and it is safe, inexpensive, and provides the perfect solution for treating organic waste without running water or electricity. It is also tailored specifically to its customers’ needs to generate fertilizer with the correct requirements to promote safe human health.
Paulee CleanTec was founded in 2008 and it is located in Tel Aviv, Israel. The company was founded by Ilan Levy (CEO), Tzachi Jakobovich (CME), and Oded Halperin (Founder of the Board). Paulee CleanTec is partnered with Epic CleanTec and Lodologic and has six patents in the U.S. and Europe, with 27 other global patent applications pending approval.
ZoePac - Post Harvest Solutions
Non-Biodegradable packaging poses a threat to the environment. They contain toxins such as petroleum-based bisphenol A (BPA) which contaminates the food and water they’re packaged in. This is very dangerous to human health, but one must remember that conventional plastic bags absorb toxins and pollute the environment rather than break down completely. Each year, around five trillion plastic shopping bags pollute the environment. These plastic bags can enter the human body through microplastics and cause deadly issues such as apoptosis, necrosis, and oxidative stress. Moreover, solid waste materials, like plastic bags, harm marine life when they are polluted into the water as they do not break down. Luckily, Post Harvest Solutions (developer of ZoePac), have developed biodegradable packaging to help combat these issues while also keeping products fresh—thereby minimizing food waste. Their eco-friendly packaging and processing technologies allow for fresh produce to provide optimum antimicrobial properties for maximum conservation of the products. The ZoePac packaging goes through an atmospheric system that serves two main functions which are to delay the onset of senescence and inhibit the development of spoilage organisms. Their packaging bags have a breathable system enabling ambient oxygen to diffuse in the packaging while avoiding the development of odours and off-flavours. Their technology also removes ethylene, the aging hormone, while also controlling moisture levels in their active and antimicrobial system.
ZoePac was founded in 2004, and it is headquartered in Haifa, Israel. The company was founded by Dr. Adnan Sabehat (CEO), Yousef Sbehat (CFO), and Athanasios Mandis (Commercial Director).