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Jeddah - Yasmine El Tohamy - DAVOS: The World Economic Forum is not all about the fourth industrial revolution or the rise of AI.
You can also find all manner of strange and intriguing products on display from biodegradable plastic made from algae to wallpaper made from recycled corn husks.
One stand titled “How do you design a tree?” is part of a conservation effort where a single tree is designed to bear 40 different types of apple.
Another stand displays colored seaweed on a rack, showing how clothes can be dyed in a sustainable, non-chemically corrosive manner.
Propped along a large wall is Fernando Laposse’s wallpaper made of variations of purple corn husks that are reinforced with recycled cardboard and cork to create wallpaper and furniture. The husks come from corn that needs very little water and can be grown in the desert, which makes it all the more sustainable.
“This initiative helps the local economy as it brings in jobs and a resurgence of crafts and food traditions while also ensuring sustainability,” Laposse said.
Another display shows a machine that extracts pellets from a mixture of algae and starch and is used to create a thread that is the base of 3D printing. These sustainable, biodegradable plastics made from algae are being experimented with in different regions.
With the rise of deep fakes — a branch of synthetic media in which a person in an existing image or video is replaced with someone else’s likeness — another stand delivers a warning on the looming dangers of unregulated software.
The Davos forum prides itself on its sustainability, and key topics have included climate, mobility, energy and the circular economy. Everything is recyclable, and participants must download an application in order to keep up with the program and any changes — a move to cut down on paper waste.
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