Following news of the final approval of a global pact, signed by 190 nations, to limit greenhouse gas emissions, it is clear that environmental standards will be a hot-button issue for the forseeable future. However, innovation in the field of eco-friendly products has been happening for the past several years now. To illustrate that point, below we highlight 5 amazing and inspiring innovations designed to help reduce the impact of humanity on nature Some of these designs are still concepts or prototypes as opposed to mass-produced products, but the ingenuity is noteworthy nonetheless.

1. Biodegradable Coffins

Why limit eco-friendly habits to your lifestyle, when you can now be eco-friendly after you’ve passed away? The ARKA’s Ecopod is a fully bio-degradable coffin made from 100% recycled paper – mainly newsprint and office paper – and a non-toxic natural hardener. Ashes to ashes, dust to dust indeed.

2. The Pencil Printer

In a typical office environment, three major sources of waste are ink cartridges for printing, paper, and the stubs of pencils that have become two short for effective use. Recognizing this fact, inventor Hoyoung Lee created his Pencil Printer. This ingenious device strips the wood from the stub of a pencil to be used as the “ink” for a basic printer. There is also a built-in eraser that allow used papers to be erased and be reused again for printing.

3. Converting Office Paper to Toilet Paper

Think all those flyers from human resources and those memos from your managers are a bunch of ‘crap?’ Well luckily for you, the innovative minds at Japan’s Oriental Co. LTD have come up with the White Goat Recycling Machine, a machine that reportedlycan convert 40 sheets of used A4 office paper into a single roll of toilet paper. It is unclear if this piece of machinery ever made it beyond the prototype phase, but the concept is a very clever one at the very least.

4. The River Gym

In many urban areas the roadways are more congested than ever, and the general population is increasingly unfit. For regions with local waterways such as Manhattan or San Francisco, the River Gym offers a solution that could address both problems. A 2009 article from Gizmag highlighted this pioneering design.

“This inspired design is the brainchild of architect and eco-designer Mitchell Joachim who holds a PhD from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Intended to travel in a 15-minute circuit around the Hudson and East Rivers in New York, the River Gym ‘pods’ would offer a range of exercise equipment capable of converting energy derived from human motion into usable electric energy stored in on-board batteries.”

5. Compostable Spoons/Lids

Product packaging is a major source of the waste that goes into landfills around the world. EcoTensil of Corte Madera, California makes a product designed to alleviate a small of of this problem with their Spoonlidz concept. SpoonLidz is a “smooth paperboard over-lid for single-serve cups, which converts in one easy fold, to a fun and sturdy spoon.” The design could eliminate the need for additional utensils for yogurt, applesauce, jello, and/or a variety of other products.

Know of other amazing and inspiring eco-friendly innovations that are worth a mention? Sound off in the comments!