A sustainable solution for plastic bottles

We’re having to become creative in the fight against pollution. As the world becomes more polluted, it’s not as simple as cleaning up after ourselves and recycling most of our plastic. 

So in finding inspiration wherever we can, Manuela Zoninsein found hers in shared bike stations strewn about the city. This inspiration eventually became her innovative company: Kadeya.

“I used to walk to work every day and go by the city bike stations,” Manuela tells Smiley News. “And I thought, ‘well, we can do this for bikes, what would it take to do it for bottles,’ and basically just started saying that to everyone who would listen to me.”

Kadeya, put in the simplest terms, is a vending machine for water bottles. In goes a couple bucks, and out comes a glass water bottle, but the actual system is a lot more complex than that.

In reality, a Kadeya system is what they call a “closed loop beverage system” that aims to keep trash and recycling to an absolute minimum. To do this, they ask that the water bottles are returned to the machine where inside the machine they are thoroughly sanitized and then refilled with water to be used again. 

Each bottle even has laser engraved markings so Kadeya operators can track the movement and usage of individual bottles. 

“If you had asked me five years ago whether I would be building a closed-loop, beverage vending system, I would not have believed you,” Manuela says.

“I was just focused on eliminating single-use waste. That’s the problem. I’m working to solve that scale. And I think entrepreneurs become obsessed with a problem and then iterate toward the solution. And it turns out that this next-gen vending, closed-loop vending system, is what I think can solve the single-use problem.”

Manuela always wanted to do something to help the planet. She was raised by a Marxist economist father who worked under the revolutionary Allende and a feminist anthropologist mother who spent time with Martin Luther King Jr. and helped teach the first generation of Brazilian feminists.

And it was in places like Brazil and later China that she saw what pollution could do to once, mostly spotless, landscapes. 

“Dinner table conversations were about inequality and systemic problems,” Manuela says. “So I grew up with a systemic view of the world and understanding that we have individual agency but also recognizing that the structures in which we live can drive certain outcomes and can make other outcomes much harder.” 

To date, most of her Kadeya projects have been at jobs or worksites to get a good feel for how often people use them. She hopes to eventually spread to convenience stores and the like to make things as available as possible.

This article aligns with the UN SDG Responsible Consumption and Production.


Great news: a new cancer treatment is on trial

A new therapy for treating breast cancer has been approved for trials – and it’s giving us Star Trek vibes.

Keep going

The new ‘proton beam’ therapy has been trialled on three individuals so far and looks like it will be successful. This trial by the NHS is the first of its kind globally, and will hopefully change the way we think about cancer treatments forever.

Patients are being treated either at the Christie Hospital in Manchester, or at the University College London hospital.

What does proton beam therapy look like?

Proton beam therapy will hopefully replace radiotherapy for many patients – for one thing, the high-tech treatment is far more precise and therefore helpful for tumours in hard-to-reach places.

But also because radiotherapy can sometimes cause long-term heart problems for patients, particularly those who have experienced heart issues already.

How long until this is commonplace?

Only three people have completed the trial so far, so we’re a long way off yet – but things look promising.

Before the end of the trial, 192 patients from all across the UK will go through proton beam therapy, hopefully giving us a more effective way to treat cancer.

Live long and prosper.

This article aligns with the UN SDG Good Health and Wellbeing.


Donate to charity with your morning coffee

Welcome to our first weekly business roundup of 2023. If you forgot to buy presents for someone (or if their gift is “on the way”) and you need some quick ideas… look no further.


Making luxury accessories out of rescued materials is what Elvis and Kesse do best – and the number of materials they rescue is truly something! Created in 2005 to save London’s decommissioned firehoses, Elvis and Kesse now make accessories like handbags out of 15 different materials that would otherwise go to waste, including leather cutoffs from Burberry.

Not only that, but 50% of profits from the Fire Hose range go to The Fire Fighters Charity and 50% of profits from the Fire & Hide range go to Barefoot College International. Find out more.


Creating solar-powered wristwatches made from recycled stainless steel, Solios is great from the get-go.

But their clean energy and sustainable materials aren’t the only way they like to give back to the planet – for every watch purchased Solios commits to protecting an acre of rainforest, and you can even buy a special ‘Make A Wish’ edition of their watches to help the charity make children’s wishes come true. Find out more.


Blqk Coffee was created by former NFL player Justin Watson to help bring joy to others and give back to communities in need.

The company creates ethically sourced coffee, with an incredible 25% of every purchase being donated back to social justice charities like Thrive Scholars and Brotherhood Crusade. Find out more.

This article aligns with the UN SDG Partnership for the Goals.


This nonprofit encourages men to take action… for women

The fight for equality and equity for women is ongoing. In that fight, organizations like White Ribbon USA have worked to provide resources and coverage of women’s rights to equality.

The organization started in Canada and was founded by men who wanted to be allies to the feminist movement. That was around 30 years ago – and it has since gone international.

Founder and CEO of the USA branch, Veronika Mudra, started off advocating for her native Ukraine, then eventually started a White Ribbon in the US. She used her own experiences for inspiration in founding the US chapter.

Veronika said she fled Ukraine in 2014 to escape abuse, but found that there weren’t many options for her. Sadly, her child was taken back to Ukraine and she had to travel back to the country and petition the local parliament to fight for her rights and for her child.

“That’s how I found the White Ribbon Campaign,” she says.

She thought being part of White Ribbon would afford her more opportunity because, unlike many gender advocacy groups, the organization was gender-balanced, harkening back to its founding.

“I joined this campaign first as a volunteer,” she says. “Soon after, I started to manage White Ribbon Ukraine as a CEO and our nonprofit became one of the best in the country. Then I got permission from the main founders to run this campaign in the US.” 

The main work they’ve been doing has been looking to reform outdated legislation. Veronika wanted to make stronger provisions for domestic violence survivors among refugees to offer more protection.

The organization has also been working on more local issues – like in California where some domestic violence cases aren’t offered a sense of urgency.

The primary goal of Veronika’s work and the work of White Ribbon by extension is to provide a safe place and ally for women across the world.

Find out more about White Ribbon USA and how to support.

This article aligns with the UN SDG Gender Equality.