Beyond recycling: how to reduce waste

The world’s waste levels are at a ridiculous high of around 2.12 billion tonnes every year, and it’s only predicted to grow. With a staggering estimate of 4 billion tonnes of waste globally by 2100. The governments of the world can only do so much to combat the problem, and the rest falls to us, the people living on this planet, to do our part.

Alongside caged tipper provider Reconomy, we are going to take you through a number of exciting new ways people are embracing waste as a raw material, rather than sending it to the landfill.

Drinking surplus bread: Toast Ale

We Brits love bread, but it’s also heavily wasted. Although 12 million loaves are sold on a daily basis, 44% of bread is wasted, which has presented itself as a significant contributing factor to the epidemic food waste crisis here in Britain. In a bid to end food waste, Toast Ale has partnered up with bakeries to collect unsold loaves and unused crusts from sandwich makers to craft a fine beer, while donating all profits made to environmental charities.

The company was launched in 2016 and now supplies various areas of the UK with its simple bread-based booze. Once the bread has been delivered to the team, it is then sliced and dried in the oven at around 90°C for an hour. Then, it is crushed into the size of croutons.

The grains are steeped in 15.7l of water, which has been brought to a temperature of 67°C. It is mixed, covered, and left for an hour. The liquid is then drained while rinsing the grains with water at a temperature of 78°C to remove any additional sugars — this should be done until you’ve reached 25l. Use around 20l of water and this will remove any tannin tastes.

The grain mixture is brought to the boil, and 5g of German Hallertau Tradition is added at the 90 minute mark to give the brew its bitter taste. This can balance the caramel notes from the bread and the papaya and mango notes from the aroma that is added later. If you’re interested in trying your own, the full recipe is available here — there’s a whole science behind it!

Turn the situation 180°: Wasteboards

A Dutch company has found a new purpose for plastic bottle caps – as skateboards. An estimated 20,000 plastic bottles are produced every second and a lot of this is ending up in our oceans leaving devastating impacts on marine life.

Wasteboards are sparking a community spirit by having teams collect bottle tops from all kinds of places, like schools and businesses and events, then turning the gathered trash into one-of-a-kind skateboards. Each board is made by hand and the design doesn’t shy away from what they’re made from — which is part of the appeal to its main demographic; young people who want to do their part in saving the planet.

Creating a wasteboard is something of an art form. Bottle tops are collected from popular events across the city — or sometimes fished from Amsterdam canals by a professional plastic fishing company. After that, caps are then placed in different positions within the mould to create a basis of the design.

The plastic caps are moulded and baked, melting in every direction and creating impossible-to-replicate designs. The special baking technique used allows the bottle tops to keep their original look and characteristics. After some time to cool off, the boards are then assembled and ready to be sold.  

Protected by paper: EcoHelmet

Businesses around the world are striving for a paperless work space, but paper remains a big waste issue. In fact, you might be surprised to hear that the amount of paper sent to landfills each year could fill an estimated 103,000 double decker buses — but EcoHelmet is making it its mission to recycle paper and put it back into better use.

With 90% of cyclists neglecting a helmet, the risks are real. Based in New York City, EcoHelmet offers cyclists an inexpensive way of riding by using a folding helmet that can be recycled at the end of a person’s ride. The helmet is made from 100% waterproof recycled paper and structured in a honeycomb pattern to ensure that all blows from falls or crashes are absorbed by the helmet. The beauty of the helmet is that you can fold it flat and that one size fits all.

The helmets can also be created at a fraction of the cost of making a regular helmet, and maintain a cool appearance. The helmet can be easily disposed of unlike other helmets. For example, it takes 500 years to break down styrofoam helmets and they never truly decompose!



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