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Interview with Rob Wilson - his eco-piphany

Cheers beers toasting
Image by Wil Stewart on Unsplash

The Beagle Button is a sustainability tech start-up. We have designed a tool that helps you shop more sustainably online. Whether it's plastic free, recycled, vegan, ethically sourced or any other of our carefully selected metrics, we'll find you recommendations for better alternatives when you shop online. We aim to make sustainability accessible and affordable for everyday items, from furniture to shoes. It might seem difficult to switch to a more sustainable lifestyle, but that is not necessarily the case. You simply need the right tools and a little inspiration.

We have decided to share with you our sources of inspiration, in the hope that they will do the same for you. We have chased up the people and companies that inspired us to create the Beagle Button, and are revolutionising sustainability. We are very grateful that Rob Wilson agreed to being interviewed.

Rob Wilson

On LinkedIn Rob Wilson has a very unique job title; he is referred to as the Chief Toaster. He might be great at making a golden slice of toast, but that is not what he is paid to do. He works at Toast Ale; a B-Corporation that brews delicious beer using surplus bread that otherwise would go to waste. He is essentially helping the world get wasted off waste.

The founders of Toast Ale decided enough is enough, and it was about time to revolutionise the food industry. Currently food waste is a pressing issue. Roughly one-third of all food produced in the world for human consumption is wasted; that amounts to 1.3 billion tonnes of food waste. Rob Wilson is working tirelessly to change this horrifying reality. By using surplus bread in place of virgin barley Toast Ale has successfully rescued 1.9 million slices of bread. The company has also donated £45,000 to charities that are working to fix our broken food system.

We asked Rob what inspired him to work for a company like Toast Ale. He described the two moments that shaped his carrier; he had two eco-piphanies. An eco-piphany is the moment of revelation that kick starts a sustainability journey. Rob’s first eco-piphany was during his childhood when he worked in Kent picking apples. At work he was exposed to the scale of food waste. He saw more apples tossed then kept. Apple pickers were told to throw away apples if they weren’t a certain shape, size, or colour. This memory stayed with him but it wasn’t until Rob’s second eco-piphany that he could no longer ignore the problem. A conversation in 2016 with Tristram Stuart, the founder of Toast Ale, inspired him to get involved in this brilliant company and help it grow.

Aside from asking Rob what his eco-piphanies were we also asked what his top sustainable-swaps were. He plugged Toast Ale, as he wanted to express how great the products truly are and the extent to which the company is tackling waste. Rob also talked about two other companies that are prioritising sustainability: Rubies in the Rubble and Dash Water. Finally, he mentioned a few apps: Too Good to Go, OLIO and Karma food. These three apps minimise household and commercial food waste by re-distributing meals and ingredients. We also love these apps, and have even written a blog post about them!

In the interview Rob shared with us Toast Ale’s success story. It was brilliant to hear such passion for sustainability. As Chief Toaster Rob Wilson has helped the company flourish into one that is making a pint both delicious and sustainable. Cheers to that!

We are so grateful to Rob for taking the time to speak to us here at the Beagle Button. Companies such as Toast Ale are inspirational, as they are both sustainable and have been built from the ground up. We are proud to say that we are growing everyday, and hope to have success similar to that of Toast Ale. Feel free to check out our Instagram or Facebook pages, and don’t forget to sign up online for the Beagle Button tool. We are currently in the beta phase of our product launch, so if you install our chrome extension tool please let us know if you stumble upon something you think could be improved!

Our interview with Rob is the third in a series of interviews. In this series we plan to ask each interviewee what their eco-piphany was. How did that moment change their life? And what is their top sustainability swaps. We look forward to sharing other interviews and blog posts from this series soon.